First and foremost, I wish Rebecca Bross speedy recovery and I hope she will be back in shape and competition ready in spring 2012.
Here is my take on the best and worst from US nationals, leaving Becca out of the discussion:
Best three were as expected: McKayla Maroney’s Amanar - I don’t believe there is any point in having debates on who has the best Amanar ever but this is as good as it gets, especially the one from Day 2 was up there with her most successful ones; Jordyn Wieber’s Amanar: although not as good at Maroney’s, this vault is very reliable too; Alicia Sacramone’s Rudy (Day 1)- power, amplitude, execution, just the step on the landing which will always be there so we have gotten used to it by now.
Gray area: Gabby Douglas’s DTY (the vault she did at Jeloso), Macko’s DTY – you never know when they can go wrong.
Disappointments: provided that Aly Raisman sticks to the DTY (which looks nice) there are no routines that are thought of as contenders for a TF or a Qualifications scenario and are not decent.
Best three were - Wieber - I hate the beginning of that routine. I am far from being an UB “specialist”, so don't mind me, but those kips look labored and she looks as if she is managing all elements with force rather than swing. But it gets the job done.
Macko (day 2)– Yes, 6.0 SV is not good for an event specialist. Except that Macko is past the event specialist status so as long as she gets the 9.0s and 8.7s for execution (granted in a home competition) she is guaranteed a high mid 14’s mark at worlds too!
Shawn Johnson - her routine from night one was where she wants to be at this point. She will add more difficulty in the next weeks especially now that she gained so much confidence.
Gray area: Gabby Douglas – I love Gabby D
ouglas’s bars but on this event too she always seem to have 50/50 chances of success (day 2).
Memmel: I think Chellsie looks good on UB and I thought she could add 3-4 tenths and make it a nice one. But the shoulder incident in night two indicated the chances of improving are actually slim. (day 1)
Disappointments : Anna Li – It would have been nice but she was doubting herself too much (day 1, day 2).
Bridgey – she seemed Anna Li’s little sister (in terms of nerves and fear of competing) rather than Macko’s :) (day 1, day 2).
Best three: Wieber's - a routine of average D score (at a World scale) but a routine she handles really well. Respect for the way she managed to stay up there on day one! (day 1, day 2)
Sacramone: Despite having a few wobbles on the second day of competition, Alicia’s beam is still a strong event for her. (day 1, day 2)
Shawn Johnson:Dear SJ, thank you for listening to your instincts and keeping the sheep jump out! Your routine is very enjoyable without it! (day 1, day 2)
Gray area: Memmel, because she is a rock on beam BUT she seems to be taking the “trick - paaaause - trick” to a new level. (day 1, day 2)
Disappointments – no obvious ones. You are disappointed when people don't perform at the level that was expected, but I don't feel it was the case. Douglas (with her difficulty - at Jeloso) and Anna Li (with her artistry - day 1) do come to mind in this category but it's more about what I wished it could happen and less about their possibilities.
Best three: Wieber, again is champion of consistency on floor. And she may not be the most gifted dancer but she does not look embarrassed nor out of place. On the contrary – she manages to show excitement and does not hide the fact that she likes her music; she sells the routine. (day 1, day 2)
Raisman – her major challenge is to stay in bounds on the first pass, which is great and is worth the risk. She too seems comfortable with her music, though not as successful in conveying the feeling of excitement. (day 1, day 2)
Sabrina Vega: I like the music and choreography and she is consistent. (day 2)
Gray area: Sacramone - success is not guaranteed but it does not look like she will not get there in the next 6-8 weeks. I like the music but every time I watch her routine I expect a little more from the choreography. (day 1, day 2)
Maroney: because she is inconsistent. And who does an arabian double front as a last pass anyway? (day 1, day 2)
Chellsie's routine - although she is getting there difficulty wise and has good tumbling, there is not much artistry in it (day 1, day 2).
Disappointments: the overall level on floor was a bit disappointing, as TCG also pointed out, there are simply too many steps taken, OOBs, uncontrolled landings, things that hurt the final score.
Based on this, the US team would be: Wieber, Maroney, Sacramone, Raisman, Macko, Johnson
What is your team?