I have not read the entire thread (I have only skimmed through some of it) but from what I can gather the discussion centers on which of these gymnasts has a better chance of making the 2012 team.
If we met in a coffee shop and you asked me my opinion (and you did by virtue of reading my blog) I would tell you there is no answer two years before the Olympics.
We just don’t know if Alicia can get back to where she was being away from competition for two years and a year away from serious training. We don’t know if Kayla can handle the pressure of being a World Champion and as it stands right now the answer to that question is no (Look at her scores at the recent camp)
Kayla vs Alicia
Uneven Bars: Alicia doesn’t train them and Kayla shouldn’t be training them. Just pretend this event doesn’t exist for either of them. Even if Kayla competes the event she won’t touch an UB at a World or Olympic event under any circumstances. IMO Alicia wasn’t that bad at bars back in her day but she again isn’t touching the event at a World competition. If either ever go near the uneven bars again then Marta is in big trouble.
Balance beam: Alicia: has some nice skills and is very aggressive on this event. She has also improved through the years and was a bobble away from making the event finals at the Olympics. Don’t let her Olympic melt down take away what she accomplished on the beam from 03-08. That fall should not define the improvement she made through the years on beam. That being said I can’t say I would want to count on her for beam if I needed her score. She had been shaky on beam all through 2008.
Kayla: Bent knee’s are her weakness. She also doesn’t hit the full 180 degree in her split leaps ever (floor or beam) she actually has a nice quality on the event but if she can’t hit a full split then that makes her pretty unusable on beam.
Floor: Alicia and Kayla can both tumble but to write this blog I watched several of their floor routines one after the other and Kayla doesn’t hold a candle to Alicia on floor. Alicia sells her routine and occasionally has some choreography (though not much in her later routines) Watching Kayla on floor makes me cringe. There is a reason she was level ten the year before she went to Worlds. Below is Alicia’s College prelim routine from the National Championships when she competed for Brown University. Not the same difficulty as her elite routine but pretty good overall. IMO she was underscored on this event. I can’;t even bring myself to link that mess Kayla call’s a floor routine.
Vault: Both gymnasts compete the same two vaults but while Kayla might be World Champion ( in the weakest field I can remember for vault) Alicia Sacramone is clearly the better vaulter. Alicia has great form on her vaults (unlike the mess Kayla calls a second vault) and is much more powerful then Kayla. Alicia also gets better block off the horse, has better distance and has much more height.
Kayla won the World title in a field that was lacking anyone but the Olympic Champion who fell twice. Fact is Hong Un-Jong wouldn’t even be Olympic Champion if Cheng Fie had not fallen a part at the Olympics. She had two messy vaults and pretty much lucked out.
If Alicia had competed at the 2009 Worlds like she did at the Olympics her vaults would have easily out scored Kayla. Plus the two vaults Kayla did at World in 09 wouldn’t have been top 5 at the Olympics the year before.
Rumor has both Alicia and Kayla training the Amanar vault but who is to say that the US will even need them come 2012? Many of the juniors have already performed them in competition. There is no doubt in my mind that the US will be planning on using Nastia Liukin for bars and beam and with the 5 member limit in 2012 a vault specialist might not even be a need by then.
The Olympics are two years away. Anything can happen but if both gymnasts are healthy come 2012 and only one could be used for the team I would take Alicia in a heartbeat over Kayla.