2019 U.S. Championships Live Blog | Senior Women Day 1

Welcome to the live blog for the first day of the senior women’s competition at the 2019 U.S. Championships, held in Kansas City, Missouri!

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9:58 pm. DAY 1 STANDINGS

1. Simone Biles, World Champions, 58.650
2. Sunisa Lee, Midwest, 56.900
3. Jade Carey, Arizona Sunrays, 56.100
4. Riley McCusker, MG Elite, 55.700
5. Leanne Wong, GAGE, 55.400
— Trinity Thomas, Florida, 55.400
7. Jordan Chiles, World Champions, 55.350
8. Morgan Hurd, First State, 55.050
9. MyKayla Skinner, Desert Lights, 54.900
— Grace McCallum, Twin City Twisters, 54.900
11. Kara Eaker, GAGE, 54.650
12. Emily Lee, West Valley, 54.500
13. Shilese Jones, Future, 53.800
14. Aleah Finnegan, GAGE, 53.250
15. Faith Torrez, Legacy Elite, 53.150
16. Gabby Perea, Legacy Elite, 52.400
17. Sloane Blakely, WOGA, 39.950

9:53 pm. Grace McCallum FX: Double double, quite low, steps out of it. Front layout to front double full to front tuck, a bit buckled but she got all three around. Good on her leap series after that. Full-in was pretty low and her ankles look pretty crunched but she’s fine, and she finishes with a double tuck, her strongest pass of the routine!

9:52 pm. Morgan Hurd with a 55.050, hurts my soul that she could’ve had a mid 56 but hey, everyone had kind of a bonkers day today. Except Sunisa Lee and Jade Carey who were like YOU COUNTED US OUT FOR THE ALL-AROUND PODIUM, HUH?

9:51 pm. Trinity Thomas with a 55.400!!!!! Amazing. I’m living for NCAA queens coming back to elite like it’s nothing.

9:48 pm. Morgan Hurd FX: Super solid on the double double, little hop back. Looks improved from Pan Ams! Front layout to…oof, she kind of balked and just did a barani which is rough. Then a double layout to her knees. I’m sad, that opening pass was golden, and the double layout usually is too, that second pass must have mentally effed her up. Hit the double pike at the end well, just a hop to the side.

Riley McCusker with a 55.700 today, Emily Lee with a 54.500.

9:47 pm. Trinity Thomas BB: We cut into this a bit late and I wasn’t typing during most of it but everything I saw was good. One-arm bhs into a loso, great. Tried to connect two transverse jumps, big wobble at the end of that series with her leg coming up, but a great save. Hit the double full dismount a little low with a hop.

9:45 pm. Riley McCusker UB: Stalder full to Maloney to Tkachev, very nice. RIcna to Pak to Chow half, beautiful. Toe-on to blind change, UGHHHHH, doesn’t get it all the way around and pops right off. UGH. She was trying to get the handstand perfectly on the bar. I hate when that happens. Back on to repeat the blind change into the half-in double back with a hop. 13.500 (6.0 D, 7.500 E)

Jordan Chiles with a 55.350!!!

9:43 pm. Faith Torrez FX: Full-twisting double layout is a bit short, takes a big step forward. Tour jeté full, great. Excellent double layout with a hop back. Switch leap to switch half. Front tuck through to double tuck, hop back. Double pike a tiny bit buckled at the end. 13.000 (5.2 D, 7.800 E)

Sunisa Lee with a 56.900 all-around!!!! GIRL. Statement.

9:42 pm. Jordan Chiles BB: Full turn, and then hit her triple flight series with a tiny bobble. Front aerial to straddle jump to back handspring, good. Solid transverse jump. Side aerial to split jump to wolf jump, a little low in her split. Switch leap. Opts to not connect out of it. Side somi, tiniest bobble. Low-ish but stuck double pike. Her sets are so low but she still gets everything around with literally no problem. 13.300 (5.2 D, 8.100 E)

We missed Sunisa Lee on bars!!!! 14.750 (6.3 D, 8.450 E)

9:41 pm. Leanne Wong with a 14.050 on bars to finish with a 55.400 today! Not bad considering the floor drama.

9:40 pm. Emily Lee FX: Full-twisting double layout, a little piked down at the end and she takes a step OOB, but awesome upgrade. 2.5 to front full, good, little bounce back. Switch ring to switch half. High stuck double tuck. Popa. Double pike stuck cold. Great routine! 13.550 (5.4 D, 8.250 E, -0.1 ND)

9:39 pm. Kara Eaker with a 54.650, Shilese Jones with a 53.800.

9:38 pm. Sloane Blakely BB: Got a bit messy in her wolf turn. Nice standing arabian! Switch to switch half, little bobble into her loso. So extended on everything. Front handspring to front tuck with a little shuffle. Slight check on her jump series. Front aerial to split ring jump, little bobble and some foot form. Side somi, little break at the hips. Step back on the double tuck. 13.400 (5.6 D, 7.800 E)

9:37 pm. MyKayla Skinner with a 54.900 in her all-around return, which is just so incredible. Three months. She did that in three months.

9:36 pm. Kara Eaker UB: We once again jumped into bars really late and it was almost over by the time I could start typing. Good routine from what I did see, though! 13.600 (5.5 D, 8.100 E)

Jade Carey with a 56.100 AA which is INSAAAAANE. I really did not see her breaking a 55 but she was SO AWESOME today. Gabby Perea with a 52.400.

9:35 pm. MyKayla Skinner BB: Rolls too quickly through the candle mount, doesn’t hold it in handstand. Bhs tuck full, little check. She smiles after like yeah I’m a badass. Side aerial into her jump series. Switch leap to switch half, really short on the switch half, to back tuck. Transverse split jump half is only at about 140 ish, another transverse jump after that, solid on her turn series. Super high double tuck. Splits aside that was great. I can’t believe this woman. 13.550 (5.6 D, 7.950 E)

Aleah Finnegan with a 12.000 on bars to finish with a 53.250 AA.

9:34 pm. Jade Carey UB: I wasn’t typing during any of this but was watching it. Good routine, just little form things, but overall very solid, and this was a really great day for her! 13.300 (5.2 D, 8.100 E)

9:33 pm. Simone Biles with a 58.650 AA, kind of a “meh” day for Simone but still better than anyone else will score because GOAT. And only Simone can debut a triple double on floor and a double double off beam on the same day she has a “meh” day elsewhere.

9:31 pm. Gabby Perea FX: Tucked full-in, good! Front tuck through to 2.5, steps into an arabesque. Switch to switch full. Solid double tuck. Tour jeté full. Double pike, good. Very nicely done routine for her.

9:30 pm. Simone Biles BB: Triple wolf turn goes a little wild but she takes the wheel. Front aerial to split jump to straddle jump, good. Bhs loso loso, little check. Switch to switch half to back pike, little stumble. Great side aerial. Transverse split jump half, break at the hips, chest down a bit. Sissone to wolf jump. Dismounts with…will we get the double double?! Lots of prep…OMG YESSSSS AND IT WAS HELLA BRILLIANT OH MY GOD. 14.950 (6.6 D, 8.350 E)

9:26 pm. ROTATION 3 STANDINGS

1. Simone Biles 43.700
2. Morgan Hurd 43.000
3. Jade Carey 42.800
4. Riley McCusker 42.200
5. Sunisa Lee 42.150
6. Jordan Chiles 42.050
7. Trinity Thomas 42.000
8. Leanne Wong 41.350
— MyKayla Skinner 41.350

YEP SKINNER AND WONG TIED GOING INTO THE FINAL ROTATION, BLESS 2019.

9:21 pm. Morgan Hurd BB: Excellent standing full, her chest position is SO high. Side aerial, solid. Beautiful and super solid bhs loso. Front aerial to split ring jump. Switch to straddle jump to split jump. This is looking REALLY good. Full turn, slight check. Little bobble on her switch ring. 14.150 (5.7 D, 8.450 E)

So remember my preview where I was like I never expect Morgan to make the nationals podium because she’s always pacing for worlds? Well…ya girl looks worlds ready right this second. I feel like missing the all-around and event finals at Pan Am Games was subconsciously her plan, because she looks bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

9:19 pm. Sunisa Lee VT: DTY, a little scrappy and short, but really solid considering she hasn’t competed vault in almost six months. Step back. She looks kind of happily surprised with herself. 13.850 (5.4 D, 8.450 E)

9:18 pm. Faith Torrez is going on beam right now and we’re watching the logo. AND SHE GOT A 14.050 (5.8 D, 8.250 E).

9:16 pm. Leanne Wong VT: Super solid DTY. Really clean work in the air, small hop back.

9:15 pm. Emily Lee BB: Punch front, little shuffle, into her split jump to straddle jump, nice. Bhs bhs layout, leg up but good. Switch to switch half, good. Hit her bhs loso with no real problems. Transverse split jump half, solid. Front aerial to stag ring jump. Good double pike, small step. Good!

9:14 pm. Kara Eaker VT: Yurchenko 1.5, her leg form looked a little better than it was at Pan Ams, and she still has a super solid landing! 13.650 (4.8 D, 8.850 E)

9:13 pm. Jade Carey VT: Goes for the Amanar, and it looks MUCH better than when we saw her warming it up at classics! Some little things in the air and a step on the landing but that was pretty great.

Jordan Chiles UB: Huge piked Tkachev, she can prob do a Nabieva, she was so open in that pike, Tkachev to Gienger, great! Toe-on to blind change, a little muscled, to piked Jaeger, solid. Bail to toe shoot, blind full to full-in, small hop. Damn, Jordan! 13.550 (5.3 D, 8.250 E)

9:12 pm. Jade Carey VT: Cheng, wild legs in pre-flight, hips are a bit rough in the air, but a solid landing. 15.000 (6.0 D, 9.000 E)

9:11 pm. MyKayla Skinner UB: Weiler half, has the same issue as Trinity where she is a bit muscly going down into it, to big Maloney (leg form) to Tkachev (a little close), Ray to Pak, some leg form on both, van Leeuwen, leg form again is a bit nuts. Arches a handstand before her toe full to Fabrichnova. She’s gonna get hammered on her E but MY GOODNESS that is a ROUTINE and she’s SO HAPPY to just get through it, her face says it all. 13.000 (5.6 D, 7.400 E)

So I was under the assumption MyKayla didn’t qualify to bars because she didn’t compete them at classics, but I’m guessing she qualified all-around at the camp she attended in June.

9:08 pm. Gabby Perea BB: Wolf turns, she did a 2.5 and a double I believe. Standing full, almost into the jump series, her straddle jump was super short. Slight check on her bhs loso. Switch leap to switch half, some leg form in the latter. Front aerial, doesn’t swing her leg through all the way and wobbles a bit. Split leap, really low back leg, to side somi. Hit a transverse jump after that, and then she dismounts with a double full with a hop. 12.800 (5.4 D, 7.400 E)

We missed Aleah Finnegan’s vaults…her DTY got a 14.500 (5.4 D, 9.200 E, -0.1 ND).

9:07 pm. Simone Biles UB: Weiler half, a little late, missed connection to the Maloney to Tkachev, toe full to piked Tkachev to Pak, good, clean van Leeuwen, Fabrichnova is slightly short with her chest down and a hop. Lots of little things in there tonight but she’s a fighter. 14.050 (6.1 D, 7.950 E)

9:05 pm. Grace McCallum BB: Ugh, we cut in right as she was falling off on her flight series. Front aerial, crooked and a wobble, sissone to full turn. Stuck the double tuck. 13.050 (5.5 D, 7.550 E)

Riley McCusker VT: DTY, pretty great for her! Just a little step forward. She doesn’t get as much height as most others but she’s getting better at making up for that. 14.450 (5.4 D, 9.050 E)

9:04 pm. Trinity Thomas UB: Weiler half, gets stuck at first but then keeps going with no problems into the to toe full to Maloney to clear hip to huge Tkachev to Pak, BEAUTIFUL. No idea how she did all of that so well after that first mistake. Van Leeuwen, and a beautiful double layout stuck on her toes with her chest a bit forward. 14.200 (5.6 D, 8.600 E)

9:01 pm. ROTATION 2 STANDINGS

1. Simone Biles 29.650
2. Morgan Hurd 28.850
3. Jordan Chiles 28.500
4. MyKayla Skinner 28.350
5. Sunisa Lee 28.300
6. Grace McCallum 28.200
7. Jade Carey 27.800
— Trinity Thomas 27.800

8:55 pm. Leanne Wong FX: Dos Santos to stag, perfect honestly. Triple full, some leg form and she over rotates, jumping the landing around by another half rotation. Switch ring to L hop full. 2.5 to front layout, good. Popa. Hops around her double L turn into a full pirouette. Has a balletic leap after that. Triple full…oh crap. That second pass that I thought was a triple full hopped around was actually supposed to be her 3.5. But there’s no way it can be credited as a 3.5 unless the judges are drunk, so she’s going to get that as a triple and lose the value for the triple at the end. 12.700 (4.8 D, 7.900 E)

Yep, that’s exactly what happened with the 3.5/triple. UGHHHH.

8:52 pm. Kara Eaker FX: We missed the beginning. Caught it at the triple full, beautiful! 2.5 to front full is effortlessly gorgeous. Switch ring to switch full. Dobule pike, a bit buckled with a hop back. What we saw was mostly excellent. 13.650 (5.4 D, 8.250 E)

8:51 pm. Faith Torrez UB: Toe full, a little late, Maloney, huuuuge back swing, into a huge Pak, van Leeuwen, minor leg form, blind change to piked Jaeger, good air but she just can’t grab the bar, fall. 😦 Back on for a bail, leg sep, to Ray. Dobule layout, a little whippy, but solid landing. 11.500 (5.2 D, 6.300 E)

8:50 pm. We missed Shilese Jones on bars, I just realized…she got a 12.850 (5.6 D, 7.250 E).

8:49 pm. Emily Lee UB: Clear hip to toe full to Maloney to Pak, flexed feet on the Pak and caught it really close, had to pause on the bar. Van Leeuwen after, some form stuff, piked Jaeger was really low and long but she caught it, and a great double layout dismount. 12.650 (5.3 D, 7.350 E)

8:47 pm. Jade Carey FX: Moors, great! Little hop back. Full-twisting double layout, also excellent. Hop L turn to switch full, ish. Double double, loooove her kick-out of that. Always appreciate a good kickout. Tour jeté full. Finishes with a front tuck through to full-in, very low with a step forward. Overall great, just that last pass. 14.300 (6.3 D, 8.000 E)

Sloane Blakely VT: Saw her in the background, kind of a big step out of it, a Yurchenko 1.5 I believe. 13.900 (4.8 D, 9.100 E)

8:46 pm. MyKayla Skinner VT: This is her second vault, I still don’t see the score for the first but will update when I do. Does the Cheng for the second and it’s pretty freaking great?!

For the Amanar she got a 14.650 (5.8 D, 8.950 E, -0.1 ND).

Gabby Perea got a 13.000 on bars (5.7 D, 7.300 E).

8:45 pm. We missed MyKayla Skinner on vault and Gabby Perea on bars. I’ll update with scores in a second!

8:44 pm. Aleah Finnegan FX: Double double, she does it SO easily, it’s hard to believe it’s a new skill for her as of a month ago. Arabian double front, SO clean. Just a little seated. Hop back. Switch ring half, ish. Really nice 2.5 to front layout. Switch ring to tour jeté half, just a flexed foot in her ring. Front double full, excellent landing. Wonderful job! 13.550 (5.4 D, 8.150 E)

8:43 pm. Simone Biles VT: For her second vault she does the Amanar, just takes a step forward out of it, really great.

8:41 pm. Simone Biles VT: I hate talking about hair and leos but I do notice them and I just noticed that Simone’s hair is absolutely GORGEOUS tonight. Cheng, huuuuge, but her bounce back is literally six feet LOL. She got more distance on her hop than most get on their actual vaults. Okay, in the replay it’s like three or four feet. But literally only Simone. 15.300 (6.0 D, 9.300 E)

8:40 pm. Riley McCusker FX: Tucked full-in, skids the landing, step OOB. Front double full to punch front to stag, pretty good. Switch full. Double pike, hop back. Beautiful leap series after that. Double tuck, skids it again, similar landing to her opening pass. 13.250 (5.3 D, 8.050 E, -0.1 ND)

Saw some of Grace McCallum on bars in the background but not much. Stuck her dismount though! 13.500 (5.9 D, 7.900 E)

8:39 pm. Trinity Thomas VT: Yurchenko 1.5, just a hop forward, good power there. Actually looks better than most of her NCAA vaults. 14.050 (4.8 D, 9.250 E)

A reminder that anything below a DTY gets a 0.2 penalty in the U.S. senior meets because…for no reason.

8:38 pm. Jordan Chiles VT: DTY, maybe a little soft in her hips overall, but she’s SOOOOOO powerful. Really good landing too. 14.750 (5.4 D, 9.350 E)

8:37 pm. Sunisa Lee FX: We jumped in for her 1.5 to front full, little hop forward. Switch ring to tour jeté half. Clean double tuck, little hop forward. I want to see the first half!

8:35 pm. Morgan Hurd UB: Komova II to stalder full to Tkachev, great. Ricna to Pak, excellent. Ray back up to the high bar. Toe half to front giant half, and a toe full to full-in, I’ll give her a college stick as she holds the stick for a half second before stepping out into her salute. VERY good. 14.400 (5.9 D, 8.500 E)

8:34 pm. We’re one rotation in and I still am mind-blown at the level of competition in the U.S. this year. It’s honestly so insanely good.

8:32 pm. Somehow Peng Peng Lee screaming “HURRY UP TAKE YOUR PANTS OFF” is still preferable to Macready.

8:30 pm. ROTATION 1 STANDINGS

1. Grace McCallum 14.700
2. Shilese Jones 14.650
3. Faith Torrez 14.600
4. Riley McCusker 14.500
5. Morgan Hurd 14.450
6. Sunisa Lee 14.350
— Simone Biles 14.350
8. Emily Lee 14.150

8:27 pm. Kara Eaker BB: Switch leap mount into a split ring leap, the ring leap is a bit wonky. Full L turn, slightly overdoes it. Front aerial to split ring jump to back handspring into her skippy dance. Queen. Side aeiral loso loso, some bent knees, and she just slips off the side, UGH. She looks SO bummed and just mad at herself. Split leap to side somi, wobbles, break at the hips. The nerves are showing. Switch ring to back handspring to Korbut. Switch to switch side, excellent. 2.5, a little overrotated with a hop.

8:24 pm. MyKayla Skinner FX: Moors, she looks better extended already but the second flip is still a little soft. SHE STUCK IT THOUGH. Front tuck through to tucked full-in, step back. L hop full to switch full, a little short in the split. Double double, chest down a bit but super solid landing. Hit another leap after that, tour jeté full maybe, and then got through her double L turn with a little shuffle in the middle of it. 2.5 to finish. WOW. I’M CRYING AGAIN. THESE NCAA QUEENS, THOUGH. 13.700 (5.7 D, 8.000 E)

8:22 pm. Jade Carey BB: Front aerial to split jump to straddle jump, good. bhs loso into a layout, quite piked and she’s tentative on the landing, wobbles and adjusts. Split leap to side aerial, then she does a leap out of it, a…tour jeté I think, she lands it a little funky though. Switch to switch half to back tuck, a little iffy in the leap positions. Gainer back handspring into a switch side to transverse split jump half, she has SO much beam originality, I love it. Hit the double back dismount pretty solidly. Good routine! 13.500 (5.6 D, 7.900 E)

8:19 pm. Simone Biles FX: Still can’t get over this Sweet Charity music. Triple double, well, she went for it! But she’s a little wild and unsure of the landing, ends up putting her hands down. I feel like if you’re doing a triple double you’re allowed to put your hands down if you want. No problems on the Biles to stag. Or on the front full to full-in, CASUAL. Switch to tour jeté full, good. Nails the double double at the end, just a tiny bounce back. Really love that she’s cleaned up her landings a ton. 14.350 (6.7 D, 7.650 E)

8:18 pm. Aleah Finnegan BB: Kind of low and wonky on her arabian, has to correct quite a bit. Bhs loso loso, super solid there. Switch to split ring jump, clean. This leo is gorgeous. Punch front, excellent. Front aerial, looks like she’s about to connect it but decides not to. Side aerial to bhs to 1.5, love that dismount series so much. 13.200 (5.0 D, 8.200 E)

8:17 pm. We missed Emily Lee on vault, she got a 14.150 for her DTY.

8:15 pm. Trinity Thomas FX: Switch full into the corner. Biles!!!! Omg. TRINITY!!!! Finally. All I’ve wanted. Double layout with a little bounce back. God she has gotten so good at performing. Switch ring to tour jeté full, little bobble on that landing. Front layout to front double full to sissone, DAMN. I cannot believe this girl. Double wolf turn. Dobule pike stuck. MY GODDDDDDDDD. GOODBYE. Okay, cried a little at that. It was so much more than I ever could have dreamed. 13.750 (5.5 D, 8.250 E)

8:13 pm. Riley McCusker BB: Super clean triple wolf turn, and then a really nice double as well. Split leap to front aerial to huuuge straddle jump, super solid. Bhs bhs layout, some leg sep and she kinda landed it on one foot but really held on. Switch leap to switch half to Korbut, a little short in the half. Side aerial, great. Double tuck, hop back. Excellent!! Not as good as her classics routine but still right up there. 14.500 (6.0 D, 8.500 E)

We missed Shilese Jones on vault, 14.650 for her DTY! She did a second vault as well.

8:12 pm. Jordan Chiles FX: Her set into her opening double layout was really low but she had no problem getting it around super well. I missed the entry into her next pass, either a front double full or back 2.5 into a front layout. Good 1.5 through to double tuck! I loooove her music at this part. She has a Lion King routine FYI. Excellent double pike to finish. MY GOODNESS JORDAN. That was wonderfully done. 13.750 (5.3 D, 8.450 E)

8:11 pm. Gabby Perea VT: Lovely FTY, super solid landing. 13.150

8:10 pm. Sunisa Lee BB: Hit her opening wolf turn, then a split jump to sissone to front aerial, perfect, and her leo is to die for. Hit her layout series easily, just a little scoot back, then a switch into a great switch half to back tuck, little bobble. Side aerial loso loso, balance check but she just adjusts her upper body to correct. Double tuck, chest a little low with a step forward. 14.350 (6.2 D, 8.150 E)

8:09 pm. Grace McCallum VT: Floaty DTY, not tremendous or anything but really good and clean. Hop back. 14.700

8:08 pm. Sloane Blakely FX: So they’re going one at a time ISH. We missed part of this routine, jumping in at the double pike after Morgan finished. Skidded the landing on the double tuck at the end. 12.650

8:07 pm. Morgan Hurd VT: DTY, one of her really strong ones! Great in the air, just a hop back. 14.450

8:06 pm. Leanne Wong BB: I think we’re going one at a time! AMAZING. Switch leap to straddle jump, nice. Bhs loso loso, very solid. Chest maybe a bit down on the second loso. Full L turn is perfect, but a little slow into the pirouette after. Both great on their own though. Front aerial to split ring jump into another acro skill that I literally saw and instantly forgot (!?!?!? a back tuck maybe I honestly can’t for the life of me picture it but I think there was a wobble?), then hit an aerial and a side somi. Good triple full dismount with a hop to the side. Honestly looked so calm and steady. 13.950 (5.8 D, 8.150 E)

8:05 pm. Faith Torrez VT: Really powerful DTY, pretty great in the air, just a lunge back. 14.600

8:04 pm. Competition should start any second now!

8:00 pm. Unlike the juniors, USA Gymnastics won’t be able to upload routine videos until after the broadcast, but there are only three events going at a time, so we probably (hopefully) won’t miss too much…at least not on the international stream.

7:58 pm. Touch warm-up and t-shirt throwing now. My favorite. I’m watching the international feed tonight, btw…thanks TunnelBear.

7:56 pm. Athletes are marching out now!

7:55 pm. Again, in lieu of a legit preview, I’ll write a few thoughts here before this gets underway.

So like, Simone Biles is going to win gold here. Are you shocked? I know you are. As for the rest of the podium, based on what we saw at the U.S. Classics and Pan Ams, it’s going to be impossible to predict.

The clear frontrunners for medals are Riley McCusker, Leanne Wong, Grace McCallum, Morgan Hurd, and Kara Eaker, and I’d also be including Sunisa Lee in that mix, but because she’s been dealing with injuries this year and hasn’t competed the all-around since early March, she’s my runner-up as someone who at full strength would absolutely fit into the mix, but in her just-coming-out-of-injury strength, she might not.

I don’t think Morgan will be a huge threat for the podium right now if everyone else hits. Morgan never really peaks until worlds, which is great because I really love everyone arguing about how she shouldn’t be on the worlds team based on her sixth-place nationals finish, and then she gets to worlds and becomes one of the most-decorated gymnasts. Just Morgan things. I trust her process and don’t expect the podium for her here, nor do I think whether or not she’s on it will have any effect on where she stands for Stuttgart.

Riley is ramping up to something big right now. Her confidence has been building this season, and though she had a few mistakes at Pan Ams, I think they can all be chalked up to being exhausted, not to nerves. I don’t know if we’ll see her have a perfect competition here, though I’d really love for her to step it up even more and just blow everyone away, but I think Riley is probably my favorite for silver here if she has a good weekend.

I’m not as confident about bronze, mostly because I think Kara, Leanne, and Grace all have the potential to finish in a pretty similar place score-wise, so it could just be about the “little things” for this crew. Leanne and Grace both have a few things that I think can be worked on, and with Kara looking so incredible this summer, I think she might outscore them if they all hit. Leanne and Grace have the Yurchenko double, but Kara more than makes up for the deficit with her beam scores, and Kara has also been a bit tighter than both of them on floor, even though I think Leanne and Grace are actually stronger as floor workers.

As for Sunisa, I’m not going to count her out completely, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on her by calling her a podium threat when she might have a few hiccups to work through. Similar to Morgan, I think she’ll maybe hold back a bit here and then really come to play when it’s time to make the worlds team, and “holding back” for her means some of the craziest bars and beam sets in the mix, so like…you should still be very excited about her.

Jade Carey will compete all four events, though she’s not likely to finish at the top of the all-around pack with her weaker bars and beam. She’s looking at likely vault and floor silvers behind Simone, though, and if Simone doesn’t do two vaults – she only trained the Cheng at the public podium training – then Jade is a favorite for gold there, though MyKayla Skinner also has an Amanar and a Cheng, so it’s actually going to be a pretty exciting vault field this summer.

MyKayla will be hoping to continue with a strong beam effort after showing us some massive improvement in Louisville, and she’ll also be looking to show a better grasp on her floor endurance, and fellow NCAA stud Trinity Thomas likely won’t be a major threat here, but she’s always one to put up really solid and beautiful routines.

Others ‘in the wings’ are Sloane Blakely, Jordan Chiles, Aleah Finnegan, Shilese Jones, Emily Lee, Gabby Perea, and Faith Torrez, and I want to call attention to the fact that I think this is the best nationals field that I’ve probably ever seen. Usually there are a few stragglers who just happened to sneak in, but in addition to the top contenders here, these seven are all capable of big scores and standout events. Sloane and Emily are beam queens, Jordan is uber powerful on vault, Aleah is killing it on vault and floor, Shilese has become such a steady and reliable all-arounder, Gabby is brilliant on bars when she’s at a hundred percent, and Faith is stunning on beam and floor.

Literally any of the 17 gymnasts at nationals this year could go to Stuttgart and fit right in among the best gymnasts in the world. I’ve never said that about a senior U.S. Championships field before, and I probably won’t be able to say it again. It’s going to be bittersweet to see such talented and deserving athletes not making the national team or being involved in the worlds selection process. Like the U.S. Classic, this meet has the potential to be even more exciting than a major international all-around final, and everyone here this weekend should be beyond proud to have gotten this far.

60 thoughts on “2019 U.S. Championships Live Blog | Senior Women Day 1

  1. Is Simone going to get the triple double named after her while she put her hands down? Think not? Such a bummer, but still great that she tried it!

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        • They changed the rule so that any FIG event counted, such as World Cup events and I THINK possibly continental championships, but not sure about the latter.

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        • Correct…any FIG meet including continental championships as well as any FIG meet with a technical director present…so the Korea Cup this year wasn’t an FIG meet but they had the right people there which is how Yeo Seo-jeong got the handspring front double full named for her.

          Liked by 1 person

    • For a skill to be named after you, you need to perform it successfully. Simone putting her hands down counts as a fall, so it would not get named after her.

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  2. Thank you for mentioning Peng Peng Lee! I thought that was her but I didn’t see anything about it on her instagram!

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    • I think Simone’s finally figured out how to get the cameras to stop following her quiiiiiite so closely… 😀 So glad I’m DVR’ing this meet, if for no other reason than to hear that again.

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    • I loved that damn barani. I don’t like her new routine as well at all, but it’s okay. It’s still good, just more formulaic. I felt the same way back when Shannon Miller changed hers between 92 and 96. The 92 one was so much cooler. But at some point, you earn the right to go ahead and code it. So Simone can change it to something “easier” that she feels more comfortable hitting…especially if she’s going to end it with an amazing double-double.

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      • Yeah, I think her beam needs a bit more tweaking. Overall her bars and beam have seemed weaker to me this year compared to last year just in terms of her composure…after Stuttgart I hoped these would become a big focus going forward but she still doesn’t seem really comfortable with either. Though with beam, if she has a good day, she’s fine, it’s just not a jaw-dropping routine (new dismount aside obviously).

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    • It was an insane night!! Morgan going from 0.7 behind Simone in the third rotation to 8th was SUCH a bummer. She was looking at close to a 57 and that was honestly just a freak mistake on floor, apparently she added the double layout for her third pass because she thought she needed to make up the difficulty after her second…good on her for going for it but such a bummer after such a great day.

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  3. I’m just curious as to why you thought Jade would not break a 55. She scored 54.950 at classics, with a fall on her beam dismount.
    Then again, I’ve always had her AA score in my head at 56. She scores 29+ on VT and FX consistently at world cups. And I just assumed she could definitely make up 27 points between beam and bars.

    But what a day though!
    Proud of these athletes and I hope they have an even better day 2 with minimal falls/major mistakes

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    • It wasn’t for any math reasons, and I guess if I actually did use math, I’d realize that yeah, a 15+ on vault is going to really help her get past that 55 mark, hahaha. But I definitely was NOT expecting a 56.1! I think breaking a 56 was a surprise for me. But yeah, that vault score and a hit day, it definitely makes sense and I fully underestimated her.

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      • Mark my words right now Lauren, even if Jade is 2per’d out at the Olympics I wouldn’t be surprised if she pulls out a very respectable AA score. She’s all but going to the Olympics and this past year I think she’s really been focusing on the AA because mathematically a great Jade Carey day and a weak day from others and she could surprise us all like An Aly Raisman

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  4. Well, I’m bummed that so many competitors had a messy night, but I’m very proud of Sunisa! I’m also starting to wonder if Mckayla has a chance of getting on the Olympic team given the consistency issues most everyone else seems to have. She’d need to polish things up for sure, but I’m not counting her out.

    It’s sort of exciting actually, not being 99% sure of who the world and Olympic teams will be months in advance. Simone aside, everyone is kind of evenly matched.

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  5. Overall, everyone had a nervy competition even Simone. I was so impressed with Sunisa Lee, Trinity Thomas, and Jordan Chiles. I was disappointed with the placements of Kara Eaker and Grace McCallum. It will be interesting to see how day 2 pans out. But Jade Carey..what a night she had. If she places in the top 3 or 4 of the all around ..what a fantastic accomplishment for her. She kind of reminds me of Carly Patterson..very slow and steady and precise, not the most artistic or talented but a hard worker. Way to go Jade!!! And she is improving on her weak events. I don’t think we can count her out in the AA.

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    • @Sheila i totally said the same thing above about Jade, this girl is taking the opportunity she has and running with it to me she’s the inspiration of the quad no one should count her out

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  6. Morgan placed 2nd AA last year at Nationals. I’m not surprised she looked good here, barring floor. Morgan hasn’t shown herself to be fully ready by Classics, but there’s no pattern that says she holds back for Nationals. She did place 6th in 2017, but I didn’t think that was a peaking thing so much as a returning from injury thing.

    What a bummer for Grace McCallum though. She could have been tops here (in the non Biles category) Thing is, she seemed to score well when you take her falls into consideration. I haven’t been able to see the routines yet, so were her bars and beam really 14.5 and 14.05 worthy if she didn’t have the 1.0 fall deductions (not even taking into account any D-score loss, if any)? Just curious because I don’t think I’ve ever seen Grace score 14.5 on bars. (I have seen her score 14 plus on beam).

    Riley, of course, could have been tops too, but she always can be. She has the best scoring potential. I hope she shows it on night 2.

    I can’t wait to see Simone’s beam. I hope she goes for the triple-double on floor again tomorrow. I’d like to see her hit it so she’s tries it, at least one, at worlds.

    Sunisa Lee has messed up all my potential worlds teams. I didn’t seriously have her on any teams and she just nailed it. Even if nobody had fallen, they would have had to work to beat her.

    Many thanks for the quick hits. Fun to read even when I can watch, but so necessary when I can’t.

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    • Grace was struggling ridiculously on floor and UB during podium training. I was surprised she didn’t just downgrade. For everyone else I have to wait until night 2 to draw any conclusions

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    • I want to see how Lee stacks up when Kara, Grace, Morgan, Riley, Wong dont fall or have major errors. I still dont have her on my team for Worlds because of 1 night. lol 🙂

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      • Don’t count Sunia Lee out. Her bars are competitive in a world bars final, her beam is consistent and medal worthy, but her floor is the surprise. A traditional bars/beam specialist doing top tier difficulty on floor, what? I’ve seen training videos of her doing a Moors casually. With such power, she should be able to work on her vault, which she needs to do desperately. She did well at Jesolo earlier this year and had a successful junior career. I see it as…..finally (!!) a junior gymnast transitioning to senior, successfully, based on past results. She did well as a junior, and so far this year, as a senior, she hasn’t done too badly. Can’t wait to see how she does on night 2.

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        • I’m not putting her on a team because of hypotheticals of what may happen, and bar hype and its potential. I’m aware of how she looked as a junior. Or her great training videos. I dont really need a Sunisa Lee refresher course. 🙂 She is great. I was impressed. But her ankle fracture and her recovery worries me a bit. Especially her vault. Like one more short landing and she could tweak it especially after her struggles in podium. And the way she ski slope lands it. I want to see how all the top girls stack up when they are on. Tonight was a big mess for the main girls. Camp is gonna be really good with her in the mix though. But to see it as a finally, she has ‘arrived’ after 1 night at Nationals? Wheew Taylor, I’m not there yet.

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  7. Thank you so much for the play by play! It’s so amazing that you take the time to do this! What a weird night! If you said that Jade Carey of all people would be leading after night 1 I would have laughed you out of the room! But hey, she’s shown she’s consistent. And she’s making a very strong case to be on the Worlds team, same with Sunisa! I’m really looking forward to Sunday to see how things pan out. Honestly, it’s still anyone’s game considering the splatfest that was night 1 😂 Personally, I’m hoping for a Simone, Riley, Morgan, Jade, Leanne team.

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    • With Jade, I’m kind of conflicted about sending her to worlds since her Olympic path is likely not going to involve the team since she has her individual qualification going on…I’d rather use the worlds spots to test those who might actually be on the Olympic team, and even those 5 spots this year aren’t enough to test EVERYONE who is eligible, which is nuts. But I’d leave Jade behind for Stuttgart…and then everyone else I’m like uhhhh, literally anyone can go? Hahaha. But yeah, I think Simone, Riley, and Morgan is super realistic. For everyone else I think it’ll be necessary to wait until camp to see how they look in two months…but I’m really pulling for Leanne, Kara, and Sunisa as my top bets. It’s gonna be SO hard to decide.

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      • There’s so many gymnasts whose gymnastics style I prefer to Jade’s, but this idea (which I’ve read from many, not just here) that it’s better to leave Jade out of Worlds because she’s going the individual Olympic spot path…it bothers me.
        For one, Jade already sacrificed an opportunity to go to Worlds. Last year. She already had to miss one to pursue the individual spot.
        Two, weren’t people just recently quoting Amy Boorman in the comments- about how you shouldn’t worry too much about peaking because you never know what will happen in the future? It’s not about peaking with Jade, but we still don’t know what will happen in the future. We don’t know for sure she will be healthy and ready and uninjured next August. And even if she is healthy and ready in August, is it fair to deny her getting more Worlds experience and reputation? Yes, she can do other international competitions, but they’re not as big, and if we keep Jade out, then at the Olympics, her last major-major meet will have been 3 years prior.
        Three, do we really want everything to be about the Olympics? World titles and World medal counts mean something all by themselves. I think Worlds is an important enough competition, it’s primary purpose should not be a testing ground for the Olympics. I think if Jade is scoring at the top of the field this year, she deserves to go to Worlds, and that goes for any athlete who is competing the best right now, regardless of their Olympic prospects. Just my feelings on it, although I understand the reasoning behind the opposite opinion.

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        • I’m honestly just looking at it like a “you chose how you want to qualify, and then you stick with that path” kind of way. Like, Jade had an opportunity that no one else in the U.S. has, and she is choosing to go to world cups and qualify as an individual, so that takes worlds out of the picture for her because everyone else in the country could use that to help them make their case to make the actual team in Tokyo. Worlds in itself is definitely amazing, and I agree in that sense, but I also think that the pre-Olympic worlds has always been crucial to the U.S. strategy in preparing for the Olympics, so in that sense, if Jade has chosen to not be part of that process and to pave her own way, then it just doesn’t make sense to send her when there are legitimately 9 other gymnasts who are Olympic team contenders, most of whom could use that worlds experience (compare this to 2011 when Anna Li could’ve challenged for the bars final but Gabby Douglas got the spot over her, or 2015 when MyKayla Skinner could’ve medaled on vault but they went a different direction once again). I personally agree that Jade challenging for silver medals (assuming Simone gets gold) at worlds this year is very important, but just knowing how the U.S. has treated the pre-Olympic worlds as a team-building exercise instead of a “let’s go all out and get as many individual medals as possible” kinda thing, I just don’t see Jade as being legitimately considered this year. Even in 2016 Martha said she knew MyKayla could’ve potentially won a medal on vault, but she felt others fit the team better, and even though Martha’s gone, that “team over individual” aspect is still very heavily present in the culture. I think people in the national program are also low key bitter about Jade going the individual route, because if Jade does get a spot and then gets injured and can’t go to Tokyo, that spot goes to the next in line, and the U.S. will only have 5 athletes in Tokyo instead of 6, unlike if they qualified two non-nominative individual spots…so I think that bitterness could come into play in the worlds decision as well, lol. My reasoning is more about what I think the national staff will do and less about my personal feelings, but I definitely agree with you on pretty much everything from a personal perspective.

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        • But what also should be taken into consideration – what happens if a lot of the girls get injured or just don’t get in form next year (of course nobody is hoping for that). Maybe Jade is then needed for the team? Of course at the moment it doesn’t look that way, but you never know… I am definately for taking the 5 girls who look the most promising at the time of worlds – no matter who might be there next year for forming a team…

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        • If Jade earns a spot through the world cups, it’ll happen about 2 months before the team is named. She CAN give that individual spot up if needed so she can make the team, but then that means the U.S. will lose an individual spot. She and the team would basically have to decided by March or so if she’s going to continue on the individual route or go the team route. I know it’s very important to USAG and the USOC that the U.S. sends 6 gymnasts to the Olympics, and if Jade earns an individual spot, I highly doubt they’re going to get to Olympic Trials and be like “shrug, let’s put Jade on the team and only send 5!” There’s absolutely no way in hell, lol. They’ll need to make the final decision before it’s too late to attempt to qualify two non-nominative individuals instead of a non-nominative and a nominative, so like, by March the latest.

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        • Thanks for the detailed reply, Lauren. I can see how the team selection thought process might go that way, even if it’s not really fair to Jade. Because she chose that path for a very reasonable reason. Any specialist with that path open to them would probably do the same thing. It’s the USAG’s fault, not Jade’s, that Jade doesn’t have more U.S. competition for the nominative spot. And imo, it’s the USAG’s fault for having unclear and unexplained selection processes that would make any athlete want to secure a spot and not leave it up to a committee. I don’t like that Jade is able to go this path, but I don’t think the bitterness should be directed towards her. She doesn’t make the rules. Plus, as aforementioned, Jade already had to give something up to do this. She already missed a World team.
          I understand the “team over individual” concept as well, but I don’t think it should be as far-reaching as “everything must serve the ultimate Olympic team”. Right at this moment, for this World team, Jade is showing she is one of the best athletes to produce the highest scoring team for the U.S. at Worlds. I know the World team doesn’t actually have to place anywhere for Olympic purposes, so the USA has leeway to try whatever it wants. So I get that, and at least that’s a better reason than the USAG punishing Jade for capitalizing on specialist rules.
          But hey, it may not even be an issue after Day 2 and selection meet. If Morgan, Riley, Leanne, Grace, and Kara knock it out of the park, there’s very good arguments for the best team configuration not including Jade anyway. Thanks as always for taking the time to respond.

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        • Yeah, I don’t get the “team over everything” idea. It’s so Soviet, haha. I personally am like this team would win by 10 points if we sent the lowest-scoring all-arounder, so why are we so hell-bent on winning by even MORE when you could just win by that 10 points AND get an extra individual medal?! I get the whole “team means everything” strategy for teams that AREN’T as dominant, and in 2004, yeah, it was smart to turn down a potential individual medal to bring as many strong vaulters as possible, but now that they’re SO far ahead, it’s like…why does it matter?! Whether the team wins by 8 points or 10 points or 12 points, they’re still dominant as hell. I definitely don’t think it’s fair to Jade to automatically count her out because she chose to take advantage of another means of qualifying, but I also think that they’re gonna be somewhat anti-having her on the team.

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        • Hopefully that didn’t come off wrong. I meant that would be a dumb reason for the USAG to deny her (misplaced bitterness), not that your explanation of that being a reason was dumb.

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        • Jade chose to make sure the spot was for her. If the US had two non nominative spots she would most have likely gotten one. She chose to give up participation on worlds to qualify this route. She is getting support for her Olympic spot unlike any other athlete. I wouldn’t put her on the Worlds team because she chose to track herself as an individual and is receiving support for that. She has been to worlds and gets World Cup experience. The smart thing for the team is give younger athletes a chance at the international stage at that level.

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        • I am sorry, I don’t know the rules of qualifying exactly (even if you tried several times to explain them), but wouldn’t it be clever to have a backup plan anyway, as Jade can get injured? Its so complicated with the system… So does the US at one time have to put Jade as a nominativ spot and if she gets injured its just bad luck and nobody from the US can fill in, instead someone from the world cups (the second behind jade) gets the spot?
          But if they can get two non-nominative spots anyway – wouldn’t that be the better option – because they can put in whoever is healthy?
          Thanks for all your coverage and quick answers all the time 🙂
          And as I am from Germany its a bit sad to see, that the last in the US is about as good as the second best at the german championships. Sad for the german girls and all the US girls who can’t go to worlds. But looking so much forward to the second day (and the german trials) – its gonna be exciting

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        • Yes, having two non-nominative spots would be WAY better for the team because then the U.S. would “own” both of those spots and could use anyone they wanted, whether a specialist or all-arounder. With a nominative spot, the gymnast owns the spot, which is great for the gymnast, but if she gets injured, the spot doesn’t go back to the U.S., it goes to the second-in-line for that nominative spot at the world cup, so if Jade’s out for Tokyo, her spot could go to Maria Paseka, or something like that, and the U.S. would only have 5 spots instead of 6.

          However, at the Olympics, the U.S. can sub in either of its individual spots onto the team if something happens in Tokyo and they need a last-minute replacement. Again, it would mean losing that additional spot, but they could definitely use Jade as a backup if they wanted/needed.

          It’s just so unnecessarily complicated, though. The individual spots are important for countries without full teams so they can potentially earn multiple individual spots for multiple gymnasts, but for the team, it’s so ridiculous because these decisions all have to be made basically a year in advance and it’s impossible to figure out what to do with injuries. It’s such a bad system. Thank god they’re changing it after 2020.

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  8. Lol no one is talking about the funny moment, when Simone after her bad routine was walking and Riley tried to say good job etc and Simone -who I dont think saw her, walked by. It was on the jumbo cam etc, and on the NBC coverage. Riley looked at the camera and was like Wheeew Taylor!!!! lol

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  9. If there are only ten spots for the Worlds camp and five of those spots belong to the Pan Ams team and one is obviously going to Simone, then which four are realistically looking like they’ll get an invite based on night one?

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    • Based on night 1, you have to add Suni Lee and Carey. And even though, scorewise, I don’t see her quite fitting on the team (could be alternate though), it would be wrong not to take Thomas as well.
      That leaves 1 spot left for either Chiles, McCallum, or Skinner. Do you take McCallum, who has huge scoring potential, or Chiles, who actually hit her routines? (I’m dropping Skinner since Chiles outscored her on the 2 events she would contribute). I would take Chiles over McCallum because she hit, but Martha would take McCallum. That’s all just based on Night 1 though. I’m sure it will change after Night 2.

      Can they add spots to Worlds camp if they want to?

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    • Well, if you go purely by AA standings it would be Sunisa Lee, Jade Carey, Trinity Thomas, and Jordan Chiles. I personally would also invite Grace McCallum given her known ability.

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  10. Too bad for Morgan that she ran out of gas at the end – she was on track for a really strong AA performance, probably would have been around third place after Biles and Lee. Speaking of Suni, great performance from her and I hope she is able to get her VT under control because watch out. I didn’t think she’d quite be ready to compete in the AA this year but clearly I was wrong! I’d personally like to see how she and Riley McCusker stack up when both are hitting. That should be an interesting battle.

    I’m still pretty much still in the same place I was re: Worlds selection camp: the PanAms team, Simone, plus Lee, Carey, and McCallum. Trinity and Jordan also looked good and should earn the invite based on that.

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    • Did she run out of gas? I thought I heard, as she went to her coach, she was so sorry,because she changed her routine in the middle of it to try to get more of a D score, since she balked her second path, in which her coach replied ” This is why we dont change our routines in the middle of it “

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      • Without knowing that context, it looked like she didn’t so much run out of gas, but just had the mistake in the second pass mentally throw her off for her third pass, which is what I thought…but we later found out that she decided to add the DLO for her third pass because she wanted to make up for balking on the second pass…but because she had never trained a DLO as a third pass before, it obviously didn’t go super well. So not so much a mental mistake as I thought, or running out of gas as Anon thought, but her just trying to make up for the mistake. Quick thinking on her feet, but yes, her coach is right hahaha.

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  11. Can we also give a big credit to Skinner (whether you still hate her gymnastics or like it)?. Granted she still need to work on endurance and getting her forms back. But NO FALL!. Also her two vaults are some of the better ones so far. Yes the Cheng still might have a little shade of one arm but a lot less than what it used to be..Also, I don’t remember she actually ever did both of the amanar and cheng in the same competition before?! So the fact that she did both of those vt in the same competition is pretty good.

    So a HUGE credit to her for how fast she came back….Knowing skinner and how she likes to do hard shills, I am pretty sure she had been doing pretty much all her big skills regularly on vt and fx (even if she wasn’t like training them hard) while training the easier college routines….

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