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Stretching Out: Another Shopping List for the Gym World
(4 votes, average 3.00 out of 5)

Once again, it's time to compile a shopping list for the world of gymnastics, based on what we witnessed in 2010. I invite all of you readers to add your own, as well.

Kohei Uchimura: A long winter's nap. Though he won his second world all-around gold this year, his taped left shoulder signaled the physical toll he's feeling. Apparently, it doesn't bother him that much, since he recently showed some new skills (triple-twisting Yurchenko, e.g.) at the Japanese nationals. If I were his coach, though, I'd give him a solid three-month hibernation of healing.

Aliya Mustafina: A deeper team. Yes, the Russian women won their first world team title in 2010, but they had help from the underachieving silver and bronze medalists. Mustafina carried her teammates on her back, especially on bars, where Russia placed seventh out of eight in the team final. Wait, what's that I see in her stocking? Viktoria Komova!

Rebecca Bross: More D-score. Ouch, that was hard to write. But as long as the Amanar vault she doesn't have is over-valued at 6.5, Bross should find a way to add a couple of tenths each on bars, beam and floor. Not an easy task, but her coach, Valeri Liukin, is a master strategist. Look what he did for his daughter in 2008.

Jordyn Wieber: A complete senior season debut. Junior winner of the Pacific Rim championships and CoverGirl Classic in 2010, Wieber crunched her ankles at the U.S. championships and couldn't finish the meet. Her presence on the 2011 U.S. world team could really help (she has an Amanar), but not if she's still limping.

Jonathan Horton: Paul in St. Paul. Horton, the 2010 world all-around bronze medalist, needs the competition to reach the next level. So a duel against Paul Hamm at the 2011 U.S. championships in St. Paul, Minn., should do the trick.

Mattie Larson: Another chance. After placing second to Rebecca Bross at the U.S. championships, where she won floor exercise, Larson struggled at the Rotterdam worlds, mainly on floor exercise. And even though her mistakes were big, the silver-medal performance of the U.S. women was a total team effort. Even U.S. national team coordinator Marta Karolyi admitted that Larson can be a beautiful gymnast at times. Remember, gymnastics is only a game. Give her another shot.

Vanessa Ferrari: More horsepower. I'm always impressed when a former star accepts a supporting role on her team. The 2006 world all-around champ was more polished in Rotterdam than in Aarhus, but without her signature tricks. Her coach, Enrico Casella, predicts some of those skills will return, which is easier said than done.

Danell Leyva: A re-gift to himself. I know it probably made more sense on paper to replace his cool jam-dislocate-hop with a jam-dislocate-invert on high bar, but he lost the spontaneous crowd reaction in the process. That skill really set him apart. But knowing him and his stepfather-coach, Yin Alvarez, they'll probably come up with something even better for 2011.

Daniel Keatings: Two strong knees. With the silky-smooth Keatings, who is coming off a torn ACL, the British men, seventh in Rotterdam, could be a legitimate top-five team at the 2011 Tokyo worlds. Keatings would really help the Brits, especially on pommel horse and p-bars.

Philipp Boy: Healthy teammates. The 2010 world all-around silver medalist was impressive, and he did the lion's share of Germany's team bronze, too. If he is supported by a healthy Fabian Hamb├╝chen (chronic Achilles) and national champ Marcel Nguyen (broken leg prior to Rotterdam), he will be a Boy among men at the Tokyo worlds. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Now, who did I miss?

Comments (21)add comment

Rebecca said:

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Higher D-scores across the board for team USA, they all need to increase the difficulty or we may find ourselves off the podium very soon-the rest of the world is quickly catching up. Cleaner form and more originality from all gymnasts. I miss the routines from the 80' and 90's.
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +5

Lora said:

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huh
How can you say the 2 1/2 is overvalued? There were only two female gymnasts who attempted it at the 2010 Worlds! That shows you how difficult it is.
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +4

Dwight said:

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The Amanar should be worth between 6.1-6.3; 0.7 is too big a jump from a double twist. Just my opinion. On floor, a triple-twisting back is an E-skill, while a 3.5 twist is an F-skill. Only 0.10 difference. How many women tumble a 3.5 twist?
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: -1

Lora said:

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That's because the 3 1/2 is undervalued. Why risk something so hard for a mere .1? That's a ripoff. The more twists you already have, the harder it gets to add even an extra half. It's much harder to go from a Yurchenko 2/1 to 2 1/2 than it is to upgrade from Yurchenko 1/1 to 1 1/2. Likewise, it's significantly, significantly harder to upgrade from Yurchenko 2 1/2 to 3/1 than it is to go from 1 1/2 to 2/1. Yet the Yurchenko 3/1 is only .4 higher D score than 2 1/2! The jump in D values should not be flatly rated this way as it does not reflect their actual difficulty.
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +2

Dwight said:

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Agreed, the extra half for the Amanar is harder than the jump from a full to 1.5, but 0.7 is a game-changer. It's still only one skill. All of the vaults should be devalued to bring them a little closer together. And I don't believe women are avoiding 3.5 twists on floor because it's not worth it. I just don't think many can attempt it safely since there is no 4-inch landing mat.
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +0

Kristine said:

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I also think the Amanar is not overrated. You know when a skill is overvalued because every gymnast suddenly starts to perform it! Like the front full on floor, or switch leap to back salto on beam. Also Iordache from Romania is training a 3 1/2 on floor.
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +1

Lora said:

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IMHO there are three reasons more women aren't doing 3 1/2:

1. It's really hard
2. It's not valued highly enough
3. It's too risky to do 3 1/2 and 3/1 in the same routine. A gymnast who can land a 3 1/2 obviously has a very good 3/1 that she probably also wants in the routine. But if she's one degree short on the twist of her 3 1/2, it will be devalued to a 3/1. If she then throws a 3/1, it's worthless as a repeated skill. If the 3/1 is the planned dismount, then it's a total disaster as she has no dismount.
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +4

Brian said:

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Toe Point
You forgot TOE POINT for the USA men's team! While Chris Brooks gymnastics is big and mostly beautiful, his awful floppy feet look like he's got clown shoes on. He's not the only one on the team, but the one that sticks out in my mind the most.
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +1

Papshmir said:

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Russia--continued improvement from Belyavskiy and Pakhomenko so they can finally get rid of Devyatovsky
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +6

Celine said:

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How about pacifiers for John Macready and John Roesthlisberger so we don't have to hear any more whining from them?
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +4

Diane Lee said:

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wish
How about a new FIG that ACTUALLY like gymnastics and stops passing all the ridiculous rule changes that they have done. I would love to see more former gymnast have a say in the way the sport should be changed. Like those gymnast from the 80's and the 90's that did thos BEAUTIFUL routines.
 
December 09, 2010 | url
Votes: +4

Stacy said:

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Instead of wishing for more difficulty for Bross, my wish is for her to make a full, speedy recovery from the surgery she just had, where screws had to be inserted into her bone.
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +5

Kevin said:

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Designer/CEO
Liukin in the fold again??? Shawn is on the comeback path;;;and Sasha is not to be overlooked, EVER.
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +3
..., Low-rated comment [Show]

Stacy said:

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Why so hateful to Mattie? She absolutely deserves another chance to prove herself. You don't know what could be going on and what could have contributed to her mistakes at worlds. Alicia fell TWICE at the team finals in 2008, and look at her now. Not only did she come back, she's even better now.
 
December 09, 2010
Votes: +3

Marna said:

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I agree about the Amanar-the value is too high and too far of a difference from a yurchenko double full in start value. It's true the 2 1/2 is difficult, but the jump in values is not mirrored anywhere else in the Code from one variation of a skill to another- 0.7 is alot, so you better be poppin a rabbit out of your chenko at the same time for +0.7!
It should be valued at 6.3, still a good start value. But, if they end up short on twist or the legs cross too much in the air, they should be escorted out of the arena by security personnel-Ladies, how hard is it to keep your legs together? Is this a common weakness of yours? Hee Hee
smilies/tongue.gif
 
December 10, 2010
Votes: +0

Marna said:

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John Macready and John Roethlisbeger...lol- I remember Roethlisberger the most for when he yelled into the NBC Camera that they (USA) "were not doormats anymore!!!" I also remember him competing at 15 American Cups too...good times
 
December 10, 2010
Votes: +1

Frank Hui said:

Frank Hui
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I can see the argument that the Amanar may be rated a little too high. 0.7 does seem like a big leap. However there is something to consider for the rationale for such a huge increase. Obviously twisting 2 1/2 times demands greater power and technique in the air. However twisting 2 1/2 times also puts much more strain on a landing that is already blind than for a 1 1/2 twist. One has to ask how much easier is it to master the landing of a double Yurchenko vs an Amanar? And then compare the ease of landing a 1 1/2 vs a Double. To those who determined the rating, that may be where the rationale is coming from. The reasoning for the extra bump could be from the demands of performing the trick and landing the trick. 0.7 is a game changer yet as people have noted very few girls have it in competition. Those 0.7 make it worthwhile to train for it. However the fact so few girls have yet to master it consistently may justify the rating. A similar example is the Comaneci Salto on bars. For many years it still maintained a very high difficulty score and few girls seem to be able to compete it well.
 
December 10, 2010
Votes: +1

DavidL said:

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I think it is so wrong to say that the amanar should be devalued to bring the vault scores closer together. so what would happen then? crappy countries that can only do a full or one and a half would be closer to the best that do doubles and amanars?? no we should leave it like it is. the gap needs to be there to set apart the good from the best!
 
December 10, 2010
Votes: +1

becca said:

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I think its wrong to talk about vault, but not discuss BARS. I don't think its fair to suggest vault should go down, if your not going to bring down bars too. Frankly with vault, I'd rather see them keep the Amanar values the same, but force the girls to perform TWO different vaults.

In 2008 Team Liukin capitalized on their own high scoring event, an event where Johnson was (relatively weak) this time though the other top all arounders coming into London aren't weak on bars. Its not like Mustafina just had an advantage over Bross on vault, she also had an advantage on bars. (Significantly when Aliya went for full difficulty). The Russian all arounders aren't going to concede an event the way Johnson's team did.
 
December 11, 2010
Votes: +4

StLBear said:

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Healthy year for Chelsea
How about an injury-free year for Chelsea Davis? The gymnastics she's been able to do look great and we'd love to see her reach her full potential.
 
December 12, 2010
Votes: +1

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