Pacific Rim redux

Al TrautwigThanks NBC, for broadcasting the women’s team competiton (and three half-performances from Paul Hamm.)

Many gymnastics fans don’t agree with everything NBC commentators say, particularly color commentator Al Trautwig, a basketball/hockey expert who often comes off as a buffoon in his attempts to translate the sport for the couch-potato watching public.

But they do slip interesting tidbits into their talk when not reminding viewers that the balance beam is only four inches wide (which, to their credit, I don’t believe they did in this broadcast.)

Darlene Hill: Mom into drugs, grandma “swooped in and saved the kid’s life” and became the impetus for her doing gymnastics. After Hill’s grandmother, Eloise Dixon, passed away last month, Hill stopped going to practice.

Anecdote from Shayla Worley’s coach Jeff Woods on Jana Bieger: He apparently told Tim Daggett that if he’s in a war, he wants Jana in his foxhole. Given that they’d just been talking about how she’s not a ballerina (“Everyone knows”) and how she works bars like men’s high bar, that remark came as a bit of an eyebrow-raiser.

Daria JouraOther observations: Daria Joura looked terrific, full twisting Yuchenko or not. She may have won a World Cup gold medal on floor, but Dasha really has yet to get her due. She’s a credit to the sport, and well deserves a medal in Beijing. Balance beam is the only event that could possibly hold her back. A wobble like the one she had on her layout stepout just can’t occur if she’s going to be successful in the all-around.

Bieger’s right about there being no room for errors between now and decision day. But there’s no reason for the Americans to take a vault and floor specialist who competes a 1.5 Yurchenko, no matter how well she does it.

Lauren Mitchell: Top six in the all around? She’s a quality gymnast, no doubt, but top six?

Hill has an extraordinarily powerful walk. And if there was ever anyone who deserved a fluff piece, she’s it. And yet NBC didn’t. Budget cuts or what? Also, if ever someone deserved a college scholarship, it’s her. Attention Georgia, UCLA, Alabama, Florida: Did you hear that?

Samantha ShapiroSunny Samantha Shapiro. How sweet! Shapiro’s leg form and toepoint have been touted for the past couple years, but nobody said anything about her huge Courtney Kupets-like grin. In a sport where many gymnasts seem to be struggling under the strain of training, competing and intense pressure, Shapiro seems to have risen above a lot of it. Much like Shawn Johnson — well, SJ last year, anyways.

Daggett said that Nastia Liukin’s bar routine has the highest start value of anybody he’s ever heard of, and that the routine, done the way she does it “can’t be beaten.” Guess Daggett’s never heard of He Kexin. After her performance at Cottbus, he certainly has by now. Edit: He Kexin made her first mark at the Doha World Cup April 4-6, the week after Pacific Alliance, so it is plausible that Daggett hadn’t heard of her. Thanks, Katrina.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting: Nastia’s B-score was an 8.95. If she could get rid of the bent legs on her Pac salto and clean up that dismount, she’s be in the nines with her B-score. And could challenge He for gold.

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6 Responses to “Pacific Rim redux”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    i cannot believe al said that. and i am very proud of jana for her floor routine it was a big improvement from last year!

  2. Katrina Says:

    when the PA happened, He Kexin hadn’t competed her high scoring routine yet. so Tim’s comment is correct

  3. mart Says:

    ya he really sometimes annoys me with his comments.
    its kinda exagerated.

  4. Rondeen Says:

    al al al, that big headed idoit, he needs to shut the hell up, oh and i love little sam shapiro she’s a trooper.

  5. TCO Says:

    Get rid of all three of them and put Bart in with whichever female he chooses for wimmens (I mean girls) and whihver male for mens.

  6. Aleksas Says:

    I love Al Trautwig. I think he’s the perfect go-between between expect commentator and, as you say, couch potato watching public. I think his words are colorful and vast, and the guy certainly has a large vocabulary, I think gymfans are just sticklers about who is commenting their sport, no matter who is doing it!

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