Biles, Ross Lead U.S. World Championships Team

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This evening, USA Gymnastics announced the U.S. team that will be sent to World Championships in Nanning, China this October.

2013 World Champion and two-time national champion Simone Biles of World Champions Centre headlines the team alongside 2012 Olympic champion and three-time World silver medalist Kyla Ross of Gym-Max. The team also includes Alyssa Baumann, Madison Desch, Madison Kocian, Ashton Locklear, and MyKayla Skinner. The alternate will be selected after podium training.

The non-traveling alternate is Brenna Dowell who, despite competing the all-around at camp, unfortunately didn’t look ready for major international competition this summer after injuring her ankle in July.

Otherwise, there are no real surprises here, as these were the seven healthiest top-performing U.S. athletes available after a string of injuries took girls like McKayla Maroney, Lexie Priessman, Peyton Ernst, Maggie Nichols, and Rachel Gowey out of contention.

Despite the injuries, Team USA has shown their incredible depth in their ability to pick a top-tier team with at least five World Championships team hopefuls taking the year off. Biles is poised to repeat her all-around title and is the favorite for vault and floor as well, while five of the seven named could realistically make the uneven bars final.

Desch – the likely alternate here – was a more realistic choice than other potential alternate Amelia Hundley when you look at their events side by side. While Desch had some rough routines at nationals, Hundley fell twice on floor – her best event – and downgraded her vault. Desch has a lovely bar routine, and after Nichols withdrew from event finals at Pan Ams, even managed to sneak into the floor final. If you look at Hundley’s three events in Mississauga compared to Desch on the same three, Desch outscored Hundley by a few points, and likely also had a stronger selection camp.

It could be a very successful year for the young team. They leave for China early next week.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

11 thoughts on “Biles, Ross Lead U.S. World Championships Team

  1. I love Maddie Desch, and I’ve wanted nothing more for her to just succeed and hit her routines for the last couple of years, but she is by far the most surprising selection for the team. Like, I would’ve been less surprised if Amelia or Felicia had been named. Also, I am just gutted for Brenna. Poor girl can never catch a break.

    My guess is that Maddie will end up being the alternate. It’s just so surprising to me that she’s on the team at all.

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  2. Is Al Fong going to protest if another one of his gymnasts is named an alternate again this year??:) The US picked the right team IMO based on the strongest athletes right now as per the above commentary. Best of luck to the US team!!

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  3. Can Kocian do all four events right now? I’m just wondering who else will competing AA in qualifications. Baumann vs Skinner vs Kocian? (Desch?)

    I feel pretty terrible for Brenna Dowell. Hopefully she can look back on her elite career and feel it was worth it. If she truly is aiming for the Olympics too, I hope she doesn’t have any injuries to set her back.

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  4. About a month and a half a way, I definitely wouldn’t have predicted this team. Amazing how much a few weeks and injuries to some key people changed things dramatically. But there wasn’t really a whole lot of mystery in determining this team with what was left. Nevertheless, I think this team can get the job done.

    I have to admit I feel for Brenna Dowell. Surely she was hoping for more in her elite career the past two years. A shame it just never worked out. But I’m really glad she has OU ahead. She couldn’t be joining their team at a better time in the upcoming season. No doubt she’ll add a great deal to their program. I’m sure she’ll really enjoy the experience there.

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  5. Pingback: World Championship Team Master List | The Gymternet

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