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Pro Gymnastics Challenge Night One

The much hyped debut of the Pro Gymnastics Challenge has finally arrived. All this talk about "gymnastics as you've never seen it" piqued my attention for sure.

 This is the deal. It's a skill for skill challenge, literally like the promos said. It's supposed to be in the spirit of X-Games and things like that. The format is two teams, seven rotations. Team USA vs Team World, which is exactly what NBC wants to make every televised international competition seem like, but I digress. Besides, this is ESPN and ESPN is actually owned by Buena Vista or ABC. That's beside the point.

How it works: each team selects the gymnasts they want to compete on each event. It's not scored with the CoP you'd see at an FIG event. Each athlete performs a skill and the athlete from the defensive team must match the skill. The team that completes the skill the best, gets a point. The first team to get to six points, wins the rotation and a handsome $16,000.

First event is tumbling.
Up first for team USA was Paul Ruggeri doing a double laid out Arabian  Matching skills for team world, Brazilian Gymnast, Jade Barbosa. Ruggeri is flawless and Barbosa comes out strong but pikes down on the landing. One point, USA. Next, there is Chellsie Memmel doing her favorite skill, a double layout. She gets nice and high and  lands clean. Matching her is Marissa King, whose layout I actually preferred, but whatever. Score another point for USA. Jessica Lopex of Venezsuela throws a double arabian and the commentators keep calling her J.Lo, so I've decided I'm calling her J.Lo 2.0. I much prefer this J.Lo to the original (this J.Lo went to the University of Denver, DU, and she never dated Diddy, as far as  I know). Vanessa Zamarripa performs a nice Dos Santos double pike arabian but UK's Sam Oldham one up's her and team world gets the point.  Team World's Lisa Mason over rotates a triple full and goes double or nothing and  Jake Dalton gets two points for team USA.Team USA won the tumbling round with Paul Ruggeri throwing a 3 1/2 twist to standing punch tucked full twist and sticks the landing.

Next rotation, uneven bars for the girls and parallel bars for the boys. This is an interesting rotation and this is where the competition gets heated. The USA is not a strong team on the uneven bars and team world has athletes on their team who are really strong uneven bar workers. First up for the ladies team world and team USA is Vanessa Zamarripa and J.Lo 2.0. The skill - mount the uneven bars, Maloney transfer to high bar land in handstand, bail to handstand. Zamarripa looses it on the bars and  J.Lo 2.0 takes the point for team  Brandon Wynn gets a point for Team USA on the parallel bars by doing a giant to 1/2 twist roll out. Chuso, my over 30 idol, gets another point for team world by doing a transfer to high bar, and giant swing to hop full pirroette. Team USA's Brie Olson is unable to match the skill. Team World wins the Bars round with Tommy Ramos doing a peach to full tuck that Jake Dalton was unable to match.

Tomorrow night begins with the vault rotation.

The Coaches:
Blaine Wilson & Nastia Liukin Team USA
Svetlana Boguinskaya Team World

The Athletes :
Team USA
Chellsie Memmel
Vanessa Zamarripa
Jana Bieger
Brie Olson
Ashanee Dickerson
Shayla Worley
Alyssa Prichett
Noel Couch
Allina Weinstein
Kat Ding
Jake Dalton
Paul Ruggeri
Jonathan Horton
John Orozco
Brandon Wynn
Steven Legendre
Alex Naddour

Team World
Oksana Chusovitina
Anna Pavolva
Lisa Mason
Marissa King
Jessica Lopez
Catalina Ponor
Nathalia Sanchez
Jade Barbosa
Laura Ann Chong
Sam Oldham
Petrix Barbosa
Andrew Smith
Tommy Ramos
Nathan Gafuik

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