Sunday, June 24, 2012

U.S. Olympic Trials: Women’s Gymnastics

The U.S. Olympic Trials are taking place this coming weekend, and with only 5 gymnasts allowed on the team that’ll send 3 people up on each event, the competition is as fierce as ever.  The only way to guarantee spot on the team is to win the all-around competition at the trials.  So based on the countless YouTube videos of competitions and training since the last Olympics, these are my thoughts on who will be on the 2012 U.S. team. 

The 15 women that will compete at trials for a spot on the 2012 Olympic team. 

Courtesy of the USA Gymnastics Website.

Jordyn Wieber (Strengths: All-Around)
Jordyn is the reigning World All-Around Champion and is one of the most solid gymnasts the U.S. has.  She performs the super difficult Amanar vault (with a max score of 16.5), and she made the event finals for both balance beam and floor exercise.  Her one weakness is the uneven bars, on which she made a big mistake that almost cost her the gold.  She may not be the most elegant gymnast, but her difficulty levels are high, and she almost always hits her routines.  In the team competition, she’ll definitely be used on beam, floor, and vault.  Depending on who else is on the team, she might have to be the third score for bars.

Aly Raisman (Strengths: Beam, Floor, Vault)
At last year’s worlds, Aly won a bronze medal on floor and missed winning a medal on beam by less than .100 points.  She is the U.S.’s best floor worker and is one of the most consistent gymnasts on beam.  Her mental focus is something that Marta Karolyi has been praising since last year.  She can also perform the Amanar vault but not quite as well as some of the other girls.  Like Jordyn, the uneven bars is her nemesis and will definitely not be used in the team competition.  I will say, though, her bars routine at nationals was a lot better than at previous competitions.  She was actually keeping her legs together and feet pointed which will help her in the individual all-around.

Gabby Douglas (Strengths: All-Around)
Gabby’s best event is the uneven bars, which is the apparatus that the U.S. desperately needs better scores on.  She scored a 15.850 on the second day of nationals, which is comparable to what the Russian and Chinese gymnasts can put up on bars.  Gabby can also be great on the rest of the events, but she has fallen off the beam a couple of times in competitions.  She is going to make the team on her bars strength alone, and it doesn’t hurt that when she is on, she has been very competitive with Jordyn Wieber in all-around competitions.

This is where things get tricky.  The team can only have 5 members, so with only two spots left, the U.S. really need bar workers in order to be competitive with the other countries.  My prediction for the fourth spot goes to Nastia Liukin.  She has trained really hard since nationals two weeks ago and will be able to score a high 15 or low 16 on the uneven bars and a low 15 on the balance beam.  She did horribly at nationals but had only barely begun training bars because of a shoulder injury earlier this year.  I bet her dad whips her into shape Russian-style.

The last spot then goes to McKayla Maroney.  She is the reigning world champion on vault and has scored over 16 points.  She’s decent on floor and not great on beam or bars, which makes her a complement to Nastia.  One thing to note is that she suffered a mild concussion at nationals, so let’s just hope she recovers fully because her vaults are seriously amazing to watch.

The one person that I have left off the list who is definitely in contention is Kyla Ross.  She just entered the senior ranks this year and is a good all-arounder with a bars routine that is pretty good.  Nastia needs to be amazing to take the spot away from Kyla Ross.

Team Prediction: Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Nastia Liukin and McKayla Maroney.

Balance Beam
Jordyn Wieber
Nastia Liukin
Aly Raisman

Uneven Bars
Nastia Liukin
Gabby Douglas
Jordyn Wieber

Floor Exercise
Aly Raisman
Gabby Douglas
Jordyn Wieber

McKayla Maroney
Jordyn Wieber
Gabby Douglas or Aly Raisman


I feel pretty bad for Nastia..

Oh well. I totally thought she had it in her. Luckily, I did leave room in my prediction for it to be Kyla Ross instead of her.

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