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American Cup 2014- The Year Of Ebee Commences

The American Cup this year should have been renamed "The Ebee Cup".  2012 Olympic Alternate Elizabeth "Ebee" Price is no longer the alternate but the champion.

Ebee gained the lead early on and never lost it. Really, the competition on the women's side went as expected. Ebee was looking fabulous and it was clear she felt great. Awesomeness and rays of light were shooting out of every pore in her body. Obviously, much to my chagrin, pink is now the power color of gymnastics. You wear pink and then you just win everything. At least she wasn't wearing that  horrible garish hot pink that the USA Gymnastics girls have come to love. It was a nice fuchsia leo with silver accents. Brenna wore the same leo, just in red.

Brenna Dowell came in second.  Giulia Steingruber came in third. The NBC broadcast followed Brenna and Ebee most of the time and then on the last rotation, they decided to show all the competitors.  Of course, they have to talk about how the SCAM cup is a breeding ground for America's next Olympian. It comes back to Nastia again, she's a SCAM winner too, ya know! I think maybe Tyra Banks should take over the production of the American Cup and Retitle it "America's Next Top Gymnast". Whatever.

Ebee started on vault with her super high and beautiful Amanar and almost stuck it, just had a small step forward and scored a super 15.7. Tim Daggett made the brilliant observation that everyone in the US is doing that vault. Really, it took you this long to realize that, Tim?

Brenna also does an Amanar. She had some form issues in the air, really pretty minor, some slightly bent knees. But, it was nice and high. She landed and took a good step forward. 15.6

NBC did not show this, but Giulia Steingruber did her Rudi. Fabulous as usual. Obviously, she never points her toes on that vault and she pikes down slightly early, but still very high and nice. 15.4

On bars, Brenna did her Tweddle- Ezhova connection which makes Tim Daggett and Nastia jump up and down with excitement and start dreaming of Beth Tweddle again. Bars this quad isn't turning out to be such a "weak" event for the US. They've got good bar workers in both Brenna and Ebee and they have some new seniors coming through the ranks who are talented on bars as well. At this point in the broadcast, Tim kept calling her "Brianna." Really Tim? Get the names of the athletes right, you've been doing this long enough. Brenna's score: 14.733. Judges killed her with 1.566 in deductions. I really think she was underscored.

Ebee of course, hits a great bar set. Perfect handstand positions and of course, the amplitude! A lot of powerful gymnasts sometimes struggle with bars (we will not mention names). But Ebee knows how to use her strength to her advantage on this event. She knows to swing with the bars and let the bars guide her on her flight elements. She's really one with the event, it's very zen. She scored a strong 15.2.

Apparently, NBC didn't have anyone else to show on bars, so they showed Vanessa Ferrari.  Bars is really not her event and it always looks like torture for her. She looks like she's just trying to get through and is just happy when it's done. I really prefer watching her on beam and floor.  14 even for Vanessa.

Ugh, my heart is broken from Roxana Popa's bar routine. Of course, I love her and she is adorable and I always want her to do well. She started off well, she did her beautiful in-bar Gienger and a beautiful Jaeger that was so extended and beautiful. But her Pak salto looked a little flat and she was a little close to the low bar and on her swing down, her feet brushed on the mat. She would have only lost .5 on that routine if that were it, but then Roaxana fell of the bars on her clear hip 1/2. Ugh.She wound up with a 12.233.

Moving onto beam,  Brenna is the first person shown on the beam.  She had a lot of really cool skills and combinations, like her front tuck mount and her full twisting back handspring, but the beam was not really her greatest event. Off the top, she was supposed to connect that front tuck to another leap, probably a split leap or a wolf jump, but she's off line a little bit and just does a one legged hop. She had some more balance checks in her routine, quite a big one after her full twisting back handspring. Her back-handspring to two foot layout was flat, so the judges obviously downgraded her from an E to a D on that element.   Nastia grew a pair and managed to point that out during the broadcast. It's only .1 difference, but with her lost connections here and there, it kills her D score. Brenna scored a 13.333.

A new trend I took note of was the amount of girls doing a split ring leap as opposed to a switch ring. There's nothing wrong with the former of the two. It's less difficulty, it's only a D element as opposed to an E (.4 value vs .5). But they're really flat and ugly a lot of the times. Vasiliki Millousi of Greece is someone who does a beautiful split ring, so really girls, take notes, please.

When Vanessa Ferrari went up on beam, Tim Daggett could not stop yapping about Vanessa being a previous world champion and still being a very strong international caliber gymnast. He kept saying how a long time ago "no one" would believe you if you told them this. Oh God, really? That's obnoxious and kind of insulting to Vanessa. She's 23, not 93, she's not 16 and fearless anymore, but that doesn't take away from the caliber of her gymnastics. It doesn't take away her ability to do the sport just as well (sometimes better) as her younger counterparts. Clearly Tim Daggett has forgotten about the glorious, Beth Tweddle, Sandra Izbasa, Catalina Ponor, Oksana Chusovitina, Mohini Bhardwaj, Alicia Sacramone etc. etc. I really hope Nastia smacked him after that comment.

Ugh, anyways... Vanessa isn't great on the bars, but she is interesting on beam. She does a really cool planche mount which she holds for an insanely longtime (my arms were tired looking at it). While everyone and their mother was doing the back handspring to two foot layout combo, she did a back tuck. Not the most difficult element she can do, but it is interesting and it is a nice change of pace. Aside from an ugly split ring, it was pretty good routine. Probably not the most difficult routine she could do, but whatever.

Next, Roxana Popa has to get her groove back after her fall on bars. She has a lot of interesting low beam work in the beginning of her routine. She does a standard back-handspring to layout step out series.  She was clearly still shaken up after her bar fall and she had a few wobbles and breaks in connections. She scored a 13.6

Who really was beautiful was Sophie Scheder of Germany. She is beautiful. She has beautiful long legs and she is always fully extended and elegant. She reaches 180 degrees on her splits with no problem and she just floats her acrobatic elements. She dismounts with an interesting laid out gainer off the beam. She does it with such beautiful precision. I like seeing athletes actually  using different elements in the code instead of the standard double pike and double tuck dismounts. I really would like to see more of her. She's so elegant.

Ebee was up next. She did her standing full, which is slightly underrated, but she doesn't let it phase her and she keeps going with the routine. She does a beautiful back-handspring to two foot layout combination that is beautiful, so high and precise. She has no problems and after a confident beam set, again, she's still ahead. Brenna is in second and Giulia Steingruber is in third.

Carlotta Ferlito is up after Ebee. She doesn't have a great beam routine, she has some wobbles and falls on an aerial cartwheel. She, like Vanessa Ferrari decides to do a split ring instead of a switch ring.  Her switch ring is much better than that split ring even with her forgetting to point her toes.  Obviously, Tim Daggett was trying really hard during the broadcast not to mention Carlotta's racist comments after the beam final in Antwerp. He talks about her MTV show, and how she's a "huge star" in Italy and her mom telling her not to cry on camera. Blah, blah, blah. He get's points for trying.

By the time the girls got to the floor exercise, all Ebee really had to do was walk on the floor and she was going to win. She pulled out all the stops to be sure she won. She opened with a double double and pulled off a double layout that was practically in the ceiling. She finished with a 14.5 and an all-around total of 59.966.

Vanessa Ferrari does a double double, a tucked full in to a standing back tuck. She get's a

Giulia Steingruber is shown for the first time during the broadcast. She does a beautiful double layout and a tucked full in. She scores a 13.933, giving her an all-around total of 57.332.

Brenna Dowell is now just wanting to hang on to second place. She does her double front pike as her first pass and has a small hop. Her second pass, a double layout, she lands completely out of bounds. She get's 13.866 and an all-around total of 57.532, .2 higher than Giulia Steingruber.

Victoria Moors showed up with her new floor routine. She did her Moors -double double layout- as her first pass, which she landed out of bounds and her standard double double tuck. Nice dance. I'm not really too crazy about the new floor routine. Maybe it's the music. It didn't really standout to me as much as the "Assasin's Tango" routine did. Or maybe it will grow on me.

And when everything is all said and done, it's time to go out bowling. Ha.

The mens side was a little more entertaining. If not because of Mr. USA Gymnastics, Sam Mikulak who took the men's cup title.

Who wouldn't love that face? Anyways, for a good portion of the competition, the men's competition was a race between Shogo Nonomura of Japan. Both of these guys are fantastic gymnasts and they both have enough difficulty and finesse to make watching them interesting.

Sam had an issue on parallel bars where he was supposed to swing up again, but he missed it, which made Tim Daggett almost faint. 

Shogo goes up and hits a clean routine, he pulls ahead of Sam.  Sam manages to pull out a clean high bar routine and for Shogo, high bar is his weakness. He falls and Sam wins. 

The end,

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