Visa Gymnastics Championships 2011

Jordan Wieber wins it. Photo Source:  Universal Sports
This past weekend was Visa Championships.  I excitedly watched Women's Prelims on Thursday night.  The finals were on Saturday night but I didn't get to watch it until first thing Sunday morning.  Prelims were kind of a mess.  There were so many falls and mistakes-which isn't too surprising when you consider that these girls are doing things that people shouldn't physically be able to do.  These athletes are incredible, but even still if Team USA gymnasts were to perform that way at Worlds OR the Olympics for that matter there is no hope for a medal.  There is still time to improve and the final day was much better.  It seemed like everyone got the jitters out.  With Marta Karolyi watching it was their last chance to show her something good and so they did.

Jordan Wieber basically blew out the competition.  She is the only gymnast who hit 8 for 8 and did solid routines over both days.   It is a testament to her good gymnastics but also a testament to the fact that most everyone else performed miserably.  She won by 6 points!  She could have fallen 3 times off of her last event, the beam and still won.  She's been American Cup Champion twice already and now she finally can add National Champion to her resume.  

Rebecca Bross had a really bad day one and an even worse finals.  She was actually showing some improvement but after a falling on her beam dismount again and a bit of a sloppy floor routine she twisted into the ground on an under rotated vault and screamed in pain as she landed and grabbed her knee.  I feel so bad for her.  She was fighting so hard to get back in the game and now this.  That's the harsh reality of gymnastics and as the camera panned around the arena it looked like you could cut the silence with a knife and people were shaking their heads.  What is there to say?  It's a terrible thing and it could happen to any gymnast at any moment.  She won this meet last year, placed 2nd All Around at World Championships in 2010 and 3rd in 2011 (six world medals all together).  She was basically on her way to the Olympics.  Then she had to have leg surgery but she recovered and during her comeback is slammed with another injury.  As they carried her out of the arena I couldn't help but wonder if she should have been competing all four events.  Her gymnastics was looking a little rough up to that point-maybe she tried to do too much too soon. 
Ally Raisman [Photo Source:  Universal]
McKayla Maroney was all over the place on day one but she really improved on the second night.  She is so graceful and has such beautiful form.  Her Amanar (2 1/2 twisting Yurchenko) vault was the highlight.  It's the hardest vault being done by anyone in the world right now and she just about stuck it.  Jordan Wieber uses the same vault.

Ally Raisman was one of the few that was solid on day one and she was solid on day two as well until the half way point when she went to beam right after Bross got injured.  She seemed really rattled by what happened and actually put her hands down on the beam (which counts as a fall) but she came back and did great on floor.  That one mistake edged her out of 2nd place which is unfortuanate because she one of the most consistent out of everyone and I thought she deserved the Silver. 

Chelsie Memmel did very well but on her last event after falling, re mounting then falling again on bars couldn't finish the routine.  She spent the remainder of the night with an ice pack on her shoulder.  I REALLY wanted to see her in the top three so I was disappointed to see her falter but she did a great job.  She showed everyone that she is back and a serious contender.  Her dance on floor could definitely use some work.  She basically does a series of connected poses and doesn't really seem to dance through the floor movements as she should.    Her strength is her consistency and power.  

Sean Johnson definitely improved from Cover Girl Classic.  She looked so much more confident and solid.  She still needs to add in floor and get her difficulty level up but I'm much more impressed with what I saw at this meet and glad that she's on her way.  I love her attitude.  She realizes that she may never again be the Sean Johnson who won a gold medal on beam at the Olympics and almost won the All Around.  She is Ok with that and just wants to compete and be in the mix again.  She didn't stop smiling the whole night.  She and Memmel were both named to the National team along with Alicia Sacramone who had a good meet as well.  Her 2nd vault was low, and she had a few balance checks on beam but overall she was solid as usual. 

Final results listed here at Inside  Jordan Wieber 1st, McKayla Maroney 2nd and Alexandra Raisman 3rd.  I can't wait to see who makes the World team.

1 comment

Mrs. Pancakes said...

oooh good for her...that's difficult to get 8 out of 8! i've never even heard of her but i do now.