Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Women's Team Finals - American Success

They did it! The USA Women's gymnastics team earned the gold medal today by over five points. Twelve nearly flawless performances clinched the gold for the exceptionally young team including literally the most beautiful vault I've ever seen. To watch the women hit routine after routine was incredibly satisfying. The Fierce Five were as fierce as ever.

Why is the US Succeeding? I personally like to think that it's our "melting pot" and "best of both worlds" structures that provide everything and the kitchen sink to the American athletes. The Women's US Olympic Gymnastics Team is coached by individuals from each of the top 4 gymnastics nations, if you consider the old USSR & Russia one and the same. Rather than having a distinct weakness like some other teams, the varied coaching styles present different strengths amongst Americans. For instance, Aly Raisman is coached by Romanian Mihai Brestyan seemed to inherit the nation's weakness on bars but their strengths on beam and floor. Kyla Ross, Gabby Douglas and US Alternate Anna Li have all been nurtured by Chinese Coaches and seem to prevail on bars. Of course, many coaches are present within a young gymnast's career and other factors influence success besides coaching, but I thought it was worth noting that the US relies on a melting pot environment to hone a strong team.

I do think that we all need to applaud Marta Karolyi. For all the slack that we as fans give Marta, we should realize that she does have some earthly idea what she's doing. The USA's never earned lower than silver at the Olympics under her direction and today they not only earned the gold, but it was by a fairly hefty margin. At the end of the day, Marta has the majority of the control over who makes the team and on which events they compete.

But of course, the real indisputable reason for the win was the USA's performances. When competing that level of difficulty that impressively, they were nearly uncatchable. The USA stayed solid while competing some of the most difficult routines in the world. Ultimately, THAT'S why they won. I've already heard many people saying, "Well, if the Russians would have hit, they'd have the gold." Not only is that irrelevant, it's also untrue. I did a little experiment wondering if Russia had the opportunity to take the higher scores between prelims and finals for each routine, if they could beat the USA's performances today. The numbers that are crossed out are Team Finals results replaced by qualifying scores.

Komova- 15.833
Mustafina- 15.225
Paseka - 15.3  15.533

Grishina - 14.7 
Komova - 15.766  15.833
Mustafina - 15.7

Komova - 15.033  15.266
Mustafina - 14.533  14.7
Afan - 14.833 15.066

Floor - 
Grishina - 12.466 14.066
Mustafina - 14.8
Afan - 14.333  14.833

Russian Olympic High Score Total : 181.555
USA's Actual Team Total : 183.596

The bottom line is, it doesn't matter. The USA simply out performed Russia in both Prelims and Finals. Grishina & Afan's Floor Mistakes, Paseka's step on vault, as well as Komova and Mustafina's beam struggles were all frankly irrelevant. It wouldn't have mattered. It was the USA's competition to lose and they didn't budge. 

It was an exciting event and until Grishina's floor mishaps, I wondered if the USA would falter and Russia would prevail. The pressure was on the USA's shoulders and they rose to the occasion.  

Pictures all property of ESPN.


  1. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. The team gold was for USA to WIN and they most certainly did!!!

    I really thought Romania would sneak in for the silver, but I'm glad they got on the podium anyway. They've been somewhere on the Olympic podium since 1976. Impressive! I felt bad for Russia because it's so much harder to win silver when you've messed up. They'll always be wondering, "What if?" now. It was great seeing smiles when they were on the podium though! Their bars routines were exquisite.

    McKayla's vault execution score deserved a 10. But I was thrilled to see a 9.733! For once the judges weren't stingy and rewarded her spectacular Amanar. Can't wait for vault finals!!!

    1. I agree, it was the US team's gold to lose. However, I was secretly rooting for the Russians to win gold and for China to be on the podium too. The two teams are so far ahead of everyone else in terms of artistry and it's a shame to see them crumble under pressure. I was heartbroken when I watched Grishina on floor, her and Afan's routines were the one's I was looking forward to seeing in London. Plus, I HATE how NBC didn't even bother showing Afanyseva's routine, or even the Chinese or Romanian routines! So typical NBC, seriously?!!

  3. Not to mention aly watered down her routine for finals!

  4. Also, Mckayla was coached by Jenny & Howie at Gym Max, up until 2010....

  5. an amazing team performance, an amazing vault by McKayla (best ever done by a woman), an amazing day for Gabby and all the other girls. Congrats to them, they totally deserved it.
    on a side note, this blog should be renamed to Bekah's get a grip USAgymblog

    1. lol so true, this blog is more USAG than gymnastike

    2. Mckayla did a amazing vault, but not the best ever done by a woman. I guess you never seen Elena Produnova.

  6. "Because I wrote a blog about the US Winning the Team Gold, I supposedly hate the rest of the world. #LOFuckingL" if this tweet was referring to my comment I just want to say I never said you hate the rest of the world, just that you focus on USA gymanstics (which is true) and seem to root for them (which is totally ok since it's your blog and you do whatever you want and they are the team you like/represents your coutnry), I love your blog, it was just an observation

  7. Who will win the most gold medals?


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