McKayla Maroney has been having trouble with her knee since the 2013 World Championships. After rest did not fix the problem, she finally underwent surgery on March 6, 2014. She seems to be taking her fourth surgery since the Olympics in stride and trying to remain in good spirits.
Determined as always, McKayla vowed to her teammate Simone Biles over twitter that she would keep her hospital bracelet on until she could run again. “@Simone_Biles: @McKaylaMaroney love how you’re still rocking the hospital bracelet” It’s not coming off till I can run.” Since we all know how much McKayla loves her fashion, getting better fast to get that bracelet off will be top priority.
McKayla hates using her crutches and seems to be trying to just live one footed as much as possible. She is putting her gymnastics balance and flexibility to the test. The way she is moving seems to imply that not only is she not supposed to put weight on her leg, but she’s not supposed to bend her knee either.
Always the entertainer, McKayla seems to be having fun doing jumps and swings on her crutches. This may be the beginnings of a new sport. And at the very least, made someone’s day.
For someone who can fly through the air, being limited to crutches is especially frustrating. As she so subtly shares in this vine.
Get well soon McKayla! We are all rooting for you.
At least six junior gymnasts will be selected on Monday to represent the US in Italy at the City of Jesolo Trophy and three at the Pacific Rims Gymnastics Championships. These teams might be made up of nine separate gymnasts or have some overlap. Without a doubt, there are some juniors who are at the top of the pack and very likely to take some of these spots. There are also a lot of juniors attending the camp that we don’t know as well and any of them could be wild cards!The nominative list for Jesolo includes the following:
The first four on this list seem to be obvious as they are the four healthy gymnasts currently on the junior national team and are each fabulous in their own right. (Note- Laurie Hernandez is injured). Ragan Smith and Jordan Chiles both stood out last year as fan favorite juniors and it is not surprising to seem them on this list.
Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championship Team
As with the seniors, Martha Karolyi usually sends the USA’s best gymnasts to the Pacific Rim Championships. My prediction is that Bailie Key, Norah Flatley and Nia Dennis will be the juniors that get this assignment. They are all great gymnasts, are some of the top contenders for the 2016 Olympics and they fill in gaps with some of the seniors. Most notably on beam, where Norah outshines most of our seniors and Bailie is always to be counted on. The only alternatives I would see is if Martha sends a bars/beam specialist as a senior, then she might want to send one of our best junior vaulters. Ariana Agrapides could be a possibility. But as Bailie and Nia are both good vaulters as well, this is doubtful to me.
Here are my picks for Pac Rims along with the most recent gymnastics we have seen from them. (For most of the juniors, the last we have seen was last years nationals).
The question then becomes if Martha sends the same juniors to both events. These three are definitely our top juniors. And it would make sense for Martha to continue giving them international experience. We would also be most assured of medals in Jesolo by sending them. However, we have many talented juniors and the more experienced a breadth of gymnasts are, the better prepared we are for the future. My gut feeling is that she will send the same three to Jesolo as well and add Emily Gaskins. As we haven’t seen anything in 2014 outside of the current national team members, the other two spots are anyone’s guess. So I will go with the nominative list. Ragan Smith and Jordan Chiles.
The final selection camp for the US Women’s Teams competing at the City of Jesolo Trophy, the Pacific Rims Gymnastics Championships and the Tokyo World Cup will be this weekend at the women’s national team camp. These camps are held roughly every month at the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas. Sometimes these camps are to help in training and preparation, but other months they are more the format of a meet. The results of these internal meets help determine the assignments for individuals and composition of teams for upcoming competitions. The March training camp is generally one of these such camps, selecting teams for the spring competitions.
Team USA’s entries for the City of Jesolo Trophy (to be held March 22-23 in Jesolo, Italy) will be announced on Monday at the conclusion of the camp. The gymnasts representing the USA at the and the 2014 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships (April 9-13 in Richmond, B.C., Canada) and the Tokyo World Cup, (April 5-6 in Tokyo, Japan) will be announced later in the month.
Each athlete wanting to represent the US at these competitions will have to show that they are ready to compete full-routines in an international competition setting to Martha Karolyi and the rest of the selection committee. The selection committee will look at their current state of readiness along with each gymnast’s track record to determine the make up of these teams.
Three seniors and three juniors will be selected to represent the US at the Pacific Rims Gymnastic Championships. At least six juniors and six seniors will be selected to represent the US at the City of Jesolo Trophy. The juniors and seniors attending the camp and vying for spots are listed below. Current national team members are denoted in bold. If a gymnast is selected who is not currently on the national team, they will be added to the national team before competing internationally as well.
Abby Paulson, Twin City Twisters
Alexis Vasquez, Chow’s Gymnastics
Ariana Agrapides, MG Elite Bailie Key, Texas Dreams
Christina Desiderio, Parkettes Emily Gaskins, Cincinnati Gymnastics
Emily Schild, Everest Gymnastics
Jordan Chiles, Naydenov
Lauren Navarro, Charter Oak Nia Dennis, Buckeye Norah Flatley, Chow’s Gymnastics
Olivia Trautman, Twin City Twisters
Ragan Smith, Texas Dreams
Victoria Nguyen, Chow’s Gymnastics
Alyssa Baumann, WOGA Brenna Dowell, GAGE Elizabeth Price, Parkettes Kyla Ross, Gym-Max Madison Desch, GAGE Madison Kocian, WOGA Maggie Nichols, Twin City Twisters MyKayla Skinner, Desert Lights Peyton Ernst, Texas Dreams
Rachel Gowey, Chow’s Gymnastics Simone Biles, World Champions Centre Veronica Hults, Texas Dreams
Lexie Priessman, Amelia Hundley, McKayla Maroney and Laurie Hernandez are the current national team members who are not in attendance.
The gymternet was full of excitement when Italy posted the US team coming to the 2014 City of Jesolo Trophy. However, USA Gymnastics quickly confirmed that this list was only a nominative list and not the official team. As planned, the team will be named at the end of the March National Team verification camp, along with the team for the 2014 Pacific Rims Gymnastics Championships.
That camp is this coming weekend, and the first team selections for 2014 will be out before we know it!
Martha Karolyi’s strategy is always to send a team and individuals to any international event that can unequivocally win the competition. That being said, the US is currently so deep that it doesn’t necessarily mean she has to send the very best gymnasts we have. With Simone’s shoulder strain and gym turmoil, I am guessing that she will at least sit out the City of Jesolo and most likely the Pac Rims as well. Since McKayla Maroney just got out of surgery, she will also not be on either of these teams.
Body of an athlete, knees and ankles of a 90 year old— Sim∞ne Biles (@Simone_Biles) March 11, 2014
Pacific Rims Gymnastics Championship Team
The Pacific Rim Championships tend to be a bit more publicized in the USA than the City of Jesolo, and usually the “bigger” names get that assignment. My guess is Elizabeth Price, Brenna Dowell and Lexie Priessman. However, I am not sure if Lexie is fully healthy, and Martha might decide to give some experience to one of the up and coming uneven bars/beam specialists.
When it comes to putting together the team for the World Championships, there is no doubt that we will send atleast one bars/beam specialist. There is currently no gymnast that is a lock for this spot. Giving some of the contenders opportunities at these spring meets will help shape and show how they handle the pressure.
In interviews at the American Cup, Martha specifically mentioned Alyssa Baumann (a first year senior from WOGA) as someone she was impressed with. Alyssa showed a gorgeous 14.8 beam routine at the WOGA Classic. On the other hand, Madison Kocian (a strong contender for last year’s Worlds team until she was injured) posted a 15.1 on bars compared to Alyssa’s 14.4 on bars, so she is definitely a contender. However, I am going to stick with the first three though for my predictions.
[AMMENDED: Lexie Priessman is not at the selection camp, so will not be on either team. Simone and Kyla both are. I am really torn between Simone being named (which I think is unwise, but likely) and Madison or Alyssa. But I am going to go with Madison Kocian.]
Here they are along with the latest gymnastics we have seen from them: (Unless otherwise noted, footage is from USA Gymnastics, January National Team training camp.)
In the past, Martha has sent some of the same gymnasts to both meets. But with so many to choose from and the competitions so close together, I think that she will send a different team of seniors to Jesolo than Pacific Rims. My prediction is that the nominative Jesolo team will be the actual Jesolo team with one change.
The one person I am not sure about is Kyla Ross. Whether or not she has healed enough to compete yet isn’t clear. And it really doesn’t seem necessary to send a gymnast as experienced as Kyla to these spring meets. More time to work on upgrades and to stay healthy would seem to be a wiser move than having to get to routine shape at this point. I am guessing that she won’t go, but we will see!
Here are the nominative gymnasts for the Jesolo team and the most current gymnastics we have seen from them.
Veronica Hults, Amelia Hundley, and Polina Shchennikova are all former Junior National Team members who are now seniors. Rumors are that Amelia is injured, and no footage from the last training camp would seem to confirm that. However, I am not sure of her status. Veronica or Polina are both possible additions to Jesolo if any of the nominative girls are not healthy.
Lastly, Abby Millet, Felicia Hano, Ashton Locklear, Melissa Reinstadtler and Emily Schild are all current or new seniors who have attended one of the last few National Team training camps and could possibly be in the mix for one of these assignments.
After the 2012 Olympics, Aly Raisman made it clear that she wanted to continue on in gymnastics. However, many opportunities led to a well deserved year long rest from training. She resumed her training – at a less aggressive level than most of her life – last fall.
At the 2013 World Championships in October, Raisman confirmed that she was back in training and was hoping to make her elite comeback at the 2014 Secret US Classics. This competition will be held in Chicago, Il on August 2. Gymcastic connected with Raisman in a phone interview back in February to check in on her progress.
“Training’s been going great, I practiced this morning and I then I’m going again tonight. I feel really really good and it’s been really exciting to be watching the Olympics at the same time I’m getting back into the gym because it is such great motivation. I love gymnastics, I look forward to going to the gym every day so I have been really really happy and I kind of feel like a little kid again in the gym.”
In the interview, Raisman said she is on track to compete at US Classics. The most challenging part has been getting used to all the hours of training again. She is exhausted all the time, but has that feeling of satisfaction. She is still working towards training the number of hours she was training before the Olympics.
As to her training, Raisman said that her first few weeks back on the high beam was actually scary. “I forgot how narrow and high it was!” Tumbling on floor has been the easiest to get back, though she thinks it will still be a while before she will be able to do her famous first floor pass.
Raisman feels like she will be able to come back better than ever. Her time on Dancing with the Stars helped her gain flexibility and a lot more confidence. Wearing heels all the time also helped her toe point. She feels wiser and more confident and more calm now. Yet she still loves gymnastics and “wants it” as much as ever.
Check out the rest of the interview. It is 30 minutes of Aly Raisman sitting down and “gym geeking out.” A delightful time that includes her recounting of the evening after she qualified for the All Around at the Olympics and how Jordyn Wieber responded.
Coming off of a great performance at the AT&T American Cup, Brenna Dowell and Elizabeth Price look to the future. They are both committed to collegiate gymnastics and were slated to begin competing NCAA this fall. With a great showing at the American Cup, they are both strong contenders for the 2014 World Championship team. But will they still be competing elite in the fall to even make a go of it?
Price is committed to Stanford. In January, she told Allie of Double Double Gym Blog that she had not yet decided if she would defer her scholarship until 2015.
Stanford was one of my top choices for college ever since I started looking at schools, and I knew gymnasts that went there who told me great things about the school, so I knew a lot about Stanford even before I went to visit. I decided to go there because I felt that Stanford is a great academic institution with a great gymnastics team. I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’m going to defer until 2015, but I still have time to think about it and make that decision later.
In the interview, Price went on to say that her goals for 2014 were to compete in more international meets, including another World Cup meet. After attaining her goal of competing in another World Cup so soon in the 2014 season, Price seems to have set her sights higher. In a post meet interview after the AT&T American Cup, she told Andrea Joyce of NBC, “I know a lot of great gymnasts have won this competition, so it is great to say that I am one of those girls. Hopefully I can soon say that I have won even bigger meets than this one.”
That being said, Price is not yet ready to make a decision about deferring. In the mixed zone, she told Gymnastike, “I haven’t decided whether I am going this fall or deferring a year or whatever, but I still have a lot of time to make that decision.”
Brenna Dowell is committed to the University of Oklahoma. She talked about her college choice with Arabian Punch Front.
I didn’t want to go too far from home. I wanted it to be driving distance so I visited a few schools that were close. I really like KJ and Lou. They were really nice and they made me feel like they really wanted to me to be on their team. I really liked the atmosphere and, from the people who I know that go there, I heard nothing but good things about it so I’m really excited to go.
Unlike Price, Dowell has made her decision on deferring. Following the American Cup, she told Gymnastike, “I am going to defer this year and try for the 2014 World Team.”
What she hasn’t decided is how long she will defer. According to Arabian Punch Front, her plans are to take it one step at a time. “Long term – I’m just taking it one year at a time and then I’ll decide what to do once it comes around. It’s my senior year this year. I’m going to defer college to try for Worlds this year and then I’ll decide what to do next year. 2016, yeah, I’m not sure yet.”
That seems like a good plan in a sport as precarious as gymnastics and in a country where it is harder to make an World or Olympic team than it is to medal once you are there.
Simone Biles and her coach Aimee Boorman are leaving Bannon’s Gymnastix, where Simone has trained since she got her start in gymnastics at six years old. Ronald Biles, Simone’s father, released a statement issued through USA Gymnastics
“Simone got her start in gymnastics at Bannon’s Gymnastix, and what she has learned there is the foundation for her achievements in gymnastics,” Biles said. “We appreciate everything that Bannon’s has done for Simone. However, we believe for her future growth and development that this is the time for us to make a change. … We are in the process of finalizing where she will be training while she recovers from her shoulder injury.”
Though she will be leaving her teammates and her vault/bars coach, she will remain with her main traveling coach, Boorman, who she has been with her entire career. Boorman said in the statement “I have had the opportunity to work at Bannon’s for a number of years, and leaving was not an easy decision. We are finalizing our training plans at this time, and I look forward to continuing to coach Simone.”
A mild shoulder strain prevented Simone from competing in this weekend’s American Cup. The timing of her shoulder strain amongst the gym change led many to question whether or not Simone was actual injured or if she was pulled due to the turmoil. Aimee responded to those rumors on the Gym Truth Tellers blog.
Hi Everyone! This is Aimee, Simone’s coachIt is true, we are no longer going to be at Bannon’s. It is also true that Simone does have a minor shoulder strain that we are taking care of to protect her for meets that will be later in the season. We try to avoid gossip, but we know that it will still happen. Rest assured that Simone’s training will continue, even with the change of venue. If you remain still, you will never grow, but sometimes growth is painful. Thank you to everyone for your support as we make this transition!
Simone and the owner of Brannon’s both have not made any official comments. However, on Feb 20th, Simone tweeted:
Many gymnastics fans wondered if there was something going on with McKayla Maroney when there was no footage of her from the last National Training Camp. And then when Italy posted the nominative list for the Jesolo Cup and Maroney was not on the list, this increased speculation. Marta Karoyli confirmed to Gymnastike in an interview following the American Cup that Maroney is indeed dealing with a knee injury.
Karoyli told Gymnastike that Maroney started having problems with her knee after worlds and took some time off to heal. She started training again recently but was still having problems. They are now looking into treatment options (or as Marta put it, intervention).
As the 2014 American Cup get’s started, the energy is high and people are excited. At this point in the quadrennium, the tension around winning this event is absent and everyone is having fun.The lights dim, strobe lights fill the arena and we start with a little song and dance.The gymnasts march in and things start to get serious.
As expected, the American’s dominated on vault. Neither Elizabeth Price or Brenna Dowell brought their best vault, but they still shot ahead of the pack with their powerful amanars. Behind them was Giulia Steingruber with a nice rudi (the vault Alicia Sacramone used to do) and Victoria Moors with a DTY. The rest of the field had pretty low start values.
Next up, uneven bars. Brenna Dowell absolutely rocked bars, doing her crazy Tweddle+Ezhova combination better than I have ever seen it. In warm up she had bent legs and crazy form, but she did straight legs and feet together! The crowd went nuts. Carlotta Ferlito and Sophie Scheder both had a really great swinging set of bars. Carlotta had some form breaks and Sophie got a little off in her routine, but they both delivered cleanly. Victoria Moors and Vanessa Ferrari have both improved so much on bars over the years! They had a few little form issues, but got through fairly well. Roxana Popa Nedelcu started off so strongly on bars but then slammed her feet on the mat on her pak (immediately after the little girl behind me said, wow no one has fallen on bars) and then couldn’t recover and had to jump off. Elizabeth flew so high on her release moves, and went clean on her bars with a stick to boot. She increased her lead coming out of the second rotation.
Brenna is first up on beam where she was cleaner than she has been in training. However lots of bobbles and starts and stops and a missed connection left her with only a 13.3. Giulia and Victoria both brought nice, steady routines. Victoria did her full-in dismount and ended with a NCAA style finish! Vanessa, who has looked so strong in warmups did not have her best routine. She did a back tuck in a series that normally is a layout and had a few other mistakes. Elizabeth Price is up next and delivered what was probably her best beam routine I have ever seen her do! She missed a few of her splits, but was rock solid on all her skills and ended with a stick. Carlotta started with a beautiful beam routine, one of the prettiest of the meet. But she falls on one of her combinations.
The top four have been in the exact same order since the first rotation, and even with such a low beam score for Brenna nothing changes. Elizabeth, Brenna, Giulia and Victoria. This line-up is full of great floor workers, so this is a rotation to sit back and enjoy.
Things get started with Carlotta, who looks beautiful on floor. She really gets the crowd going with her clappable music and her enthusiastic performance, She does a graceful, sassy routine. Sophie follows her, with beautiful jumps, leaps and turns, but a fall on her last pass. Next up is Vanessa, who is one of the best in the world on floor. She does a great routine. So wonderful to see her floor routine in person! Roxana flies high in her double layout and then gets what might have been some of the loudest cheers on the night with her whip whip tumbling pass. A very fun routine. Giulia looks so much cleaner to me on floor than at worlds. She does a great routine as well.
Elizabeth is next and does a solid routine. She flies high, has solid landings and hits everything. I like this routine better than her previous one, but she still has some room to grow on the performance and dance side of floor. Brenna has such great tumbling skills and beautiful presentation. She is so beautiful on floor, but has a big hop on her first pass and lands out of bounds on her second pass. However, it is just enough to take second.
And we finish out the night with what I flew across the country for – Victoria Moors on floor. Victoria has quite a pike in her double twisting double layout and lands it out of bounds. But it is awesome to see! The rest of her routine is enchanting, every nuance of music used perfectly. The crowd was actually quiet – mesmerized I think. What a great ending to the meet!
There was a great presentation of medals and of World Cup standings at the end of the meet to wrap up the 2014 AT&T American Cup.
1. Elizabeth Price 59.966
2. Brenna Dowell 57.532
3. Giulia Steingruber 57.332
4. Victoria Moors 56.898
5. Vanessa Ferrari 56.766
6. Roxana Popa 54.865
7. Sophie Scheder 54.331
8. Carlotta Ferlito 53.632
With Simone Biles, Kyla Ross and Larissa Iordache all out of the American Cup due to injury, the all around competition looks to be much more wide open – and much more even than in recent years. Though I am sad not to see these amazing girls compete, it definitely sets us up for a great all around competition.
Elizabeth Price (Ebee) tweeted that they (her and Brenna Dowell) were “Ready to Go.”
Elizabeth Price has won three world cup events in the past two years. Brenna McDowell has yet to be tested on this type of international stage, but she has the goods if she delivers. The two Americans both have the advantage with their awesome Amanars on vault. But the international field is all looking very good and have all been tested on the world stage!
Vanessa Ferrari of Italy just keeps getting better with age. She came in sixth at the 2013 World Championships and has looked good here. Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland was just after her in 7th at Worlds. The next three girls were all packed together at Worlds. Victoria Moors of Canada in10th, Carlotta Ferlito of Italy in 11th and Roxana Popa Nedelcu of Spain in 12th. Rounding out the field is Sophie Scheder of Germany.
Things to watch for:
Victoria Moors on floor! I cannot wait to see this live! Victoria is one of my all time favorite floor workers, and with her double double layout, she will be hard to beat on floor if she lands on her feet. She has also brought in some upgrades on beam. Brenna and Elizabeth on vault. Sophie on bars. Vanessa on floor. Carlotta on beam.
And though I don’t write about men’s much…. you CANNOT miss Fabian Hambuechen on High Bar!
This looks to be a GREAT American Cup competition even without the prominent stars.