Some terrible news from the Brazilian team:
Olympian Lais Souza Severely Injured in Skiing Crash
It appears that she was slotted to nab one of the wildcard spots for Sochi. So sad to hear this happened.
More upgrades for Simone Biles, every single event. I love every single one of them:
I predict that she will win 6 medals at the World Championships this year, with maybe 4 of them gold. Floor should have at least a 6.6SV, if the piked full-in is turned into a layout she would have 6.9 - that's just laughable. She is the most talented gymnast that I have ever seen.
Last edited by Karpenko; 01-30-2014 at 03:49 AM.
Right now, I would say Bailie Key is the favourite for the Olympic AA title. However, anything can happen between now and the Olympics. At various points in the 4 year run up to London 2012, Mustafina, Komova, and Bross were favourites. However, ultimately all of their chances were completely wrecked by injuries.
Last edited by Maofan7; 01-31-2014 at 12:35 AM.
I agree with you in theory, but I see more potential for future upgrades in Biles than I do Key to be honest. I think if Simone has a very high advantage in D score in all events it won't necessarily matter who else is there and how clean they are, she's doing just way too much difficulty and rather effortlessly. I think her talent lies in the amount of skills she is capable of doing, and on all four of the events - I think if she loses a skill, she can just as easily replace it with another one.
IMO another thing Simone has going for her is her body-type and technique, I don't see her ever losing the ability to do a lot of skills she's doing because she will always be short and stocky and the skills are all completely effortless right now. They may get harder to train, and she may not be able to do them all in one routine, but she's already so far ahead of the field she could keep her current difficulty and still be competitive in Rio IMO. She has such a huge abundance of power that I can't see her losing her vault or floor difficulty - that will be her advantage over gymnasts like Bailey Key and where UB/BB won't matter as much so long as Simone has the difficulty there too. She has a very large gap over the rest of the field in terms of SV, Bailey will need to upgrade a lot to keep up with her IMO (and Simone will only get cleaner as time goes on). I see a potential Uchimura quad for Biles if she stays healthy, she's too much of an acrobat compared to the field.
Last edited by Karpenko; 01-30-2014 at 08:43 AM.
I agree with Karpenko. Biles is one of the strongest and most talented gymnast I've ever seen. I can only see her getting stronger as an AA force through 2016, not becoming a specialist. Sure this sport is fickle and anything can happen. Who in 2009 would have predicted Gabby Douglas would even make the Olympic team let alone win the all around. I think Biles has the potential to take the sport to a completely new level physically.
Yes, Biles is increasing her difficulty. But, I would be more worried than impressed by that. She and her team seem to be determined to tempt providence. The higher the difficulty, the greater the risk of serious injury. It does not bode well for her longevity. I think it would be better if her team recognised that right now she is the best AA gymnast in the world by a long distance with little in the way of competition. It would be better to adopt a more conservative approach that avoids injury. She doesn't need to up the risk level to win at this present time. It's likely to be a year before she faces a serious challenge - most likely from key. But, in this sport injury can strike at anytime
If Biles can avoid injury, then a more realistic assessment of her Olympic chances can be gauged in 2015. She will be 18 by then and her body will have matured. The question will then be whether she has been able to maintain the same difficulty and skill levels. Right now, predicting whether she can or she can't is pure speculation. Nobody can predict how her body will mature into adulthood. I once read somewhere that somebody had once worked out that female gymnasts peak on average at the age of just 15.7 years! That is, they peak before they are even age eligible. Hence, that is the reason why female gymnasts often win their world and Olympics titles when they are 16 (which is exactly what Douglas, Wieber, and Biles did). The reason why female gymnasts then start to go into decline thereafter is obviously puberty - the hips become rounder and wider, they put on weight, develop breasts, their centre of gravity lowers, they become less flexible, and it is far more difficult to flip and rotate. That is why Wieber was no where near as good a gymnast at London 2012 as she had been a year earlier when winning the world title. Only a year had past, but she had gone from being a 16 year old to a 17 year old, and her body was transitioning into that of an adult. As I said in an earlier post, it is one of the great unfairnesses of gymnastics that in terms of the AA, when you are born in relation to the Olympic cycle matters. If Jordyn Wieber had been 16 instead of 17 at the Olympics, she could well have become Olympic AA champion. However, instead, it was Gabby Douglas who had the great fortune to enter the Olympics at the age of 16 as she was hitting her peak and ended up becoming AA champion. Had she been a year older, it could well have been too late for her, just as it ended up being for Wieber
Obviously, all this creates many unfairnesses (and safety concerns, given the injuries). Gymnastics needs to revert back to the perfect 10 system and reform the age eligibility rules. The sport has moved too far in the direction of acrobatics/athleticism and difficulty. Their needs to be a rebalancing back towards artistry and execution: article 1, article 2). The code has made gymnastics boring and monotonous. Gymnastics is at its best when their is the right combination between artistry and athleticism, and that is what the sport had under the perfect 10 system. Moreover, a rebalancing back towards greater artistry would give older gymnasts a far better chance of winning Olympic and world medals, unlike the current system which favours younger age eligible gymnasts. In terms of the age eligibility rules, these need to be lowered by 2 years. It is completely stupid to have a Code which rewards athleticism and difficulty at the expenses of everything else, and thereby gives younger age eligible gymnasts the advantage (as that is when gymnasts are at their peak), but at the same time prevent gymnasts from competing until they are 16. That means that somebody who is 15 during an Olympic year will not be able to compete in an Olympics until they are 19 - 3 years past their peak. If the FIG are going to keep the minimum age at 16, then that is yet another reason why their needs to be a rebalancing away from acrobatics/athleticism and difficulty towards artistry and execution, and a move back to the perfect 10 system. Not only does that produce a better brand of gymnastics (that used to be the norm under the perfect 10 system), but it gives older gymnasts a much better chance. If the sport continues along the path it is going, then they may as well stop calling it artistic gymnastics, and change its name to acrobatics. The way things are at the moment, there is no actual artistry. That is why it has become boring and monotonous, and why its fan base is falling
Last edited by Maofan7; 01-31-2014 at 04:35 AM.
I get everything you are saying, but Simone is the best trickster I have ever seen. I am the biggest form and execution snob on the planet, and I prefer the lanky flexible noodles to the chicken mcnuggets every single time.
She's currently planning on competing a 2 1/2 Yurchenko vault, a Cheng, a full-in BB dismount, she is the only gymnast since Nastia to do the two layout step-outs on BB again (and she's the last I'd expect), a Sillivas on floor, a double layout-1/2, soon to be dismounting her routine with a layout 1/2 in 1/2 out I'm guessing, she'll be doing a double-double bars dismount of some sort soon enough, she can do a triple twisting yurchenko, a triple twisting double on floor, a double-double balance beam dismount... And there isn't a single time she doesn't do these skills with enough power to upgrade them. She is so good at being a trickster that I don't hold it against her or think it's bad for the sport. She isn't chucking a single move in her repitoire.
I especially love the way she rebounds out of that 2 1/2 into her front layout, it's higher than anybody has ever rebounded out of a 2 1/2 and she just floats. Her talent as a pure gymnast just leaps off the screen, it's the most obvious talent I've ever seen in a gymnast and she's getting so much cleaner to watch overall too the more you see her. So between the difficulty, the power, the ease at which she does everything, her ability to do every skill in the book, and her weaknesses always being addressed and improvements being made every single time you see her - I am an extremely big fan of hers. If she weren't making the skills look so easy then I think a Mustafina comparison or a Bross comparison would be more appropriate - Those two had ACL tear written all over them as soon as a year before when they were doing those two vaults. I can't see Simone currently having a skill that flirts with disaster really at all unless a fluke happens, but then again her air awareness as a gymnast is also one of her strengths and is why she can handle so many of these extremely difficult skills.
I think Simone is the poo. Regardless if you decide to whiff or not is up to you, but she's going nowhere but up based on how her gymnastics has been progressing. And I think she will go down as one of the all-time best gymnasts (not because of style, but that makes it even more impressive in some ways) by the time she's finished with her career. I'm completely blown away by her right now.
Last edited by Karpenko; 01-31-2014 at 09:36 AM.
Even if Simone wins 20+ World and Olympic medals and the AA title at every Worlds and Olympics this quad she will never surpass Miller as the greatest American gymnast ever!
Shannon had the poofy hair bow and a parade was thrown in her honor whenever she got out of bed in the morning. Nobody can compete with that.
Liukin virtually tied for AA gold at Worlds in 2005 and won in 2008. I don't think early success in the quadriennum means one is doomed later. It will be a matter of luck. Even at 15, a gymnast can get hurt the year of the Olympic Games.
Yeah, the doom and gloom about Simone holding on would hold a lot more water if it wasn't for Liukin bucking that notion. Bottom line is, you just never know. Also, Ohashi was a good gymnast and I miss her but she was nowhere near as talented as Biles. For one thing, she didn't have much power. I think some bad coaching decisions wrecked her (I also think she wasn't fully into her gym anyway) but she was always going to have a difficult time staying healthy and upgrading, I think.
Did Ohashi retire?
Ohashi was not anywhere close to the talent level of Biles. Ohashi has a lot less talent than tons of gymnasts currently out there. The one area she had talent was beam but beam is actually the easiest event for elite gymnasts. The skills are all very simple. It just isn't easy to stay on the beam. Any elite gymnast can do a standing full, the trick part is doing it on 4 inches. So that takes talent but not the same kind of talent Biles exhibits by doing such amazing tricks and doing them well.
"Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher
Biles making it as far as Rio will depend on luck and coaching strategy. She clearly has the talent, so it will depend on how well her body holds up and how her coach paces her. You need both to make it an entire quad as a senior. Liukin was pretty injury riddled for 2/4 years of her senior career and she managed to make it work.
I would love to see Ohashi come back this year even if its to only do balance beam. If she wants to have a world BB title in her life, I say (if healthy) this is her year (and last year also). She fits putting Elizabeth Price on a team perfectly. Otherwise it looks like your spot will go to Sarah Finnegan.
Didn't Cheng Fei stay relatively injury-free from 2004-2008 and she was putting forth some of the most difficult in gymnastics on 3 apparatuses during her quad.
"Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." - Ambrose Bierce
Cheng Fei will always be the anti-Chinese gymnast. They made up for 15 years of weak vault and floor exercise in just one gymnast. and she was also age eligible for every medal she ever won.