The Latest on The Fierce Five


Exactly two years ago, five young girls made history at the 2012 Olympics. It is hard for any gymnastics fan not to get choked up thinking of that night. And if you are just tuning back into the gymnastics world for the upcoming elite competitions, then undoubtedly the status of each of the Fierce Five gymnasts is on your mind. Coming off of the 2012 Olympics, each gymnast expressed their desire to continue in the sport of gymnastics and make a run at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. And so, the question constantly remains – when are they returning?

Kyla Ross, the youngest member of the Fierce Five has not missed a beat since the 2012 Olympics. She has competed at nearly every major competition since then, and is undeniably one of the USA’s shining stars. Ross is expected to headline both the Secret US Classics and the P&G National Championships this August. She looked great in podium training and well prepared for the season.

McKayla Maroney has also continued to train towards Rio despite four, count them four, leg surgeries since the games. Shortly after successfully defending her World Championship Vault title last year, Maroney took a rest from gymnastics to heal up some knee issues. After having some knee pain at Worlds, she discovered she had tendonitis in one knee and a fracture in the other. Unfortunately rest was not enough and she finally underwent surgery in March. Maroney had six to eight weeks of therapy following surgery, and was released to return to training in late May or early June. She assured people in an interview with International Gymnastics (AWESOME interview that you have to watch!) that she will be working hard to be back for P&G National Championships and World Championships this year. However, she has yet to return to a national team training camp and has not yet released any information about her competition status. Update: In a social media video she made today, Maroney said that she would not be competing this season.“I just want to say how much I appreciate you guys following me, supporting me, being there for me even though I can’t compete this season with my injuries.” She also gave a great interview to USA Gymnastics catching us up on the details of her injuries and her commitment to Rio.

Gabby Douglas made her serious return to training this spring with a return to her former gym in April. After her trial period with coach Chow was over however, she decided that this was not the best training option for her and has set out to find a new gym to make her bid to Rio. She is currently training at Buckeye Gymnastics, however it is not known if she will stay there long-term. Douglas impressed Marta Karolyi at the June National Team Training camp with her level of physical fitness, however Karolyi was hoping to see her compete at the Secret U.S. Classics and the P&G National Championships to help determine if she would be ready to compete at this year’s World Championships according to an interview with NBC Olympic Talk. Douglas is not competing this weekend at Classics, though it has not yet been announced if she will be competing at the national championships later this month. Update: New coach Kittia Carpenter of Buckeye gymnastics confirmed that Douglas will not be attempting to comeback to competition until 2015. Check out the full story here.

Aly Raisman announced earlier this year that she would be pacing her comeback slowly and focusing on attending her first national team training camp after the World Championships in October. A few videos have come out as well as an interview here and there that indicates she is training seriously and working hard, just pacing her return to competition. She will be focusing on 2015.

Jordyn Wieber is the one member of the Fierce Five who has not yet resumed training at the elite competitive level. From all appearances, she thoroughly enjoyed taking a year off from gymnastics and any heavy training to attend her first year of college and be team manager for UCLA gymnastics. Though Wieber has maintained that she is working to stay in shape, she has yet to announce a decision about a serious return to competitive gymnastics. She maintained for the last year that she wanted to try a year of college and then decide what to do. As we are coming up to the start of a new school year, it seems that her decision should be coming soon.

In the current regime of USA Gymnastics, the likelihood of most of these incredible gymnasts being able to represent the USA at two Olympics is slim. The nature of the sport combined with the incredibly successful system that is currently in place makes it difficult for the older gymnasts to compete with the young fresh talent coming up. However, if anyone can do it, the Fierce Five can. With two years to go, there is still time for each of them. Though with the realities of gymnastics, the ticking of the clock is always a loud sound.

2014 USA Pacific Rims Team Announced


USA Gymnastics announced the women’s artistic gymnastic team representing the US at the upcoming Pacific Rims Gymnastic Championships on the heels of the City of Jesolo Trophy meet. Martha Karolyi and the rest of the selection committee used the results from the meet to make their final selection for the upcoming championships in Richmond, B.C., Canada, April 9-11.

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The team is made up of three seniors and three juniors, following the format of the competition. USA Gymnastics is sending USA’s best. This team is full of champions, including seniors Simone Biles, the reigning World all-around champion, Kyla Ross, the reigning 2013 World silver medalist and 2012 Olympic team gold medalist and Elizabeth Price, 2014 AT&T American Cup champion and four time World Cup aa champion.  Rounding out the team are juniors Bailie Key, reigning US junior national champion, Nia Dennis, and Norah Flatley who all showed strong performances at the City of Jesolo Trophy meet last weekend, sweeping the medal podium.

The team will begin podium training on Monday, April 7th, preparing for the first day of competition on Wednesday, April 9th against 15 other countries from around the Pacific Rim. The USA will compete in the draw with Canada, China, Hong Kong and Panama at 7 p.m. PT for the team and all-around competitions. Juniors advancing on to event finals will compete on Friday, April 11th at 6 p.m. and seniors will compete on Saturday, April 12th at 2:30 p.m. The full schedule includes men’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline gymnastics.

The competition will be livestreamed at pacificrimchamps.com.

2014 City of Jesolo Wrap up and Results


The results are in from the 2014 City of Jesolo Trophy. It was an extremely successful meet for the USA. They came out strong to win the team and sweep the all around in both the junior and senior competitions yesterday. Today they added 13 out of a possible 15 medals in the junior and senior event finals.

Bailie Key put in an amazing performance winning gold in the junior team, all around, vault, bars and floor and a silver on beam (to USA teammate Norah Flatley). Kyla Ross did not have quite the meet that everyone anticipated. She came in with a downgraded routine on bars, and then had two totally uncharacteristic mistakes. Ross balked her first attempt on vault in the all around (the same deduction as a fall) and fell on beam in event finals. Even so, what is an “off” meet for Ross is still better than most people’s best, walking away with team and all around gold medals and silver medals on bars and floor.

The USA dominated in the all around in both the junior and senior divisions, taking 1st -6th in the seniors and 1st-3rd in the juniors. All of the girls who competed all around finished in the top ten.

In the senior all around, Peyton Ernst took the silver with a strong performance, followed closely by Maggie Nichols with the bronze. MyKayla Skinner was in close contention for the all around gold until a fall on floor left here in fourth. Had she stayed on her feet, she would have won! Nia Dennis had a solid competition, taking the silver in the juniors, followed closely by Norah Flatley for bronze.

Skinner also made a big splash in the senior event finals, winning the gold on vault and floor with her incredible difficulty. Madison Kocian strengthened her bid as a bars specialist for team USA by winning a gold on bars over US teammate Ross. Alyssa Bauman rounded out the medals with a silver on beam.

In the junior event finals, Jordan Chiles came away from her junior international debut with a silver on vault. Nia Dennis added to her all around and team medals with a silver on bars; while Norah Flatley, the celebrated beam worker, did not disappoint and did a fabulous routine to add a gold on beam.

Emily Gaskins had a rough event final on floor, as a fall and a big out of bounds took her beautiful floor routine to score at the bottom of the pack.

Andreea Munteanu and Laura Jurca both came out strong for Romania. Munteanu won beam finals and took the bronze on floor. Jurca was right behind the American’s at every turn, taking fourth in the all around, bronze on vault and a silver with her charming floor routine.

Italy did well on their home turf, and even without their top two gymnasts, took silver in the team event and bronze on vault, bars and beam in the senior division.

Complete results are listed below, or you can watch the team and all around competition and the event finals competition to see all the action for yourself. Individual routines are linked below and more will be added as they become available.

Seniors

All Around Top 10

1) Kyla Ross – USA – 58.00
2) Peyton Ernst – USA – 57.650
3) Maggie Nichols – USA – 57.450
4) Mykayla Skinner – USA – 57.20
5) Rachel Gowey – Mix Group (USA) – 56.750
6t) Alyssa Baumann – USA – 55.70
6t) Elisa Meneghini – Italy – 55.79
8) Maddie Desch – USA – 55.650 
9) Erika Fasana – Italy – 55.550
10) Natsumi Sasada – Japan – 55.150

Team Results

1) USA – 231.650
60.60 VT, 58.30 UB, 55.60 BB, 57.150 FX
2) Italy – 221.50
57.35 VT, 56.65 UB, 54.95 BB, 54.55 FX
3) Japan – 217.800
55.60 VT, 54.80 UB, 53.70 BB, 53.70 FX
4) Australia – 206.70
55.55 VT, 49.85 UB, 48.15 BB, 53.150 FX

Senior Vault

1) Mykayla Skinner – USA – 15.634 average –
2) Alesia Leolini – Italy – 13.617 average

There were only two competitors in the senior vault final.

Senior Bars

1) Madison Kocian – USA – 15.033 (6.10/8.933) – watch here
2) Kyla Ross – USA – 14.967 (5.90/9.067) – watch here
3) Giorgia Campana – Italy – 14.00 (5.30/8.70)
4) Kiara Munteanu – Australia – 13.933 (5.70/8.233)
5) Georgia-Rose Brown – Australia – 13.767 (5.80/7.967)
6) Marina Rizzeli – Italy – 13.367 (5.60/7.767)
7) Chinami Otaki – Japan – 13.333 (5.50/7.833)
8) Yuki Uchiyama – Japan – 13.167 (5.70/7.467)

Senior Beam

1) Andreea Munteanu – Romania – 14.833 (6.40/8.433) – watch here
2) Alyssa Baumann – USA – 14.20 (5.80/8.40) – watch here
3) Elisa Meneghini – Italy – 14.20 (5.90/8.30)
4) Natsumi Sasada – Japan – 14.00 (5.70/8.30)
5) Stefania Stanila – Romania – 13.70 (5.50/8.20)
6) Kyla Ross – USA – 13.433 (5.60/7.833) – watch here
7) Yuki Uchiyama – Japan – 13.40 (5.50/7.90)
8) Giorgia Campana – Italy – 13.133 (5.80/7.333)

Senior Floor

1) Mykayla Skinner – USA – 14.533 – watch here
2) Kyla Ross – USA – 14.233 – watch here
3) Andreea Munteanu – Romania – 13.967 – watch here
4) Elisa Meneghini – Italy – 13.933
5) Stefania Stanila – Romania – 13.633
6) Wakana Ionue – Japan – 12.667
7) Erika Fasana – Italy – 11.6333
8) Kiara Munteanu – Australia – 11.567

Juniors

Team Results

1. USA – 228.00
2. Romania – 212.9
3. Italy – 211.4
4. Japan – 218.45
5. Australia – 200.70

All Around Top 10

1. Bailie Key – USA – 58.25
2. Nia Dennis – USA – 56.3
3. Norah Flatley – USA – 56.1
4. Laura Jurca – Romania – 55.5
5. Emily Gaskins – USA – 55.2
6. Jordan Chiles – USA – 54.9 
7. Sae Myakawa – Japan – 53.2
8. Josra Abdelaziz – Italy – 53.1
9. Ragan Smith – USA – 52.65
10. Sofia Busato – Italy – 52.55

Junior Vault

1) Bailie Key – USA – 14.934 – watch here
2) Jordan Chiles – USA – 14.350 – watch here
3) Laura Jurca – Romania – 14.234
4) Aya Megga – Australia – 14.084
5) Sofia Busato – Italy – 13.60
6) Alysha Djuric – Australia – 13.551
7) Desiree Carofiglio – Italy – 13.00

Junior Bars

1) Bailie Key – USA – 14.267 (5.60/8.667) – watch here
2) Nia Dennis – USA – 13.933 (5.40/8.53) – watch here
3) Marina Kawasaki – Japan – 13.367 (5.40/8.533)
4) Anda Butuc – Romania – 13.20 (5.10/8.10)
5) Josra Abdelaziz – Italy – 13.20 (5.30/7.90)
6) Darcy Norman – Australia – 13.067 (5.50/7.567)
7) Alice Linguerri – Italy – 11.667 (4.90/6.767)
8) Laura Jurca – Romania – 11.267 (5.0/6.267)

Junior Beam

1) Norah Flatley – USA – 14.667 (6.10/8.667/-0.10) –watch here
2) Bailie Key – USA – 14.533 (6.10/8.433) – watch here
3) Andreea Iridon – Romania – 14.30 (5.80/8.50)
4) Yuku Momiyama – Japan – 14.067 (5.50/8.567)
5) Laura Jurca – Romania – 13.667 (5.50/8.267/-0.10)
6) Desiree Carofiglio – Italy – 12.60 (4.80/7.80)
7) Sae Miyakawa – Japan – 11.033 (5.0/6.033)
8) Alica Linguerri – Italy – 10.167 (5.0/5.167)

Junior Floor

1) Bailie Key – USA – 14.533 (5.90/8.633) – watch here
2) Laura Jurca – Romania – 13.733 (5.40/8.333)
3) Yuka Momiyama – Japan – 13.633 (5.30/8.433/-0.10)
4) Pilar Rubagotti – Italy – 13.333 (5.30/8.333/-0.30)
5) Sofia Busato – Italy – 13.233 (4.90/8.333)
6) Ayu Koike – Japan – 13.133 (5.20/7.933)
7) Andra Stoica – Romania – 13.00 (5.20/8.10/-0.30)
8) Emily Gaskins – USA – 11.067 (5.30/6.367/-0.60) – watch here

The 2014 City of Jesolo Trophy Teams Announced


USA Gymnastics just announced the junior and senior gymnasts representing the USA at the 2014 City of Jesolo Trophy. The announcement was made from the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch at the conclusion of the March National Team selection camp.

The senior team will be headlined by Kyla Ross, the youngest member of the 2012 Fierce Five Olympic Gold team and 2013 World all around silver medalist. She is the only team member that has been to a world championship or Olympic games before and this will be her fifth time competing at this meet. Joining her are seven other seniors, including six who have competed in the City of Jesolo Trophy competition in previous years.

Peyton Ernst and Maggie Nichols competed on the 2013 team, MyKayla Skinner and Madison Desch were on the 2012 team and Madison Kocian competed in 2011. Alyssa Bowman and Rachel Gowey round out the team as international “rookies”, with no previous experience as an elite gymnast in international competition. This assignment also marks Gowey’s addition to the Senior National Team.

2013 U.S. junior all-around national champion Bailie Key headlines the juniors. This will be Key’s third time representing the USA at this meet and she competed at four other international meets last year. None of the five other juniors joining her have competed at this competition previously, and only two of others, Nia Dennis and Emily Gaskins, have competed internationally before. Gaskins represented the USA at the Junior Mexican Cup in 2013, while Dennis competed in England back in 2011, though she was not representing the USA nationally.  This will be Norah Flatley, Jordan Chiles and Ragan Smith’s international debut. Chiles and Smith were both officially added to the junior national team with this assignment.

The City of Jesolo Trophy will be held in Venice, Italy on March 22-23. The seventh installment of this competition will feature gymnasts from USA, Australia, Japan, Romania, and Italy. There will be a team, all-around and event finals competition in both the junior and senior divisions. March 22nd will be the team and all-around competitions. Results from the first day will qualify gymnasts to event finals on the 23rd.

According to USA Gymnastics, National Team Coordinator Martha Karolyi said “This competition a great training ground for the upcoming Pacific Alliance Championships and World Championships.”  As the selections for gymnasts representing the USA at the Pacific Rims Gymnastics Championship and the Tokyo World Cup are to be announced later in the month, it can also be inferred that the performance of the gymnasts in Venice will help determine that selection.

The complete roster is listed below.

Seniors
Alyssa Baumann, Plano, Texas/WOGA
Madison Desch, Lenexa, Kan./Great American Gymnastics Express
Peyton Ernst, Coppell, Texas/Texas Dreams Gymnastics
Rachel Gowey, Urbandale, Iowa/Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute
Madison Kocian, Dallas, Texas/WOGA
Maggie Nichols, Little Canada, Minn./Twin City Twisters
Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max
Mykayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights Gymnastics

Juniors
Jordan Chiles, Vancouver, Wash./Naydenov Gymnastics
Nia Dennis, Westerville, Ohio/Buckeye Gymnastics
Norah Flatley, Cumming, Iowa/Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute
Emily Gaskins, Coral Springs, Fla./Cincinnati Gymnastics
Bailie Key, Coppell, Texas/Texas Dreams Gymnastics
Ragan Smith, Dacula, Ga./Texas Dreams Gymnastics

American Cup AA Competition Looks to be Fierce


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.”

View this post on Instagram

Ready to go!!!

A post shared by Elizabeth Ebee Price (@eberjeebers) on

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.

And here we go! The women are starting vault!

American Cup – Kyla out, Ebee in


And so it begins. It often seems that the roster for the American Cup is a bit of a game of musical chairs. Two years in a row, Kyla Ross finds herself without a chair when the music stops.

The American Cup is at a very awkward point in the elite gymnastics cycle. Many gymnasts are still focusing on skill acquisition for the upcoming year, others are nursing small injuries, saving themselves up for later in the year. Kyla once again finds herself in the later camp with a minor back injury.

Though it doesn’t have huge repercussions in the scheme of things for national and world titles, there is a prestige in winning the American Cup that Kyla keeps missing out on. Last year, Elizabeth Price and Kyla Ross were both replaced as the American representatives at the American Cup due to injury. Now this week, ironically, Elizabeth Price will be replacing Kyla Ross.

For Elizabeth Price, this is a chance to unpress pause on her last year of gymnastics. Ebee, as she is affectionately known, took the World Cup series by storm after the 2012 Olympics, where she was an alternate. She won the Stuattguart and Glasglow World Cup at the end of 2012, and looked to be America’s next big name in gymnastics going into 2013. Then, before the American Cup she injured her hip. She pulled out of the competition to recuperate and be prepared for the bigger competitions later in the year.

Then she injured her other hip later in the spring. Though she gave valiant performances at Nationals, she just wasn’t able to come back soon enough to be in play for the World team. Late 2013, she once again had phenomenal performances at the World Cups. Let’s hope she can truly un-press pause, and have the year in 2014 that we all thought she would have in 2013. Healthy, and a top player in the world of USA gymnastics.

Read more in the USA Gymnastics Press Release.

Floor Finalists – Start List, Qualification Scores and Videos, Predictions.


The Women’s World Championships will wrap up tomorrow with the Floor Finals. How this week has flown! You can watch them live here. Event finals start at 8:30am EST.

Here is the start list (the order they will compete in):

170 FERRARI Vanessa ITA
179 MURAKAMI Mai JPN
229 BILES Simone USA
204 IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU
218 STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI
205 IZBASA Sandra Raluca ROU
232 ROSS Kyla USA
110 BLACK Elsabeth CAN

This is how they qualified into finals:

  1. BILES Simone USA 6.500 (D) + 8.533 (E) = 15.033 Q
  2. IZBASA Sandra Raluca ROU 6.200 (D) + 8.533(E) = 14.733 Q
  3. IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU 6.100 (D) + 8.400(E) = 14.500 Q
  4. FERRARI Vanessa ITA 6.300 (D) + 8.200(E) = 14.500 Q
  5. MURAKAMI Mai JPN 6.300 (D) + 8.166(E) = 14.466 Q
  6. ROSS Kyla USA 5.700 (D) + 8.633(E) = 14.333 Q
  7. STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI 6.100  (D) +8.033(E) – 0.1 = 14.033 Q
  8. BLACK Elsabeth CAN 5.800 (D) + 8.200(E) = 14.000 Q

My Predictions

I think that all of the gymnasts performed well in qualifications. I don’t think there is someone in the field that can do significantly better than they did, and I think the top girls are all pretty solid competitors. So I am actually going to go with the order that they qualified in.

  1. Simone Biles
  2. Sandra Izbasa
  3. Larisa Iordache

BILES Simone USA 6.500 (D) + 8.533 (E) = 15.033 Q

IZBASA Sandra Raluca ROU 6.200 (D) + 8.533(E) = 14.733 Q

IORDACHE Larisa Andreea ROU 6.100 (D) + 8.400(E) = 14.500 Q

FERRARI Vanessa ITA 6.300 (D) + 8.200(E) = 14.500 Q

MURAKAMI Mai JPN 6.300 (D) + 8.166(E) = 14.466 Q

ROSS Kyla USA 5.700 (D) + 8.633(E) = 14.333 Q

STEINGRUBER Giulia SUI 6.100  (D) +8.033(E) – 0.1 = 14.033 Q

BLACK Elsabeth CAN 5.800 (D) + 8.200(E) = 14.000 Q