Saturday, March 7, 2015

What to Take Away From the American Cup

When the women's field was announced in January, all eyes were on Simone Biles to claim her first American Cup title.  When the competition ended, there was no surprise that Biles was on top, and won the meet in a dominating fashion.  The race for the silver and bronze medals were tight, and The 2015 American Cup was a fun meet to watch.  In the grand scheme of this year, what can we take away from the American Cup?

Biles retains her status as the best in the world
While the most of the world's top gymnasts were not in Arlington today, Biles still stood out as the front runner for this year's World Championships.  After starting the meet with an insane stuck Amanar that scored a 16.033, Biles hit every routine, and capped it off with a 16.00 floor routine, with a 6.8 difficulty score.  It is still early in the season, and we did not even see all of Biles' possible upgrades.  It is possible that by the Olympics, Simone will have a 7.0 difficulty score on floor.  That's unheard of!  Biles continues to blow away everyone that watches her gymnastics, and does not appear to slow down until after the Olympics next summer. 

Italy is looking strong
Italy had a banner year last year, culminating in a fifth place finish in the team finals, a sixth place finish in the All Around Final, and two floor finalists.  Ferrari had a decent vault, but struggled a little elsewhere.  Fasana finished with a surprise bronze medal, after having a fantastic floor, where she stuck all of her landings cold.  The momentum from this competition, as well as the domestic meets that have taken place in Italy over the past couple weeks, should carry over well throughout the rest of the year.  The Italians should be ones to watch to repeat their fifth place finish this year, although are not quite ready to break up the Big Four just yet.

The US Men's program is in need of some work
The American men are not quite up to the level their female counterparts are, and need to implement some changes to reach the top of the sport.  While team chemistry is there, the way the team is run is not up to par.  The American men are great on paper, but tend to fall apart in competition.  Something is to be said about how intimidating Marta Karyoli is, and the men are clearly missing that.  Something is needs to change about the way the men prepare for competition, and soon.

This year's World Championships should be a fun meet
While many of the major players sitting this meet out, it still proved to be a great meet.  When the Russians, Chinese, and Romanians are all in top shape, it should be interesting to see who makes the podium.  The Americans are looking solid thus far, with a lot of potential to be even more dominant.  The US women do not look ready to hand over their crown, and their competitors have a big challenge come October.

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