The U.S. Women from Nationals to Trials

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 11.44.45 PM

Finally, my thoughts are in enough order to discuss the U.S. women. I’m not going to rehash everything that happened at the U.S. Championships last week and I’m not going to argue #Mashton to death.

Instead, what I will do here is use nationals to play Martha Karolyi a little bit in an effort to preview this week’s Olympic Trials. I’ll discuss several of the best options for the team, each gymnast’s chances at making the team, where they’ll fit if they do make it, and what they’ll need to prove to Karolyi if they haven’t done so already.

If you missed nationals, or just casually googled gymnastics and somehow ended up here, the gist of the competition can be summed up here:

  • Simone Biles won because Simone Biles wins everything and we’re not worthy of breathing the same air as a woman who is singlehandedly dismantling everyone’s dreams with her perfection (and even when she isn’t perfect – like on the second day of competition where her legs kind of gave out on beam causing her to only score a 15.1).
  • If Aly Raisman was a question mark for the team after her performances at worlds, Jesolo, and Pac Rims, she showed a boost in confidence at the U.S. Classic earlier in June and then at nationals, asserted herself as a lock on the team. It’s 2012 Aly Raisman all over again and I actually cry almost every single time she competes because that’s normal.
  • Newcomer Laurie Hernandez shut out the reigning Olympic champion Gabby Douglas for bronze, with Douglas muddling through a few of her routines this weekend while Hernandez was like “What back-to-back injuries? What pressure?” and placed in the top three on everything but vault.
  • Madison Kocian and Ashton Locklear continue to be exactly the same person, with the exception that Locklear is like two tenths better in terms of her bars execution while Kocian is two tenths better in terms of her difficulty. Kocian also came back on vault and floor, proving to Martha Karolyi that she has something to offer the team in a just-in-case situation, which actually happened in 2012 when Kyla Ross had to step in as a last-minute replacement on floor. Karolyi is #TeamMadison.
  • We saw a return from Maggie Nichols on bars and beam, the two events on which she’ll least be expected to contribute, though she trained vault and floor and is planning on bringing her Amanar back for trials.

Following the competition, Karolyi didn’t officially name anyone to the team, though she pretty much flat out said that Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, Douglas, and Kocian are looking the best for it. And I agree, especially with the first four, even though Douglas still hasn’t shown yet this summer that she’s at the top of her game. As usual, her competition this early on looked a bit uninspired, though after she made a mistake on bars during the second night, she came back with a menacing beam set and it’s how I want her to perform always. Last year, Douglas placed fifth at nationals and went on to win the silver all-around medal at worlds, and in 2012, she was about 75% of the gymnast she was just two weeks later at trials, so I question those who are so willing to count her out this early. She’ll get there. It’s her M.O.

I also think there could be a little shake-up with the fifth spot. Well, actually, I don’t really, because Karolyi has said her team hasn’t changed in months and if that’s the case, one more meet won’t change her mind. But my alternative team doesn’t include Kocian and instead considers Nichols in her 2015 worlds shape as someone who can more evenly balance out the team, so I’d like to talk about that. With Kocian, a problem comes up with who competes in the all-around in qualifications. But Nichols on the team in a vault and floor specialist role leaves the other spots open to three all-arounders and one bars and beam specialist, making it an equal distribution that would be perfect…if only the team had a legitimate Kyla Ross-esque bars and beam specialist. Because as good as Kocian is at bars, the beam hole is a problem. If she goes, you essentially need someone to cover everything but bars.

With Biles obviously competing all four events in qualifications, the two remaining all-around spots are between Raisman, Hernandez, and Douglas. Based on the competition at nationals, Raisman and Hernandez have fully earned those spots, but you never know what Douglas will bring to the table at trials, so she – plus Nichols’ readiness – are the wildcards. If Douglas shows up and comes within a few tenths of the other two both days, you can honestly justify any of them for the two spots, though what most don’t consider is that the business side of the sport does actually come into play for decisions like these, putting Raisman and Douglas one step ahead of the new kid Hernandez, who is on the NCAA track and won’t pull in endorsements and sponsors with her finish in Rio. It sounds crazy, but for real, this sport is a huge business, especially in the Olympic year. If these three are on the same page and it doesn’t really matter who competes all four because they’re equally good, money and marketability could be the deciding factor.

On a team with Kocian, this would take Hernandez out on bars, where she stands to bring in one of the strongest scores, but on a team with Nichols, Hernandez moves into that bars/beam specialist role, which is fitting when you think about it…while floor is her showy event, she’s not particularly as high-scoring there, but could bring in great scores if needed.

But okay. Both Kocian and Hernandez defeated Douglas on bars at nationals, so…what does it look like if Douglas is the one in this trio to come out? In this scenario, beam suffers a bit in qualifications with Kocian going up, sure, but it’s only qualifications…and Kocian did a fine enough job at worlds qualifications on the event last year, actually outscoring Douglas, who fell. So maybe the ideal choice would be to remove Douglas from the picture. What would a team that features Biles, Raisman, and Hernandez in the all-around, Nichols on vault and floor, and Kocian on bars and beam be able to accomplish compared to teams that feature Douglas but scrap either Nichols or Kocian?

Here are a few of the scenarios below, using averages of all meets from fall 2015 until the present day. The first three listed in each scenario are the all-arounders, and I included both qualification and team final scores. Note that qualifications are actually four-up three-count but I included the fourth score so you can see what the drop is like between the two (if you subtract the second score from the first, that’s the number dropped).

TEAM VT UB BB FX TOTAL
Biles, Raisman, Douglas, Hernandez, Kocian 61.368
46.468
59.516
45.611
59.826
45.173
60.366
45.778
241.076
183.030
Biles, Raisman, Douglas, Hernandez, Nichols 61.856
46.723
59.070
45.067
59.826
45.173
60.610
46.022
241.362
182.985
Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, Nichols, Kocian 61.623
46.723
59.492
45.489
59.543
45.173
60.753
46.022
241.411
183.407

Now again, remember that this is assuming that Nichols is at her 2015 worlds shape on vault and floor, which she might not be, and that Douglas is going to look the way she did at nationals, which as we all know can change. Team two, with healthy Nichols over Kocian, picks up a few tenths in qualifications but finishes half a tenth behind in team finals, which is nothing. Either could go and be fine, with the difference being that Kocian can realistically challenge for a medal on bars while Nichols doesn’t have a standout medal event.

But neither does Douglas, really, unless her bars really improve. The scenario with no Douglas means the team final score could improve by nearly half a point, using specialists to maximize on not just one event, but three. If I was in charge of picking the team right this second, I’d take that last option and it’s nothing to do with Douglas looking weaker than usual. My reasoning has more to do with the fact that it’s difficult to justify where she’d go up in a team final situation aside from bars (and even then, Biles has been just a tenth away from her on average).

Douglas is pretty much equally fantastic across the board, with that little boost on bars, but in general when it comes to top three routines, she doesn’t really make that happen. Or at least hasn’t made that happen yet this year. Using the six biggest team contenders above, here’s where they stand on each event, based on averages. You’ll see that bringing Douglas is akin to bringing a second bars specialist whereas Nichols would contribute on both vault and floor in a team final situation.

Vault
1. Biles
2. Nichols
3. Raisman
4. Douglas
5. Hernandez
6. Kocian
Bars
1. Kocian
2. Hernandez
3. Douglas
4. Biles
5. Nichols
6. Raisman
Beam
1. Biles
2. Hernandez
3. Raisman
4. Douglas
5. Kocian
6. Nichols
Floor
1. Biles
2. Raisman
3. Nichols
4. Hernandez
5. Douglas
6. Kocian

Unless, of course, Nichols isn’t fully back while Douglas comes out at trials and murders her events, hits an Amanar, and blows everyone away. This makes her a leading contender, actually, someone who can contribute routines on pretty much every event like she did in London. That’s the Douglas I want to see in San Jose this weekend and I think that’s who Karolyi wants to see as well. It would also be pretty controversial for Karolyi to leave Douglas behind based on how well she’s done this quad, and like I said, there’s always that business aspect to consider. I don’t think Karolyi will give Douglas the axe for Nichols, unless Nichols shows up in the shape she was in last October and makes things tricky. But I do think it’s something to consider when analyzing the team puzzle as a whole, given how much depth this country has.

Are you wondering about Locklear? Seriously, insert her into any of those Kocian spots above and she seamlessly creeps right on in with almost no change. The one difference, again, is the whole “she doesn’t train two events” aspect, which Karolyi absolutely has noticed and is taking into consideration.

You can also consider a team with Biles, Raisman, and Hernandez plus both bars specialists, which comes in at about 183.330, the second-best of these scenarios. But while it’s quantitatively a good team, you have literally no back-up if one of the three all-arounders were to get injured, meaning Kocian would go up on all four events in team finals. Sure, they could probably still win, but it’s not ideal and we all know Karolyi isn’t exactly a fan of throwing out risks of that magnitude.

Now begs the question does it really matter whether this team scores a 183.407 or a 182.985? Will those five tenths matter when the team that can come closest is likely to finish several points back? China looks fantastic right now, but they won’t get within half a point of the U.S. team unless the Americans count a couple of falls, at least. But seriously, in looking at all of these team scenarios, the one thing jumping out in my mind is that as long as this team has a strong core, the fifth spot can go to literally any of the 14 competing at trials and the U.S. would still come out on top.

By the way, like Biles and Raisman, there’s no way Hernandez gets left behind in any scenario. For those of you who are huge fans of the 16-year-old kid from New Jersey who first wowed the crowd with her sassy floor routine at twelve, she will be on this team barring major drama or injury. Commentators have called her out for her bars and floor, but actually her beam – consistently second to Biles on the event all season long – is what gets her plane ticket to Rio scanned. It was the weakest for the U.S. women at worlds last year, and had she been eligible to compete in Glasgow, she would’ve added at least a half point to the overall team total. It helps, of course, that her bars are fantastic and she’s brilliant to watch on floor, but this kid is absolutely 100% going for beam.

Now for the rest. I think among the seven I haven’t covered, MyKayla Skinner and Ragan Smith stand out as next “most likely to make the team” even if I don’t see it happening at all this year. Skinner is a huge loss, with a potential medal on the line, similar to the position Alicia Sacramone found herself in four years ago. She could conceivably fit into one of the Nichols spots above, and actually gets a boost above Nichols because of that medal potential, but I don’t see her floor – while looking better – as strong enough to make her a legitimate option. The fact is that someone like Douglas scores similarly enough on both events so while Skinner wins out on the potential vault medal, Karolyi prefers consistent all-arounders and makes the team a priority over individual medals, which gives Skinner a disadvantage (though if this was a six-member team, she’d be my sixth member in a heartbeat).

Smith, on the other hand, was a big name coming into nationals and only fell a bit in people’s minds because of her rough first day of competition, where mistakes on her two best events left her lagging behind. She came into this season like a mini Raisman, shining on beam and floor and I’d actually say her beam might be stronger than Raisman’s as a total package. But what she lacks – in addition to a strong enough vault for team finals – is the confidence that Raisman has brought back into the mix. She showed at nationals that she’s still very much a kid just excited to be here, even if she has the skills and the talent.

Then there’s my secret favorite, Amelia Hundley. I can go on for years about Hundley, who emerged at 12 as the kind of junior elite you’d think would spend a couple of years trying to work her way up the ranks before quietly moving back to level 10. But even in the shadow of teammate Lexie Priessman, Hundley managed to assert herself as one of the top juniors in the country, earning assignments that took her well into her senior career, even despite growth spurts and injuries. At 18, Hundley is in her seventh season as an elite with six years of international experience under her belt, and while she’s never been “the best of the best,” she showed at nationals that she should absolutely be in the running for an alternate spot thanks to her incredible consistency and maturity.

As for the remaining four – Rachel Gowey, Brenna Dowell, Christina Desiderio, and Emily Schild – I don’t think any will really fit into the picture, though Gowey and Dowell could have had things worked out a little differently for them. In this talk about a bars/beam specialist, Gowey looked like she might be working her way up to something big based on what we saw last summer, but just hasn’t been able to bring what the team could use at the Olympic level, whereas Dowell has the skills but hasn’t yet shown the mental toughness needed to make her reliable.

The other two are basically lucky to be here, and will hopefully enjoy the experience without any of the pressure that comes with trying to make the team. Being that far behind and without any events to really contribute, they must know the reality of their situation, and hopefully they approach it like Kennedy Baker did in 2012. Baker seemed to be having the most fun at trials, not attempting to make it to London but rather doing her best, hitting her routines, and walking away proud and happy with a job well done.

Desiderio’s inclusion here means her gym, Parkettes, has placed an athlete at trials every Olympic cycle for 40 years, and with Schild on the roster, it means Everest – a gym that I don’t think has ever been to trials before – will have the most gymnasts competing in San Jose this weekend. Watch for Desiderio’s powerful tumbling on floor and her grace on beam, and keep an eye out for the tiny Schild’s big DTYs and clean, difficult bars.

I overwhelmed myself with this post, so I apologize. But I’m sure Karolyi has been through similar thought processes and it’s always fun to analyze what different combinations of people could pull it off, though everyone is so impossibly close, it almost doesn’t matter. Even with all of my numbers and scheming and strategizing, I still think the team that will represent in Rio is going to include Biles, Raisman, Douglas, Hernandez, and Kocian, unless Nichols comes in and makes herself impossible to ignore. But no matter who ends up going, this group is crazy deep and the lowest-ranked finisher this weekend would be more than welcome on pretty much any other team in the world.

I hope you enjoy the suspense and drama of the announcement and come Sunday, I’m sure we’ll all be crying together along with the girls. Especially Raisman. I am so prepared for a good old fashioned 2012-style ugly cry.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

Advertisements

98 thoughts on “The U.S. Women from Nationals to Trials

  1. With the team without Douglas, who is the third person going up on bars in team finals? I assume by numbers it’s Simone but Marta has never had Simone do team final bars. How much if you were to put Maggie in instead?

    Like

  2. I dont really see where douglas will contribute aside bars and vault which she is not even outstanding there. She dosnt even stand a chance for an event medal. Well if i were to be Martha, the team is super cool without her, I can replace her with Ashton (another bar specialist) or Skinner. These two have a shot for an event medal. Biles and Raisman can do all 3 events Lauren can do 4 and there are still 2 spots for 2 bar specialist. With them, we can are sure of at least one event medal on bars. Well let’s see how trials go.

    Like

  3. This is a very nice and interesting analysis. I agree with your team picks because of how risk averse Martha is. How late can Martha replace a team member with an alternate? Is the team set before qualifications? I’m really down on Gabby after the last two meets – it’s a bummer if she makes the team with poor performances.

    Like

    • I actually asked this question and Lauren answered it in a “You asked” series. You have to name your team 24 hours before the competition starts, but you can petition up to the time competition starts, which means, realistically, you can replace an injured athlete up until the girls walk out onto the floor, as I understand it, either for quals or finals.

      Like

      • If that’s the case, then why wasn’t Sam Peszek replaced in 2008 for team finals? And also, why would there be so much concern that Ashton doesn’t compete 2 events if an injured all arounder could be replaced by an alternate (all arounder) right up until the competition? The likelihood of them falling injured during the TF competition is really low.

        Like

      • Listen to the Gymcastic episode with Dr. Larry Nassar. USA Gymnastics tries to avoid using alternates at all costs because of how the USOC treats injured gymnasts. They were horrified by how Morgan White was treated in 2000.

        Like

      • Jessica- how was Morgan White treated in 2000? I know she broke her ankle and was replaced with an alternate, but what did the USOC do? Haven’t heard that side and would like to. Matthew- I think the gymnasts can be replaced up until qualifications, but not in team finals. So if someone gets injured during qualifications or in training practice the day in between qualifications and team finals, then the team would be in trouble if both bars specialists were in attendance, leaving Madison to compete on events other than bars. That was my understanding of Lauren’s answer anyways.

        Like

      • The team also does a media run prior to the olympics complete with photo shoots and interviews, I think another reason they’re so averse to alternates, is they don’t want to worry about explaining what happened to a gymnast after America learns her name – especially from a business standpoint.

        Like

      • IIRC, Dr. Nassar basically explained that an athlete is erased from history if they are taken off an Olympic team. With Morgan, I think he said that they cut up her credentials in front of her and escorted her out of the athletes’ village.

        Like

      • I was under the impression by many that you can not replace an athlete after the Opening Ceremonies?

        Either way in discussing the treatment of Morgan White, basically the athlete is completely erased from the Olympics. They are not considered Olympians, must turn in their credentials, warm-ups, leos, anything Olympics related and leave the village immediately. They do not get a medal, they get nothing. It’s as if they were never named to the team. Especially the way Dr. Nasser described it, it would be quite the traumatic and heart breaking experience for anyone, but especially teenagers.

        (It is not this way in every sport, Dr Nasser specifically brought up the example that in wrestling if you weigh in above your weight class and can’t compete you don’t have to leave, get to keep everything and are still an Olympian.)

        Like

    • I agree. It makes me a little angry because, unlike others, it seems as though she is always rewarded for these poor performances, with the expectation that she “will pull it together when it counts”. What about the girls who are continually showing that they are reliable and consistent? I like Gabby, but placing her on the Olympic team makes me weary because she IS unreliable. She seems to struggle with confidence and nerves a little bit, something I thought would have perhaps improved after winning an Olympic AA medal.

      Like

  4. Fantastic work as always, Lauren. Maggie is the one to watch for sure. Gabby will also be interesting to watch, but Maggie is the one I’m most interested in seeing. I hope she kills it.

    Like

    • This might be slightly controversial, but I hope that at Trials, the choice between Gabby and Maggie is absolutely stark, whichever way it goes. (I hate the “she should have been on the teeeeeeeeeeam” arguments that go on for years!) That is, either one of them BRINGS IT on bars and has an clean a.f. Amanar, but not both of them!

      Like

  5. Sad about Ragan Smith, and Alyssa Baumanns injury. Also, I wonder how this would’ve changed if Bailie Key and Norah Flatley and Jazmyn Foberg had continued this year with competition. I REALLY hope Maggie kills it and proves that she should be on the team, with all her hard work, she deserves it. Best of luck to everyone competing this weekend!

    Like

  6. Great article, I’ve been thinking about all these scenarios so much. Why which way an incredibly talented and deserving gymnast loses out, such is the depth of talent the US can choose from. I can’t help thinking though I would really just love to see the top 4 all rounders battle it out for the AA and post a ridiculous team score, I know it will never happen because of the then pointless 5th person. To me, in order to take away that 4th persons all around shot they should have event medal potential. When the difference to the already sky high team score is so small, you might as well try get a medal out of the 5th person. I’m actually looking forward to the 2020 setup. Top 4 all rounders for AA and team and then the best two specialists going. This next week is going to be so exciting and heartbreaking!

    Like

  7. would be fun to se a team with Biles, Raisman, Hernandez (AA), Locklear (UB/BB) and Skinner (VT/FL) to max out the medalpotential.. it wont happend because it´s a risky team but still : p

    Like

  8. I still think Locklear has a chance to make the team. She’s out scored Kocian on bars all year long, coming within hundredths- a tenth of kocians over scored WOGA classic routines at Jesolo and cementing herself as a threat by winning both rounds at Pac Rims with very similar scores to those she achieved at Jesolo. She then beat Kocian at classics, and bettered her on not one, but both routines at nationals. And yes, I know several people will be like “actually they tied on night two, she didn’t score higher” but it doesn’t matter because the Olympic tie break would favor Ashton’s. Ashton has also been very consistent on beam, and has outscored Kocian 2 of 3 on beam since classics. Kocian may have the backup, but Ashton has the consistency on her two events. I’m not saying that Kocian isn’t consistent; she is. But I would feel much more comfortable with Locklear on the lineup because she literally hasn’t counted a single fall on bars in her entire elite career. I still think Kocian and Nichols (if Nichols does well at trials) will get the nod over Locklear, but I still think that if Locklear wins bars at trials, Marta won’t skip over her so easily. If Locklear were to upgrade she would make her case ten times stronger, but considering Locklears perfectionist personality, rushing last minute upgrades isn’t an option for her.

    Like

    • I’m with you. I like both Ashton’s bars and beam more. I do understand why they’d want to bring someone who can do all four events if needed. I won’t be outraged if Madison is the one to make it or anything. But if they’re going to take a bars specialist, I’m rooting for Ashton.

      Like

      • Yeah my thoughts exactly. I won’t be mad if Kocian makes it, I just think that Locklear can still slide in, I don’t think it’ll come down to one routine at trials, but rather what they’ve displayed as a whole. I prefer locklears bar style more, but I see the benefit of Kocian.

        Like

    • I think the thing is, that while Locklear does score higher than Kocian, she doesn’t score high enough to justify the decision.

      (And I’m not disagreeing, I think Locklear’s bars are beautiful, as are Kocian’s)

      Like

      • Yeah, that’s my thing. If it was Ashton at 15.9 and Madison at 15.4 consistently, then yes. It’s totally worth it. But 1-2 tenths isn’t going to matter at all when the team is going to be 5 points ahead, in which case it makes more sense to take Madison as a safety. Also, what has to be said is that Ashton was scoring 15.7-15.8 at home in 2014 and with the same routines at worlds was getting 15.2s. Madison broke 15.3 at worlds last year and won gold, so if people are saying Ashton is more “deserving” because she “outperforms” Madison, that’s actually not the case, at least internationally. They both “deserve” to go and they both have almost identical routines to offer to the team. But it doesn’t matter who I personally prefer. What matters is what Martha prefers, and that’s a built-in alternate. Unfortunately for Ashton, she can’t do it.

        Like

      • Although I’d rather Ashton make the team I think Kocian will get the 4th/5th spot (pending Nichols’ and Douglas’ performances). And honestly if I were Marta I’d ponder the two quite a bit and then end up picking Kocian for the backup, especially if they ended up like they did in 2008 when gymnasts 3 and 4 got injured weeks within the games. That may not be awful for a 6 member team, but it is for a 5 member team, especially if one of them doesn’t do backup. Let’s pretend Ashton makes the team and let’s say Aly and Simone were to get injured. Not only would China have a chance of catching them even if they did pick an all abounder for the final spot, but to add insult to injury, they’d be out of he medals because they would have to count zeroes on two events.

        Like

  9. Who are the 5 girls that Marta has had in her mind for months? I thought Maggie was one before she got hurt in April, but it sounds like it was always Kocian? I thought Maddie was hurt earlier in the year as well as wasn’t sure if she would back to floor/vault in time so I don’t understand Marta already having her in mind. Maybe I’m just confused!

    Like

    • Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, Douglas, and Kocian

      That’s what marta sort of favoring unofficially right now. Kocian was injured and has a reputation of being breakable but her performance at nationals got her back in the game more or less. It was actually a good showing for her as she theoretically could have beaten a weak Gabby showing if she would’ve done a DTY instead of FTY. And I am pretty sure Kocian will do a DTY at trials.

      If Kocian is on the team, Locklear is a lock for alternate and would slide right in if needed without problem at all….

      Trial is pretty much last chance for Maggie to make her case. I think she will go for broke. Though douglas had a weak nationals showing, Maggie has more to prove.

      I really hope gabby will seal the deal at trials. be a huge disappointment otherwise.

      Like

      • thanks! I wasn’t sure if originally Martha had Maggie in mind and then changed to Kocian or if it had been Kocian the whole time with Maggie as an outside chance. I think Gabby needs to seal the deal at trials – not because her team spot is at risk, but because her AA spot is at risk 🙂

        Like

      • I’ve been hearing people say that this is the team that Martha “had in mind”, but how do we know? Has she said that explicitly anywhere or is it a heard-it-through-the-grapevine deal? Thanks!

        Like

  10. I agree with you on who will be on the team. On a personal level and a huge fan of Kim Z, I really hope that Ragan Smith kills it at trials and Hernandez and Douglas fumble the ball. But however goes I will be totally team USA!!

    Like

    • I have my personal favourites and Ragan happens to be one of them, but I would never, ever, ever wish that any athletes would “fumble the ball” at a major competition, especially one this important. I always hope that my personal favourite gymnasts do great and get named to teams, but I could never bring myself to hope for someone else not to do well. Every single girl at this competition will have put in years upon years of extremely hard work and sacrificed so much in pursuit of their ultimate dream of being in the Olympics. I hope each of them have a weekend that shows off the hard work they’ve put in and that they will all walk away proud of their efforts.

      Like

  11. I like your analysis. Gabby being left behind could actually happen though. The men’s coordinator left behind Donnell Whittenburg who has been dominant all quad. One of the reasons is because there were better gymnast on his strong events and that he really didn’t fit in the picture. This could happen to Gabby. I doubt it will and I pray that it doesn’t because I like Gabby and people give her way to much crap!

    Like

    • Donnell hasn’t been dominant all quad. That would be Sam Mikulak. There are several key differences:

      1. Gabby is a reigning world silver medalist and has won two competitions since her return. Donnell has neither accolade. Furthermore, Gabby’s best scores of her career have historically come at the biggest competitions. Donnell doesn’t have quite the same reputation.
      2. Gabby’s strongest event is bars, an event the US is weak on. Donnell’s strongest events were rings, vault, and parallel bars, the US’s 3 strongest events.
      3. The Men’s team has no Martha. They operate by committee vote, and thus do look at actual numbers, tenths, etc. Martha makes decisions on her own in 99.9% of cases, and admits she doesn’t look at scores, only relative rankings.
      4. The men’s team is not an overwhelming favorite for the gold, and has no margin. They have to maximize score potential because they aren’t guaranteed a bronze even. No one has come within 5 points of the US women in over 4 years. Thus, Marta doesn’t need to worry about 2 tenths here and 4 tenths there. She does have to protect her downside more, however. That’s why she’s more interested in all-around gymnasts than the men’s team. If the men get injured, oh well. They miss out on a possible bronze. If a woman gets injured, however, and they have to count a 0 on an event because Locklear doesn’t even train that event, that could be the difference between winning gold and winning nothing. That would be disastrous.

      Like

      • Thanks for the response. I really enjoyed reading it. Your points were spot on! My team would be Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, Douglas, and Kocian. What’s yours?

        Like

      • Like most others here, I expect the team to be your team. Personally I like Ashton’s bars more and would take her.

        Like

  12. My dream team would be Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, Smith, Locklear. Of course that won’t happen, but they are the gymnasts I’ve been most impressed with this quad (that are still in the running). Ragan is top three beam, and can contribute on bars and floor too with really decent scores. Even while struggling on beam at Nationals, she still scored in the high 14s. If she hits at Trials, she’ll score higher than Aly in the low 15s. She has looked great at all of the other meets except for nationals, so if she hits at trials, I would like to see her instead of Gabby or Maggie. BUT, I’m sure that spot will go to Gabby due to business, as you noted Lauren. Leaving Gabby home when she’s got endorsements and a reality show would shock me. Therefore, if Ragan hits at trials, I think she’ll nab the traveling alternate spot if Maggie looks like she did at nationals. Locklear is just more consistent, and Maddie scares me with so many injuries.

    Too bad Gowey doesn’t have her Amanar still. I think that plus her bars and beam would have made her a serious contender and she is so beautiful to watch.

    I think after nationals Brenna is done, and won’t even contend for an alternate spot if Karolyi wants to not take risks. I think Skinner will be the third alternate (aside from Ragan and Nichols). She is consistent and experienced, and after her beam at nationals, shows she can pull through anything to finish. Hundley is great as well, and if Maggie falters, could see her sliding into that spot. Marta has always seemed to prefer Skinner though.

    I think you’re right, though, Lauren, and Marta will go with the team you have listed. I think there will be little drama in this year’s selection (unless injury, business, or USOC step in and override her).

    Like

  13. Is qualifications 4 up 4 count or 4 up 3 count? I thought it was the latter, in which case I’m a little confused by the numbers above – I would expect the qualifications and finals scores to be much more similar, both around 180.

    Like

  14. New question – from a simple maximizing-medals perspective, do you think there is a team the US could put together that could get team gold and go 1-2 in every individual discipline? It would have to be Biles, Raisman, and Skinner, and then Locklear and Kocian, I suppose. And then get a bit lucky.

    Like

    • Yeah, that would definitely maximize the medal potential and it still would be a strong team that would win team gold. Personally that’s more along the lines of what I’d do if I was Martha, but while Martha doesn’t shy away from individual medals, your first objective as a gymnast is to contribute to the team and then individual medals come second. So if the choice is between Skinner and Nichols, she is considering overall team potential above anything else. A medal is basically an afterthought to Martha, which to me is a bit silly because the team total wouldn’t be THAT different AND even though the U.S. values team over individual (how communist!), all medals have the same worth, which is why Russia tends to do the opposite in taking girls who are huge medal contenders but who might not comprise the strongest overall team.

      Like

      • Yeah I think you also said the russian girls also a lot of time do better in ef rather than tf when individual reputation on the line…

        Not only marta subscribed to team first but I think she also brain washed into evryone with her monthly camp things too… lol …

        Like

  15. I’m so confused about Gabby and why she would be holding back her upgrades at this point….everyone else has had to show what they are capable of, including Aly and Simone and Laurie, but Gabby has these elusive upgrades that she is saving??? for when????? I would think Martha would want her to do her amanar and her bar upgrades (if they exist) in a competition environment before the Olympic qualifications. I think that’s my biggest hangup with her…..I like her gymnastics and she has huge potential but I don’t like that she isn’t putting it all out there like everyone else. I really hope she shows what she is capable of this weekend, so she can work on cleaning up the routines instead of hoping to add last minute upgrades that will be inconsistent in a competition environment. This isn’t meant to be bashing her or anything – just don’t understand why what applies to everyone else doesn’t apply to her.

    Like

    • It’s possible they just aren’t ready and maybe never will be. She did grow taller, which makes twisting, and thus an Amanar, harder than it would have been before.

      Like

      • I thought about that as well – her body type and height are not the same as in 2012. Aly didn’t grow at all, and though she gained a bit of weight after 2012 (totally normal and expected), she is in better shape now than before and probably easier for her to get everything back with the same body. It just seems that nationals would be the time to show the upgrades, even if they aren’t 100% ready. Trials would be getting confident in those routines. And then Olympics would be cleaning it up and peaking. But she is known for surging late, so maybe this will work out for her.

        Like

  16. Do you think Laurie will give up her NCAA eligibility and go pro if/when she makes the Olympic team? In terms of having that kind of marketable, extroverted, dynamic personality that sponsors love, she seems leaps ahead of any of the girls who went pro last quad, with the possible exception of McKayla.

    Like

    • That’s what I was thinking…she wasn’t in any of the “future Gators” pics at nationals with her soon-to-be teammates, so maybe there’s something in the works? She’s a natural for that kind of role and if she has a successful Olympics, she could make a ton of money and pay for college that way. But I also think she seemed to be super into NCAA so I could see her sticking to her original plans.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Really appreciated your analysis of the Biles/Raisman/Hernandez/Nichols/Kocian team (because that is my personal favorite option). I’ve been having a hard time putting a finger on why I have not wanted to include Douglas on the team, but I think the BIGGEST issue I have is all the other people play key roles in team finals, where Douglas could kind of slip in if needed but only really contributes on bars (and that hasn’t been as solid of an argument as of late). Granted, this is also assuming Maggie actually has a decent amanar back (and Douglas doesn’t) to give this argument weight, and there is a huge question mark there too. It will be so fascinating to see what happens.

    Also, I will be SO SAD if Aly isn’t chosen for the AA spot in qualifications, and I fear that having Douglas in the picture (where that would really be her purpose for being there) could potentially limit her opportunity to do that, especially if Laurie beats Aly at trials/the ranch. If Simone, Aly and Laurie are consistently the top 3 athletes through trials and the ranch (not like we’d see the results of the ranch, but still) who do you think Martha would sit out for the AA? I would hope Gabby in that scenario, but I feel like there could be some real controversy sitting out the reigning Olympic AA champion for a chance at a second title. You make an interesting point regarding the marketability of having Aly, Gabby and Simone (all pro athletes) compete vs. NCAA athletes with less income potential–but I would be really sad to see Hernandez have to sit out the AA when she could also do so well, ESPECIALLY if she was beating Gabby (and/or) Aly at trials.

    Like

    • My thoughts also 🙂 I also doubt the order of finish at trials will mean much as far as who goes up in AA for Rio. If Gabby improves, she, Aly, and Laurie are basically equal in scoring and any of them could easily be on the podium in Rio. And the 4th bars score in qualification won’t matter, so if it’s Aly, it will be dropped. Neither Laurie or Gabby have much shot at a bars medal if Madison goes, so that doesn’t matter either and I doubt would factor into Martha’s decision. Just listened to the Gymcastic podcast and I agree with their analysis – it depends on the storyline they want to go with. I personally think Aly has earned it over Gabby. And I think Laurie should get a shot. But unless Laurie just crushes the other girls, then I think it will be Aly, Simone, and Gabby with Laurie doing vault, beam, floor and Maddie doing bars. If Maggie goes instead of Maddie, then I could see it being Simone, aly, Laurie with Maggie doing vault/floor and Gabby doing bars/beam. or Laurie doing bars/beam and Gabby AA.

      Like

    • Yeah ..and the other thing thats working against hernandez is the fact that gabby hitting her bars set would probably make her a lock for doing ub in qual and by virtual of that also lock her into AA over laurie even if she doesnt convincingly prove that she is better than laurie overall as AA….

      Like

  18. I have a rule question – apologies if this has been addressed – can a gymnast go up on an apparatus in the Team Final if she did not go up on that apparatus in Qualifications? In other words, if Marta decides to let Aly, Gabby and Simone do AA in Quals and duke it out for the 2 spots, that would mean those three plus Madison (or Ashton) would go up in Quals, leaving Laurie out. But then in team finals, can Laurie be one of the three that goes up (presumably along with Madison and Gabby)?

    Like

    • you sure can. Maggie did it last yr worlds. Ideally, it’s nice to be able to see a routine first in qual to get an idea of what score it might get. But sometimes you cant have that so you send someone to do their first official routine in TF. now if you are going to do that, you need someone very consistent that can hit day in and out since its 3 up 3 counted. Maggie was consistent. I think laurie is too.

      Like

  19. Does Martha have a say in the content of routines? Like, if someone didn’t hit well at Championships or Classics, does Martha meet with the coaches and discuss taking skills out or changing the routine?

    Like

    • Yes, she advises them. Last quad for example, Marta urged Kyla to downgrade her Amanar to a DTY at Trials after it was scary at championships. Obviously the girls don’t have to listen, but it’s usually in their best interest to.

      Like

  20. I tried posting this earlier but I think I messed up – sorry if this is duplicative. But I was curious on what you all thought the team would look like hypothetically if Gabby and Aly had not attempted their comebacks (or not been successful like Shawn and Nastia before them). With Bailie, Norah and Baumann out with injuries and Maggie potentially not at her 2015 Worlds shape, what do you think the team would look like? Simone, Laurie and Madison still likely locks, but they would need beam and bars badly and with Maggie not at full strength, floor and vault too. Do you think Skinner and Smith? Or a reliable all arounder with no real stand out event would have snuck in (Hundley or someone similar?) We always talk about US depth, but take away Aly and Gabby, and with the injuries (Key, Baumann, Norah, Maggie) and inexperience (Smith) and inconsistency (Skinner), do you think the team may have been vulnerable?

    Like

    • This is a great question to ponder. If you take out Aly and Gabby (and all of the injured ones including Maggie) I still think the team is pretty rock solid. I don’t think Skinner is inconsistent, I think her execution is just not ideal. Smith is tough and I think would do well in a big competition. You’d have Simone, Laurie, Madison, Ashton, Ragan, Mykayla, and Rachel as the top contenders. And Brenna and Amelia as backups. My lineup would be:

      VT: Laurie, Mykayla, Simone
      UB: Simone, Laurie, Madison
      BB: Ragan, Laurie, Simone
      FX: Mykayla, Laurie, Simone

      You could swap in Ashton for Ragan to boost bars over beam or Gowey could be a bars/beam specialist.

      Like

    • I think Amelia Hundley would clearly be in the picture. Even now I’m pulling for here to grab one of those replacement athlete spots!

      Like

  21. Great analysis. I shouldn’t have bothered submitting a question about whether it’s 100% to take a bars specialist because of course you had a post like this in the works!

    Even though I agree that the Biles/Raisman/Douglas/Hernandez/Kocian team would be the safest and most likely option, I’m really glad to see someone not counting Maggie Nichols out altogether. Although admittedly I’m biased because I’m a Minnesotan and would therefore like to see one of my fellow Northrons on the team. If Maggie were to be back in top form at the trials, I really think she should get a spot. I like the idea of putting an exclamation point on the US strength on vault and floor with three Amanars and three killer floors rather than attempting to compete with China and Russia on bars. I really don’t think having both Douglas and Kocian is necessary. The supposed US weakness on bars is so overstated. It’s not like they’re bad. So what if we’re not ultra dominant on all four events? It would be bad PR to leave Douglas off the team unless she does terribly at trials so my pick (again if and only if Nichols has her vault and floor back) would be Biles/Raisman/Hernandez/Douglas/Nichols I wish it was a six athlete so we could have all of them though. I guess being too deep is a pretty good problem to have!

    I never got why Ragan Smith has been in the conversation so much. Nothing against her at all. She’s great. I just don’t think she’s ready yet. I’ve been viewing her as more of an athlete with great potential through the next quad.

    Like

    • Yeah, I think Ragan kind of came into the picture at Jesolo because she was SO good on beam and Aly was showing that she was kind of faltering, especially based on worlds. I think people started counting Aly out and leading up to classics, people were still asking me if Aly’s spot on the team was in jeopardy because Ragan and Laurie were both better than her.

      Like

    • If the reason that so many think Douglas is certain to make the team is because of marketing potential, PR, etc…. (even if she underperforms) then that is really the strongest case for having a less biased committee make the team recommendation. It’s really horrifying that an athlete who deserves a place on an olympic team could be left off because of those reasons. The system should have better checks and balances if that is a real concern.

      Like

      • It does suck, but that’s just the reality. Gabby Douglas is a househname and most gymnasts aren’t. It can seem inconceivable that everyone doesn’t know Simone Biles at least, but if someone only follows the sport during the Olympics, she’s just coming on their radars now. That said, I do think she’s deserving of a spot. It’s just that there are other deserving athletes too.

        Like

      • I think people are exaggerating. Nastia was a bigger name than Gabby, and she got left off because she fell. Gabby is reigning world silver medalist, won two competitions this year, and was 4th at Nationals even with a subpar performance. There’s no obvious person to take instead of her at this point. If Maggie were 100%, we might have a different conversation, but she hasn’t proven that yet. Even if Gabby were a no-name, she would still be a favorite to make the 5 person team because she has had great results in the past year.

        Like

    • I think your point above about Douglas and Kocian not both being necessary makes a lot of sense. If Gabby has to be included for marketing purposes, why does everyone assume that this means Maggie will be left off the team, rather than Maddie / the bars specialist being left off? Gabby makes sense as UB/BB specialist, and Maggie as VT/FX specialist to complement this. Personally I’d rather have Ashton as the UB/BB specialist, but if Gabby has to be on the team for those (stupid..) marketing reasons, then it really should mean not to include another UB specialist, rather than leaving Maggie off.

      Like

      • We don’t even know what Maggie is going to look like in trials! She could be fantastic or terrible! If she’s fantastic I have a suspicion she will be on the team somehow. Also guys you’re actig like Gabby could fall multiple times and make the team. With all of her errors she was still fourth in nationals and still maximized the team score in fifth position.

        Like

  22. Personally I find the argument that Douglas will only get selected due to PR/marketing reasons as quite offensive. Both to the gymnast herself but also the integrity of the selection process. If Douglas is selected it will be because she is a potential AA medallist, a potential UB event finalist, contributes on a relatively weaker event for the USA, and has an outstanding history of hitting for the team in Worlds/Olympics.

    Like

    • I’m not saying she will “only” get selected due to marketing purposes – go back and reread. I actually defend her being on the team when everyone else is already writing her off because she was fourth AA on a BAD day and once she fixes her issues she’ll be right up there with Aly and Laurie.

      I’m saying that if she CONTINUES to perform the way she does at nationals and makes the team and the ALL-AROUND DECISION comes down to her, Aly and Laurie for the second spot, even if she’s performing slightly behind the two of them, it would be worth it to put her in over Laurie from a business standpoint. At worlds last year, the decision to use Aly over Maggie in the all-around even though Maggie had consistently outperformed Aly all season was a controversial one but decision making at the international level isn’t always about who is numerically the best. Aly wasn’t numerically the best, but she was close enough to Maggie (the bronze medalist to Maggie’s silver at nationals and always within a few tenths) that it didn’t really matter WHO went. If they both performed well, they’d get similar scores. So how do you decide? That’s where business comes in.

      If Gabby was getting 56 AA and not landing in the top six, they wouldn’t take her for her name only (i.e. see Shawn Johnson and Chellsie Memmel in 2011, and Nastia Liukin and Alicia Sacramone in 2012). They’re not stupid. Gabby will not be selected simply for her name. She will be selected because her performance level even on a bad day is better than almost anyone else in the U.S. on a GOOD day. And I’m one of the people who believes that she’s been “sluggish” (relatively, for her) because she likes to come in at the last minute and be like “that’s what YOU think” and blow everyone away. I have no doubt in my mind that she’ll do that this weekend. She will be selected to the team for her talent and potential to contribute well on pretty much every event in team finals. But if she, Aly, and Laurie are all scoring within a one-point range of one another and when it comes time to make the all-around decision, if the other two continue to outperform her, I will understand why she will almost assuredly get one of the spots, and that’s business. Why do you think McKayla Maroney got to do the all-around in 2013? And why do you think Aly Raisman got to do it last year? I know for a fact business came into both of those decisions, and if you don’t think it will come into play this summer when millions of dollars are riding on it, you’re living in a rainbow fantasy world.

      Again – she will not make the team because of her name and I didn’t say that once in this entire piece. She will make the team because of what she can do.

      Like

      • I was actually trying to reply to the comments directly before mine from Sara, Weirwood and Mary and not your piece – but obviously replying via phone and not the full website I pressed reply in the wrong spot.

        I agree with you that whoever makes the team will be chosen because of what they can contribute. Perhaps when it comes down to selecting the AA contenders other considerations may be in play – although I would really hope it doesn’t play too large a role. Given how close all 3 of Hernandez, Raisman and Douglas are at their full potential, it will be a difficult decision either way.

        I’m curious to see if Hernandez turns pro once the team is announced, she has such potential to be a huge name with her engaging personality and charisma.

        Liked by 1 person

      • If that is the team, what´s the possibility of letting them all do AA, battle it out and leave Kocian for TF? It would def. make me watch : D

        Like

      • @Erica if they do that, Madison wouldn’t be able to qualify for the UB final. She’s a reigning world champion on the event…even though I don’t think she’ll medal, it’d be super messed up to not give her a shot at the final on the one event she’s being brought to Rio to compete…especially when she’s a reigning world champion. The other girls can duke it out for the AA spots at camp and in Rio up until qualifications.

        Like

      • Erica to me, the whole point of taking Kocian is to cover bases in the UB final. If she doesn’t go up in qualification, she doesn’t make final, and the US doesn’t get a UB medal.

        Like

      • @ Marie why don’t you think Madison will medal? Everyone is so down on her chances to medal, but she did win gold at Worlds and even if they broke the tie, she would have gotten gold or silver (would have to drop a score for her and Komova). Fan is the favorite for gold. I get that. But it’s not like any of the Russians have been unbeatable on bars this year. You have the two Germans who are great, but they haven’t been tested in international competition. Downie is great but inconsistent. I don’t see why Madison couldn’t medal. Her D score is definitely there.

        Like

        • These are the reasons why a medal isn’t a guarantee for Madison: Fan Yilin, Daria Spiridonova, Elisabeth Seitz, Becky Downie, Shang Chunsong, and Sophie Scheder. All of these match or surpass Kocian’s difficulty, and several are much cleaner. If everyone qualifies to the final, Madison has a shot at the medal just as they do, but it’s not a guarantee in the way McKayla’s vault gold was in 2012 – and even THAT didn’t work out.

          Like

      • Again, Lauren, I didn’t say she was a guarantee. I would agree with you that there are several who could medal, but Madison is right in there. The only gymnast in the world with a higher score this year is Fan.

        Like

        • You’re incorrectly assuming Madison’s domestic scores will translate directly to her international. They won’t. On average Madison earns about 3-5 tenths higher at home compared to at FIG cat 1 judged meets. With everyone so close, those tenths will matter.

          Like

        • Beckie Downie (6.9) and Elisabeth Seitz (6.8) have higher D-scores. Chang Sunshong, Spiridonova and Kapitonova have 6.7.

          Like

        • Yup, higher D and all have been internationally tested at multiple meets this year. I’m not counting Madison out, but in 2015 she averaged three tenths higher domestically compared to worlds. That’s a big drop when the scores are going to be so close this year so Madison’s 15.7s at home mean she’ll maybe get a 15.3-15.4 in Rio. At Euros, Downie got 15.5 and Spiridonova got 15.466, and that’s not including girls like Seitz, Shang, and Fan.

          Like

      • But Madison and Ashton are the only ones who could qualify for the UB final in Rio. I dont think Gabby and Laurie with their 6.4 could (the 6.4 is another group of 5 or 6 girls). So, if Madison or Ashton are not in the game, an event final without any US gymnast will probably occur. This perspective could upset Martha … It would notify something like a weakness in such a dominant team. That’ s why I think US team needs a real UB specialist.

        Like

      • @ Louise Technically Gabby’s routine is a 6.5 if she hits everything.

        @ Lauren,

        1. Maddie scored .267 lower on bars, not quite .3, if you take her average domestic score between Secret & PG compared to worlds in 2015.
        2. Becky Downie’s average score this year is a 14.8. 15.5 is not a realistic score unless she’s absolutely perfect, which history tells us she isn’t usually. It’s possible, but I would favor Madison for a medal over Downie for certain.
        3. Spiridonova has actually averaged a 15.12 so far this year
        4. Seitz has averaged a 15.01.
        5. Kapitonova isn’t going to Rio.
        6. Shang has averaged a 15.31.
        7. Fan Yilin has a 15.734 and a 14.7 something when she fell.
        8. Madison has averaged a 15.63 and Ashton a 15.6.

        If you take .267 off of Maddie’s average bar score, that puts her at 15.363, which is just about what she scored to earn gold at Worlds. That score is higher than the average score of ANY other gymnast in the world right now.

        In other words, if we go by numbers, Maddie is the favorite for gold, and a heavy favorite to medal. In actuality, I think Fan is the favorite, but she has shown us she can fall and/or get sloppy in execution. Maddie is nothing but consistent. Sure, if the other girls hit, they might score better, but, on average, they don’t hit.

        So again, I come back to why is Maddie not heavily favored for a medal? She has the highest average score on the year of any gymnast, and has about .33 points on the next woman, Shang Chunsong. Even if you take away the supposed inflation of US judges, she still comes out ahead, and is actually still quite far ahead of the non-Chinese gymnasts.

        Like

        • 0.267 rounds to 0.3 which was a guess. No one Is saying Madison isn’t favored. She is. Obviously. We are saying it’s not a guarantee. Also you’re looking at most of those international scores at non FIG cat I meets and without knowing the D in each. Downie has only done her full D (6.9) once this year. And got a 15.5 at a cat I FIG meet. Impossible to compare that to meets where she did a 6.5 or lower D. Madison is in the mix but she’s not a front runner with a consistent FIG cat I 15.7 while everyone around her us at 15.2. Everyone said Ashton was a lock for a bars medal in 2014 but with multiple girls at the same level as her, she got fourth. You can’t assume Madison will ABSOLUTELY get a medal based on scores of 15.7 at US nationals.

          Like

      • @Matthew all the things Lauren said lol >>>>>

        I’m not counting her out because anything can happen, but I think judging is going to be pretty strict in Rio in order to differentiate between the gymnasts because there were so many ties that had to be broken in London. Madison isn’t in my top 3 because there are so many really good girls this year. I don’t consider her to be a favorite. However, I do think she has a chance and should be given that chance because at least then we’ll know for sure. Not counting her out but I wouldn’t put money on her making the podium, either. I do think she has the best chance out of everyone in the U.S., though. Ashton has great execution but no one scores over 9.0 internationally in execution on bars…even for a great routine with a stuck landing.

        Like

    • Ok Lauren I agree then. I don’t think she’s a lock but I do think she is favored and sometimes it seems like some gym fans are just so down on US bars they act like she has no chance at all. Maybe I’m reading into things Too Much

      Like

  23. Only you could handle such a potential gossipy/pot stirring topic and make it this unbiased and professional. Great analysis, thank you for this and everything on the site!!

    Like

  24. At this hectic forecast game (who will be in the US team ?), I will play and my previsions are quite consensual, just the reasoning is a bit different.
    I suppose Martha’s main goal is to gain the most medals. If possible gold medals. The best US can collect is 11 medals, 6 gold medals and 5 silver.
    The team medal is not a problem : it will be gold for 2 reasons. First, Simone is 3 points more than all her best competitors. Second, there is behind her a group of very strong and exceptionnally consistent gymnasts. I mean, the team could be Biles, Locklear, Hundley, Bauman and Smith, they will gain the gold medal. So the team medal is not a concern to select gymnasts.
    The all-around title is promised to Biles. Marta would like to secure the silver medal. Considering the E-scores, there is a group of 10 girls qualified to get it ; it all depends upon their execution the D-day : Douglas, Nichols, Raisman, Hernandez, Smith, Nichols, Shunsong, Steingruber, Melnikova, Liu Tingting, possibly the secretive Mustafina … Marta cannot choose between her girls on this base : the silver girl will be this one in a 100% day.
    Vault is promised to Biles, and she will be the only one US contender.
    UB : if Locklear or Kocian are not in the team, ther won’t be a US gymnast in this event final … Martha cannot consider this possibility. So, Madison or Ashton should be in the game (between them, it is just a question of taste, Martha can choose her pet). Maybe the elected girl will get a medal, but nothing is less sure.
    Floor : very simple ! Gold for Simone and silver for Aly !
    OK, Martha has 3 girls and 5 medals (4 gold and a silver).
    Beam : very tricky … the beam issue has to be planned with the AA issue. Beam will be a very competitive event. Simone has the higher D-score but she will have to perform without any wobble to be sure to get the gold medal. In my film, she is nearly perfect and get the gold medal. But just think, she lets Ponor, Sanne Wevers, Melnikova, Mustafina (oh Tutkhalyan fell in qualifications !), Chunsong, Saraeva and WHO ? Hernandez or Douglas, what means Hernandez and Douglas in the team.
    The team is done : who will be the all-arounders ? Obviously, Kocian/Locklear is not an option. But at this point, I am afraid that my European/African glance will be shock you (sorry). I bet that Douglas or Hernandez are a better choice than Aly. I will explain later because there is a Frend against Germany soccer match and I have to know the score !
    Just think that with that team, US could hope for 9 medals on 11 possible.

    Like

  25. So USAG show video interviews from Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, douglas, kocian, Nichols. Seems to me the team is chosen? LoL 🙂

    Maggie shows a spotted double double. No gabbie vt or ub, no Maggie vt…. Kinda weak podium videos…

    Like

  26. Podium training video showed Maggie doing a DTY not an Amanar. Hard to see her going to Rio without it. No video on Gabby, but I’d be surprised at this point if she pulled out any upgrades. I think it was all talk.

    Like

    • Yeah, I agree. I am still hoping that Maggie will go for broke to try to make the team. But maybe she kinda realized that it won’t happen and just save herself for the alt role…. and gabby probably wont pull any upgrade knowing that she’s more or less secured. All very weak and no surprise. I will actually be surprised if there is any surprises…

      Like

    • Yep. Martha has said she is disappointed in Gabby not performing a vault that she claims is good at home. I personally don’t care for Gabby giving it medium effort in hopes that she can surge in at the last minute and get the spot that others have put 100% effort in for. Even if she plans on doing the amanar in Rio I doubt Martha lets her do it for the first time in competition in quals. She really needed to at least try it here to get more confident. She will make the team, but I’d rather see someone like Laurie get the AA shot – someone who has given everything she has to have the opportunity.

      Like

      • Do you think Gabby has resigned to the fact that her AA chances are in doubt and so she’s playing it safe and on her terms by not throwing the Amanar? I agree she’s a lock for the team – what remains to be seen is who gets to vie for AA. If Aly and Laurie are throwing everything they have for the opportunity, they should get it.

        Like

      • Yeah, I completely agree. Defending Olympian or not. she hasn’t proven her AA case conclusively at all. And if she doesn’t want or unabled to or whatever, I hope marta would have the ability to demote her AA status if Aly and Laurie both show that they are consistent AA through the trial. Though lauren has said it’s borderline close the would probably still let her do AA. Without the amanar she doesn’t have much room for errors if laurie and aly goes 8 for 8.

        Pretty unfortunate for Maggie but without that amanar I don’t see how she can get herself into the team.

        I think both Maggie and douglas are not going to show any surprises or anything that we haven’t seen.

        I really think the only surprise we will see are who will fall where. And not how will show what upgrade at this point…

        Like

    • yeah, I highly doubt Maggie’s gonna unveil an Amanar. She gets her DTY around cleanly but there’s no extra bounce or flight. Doesn’t even seem like she’s been training to do more than the double. I don’t think she’ll make it without the Amanar, but Gabby’s gonna need to be third on bars behind Kocian and Locklear and third AA to solidify things for herself. I think she can do it if she can be consistent….really hoping to see Biles, Raisman, and Hernandez hit 8 for 8, too. I really want to get a clear picture of who the top 3 AAers are. But we shall see!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s