Olympic Trials-Journal #3

Olympic Trials- Post 3

Tick, tick, tick … it must be game day. Time moves second by second and if I didn’t know better I would swear that the big hand on my watch just backed up one minute. Tick, tick tick. I feel like the 5 year old kid on Christmas eve, anticipating wonderful things coming soon. Tick tick tick.

Training on day 2 and 3 had the usual ups and downs. Day 2 was designated media day and the arena was jumping with reporters and photographers trying to get the big scoop or the unique photo. You can count on the athletes to shine a little brighter when the cameras are on. Such was the case on Wednesday. Jordyn looked fabulous.

She wired a few Amanars and as if scripted darted her final attempt… frozen perfection on the landing. Bars went better than ever with the consistency of her pirouetting skills finally showing promise. This is key if she plans on hanging in the All Around hunt. Past history has shown that she gives up .6-.8 on her 3 pirouetting skills. This has to improve and Jordyn has been very focused on this aspect of the routine. Beam went well after an initial bout of wobble fever. Connection bonus consistency is our area of concern on this event. She has potential for big scores here but aggressively connecting her front aerial series, the front handspring/back full/back handspring and her side aerial/side salto is essential. Floor was electric today (stuck double double and pike double) with very clean dance elements (the tour jete full is finally legit).

The media frenzy concluded with some post training interviews. I have never seen so many reporters at a gymnastics meet. The office says they credentialed over 250 media personnel. I guess there is a reason why gymnastics is the number one rated sport of the summer games.

Thursday had some bright spots in training but did not produce the consistency and quality I had hoped for. I think the initial excitement had dwindled a bit and things progressed to the usual grind. It wasn’t a bad training day, just not stellar.

Kathryn arrived around 7:30 pm having had to make sure our summer camp session that was in progress this week got the attention it deserved. The Twistars Summer Camps were busting at the seams this year and as owners we totally understand the importance of providing a quality experience for our campers. So we opted to bring Kathryn out to California after a couple of the training days. In any case, it is always good to have her calm, reassuring approach to coaching around. She keeps me in check and serves a very important role in our coaching team. She seldom gets the recognition she rightfully deserves, but those that know our program, know the importance of her contributions.

Jordyn’s health has been great (I just knocked on the wooden table) with the exception of a nagging little heal bruise. Not a whole lot you can do with this particular problem, so she wears a wrist band on her heal for a little extra padding. After training she logs a few minutes in the ice bucket in the training room. Speaking of the training room, it is staffed with several familiar faces.  Dr Alysia Green, who is one of my former athletes and sister to my first elite athlete (Melissa Green, USA National Team Member 1990-1994). The medical staff also consists of Lyndsey Wieber (yep Jordyn’s big sister) who is a currently in medical school and Krissy Sutton.

We caught a glimpse of the Wieber family last night while out with several friends for a nice dinner. They arrived on Thursday. Dave and Rita Wieber have been great parents to have on board for this process. Without loyal and supportive parents, the elite path can be quite agonizing, so having parents that seem to grasp the importance of their role is comforting. I’d be lying if I said the entire road has been paved with rose petals but I have to say the experience, and relationships have been far better than most I hear coaches talk about. Both are former accomplished athletes, so I think that background has helped form their understanding of what it takes in this OR any sport. Rita is a grin, an entertainer at heart (you should hear her Kareoke). She is also an accomplished writer (she was a columnist for our local paper) and has put that talent to great use by authoring Gym Mom, “The Twists and Turns of your daughters gymnastics career”. This book is a great read for parents and coaches alike and provides some useful insight into the world of parenting in the sport of gymnastics. Check out her website for further information at www.GYMMOM.net. The books are $19.95 and can be personally autographed by Jordyn for an additional $5.

A morning practice on game day is the norm. We water the requirements a bit (less numbers) and consider the opportunity as extra warm up time for the competition. We did one beam routine and a few combinations, a few layout timers on vault, some light conditioning during floor and on bars we did one routine and a few parts. There was a little drama on bars. I noticed a frustrated look on Jordyn’s face and discovered it had to do with the bars being reversed. Apparently the equipment guys switched the low and high bars so now the feel was totally different. This was a bit irritating and I let the AAI rep know about it in no uncertain terms. They promised to have them correct for the competition. Is it too much to ask to have the equipment set up CONSISTENTLY?

Tick, tick, tick