5:31 p.m.: And that’s a wrap. The athletes have cleared the floor, meaning warmups are over. We’ve still got a bit of time before the competition starts (I think NBC’s roll in time is 6 p.m. PST). Quick hits from the competition will be here, by the way.
Hey, Gabby Douglas has signed with Proctor & Gamble apparently, following Shawn Johnson’s footsteps. Good for you, Gabby — milk it.
5:27 p.m.: Bridget Sloan is out. The word from USAG is that she’s withdrawn from the meet due to an elbow sprain. From Marvin Sharp: “This is not the way we planned to finish up, but she has had a wonderful career and I am very proud of her.” That career isn’t over, either: Bridget will be headed to Florida in the fall, where she’ll attempt to help the Gators capture their first ever NCAA team title.
5:23 p.m.: Excellent Amanar from Elizabeth Price on vault. Bill Strauss gives her a hand. No comparison to Raisman’s. Wieber’s landed two Amanars that I’ve seen. John Geddert appears to be encouraging her to go for the stick.
Gabby Douglas’s piked Tkatchev gets oohs and aahs from the crowd. The full routine is going to get its own round of applause as well — and it does!
5:21 p.m.: Nastia Liukin does a full bars set (minus dismount), albeit with spotting from her father. She loses it in the handstand before her blind to what would be her dismount. Better Amanar from Raisman. Still lots of leg deductions, however.
5:18 p.m.: Low Amanar from Raisman freaks me out. She makes it fine, but with very bent legs and not enough height. USA Gymnastics will have an official statement on Bridget Sloan in just a few minutes…
5:15 p.m.: Really wonderful set from Vega on bars — well, wonderful first three elements, and then she comes off on a stalder. But the first three were as good as she’s ever done them — very, very smooth.
Good warmup on bars from Anna Li.
5:14 p.m.: Incredible Amanar from Maroney in warmups draws its own round of applause, the first we’ve heard from the crowd. Stunning stuff. She does a second one.
5:11 p.m.: Spotted on the podium: Anna Li and Gabby Douglas swinging their arms around in synch. Gabby looks at Anna like she’s her big sister and she wants to be just like her.
5:07 p.m.: Bross’s toe stalders are light as air on bars. Much better than yesterday.
5:02 p.m.: Break in the action as everyone rotates. The fact that Bridget Sloan is no longer on the floor has people whispering injury. Sloan appears to have hurt her elbow on bars right before a dismount. She did about half a set on beam and then left the podium and competition floor and has not returned. USA Gymnastics is saying it’s an injury but are not giving any more info at this time.
4:54 p.m.: Word goes around the media gallery that we’re not allowed to have any Pepsi products up here, although Pepsi is the soft drink being made available to the media. Maybe this event is sponsored by Coke, which has the stranglehold on the Olympics.
Ross makes an Amanar. Gabby Douglas did too, a couple minutes ago. Much better DTY from Finnegan just now. Whew!
4:49 p.m.: The doors are open and fans are streaming into the arena, meaning the jumbotron has started broadcasting commercials, making it much noisier in here all of a sudden. A group of young voices sings out “Come on, Nastia!”
Over on vault, a good Yurchenko 1.5 from Sabrina Vega. Over on floor, McKayla Maroney just overrottaed a 3.5 twist and fell forward, caught by coach Artur Akopyan,who is standing in rather close, understandably. She really does make me believe a quad (a real quad) is possible.
Finnegan lands what is IMO a scary DTY. Almost Rebecca Bross 2011 Nationals scary. That can’t feel too good on the ankles.
4:44 pm.: And if there’s an event where it can all go very wrong for the U.S., it’s vault. Every one of the obvious five do Amanars, and if there’s ever been a knee-breaking skill in gymnastics, this is it. I cringe every time I watch his vault, except when it’s done by Maroney.
When Aliya Mustafina blew out her ACL doing it in Berlin, International Gymnast Magazine publisher Paul Ziert said “A gymnast only has so many of those vaults in her.” Like a boxer only has so many fights. And I wonder how many are left for everyone…
4:38 p.m.: If there is an obvious five for the Olympic team I’d say there are two obvious alternates: Elizabeth Price and Sarah Finnegan. They’re pretty polar opposites on the gymnastics spectrum — Price is about power and lacks some finesse (foot form on beam!) while Finnegan is all polish (though it would be unfair to say that she wasn’t powerful too — it’s just not what she’s known for.)
Who the third alternate would be seems most up for grabs. Sacramone? Liukin? Vega? Dowell? All seem to have a shot…
4:34 p.m.: Excellent Patterson dismount from Kennedy Baker on beam. McKayla Maroney looking prepped and confident up on beam. Amazing mental confidence, that one. Nothing shakes her. Concussion what?
4:30 p.m.: Sarah Finnegan sticks an Arabian double front on floor. No whip.
4:27 p.m.: It’s hard to discern where Sabrina Vega mixes in to all this. I do not think she’ll make the team outright without an injury to one or more people, but she is a viable all-arounder with a lot of elegance and grace who proved herself at the 2011 Worlds, competing two events in the pressure-filled team finals. She could well wind up an alternate. She looks solid on floor as she warms up.
Raisman still super solid on beam. Whether she wins an Olympic medal on this event, she should go into the canon of All Time Solid American Beamworkers.
4:23 p.m.: Aly Raisman solid as ever on beam. Nastia Liukin is sitting cross-legged at the edge of the floor podium and looks for all the world like she’s meditating. I expect that she’s chanting ‘om.’ Her father is sitting in a chair right by her, keeping her company and probably dishing last minute advice.
Up on beam, Gabrielle Douglas is looking solid. Whether she can hit this event will be one of the big questions of the evening. She does, and hits everything else, and she’s likely to beat Jordyn Wieber and win the automatic Olympic spot that goes to whoever wins the two-day Olympic Trials.
4:17 p.m.: Stuck full twisting double layout from Jordyn Wieber on bars. Over on beam, Sarah Finnegan has fallen for the second time on her flight series. She drew some curiosity on floor during training because she had taken out her whip back on floor and was doing “just” an Arabian double front for her second pass, which is curious. Third time. Hm.
4:14 p.m.: Say what you like about McKayla Maroney on bars, she hits the ceiling doing her Geinger. Very impressive.
4:11 p.m.: Bridget Sloan, in the red and navy team leotard the U.S. women wore at the 2010 Worlds in prelims (which I’ve always thought would make a good superhero uniform if you added a mask and cape), looks good on bars. So does Wieber.
4:08 p.m.: Jordyn Wieber’s full twisting double layout off bars looks good. Kennedy Baker, who tied Sabrina Vega for seventh at the U.S. Championships, looks OK on bars, but from this angle a few leg/foot separations are very evident.
4:03 p.m.: And warmups are officially underway! I’m looking at Elizabeth Price’s feet as she warms up on bars. She’s a terrific gymnast, but her feet are not as pointed as they might be. (Not that that has ever really hurt Aly Raisman, though.)
Sarah Finnegan looks a little off over on beam, as does Nastia Liukin. But what I’m writing about here is the first go-round on the apparatus. So, nothing to be alarmed over.
3:46 p.m.: Blasts from the past. All sorts of interesting leotard choices here. Alicia Sacramone is probably making the boldest statement, sporting the leotard the U.S. women wore in team prelims in Beijing. (Wow.) Rebecca Bross is reliving better days in the maroon and silver leo the U.S. had at the 2010 Worlds, which she says was her favorite of the U.S. leos there.
Nastia Liukin’s hot pink leotard harkens back to her all-around win in 2008. Gabrielle Douglas has opted for the pink and black look Jordyn Wieber wore when she won the 2011 World all-around title, as is her pal Kennedy Baker. Elizabeth Price and Sarah Finnegan are in the blood red leo with jeweled “belt” from the 2011 Worlds prelims. McKayla Maroney will wear the purple “tie” leotard the U.S. women had during event finals at the 2011 Worlds, as will Brenna Dowell and Anna Li. Aly Raisman is in the pink version.
Wieber herself is old school in red and white Adidas, very pretty, a throwback to the 2004-2005 leotards.
3:38 p.m.: It’s a Trials tradition for the women to wear national team leotards throughout. Pink seems to be the color du jour today, though the U.S women do not seem to be going the way of the U.S. men yesterday (everyone in identical uniforms). But I see pink from Ross, Liukin, Raisman, Rebecca Bross and others. Jordyn Wieber looks like she’s wearing something red with white sleeves with Adidas-y red racing stripes down the sleeves. Cool!
3:29 p.m.: I think the general stretch doesn’t start until 3:30, and so the athletes are sitting in a circle on the floor getting loose, chatting, in general looking like they’d rather be up and moving around.
As I can’t quite handle the prospect of watching so much athleticism without eating something at the same time, I’m going in search of a snack. Back in five.
SAN JOSE, 3:19 p.m.: It may shock you to read this, but Nastia Liukin has opted to wear something pink as she prepares to compete at her second Olympic Trials.
The athletes entered the building just as the rhythmic/trampoline/acro group that will be performing just before competition gets underway (at least, that’s what I assume) exited it. (Their rehersal was really nice, btw.)
Like the men yesterday, the women are dressed in national team tracksuits with leotards underneath. I’m seeing hints of pink from Aly Raisman (sparkly) and Kyla Ross (not sparkly) as well.
Let the games begin…
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