Beam oddly enough has been a place of struggle for the American’s recently. Before, nearly any American would have been fine to do beam in a team finals situation, but as we saw with Alyssa Baumann in 2014, the US was starting to need a specific gymnast for this event so they could keep up with hit routines from the Romanians, Russians, and Chinese.
Now, the situation isn’t as bad as it was earlier in the quad, but there is still a large spread between the scores of the top beam gymnasts. This first is the average of scores between the top contenders. In parenthesis is the number of scores used to take this average. Competitions include American Cup, Jesolo, Pacific Rim, Classics, and Nationals.
- Simone Biles – 15.500 (4)
- Laurie Hernadez – 15.280 (5)
- Aly Raisman – 15.036 (7)
- Ragan Smith – 14.932 (7)
- Gabby Douglas – 14.703 (5)
- Ashton Locklear – 14.288 (4)
- Madison Kocian – 14.100 (3)
Simone like usual is far and away the best on the event, showing why she is the two time reigning world champion on the apparatus. Laurie also showing her importance to the Rio team, bringing in over three tenths more in average than the fourth place gymnast Ragan who is also a beam specialist.
Aly shows consistency on the event. While her scores aren’t as high as Laurie and Simone, her average shows that she can be depended on to hit. Aly’s lowest beam score all year was a 14.75 at Jesolo.
I never really realized how much Ragan and Laurie have been competing for the same spot on the Rio team until this. I would consider both of their best events to be balance beam, however they both also have decent bar and floor routines as well as solid DTYs and have potential to be good all-arounders. It’s stunning though how much Laurie has pulled ahead of Ragan though. At the beginning of the year, they were both scoring around the same as each other but as the year went, Laurie continue to score in the 15.2/15.3 range where as Ragan started scoring in the mid 14s which dropped her average several tenths here.
Gabby is noticeably behind on beam, which is odd because I would have thought of Gabby to be a potential team finals gymnast on the event.
And for the battle of the bar specialists, Ashton has shown her readiness on the event more than Maddie has, however they would never touch the beam in a team finals situation unless multiple gymnasts go down, so their 14+ average would easily be enough to get through a prelims situation with no issues.
This next list is removing the highest and lowest score from the list and averaging the rest. If a gymnast only has three scores, the median score is used.
- Simone Biles – 15.600
- Laurie Hernandez – 15.283
- Aly Raisman – 15.030
- Ragan Smith – 15.000
- Gabby Douglas – 14.755
- Ashton Locklear – 14.300
- Madison Kocian – 14.250
The average of the top three gymnasts barely even changes, they are so consistent that it doesn’t particularly matter which scores are averaged, the final number would end up close to this. Laurie Hernandez especially has only scored two scores between five competitions (15.25 and 15.30).
Ragan’s average moves up a lot due her dropping her 14.30 from the first day of Nationals. Gabby’s average moves up due to her dropping a 14.20 from the first day of Nationals as well, but she also loses the only score she has over a 15 all year.
And again, the bar specialists show that they could do this in prelims but don’t bring enough to the event to contribute in team finals.
This last list will be the gymnasts single best score they’ve received this year.
- Simone Biles – 15.700
- Aly Raisman – 15.350
- Laurie Hernandez – 15.300
- Ragan Smith – 15.225
- Gabby Douglas – 15.050
- Ashton Locklear – 14.450
- Madison Kocian – 14.400
More of the same as the above lists have proven, except for the fact that Aly overtakes Laurie due to her 15.35 she got on day one of Nationals. Here are my loose predictions for Nationals scoring.
- Simone Biles – 15.60, 15.40
- Laurie Hernandez – 15.25, 15.40
- Aly Raisman – 15.30, 15.15
- Gabby Douglas – 14.85, 14.70
- Ragan Smith – 14.10, 14.80
- Ashton Locklear – 14.25, 14.30
- Madison Kocian – 14.40, 14.00
Simone Biles will remain at the top of the list. However, her last event on the second day of Trials is beam and I can imagine a “My legs are dead” moment happening again, just in a lesser extent. Laurie will remain consistent, however her beam routine is the last routine of the entire US Olympic Trials and I can easily imagine a Memmel-esque moment with her living up to expectations and completely nailing her beam to get a higher score than she has all year.
Aly will also remain consistent, with a possibility of an extra wobble or two on her second day of finals. I’m predicting Gabby will remain steady but unspectacular on beam, she’s been working really hard on that event after Marta reportedly told her to step it up on that and bars. But she lost some of her focus on bars on the second day of Nationals and so she’ll probably be thinking of that event more causing beam to go down just a few tenths from that competition.
Ragan Smith has shown at Nationals that she starts off a little shaky on two day competitions like this, so I’m predicting the same here.
Ashton and Madison will remain close as they have been all year, both hitting but neither really showing that they could contribute to the team on the event.