Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A POLLYANNA LOOK AT THE AMERICAN CUP....



So I haven't talked yet about this year's American Cup entrants.  I know the Cup kinda makes everyone sigh, and I don't want to be seen polishing a turd, but I am kind of looking forward to it.  One, because it is coming soon, and college gymnastics can only sustain me so much.  Also, I am looking forward to seeing many of the gymnasts who'll be there.  Some tend to dismiss the women's competition because of a 'weak' line up.  But a highly competitive field is not the only thing I look for in a meet.

We don't know who the second American will be, but Brossy is still in.  Part of me wants to yawn at the prospect of Brossy whooping these less-experienced, or less skilled gymnasts, but part of me wants to see if she can go four-for-four- something which should be expected of her by now.  The easier field should make her more relaxed and we will be able to see how much of her erratic performances last year can be down to being away through injury for so long and how much was nerves.

But anyway, let's face it, I never go into the Amercan Cup thinking "ooh who's going to win?" Instead, I treat it as an opportunity to see some interesting international gymnasts on a world stage in a well-covered event.  Thta's why I am kind of sad to see no Russians in this year's mix.  Are they keeping those wunderkinds in cotton wool?  Well, part of me hopes so.  But wouldn'tcha just love to see a showdown between Brossy, whatever other impossibly talented junior they can find and one Miss Komova?  That'd make my day!

It's very nice to see Elsa Garcia coming back to the meet that first brought her attention in the gymnastics world.  Who can forget the coverage of the charming Mexican girl and the coach who confessed his gymnast was so independant he mostly read while she trained!



It will also be awesome to see if Ariella Kaeslin is still riding that wave of improvement she surprised us all with last year.  I am interested to see how her all-around performances are coming on.  And who doesn't want to see her killer vaults again?  But please, Ariella, I am begging you- NO MORE BUTTERFLIES!!!!!

I am looking forward to seeing more of the lithesome and elegant young Elisabeth Seitz, and I am glad to see her on the roster.  Seitz has a cute floor routine which might tweak some memories of the US viewers as she uses Tasha Schwikerts old floor music, albeit less saucily than the Divine Miss S.



The announcement of Dominiqe Pegg on the list was great to hear.  This young gymnast has rapidly risen through the junior ranks of Canadian gymnastics and now needs to get used to major competition.  She has a very cool little floor routine and lovely arms on beam.  She made beam and floor finals at the Japan Junior International and now it is time for her to make an impact among seniors.

Yuko Shintake, who lives a little under team mate Koko Tsurumi's shadow is a welcome, seasoned (she's done an Olympics) addition to the line up.  She should not be forgotten.  At last years Japan International she snatched the beam prize out from under some balancing heavyweights like Deng Linlin, Ksenia Semenova and Koko Tsurumi.  She has wonderful control and mastery over the beam when her nerves don't get the better of her.

I am very very much looking forward to seeing how Claudia Voicu performs at this meet.  She is a terrific little gymnast but has, I understand, been hampered by injury and hasn't had great performance results.  She has some real flair, though, and if she can hit, she should make some international impact. 


Or HERE

To me, Claudia needed more amplitude on her leaps.  But it doesn't seem to me that it is her flexibility that was lacking, but merely that she was being too cautious.  Hopefully as she gains competition confidence, this will be addressed. She certainly gets great height on her skills (except that dismount) and although she dropped that aerial, she got it well into the air first.
But the best thing for me?  She's stylish.  As she matures, she is going to be even better to watch.  It kind of reminds me of Izbasa.  She is no swan like Porgras, but something about the way she moves catches your eye.  This is a good thing.
On floor she performs a mean double turn with leg up and executes better leaps than on beam.  I can't wait for more.

Sure, we can call it the Scam Cup, say the whole line-up thing is stoopid, pitting big senior US talents against less experienced, less highly ranked-at-home gymnasts.  And we do.  But one great thing it achieves with its narrow line up and large coverage is that audiences and commentators can hype up these 'new' gymnast.  And the one thing that this achieves is that it ensures that judges know who they are by the time they get to the next big thing.

Because recognition is a factor.  I tend to agree with those who believe Kayla Williams missed floor finals at worlds because she was a relative unknown.  Yes her dance makes my eyes hurt but her tumbling and difficulty should have pushed her into the top eight.  And it would have had she been Sacramone.

If these young up-and-comers can put themselves and their nations on show in a good way here at the American Cup, it will be rewarded later.

See?  there is an upside to everything.  Even the Scam Cup!

I have to say too that I am glad to see it is being held in Worcester, Mass.  I spent an amazing five weeks there a few years back! 

*****

5 comments:

  1. Your positive reviews and discussions are always such a breath of fresh air. It seems fewer people today are able to discuss gymnastics without completely bashing everything and everyone.

    Thanks for the great preview of Scam :)

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  2. I live about 20 minutes away from the DCU center, but being a poor college student I couldnt get tickets, but Im also kinda looking forward to the American Cup, the men's field is even more impressive this year, oh and by the way i love your blog and magazine, i read it like everyday this is just the first time i commented : )

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  3. Heather said...
    Like you, I still look forward to the American Cup, mostly because it's usually the only taste of elite gymnastics we get on American TV in the first half of the year. While I long for the good ol' days of Scam Cup where the international field could actually contend and beat the Americans, it's still nice to see what the international gymnasts that get invited have to offer, especially since many of them represent countries that don't get seen very often in televised events (Mexico, Puerto Rico, Japan, Canada, ect.) I went to three Scam Cups 2000-2002 when *gasp* Russians were there! Prudonova and Zamo were the winners and the Americans were often lack-luster in their performance. Now there are sometimes 4(!) Americans competing in a field of 8, and calling it an "international field" seems like a joke, but still...I long for the days when there was real competition on the floor, not just an American podium training exercise with a few internationals thrown in so it can still be considered an international competition.

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  4. Meh, I don't like the American Cup that much, though I do always watch it so I can see who looks like what.

    I disagree with you on Kayla Williams. She shouldn't have been in the floor final. Her dance sucks. Yes Sacramone was a power tumbler but her leaps weren't weak, (unless she tried a switch split leap) and her spins only sucked totally at the olympics

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  5. I knew I should qualify the fact that I didn't think Sacramone was as bad a dancer as Williams, because she certainly was not! I knew someone would argue that! Williams leaps really do suck. As her coach said, it's hard to work with what god didn't give you!

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