USA Women’s Team Roster Breakdown Based on Podium Training

The official team roster has still not been released for the US women’s team. However, podium training provided some insight into the final line-up. Generally, the order of competition in podiums translates to the first five to compete being the ones that will go in qualifications, with third – fifth being those that would compete in team finals. The sixth to go is the member of the team who will not compete on that event. The seventh is the alternate.

MyKayla Skinner was seventh on every event, so it seems clear at this point that she is the alternate. She had some of her best vaulting in podiums, bringing back a clean amanar, and causing many to wonder why she would not be up in vault. However, her other team final event would be floor, and she seems to have downgraded her difficulty while still have the leap and jump execution problems. This seems to be the most logical reason of having her as the alternate.

This would mean the final team is Brenna Dowell, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Maggie Nichols, Madison Kocian and Simone Biles.


Simone Biles on vault at the2015 World Championship Podium Training. Photo by John Cheng via USA Gymnastics.

The order of competition in podium training was Dowell, Douglas, Raisman, Nichols, Biles, Kocian and Skinner. This seems to be a clear line-up.

  • Prelims: Dowell, Douglas, Raisman, Nichols, Biles
  • Finals: Raisman, Nichols, Biles


Madison Kocian on bars at the2015 World Championship Podium Training. Photo by John Cheng via USA Gymnastics.

The order of competition in podium training was Raisman, Nichols, Douglas, Biles, Kocian, Dowell and Skinner. This is the line-up that was most confusing. It doesn’t make sense to bring Dowell and not use her on bars. So the most likely scenarios are one: Martha is still deciding which of the four all-arounders will not do bars and therefore not have the opportunity to qualify for the all-around. This scenario would mean that Dowell would have the opportunity to qualify for event finals. Or two: Dowell would not compete bars in qualifications, but then would be a part of the team finals line up. This scenario would allow the four all-arounders the chance to duke it out for all-around finals but not allow Dowell to qualify for bars finals.

In the past, it has usually seemed that Martha’s decisions are first team, second all-around, third event finals. If she stay’s true to form, this would mean scenario number one. Unless a clear number two and three all-around order emerged at camp, it is anyone’s guess who would take the number two all-around spot. It would just depend on who had the best day. Dowell has improved her execution score tremendously on bars, but in the past it has not been high enough for her to medal on the world stage. So I am going to pick scenario one, though I think it could really go either way.

For finals, Douglas beat Biles at nationals on bars by .15 each day. From podium line ups it seems that Biles would be in finals over Douglas. But that could change if Douglas does do bars in prelims and outscores her.

  • Prelims: Raisman, Nichols, Douglas, Biles, Kocian
  • Finals: Biles, Dowell, Kocian


Simone Biles on beam at the 2015 World Championships podium training. Photo by John Cheng via USA Gymnastics.

The order of competition in podium training was Kocian, Douglas, Nichols, Raisman, Biles, Dowell, and Skinner. Nichols had a few falls in podium training, so the lead off finals spot may be up in the air until after qualifications.

  • Prelims: Kocian, Douglas, Nichols, Raisman, Biles
  • Finals: Nichols, Raisman, Biles


Simone Biles on floor at the2015 World Championship Podium Training. Photo by John Cheng via USA Gymnastics.

The order of competition in podium training was Douglas, Dowell, Nichols, Raisman, Biles, Kocian and Skinner. This line up seemed pretty solid.

  • Prelims: Douglas, Dowell, Nichols, Raisman, Biles
  • Finals: Nichols, Raisman, Biles

The other item of note if these line-ups are the final ones, is that Douglas would be the only member of the team not to compete in the team finals. Biles would do all four events, Raisman and Nichols would be on three, Dowell on two and Kocian on one. The final team roster should be announced at any time.

A Night Full of Surprises- Day One Recap of P&G National Championships

The first night of competition for the P&G National Championships was quite a roller coaster, reminiscent of the 2011 National Championships. Three of the top five girls had falls, including a number of falls from girls that were so unexpected, everyone’s jaw dropped. Probably the only two things that went as expected were Simone Biles leading at the end of the night and Maggie Nichols having a fantastic night of competition. Most everything else was fair game to give gymnastics fans quite an emotional ride. And that was after the fan favorite fluff showing the National Champions over the years.

Biles walked away from the night leading the standings, but had a rough night of competition. That being said, most gymnasts would give everything to have a 61.1 on their best night. She began the night with one of her best bar routines, scoring a 15.15. She had a rough day on beam in podium training, but she was able to stay on in competition. However, she had a few significant wobbles, leaving her with a 14.8. Biles moved on to floor, where she showed her characteristic power and charm throughout, until the very end where she landed her easiest tumbling pass on her hands and knees. Even with a fall, she has the second highest floor score, a 14.9. The true test of a champion is seeing how they come back after a mistake. Biles has rarely been tested this way, and she passed with flying colors. She ended her night on vault, where she stuck her sky high amanar, a feat she is usually only able to do in warm up, scoring a whopping 16.5.

Though Biles led the standings at the end, this night belonged to Maggie Nichols. Shining on every event, she posted a 59.7 and led the first three rotations. Starting on vault, Nichols threw her newly debuted amanar, and looked like a veteran. Scoring a 15.8, the same as she did at Classics, she is quickly making her way to be a staple in a world vault line-up. Showing the same consistency on bars, she scored a 14.95, again the same score as at Classics. Nichols moved to beam, where she successfully debuted her new incredibly difficult full twisting double back dismount for a 14.4. She ended her night on floor, where she looked like she was having the time of her life and enchanting the crowd, earning a 14.55.

Gabby Douglas just held on to the third spot, but had a very consistent night to earn a 58.7. Douglas has not returned to her previous level of difficulty, but she is showing a mental toughness and consistency that she didn’t have in 2012. She also started on vault, where she showed a clean DTY that showed lots of room for an easy amanar and scored a 15.1. She moved on to show an easy swinging, high flying bar routine for a 15.3. Douglas went on to beam, and showed another consistent routine for a 14.45. Douglas finished on floor, where she had a lot of wobbles out of her turns and jumps, but managed to hold on to third with a 13.85.

Aly Raisman and Bailie Key each followed by just a half a tenth to finish fourth (58.65) and fifth (58.6) respectively after both having issues on beam. Raisman fell on a jump connection after landing a little off on her layout and Key put her hand down on the beam on the same skill. However, they both had great nights on every other event. Kyla Ross had her own “worst nights” with a fall on her bars dismount (but she made her Bhardwaj) and putting her hand down on floor to finish 12th.

Other notable mentions were the top three girls on bars, who all may have potential to contribute to a world team. They each delivered hit bar routines that go a long way to making their case. Gowey also added a great beam routine, showing she can be used on both events if needed. Alyssa Baumann scored the highest beam score, delivering a 15.1 and was the only one to break a 15. MyKayla Skinner showed great improvement from Secret Classics, and put in a solid performance on each event. Brenna Dowell also had a great night, making her way back to her former elite level. Nia Dennis also put in one of her best performances, landing in the top three scores on vault and beam.

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USA Names 2015 Pan American Games Team

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Photo via USA Gymnastics

After a long selection process, USA Gymnastics has announced the U.S. women’s team for the 2015 Pan American Games. “After two days of verification, the Selection Committee unanimously decided on the five athletes to represent the United States at the Pan Am Games,” said Martha Karolyi, in a USA Gymnastic Press Release. The team is Madison Desch of GAGE, Rachel Gowey of Chow’s Gymnastics, Amelia Hundley of Cincinnati, Emily Schild of Everest and Megan Skaggs of Gymnastics Academy of Atlanta

Most of these gymnasts do not have a great deal of international competition experience behind them. Representing the USA to the best of their ability is their first and foremost goal. But the opportunity to get experience under their belt and prove themselves on an international stage is one that each of them wants to make the most of. Karolyi went on to say, “Led by Madison Desch, who was an alternate for the 2014 World Team, this is a young but talented team, and the experience of competing at the Pan Am Games will help them as they continue to gain experience for the World Team selection. We look forward to their performances at the Games.”

Desch will go into this competition with the most experience, and help the rest of the team learn the ropes of competing internationally. Desch is an all-around gymnasts with beautiful lines, her best contribution is likely to be on bars. Gowey has only represented the USA one time internationally, and due to many injuries over the last two years, does not have as much experience in competition in general. If Gowey is able to bring to the promise she showed last year, she will be the strongest all-around hope for the team and an incredible addition to the team. Hundley showed incredible promise as a junior, but was not quite able to rise to her potential last year before injuring herself. Hundley is a standout on floor and bars, but she should also be able to contribute any event that the USA needs.

This is Schild and Skaggs first year as national team seniors. They both made their debuts earlier this year at the City of Jesolo Trophy competition. Schild’s a strongest events are vault and floor. Skaggs is a strong all-arounder. The two will be great additions to the team.

The Pan American Games run from July 10-26. The artistic woman’s gymnastics competition will begin with qualifications on Sunday, July 12 and conclude with event finals on Wednesday, July 15. The games will include an all-around, team and individual apparatus competitions. The US is sending gymnasts to compete in all forms of gymnastics, including men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, trampoline, and rhythmic gymnastics. Schedules of competition and more information can be found on

2015 Pan American Games Selection Camp Kicks Off Today

Photo by USA Gymnastics

Today kicks off the selection camp for the 2015 Pan American Games at the Karolyi Ranch. Eight gymnasts will seek to earn their spot on the five member team that will represent the USA next month in Toronto. USA Gymnastics announced the gymnasts who will be in contention for the team earlier in the month, and will announce the team selection on Friday. The selection camp will run in conjunction with the normal national team training camp.

The 2015 Pan American Games training squad includes Nia Dennis of Buckeye Gymnastics, Madison Desch of GAGE, Rachel Gowey of Chow’s Gymnastics, Felicia Hano of Gym-Max, Amelia Hundley of Cincinnati, Lauren Navarro of Gliders, Emily Schild of Everest and Megan Skaggs of Gymnastics Academy of Atlanta

All of the gymnasts selected have not had as much experience competing internationally (as seniors) as many of the other national team members who will not be vying for a spot on this team. Many have dealt with injury, either late last year or earlier this year, and so have not had the opportunity to show what they are currently capable of outside of national team training camps. Apart from the prestige of representing the USA internationally, this will be an important step in proving to Marta Karolyi and the US women’s team selection committee that they should be considered for a spot later this year on the world championship team.

The Pan American Games run from July 10-26. The artistic gymnastics competitions will include an all-around, team and individual apparatus competitions. The US is sending gymnasts to compete in all forms of gymnastics, including men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, trampoline, and rhythmic gymnastics. Schedules of competition and more information can be found on

Baku 2015 Individual Results and Videos

The individual women’s gymnastics medals for the inaugural European Games have all been claimed. Aliya Mustafina of Russia proved she is still on the hunt for the all-around on the international stage as she claimed the title at the Baku Games. Though she had some mis-steps on floor, she had done enough in her earlier events to win gold. She was followed by the reigning European National Champion, Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland. Lieke Wevers of the Netherlands improved her standings from qualifications to take the bronze.

In the individual Event Finals, Steingruber walked away with two gold medals, one on vault and one on floor, Mustafina took gold on uneven bars and Wevers took gold on balance beam. Mustafina also won the silver on floor, while Steingruber and Wevers added a bronze to their collections on the balance beam and floor respectively.

Andreea Iridon of Romania won medals on two events, a silver on beam and bronze on bars. Russia and the Netherlands each added another event medal to their tally with Seda Tutkhaylan taking a silver and Lisa top winning a bronze on vault. Sophie Scheder of Germany rounded out the group of medalists with a silver on the bars.

The games will close out on June 28 in Baku, Azerbaijani, wrapping up with the Closing Ceremonies. The inaugural European games played host to competition in many different sports, with over 6,000 athletes. Competitors represented the 50 countries of Europe with National Olympic Committees.

Read on for score details and videos recapping each Individual Final.

All Around

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Fifteen Years Later, Andreea Raducan Seeks Her Gold Medal

Andreea Raducan at the 2000 Sydney Olympics

The world of gymnastics is familiar with gymnasts not winning medals due to rules that can feel unfair. Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking situations was at the 2000 Olympics. Andreea Raducan failed a drug test after taking cold medicine provided by her doctor, and was subsequently stripped of her all-around gold medal. It was clear at the time that Raducan did not know that the cold medicine contained a banned substance.

Raducan took two pills that contain the common cold medicine, pseudoephedrineone. Many people use this regularly for allergies and sinus infections. The same dosage can show up with very different results in each person’s urine, as there is a wide spread in how it is processed the body. Raducan failed the drug test, and was stripped of her gold medal.  Unlike other situations, she was able to keep her other medals and continue competing. And the fall out went beyond Raducan. The team doctor was banned for a number of years, and Ion Ţiriac, the president of the Romanian Olympic Committee, resigned.

To add insult to injury, from 2004 to 2010, the substance was removed from the banned list. So last year, Raducan began her quest to have the decision reversed. She approached International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach to reconsider the decision. Last week, Raducan travelled to Lausanne to meet with Bach at the IOC headquarters.

Though she was met with sympathy, they chose to uphold the original decision. “This decision was very tough for Andreea and was not easily taken by the IOC at the time,” Bach said, according to ESPN. “It shows how strict our anti-doping rules are by having to apply the principle of strict liability of the athlete. On the other hand, I feel a great deal of sympathy for her because she has to suffer from a mistake by her team doctor. Even more so because this happened at the age of 16, when as an athlete you have absolute confidence in your medical team.”

Such is sport, where sometimes rules must be upheld despite the circumstances surrounding the situation. And in a world where athletes use drugs to win, a spunky 16-year-old who won all of our hearts loses out.

Results from the Inaugural 2015 European Games Qualifications and Team Finals.

The first European Games is well underway, with the first round of gymnastics competition in the books.  The event was headlined with the reigning 2015European All-around Champion, Switzerland’s Giulia Steingruber. Joining her were Russia’s returning star gymnasts, Aliya Mustafina and Viktoria Komova and 2014 Youth Olympic Games All-around Champion, Seda Tutkhalyan.

The format at these games differs slightly from the average gymnastics competition. Qualifications were held over two days, with every country competing on vault and bars on day one and beam and floor on day two. Only one gymnast per country was able to qualify on to the individual event and all-around finals. The qualifications also served as the team competition. Each country fielded up to three gymnasts on each event, and the top two event scores determined the team medals.

Russia easily clinched the team gold, winning with a 6.5 margin. Germany just squeaked out the silver. The Netherlands took bronze.

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A healthy Mustafina showed some of her former glory, qualifying first into the all-around. Her Russian teammates, Tutkhalyan and Komova came in second and third, but were unable to move on to the finals due to the one per country rule. Steingruber qualified in second and Germany’s Sophie Scheder qualified in third.

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As one of the top European vaulters, it is no surprise that Steingruber led the vault qualifications. Tutkihalyan qualified in second, bringing power and spunk that were surprising for the tiny 15-year-old. Lisa Top of the Netherlands came in third.

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Mustafina qualified first on bars, with a beautifully performed routine out of a 6.5 difficulty score. Scheder and teammate Elisabeth Seitz tied for second, however the execution score tie-breaker went to Scheder. Only Scheder will move on to event finals. Komova and Tutkhalyan came in fourth and sixth respectively, but will also not move on to finals. Noemi Makra of Hungary qualified in third.

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Tutkhalyan just edged out Mustafina to qualify in first and move on to her second event finals with a 6.3 start value on beam. She did two stunning acrobatic combinations, a roundoff layout and a roundoff layout full to clinch her spot. Steingruber qualified in second followed by Komova who came in fourth, but along with Mustafina, will not move on to the finals. Scheder qualfied in third.

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Mustafina qualified into her second event finals, leading the pack on floor with a 6.1 difficulty score. She opened with a beautiful double layout and her routine included many difficult turns. Silvia Zarzu of Romania qualified in second followed by Lieke Wevers of the Netherlands. Laura Jurca of Romania came in fourth and Gaelle Mys of Belgium came in eighth, but will not move on to the finals.

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Full results, schedules and athlete bios can be found on the Baku 2015 website. The all-around finals will be held on Thursday, June 20 at 8:30am EST. Individual event finals will start at 7:30am EST on Saturday, June 20. Many events are being livestreamed from the Games youtube site.

Opening ceremonies for this inaugural event, held in Baku, Azerbaijani kicked off the games on Friday, June 12, and they will run through June 20, with the gymnastics competitions being held June 14-20. The games will play host to competition in many different sports, with over 6,000 athletes. Competitors will be representing the 50 countries of Europe with National Olympic Committees.