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