The Big 3 - Part 1

5:24 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments


I wish I could say that I came up with "The Big 3" but I can't. US Olympic Trials were going on at the same time as the NBA Playoffs. In the picture above are the Big 3 from the Top 2 teams in the USA - the Miami Heat (right) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (left).

"The Big 3" seems to pop up in gymnastics as well - 3 crucial athletes that seem to carry the team. The USA has Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, and Gabby Douglas. Russia has Aliya Mustafina, Viktoria Komova, and Anastasia Grishina. Romania has Catalina Ponor, Sandra Izbasa, and Larisa Iordache (I want to add Bulimar, the quiet achiever). It's great to have 3 strong athletes but in event finals, three's a crowd. At the Olympics, only 2 gymnasts are allowed per country in any final. Let's look at it event by event and see where this rule becomes a problem for some gymnasts.

USA: USA has 3 all arounders in Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, and Gabby Douglas. In prelims at 2011 Worlds, they placed 2nd, 4th, and 5th respectively. Jo is very consistent and should have no problem qualifying. Douglas has higher D-scores when compared to Raisman and better execution but Raisman is a rock. Should Gabby faulter, Aly may be close enough to steal the spot. Gabby's done well in the all-around, flip flopping with Jordyn for first place, even after some errors. It will be interesting to see who gets the 2 spots in the AA and who comes out on top in the all-around finals. If Gabby continues to compete as she has been, Gabby and Jordyn should get the 2 spots.

[Not necessarily gold, but just 1st of the 2 Americans.]

RUS: Russia also has 3 athletes that could be all around contenders - Viktoria Komova, Aliya Mustafina, and Anastasia Grishina. Grishina, the youngest of the 3, has less international experience and a lower D-score. I believe that, if consistent, Komova and Mustafina will continue to the all around final.

ROU: Romania doesn't really have a Battle of the Big 3 for the AA. Larisa Iordache is the clear Romanian favorite for a medal. Sandra Izbasa started training bars again so she could help her country that is known for it's struggle on bars and can now also compete in the all around. As many of you know, I was rooting for Raluca Haidu. The only reason that it makes some sense to take Diana Chelaru over Haidu was to have a better all arounder. Haidu is much more of a natural bars worker than anyone else on the team but is not consistent. Chelaru is more consistent and can probably be used in the all-around should Izbasa fall (multiple times) or sustain a slight injury. Let's not forget that Izbasa did not compete at World's due to an injury. She doesn't really have a chance at a medal in the AA so they may choose to rest her for team finals, vault event finals, or any other finals she might make and use Chelaru instead.

Vault (VT)
I don't think any country has 3 contenders for vault finals. For Russia, Maria Paseka and Anastasia Grishina have 2 vaults but it's unlikely that Grishina will do 2 vaults if she is still recovering from her injury and Paseka's 2 vaults aren't threatening to the best in the world (she has an Amanar, 6.5 SV, and a round off, 1/2 on, 1/2 off, 5.2 SV). There are 2 Germans, Oksana Chusovitna and Janine Berger, who have two vaults. For these 2 athletes, it could come down to qualifying to event finals, not necessarily a matter of beating out your teammates. Chusovitna has the reputation and years of experience. Berger has the difficulty but doesn't have the finesse of other vaulters and consistency could prove to be a problem. But who is to know if she could upset her teammate in her final Olympics? Chusovitna and Berger both vault a Rudi - front handspring 1.5 twist - a 6.3 SV.  As a 2nd vault, Chusovitna vaults a Tsukahara 1.5 twist with a 5.5 SV. Berger adds an extra half twist for a Tsukahara double twist that has a 6.0 SV. If Berger is clean, she could potentially take her teammate out of medal contention.

Watch Chusovitna here or below:

Watch Berger here or below:

Do you think Chusovitna will medal again with Maroney and Izbasa leading the vaulting pack and athletes like Jana Berger, Yamilet Pena, and Giulia Steingruber in hot pursuit?

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1 comment :

  1. Chuso won't medal and shoe won't want to finish her career out of the podium so she'll keep training and win gold in 2016 :P
    just kidding, I think she'll medal