The American Cup was
another celebration for the
host gymnasts, but it also
added an unexpected wrinkle
to the women’s pecking order.
her opening combination of front aerial, one-arm
flip-flop, layout. Her next series (front handspring,
standing tucked-full, flip-flop) was also unsteady, but
she improved from then on. Her 21⁄2-twisting dismount was solid and she scored 14.966 ( 8.966/E).
“I think my worst event today was probably beam,
because I didn’t get a lot of my connection bonus,”
Wieber said afterward.
Also on beam, Raisman had a large wobble of
her own on an attempted tour jete-half (or quarter),
but her Arabian double front dismount was high
with a tiny hop ( 14.966).
Going into the final rotation, Wieber led Raisman
by 0.5 and Iordache by 1.4 . Hill, more than four
points behind Iordache, was in fourth.
Tunney, who had endured a perfectly awful time
on beam, turned in a good performance on floor,
with a whip to Arabian double front opener.
Simpson had been somewhat overlooked in the
previous three events, but her smoothly choreographed routine was well received by the crowd.
Moors, who was in last place after her bars routine, ended in fourth thanks to a gorgeous performance on floor. The girl can tumble—tucked double-double for starters—and dance, and her connection
with the audience was second to none. But that can
be expected when your coach is the legendary
Chelaru seemed to be going through the motions
during her floor routine, while teammate Iordache
smiled, pranced and tumbled (whip, triple twist,
stag; piked full-in) through hers to ultimately finish
Wieber ended the day with a secure-enough
floor. Her tucked double-double was nearly perfect,
her 11⁄2 to triple twist a bit less so (slightly short, step
forward), and she closed with a high double pike.
She didn’t smile or wave, even though the crowd
was cheering loudly. Perhaps Wieber didn’t want to
celebrate until she was certain of victory? The only
thing standing between her and a third American
Cup title was Raisman, who was next up on floor.
Raisman appeared calm and confident, and
might have even cracked a half smile or two during
her routine. She opened with a 11⁄2 twist, Arabian
double front, punch front layout. After a brief
pause, she tumbled a piked Arabian double front to
sissone back down the same diagonal. A score of
15.433 gave her an overall 60.832, but it wasn’t
enough to overtake Wieber, whose total was
Douglas, however, beat everyone, and convincingly. Even though her 61.299 ( 6. 5 D-scores on
vault, bars and beam; 6.0 on floor) didn’t count in
the official rankings, solid performances on all
events certainly carried weight with national team
coordinator Marta Karolyi.
Douglas’s uneven bars routine was the highlight
of the meet, where the height of her Tkatchev
rivaled those of the men. She scored 15.633, 0.8
ahead of anyone else. And on floor she exuded personality and joy, which is a rare display in women’s
gymnastics today. The audience loved her, and
“I was just so glad we got the opportunity to be
in front of people, in front of the international
judges and to demonstrate where she is after the
winter training,” Liang Chow, Douglas’s coach,
told IG. “I think that was a very productive meet,
Though she finished in first place, Wieber was
not satisfied with her performance and may have
even lost a little confidence. “It’s early in the com-
petition year, and I don’t want to be in my top com-
petition shape yet,” she said. Wieber plans to go
back to the gym, but doesn’t plan on making the
same mistakes twice. She’ll also know in the back
of her mind that she was outscored comfortably by
Douglas, who even stepped out of the area twice on
Raisman, on the other hand, was “really pleased”
that she ended the day only 0.2 behind Wieber. “It
just proves to myself that if I work really hard I can
be on top one day,” she said.
The American Cup was another celebration for
the host gymnasts, but it also added an unexpected
wrinkle to the women’s pecking order, which might
be a good thing. Because all that will matter in the
coming months is who can hit difficult, clean routines under pressure. And if Douglas can do that,
she could well crash a much bigger party this summer. IG
Debbie Poe is a freelance photojournalist from New York.