Eight 2008 American Cup observations

Shawn Johnson1. Shawn Johnson looked far more nervous at this event than she did in any meet in 2007. Even before her fall on vault during the first rotation, the big smiles were gone, and she often looked strained saluting the judges. By all indications, the pressure seems to be getting to her a little. Nonetheless, better to fall on an Amanar at the American Cup than in Beijing.

2. The judges seem to be finally loosening up on giving high execution scores. Still, a 9.525 B-score for a 1.5-twisting Yurchenko with a step to the side from Nastia Liukin? Her form, which is impeccable about everywhere else, did not likely deserve a 9.525. And above a 15 for that vault? Has that happened yet this quad? Maybe they were rewarding her for just standing it up.

Paul Hamm3. Paul Hamm looked great on rings, good on floor, so-so on pommels (noticable form break in his first sequence) before the fall. But he must have felt really good about that vault. Also, that was a very nice looking coat he was wearing over his warmups while he wasn’t competing, but it made him look less like he was at a gymnastics meet than he was waiting for a bus somewhere.4. Loved Shayla Worley’s take on the new trend of doing front somies to one leg. Worley applies the look to something different: an elegant Onodi. The effect is great.

Shayla Worley, 2008 American Cup, Balance Beam:

5. Sans the back pike at the end of her flight series and with the added switch-leap half and front somie to one foot, Liukin looked cool and very comfortable with her routine on balance beam. If she hits it that well during event finals in Beijing, she’ll almost put a lock on a medal.

Fabian Hambuchen6. Even though he didn’t compete, Fabian Hambuchen gets a 9.95 on the English language event. He’s absolutely mastered the language, right down to the slang.

7. Raj Bhavsar’s status on the U.S. team is still a huge question mark. One has to wonder if his so-so performance at the American Cup helps or hurts his cause for being included amongst the men in Beijing.

8. Samantha Peszek had the best meet of her career. Enough said.

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6 Responses to “Eight 2008 American Cup observations”

  1. blogomment Says:

    The announcers kept saying it was cold in there. I don’t blame Paul for wanting to stay warm.

    The judging at the American Cup has nothing to do with the judging anywhere else. It’s not an indication of loosening up on the B-scores. It’s the same thing as it always is, crappy scoring.

  2. Gina Says:

    I was really bummed to see that Jonathan Horton had a bad day. Solid PB routine, but the missed kovac on what is supposedly his best event worries me a bit. I love how he did the triple-double at the last minute, though. Hopefully, he can pull it together in time for this summer. I really believe that if he can focus, he’ll definitely medal.

  3. Anna Says:

    Shawn Johnson’s change in personality from 2007 to 2008 kind of reminds me of the change in Dominique Moceanu from 1995 to 1996. They both were so bubbly and both of them won the national title. Then the next year they changed a lot. Maybe it’s the pressure??

  4. bloggoment Says:

    I think Moceanu had that stress fracture in 1996 that might’ve effected her outlook. Shawn might be worried about her body changing. Not that I know for sure – I was just reading an article which said that Shawn tried to do extra workouts. She was doing cardio or something at a fitness club. Then Chow found out and made her stop. Reading that I just had to wonder, what the hell would make her think she needed extra cardio?

  5. GargantulaKon Says:

    I noticed that Shayla Worley was less smiley during this meet too.

  6. Tasha Says:

    i was there and it was freakin freezing. y was shawny doing extra cardio?? thats so funny. maybe the whole body issue is getting to her head. or maybe not, im just speculating

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