Friday, June 22, 2012

Let's talk about ex(ecution), baby.

USA Gymnastics
Quick! Who do you think are the girls with the highest execution in the USA? I assumed that the "Chosen 4" would rank highly and then I thought that with only execution counting that Sarah Finnegan and Sabrina Vega would squeak into the top 5 or so. In fact, I thought that Sarah Finnegan would become a virtual lock for the team disregarding difficulty. I thought she had a good chance to place higher than Douglas. Well, I was wrong.

The Top 12 in execution only over the 2 days of competition were: (parentheses indicate place w/ D & E scores counting)
USA Gymnastics
1. Kyla Ross (4th)
2. Jordyn Wieber (1st)
3. Gabby Douglas (2nd)
4. Aly Raisman (3rd)
5. Elizabeth Price (5th)
6. McKayla Maroney (N/A)*
7. Sarah Finnegan (6th)
8. Sabrina Vega (7th Tie)
9. Brenna Dowell (9th)
10. Kennedy Baker (7th Tie)
11T. Bridget Sloan (10th)
11T.  Abigail Milliet (11th)

*I multiplied Maroney's day 1 E scores by 2 so we could see where she fits.

Places 13-18 fall in the same order that they did in competition.

Frankly, I was surprised. I started to question myself and other gymnastics fans. We love Sabrina Vega, we love Sarah Finnegan, We Well, I, love Kennedy Baker. We say that it's because they have clean gymnastics, but we're lying to ourselves. It's because they have pretty gymnastics. There's nothing wrong with liking gymnastics because it's pretty, we just need to be honest with ourselves about what's going on. It's worth mentioning that these girls fell, but even if they hadn't they wouldn't have been the leaders in execution. It's a myth that these girls would be the strongest if their difficulties were higher, as they're in the same positions or even lower. Pretty doesn't necessarily equal well executed, as much as sometimes I wish it did.

Inside Gymnastics
Other surprises included Raisman placing 12th amongst vaulters. (Maroney, not surprisingly, placed 1st), Jordyn Wieber placing higher than Anna Li on bars and Gabby placing 3rd on floor. You may not like her music, but you can't argue that she performs it well.

So difficulty aside, who would I name to my team? (Execution based ranks are in parentheses)

VT: Wieber (3), Ross (2), Maroney (1)
UB: Wieber (3), Ross (2), Douglas (1)
BB: Wieber (4), Raisman (3), Ross (1)
FX: Douglas (3), Raisman (2), Wieber (1)
Alt: Price, Sacramone, Finnegan


  1. For some gymnasts though(Like Finnegan) who did have falls/mistakes thats obviously reflected. BUt its interesting to see this breakdown though!

  2. Execution really is not as transparent as it should be, I think often judges are blinded a bit by high D scores and less difficult routines tend to get more slammed E score wise.

    I totally agree with what you say about pretty vs good execution. Presumably one could get a very high E score by being very robotic.

    It makes it more clear why less people invest time in the finer touches, because where is the reward for bothering?

  3. I would be interested to see where the specialists fit in regarding E scores. Also, I wonder if we sometime confuse "pretty" gymnastics with a balletic body type.

    Also, what would you think about using Gabby on vault? After Visas I would use her over Raisman or Ross. I know that she hasn't been so consistent in the past on that I guess my final opinion on that should wait until after trials.

  4. I think this is a perfect example of overscoring just because of high difficulty. Anyone who has watched Aly Raisman can see that she has bent knees and flexed feet all over the place, and there is really no way that she is the fourth best in execution with fair judging. Her amanar is a perfect example. God knows how she even gets that around, but she scores reasonably well on it. Granted, she hits consistently and that takes off any falls from execution, but she should not be placed that high on execution.

  5. Interesting. Has this confirmed for you that you want Maroney to take the fifth spot? You didn't after Nationals but now this breakdown and the the scoring advantage the fifth member can bring both argue for her.

  6. Marta controls the judges so it doesn't surprise me to see the people on top. Kyla's is way too clean for them to ignore

  7. I'm pretty sure Gabby's ankle was that taped at Nationals too. :-)