Surprise: Katelyn Ohashi. I have to confess, given her lackluster (by her standards) performance at the 2012 U.S. Championships, Ohashi had die-hard gym fans wondering whether she wasn't going to flame out early in the quad.
Suffice to say, the 2013 American Cup champ silenced the doubters about as to whether she's losing it. In fact, she seems to have made progress in some areas (power tumbling and vault) while gaining consistency elsewhere (beam). Love the new floor routine as well.
Surprise: Jake Dalton on pommel horse. We knew he could tumble and we knew he could vault, but 2012 Olympian Jake Dalton's most interesting routine of the American Cup might have been pommel, the event he struggles on most.
Krisztian Berki he'll never be, but Dalton's horse set in Worcester was maybe the best of his career, and set him up for his somewhat surprise win in the all-around competition.
Surprise: New confidence from Victoria Moors. What a difference an Olympics can make! Moors, who was quite shy with the media in 2012, seemed like a completely different person at the American Cup, chatting it up and expressing herself on and off the mat. Nowhere was her newfound confidence more evident than on balance beam, the event that has given her the most problems in the past. Her routine in Worcester was the most confident she's ever looked up there.
I wonder if Moors, who has passed from being the baby of Team Canada to one of the leaders in 12 short months, was also feeling like she wanted to set a good example of confidence for Canada's new promising rookie, Maegan Chant? If so, the role obviously suits her.
No surprise: Early days in men's gymnastics. The men tumbled like it was September in March, with mixed results. Props to them for going for routines that they'll use later this year, but the numerous mistakes, especially on men's floor, were not too shocking given how early it is in the season.
Surprise: Danell Leyva. Leyva was full of surprises this weekend: There was the surprise Friday sickness (a surprise to Leyva as well, no doubt) which left him weak right before the competition. The bigger surprise was that after he took himself out of the running for the all-around title during the first event (when's the last time you saw someone balk on floor?), that he kept going through the next five.
Leyva's been competing so hard for so long that perhaps we (and maybe he) needed to be reminded that he's only human, and that fighting through a meet and finishing it with honor can be just as good as winning a title.
Surprise: The delightful Gabby Jupp. The first-year senior from Britain was a blogger favorite throughout the meet. The dainty floor routine, full of clever touches, and the fact that she swings bars like Elise Ray are going to endear her to many, many gymnastics lovers.
No surprise: Simone Biles's power. What was surprising was that a) she led the competition after uneven bars, the event where Katelyn Ohashi was expected to make up the ground she lost to Biles on vault, and b) that Jonathan Horton informs us that she's able to do a triple twisting Yurchenko, onto stacked mats no less. Could she be the one to finally break out a TTY?
Biles struggled a bit on her pike Tkatchev during podium training, but hit her bars set like a pro during the meet. As for beam, it will come around.
Surprise: Real choreography on women's floor exercise. There wasn't a single routine that seemed genetically engineered to please a D-panel. Instead, we got enjoyable artistry and nothing robotic from the eight female gymnasts.
Surprise: Vanessa Ferrari's form. Some of the best bars of her career in Worcester, among other things. Sometimes, when an athlete has been around forever and competed in more than one Olympics you expect them to fade away in the new quad. But it doesn't look like Ferrari, who is currently using gymnastics winnings to pay her living expenses in Italy, is going anywhere. In fact, she looks among the best she's ever looked. She was undercut by the judges in execution points on more than one event, I thought.
Surprise: Stoicism is out. Brigid has a must-see photo of Biles and Ohashi clowning around with grins a yard wide on their faces while the gymnasts present themselves to the floor judges. Sure, the Little Girls in Pretty Boxes era is long over, but when is the last time you saw two gymnasts having this much fun off a medal podium?