Friday, February 1, 2008

This and That

As the games approach, athletes are beginning to make their mark in 2008.

1. This week's national team training camp saw a lot of athletes competing upgraded routines. Shawn Johnson showed her Amanar on vault (2 1/2 Twisting Yurchenko), while Shayla Worley and Nastia Liukin are now performing double twisting yurchenkos. Vault will play a key part in distancing the team from the Chinese during team finals. Peszek is also said to be training an Amanar, while Jana Bieger showed a tucked rudi on vault. Jana's full twisting double layout is now consistent on floor, improving her A score and her chances to make the 2008 squad. Mattie Larson continues to improve and could peak just in time for the Olympic Trials. It is rumored that Peszek will be the 4th American competing at the American Cup. This is a plum assignment, but she will face tough competition from Worley, Johnson and Liukin.

2. Johnny Weir officially withdrew from the Four Continents Championships. Weir will use the time to make sure he is maximizing his levels and point totals. Don't be shocked if Weir has a Quad Toe in the short program at Worlds. Weir could also be ready to unveil a Quad Salchow at Worlds. If Weir is able to perform a Quad Toe+Triple Toe in the short program, he will have the ability to achieve a significant lead with his high PCS scores.

3. Jeremy Wariner, the reigning World and Olympic Champion in the 400 meters, split with longtime coach Clyde Hart. The split was due to an inability to reach a contractual agreement over Hart's salary. Hart claims Wariner wanted him to take a cut in pay, despite his salary being higher than most coaches. Wariner's agent, Michael Johnson, says the split shouldn't affect Wariner and feels his client is still on track to repeat as Olympic Champion.

4. Michael Phelps returned to competition last weekend and won 5 of the 6 events he entered (he entered the 6th event, the 50m freestyle 'just for fun') after breaking his wrist two months ago. Phelps claims the injury was just what he needed to be motivated to take his training up a notch. Phelps' efforts last weekend are significant because they are faster than the results he achieved at the same event last year. Ian Thorpe's recent statements may fuel Phelps even further. Thorpe feels there is "no chance" Phelps can break Mark Spitz's record of seven Olympic Gold Medals. Phelps and two training partners recently spent three weeks training at high altitude.

5. Amanda Beard also competed last weekend and nabbed a bronze medal. Beard hasn't competed much since 2004, but expects to be ready by Olympic Trials. NBC Olympics posted an extensive interview with Beard.

1 comment:

Katrina said...

I've been reading your blog since it was pointed out to me by another gymnastics blogger and thought I'd make a comment about Johnny Weir.. The reason He lost last week is because his free skate points are much lower than Evan's. Evan's spins AND his footwork are Level 4's. These are extremely hard. Here is what it was:
COP, Easy As 1-2-3

Under the Code of Points, every point counts. Shocking, right? I've been surprised by how many people can't seem to grasp this truly astonishing concept. You know how you can earn those points? By reading the rulebook and noticing that hey, you can attempt three jump combinations in the free skate! Fancy that!

Of course, Johnny’s thought process is, "Rulebook? I don't need your silly RULEBOOK!" Johnny looks down on you plebes—so obsessed with minutiae! Can't you see that he is an artiste?!

The simple fact of the matter is that Johnny could have easily tacked a double toe on the end of one of his jumps and he would have won. It doesn't get much more straightforward than that. He's been making this error for years and has yet to correct it. It's his own fault that he lost.

It's The Halfway Mark, Stupid

Under the Code of Points, landing jumping passes after the halfway mark—that is, the second half of a skater's program—earns a 10% bonus on the jump's base value.

It stands to reason, then, that a skater has much to gain by placing as many passes as they are capable of after this mark.

Johnny had three jumping passes, containing one combination, after the halfway mark. Evan had four jumping passes, containing two combinations, after his. These things add up. Evan may have had a hard time muscling out the jumps tonight, giving Johnny the edge on quality, but he and his team had the smarts to lay out his program in such a way to maximize the point value.

Fancy Footwork

Having higher level spins and footwork is a wonderful way to safeguard your program when the jumps are sketchy. Team Lysacek realizes this. Good on them.

Evan in particular is known for his intricate, commanding footwork. Lately he has been achieving a rare level four on his straightline footwork—this is compared to Weir's level three.

It's a numbers game, and Johnny is losing.

You Are Not A Beautiful Or Unique Snowflake

Johnny and his supporters love to cry that Johnny is somehow being held down by the USFSA in favor of the admittedly less controversial Evan Lysacek.


That is why in 2006, Johnny won the National Championships with 225.34 points – over Evan's 224.47. That is a mere 0.87 difference. You can't tell me that the big bad USFSA couldn't have nudged Evan's score up the tiniest little bit to take that title if they truly hated Weir and wanted Evan to be their National Champion going into the Olympic Games.

In 2007, Evan barely beat Johnny in the short program. It was anyone's game in the long. Evan just happened to skate one of the best programs in Nationals—hell, in skating— history, and Johnny had a complete meltdown.

In 2008, as we all know, Johnny won the short program, and overall Evan and Johnny tied, with the nod going to the best free skate—Evan's. Yeah, that sounds like the work of an evil federation.

Johnny is not being discriminated against for being outlandish. He is not getting held down because of the utter nonsense he spews whenever there's a camera pointed in his general direction. He is not being disrespected because he is a "character." He is losing titles because he is a Code of Points moron. It is insane for anyone to play the "Johnny is a beautiful, misunderstood artist and is being oppressed by the establishment!"-card.

Johnny has won three National titles. He almost won a fourth. Evan opened the door tonight—he kicked it wide open—and Johnny didn't step through it. Plain and simple.

Also Johnny has an issue with evan...:
“I respect Evan as an athlete, but as a person I don’t really like him,” Weir said in the interview. “There’s nothing special about him to me. We would never be friends, and I wouldn’t even know who he was if we weren’t competing against each other.”

Just thought I'd post