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