Olympic Alternate Ragan Smith To Headline American Cup


Ragan Smith, the 16-year-old from Texas Dreams who served as an alternate for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last summer, has been named one of the nine competitors for this year’s American Cup, to be held in Newark, New Jersey, on March 4.

On the women’s side, the competition will also include 2016 Olympians Ellie Black of Canada, Eythora Thorsdottir of the Netherlands, Asuka Teramoto of Japan, and Kim Bui of Germany in addition to 2012 Olympian Rebecca Tunney of Great Britain, Chinese worlds alternate Xie Yufen, and France’s big up-and-comer Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos, who spent most of 2016 recovering from injury and was unable to challenge for a spot on the team. The U.S. wildcard spot is still to be determined, with the athlete to be named following the February national team camp at the ranch.

2016 Olympian Sam Mikulak headlines on the men’s side, which also features 2016 Olympic gold medalists Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine and Ryohei Kato of Japan, 2016 Olympians Eddy Yusof of Switzerland, Bart Deurloo of the Netherlands, and Lukas Dauser of Germany, 2012 Olympian Sam Oldham of Great Britain, and Sun Wei of China, who was the bronze medalist at last year’s American Cup. A second U.S. competitor will be named at a later date.

Invitations for the American Cup, the first in the 2017 all-around world cup series, were sent to federations based on team finish at the 2016 Olympic Games. Should teams in the top eight decline invites, the invites moved down in ranking order to the federations that placed 9th through 12th in Olympic qualifications, and beyond that, the invites went down the line based on team finishes at 2015 world championships.

For the women, Russia, Brazil, and Italy declined invites, opening up spots for Canada and France, and both Russia and Brazil also declined invites in the men’s competition, giving Switzerland and the Netherlands the chance to compete.

Article by Lauren Hopkins


11 thoughts on “Olympic Alternate Ragan Smith To Headline American Cup

    • Amy and Ellie I think are training big upgrades and they’re probably not ready yet; also they both had big years last year (Amy with exams, Ellie with injuries) so I guess Team GB are being tactical and making sure not over-compete them when it’s not really necessary. Claudia did Strictly Come Dancing (the original Dancing With The Stars) up to xmas and I’m not sure if she’s back to training yet.

      If Tunney has been selected she must be comp fit, as there was an elite squad camp a few weeks ago. She made it as an alternate for Rio after 3 yrs of injuries, so must be 100% raring to go!


  1. I’m surprised there’s no second US All arounder, normally Martha likes to send two clear first and second place if they hit. Also, I’m loving that China sent someone. I don’t really see a clear podium here so I think it’ll be interesting…


    • There will be a second U.S. all-arounder…they usually choose who they can from the previous year’s success (e.g. a worlds competitor or alternate) but since most of last year’s team is depleted, they went with an Olympic alternate and they’re saving the second U.S. spot for Valeri to decide at the February camp, which is what Martha always did.


  2. Depending on who they pick as the Second USA all arounder, this may be the first time since 2001 that USA doesn’t won’t the American cup. I can see Ellie Black taking the title if she’s clean, and if she’s still in reasonably good shape following Rio.


    • I mean, if it’s Jordan Chiles or someone, the U.S will probably still win. Ragan was hitting around 58-59 regularly last year and so was Jordan whereas the strongest of the international gymnasts max out at around 58. I could see a non-U.S. girl maybe getting silver but I think unless there are falls from gymnasts at the top, the U.S. will still win. People said the same thing about the fields in 2013 and 2014 but the young and newer U.S. kids still finished on top (and I mean, SIMONE came out of the 2013 meet so you never know what we can expect from whatever young or brand new senior gets the second spot).


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