I’ve been MIA for a minute, but I’m back. It’s one year until Tokyo and this week is World Championships. Let’s get to it and talk team USA, Simone, qualifications, and also Simone!
This year’s US team is led by THE SIMONE BILES of course. Also, on the team is Sunisa Lee - the first Hmong-American to be named to a US gymnastics team! Sunisa has emerged as the second all-arounder behind Simone, taking over the space formerly occupied by Morgan Hurd. The other athletes on the team are Grace McCallum , Kara Eaker, and Jade Carey.
The biggest news about the team is that former world champion Morgan Hurd was not named to the World team. Morgan really needs to upgrade as the other American athletes have surpassed her. We’ll see if she can pull it together for Tokyo.
Team USA Event Specialites
- Simone Biles (all-around (AA), vault (VT), beam, floor exercise (FX))
- Sunisa Lee (AA and uneven bars (UB))
- Grace McCallum (AA)
- Kara Eaker (beam)
- Jade Carey (VT, FX)
As we all know, Simone debuted two new moves at the US Nationals - the triple double on FX and double double on beam. At nationals, the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) had provided USA Gymnastics (USAG) a sort of provisional scoring of Simone’s new moves assigning both moves a “J value” (worth 1.0 points); however, at World’s this week, FIG’s Women’s Technical Committee (WTC) determined that
Simone was not European enough... I mean, too American... actually, too dominant...that they “care” about “safety” and would only award the double double an “H value” on beam (worth 0.8 points). This places the double double on beam just 0.1 point above the double tuck with one twist on beam.
Of note, there are no I level skills on beam. Simone stated the WTC informed her that they could not award the double double a J because they did not want to skip a letter in the alphabet (not joking).
Now, here’s the irony of this decision by the WTC. They awarded the triple double on FX a J level! Why is this crazy? Well, the triple double on the FX is easier because the FX has springs, the beam does not. On the beam, Simone has to rely more on her strength and skill to complete the double double. She gets help to complete the move on the FX with its springs. Of course, so do her competitors if they decided to compete the triple double.
In essence, the WTC is helping the rest of the world by giving them an incentive to compete the triple double on FX and get major points. There is no incentive to do the double double on the beam, though.
Further, the idea that the double double on beam is downgraded due to safety is ridiculous. First of all, the only person who does it is Simone and she’s clearly not having trouble landing it safely. Second, if the FIG was so concerned about safety, why did it deny Danusia Francis’ request to place a dismount mat at the beam to help safely land her dismount?
“No you can’t have a beam dismount mat. We don’t care if it prevents injury. But, we care about safety. No one do the double double!”
It’s all pretty crazy and blatant. My opinion-FIG/WTC only does this to non-European gymnasts. It reminds me how they downgraded one arm giants on UB in the 90's because the Chinese women were killing it with that move. All of a sudden, “In the name of safety, we have to stop these non-Europeans from doing better than us!”
For what it’s worth, USAG has protested the downgrading of the double double on beam and made a public statement condemning the FIG/WTC scoring decision.
And, what does Simone think of this?
Anyways, Simone performed both of these skills in the team competition qualifications today. By being the first to perform these moves successfully in international competition, the skills are henceforth known as the Biles and Biles II. Note that Simone already had a FX skill named after her and it is now referred to as the Biles I. She also has the Biles on vault.
Of course the US team qualified in first place, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any surprises.
Jade Carey bested Simone on VT by 0.001 point. This is because Simone went out of bounds on her Cheng vault and incurred a 0.3 deduction. Jade is known as a VT specialist and Simone will need to execute better to beat her.
Both Simone and Jade qualified for VT finals. Of note, Simone did not compete the Biles in qualifications. We’ll see if she decides to break it out in VT finals where there is no touch warm-up.
Sunisa Lee qualified for the AA, UB, and FX finals (Sunisa knocked Jade out of FX finals) . Her UB routine is lights out and I’m rooting for her to get gold (even though I love the reigning bar queen, Nina Derwael).
Simone qualified for all individual event finals. That would be AA, VT, UB, Beam, and FX.
In a heartbreaker, Kara Eaker lost her beam finals qualification due to her stupid coaches!
Earlier in the qualifications, Canada protested the FX score of Brooklyn Moors even though she qualified for FX finals (remember, in finals, qualification scores do not carry over). The result of the protest was the judges found they scored Brooklyn too high and lowered her score. Brooklyn’s new score was too low to qualify for FX finals.
Now, you would think that someone from USAG would be charged with watching the intricate goings on with the judges and be mindful not to file any meaningless protests, but nahhhh!
In the US qualification subdivision, Kara’s coaches filed a protest of her beam score. The judges agreed their scoring of Kara was incorrect - she deserved lower; and now poor Kara is out of the beam finals. By the way, beam finals is the ONLY reason Kara is on this team. Now, she’ll be outside looking in on the finals of her best event.
In other sad news, Brazil did not make the top 8 in the team qualifications. This was their last chance to qualify a team to the Olympics. So, there will be no team Brazil in Tokyo.
Happily, Flavia Saraiva of Brazil did garner an individual Olympic berth. So, we will see this tiny dynamo in Tokyo.
Tuesday is team finals. It’s a battle for silver and bronze between China and Russia.
Thursday is the all around. Can Simone garner her 5th World AA title? Let’s not jinx her by saying yes.
Will Sunisa Lee get the silver? Or will it go to one of my under the radar favorites, Melanie de Jesus dos Santos of France? It’s going to be a nail biter folks.
Can Jade Carey pull off the impossible by beating Simone at the VT finals? This is the main event for real. Don’t miss it!
More posts to come as World Championships week continues. See you soon!