Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pan American Games - Day 1

(Photo property of Grace Chiu, USA Gymnastics)

I, like many gymnastics fans at the moment, am dealing with some very conflicting feelings. If you weren't following gymnastics this afternoon, the USA won the team title at the Pan American Games as everyone around the world understandably expected. However, what people around the world didn't expect was the USA's lead only consisted of two points, Johnson's double fall on beam, and DeZiel, who is a first year elite, leading the US on each event that she competed. While the US should certainly be commended for their first place win as well as their standings on vault and bars, I can't help but be disappointed in the fact that not 1 US Gymnast qualified for beam finals. In fact, DeZiel was the highest beam scorer and she placed 16th. Unfortunately, this means that for the first time in at least 10 years, the a US Gymnast will not win the Beam Title at a Pan Am Event. 

(Photo property of Grace Chiu, USA Gymnastics)

To be honest, I have NO IDEA what Marta's thinking at this point. Are her feelings mixed like mine? Is she pleased with the team win? After all, she does always say that "it's all about the team". I'm at a loss. I asked the Twitterverse what they thought Marta was thinking, and the answers were all across the board. 

@Laura722: "they won by over 2 points, no big deal"

@TommyStark11: "shes thinking "THIS is our B team?!?!?!" Then she swears a bunch in Romanian"

@caseymagnesium: "I think she is currently forging a birth certificate for Katelyn Ohashi... that's what I would be doing."

@BTOgymblog: Thank god I chose the girls I did for worlds! Or WHY DID MY FEED NOT WORK?

That feed was horrendous, wasn't it? Oh well, at least it's free coverage. The point is, there's no way to know what she is really thinking, or whether today's performances will have any positive or negative effect on the girls' future assignments. 

Looking forward into Wednesday's All Around, 2 girls from the USA qualified: Brandie Jay in 5th and Bridgey Caquatto in 4th. The girls in medal position included Ana Sofia Gomez of Guatemala, a first year senior whose DTY and strong beam helped her qualify first, Peng Peng (Christine) Lee of Canada who finished 19th in World All Around final and her teammate, Kristina Vaculik, a gymnast for Stanford who may have qualified for the World AA Finals, had she hit in prelims. 

My predictions for the Podium: 
1. Bridgette Caquatto (Not just because I love USA, but today's score was in fact, her season low) 
2. Peng Peng (Christine) Lee 
3. Ana Sofia Gomez 

In my opinion, two girls have a shot at the Vault gold medal, USA's Brandie Jay and the Dominican Republic's Yamilet Peña. Peña, who qualified for the World vault event finals, only attempted a handspring tuck today, but landed a handspring double tuck (SV 7.1) in Worlds Qualification. In finals however, she took it to her back and received a zero. I'm not sure whether or not she'll go for it in finals, but if she does, and lands it, the gold isn't necessarily  hers. If she lands the vault the was she did in Worlds Prelims and gets a 15.0, she'd still fall a few tenths short of Jay's 2 vault average. If she lands it well though, I don't think there will be any argument. Regardless, Today she qualified 3rd without it. 

If I had to guess the podium:
1. Yamilet Peña Abreu (I've got a hunch!)
2. Brandie Jay
3. Elsa Garcia (of Mexico) 

The USA would have qualified all 4/5 of their gymnast to bar finals if the 2 per country rule didn't exist. Unfortunately on this event, it does. Caquatto and Johnson will compete in finals for the USA while  Peng Peng Lee of Canada qualified in 3rd with a score over 14. The next qualifier, Marisela Cantu, the next highest qualifying competitor qualified more than 6 tenths lower than Lee. For this reason I believe that the top 3 qualifiers will be the medalists. If history has shown us anything in the past, it's that when she disappoints herself and others, she goes out and she redeems herself. For this reason (and also because I know that she can get rid of that stall she had) that I think Shawn will take the Bars Title. 

Podium Prediction: 
1. Shawn Johnson 
2. Bridgette Caquatto
3. Peng Peng Lee 

While the US didn't qualify any girls to the beam final, it's still a pretty interesting field! Ana Sofia Gomez (Guatemala) is the clear favorite (watch for her beautiful Back Walkover into a Full), but Vaculik (Canada), Gil Ortiz (Columbia), Salzar & Estrada (Mexico) all had routines that could potentially medal. Canada's Peng Peng Lee and Talia Chiarelli tied for 4th place, so I'm not sure which one they'll put up in finals and to be honest, I'm not really sure what the rules say about it all. The wonderful blogger at Tsuk the Pain believes that it's the highest E score, which would send Chiarelli to the finals. 

Anyway, here are my predictions: 
1. Ana Sofia Gomez 
(Insert Lee here, if she goes up in finals! Her 4th Place finish was with a fall!)
2. Kristina Vaculik (Even her 8.675 Qualification E score seems a bit low) 
3. Jessica Gil Ortiz 

(Photo Property of Thomas Scheyer)

And finally, we come to floor. I'll be honest, I wasn't really very impressed by any of the gymnasts' floor routines today. It seemed like most of the girls either were incredibly sloppy, made fairly major mistakes or had awful choreography and music. My projected winner falls in the third category. 

Podium Predictions:
1. Mikaela Gerber (Canada) 
2. Elena Torres (Cuba) 
3. Kristina Vaculik (Canada) 

(Photo property of Grace Chiu)

These are all just guesses, of course. I'm not psychic, I honestly don't know that much about gymnasts from Cuba and the Dominican Republic and unlike Komova's mother, I haven't heard the judges talking in the lobby. What predictions do you agree with? Which ones do you think I got totally wrong? Let me know! It will be fun to find out who wins! 

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