Feast then famine. After the 1996 Magnificent Seven won the team gold, we had a 4 year famine in USA gymnastics. Apart from the USA domination at the 1998 Goodwill Games, USA gymnastics had a drought in medals for the entire quad. This may leave many gymnastics fans wondering, what will happen after this USA team gold?
The USA Gymnastics program is in an entirely different place than it was in the 1990’s. The semi-centralized program that we currently follow has led to an incredibly strong USA team. And though the remarkable team we fielded this year was stronger than we could have ever hoped for, the future of USA gymnastics continues to look even brighter.
Gabrielle Douglas, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Kyla Ross of the Fierce Five have all declared strong intentions of staying in elite gymnastics and trying for the 2016 Olympics. Jordyn Wieber continues to say it is the back of her mind. On top of the most dominant gymnasts the USA has put forth, we also have a host of Juniors and 2012 Olympic hopefuls who will undoubtedly make a name for themselves in the upcoming quadreneum.
First and foremost are the Olympic Alternates. In one of the most competitive years of USA history, these girls almost made it. Many people believe that a USA “b” team, including these girls, could only be beat by USA’s “a” team. Sarah Finnegan and Elizabeth Price both show a great deal of promise of being shining stars in the next few years. Anna Li sustained a serious injury during training as an alternate to her neck. It is rumored that she will have to have surgery to continue pursuing her gymnastics dream. There is also Sabrina Vega, a beloved member of the 2011 World Championship team, who has declared her intentions of staying in gymnastics and trying for 2016. Brenna Dowell, who competed in the trials most recently won the Mexican Open, making her bid to be part of 2013 history. And don’t forget Kennedy Baker who showed much promise.
Then come our up and coming seniors; Simone Biles, Madison Desch, Katelyn Ohashi and current National Junior Champion Lexie Priessman. Simone shows one of the best amanars outside of McKayla Maroney and adds incredible tumbling and a decent bars set as well. Madison has shown herself to be a true GAGE gymnast with beautiful and consistent gymnastics. Katelyn is already an accomplished gymnast with the most difficult beam routine in the world and past junior national championships to her name. And Lexie is our current US Junior national champion.
As with the past two years, the USA will find themselves with an embarrassment of riches. The battle for national champion will be fierce – again possibly more so than any international battle. The upcoming world championships will only compete for all around and event finals. Only four gymnasts will be sent per country. Choosing those gymnasts from the plethora of incredible USA gymnasts will indeed be a challenge.
Out future is bright. And I can’t wait for it to start!