Saturday, August 14, 2010



I do not for a second, pretend to know much about selection processes- particularly US processes- especially as my international approach, means I don't specialize anywhere.

So, here is a question.

If, for example, Vanessa Zamarripa were able to amp her difficulty a little on bars, to say, get her in contention for a Worlds berth (which I would guess she would really have to)- are she and Macko Caquatto in any kind of direct competition for a spot? As potential specialists?

So Vanessa has great vaults, but so does Alicia.  BUT- if Macko has wonderful bars, but so did Vanessa- would Vanessa be more useful, because she has two quite strong events?  Or does Macko's terrific bars set outweigh everything because US needs bars workers much more and it is unlikely Zam could get anywhere near Macko's kind of difficulty up?

Or does it have nothing to do with the two of them?  I just wonder how important Zam's vault is to a team's score, just because the US have so many DTY's and decent (or at least seem to get away with crap form) vaulters?

Also, would Zam have beaten Alicia if she'd done her Cheng as well as night 1?


  1. Macko just got herself in deep doody with Martha by having that ridiculous fall on bars tonight. She's not completely out of the running--she did recover pretty well at least--but I'd say a healthy Bridget Sloan should worry Caquatto more than Zam. I'm not a HUGE expert on Martha's selection process, but at the same time, I know she sees trouble on beam as a sign of mental weakness. If anything, Macko's ability to actually do a BETTER beam routine tonight than on night 1, even after the fall on bars, puts her in better standing than Zam. I'm interested to see other people's opinions on this, though.

  2. They kind of are in direct competition, but it has nothing to do with Vazam's bars because they don't really matter.
    Its a matter of whether Martha thinks its even worth it to try and gun for China/Russia on bars or stack vault.
    Its like in '04 when it was assumed that there would be a bars spot and a vault/floor spot on that team but Martha chose both Mohini and Annia to capitalise on vault.
    Honestly I think that would be her best shot here because 1. Caquatto has proven herself inconsistent over and over and 2. Even if she hits she only really gives about 3-4 tenths MAX on Mattie's bars whereas Zam can give 6 tenths plus over a Sloan/Larson DTY. Now if Aly busts out the amanar, things get interesting...

  3. Zam will def be invited to the ranch for the selection comity. im sure once marta sees how well executed not only her vault (and how consistent she usually is) and bars are, she will make the worlds team. i think marta would be crazy not to pick her over Caquatto. she will definitely make the national team though, no doubt. Also Macko is really inconsistant on beam (usually) and Zam is usually consistant, which will be better showed at the ranch. im rooting for Zam. (loved Macko's leo on day two)

  4. Question 2 answered first: No, VaZam's second vault is a FTY with a D score of 5.0 which gives up to much ground to ASac even if she hit like night one.

    From memory Worlds are 6-5-3 and Olys are 5-4-3 for some stupid reason this quad as the FIG didn't make them the same. Unless I missed a rules update which is very possible as busy as life has been.

    Opinions follows:
    VaZam needs to up difficulty on bars by a fair chunk, .7 or more I think to be competitive. She only has a D score of 5.3 and to make the team as a bars and vault specialist she really should have a D score over 6 on bars as a specialist. She'd also have to prove that the Cheng wasn't a one off fluke after falling on it tonight. However with Worlds as a 6-5-3 team setup I can see her in the mix if Marta chooses to stack vault and concede bars.

    Macko has 6.4 D score on bars which is normally only one of 2 events she is solid on. The other is vault with a solid DTY vault.

    The one thing everyone says VaZam is supposed to have over the rest, great execution, doesn't seem to live up to reality in the E scores. Everyone talks about her clean execution but the judges didn't see it as VaZam was not the top E score in any event that I can see at a quick glance. For the most part she scored in the same E score range as the rest of the top gymnasts did.

    I think if Macko can put two solid camps in with vault, bars and floor over the next two months she'd be my pick for the worlds team. Macko did a stupid on bars tonight but made up for it with a very solid beam set which is her worst event. I would make Macko a 3 event specialist if I were Marta, bars, floor and vault and skip beam entirely. I think it would take a load off her mentally as she has such a huge fear of beam which should drive her other scores up.

    So here would be my picks:

    With Bridget Sloan healthy:
    Bross, Larson, Asac, Macko, Sloan, Hunter or Raisman

    Without Bridget:
    Bross, Larson, Asac, Raisman, Macko, Hunter

    Possible spoilers:
    Cassandra Whitcomb- needs to up her difficulty in bars to be a serious contender and execution in floor

    Chelsea Davis- needs to improve bars and beam

    Vanessa Zamarripa- needs to improve difficulty everywhere but vault which probably is the US's strongest event especially if Bridget is healthy as Bridget has a 6.1 D score bar set. I think she has an outside chance if she can prove that the Cheng is consistent.

    So says this sad but realistic Bruins fan.

  5. Oh and VaZam looked a bit scared/nervous as I was watching her before her Cheng on vault. I wonder if the pressure of it got to her.

  6. PolyisTCOandbannedAugust 14, 2010 at 11:09 PM

    The only thing that matters for Zam to make the team is her Cheng. She will not do TF on any other event in any scenario. Her second vault is irrelevant also. Marta makes decisions based on TF first.

    Basically, just with the 2 scores she got at Nationals, Zam already MATHEMATICALLY justifies being on the team. Even with the fall she had night two! As long as she can make the Cheng 50% of the time, she deserves to be on the team. It doesn't matter whether Sloan is on the team versus an UB specialist, doesn't matter if Hunter eclipses Raisman.

    The only way Zam walks her way off the team is if she can't hit the Cheng 50% of the time or if BOTH Raisman and Sloan get Amanars (ain't happening!)

    Macko is basically lined up against Sloan, Davis and Whitcomb for the UB specialist slot. She and Zam are independent factors.

    Here's how I see things (crossposted from AA):

    If I had to put them all on a plane today and I were going off this meet, I’d have the following team:

    Zamripa (this is the one place where I don’t go purely of score…she can land that vault, fall was from trying to stick…but actually even just taking her scores, averaging the two Chengs, even with the fall, she’d still earn a spot mathematically)
    Alternate: Caquetto (purely for bars, floor and vault have within team alternates). I can see arguments for Hunter (for leg events) or Davis for UB/legs., however.)

    Competing would be:
    VT: Raisman, Zamarippa, Sacramone
    UB: Larson, Whitcomb, Bross
    B: Raisman, Sacramone, Bross
    FX: Raisman, Bross, Larson


    Thinking a couple months out,
    1. the biggest possibility is getting Sloan back in something approaching 2009 form. this would help us on UB and possibly beam or floor. And it would knock out one girl (the UB specialist, in the previous case Whitcomb).
    2. this would also give Zam more time to refine the Cheng. (or prove herself unworthy.) I’m already inclinde to take her if she can hit that thing more than half the time and I think time will only up that percentage.
    3. Time and more tests could easily sway me on the UB specialist, so I would go with who0ever the hot hand is (Davis, Whitcomb or Macko), if Sloan is not up to speed. Including Classics in consideration, might also give a little edge to Macko. Macko is a few pounds heavy and I think working on her diet and conditioning go give her just the taper needed for competition (similar to what Chelsie Memmel did). We’ll see if she steps up to the challenge though. This would have also helped Jana and she didn’t optimize strength-weight even just for the peaking time.
    4. Time could also help Kytra and/or Raisman could slip. I think it’s in the 20% possiblity range that Kytra displaces her.
    5. Of course any of the girls could have a catastrophic injury, but we’d respond to that when needed. not worth thinking about now.

    Showing this team, assuming Sloan comes back and we eliminate the UB specialist:

    VT: Raisman, Zam, Sac
    UB: Larson, Sloan, Bross
    B: Raisman (Sloan), Sac, Bross: note I’m concerned about Bridge’s nerves on beam, unless she really excels would keep Raisman
    FX: Sloan (Raisman), Bross, Larson (Sloan can gut out a floor ex, if her body is recovered, even sans a lot of training)


    Scenarios where Sloan does not make the team, but the UB specialist changes, would look like the very first case but subbing Macko or Davis for Whitcomb.


    Scenario where Hunter eclipses Raisman would basically have Hunter filling in for the same events as Raisman, except for possibly vault, where Larson had equal scores to Hunter. The analysis does not change regardless of what happens with Sloan versus an UB specialist.


    *Including Classics in consideration helps Macko a little (she was .2 better than Whitcomb). However, considering all three nights, she still scored less as an average.

  7. They are, sort of, in competition for that spot, but I think the US is in more need of bars specialists than vault specialists. If it were based on tonight's performances, I think the lineup for worlds (finals) will go something like this:

    Bross- Bars, Beam, Floor (could backup on vault)
    Larson- Bars, Floor, Vault
    Raisman- Floor, Vault, Beam
    Sacramone- Beam, Vault (could backup on floor if a routine is ready?)

    That takes care of all Floor, Vault, and Beam performances, with two (unless it's down to 5 now for worlds as well) spots left on the team, and a strong bar worker still needed. I expect, since a healthy Sloan could fill a spot for any apparatus, she'll get one of the remaining slots. If not, I'd say take Caquatto for bars and Zam for Vault, with Hunter as the alternate. Otherwise, if Sloan is healthy, it depends on her scores. If she can put up a score on bars of 15 or better, we don't need Caquatto as much, but we could could also drop Larson from the bars lineup to put in both Sloan and Caquatto. Or, we leave Caquatto off and stack vault with Zam, but I think the first way is better.

    Here's how this could play out for 5 and 6:
    -Healthy Sloan gets a spot, along with Caquatto; Zam or Hunter gets alternate
    -Injured Sloan left off; Caquatto and Zam snatch 5 and 6.

    some thoughts: Kytra Hunter is just so on the bubble it hurts; she could score big... but so can several other girls in the same events.

    I don't think Caquatto's bars mishap tonight will hurt her that much; when will that ever happen again? Plus, she recovered so well.

    Should we be thinking Cassie Whitcomb as a bars specialist instead of Mackenzie? In addition to? Neither of them seem to offer much besides bars... yet. I'm interested in how these two develop over the next two years.

    How *does* Bridget factor in? I haven't seen her since worlds, except for one dismal bar routine at Pacific Rim.

    And on a practically unrelated note by this point... are we ever going to see Shawn or Nastia in competition again? I'd have thought if they were gunning for another olympics, they'd really want to make their comeback by this nationals.

    I remember how after 96, all the olympians pretty much retired, except Moceanu, who we'd see off and on for a couple years. Amy Chow was busy at Stanford, but still very much involved in NCAA gymnastics, if I'm not mistaken, but the rest just kind of... stopped. Until nationals in 2000, where Dawes, Miller, and Phelps, along with Chow (who was at least more involved than any of the others that quadrennium) popped up in search of another olympic berth. I remember it being said that it would have been nice if they'd come out of the woodwork to lead a (dismally struggling) team sooner. Really, that quadrennium was left to the frequently injured Maloney and the freakishly inconsistent Atler... both tremendous when they were on, but they couldn't do it alone. No one else really stepped it up for more than a competition or two, except perhaps Dantzscher. Anyway, what I was getting at is I wonder if maybe that's what's going to happen this olympic cycle as well.

  8. TCO- you just mean Zam won't be used for the team finals on any except vault yeah? But she'd still get a go in EFs, wouldn't she?

  9. PolyisTCOandbannedAugust 15, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    Yes, she would make vault EFs, but that's irrelevant to the US selection process. We're not GB trying to live off of Tweddle. We're in the running for team gold and all that matters is TF 3 up scores. What is added versus another gymnast. The EF is gravy. Prelims is gravy. all that matters is TF. And for Zam, all that matters is the Cheng.

    I've seen enough to take her already. sure, work on getting it more consistent is important for the team...but not for selection, for placement.

  10. I don't know much about the selection process either, but as a U.S.A. fan, I hope the collective mentality is more like, "How are we going to narrow down 9 or 10 phenomenal gymnasts to just 5 or 6 when they're all so talented?" And less like, "Who made the fewest mistakes?"

    Actually I'm kind of hoping it will be Russia's year for a Team Gold. They've never had one outside of the Soviet Union. No clue what their chances are.

  11. I think although Macko made a mistake on bars, her best event she did end up having a good routine for the rest part, and she went back and proved herself by doing probably her best beam set in compotition, EVER. So I think that really helped her case. My vote is Macko. And I think what someone else said that if she doesn't do beam entirly, it could drive up her other scores!

    Also who knows actually how consitent VZam's cheng is? I mean it was great day 1, but not so much day 2...and with only a FTY for her second vault...? Macko could do a fairly clean DTY and help with vault...It'll be interesting but my vote is defintly Macko!

  12. Bridget Sloan's "game face" is no good - she always looks petrified no matter how hard she tries. She needs to talk to Bross.

    My World 2010 picks for Team USA

    1) Bross
    2) Sacramone
    3) Raisman
    4) Macko
    5) Zam

    I would Whitcomb or Kytra before Sloan. Sloan hasn't done anything in her last few outings. She missed bars at Pac Rims. She messed up bars again at Classics. She fell night one at nationals. She was shaky night two of nationals. Even if she hits at the next 2 camps I think it would be hard to justify her given that her last 3 outings have shown how mentally unpreppared she is for the world stage post her 09 victories.

  13. i really dont see kytra as making the team, she's not top 3 material in any event, she has godawful bar routines, which puts both Zam and Caquatto ahead of her in picks because with 2 spots undetermined for the team, we only have 2 good bars workers. also her messy floor and awful choreo on fx probs wont make for a good score in europe.

    My (and hopefully Martha's) tops picks:
    1) Bross (lock)
    2) Larson (lock)
    3) Raissman (lock)
    4) Sacramone (lock)
    5) Caquatto
    6) Zam
    Alternates: Hunter and Whitcomb

  14. I think if Sloan is healthy Zamarippa and Caquatto (and maybe Whitcomb) will be competing for the 6th spot. As of now Zamarippa's vault contributes more to the team score if she can hit it. She won't help on any other events except prelims. Caquatto and Whitcomb are really only helpful on bars and can't contribute as much to the team score. Caquatto is also inconsistent at times.
    Things can obviously change in a few months but as of now I would have:

    Sloan (if healthy)

    If Sloan isn't ready then they would need a bar specialist and might take Zamarippa and Caquatto/Whitcomb.