‘Guess i didn’t take enough felix felicis lol’ (Morgan Hurd)
Here is my recap of two days in the Wonderful Land of ‘Ohhh Simone’ (including evil witches and Elsa-from-Frozen leotards) and back.
- Simone Biles wore a leotard featuring an actual GOAT, as a response to the ludicrous criticism about the leotard bearing her name she wore at Classics.
- Simone, aka the G.O.A.T., showed off some wonders: a flared triple double on floor and a double double off beam. Insane difficulty. I happen to fantasise from time to time about super difficult gymnastics routines and those two skills often crossed my mind. But I would have never thought to witness them in real life. We are in the era of gymnastics science fiction.
- LSU commit Lilly Lippeatt wore a superhero leotard, which was reminiscent of the one UCLA commit Jordan Chiles wore last year at the U.S. Championships. I suggested on Twitter that this should become an annual tradition and Jordan replied: ‘I would gladly hand off the baton to Lily.’ So I assume we are all on board with it now and it will become an actual recurrence?
- At the end of podium training, a tearful Simone expressed disappointment about USA Gymnastics’ failure to protect athletes. She said: ‘We’ve done everything that they’ve asked us for, even when we didn’t want to and they couldn’t do one damn job. You had one job. You literally had one job and you couldn’t protect us.’
JUNIORS DAY 1
- The junior GOAT, Konnor McClain, hit four beautiful routines to take first place. To me, bars was her best – her handstands, poise and calmness are an NCAA coach’s dream.
- Florida commit Kayla DiCello, who sat second in the all around, unveiled a full-twisting double layout on floor.
- Florida commit Olivia Greaves, who was third in the all around, hit her beautiful bars set for first place.
- Kaylen Morgan has beautiful lines on bars.
- Alabama commit Karis German has a full-twisting double back dismount on beam!
- Mya Witte is an incredibly talented beam worker, she could anchor any NCAA beam lineup in the future.
- Sydney Morris stuck all her tumbling passes on floor (and her floor music got stuck in my head one more time!).
- Addison Fatta competed a difficult and gorgeous bars routine!
- Utah commit Ella Zirbes stuck her Yurchenko 1.5 on vault.
- I loved Sienna Robinson on floor. Am I the only one getting Laurie Hernandez vibes?
- Anya Pilgrim had a fantastic meet, including debuting her one-and-a-half twist into double Arabian on floor.
- Jamison Sears brought out all her sass on floor – future Florida commit?
- Kailin Chio ended a great competition with a stuck Yurchenko 1.5 on vault. Seeing her smile warms my heart!
- Favourite leotards: Kailin Chio’s black and lavender leo and Levi Jung-Ruivivar’s silk ballerina leo.
SENIORS DAY 1
- What a Boulevard-of-Broken-Dreams this competition was! The Pan Am team looked exhausted, most gymnasts looked a bit off and nearly everyone seemed to fall on their best apparatus: Simone on floor, Riley on bars, Morgan on floor, Kara on beam, Gabby on bars…
- Yet, as ever, there were also some marvels.
- HOLY TRINITY THOMAS, who was at the meet representing Florida, competed a Biles on floor and hit 4-for-4 with four stunning routines.
- Utah’s MyKayla Skinner hit four more routines and looked much better than at Classics already. Her one-hand Cheng on vault is back too, I (almost) missed it!
- Simone Biles made history, by becoming the first ever gymnast to compete a double double off beam. QUEEN.
- UCLA commit Jordan Chiles, I repeat, Jordan Chiles, won the highest execution award. The WCC is doing marvels to her confidence.
- Auburn commit Sunisa Lee was back in the all around and looked unbelievable, especially on bars. She increasingly looks like a World Championships lock.
- Four years ago beam was the U.S.’s weakness. Four years later, SIX athletes scored over 14: Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Riley McCusker, Morgan Hurd, Emily Lee and Faith Torrez. Impressive!
- Favourite leotards: MyKayla Skinner’s black velvet goddess leo, Riley McCusker’s slightly tacky fake-pearl-necklace leo and Trinity Thomas’s Florida leo.
JUNIORS DAY 2
- Florida commit Kayla DiCello was crowned junior all around champion. She had a flawless competition, but for me bars had something special.
- Konnor McClain was second. It came down to a step forward she took on vault. Everything else was spotless, including this floor routine.
- Florida commit Olivia Greaves was third in the all around. I’m not a fan of her floor music but her routine was lovely.
- Florida commit Sophia Butler competed her best ever beam routine.
- Ciena Alipio redeemed herself after falling on beam on Day one with this lovely routine.
- Sydney Morris also competed a fabulous beam set.
- UCLA commit Sydney Barros looked incredible on floor. Her execution on all apparatuses has improved so much over the last couple of years, it’s really impressive!
- UCLA commit Ariel Posen looked elegant on floor.
- Skye Blakely hit bars after struggling on Day one.
- LSU commit Lilly Lippeatt surprised everyone with a fantastic competition, finishing eighth in the all around and making the U.S. national team.
- Favourite leotards: Skye Blakely’s alternative Elsa-from-Frozen outfit; Sydney Barros’s LSU-esque leo; and Love Birt and Sydney Morris’s real Elsa-from-Frozen leotard.
SENIORS DAY 2
- Simone Biles made history yet again, this time successfully landing her triple double on floor.
- It was a bit of an off day for Leanne Wong, but she killed her beam routine!
- … And so did Utah commit Kara Eaker (routine here), after an unfortunate fall in Day 1.
- Auburn commit Sunisa Lee kept impressing all around, but especially on bars, where she connected four elements in a row for a 6.4 D-score start value.
- Florida sophomore Trinity Thomas hit a fantastic bars routine. She mesmerises me. Everyone’s talking about MyKayla Skinner’s elite comeback (and it’s well deserved), but let’s pause and appreciate this young lady: an impressive college gymnast, a university student AND one of the best and cleanest elite gymnasts in the U.S. She is perfect!
- Utah’s MyKayla Skinner also made history, becoming the first gymnast to connect a full pirouette to a double double off bars. Fantastic!
- Utah commit Grace McCallum redeemed herself after an off Day 1, finishing third in the all around and killing her beam routine.
- It was also redemption day for Florida commit Morgan Hurd, who crushed her floor routine after having trouble in Day 1.
- Favourite leotards: Sloane Blakely’s snow goddess leo; Riley McCusker’s black and pink leo; and Trinity Thomas’s braided-back Florida leo – my favourite Gators’ leotard.