Bailie Key of Texas Dreams Gymnastics will not defend her title in the junior competition at this year’s P&G Championships in Pittsburgh, Penn., according to coach Kim Zmeskal-Burdette, who tweeted the news along with a blog explaining the decision.
15-year-old Key missed the 2014 Secret U.S. Classic last weekend due to an elbow injury for which she underwent a minor surgical procedure. Unfortunately, her elbow has not fully healed, and she and her coaches made the decision to withdraw “with her safety along with ‘big picture’ goals” in mind.
“It became an obvious decision, although not an easy one,” according to Texas Dreams, who thinks it is best that they “redirect to the next goals, and allow her to take a much-deserved breath before starting this next chapter of her career.”
“Our hope right now is that those with voices in the gymnastics community will choose to ‘cheers’ Bailie with us and realize that it is never easy to stand back and watch a competition of which you have worked to shine.”
Key has multiple national and international medals for her work within the sport including all-around gold medals in all eight competitions she’s entered over the past 14 months. Her start values and execution typically give her a comfortable two-point margin above her competition, and she was the favorite to add yet another all-around gold to her collection in Pittsburgh next week.
If you’re going to be injured, two years before the Olympics is the best possible timing – why risk further injury when a mid-quad junior national title isn’t the end goal? It’s a smart decision, similar to the one made by 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber when she found herself in a similar predicament at national championships in 2010.
Wieber rolled her ankle on beam in the first day of competition, falling three times before finishing her routine and then scratching the remainder of the meet as a precaution. She was already a proven champion with multiple titles under her belt and didn’t need or want to take any chances by competing in a meet she’d already won. She returned to competition happy and healthy in 2011, capping off a stellar year with the all-around gold medal at World Championships.
We have no doubt that Key will be back on the competition floor better than ever when she returns as a senior in 2015. “Cheers” to Bailie Key! Best of luck and a speedy recovery from all of us at The Gymternet.
Article by Lauren Hopkins