IT IS HERE.
Day One. Trials. To determine the Olympic team, which most people are fairly sure will be Simone, Aly, Gabby, Laurie, and Madison. But there's intrigue to be had, gymnastics to be done, and alternates to choose (I'm guessing Maggie, Ragan, and Ashton for the alternates, but if Maggie isn't ready Mykayla can swoop in).
Big news of the day: rumor, which may or may not be confirmed (some reporters are being slippery) is that Gabby Douglas fired one of her coaches, Kittia Carpenter, in the past two weeks. Kittia was on site yesterday, though, so it may be a today thing. We shall see.
To live blogging!
5:48pm PT: I'm bored.
5:55: Ok, so that Gabby news seems pretty confirmed. She's a big girl, she can make her own decisions, but it does seem awfully late to be doing that. It's July. The Olympics are in a month. Most training from here on out will be in the big group. Why go through that upheaval now?
5:58: Oooh, my screen went black. Does that mean we are getting close? Please tell me it means that we are getting close.
6:00: IT IS SIX O'CLOCK, START STREAMING. Also, my laptop keyboard is dying. I hope it can survive the Olympics and NaNo. It may not.
6:02: The screen just flickered again, which seems like a hopeful sign.
6:03: IT HAS STARTED!!! Props to Laurie for not wearing anything too red or pink-ish. AND THERE IS OLYMPIC-Y MUSIC AND I WANT TO CRY.
6:05: I'm so glad they are showing us shots of athletes sitting around and doing nothing instead of gymnastics.
6:06: Maggie's vault! An Amanar would be HUGE and potentially change the presumed team. Aand...just the double, messy legs in the air, very nice landing. I don't know if that is going to make enough of an impact to usurp anyone.
6:07: Oh, NBC is confirming the coaching change? Well, they are PC-ifying it. But they are confirming that there's a change.
6:09: So after five minutes of just staring at Gabby, we now get to see Gabby walking to the floor. Hmm. NBC is reeeeeeally enjoying this storyline. 15.1 for Maggie, BTW.
6:11: Here's Gabby on floor. Falls out of her spin a touch early. First pass is well in bounds, as is second, but the back tuck after the second pass might not count as connected--big pause. Double pike is clean, dismount is a double back. It works, but it isn't her best floor routine. Hoppy and a little messy.
6:14: 14.65 for Gabby. She isn't making it for floor, but as of right now, that's hurting her opportunity to do the AA.
6:17: Laurie's vault. DTY, hits the table early but clean.
6:18: Mykayla's floor. Difficult tumbling but she isn't always clean, so let's see...Moors was great! Bend legs, but definitely laid out. Second pass is a double double, also good. Leaps are great--she is killing it. UGH wolf turn, but possibly the fastest one you will see. Dismount was messy--did she step out? Maybe not. Oh wait, this is the dismount--triple twist. It works! That's helping the alternate case. Awesome job.
6:21: 15.15 for Laurie. Beats Maggie, which is key. Laurie's the third TF vaulter as of right now.
6:22: Aly floor! Yaaaaaaaaay, this is one of my favourites. First pass much like it always is and well in bounds, which is what kept her out of FX finals last year, so that's good. Second pass is very, I don't know, efficient? These operatic arm waves are so improved from four years ago. Third pass---DANG that double layout was straight. DWTS helped her, I think. Dismount is a double pike, clean, tiny bounce. That's what will get her to Rio. :D
6:24: 14.8 for Skinner. Now Simone's vault--huge amplitude for her Amanar! Too much power, big step and a small hop. 16.0. Now the second vault, the Cheng, slightly low on the landing--block issues, maybe? The Amanar was definitely better.
6:27: 15.45 for Aly. cough*FX Silver*cough
6:31: Making dinner, BRB.
6:36: Missed Maggie's bars but they looked okay. Now, Gabby and the DTY--big step. I don't see why she isn't Amanar-ing, the double looks fine and she seems to have time for the extra half a twist. 15.1. 14.55 for Maggie, which isn't as high as it could (should?) be.
6:39: The "Skinner" (one-armed Cheng). Good form but I don't see how she can do it with one hand. It technically touches but it's mostly her other hand. She just taps down one. 15.5. And now the Amanar--wait that's a double. She just did a double. Was that intentional? Yeah, she wouldn't have been able to land an Amanar.
6:41: Oh, Andrea Joyce is making people cry again. That's sweet. Oh, she...DID SHE JUST DO THAT. Did she mention Dallas as something good? UGH.
6:42: Laurie should have caught that in the bars warmup. Now the real deal. Messy first Tkatchev was really close, second is fine, down to the low bar piouettes--oooh huge peel. And then another form break. Oh, no. Poor transition to high bar, but the dismount is good...hmm. I don't think that will hugely cost her but another bars issue on Sunday may make people question her bars readiness. Interesting Martha reaction...
6:47: 14.6 for Laurie, which better than I expected, and now ALY VVAULT AHHHHHH. Okay. Messy. OOB. Helicopter legs. She's alive. I'll survive. 15.25, so the team will probably take that.
6:50: Oh hey, Kocian vault? I thought Kocian wasn't supposed to vault. Kocian don't care! FTY clean, nice backup.
6:51: Simone on bars. She's still struggling on that one pirouette, but everything else looks clean. PERFECT dismount, stuck. Hooray! Okay, not her greatest, but she's still fine. It's just a small leg separation, really.
6:54: Ashton on bars. Let's listen up! Her pirouettes are so lovely, and her transititons. Jager could have been better, sticks the dismount. She may outscore Kocian, but Kocian's AA ability is probably the deciding factor. 15.75? Well, the scoring is all screwed up tonight, but it's a huge shame if they leave that at home.
6:57: Why are we having a commercial about a potential Olympic city? There's no point! The IOC isn't watching commercials.
6:58: Rankings! 1. Biles 30.950
2. Raisman 30.700
3. Skinner 30.300
4. Hernandez 30.050
5t. Douglas, Dowell 29.750. Good job for Brenna! Good job for Skinner! This is bad news for Ragan (alternate chances) and Maggie (chances period). My heart will break if we leave Maggie behind.
7:02: Gabby on bars--clean-ish, but it could be better, big step with the dismount. That helps her a ton.
7:03: Gabby peaks closer to the end of the year. We saw it in 2011, 2012, and 2015. I wonder if that will play into the decision. 15.4.
7:05: Mykayla bars--nothing to worry about, she's not making things for bars but this looks quite nice. Nice landing. My heart is breaking, but her alternate case is growing.
7:06: Can Andrea please retire? Pretty please? 14.3 for Skinner, which is great. I can't see her making the main team, but she shouldn't have any regrets.
7:08: Aly bars. Oh, dear. NBC is trying to make drama--Aly's strength isn't bars, we know that, but she seems like a safe second AAer at the moment. Small separations but that has improved since Nationals, methinks. Those bars are fine for qualification.
7:09: Laurie beam. This is going to be important, she's needed for beam. Leaps are pretty but I question the connection. Saves her aerial sequence she looked quite off. Sheep jump has a small stumble. This is all just a little too slow--I think the judging here has been nice but I don't know if these connections will work for Rio. Double pike dismount, low but not terribly so. Hmm.
7:11: That save looks even better in slow motion.
7:12: Aly got 14.45. That's overscored, but compared to everything else tonight...that works! (Apparently "that works" is my motto tonight. Well, the team's mostly decided, so "that works" is all you need.)
7:17: Maddie's UB. Clean, stuck landing, maybe one missed handstand? But that's awesome! Hello UB specialist, how are you?
7:18: An approving nod from Martha? Kocian family needs to start booking flights.
7:19: Simone BB. OH NO SHE flubs the wolf turn. I've NEVER seen her do that before. She doesn't look too rattled. It will count as a turn, but not as a 2.5 turn. Anyway, everything looks efficient. (15.75 for Madison, which is the same as Ashton, haha.) Simone's dismount is low, but stuck. VERY nice recovery for her, but she's upset. That'll work, but she can improve.
7:22: I do enjoy this Kocian v. Locklear graphic from NBC, though. Anyway. Locklear on beam. She competes it because she has to, I don't even imagine her going in qualifications. Aerial series, and she's off. Oh, dear. NBC lies, she wouldn't be doing BB in qualification, That's Douglas/Hernandez/Raisman/Biles. Beautiful leaps, waits a while for the dismount...she looks disappointed. She needed to be perfect to get the spot from Madison and that won't help.
7:24: 15.2 for Simone, and she's angry. Ashton's nearly in tears. I can't see her losing the alternate spot over that, but maybe I'm wrong. 13.2 for Ashton.
7:27: Ragan beam. Bobble on her full, a few little stumbles. Stumbles out of the sheep jump, too, and sticks her double Arabian dismount. Nice, nice. 14.9, which--given the scoring tonight--is not the best.
7:30: Maggie's beam. Two wolf turns. Clean....and she falls. She gets up fast, but...I don't even want to type it, but that might cost her chances. That's an issue. Dismount is fine.
7:32: Standings! 1. Biles 46.150
2. Hernandez 45.550
3. Raisman 45.150
4. Douglas 44.850
5. Skinner 44.600. That's more like what I'd expect. Skinner's doing wonderfully, though.
7:38: I did some research! Raisman usually scores a touch higher than Laurie on beam vs. floor, although floor scoring seems much more generous than beam right now. So we will see.
7:39: Aly on beam. Given how shakey beam has been today, this is extra important. She looks confident mounting though. Layout isn't as nice as it was two weeks ago, but solid. Pike jump is great and I do love me a pike jump. Her connections have improved. Front flip is slightly off, and her L spin gets wobbly. Patterson is great, as always, just a small hop. Well, she can do it better, but given everything that's been happening on beam tonight, she should be happy.
7:42: Laurie floor. Aly stumbled, so can Laurie get the second spot? It's a fun routine. Double layout has some leg separation. Did she go out on her second pass? I couldn't tell but it looked close. Good good! She should beat Aly tonight.
7:44: 14.8 for Aly, which seems fair.
7:45: Madison on beam, which isn't hugely important but somewhat important. Nice start with her back full, doesn't quite get the connection into her sheep jump. Clean finish. Good girl!
7:47: 15.3 for Laurie tonight which seems rather overscored. Her bars were overscored tonight, too. She beats Aly by .9, but I'm not sold on Laurie being the second AAer. They're both going to Rio, but I don't buy Laurie's scores tonight.
7:48: 14.7 for Madison. Yup, Kocian family, you better be free.
7:49: How would a wink be a deduction?? No wink deductions, please.
7:50: Simone floor! Biles has a jump out it. Shimmy, oh wait, her second pass is the Biles--well they were both beautiful. Wolf turn is fine. Double Arabian is a little messier than it normally is, though. Nice rebound from beam. She's gonna be such a superstar in a month.
7:57: Oh my goodness, Ragan looks just like her mother. Ooh, she was off on that third pass. Sorry, not commenting as much as I've gotten into her routine--I like it, although it is a little too cutesy for me. Well done, Ragan! 14.5. It was good, but there were some form issues.
8:02: Gabby's beam. Shuffles on her front somersault. Back full is great. IDK about some of these connections--off on another somersault too. And she's off on her L-turn! Man, the beam has been brutal tonight. The L-turn was not the easiest, Nastia. Dismount is a double, it's fine, but that is interesting.
8:04: I hear Maggie's floor was good.
8:06: 13.7 for Gabby. You know, I really don't think Martha is going to change the team last minute. But Skinner KILLED it tonight, and she's got a medal potential on Vault. Maybe note a huge potential, but some potential--more than Gabby on any even other than the AA, and there are two other medal-worthy AAers. There's a question, anyway.
1. Biles 61.850
2. Hernandez 60.850
3. Raisman 59.950
4. Skinner 59.450
5. Smith 58.700. Maggie is 6th, Gabby's down in 7th. Oh, things could get interesting. There's some beam questions to be had, and almost everyone has spots for improvement. If things aren't cleaned up on Sunday that presumptive team may change.