U.S. Worlds Team Offers Surprises and Controversy

r244384_800x450_16-9

So, I think I’m just about calming down after the announcement about the U.S. worlds team, which I got as a notification on my phone while sitting at the hair salon and basically screamed mid-snip when I saw first-year senior Morgan Hurd had earned a spot alongside expected nominative team athletes Ragan Smith, Ashton Locklear, and Jade Carey.

For the first time in the history of the world, USA Gymnastics posted selection camp videos highlighting some of the routines from the first verification at camp, and it was a little hard to gauge exactly how well everyone did because the videos would cut out at seemingly key moments. Locklear’s entire bars set except for her dismount? Clearly she fell! Suspiciously cutting out in the middle of someone’s beam routine? Obviously covering up something too dramatic for our eyes!

Naturally this is where most fans took things while speculating about the worlds team, but I was laser-focused on Hurd’s video, which showed her looking freaking incredible, better than she has all season. Hurd got off to a shaky start in her debut senior season, with falls at the world cup in Stuttgart and at the team competition in Jesolo, and then when she showed up at classics and nationals this summer, she was dealing with recovering from an elbow injury that limited her on vault and bars.

But no national coordinator cares what you do in July or August. Camp is what counts, and camp is where Hurd was able to show that she was one of the top two all-arounders in the country on both days of competition, truly bringing it when she needed to in order to snag one of the four spots open on this year’s team. It’ll be interesting to see if she’s been able to build up her bars difficulty once again, and where she could possibly fit into event finals, which at this point depend more on how the rest of the world competes than on what the U.S. ladies can do, but I’m super excited to see her land on the team, and if there’s one thing the gymternet can agree on in its daily civil wars, it’s that Hurd is the greatest human being alive and deserves to be on every team ever.

Personally, I’m also invested in seeing Hurd make this happen, as I took one look at her on bars during training for the Nastia Liukin Cup in 2014 and basically died because she was just so freaking good. Her routine there was pretty basic, but her skills were immaculate, and I begged the gym gods to get her into elite. I’m pretty sure I talked about Hurd for an hour straight on that week’s episode of Gymcastic, because even though she didn’t have huge skills at that point and was like five seconds into her level 10 career, she just had that something. Watching her go from a kid just starting out to now getting a spot on the worlds team three and a half years later is just surreal and incredible. We are blessed. Morgan Hurd for president.

The other three were kind of obvious, in that they were all on the nominative roster, and in that they just fit the team so perfectly. As the national champion, Smith was a shoo-in, and with some of the highest all-around, beam, and floor scores in the world, she’s practically guaranteed a medal or two in Montreal. Yes, she’ll have some competition on every event, but she’s so super composed and together and on her game, her edge is that she’ll be able hit under pressure, which is how the U.S. wins medals, while undoubtedly many of her peers will crumble, which is how other countries have lost medals in recent years.

In an individual worlds with four-person teams given three spots per event in qualifications, the best team format is two all-arounders and some combination of two specialists, and with Carey an early lock for this team due to her two vaults and one of the most difficult floor sets in the world, the second specialist was going to have to be someone who could medal on bars, or beam, or both.

The thing is, there really isn’t anyone in the country right now already not on the team who can medal on either. Among the other five girls at this camp not named to the team were Jordan Chiles (who got the non-traveling alternate spot), Trinity Thomas, Marz Frazier, Emily Gaskins, and Alyona Shchennikova. None of these are beam workers, maxing out at D scores around a 5.5 when the best beamers in the world right now are working in the neighborhood of a 6.5, and when we look at bars, the only realistic option is Shchennikova, whose 6.3 D score at nationals puts her among some of the world’s best, but her consistency and form haven’t been great this year, and what good is a D score if you don’t have the E to match it?

Thomas is the only one of these with a legitimate case, as she’s lovely on both bars and beam and could also go up in the all-around to challenge for a medal if need be. But as I said at nationals, “she’s gonna get Kytra Huntered so hard this year.” Why? Because in 2009, Hunter was fourth all-around at nationals — just like Thomas was this year — and while she had strong work, especially on floor where she placed third at nationals, she wasn’t in the top two on any event. Guess what? Thomas also wasn’t top two on any event this year, placing — you guessed it — third on her best events.

It’s that classic case of being a fabulous gymnast, probably even stronger than some of the other gymnasts going, but not really fitting the puzzle right now. If it was a team year, Thomas would be one of my first choices, just as Hunter would’ve been for me back in 2009, but if a gymnast can’t finish in the top two anywhere at home, she’s not competitive domestically on those events let alone internationally.

Fortunately for Thomas, I don’t think she has come close to her potential. While it would’ve been cool to see her make the team happen this year, she’s clearly held back in the all-around on vault, and you can’t really call her a specialist when her D scores on her best events are a full point lower than the top specialists in the world. But her time will come. We haven’t seen the last of her yet.

Speaking of “you can’t really call her a specialist when her D scores on her best events are a full point lower than the top specialists in the world,” if that’s the case, then why the heck is Locklear on the team? Valid question. She’s only at around a 5.5 D on bars, which doesn’t make her anywhere near competitive enough for a medal. But…oh, right, as we discussed earlier, no one in the country up for that spot is anywhere near competitive enough for a medal, either there or on beam.

So this decision was more of a “whoever can get us the closest” kind of thing and not so much “she’s guaranteed to get it.” A couple of gymnasts up for this spot do have higher bars difficulty scores, like Frazier with her 5.9 or Shchennikova with her 6.3, but the thing is, Frazier’s and Shchennikova’s difficulty don’t hold a candle to what Locklear can make up in execution, which is why Locklear beat Shchennikova at Jesolo, why Locklear beat them both at nationals, and why she beat them again at camp. It’s like when Simone Biles could average the same scores as Maria Paseka on vault despite being a point back in difficulty — you need a lot more than a high D score to win an event, and even without her inbars (#ButHerInbars!) building her back up to a high start value, Locklear has proven multiple times to be more than capable of outscoring her teammates.

Even at an international level, while she won’t come into worlds as a frontrunner for a medal, she’s actually not that far back. The top contenders above Locklear are probably Anastasia Iliankova, Fan Yilin, Nina Derwael, and Elisabeth Seitz, with maybe Elena Eremina joining them if she hits all of her connections and isn’t slammed for her execution as she has been internationally this year. Aside from Riley McCusker, who had to withdraw from the worlds selection process due to a stress fracture, Locklear has the highest international score on bars for any U.S. senior, and she consistently earned E scores in the high 8s at worlds in 2014, so having improved tremendously since then in her ability, it’s fair to say that she will likely be rewarded by judges in Montreal as well.

I’m not the biggest fan of Locklear, and I do wish Valeri Liukin had paid more attention to the longterm. With no one really capable of medaling on bars this year without major mistakes from other gymnasts, why not just take a new kid like Thomas or Shchennikova or Chiles to see how they do? A similar opportunity worked wonders for Gabby Douglas in 2011, and I’m always a huge proponent of giving experience to those who show potential for longevity throughout the quad.

But at the same time, I don’t understand the rampant hate or the utter shock and disbelief towards Locklear for getting one of the least surprising team bids I’ve ever seen. If anything, Liukin is likely betting on the fact that one of those top bars gymnasts like Fan (who has a hit rate of 60% this year) or Seitz (who is always heavily docked for her execution internationally despite getting high scores at home) will end up not doing as well in Montreal as they have elsewhere, leaving room for Locklear to creep in for a medal the way so many gymnasts have earned medals at every major international meet basically ever. She might not be a frontrunner, but she has a better chance at a bars medal than anyone else being left at home, so if there’s even a slight chance they could get something out of her, they’re obviously going to take it.

Locklear ended up somehow being the controversial decision this year, but I have a feeling it’s more because everyone who cried about her not making it to Rio over Madison Kocian or Gabby Douglas in 2016 turned on her when she allegedly favorited a supportive tweet about Donald Trump than it is about her actual ability or lack thereof, as if a gymnast’s physical ability or potential in the sport is affected by her questionable taste in humans (she also favorited Obama tweets, by the way, so I’m guessing she’s politically confused at best).  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But the least controversial decision was naming Carey to the team, the sole two-vault gymnast in the U.S., boasting an Amanar and a tsuk double — sorry, kas full — which gives her the highest combination of difficulty at worlds alongside China’s Wang Yan. Though her vaults have been kind of hit-or-miss with form, they looked great at camp yesterday, and it’s not like the vault field this year is full of Simone Biles clones. It’s actually pretty weak, form-wise, and Carey — who only just qualified to elite this spring — could very well pull off the second “how to go from level 10 to world champion in six months” magic for the U.S. in the past eight years. She’s also super powerful on floor, where a hit routine there could also get her a medal, so bam, easy decision for everyone.

The one big heartbreak for me this year was Chiles, who I thought at nationals showed she might actually pull off a worlds team bid despite coming back from the injury she sustained in her final year as a junior and then entering with a rocky start to her senior year, having to switch coaches, causing her to miss several crucial early-season competitions on top of the changes in her gym. She looked a little rough at classics, but managed to pull herself together to look mostly sharp at nationals, winning the silver medal in the all-around.

Her medal was mostly thanks to the score boost from her Amanar on day one, however, compared to the Yurchenko fulls performed by her biggest competition for silver, McCusker and Thomas. The rest of Chiles’ events were slightly behind those of her teammates, with nothing really a standout except for vault, but obviously she’d need to have a second vault if she wanted that to factor into her worlds decision (Chiles said following the competition that she was working on a Lopez, but it wasn’t ready by the time the selection camp came around).

I get why she didn’t make it this year. As with Thomas, it’s simply that she didn’t fit either as a top-two all-arounder at camp or as a valid specialist on any one event. And like Thomas, I think she’s one who hasn’t yet hit her stride, but instead shows potential for the coming years, especially as her Amanar will be incredibly valuable in a team competition.

Don’t sleep on these two yet just because they didn’t happen to make the most selective worlds team of the quad on their first try. They’ll be back, and so will many of those who didn’t fit this particular team at this point in their careers. Trust that you don’t know most of what’s going on at camp to make these decisions the best possible decisions for the team, and know that no matter who ended up being named, most of the nine gymnasts up for the four team spots could’ve been justified for one reason or another, but in a program where depth is a bittersweet problem to have, someone capable of great things is always going to get left behind.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

This post was made possible thanks to our amazing patrons who help us fund things like travel and video production as we work to grow the site. This month’s patrons: April, Daniel Bertolina, Emily Bischoff, Dodi Blumstein, Wendy Bruce, Katie Burrows, Kelly Byrd, Melissa Carwin, Jillian Cohen, Brittany Cook, Kat Cornetta, Kristyn Cozier, Anita Gjerde Davidsen, Holly Glymour, Hydrick Harden, Lauren Haslett, Inaya, Lauren Jade, Alexis Johnston, Katrina, Sarah Keegan, Ishita Kent, Alyssa King, Jenny Kreiss, Maria Layton, Rae Lemke Sprung, Leigh Linden, Annabelle McCombe, Stephanie McNemar, Bridget McNulty, Cindy McWilliams, M. Melcher, Alison Melko, Emily Minehart, Eyleen Mund, Rachel Myers, Melanie Oechsner, Jessica Olaiya, David F. Pendrys, Lauren Pickens, Cordelia Price, Abbey Richards, Christine Robins, Kaitlyn Schaefer, Lisa Schmidt, Brian Schwegman, Sam Smart, Stephanie, Karen Steward, Lucia Tang, Tipse_ee, Rachel Walsh, Laura Williams, and Jenny Zaidi. THANK YOU!

Want to help out and qualify for super fun rewards for as little as $1/month? Check us out on Patreon!

Follow The Gymternet on Twitter and like us on Facebook. 🙂

Advertisements

154 thoughts on “U.S. Worlds Team Offers Surprises and Controversy

  1. “with maybe Elena Eremina joining them if she hits all of her connections and isn’t slammed for her execution as she has been internationally this year.”
    I actually think the judges were kind of nice to Eremina internationally, she only did her full difficult routine at the Europeans and they gave her 8.3 with huge mistakes, she’s gotten a lot cleaner now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t really understand the comments about getting “slammed” – in her big internationals this year she took silver (Euros) and Gold (Jesolo) and both times she was 2nd highest E score

      Like

        • Yeah, that’s why I like saying tsuk double, but if I say tsuk double, people will get angry and be like “Jade said she does a kas full, so it’s a kas full!!!!” and if I say kas full, people are like “what is that?” hahahaha. Really the distinction does not matter. In live blogs I’ll be calling it a tsuk double.

          Like

  2. When Morgan Hurd performs in front of a crowd, she competes like she is having a full blown anxiety attack. Not to sound like a hater, but she has not had one full day of performances this YEAR without major mistakes. She probably performed well at the ranch since she has practiced/competed there MANY MANY times. I hope she proves me wrong, because she definitely would not have been my pick. Either Chiles or Thomas.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Morgan was chosen because she brought the goods when it mattered, aka selection camp. She literally did everything she had to do and beat everybody she had to beat to get the spot and we’re still going to doubt her ability? Who should have been chosen: Chiles who didn’t bring the second vault she promised or Thomas with a FTY who isn’t placing in the top two even at home? I mean, did you even read the blog post because this was all covered.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It was her first hit AA in like two years so it’s understable why people are worried about her hitting. I had gone back and checked a few weeks back and was honestly surprised myself. Hopefully she can find her stride at worlds and get herself into the beam final and compete well in the AA final.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Added to above^^ in that’s same vein no one else has been super consistent either. Including chiles. Sucks For Thomas though, she looked good everywhere but she just not there yet in terms of d scores and ability to make a final.

          Like

    • I agree. I love Morgan Hurd, but I don’t expect her to hit at Worlds when she’s struggled to hit all year. I think she needs more time to develop consistency and maybe consult a sports psychologist. I’d love for her to prove me wrong, but I think Ragan and Jade are the only legitimate medal contenders on this team.

      Liked by 2 people

    • She performed better on the ranch because no large crowd is watching LOL. If anything this Worlds would be a mental practice for her if she really can deliver when it matters the most. A lot of gymnasts has potential but never translated to medals.

      Like

      • A lot of gymnasts have said competing at the ranch is actually more stressful than competing internationally. I don’t really understand how that can be (since we don’t know what happens there), but I’d say it counts as a high pressure environment.

        Like

        • Of course the ranch is a high pressure environment but when you put someone on a podium in front of 15,000 people, you really see how mentally strong someone is. Pressure affects everyone differently.

          Like

    • To everyone doubting if Morgan can hit, give her a chance lol Simone struggled with consistency throughout 2013 and didn’t show full difficulty until literally at worlds, but she was fabulous there and the confidence boost it gave her turned her into a completely different athlete in 2014 and 2015. Also, 2011 nationals were kind of a nightmare, but a team of new seniors and one 2nd year got it together for worlds after losing Asac and won by 4 points lol Who says Morgan can’t get it together and do great? Let’s be supportive and see what she does.

      Like

      • Nope, Simone hit a completely perfect two-day set at 2013 nationals and SWEEPED the competition. She did not struggle with consistency like Morgan Hurd. Simone saw a sports psychologist in 2013 and figured out her issues before any major comps came up.

        Like

    • Yep I had the exact same thought about Morgan. Having had so many opportunities, in front of an actual crowd, to put it all together she has not done it one single time. Its pretty evident she has done well at camps all year as she got one of a few major assignments outside Jesolo. But if she has had big mistakes every single time, what makes this time any different? My heart of hearts was set on Trinity but looking at nationals I just don’t see how you couldn’t just throw this to Chiles. She put it all together for a two day competition and while she wasn’t perfect she got silver. Morgan absolutely fell apart, again. I really like Morgan but her confidence clearly is not there. Every time she gets interviewed she does not sound like a champion she sounds like she’s preparing herself for a let down. She has to get that mental game down and I don’t see why there is reason to think because she did well at a camp she’s suddenly putting it all together.

      Like

    • If there’s an audience, Morgan falls. If no audience, Morgan hits. Will there be an audience at Worlds? (Yep.) I don’t understand why everyone cares so much about the selection camp when they can’t duplicate the environment of a real life competition. Morgan will fall at Worlds.

      Like

  3. You are a bit generalizing that people don’t want Ashton because of the Trump issue, I did not even know about that issue until you brought it up. Some people are saying she’ll get her inbars, she’ll upgrade on nationals, at camp but nothing happened unless this is a super secret surprise LMAO. Her execution also is not as good compared to 2016. How come Valeri is so lenient with Ashton but not with the others?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t mean EVERYONE didn’t want her for that reason, obviously there are people who have other concerns that are valid which I brought up in my post. The Trump thing was an aside to those people who instantly changed their opinion of her gymnastics the second they found out she “supported” Trump (but as I said she was also an Obama fan and was like “CRYING THAT THIS MAN IS LEAVING!!!!!” so I’m like how politically confused are you, Ashton??). To me it’s borderline irrational to go from liking Ashton for her gymnastics and citing favoritism for putting Kocian and Douglas on the Olympic team over her, but then immediately being like “SHE’S A TRASH ONE-EVENT GYMNAST!” the way people did when they saw her fave that tweet (or post on Snapchat or whatever they did).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Or perhaps she’s politically open-minded? And is capable of supporting more than one type of person depending on which issues are currently key to her, rather than blindly sticking to one party? It’s quite possible to support different people for different reasons. Reportedly a large number of people who voted for Obama also seemed to have voted for Trump. Obama initially campaigned on a lot of things the majority wanted- ending the war in Iraq, closing Guatanemo, LGBT rights. He lost a huge amount of support with the poorly designed and ham-handed implementation of the ACA. Perhaps Ashton’s family fell into the economic category that couldn’t afford healthcare but still got fined for it? Or the category of people whose jobs got cut to parttime due to the employer mandate, leaving them with not only no health insurance but less job hours as well. The people who had to deal with the realities of the ACA impact as opposed to its well-intended ideals. The ACA is just an example, but it’s not politically confused to like aspects of Obama and aspects of Trump’s agenda, while disliking parts of both.

        Aside from that phrasing which I take issue with, this was a super article. One of my favorites I’ve read on here. Love the thought and detail that went into it.

        Like

        • Yeah but it’s okay. We can’t know and interpret everything perfectly. No,it didn’t sound like a joke to me, but if a writer takes too much space making sure everything she says is absolutely clarified, every article will sound like lawyer-speak and who wants to read that. Thus the point of the comments area and Lauren is probably the most conscientious gym blogger in terms of taking the time to respond and clarify in comments.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you! Sorry, I just assume everyone gets my humor and I always forget that it can be hard for it to translate sometimes when I’m being snarky, especially because I don’t often use snark in my blogs, so when I do some people are like “huh?” lol. But yes, I agree that people who support varied candidates across multiple parties are definitely awesome for bridging that gap when everything is often so polarized. I used “politically confused” because the values of most Obama supporters are vastly different from the values of most Trump supporters, but Ashton isn’t really all that politically active and probably doesn’t get as involved in the issues. She seemed to like both more for surface reasons than for issues they supported/backed, so that’s especially why when defending her to people who don’t like her solely for the reason that she supported Trump, I was like clearly she isn’t pro-Trump because she is anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-woman; she is none of those things, nor are many Trump supporters.

          Like

      • I think some people really dislike when someone is given such a benefit of the doubt as to not have to compete a full 6.0 set once all year and then is given a spot based simply on the idea that she’ll have it back by worlds. Even there at worlds, as you stated above, a 6.0 is putting her about 5th in D scores. Its just frustrating to see them invest in the past rather than the future. Chiles put it together for nationals and got second. Hurd had a mess of a competition and Ashton didn’t even manage to win her best event. It feels wrong to see Ashton going.

        Like

  4. I think people are going to be heartbroken when Ashton comes and medels on ub she knows how to win been there and done that if she didn’t look good at camp they wouldn’t have picked her . And people claiming ragan can’t beat lordache are crazy this girl is consistent hits high difficulty and gets the job done her scores have been realistic to what we’ll see at worlds . Her bb has been top notch and realistically scored to some of the scores by other countries.

    Like

    • I mean Ashton hasn’t really won….wasn’t 2017 USA UB champ, was 4th at 2014 Worlds and was 3rd at Jesolo this year. 2014/16 US Bar champ, but with Kocian right on her heels. She has great execution and consistency though.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or genuine, but I’m beyond sick of hearing Ashton’s not great on bars because she’s never been anything but 4th in 2014. First of all, 4th that year was great. In her very first worlds, with no prior experience, she hit for the U.S. in prelims, team finals, and again in an event finals where the majority hit.
          Second, Ashton hasn’t been competing and failing to medal at worlds for years. She hasn’t had the chance to compete at worlds. Not because she wasn’t good on bars but because the U.S. squad is so deep. Multiple U.S. specialists capable of medaling or winning at worlds have never gotten the chance to compete at worlds simply because there wasn’t enough room on the team, not because they weren’t fabulous at their event. Ashton missed out on 2015 worlds and 2016 Olympics (where it’s 99% likely she would have medaled) simply because of U.S. team puzzles and she was always slightly behind Kocian (partly because Kocian did AA).

          Pretend Kocian was the one who got squeezed out of the 2015 worlds and 2016 Olympics. If Kocian competed her routine this year, would we say she shouldn’t go because the best she’d ever done was fall in team prelims back in 2014?

          Aly Raisman failed to medal in multiple AA finals, Gabby Douglas consistently failed to medal in event finals, Sam Mikulak annually fails to medal. Ashton, on the other hand, hasn’t had the chance to compete. She has, however, never missed a bar routine that I know of in her senior career, unlike Douglas, unlike Kocian. To act like her failure to medal in her first and only worlds years ago is evidence of something is ludicrous.

          Liked by 1 person

      • I know, I love that I dedicated one tiny little paragraph to her, which I realized when I was doe. A simple decision tbh, one that comes with zero controversy or even need for discussion! She’s gonna kill it, just as she has all season!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I suppose if she comes home with no medal than the dozen U.S. girls who were obvious shoo-ins for medals that got passed over for Ashton will gloat…not quite sure who those girls are though.

        Seriously, I would hope U.S. fans are not so medal-deranged that if one of their athletes doesn’t bring home a medal-plated round pendant on a ribbon, they will say, “Good job. You’re amazing. Top 8 anything in the world is admirable. Proud of you and you’ll get’em next time.” Or something equally appreciative and adult.

        I suppose one could make fun of them, put them down, mocking and LOLing and such and say something like, “You pathetic loser! I knew you were hopeless after you bombed 2014 worlds. Remember that? The 2014 worlds when you lost a medal by a whole .017 of a point? Huh, huh, remember that? LOL. Go back to the playground, you wannabe hasbeen. You’ll never amount to anything so why don’t you just give up now.”

        Don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but you realize that’s the way your comment comes across, right?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Apologies if that came off mean. It just sounded so mean the way you phrased it, as if you were pointing and laughing at her for doing a very good job in her first worlds. Shouldn’t have responded in kind, but unsure where this glee in Locklear’s admirable 4th place 2014 finish comes from. She should be proud of it, as should most athletes who compete, regardless of whether they medal.

          Like

        • Your missing the point all in your feelings!!! THE POINT IS… The USA sends MEDAL CONTENDERS… Why? BECAUSE THE US IS THE DOMINANT FORCE IS WOMENS GYMNASTICS. Capeche? Thats the kind of shock I felt when I saw she made it. Sending Ashton while still not having her inbars is a bit of a shock. Because she sucks? NO. Because she likes Trump ( LMAO dont care) But because the US is expected to win or medal. Simple. Even with her inbars its highly unlikely unless everyone else in the competitive as hell bars field makes a mistake. I’m sorry maybe for you if Ashton hits a clean routine, no inbar, makes it to final and finishes 5th, maybe for you thats great. But lets be real, this is the USA. We want winners, or medalists. USA gym wants medals. Im not going to debate about winners, and only being first blah blah blah and the bad psychology of that. Im saying from the selection committee POV they arent handing out SPIRIT AWARD FOR PARTICIPATION.. they are picking girls who they think will bring back hardware. Ashton is an amazing bar worker, however her body wont let her upgrade. Which is sad. Everyone was saying this in 2016, WHY IS SHE STILL DOING THE SAME ROUTINE? etc etc. She is blowing her chances to go to Rio etc etc. But I just dont think health wise she can. But if Riley was healthy I dont even think we would be having this discussion.

          Like

        • Um, that’s fine, D. Of course the US wants to send medal contenders. What surefire medal contender would you like to send instead of Ashton? The point is, there isn’t one. There are going to be people on this US team who are not strong contenders for medals. Sorry but that’s just what’s available this year. So let’s take what’s available and be supportive and appreciative of them because they’re what we’ve got. It’s not like they’re sending Ashton just so she’ll feel good about herself and passing over Simone Biles, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman. This is what’s here so no need to trash people if they can’t win.

          Liked by 1 person

        • D- No, the point is, there are no other options who are more likely to be medal contenders, and if you think there are, I would love to hear who you think they are. Everyone seems to be shouting Morgan and Ashton shouldn’t go because they’re not shoo-ins for medals!!! but no one seems to be offering alternatives who would be. Do you think the US just shouldn’t use the last two spots since Ragan and Jade are the only US gymnasts right now who are serious medal threats?

          Like

    • I wouldn’t say she is a shoo in to medal on bars. She most likely will make final, but it’s not a definite thing that she will medal. I like the uncertainty with this years worlds! Too bad with time zones and work I probably won’t get to watch it live though.

      Like

    • I think if Iordache hits a full difficulty beam then it will be close. But if Iordache has even a lick of a mistake Ragan has it. Ragan literally will not fall.

      Like

  5. Yeah, I have literally never heard that about Ashton and Trump before. I have heard people say they don’t want her on the team because they don’t like how she retweeted things suggesting she should be on the Olympic team and not Gabby Douglas (similar to the reason people don’t like Skinner) and I’ve heard people say they don’t want her on the team because they think it’s a waste of a spot because she is not going to medal without her inbars, which she clearly doesn’t have. Bringing Trump into it was kind of unnecessary and weird.

    I do agree with the people that her spot is a bit of a waste of a spot and I also feel a little bit the same way about Hurd but it seems like with this crew rush any of the spots outside of Smith and Carey are “wasted” in the sense that I don’t think that anyone else is going to be a medal contender in the AA or on any event. Now watch Hurd and Locklear come out and totally prove me wrong, hehe. That said, in the case of Hurd, she is getting valuable experience so I don’t truly think the spot is a waste. Do I think there was potentially a better use of Locklear’s spot? Maybe, maybe not. It’s a shame McCusker was too injured to even just do bars as that might have been the best use. (Carey could do beam) But since that’s not an option, I guess why not Locklear. Individual worlds often lead to weird choices. Like McKayla Maroney doing all-around in prelims.

    Like

    • The Trump thing is big on Tumblr, where people immediately switched their allegiance from “Ashton should’ve gone to Rio over Madison or Gabby!!!!” to “Ashton is one-event trash!!!!” as soon as they saw she was a Trump supporter. It’s one thing to no longer like her as a person, but people legitimately changed their opinions of her gymnastics based on their idea of her as a person, which is high key foolish.

      Like

      • Sometimes I think we let politics dictate too much of our lives. This is one of those cases. Her politics have nothing to do with her gymnastics; and even if you vehemently despise Donald Trump, you shouldn’t hate people or immediately dismiss a person for who they support politically. In my opinion it is irrational and hysterical and creates serious divisions.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Tumblr is a small part of the gymternet, and an even smaller part of gymnastics followers. I had never heard about the Ashton liking Trump’s tweet controversy, and from what I’ve read in the comments, I was not the only one. When one claims that some people are hating on a gymnast for no reason, one would be advised not to spread the word so that everyone knows . Just saying.

        Like

        • Tbh I thought it was important to address because regardless of who Ashton supports or doesn’t support, and regardless what Tumblr thinks about Ashton, in general there is this idea that people think a gymnast’s personality/politics are tied into what she can do as a gymnast and I think it’s important to address that you can dislike what a gymnast says/does on social media but still objectively watch her gymnastics. With Ashton, the reason for bringing that up was because last year, everyone was #TeamAshton because she was supposedly way better than Gabby and Madison on bars and it was a “crime” to leave her at home…but then as soon as people found something about her to dislike, they immediately began calling her “one-event trash” and completely flipped on her as a gymnast all based on favoriting a tweet about Trump winning. Me bringing it up is less to do with Ashton liking Trump than it is to do with the general statement that a gymnast can still be good at her sport even if she is a horrible person, likes horrible politicians, or whatever. I mean, people who have done much worse than Ashton exist in other sports and I can still be like “Michael Vick was a good QB” and that statement is true regardless of whether he’s a disgusting piece of dog-fighting trash who should be in prison and never should’ve been allowed back in the NFL. There’s too much of “oh I don’t like Skinner’s personality and therefore she sucks at gymnastics!” going on and I’m like, like or hate whoever you want, but if you can’t recognize their value as an athlete regardless of your personal dislike, then you’re coming at this with a bias, which is why so many people hate Ashton being on the team — because they don’t like who she is based on who she voted for. Obviously that’s not EVERYONE who doesn’t want her on the team, which is why I addressed the other reasons first and foremost, but there is a rather large community of people who dislike her for the Trump tweets/snapchats, and so I had to address that their biased dislike of her isn’t a real reason why she shouldn’t be on the team.

          Like

        • I would heavily disagree that Tumblr is but a “small” portion of the gymternet. While many of us who have left Tumblr bc the community there is trash, some of the heaviest hitters and influencers in gymnastics media, as well as the translating of press releases and interviews, and recording meets that most of us cannot get all hail from Tumblr users. They may have other accounts too, but the are absolutely bug in the Tumblr world, too. The same is true for those who are friends with gymnasts, have insider information, or are even coaches that weigh in on important things. Unfortunately, it’s also where the most vicious of character assassinations exist bc the majority of gymnasts don’t have tumblrs like they might have Twitter or Instagram accts, so it’s a bit of a free-for-all there as they expect the girls/coachea are less likely to see it. But the bulk of the information that finds its way to Twitter, IG, or even in gym articles hails from information provided by and conversations that developed on Tumblr. It has a massive sphere of influence. When I stumble into info I’d never heard about someone before, be it YT l, Twitter or otherwise, when I ask someone where they heard/learned that, I’m almost always directed to a tumblr post.
          Since I myself have left Tumblr, I find that I’m less aware of these things, yet they constantly show up on YT, IG and blog comment sections as well as Twitter threads and even on GymCastic.
          I didn’t hear about this specifically with Ashton, but have witnessed how the liking or retweeting of one tweet or IG post can dramatically change how a fan base sees a person’s gymnastics. And, even if you don’t know where it came from or that anything even “happened”, it’s suddenly a lot easier to find people picking on every little detail of a gymnasts performance, no buzz or interest in her anymore, or even just saying she did really badly, even if she did the exact same calibre work she’s always done. This can color the opinions of people who didn’t even know they did anything questionable, you’re just trusting the megafans must know they’ve regressed, arent doing as well, don’t fit into the puzzle anymore, or won’t be relevant so don’t waste time looking into her. It can spread like wildfire. I myself was a massive Ashton fan last year, and still am, but even I was witness to the hatred toward her without knowing where it came from. So, seeing it come from former fans of hers, I started to view her gymnastics more critically myself bc it rubs off on you. However I rarely follow the crowd so I was able to be steadfast in my feeling toward her gymnastics after just a meet or two, but for awhile had zero interest in her or even started to see flaws that weren’t there since the language around her performances was so strong, or talked about being washed upnor irrelvant infects your mind. So, I think it was a relevant thing to bring it up.
          Even when it comes to conversations about whether she should be on the Worlds team or not, if you don’t follow every bit of behind the scenes info, when it seems someones making a good argument for why she shouldn’t be going, it’s very easy to just agree with them or think theyre making a ton of sense and are probably well-informed about thinga you maybe missed. Then you later find out most of their info wasn’t even right, but they were saying it with such conviction why wouldn’t you believe them – but in reality they actually just hate her, are creating scenarios or possibilities that arent even real….and then you can read something more like this and realize how and why it makes logistic sense. I’ve seen this happen with several people who didnt know enough about the Worlds setup and jist went along with what some really LOUD but inaccurate voices on the matter were claiming…all bc they suddenly don’t like HER, not her gym. I think it was important to mention that the overall criticism you may be hearing toward an athlete may actually be stemming from very very LOUD members of the gymternet (with massive followings on both Tumblr and twitter) that are getting into many people’s heads, and not actually because there’s a lot of merit behind it. ….gymternet members who have done the exact same thing the moment any gymnast makes a mistake. From Ferlito to Skinner to Gabby to Chow, and even Simone, Norah and now Ashton — the ability for some to turn on a gymnast and start criticizing their gymnastics, form, routine composition, music, leos, hair, coaches, work ethic, intentions and more – just because they did either a tiny tiny thing they don’t like (or, on occassion, a big thing) – is insane. It was helpful to know the tone around Ashton is probably not solelyyyy about her gymnastics, but something else. …so to be aware od that so you can make your own decisions. Anyone just thinking critically would understand the uniqueness of this year’s world’s arrangement and why she makes sense. Instead, when you hear she’s “trash”, not even trying, or is just Valeri’s new pet, stealing spots from people who deserve them more, won’t even make a final, is selfish, and so much more…it can get in your head. 😒😒😒

          Liked by 1 person

        • Lots of great points in here. The one that stood out most is that about the loudest people who might not have the best intentions in what they’re saying being some of the ones people follow blindly. I saw a bunch of people sharing videos of Jade’s vault from podium training at nationals on tumblr, and they were all like, “she’s so good!!!” ignoring her form…and then someone influential reposted it and was like shitting all over Jade and her form and suddenly everyone thinks that Jade is awful. It’s insane how quickly this stuff passes from person to person, and with a lot of the more “controversial” things like with Ferlito and Skinner especially, people don’t always have all of the information and yet they mount this complete and total character assassination and refuse to see any gray areas. There’s a fine line between seeing the gray and excusing bad behavior, but I think often people jump to conclusions so quickly, they ignore the gray entirely just because they’ve formed this opinion based on one thing and there’s no forgiveness or reasoning or anything, and even if you try to play devil’s advocate, you’re thrown onto the ‘bad person’ side. It’s frustrating and it can be so difficult to have any opinion that goes against the ‘status quo’ even if all you’re trying to do is explain the situation. I’ve been on that side many times, and it was especially hard with Ferlito due to the racist aspect of what she said, so I was always like, I do not excuse her racism EVENNNN AAAA LITTLEEEEE, what she said was entirely inexcusable, but as an explanation for why she was so casually talking in that way, I brought up that in much of small-town Italy, casual racism is a thing that happens and if she’s growing up and hearing people make comments rooted in ignorance, it’s not shocking that she’s also going to speak like that. It doesn’t excuse it, but it kind of explains like, hey, she’s PROBABLY not a full-blown racist in the way you guys are suggesting, she probably just doesn’t know any better (because if she DID know better, she probably wouldn’t say shit like that to the press hahaha…unless she was just super dumb). Anyway, I got a lot of crap for just EXPLAINING that, and it can be really disheartening to try to get people to see different sides to things, and so it just goes on that people see something they don’t like, immediately turn it into something awful, and then that’s the end of story, they’re a terrible gymnast forever and should never make any teams. It’s definitely out there all the time, and so when I write things like this, I like to kind of reiterate that what Ashton tweets or says on social media has zero bearing on her making teams and it’s super irrational to even suggest that!

          Liked by 1 person

        • (Also, so many apologies for my millions of typos and whacky grammar. I was using mobile and it wasn’t letting me delete things well, or scroll in the tiny box without accidentally deleting a ton of things by accident – so I just left some of the easier-to-guess typos be.)

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I think Morgan has a shot at an outside floor medal, but nothing else. However it would be the same thing with Chiles, and Thomas isn’t a medal contender on any of the events. Hurd will be an outside for all around as well (like Chiles and Thomas would’ve been) so I can see why they took her. Locklear is there because McCusker withdrew and Jade can only do vault and floor. Locklear was simply the only one who somewhat fit into the Bars/Beam spot.

    Like

  7. In the videos released from camp, it looks as though Morgan Hurd hits the table with only one hand on her DTY. Is anyone else seeing this? Any thoughts?

    Like

  8. Ashton literally posted a Snapchat with the election results gushing about her happiness that Trump won. It’s not just that she liked some protrump tweets. Disliking her for her support of a misogynistic white nationalist is entirely reasonable.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Considering people don’t know what her political values are, it’s fairly unreasonable. The cliche in U.S. politics is that it’s always a choice between the lesser of two evils, rarely does anyone love the values of either candidate. Online at least, American people have gone insane. No one seems familiar with the concept that sometimes someone gets elected that you don’t like, but there will be another election in 3 years and each individual person is still capable of being kind, loving, generous, open-minded, compassionate and forgiving to every person in their daily life regardless of what one person is president. Apparently batting at and screaming at invisible banshees of fear and tearing strangers down is more appealing. Seriously, rather than tearing apart Ashton for voting a certain way for reasons no one knows, people could do a lot more good just letting an extra person in in traffic when they’re running late themselves. It’s beyond absurd the number of people who criticize officials for not making peace with entire countries they disagree with oversees when they can’t even find it in their heart to be decent to a neighbor with different views, or a 19 year old athlete whose never done anything to hurt them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s cute to try and say that someone’s political beliefs don’t affect how they are as a person and Trump supporters can be kind and compassionate, but if you voted for Trump it doesn’t matter if you’re actively a racist/sexist in real life, you still made the decision that you’re okay supporting a racist, sexist liar which makes you arguably just as bad. There are plenty of white supremacists out there who are on good terms with their black and ethnic neighbors, but still hold harmful beliefs towards minorities as a whole. I agree that her politics don’t affect how good her gymnastics are, but it’s perfectly reasonable for people who originally liked her to turn on her and not support her anymore after finding out she’s a Trumpster because at the very least, that means she’s tacitly approving of his message and behavior. And 19 is old enough to be able to tell right from wrong, so if what she thinks it’s right to call all Mexicans rapists and demand that Muslims be put on a registry then I think it does say a lot about her morals as a person.

          Like

    • I wish people didn’t bring politics into it, but I can appreciate the rage that a tweet gushing favorably about Trump winning would generate. He and his father were sued by the DOJ….and lost….during the 70s for housing discrimination against people of color. It was blatant. He colluded with Russia. He’s a contemptible human being.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Her political affiliation most certainly has nothing to do with her gymnastics abilities. But as fans, we can root for or against a certain gymnast for reasons beyond their physical abilities?

          I personally rooted for Ebee Price more than anyone else through early last quad because she had committed to my alma mater. That had no bearings on her gymnastics ability at all but it still made me have more emotional investment in her.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, fans can root for or against whomever they please. I am the biggest fan of gymnasts who might never make teams, and there are gymnasts I’m not a fan of personally who are among the best in the world. But justifying team decisions because you don’t like a gymnast isn’t a rational thing. You can dislike Ashton as a person and as a gymnast and for whatever reason you like, but you can’t use your personal tastes to say “she is not good on bars.” Like, if Simone was a terrible person and I hated her, I couldn’t legitimately be like “omg I hate Simone, she’s SO BAD on vault” when she was objectively the best vaulter of the quad. You might not like Ashton and you might not WANT her on teams, but trying to justify why she shouldn’t be on a team based on nothing more than your personal opinion of her is completely irrational.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. I really hope Hurd can hit at Worlds and bring home a medal. I also hope Thomas can get a DTY because next year, despite having a full team, the internal competition to make that team will be even harder with the upcoming juniors (provided they all stay healthy. Please stay healthy!) There’s just something about her and her gymnastics that I really enjoy. Maybe because I am old and she reminds me of Dominique Dawes. I also hope more US gymnasts will develop a second vault. I have nothing against Carey, but I haven’t been very impressed by her form on her vaults. And finally, I want world’s to be as competitive as it is shaping up to be and not turn into a splat fest like some other years have been.

    Liked by 2 people

        • Plenty of people have made a comeback in less than a year. Admittedly in countries with way less depth than the USA though.

          Like

        • They didnt really though. Return to competition was over a year for Aly and gabby at Jeselo in 2015, (the first went to camp in fall of 2014) but both starting training in summer of 2013. Also look at who was successful vs not in the last few quads, it was aly and gabby not shawn and chellsie… slow and steady is probs better for the long term plan to 2020 vs a mid quad worlds. Asac is a special case IMO because they needed a high difficulty vault in 2010 and she filled that spot perfectly.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Speaking of the inbars, it’s been pretty interesting to see how many world champions have failed to retain their inbar programme later in their career–Semenova in 2010, Liukin in 2012, Komova in 2015 (missing only her inbar 1/1 but still), Huang (Huidan) in 2016 and Spiridonova in 2017. #DontCountOnInbars

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe she will get 1 inbar back lol? I mean if you think about it if she just added the one before her jaeger, her d score would go up by 2 tenths (1 from the skill, 1 from CV) and put her even closer to capitalizing if one of the top top girls makes a mistake (which like come on there were 2 pretty big ones in the Olympic final last year)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe, maybe not. I thought Simone was pushing too much difficulty in her first year as a senior and would fall off the wagon by 2015 and then look what happened. And there were people who were wrote off her Olympic chances for the same reason as I did. Bailie Key was “the next AA champion” in 2013/2014 and then ended up with a 5 month long senior career. There’s no guarantee that Malabuyo, Maile, Perea or Sunisa Lee will make it, especially since Perea seems injury prone. Simone seems like she’ll bounce back quickly she’s in good shape, but then again Shawn seemed in pretty good shape too, and actually made a somewhat decent comeback in 2011 before getting injured in the Olympic year. It all depends. I can see Sunisa Lee making it, I would be open to Aly making it for a 3rd olympics. Morgan looks like she’s keeping some of her hardest stuff under wraps. Jades lack of Bars and Locklears lack of floor and vault will prevent them from making the team if they’re healthy, they would probably have to qualify as an individual. I think Locklear only training two events can benefit her in terms of longevity, but there have been rumors that she’s planning doing floor and vault again at some point.

        Like

      • Zyxcba, let me put it this way, I certainly HOPE this year’s group is just filler. If the current juniors do not transition, we best be praying for a Simone AND Aly comeback, because I genuinely do not believe our current crop of gymnasts would take home gold medals at the Olympics.

        Like

  11. I’m not surprised by the committee’s choices here. I’m thrilled for Morgan, but I honestly would have been thrilled for any of them and I’m really looking forward to seeing Chiles and Thomas grow over the next few years. I have no problem with the inclusion of Ashton, with or without inbars. She has one of the most beautiful bar routines in the world. It is certainly “worlds quality” and might make a final, and perhaps the committee wants to have US girls in all the finals as a sort of pride thing. Also, once you’re in a final, you never know what will happen. Ashton is super consistent on that routine and could perhaps snag a medal depending on what happens. BUT I think one big reason for her inclusion is that she is the only true veteran on this team. Ragan is a veteran, sort of, but she is only a second-year senior and has never been to worlds. And Morgan is a new senior and Jade is a brand new elite. I do think that Valeri would value Ashton more because she is older and more experienced and might be able to help the younger girls like Jade and Morgan to keep calm and compete like they train. I’m just guessing here, but I wouldn’t call that “favoritism” so much as a legitimate preference for worlds-level experience when they are trying to choose between several girls who are all very close in ability and medal chances.

    Also, they are all wonderful gymnasts and I do wish the gymternet would stop putting them down and making snarky comments about them and their gymnastics. Like, can you do an inbar? They are hard. Be nice. You can support your favorites without insulting other hardworking girls who are doing their best.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am not a fan of Locklear myself but I don’t see a team without her now that McCusker has withdrawn. I mean, people who complained that she got picked where expecting a
    Ragan/Jade/Trinity/Chiles team?

    When only two can compete in the all-around it makes no sense.

    To me, the biggest controversy is Morgan getting picked. Though I think that Valeri was looking for someone who kind of had the same strenghts as Riley and Morgan can be great at bars and beam plus has a decent AA program. I would have taken Chiles but hey I am no national team coordinator.

    Like

  13. I just looked up the 2013 Worlds Team to refresh my memory/feel better about Trinity Thomas not making this Worlds Team. In case others didn’t recall either, only 1 of the 4 (Simone) made the 2016 Olympic Team. In spite of my fav not making the team, I think this is a really solid Worlds team and they’ll come back with several medals.

    Like

  14. Lauren, one thing I love (and fear) about you is your uncanny ability to shut down all your naysayers and win nearly every argument. I never pick fights with you because I know I will lose. Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I’m also indifferent and in a perfect world we’d have someone who could slay on bars AND beam to end this whole discussion, but that person doesn’t exist in the US, and hasn’t for a long time. #CriesAboutNorahFlatleyForever Ashton is just about the best we can do, so let’s just let her do her thing and maybe not be dicks to her?!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Can you explain what you mean by Eremina being “slammed for her execution as she has been internationally this year.”. Which are the competitions where she got slammed? Her main international UB final results this year were Euros where she took silver with the 2nd highest E score and Jesolo where she took Gold – again the 2nd highest E score.

    Like

  16. I see all your points, but Alyona has outscored Ashton at almost every competition this year, she missed one bar routine, and she came back at camp and her form looked amazing. Her in bars are easily the best in the US because she actually pikes them, and her form looked stunning. I know we didn’t see everything, but Ashton hasn’t upgraded in years, she’s only downgraded and she’s not even going to be competitive in the long run. (When Juniors like Perea, and when McCusker come back). Alyona is someone who, in my opinion, has more of a chance to even make the bar final, and who could be valuable in the future in team events and such.

    Like

    • Being nearly a point behind Alyona in difficulty, Ashton scores the same as her which just tells you how weak Alyona’s execution is; for hit routines this year, Ashton has an average of 14.513 while Alyona has a 14.467; Ashton has had zero falls or major mistakes this year whereas Alyona has had a fall; and Ashton out-performed Alyona score-wise at camp.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That, AND Ashton has more to offer the TEAM overall. She is the team leader as the oldest and someone with experience. Part of choosing a team is looking at team dynamic, and someone like Ashton is there as the leader/mama bear whereas someone like Alyona – a first year senior who has only been on the national team for a few months and has only competed at one meet internationally – just doesn’t make sense for that role. If two athletes can do about the same thing on an event and either one can make it, they look for other reasons why one or the other might be beneficial to the team, and Ashton won that battle. It just isn’t Alyona’s time right now. That doesn’t mean it never will be.

      Like

      • Are there team captains in non-team competition years? I only worried that Ashton wasn’t able to get her D-score up due to her injury and therefore wasn’t 100% healthy but if she convinced Valeri I’ll trust he has a reason.

        Like

        • Not in a literal sense, but even at a individual championships there’s still a “team” just not a team competition. There’s usually one for every country that’s sending at least 3 gymnasts that interact and help out the younger ones, and Locklear is that person for the US.

          Like

  17. Although ashton doesnt have a good shot at medal due to low d I m still somewhat happy that she gets to go but really wiah that she did have her full d to get that worlds medal she has been after.

    Still dont quite understand how she could be supportive of trump being that shes native american which is a minority grp… as a more liberal person I would say that trump does say a few valid things (such as the rest of the world doea need to step up on cost sharing) but on the whole trump does a lot more negative things than positive to earn my vote and I still dont quite understand his die hard supporters or why ashton would support him… politically confusing I know..lol..

    Like

      • I don’t see how they would fall apart without Ashton. I’m not someone who’s mad at Ashton being there, Is actually think this is the best team they could construct given what they have. But with the exception of Hurd, I’m not worried about any of them imploding.

        Like

  18. So after listening to the Gymnastic interview with Maggie Haney and Aimee Boorman, they did mention that part of team selection is also how the girls fit together as a TEAM. I think more credit has to be given to Ashton in terms of the argument that she is going because she looks clean/still has a little time to potentially upgrade AND she has World’s experience. She even mentioned in her interview after some meet that she feels “old” because she’s one of the most experienced now without Simone, Aly, Gabby, etc. around. Sometimes leadership/experience is just as important to have at a meet like this as someone who can make a final and potentially medal…which Ashton can also do.

    Like

  19. I love how everyone has been crying that Valeri is ruining Martha’s legacy (so many comments on twitter about how Valeri only likes the “European type” despite that he chose Jade and Ragan?). Everybody loves Martha now and agrees with every choice she ever made, but remember the backlash she faced for putting Gabby on the Olympic team last year? Have some faith in the experts.

    Like

    • Ha ha, I don’t. I still disagree with every single one of Martha’s decisions that I disagreed with in the past, and with the selection of Hurd, I don’t see much hope that Valeri’s going to be any different in the “favoring potential over performance” sense. Valeri’s not ruining Martha’s legacy, he appears to be continuing it, with all the same flawed choices.

      Like

      • Well with Martha favoring potential over performance the US has raked in a ton medals many of them gold. So I’m going to go off on a limb and say that the process works.

        Like

    • my fear is that valeri clearly has a favorite gymnast body type to put on the world stage (long, lean, just like nastia), and when it comes down to something like jordan vs. morgan, he’ll pick morgan, because she has a slighter build. did anyone catch in the gymcastic interview w/ maggie haney, how when she first brought riley to camp, maggie said she had a thigh gap and “no leg muscle,” and valeri told her “i like what you’ve done with her body.”

      Like

      • That quote is incorrect. She said when Riley first got to HER gym that she didn’t have any muscle and that they worked on it. Then, when she brought her to camp with more muscle Valeri told her how well she had done with her body. Everyone is just being ridiculous at this point trying to say that he’s picking a certain type. Jordan didn’t preform in camp. I know people love Jordan, but she is a sloppy gymnast. People need to stop acting like there is some sort of conspiracy just because they don’t agree with the choices made.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I still think the US national team is the best overall worldwide, but it just feels so weak I guess relatively compared to recent national teams. I mean even this current team just feels a little weaker even compared to the 2013 team. maybe lauren and someone can comment on comparing to the 2009 team…

    Like

  21. Thanks for explaining this so well Lauren! I’ve never thought of it like this before, as a „puzzle“ and that even if you‘re incredibly talented, you might just not be the right fit for this year‘s team. I‘m sure every single one of these girls deserves to be on the team for all the hard work they put into their gymnastics. Also, the comment about „ashton being politically confused“ made me laugh out loud haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, the combo of liking Obama and Trump is definitely a weird one, hahaha. Bless her heart. But yes, I would say almost every one of the girls at camp could have been justified for a spot, but they just ended up taking the ones who best fit the puzzle this year.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jordan’s coach got a DUI or something happened, I think alcohol related, that made him ineligible to take her to meets as an official U.S. coach. So she missed international assignments (like Jesolo) she otherwise would have gone to because she had no coach to accompany her. I guess she has a new coach now? That’s a very fuzzy explanation. I’m sure Lauren knows more.

      Like

      • Wasn’t a DUI, but that Jordan’s coach was driving Jordan to the ranch (from the airport, I believe) while under the influence of alcohol and it might not have been the first time something like that happened. The USAG staff found out about it, which caused all the changes and such. Jordan’s reportedly (based on what Lauren has mentioned) training with another coach she worked well with at Naydenov.

        (Also, Jordan’s former coach was a woman, not a man.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • And by “wasn’t a DUI” I mean that the coach wasn’t arrested for something elsewhere and then everything went down, since she was definitely driving under the influence.

        Like

  22. Looking at the videos, Morgan is very low on the full-in off beam, so maybe she should take it out? I mean Locklear’s double tuck is even lower so I don’t know. Her DTY could probably be a little cleaner too. Her Pak is also really close to the bar, but overall I think she’s looking good. Ragan’s floor looks good except for the triple full. That is just begging to be downgraded. Jade’s vaults look good. Her Kaz-full is a little low in the landing, but not too bad, I mean just look at Wang Yan. Her floor is looking pretty good at this just point, but the FTDLO is still pretty piked in the landing, although she’s definitely cleaned up the in air form.
    I have to say that I really like this team. It would definitely be the team I would pick. Except maybe Trinity Thomas. I think Jordan Chiles really only has the all around final, she doesn’t have the second vault and her floor and beam aren’t final-ready. Trinity is really tempting in the sense that she could sneak into the beam, floor and maybe even uneven bar finals. But I respect the decision.

    Like

    • i think judges are really favoring the big F and G dismounts this quad – hence the 0.2 and 0.3 bonuses – and plus in the past they’ve been less strict on low landings for G dismounts. if you go back and watch ponor’s full-in double pike dismount in 2004 and 2012 BB EFs, they were both SUPER low, and the 2012 one was not only super low, but also had a huge step forward. she won gold in 2004 and tied for bronze in 2012 (albeit lost tiebreaker) when her dismount should’ve been at least -0.6.

      Like

  23. Ragan is North Dakota winter popsicle solid. #slaykween
    Jade’s smirk when she hits a good vault makes me happy I exist.
    Ashton has sparkle bars even without the glory of a bunch of sandwich-giants in her routine (#notsogymnast mnemonic for inbars/stalders).
    Morgiboo – OMGGGGEEEE!!! My untrained gym-fan eyes love that she can twinkle like a fairy and then throw a massive double double.

    Also, Lauren is a #bloggoddess

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I feel like, in addition to all your thoughts about Ashton, she offers something else no one has: World’s experience. Not even Ragan has been to a World’s. She’s also hella consistent on her main event where none of the others gunning for her UB spot could even sorta compare. She’s older, she’s experienced, she’s traveled internationally, and has a thing for looking after all the little ones in her own gym — so leadership is coming more naturally to her. Ragan and her beads are not leadership material even if SHE’S an individual bamf. Morgan is a baby. Jade only just got here. Did we really wanna toss sorta-wild child Chiles (can never get her natl anthem singing, Norah staring gif outta my head, nor all her other crazy silly comments) or Alyona to lead or calm anyone’s nerves? Hell nah. Even the 2013 year when Biles was a newbie we had returning Olympians, then Kyla and Biles/Aly/Gabby in later years. Right now we have a bunch of easily shaken freshies. Ashton’s at least someone who can tell them what to expect, calm them down, give them pointers, remind them of things to do in the downtime, and just look after them overall. Nerves and a tense arena has been what’s led to most of the errors this season. I don’t think sending a COMPLETELY green team out there onto the World stage right after the Biles legacy would lead them to perform their best. She can offer an anchor point.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly!! Ashton is the glue holding them together, and that’s a HUGE part of why she was selected. If it came down to her and Alyona for bars getting similar scores, they have to find a way to break that tie, and Ashton wins it on her experience and being able to lead a team.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I am so excited that Morgan Hurd will get to go to Worlds, even if it’s debated if she is the best choice. I adore her current floor routine – one of the few where I can really see the connection between the music and her choreo. Do you think she will be able to get in a bars upgrade before Worlds?

    (I’m so excited by this that I have stopped being a long-term lurker and have written my first comment. Whee!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Welcome to the madness that is the comment section! 🙂 I think Morgan got the second AA spot because she was the second-best AAer at camp, so she must’ve done something Jordan or Trinity didn’t do. Even if her event medal/final potential isn’t that high, they needed a second all-arounder, and none of their options for that were going to be standouts for event finals, so it makes sense that they’d just take that second AAer *just* for AA.

      Like

  26. 123 thoughts about the USA team ! Waooh !
    I’m he 124th thought : so happy that Hurd is on the team. I hope she will get a medal (AA) and it’s a great signal to world gymnastics that such a gymnast is to be sent to WC.
    I think the responsability of the world leader country in gym is not only to win plenty of medals, but to show the direction of gymnastics. And the package Smith+Hurd is a wonderful direction.
    I hope both of them will do the floor final (Jade Carey’s fx is my punishment).
    Here are my dreams for realistic podiums (I don’t mind the order, all the metal colors are mixed) :
    AA : Hurd – Eremina – Smith
    Vault : Carey – Andrade – Charpy
    UB : Derwael – Ilyankova – Chan
    Beam : Iordache – Thorsdottir – Ting Ting
    Floor : Fragapane – Melnikova and Murakami
    Don’t worry, in that dream, USA are the best : the only country with 3 medals !
    (just because it’s a realistic dream … the problem is that there is no Canadian nor German women in the mix)

    Like

  27. With Jade Carey the only US senior with two vaults right now and looking strong on fx, what is the comparison to someone like mykayla skinner?

    In the worst case scenario of no returning seniors, the US could definitely be challenged on several fronts. They will probably still be able to win the team final due to overall depth and consistency but it’s no longer a cakewalk like last quad.

    Without several breakthroughs and I really mean SEVERAL breakthroughs from several seniors or without return of anyone from final five, looking at what the US got right now, I just don’t think that they can put together anything like the final five anymore.

    Like

    • Have you watched the US juniors? There are several who could medal at worlds this year.

      That said, I look forward to team competition being interesting, because it should be closer than it was in the Biles quad

      Like

  28. i think we’re overestimating the bars crowd for a post-olympic year. in 2013, SIMONE BILES MADE THE BARS FINALS. honestly, ashton’s 5.5-D and 8.8-E (14.3) is going to be enough to AT LEAST make finals. there might be 5 or so gymnasts with 6.0+, but ashton’s 0.5+ ahead of the in execution.

    Like

    • I think the 5.5 D score is going to hurt her – 5.5 is a very average D score this year as even non-specialists are doing 5.5-5.9. I think there will be at least 8-10 gymnasts with a 6.0+ D score this time around. There were 6 with 6.0+ just at Europeans qualifying and that was without the Chinese, the top Russian and those that have upgraded. What Ashton has is good execution but she will need to be exceptional to make up for losing 0.5-1.0 in D score

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, but the event with the strongest field is always changing. You can’t judge how strong this year’s field will be based on the field four years ago.

      Like

  29. Controversial Opinion: I think this may be it for Chiles, THomas or even both. Just like it was for Kytra. Next year we have three huge gymnasts turning senior. Plus Ragan and Riley. That only leaves one spot And its only going to get tighter from there. Jordan could hold on because of the big amanar. But I wouldn’t be surprised to have both never make a words team, whch would be a shame. I hope one (or both) can prove me wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think one thing to remember is the unpredictability of a gymnast’s career. You never know who will peak and recede, have injuries, or massively improve in the coming years.
      I hope to see Thomas stay healthy, upgrade, and have some good international assignments, even if she doesn’t make a worlds team. Yes, it will be tough with next year’s crop of new seniors, but Thomas seems to have so much potential that didn’t quite get realized this year due to injury.
      I hope to see both of them in NCAA and hope they stay healthy for it.

      Like

    • Its really so hard to predict! I keep seeing SO many people already calling “3 spots locked down” for next years worlds team by Gabby, Maile and Emma turning senior! You really can never know what can happen, who can keep up or advance their current skill level to stay competitive or you know worse and not able to compete due to injury, for example Bailie and Nia in 2015, Lexie preissman literally all the years of her senior career. And its something that won’t be even remotely clear until the spring assignments start coming around (ie we can at least make somewhat of educated guesses that will still be wrong lol). Although I do think everyone called for Ragan on this team at the beginning of 2017, but like who called Jade Carey!

      Like

  30. Loved these comments ppl! Please keep up this nationwide political insanity becoz its the only way the rest of the world will beat you maybe . Also start kneeling when the USA flag gets raised .

    Seriously guys , look at the state from where a gymnast hails & correlate it to how it voted for President , their Senators & HRs & their State Legislative Assembly & you can guess with over 50% accuracy , the parents vote .The majority are Republican & voted for Donald Trump . The world is not a bubble extension of you .

    Could you guys just do MAGA and not do any gymnastic moves with names of ppl who hail from nations the USA currently does not like . No Paks , Shaposhnikovas , no Komovas , Mustafinas , no Ezhovas , no Semenovas , no Yang Bos etc . There are plenty left to choose from & it would be right up your alley . Keep true guys !

    If you win worlds teams again & go to the WH remember to diss the girls .

    Like

    • Here is a short list .Florida SC NC Louisiana Texas Mississippi Alabama Oklahoma Kentucky Ohio Michigan Wisconsin Pennsylvania Nebraska Iowa , Montana Georgia Arizona Utah Alaska Indiana Idaho ND SD Wy WV Kansas Arkansas Tennessee Missouri . Amongst those you have the consistently top NCAA programs .

      Ppl really do live in these places not just NY & California . And where is the US Training centre – no less than Texas. But go ahead hate on Ashton who ironically is more American than any poster .

      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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s