I realize that some of you may have already seen the competition but for some reason it was delayed here in Seattle. So I can only now start live blogging.Some pre-competition thoughts/comments…

  • I recently found out that Sean Townsend was offered a spot at the American Cup but declined due to his training schedule for the year. That answers the question I asked in my previous post.
  • I am disappointed about not seeing Ashley Priess compete. She was replaced by two other Americans (Biana Flohr & Natasha Kelley) because she wasn’t quite back to competition readiness following an injury. I’m also disappointed that Shayla Worley didn’t make the finals. She was so close but couldn’t advance due to the two-per-country rule.

3:00: The competition is in progress. Shawn Johnsen on bars. Wow! She rocked a double twisting double layout dismount. Awesome. For some reason I thought she would not be great on Uneven Bars but she was fantastic. Great form, good releases, and a world class dismount.

3:03: Replaying Shawn Johnson’s vault. A nice 2/1 yurchenko with a step.

3:04: Elyse Hoffner-Hibbs on Bars. Improved form over last year and I like her leo. Nice stick on her double layout dismount. She did hit her foot on her jaegar but she recovered well.

3:06: What is with the random promo with Bela? I’m all for showing the pro-fitness challenge but it seemed pretty lengthy.

3:08: I’m not excited about the American Women’s leotards. They seem plain and not very flattering. Natasha Kelly had a nice 1.5 yurchenko but followed up with a fall on bars. That’s too bad. Her hindorff was high and had great form.

3:10: Showing a personal story about Shawn Johnson. She’s cute. And she has a golden retriever – can’t get better than that! She has been getting a lot of media attention in the last year or so, and for good reason, but I wonder if it’s going to be too much for her to handle as we get closer to the Olympics.

3:15: I have a feeling I’m going to get really tired of the Tyson commercials…

3:16: Dasha Joura on Bars. Awesome comaneci! Gorgeous Jaegar. And a Ginger. Wow. Double front dismount. Tim Dagget says it was supposed to be a half out but it still looked pretty dang good.

3:18: Alexander Artemov on Vault. Big vault. 2.5 yurchenko. Huge step off the mat. I totally like his leotard. Do we call them that for the men?

3:20: Al Trautwig is making all his usual comments about parents who coach their children and all the athletes who represent countries other than their birth countries. Really, dude. It’s getting old. How many times can we hear it?

3:23: Tim Dagget just said that some athletes go through a pair or two of dowel grips a month! Who goes through a pair or two a month? I know that I wasn’t an elite athlete but I sure didn’t cycle through my grips that fast.

3:25: Zhou Zhoura on bars for China. Weird. She saluted the judge and then went back to the chalk bin. Is that allowed? I wonder if she will be deducted for that. Gorgeous routine but she’s struggling now at the end. Seems tired.

3:31: Why do we always have to go to the NBC Sports Desk? Come on, already! We only get 4 hours of gymnastics coverage a year, people!

3:33: And we’re back.
3:33: Maxim Deyatovsky from Russia just did the biggest handspring double front! Wow, and he almost stuck it.

3:34: Shawn Johnson on Beam. I’ve heard amazing things about her on this event. I’m excited to finally get to see her here. Boring mount. Time for some creativity. Amazing bhs, bhs layout. Great height! Very Vanessa Atler-like. Her heels were off the end of the Beam at the end but it didn’t faze her. Great standing full. Nailed it. Aghhh, fell on her layout step out, back pike. Full-twisting double dismount with a step. What a disappointing fall. She was fantastic elsewhere.

3:38: Deyatovsky on P-Bars. Nice form except for a leg separation on his stutz. Tiny step forward on his double pike dismount.

3:41: Elsa Garcia is in second place and we haven’t seen her at all yet. What’s the deal? it’s a big deal for a Mexican gymnast to be doing so well. Let’s see her in action!

3:42: Bo from China on the parallel bars. Ouch! That was a serious slam on the upper arms! How do any of the men have any skin on their upper arms? Seriously. It’s got to be like mince meat under those biceps.

3:44: I’m thinking Deyatovsky needs to consult with a hair stylist. What’s going on there?

3:47: Andrea Joyce interviewing Nastia Liukin. The usual interview stuff. Nothing special.

3:49: Dasha Joura on Beam. Gorgeous form and presentation. Two falls. Aghhhh! They are way too close on the zoom. They zoomed in on her face for at least 10 seconds. We missed all her choreography there. Great 2.5 twisting dismount.

3:52: So many commercials. As always. And by the way, we’re halfway through already and we’ve hardly seen any of the men at the American Cup. What’s the deal?
3:53: Al, Tim & Elfi talking about the Romanians. And the lack thereof at this competition, etc etc. I miss them, too, but let’s get on with the coverage.

3:56: Savitski of Belarus on P Bars. He’s wearing pads on the upper arms. Smart guy. Seemed a bit sluggish to me but he had good form and decent dismount. Step forward on the double pike.

3:57: Is Daria Zgoba from Ukraine wearing a Kabbalah bracelet? Big wobble on her round off layout combo. Incredible flexibility. Nice double pike dismount but her routine struggled throughout.

4:00: Sasha Artemov (USA) on P-Bars… His toe point is amazing. I could watch him all day. Whoa… fell off. Looks like he hit part of the bar on his swing through the bottom and couldn’t recover. His dad is talking really loud but he’s speaking Russian so I have no idea what he’s saying. He doesn’t sound happy though. Huge step forward on his double pike. 14.7

4:05: Natasha Kelley of the USA on Beam. 3rd place coming into this rotation. Standing full. Nice! Nailed her arabian. Amazing. Nice bhs layout combo. Round off, bhs, double pike dismount and she rocked it! WOW! That was a great comeback from her fall on Bars.

4:09: I like it when Tim Dagget says “Gymnastics, 101: Stick the Landing.”

4:10: Finally we get to see Jonathan Horton. Hello? He’s the reigning champ from last year and this is the first we see of him? Nice double back between the bars. Nailed his double pike! Awesome!

4:11: Jonathan Horton talking to the camera. He’s funny. He loves his girlfriend.

4:12: Elsa Garcia on Beam. I’ve never seen her compete before. I like her elegant white leotard. Rough start. Huge wobble on her aerial cartwheel. Looked nervous before her r-off double pike dismount and barely made it around.

4:14: I would like to take this opportunity to say that I miss John Tesh. I know some found him to be too sentimental or whatever but I liked him. I can just hear him now at the 1996 Olympics before Kerri Strug’s famous vault… “She knows what to do. She will go when she is ready.” You can’t say the guy didn’t know how to set the mood.

4:19: Deyatovsky on High Bar. Pretty boring routine. Even my husband just said “Where’s the big stuff?” We were hoping he’d really nail his set and put the pressure on Horton. Pretty good dismount but definitely lacking in the “wow” factor overall.

4:23: And we’re back to the Sports Desk. Again.

4:26: Joura (AUS) on Floor. Will Al Trautwig please stop calling her the “transplanted Siberian.” Great triple turn. She’s very saucy. I like her. She’s got spunk. Great final pass. Nailed her double pike. Fantastic presentation.

4:29: Zgoba on Floor. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m not a huge fan of the gym shoes. Trouble with just about every tumbling pass. She looks tired and kind of bored. Major wedgie at the end of her routine. That can’t be comfortable.

4:33: Savitski from Ukraine on HB. Good form and high releases. Big step on his double double dismount.

4:34: Zhou Zhouro from China on Floor. Putting a lot into her presentation. Cool full-twisting tour-jete to the splits. She’s a nice dancer but her tumbling is weak. Sweet ending pose though.

4:39: My husband is feeling inspired. He’s stretching right now, trying to work on his flexibility! I’ll keep you posted.

4:40: Sasha Artemov on HB. GREAT laid-out Jaegar. Huge Kovacs. Big form break. That is so unfortunate. He blew it on one of his easier moves and then absolutely rocked his double double dismount. I agree with Tim. He has got to work on his consistency. If he can improve on that, he could be unbeatable.

4:45: Natasha Kelley on Floor. Great tumbling, except a small stumble back on her arabian. She’s very powerful but her choreography seems uninspired. She’s trying hard to sell it but it just didn’t work for me. I think they could make some changes to her choreography so that it’s more of a complete performance on floor. Great comeback from an earlier fall. She really rocked her Beam and Floor sets. Well done.

4:47: Elsa Garcia on Floor. Opens with a huge double arabian. Bounded out of it. Squeaked around a full-in for her second pass. Nice 2.5 to punch front. Flies out of a double pike dismount. Good job overall. And a great accomplishment for Mexico – 3rd place. That’s a first for her country.
4:50: Horton on HB. Laid out Kovacs. HUGE Kolman caught on his fingertips. Tucked kovacs. Nailed his full-twisting double for the win! Excellent.
4:51: Johnson on Floor. GREAT tumbling. She has got the whole package. She could definitely use a different routine though. She is smiling and connecting with the audience. She’s ready to sell it but her choreography is holding her back. She’s ready for more.

4:54: Horton is on his cell phone. I’m guessing he’s calling his girlfriend.

Over and out. That’s it for my live blog. What were your thoughts on the competition?

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