Rumors and Previews of the Secret U.S. Classic

There is nothing secret about the Secret US Classic (so named for it’s sponsor). Plenty of bloggers are on site, Gym Examiner is giving live updates, USA Gymnastics and Gymnastike are posting podium training videos and the seniors will be live-streamed and broadcast on Universal Sports. It’s enough to make a gymnastics fan do cartwheels of joy! As we gear up for the competition tomorrow, here are the rumors and things we can expect from the U.S. Secret Classic.

All Around Competitors

After so many gymnasts announcing that they would just be doing a few events, I began to despair about the all around for this meet. But it is looking like it might e a great competition after all. In fact, it might give us a preview of that coveted second all around spot for the Olympic team. Gabby Douglas is apparently doing the all around after all according to an article in the Des Moines Register. Aly Raisman will be competing all around, as will Kyla Ross and Anna Li. Chellsie Memmel still has to qualify to nationals so she will be competing all-around as well. Many others may join in the fray, but we will have to wait and see. Either way, it should be be a great competition!


According to camp videos and podium training videos, we have upgrades galore – and not surprisingly most of them are on bars. Anna Li, Brandie Jay, McKenzie Wofford and Wieber all have upgrades on bars from the last time we have seen them. Sabrina Vega has upgrades on beam, McKayla Maroney has upgraded her second vault and has minor upgrades other places.

Beautiful  Routines

Despite a US reputation, we might be in for a real treat on floor. Sarah Finnegan is absolutely delightful to watch on floor – her poise and style are light, elegant and refreshing to see. Anna Li will be debuting her new routine as well. Is it a floor routine or a heart pulling, dramatic and breathtaking dance piece? I am not sure! It is incredible though and a treat to watch. And of course we will be treated to the beautiful lines of Nastia Liukin as she returns to competition on beam and Kyla Ross.

We will finally see a few more pieces toward completing the puzzle of our US Olympic team. It should be a great weekend!

April National Team Training Camp

April National Team Camp Line Up courtesy of USA Gymnastics

Gymnasts making a bid for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team attended the last national team training camp at the Karolyi Ranch April 20-30, before the series of U.S. based competitions to select the team begin. The camp schedule started with media time, conditioning and a short workout on Saturday followed by two days of verifications. Sunday, the gymnasts verified their current progress on vault and bars to Martha Karolyi and the rest of the national team staff. Then on Monday, they showed their readiness on beam and floor. Photos from the camp can be seen on the USA Gymnastics Facebook page. Looks like the girls had fun.

2011 World team champions Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Sabrina Vega, Alicia Sacramone, Alexandra Raisman, Gabrielle Douglas and alternate Anna Li all attended the camp.  2009 World all-around champion Bridget Sloan, 2009 World silver medalist Rebecca Bross, and 2012 City of Jesolo Trophy all-around champion Kyla Ross were also present. Other senior gymnasts vying for a spot on the Olympic team in attendance were Amanda Jetter, Brandie Jay, Elizabeth Price, Brenna Dowell, Briana Brown, Grace McLaughlin, Sarah Finnegan, Mykayla Skinner and McKenzie Wofford.

Gymnasts were expected to verify at least two full events at camp. This requirement led to the noticeable absence of 2012 Olympic hopefuls Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin and Chellsie Memmel.  USA Gymnastics released the following statement regarding their absence on Facebook:

“At this stage of their training, they were unable to fulfill camp expectations, which were to verify at least two full events. They have decided to continue their training at their respective clubs in order to participate at the 2012 Secret U.S. Classic.” (USAGymnastics)

The process to determine the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team will continue with monthly training/verification camps and three major competitions. The first competition, the 2012 Secret U.S. Classic is just 3 1/2 short weeks away. It will be held in Chicago, Ill. on May 26, 2012. This will be the last qualifier to the 2012 Visa Championships, which will be in St. Louis, Mo., June 7-10, 2012. The top 8 all-round finishers from these championships along with any other gymnasts the Selection Committee chooses will advance on to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials-Gymnastics held June 28-July 1, 2012 in San Jose, Calif. The 2012 U.S. Olympic Team will be named at the end of the competition.

The Picture About Gabby Douglas Becomes Clearer.

After a crash on vault, Gabby said her ankle was feeling sore. She went on to do an awesome bars set, but then fell twice on beam. Tonight she posted these pics on facebook.

If you go back and look at her beam with her ankle in mind, I think she really did awesome! She made it through most of her routine landing time after time on that ankle. She was just a bit off on her front and landed full force on that ankle when her other foot slipped off. Then she fell when she once again had to land full force on the one hurt ankle. I definitely think this was the opposite of head case. I think she really held up well!

Great job Gabby!

Did the Pacific Rims upset Gabby Douglas’s Olympic Dreams?

Photo from the Gymnastics Examiner

One great performance does not a champion make. And one bad performance does not Olympic dreams break. Gabby Douglas went from bars specialist to all around threat with her great performance at the AT&T American Cup. There has been much anticipation over the last two weeks for this “show down” between Jordyn Wieber and Gabby this weekend at the Kellogg’s Pacific Rim Championship. That show down quickly became a one woman show when Gabby crashed on her first event. Jordyn put up one of her best performances yet.

Gabby went on to have a fantastics bars set and qualified for bars finals in first. However, she fell on the beam once and off the beam once as she competed her recently upgraded routine. She scratched floor as her ankle was sore from vault. In all fairness to Gabby, she did not look like last year’s head case during the Visa Championships. She was just off on her skills. She kept it together for the most part. In fact, watching it close up on tv (vs. in person), it did seem that her ankle was bothering her during the routine. It is still to be seen in the future if she can perform under pressure. But I don’t think she has really lost much in Marta’s eyes. According to Blythe at the GymExaminer,

Martha suggested that Gabrielle Douglas’s poor performance was due to her trying a bit too much of her difficulty all at one time. She was “overpressured” Martha said, first by having done so well in New York two weeks ago and then being expected to do it all again here, and Douglas is a gymnast who needs to feel “absolutely secure” in her routines to do them very well.

Martha suggests that dramatic changes (apparently Liang Chow wanted to introduce even more difficulty into her bar routine, giving her a 6.9 D-score, but that was seen as a little too much, so some of the difficulty was taken out at the last minute) suddenly don’t work with Douglas, and that Chow may still be getting to know his athlete and what works for her.

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I would say Gabby is still an “It girl” in Marta’s eyes, who just needs a little more time and experience. And the rest of the season will give her that! Besides, as our current top US bar worker- who put in a great bars routine even when everything else was going poorly- it will take a whole lot more to ruin Gabby’s Olympic chances than a missed vault or beam routine.