Simone Biles Flies High Above the Rest at the 2015 P&G National Championships


Simone Biles once again put her name in the history books, earning her third consecutive national title, with a two-day combined score of 124.1 and a out of this world 63 all-around score on the second day. The race for second and third was tight and changed throughout the night, but Maggie Nichols who shone from start to finish, managed to claim the silver with a 119.15. Aly Raisman grabbed the bronze with a 118.55. Key followed closely for fourth with a 118.35 and Douglas rounded out the top group with a 117.95.

Biles began the nights with a 61.1 all-around, a 1.4 lead over Nichols. Douglas, Raisman and Key all followed closely at just over a point to 1.2 behind. There was a full house at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the crowd was electric. The one at a time format made sure each gymnast got their due.

Rotation One began with Nichols on bars. She started her evening out with a bang, showing off her light, flowing bar routine with a stick to boot for a 14.8. Ross was up next on vault, delivering a double twisting yurchenko, but landed with her chest quite low for a 14.55. Douglas followed suit on bars, delivering a strong routine on her best event with just a small hop on landing. Biles started the night out on beam. This event has been a trial for her this week, but she overcame her earlier jitters with one of her best beam routines ever, including a stick on her dismount scoring an out of this world 15.9.

Raisman also got started on her best event, rocking the entire arena with her sky high tumbling, and hitting two solid floor routines in a row (minus a blip on her split half to end) for a 15.5. Key finished up the top group on beam as well. Redeeming her fall yesterday, she hit a great routine for a 14.55. At the end of the rotation Raisman had moved up a spot to third, overtaking Olympic teammate Douglas.

Rotation two kicks off with four big hitters in a row. Starting with Raisman on vault. She threw her amanar and landed with a locked knee but seemed to be ok, scoring a 15.35. After a great warm-up, Kyla fell on her dismount once again on bars, earning a 14.05. Douglas had a good beam routine with a few wobbles to earn a 14.2. Biles completely redeemed herself on floor, sticking her last pass for good measure for a whopping15.85.

Ashton Locklear nailed her bar routine, scoring a 15.45. Key took the floor with her tuxedo ringmaster leo to perform an enchanting routine that earned a 14.7. Nichols was last up on beam, where she competed a solid beam routine earning a 14.65. At the end of rotation, Raisman had gone into second, overtaking Nichols by .35.

Key led off rotation three on vault with a double twisting yurchenko. She has a fairly large hop on the landing but is beautiful in the air for a 15.2. Skinner hits her packed floor routing two nights in a row, earning a 14.8. Next up are Gowey and Kocian on bars, both trying to show their contributions to the team as bars specialists. Gowey scored a 14.7 and Kocian scored a 15.6 for her gorgeous bar routine. Nichols danced her way through her high tumbling floor routine for a 14.15. Biles followed her on vault, rocking her amanar for a sky high e-score of 9.9 and a 16.3.

Raisman was up on bars, where she did one of her cleaner bar routines for a 14.1. Ross looked to redeem herself on beam, showing a solid routine with a stuck dismount scoring a 15.25. Douglas finished out the rotation rocking her floor routine and improved by almost point from night one for a 14.8. At the end of the rotation Biles was in the lead followed by Raisman, Nichols, Key and then Douglas, all separated by eight tenths.

The last rotation was a battle for the podium, led out by Nichols on vault. Nichols hit a great amanar for a 15.85. Douglas vaulted a clean double twisting yurchenko with a small hop for a 15.15. Biles finished out one of her most dominant nights of competition on bars, where she earned a 14.95, totaling a 63 all-around for the night. Raisman followed on beam, needing the beam routine of her life to hold on to second. She was solid, scoring a 14.95, but it was not enough to hold on to second. Ross hit her tumbling passes on her floor routine, but missed a lot of her leaps and looked tired at the end, earning a 13.8. Key ended on bars, with a beautiful routine, just one overbalanced handstand to score a 15.3, pulling up into fourth. Alyssa Baumann finished out an incredible night of competition with her beautiful beam routine for a 15.05.

Biles won her second national championship on vault, with Skinner for the silver. Kocian took the bars title followed by Locklear, then Key. Biles won another title on beam, with Baumann taking the silver and Ross the Bronze. Raisman won another floor national title followed by Biles for silver with Key and Skinner tying for bronze.

At the end of the night, Aimee Bowman was named coach of the year, Biles was named athlete of the year and Raisman was named sportsman of the year. The national team named on this night were the top six in the all-around Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, Aly Raisman, Bailie Key, Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian. Also added to the team were Nia Dennis, MyKayla Skinner, Alyssa Baumann and Kyla Ross.

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Vault

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Photo by Christy Linder

Preview of P&G Championships – Seniors. What They Have to Prove.


In history past, the National Championships outcome determined many things, including a place on the national and world teams. However, these days it is just an important stepping stone. Ok, maybe a boulder that gets you halfway across the river sized stepping stone, but still, just a step. For today’s gymnast, the selection for a spot on the national and world stage is a journey rather than a result of one important competition. So for each gymnast, the weight of their performance at this competition on their chances for a spot on the national or world team, the size of step this competition is for them, depends on where they are at in their journey. Let’s take a look. (As we look all pics are from Christy Linder’s Facebook page… you’ll want to check it out!)

Just Stay on Course

Right now, there appear to be three ‘lock” positions on this year’s world championship team, Simone Biles, Gabby Doublas and Aly Raisman. Biles has absolutely nothing to prove.  She could fall in the river (or on each event) multiple times, and it just wouldn’t matter. Her only job is to stay healthy and continuing on being one of the most amazing gymnasts in history. Douglas and Raisman don’t have a whole lot to prove either. At both Jesolo and Secret Classics they have shown that they are still able to hang with the best of the best, and are on track to be at the front of the pack come world team selection camp. Barring injury, these three seem to be locks for this year’s World Championship team, and they just need to stay on course to not just make the team, but most likely win more World Championship medals.

Simone Biles finishing vault at the P&G National Championships. Photo by Christy Linder.

Gabby Douglas flying high on bars at the P&G National Championships podium training. Photo by Christy Linder.

Aly Raisman is sharp on beam at the P&G National Championships podium training. Photo by Christy Linder.

Step it Up a Little Notch

The next three girls Maggie Nichols, Kyla Ross and Bailie Key seem to be the most likely to take the last three World Championship team spots. They are all strong all-arounders and could definitely contribute to the team on any event if needed. Nichols is probably the surprise leader of this group. Nichols is strong on all four events, and could easily lead off team USA in any one of them. Her super clean amanar vault makes her a huge addition to USA’s vault line-up, and the combination of the two factors make her very close to a lock on the team. However, she is still climbing the ranks and proving herself, so it will be key that she hits at this competition.

Ross and Key are both known for the same things- clean lines, clear heads and consistency. However, the issue for both is that they don’t bring in high enough scores to overcome the four mentioned above. While it is unlikely that any other girls will overtake them in the all-around, there are a handful of girls that can contribute higher scores on an individual event. For Ross to maintain her place as a bars and beam specialist, she will definitely need to show progress towards her newly upgraded bars routine. Both girls will need to score high and hit with consistency.

Maggie Nichols strutting her stuff at the P&G National Championships podium training. Photo by Christy Linder.

Kyla Ross showing what she is made of at the P&G National Championships podium training. Photo by Christy Linder.

Bailie Key on beam at the P&G National Championships podium training. Photo by Christy Linder.

Show Your Specialities

There are a few other girls who have an outside chance of making a worlds team because of one or two events if they are able to consistently and significantly outscore one of the girls above. Numerous combinations of the girls above could make a strong bars line-up for a worlds team, but it is not a sure thing that any of them would medal in an event finals. Madison Kocian, Ashton Locklear, Rachel Gowey and Brenna Dowell would all like to fill that gap. While each of them need to make a strong showing on at least one other event, it is CRUCIAL that they each hit a strong uneven bars routine. From Locklear, who placed fourth at last year’s uneven event finals at the World Championships but has been injured ever since, to Gowey and Kocian coming back from longer injuries, to Dowell making the switch back from NCAA, each gymnast has a rich resume and a strong ground to stand on, but a lot to prove.

Madison Kocian on bars. Podium training at P&G Championships, photo by Christy Linder.

Ashton Locklear on bars. Podium training at P&G Championships, photo by Christy Linder.

Rachel Gowey on bars. Podium training at P&G National Championships. Photo by Christy Linder.

Brenna Dowell on floor. Podium training at P&G National Championships. Photo by Christy Linder Sharp.

Alyssa Baumann was on last year’s world championship team as well, and is a standout on balance beam. While team USA will have a STRONG balance beam line up, again it is less likely for them to top the podium on this event. If Baumann can come in with one of the top beam routines, she might be able to make a case for her spot on the worlds team. However, this would be a VERY tall feat for her.

MyKayla Skinner was another member of last year’s world championship team, but if ever there was a year where you cannot rest on your laurels, it is this year. With Raisman and Nichols in the mix, Skinner has dropped a notch in her contributions on floor and vault. She will need to perform the routines of a lifetime on both events to show that she still has a place on the world team.

Step Up to the Plate

Amelia Hundley has mostly hit when it has counted, and has shown that she can come back and give it her all at the recent Pan American Games. Hundley is a strong all-arounder, and can definitely deliver on bars and floor. However, to keep pace with the other girls who could contribute either as an all-arounder, a bars specialist or a floor specialist, Hundley will have to deliver some of the best routines she has ever performed. As will Madison Desch. Desch was an alternate at the 2015 World Championships and was recently selected to compete at the Pan American Games. Looking like a lock for the all-around, Desch fell on beam and ended up second. While Desch is a strong gymnast, she just needs to show higher scores and more consistency than in the past.

Nia Dennis has been a gymnast that many have expected to top the podiums at this point in her career. Undeniably talented, Dennis could be in the mix. However, her consistency has always been an issue. A recent gym change could be what Dennis needed to move from talented but inconsistent to a contender. If Dennis wants a place on this year’s world team, she will have to reflect that in her competition.

Emily Schild is the picture of clean lines and technically perfect gymnastics. She has been stepping up to every challenge given to her this year, unfortunately, her scores are just not on par with the rest of the field. The same can be said of beautiful to watch Lauren Navvarro and Polina  Shchennikova. Both round out the senior field with gymnastics you don’t want to miss, but often is.

Secret U.S. Classics Seniors Recap and Results


The energy in the Sears Centre Arena was electric for the 2015 Secret U.S. Classic. Simone Biles of World Champions wowed the crowd the whole night through to win the gold with a 62.4. Gabby Douglas of Buckeye Gymnastics came out strong in her first US meet since 2012 for silver, earning a 60.50. Nichols showed she was out to make a name for herself with her new amanar, and gorgeous, consistent routines on every event for a 60.0.

Bailie Key of Texas Dreams came out strong in her US senior debut, just missing the bronze with a 59.45. Raisman had a great night, competing her amanar for the first time, but fell on a newly upgraded floor pass, ending the night with a 59.05. Kyla Ross of Gym Max only competed on two events due to a hurt heel.

Rotation One

Nichols performed her new amanar vault with just a slight step on landing. Douglas looked great on bars, the arena exploded before and after her routine with just a hush while she competed. She flew high on all her release moves for a 15.4. Key competed beam like the veteran she is in her first US senior meet, scoring a 14.45. Raisman pulled out a surprise amanar in warm ups and competed it beautifully, but with a step to the side that went out of bounds for a 15.4. The crowd went even wilder for Biles on beam, where she was solid on her new barani and front pike, and just had one major wobble for a 15.25.

Brenna Dowell fell on a release after hitting her routines in podium training and warm ups in her first meet back as an elite. Alyssa Baumann fell on beam, but hit the rest of the routine with her normal gorgeous lines. Ashton Locklear is still getting back into routine condition, and though she performed on beam, she was not scored.

At the end of rotation one Nichols was on top with a 15.8 follow by Raisman and Douglas with a 15.4. Biles

Rotation Two

Nichols started off the rotation with a gorgeous bar routine for a 14.95. Key opened up with a gorgeous double layout, and continued on with her fantastic new routine to score a 14.8.  Douglas hit an awesome, perfectly solid beam routine for a 14.9. Raisman showed her ever improving bar routine, where she scored a 14.2. MyKayla Skinner debuted her new floor routine, but put her hands down on her last pass after looking very winded.

Ross missed her hand in her new bhardwaj release and had to stop. Then she fell again. She got back up with determination to compete the rest of her routine while the crowd cheered her on, and she looked great.

Biles led at the halfway point with a 31.3, followed by Nichols with a 30.75 and Douglas with a 30.3.

Rotation Three

Key opened up the rotation on vault, showing a clean Yurchenko double for a 14.9. Biles rocked her amanar vault with just the tiniest of hops for an incredible 9.7 execution score and a 16.0. Raisman followed her on beam. After an almost perfect routine in warmups, she had a few wobbles but stuck her incredibly difficult Patterson dismount to earn a 15.1. Ross came back after her bar routine with a beautiful beam routine with one major wobble on her side aerial for a 14.55. Douglas continued onto floor where she got the crowd clapping along with her upbeat music and hit all her leaps, turns and tumbling for a 15.0. Nichols continued on her fantastic day with a solid, beautiful beam routine scoring a 14.45.

Sabrina Vega showed off on floor in her first meet back since 2011, competing a more simple routine, but doing it very well until the last pass when she put her hands down.

The third rotation ended with Biles in first with a 47.3, Douglas with a 45.3 and Nichols just behind with a 45.2.

Rotation Four

Entering the last rotation, Raisman was five tenths behind Nichols and six behind Douglas as they moved to her best event. However, with Douglas on vault, it seemed unlikely she would be able to catch her. Madison Kocian performed a beautifully flowing bar routine, scoring the highest bars score of the night, a 15.6.  Biles finished on bars, where she has greatly improved and ends with a stick to put an exclamation point on her very successful competition. She earned a 15.1 to cap off her night. Raisman took the floor to a roaring crowd, but fell on her newly upgraded second pass. She went on to wow with everything else, but her was not enough to make the podium. Nichols came out strong on floor, scoring a 14.8. Key finished her night with a great bar set, scoring a 15.3 and just missing the bronze.

Full Results at SecretClassic.com.

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Secret Surprises, A Look At Senior Podium Training and Upgrades


In many ways, the Secret US Classics can be one of the most exciting meets of the year. It is the time when we see impressive upgrades, gymnast debuts and begin to really get an idea of the overall picture for the US women’s team. It is also a meet where anything can happen, as the girls routines are not yet polished and perfected. This year boasts an extra level of excitement with the return of many beloved gymnasts, upgrades in unexpected places and the place in the Olympic cycle where gymnastics fans can begin to see glimpses of next year’s Olympic team.

“The energy in the arena was intense,” said gymnastics photographer Christy Linder. Gone were the smiles and casual jokes, instead the girls had stoic, focused expressions. And while it is still early in the lead up to the selection of the world and ultimately the Olympic team, the intensity of the competition is beginning to show. With just over a year to go, everyone has Rio on their mind.

“Classics is always really important. It is the meet right before championships, so it allows you to see where you are and it allows you to try out your new skills… and to see if it is still worth it to push for the new skills, because after this meet you can’t really try anything new at championships or world championships,” said Aly Raisman in an interview with USA Gymnastics after podium training. Raisman is trying out a new skill on floor, adding a front tuck after her incredibly difficult pike double arabian in her second tumbling pass. “That’s still something relatively new, adding it into the floor routine, so hopefully tomorrow it will go well.”

And Raisman is not alone. In 2012 the USA seemed like an amanar factory. However, the number of gymnasts performing this high scoring vault consistently has diminished to just one – Simone Biles. Returning gymnasts Gabby Douglas, Raisman and Brenna Dowell all competed the amanar previously. Bailie Key is also training this vault. But the only person to actually show it in podium training today was Maggie Nichols. Welcome to the amanar club Maggie!

Speaking of Simone Biles, though she already has the most difficulty in the world by far, she is always pushing herself for more. Biles showed off two new skills on beam. “I added a Barani on beam [front tuck with a half twist] and a front pike… and then I got a new floor routine, so I am excited about that… and then I was supposed to compete a Cheng on vault, but that’s not going to happen, so hopefully for P&G’s,” said Biles in her post podium training interview. Biles also added a full twisting double layout on floor at Jesolo earlier this year and will be competing that along with a brand new floor routine.

Kyla Ross has spent this year focusing on bar upgrades. “I’ve been working hard to be able to compete a more difficult routine,” said Ross. She debuted a Bhardwaj (full twisting pak, a transition flip from the high to low bar) during podium training and also a new double front dismount. She has also changed some of her connections on beam. However, bars and beam are all we will see tomorrow as she won’t be competing all-around. “Unfortunately I am not going to do the all around this weekend because I hurt my heel a little bit, but I am hoping to go back after this competition and train hard for P&G’s.”

Bailie Key will not let her US senior debut come and go without upgrades of her own. “Training has been going really well. I am excited to compete here as a senior at the Secret Classic, and I thought training here, podium training, went really good too. I am most excited for floor because that is my big upgrade. I am putting a double layout in and moving my other passes back,” said Key. Along with her upgrade, Key also brings a brand new floor routine of her own.

Gabby Douglas is excited to be competing again, but will wait to unveil her new upgrades until P&G National Championships. “I’ve been working on a little bit of upgrades, which you guys will see at P&G’s, and being consistent and patient,” said Douglas after podium training. She knows that to make another Olympic team, she is going to have to give it her all. “We have so many good girls, all fighting for that spot and the competition is more dynamic… all the gymnasts, especially me, are going to have to pull out the best of the best. Especially with Simone. We’re gonna all have to bring out our best skills.” Douglas gave us a preview, showing off her new floor routine.

In addition to the upgrade frenzy were a number of familiar faces making their way back into the elite scene. Brenna Dowell, Polina Shchennikova and Sabrina Vega are all returning to elite gymnastics. Dowell just took a short hiatus to try her hand at college gymnastics. After a successful freshman year, she showed up to podium training looking better than ever on bars. Shchennikova showed off her gorgeous lines and flexibility on beam and bars, reminding everyone why she has been one that always catches your eye. Vega has been out since the 2012 Olympic Trials and is looking to begin her journey back into competition this weekend.

2014 World Champions MyKayla Skinner, Alyssa Baumann, Ashton Locklear and Madison Kocian are all out to prove that they are still in the running this year, even with the return of so many other gymnasts. Kocian and Locklear are both coming off of injuries as well, and will be looking to show that they are fit and ready to go. Standout junior Nia Dennis will be making her senior debut, looking to make a place for herself as well.

All in all, the gymnasts everyone expected to look great, do. And the gymnasts we have been wondering about- look great as well.  This year, more than any before, seems to be an embarrassment of riches. Let the fun begin.

Jesolo USA Team Breakdown and Training Recap – The Seniors


USA Gymnastics opens up it’s elite season with the annual City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy. The seniors they are sending are as diverse in their situations as they are in their gymnastics strengths. From reigning world champions to returning Olympians to first time debuters, we will see the gamut in Jesolo.

Gymnastike is on the scene, and providing as many routines as possible from the training sessions in Jesolo, which you can access with a Gymnastike Gold subscription. These videos provide a look into the training sessions for the meet.

 

The Reigning World Champions

Simone Biles comes into the competition fresh off of her dominating win at the AT&T American Cup just a few weeks ago. She also comes in as the reigning two time world champion, and for now, is considered unbeatable. Joining her are three other members of the 2015 World Champion Team, Kyla Ross, Alyssa Bauman and alternate Maddie Desch. Ross declined her place at the AT&T American Cup to have more time to work on upgrades. So this is the first opportunity to see the fruits of her labor. All three will be looking to prove that they are still in the mix for this year’s worlds team despite the new competition.

Simone Biles looks as great as she looked just a few weeks ago at the American Cup. Her vault is dreamlike, her bars are solid and even better connected than in training for the American Cup. She had a few minor wobbles on beam, but was steady and confident and floor continues to be her playground as she stuck a double layout fullout with ease.

Kyla Ross brought some upgrades to Jesolo on barsShe has not showcased the pak full that she had mentioned training earlier this year, but did bring in a new combination and a new dismount. The routine: toe on + toe full + Maloney + Pak + van Leeuwen (form break here),  toe half + jaeger, double front dismount. Ross also brought in a dramatic and creative new floor routine. She continues to grow in her artistry on this event. She did not show the whip to double arabian, but had solid tumbling and dance throughout. Beam and floor are both as solid and beautiful as last year.

Alyssa Baumann will be looking to make a statement that her beam routines are what the USA needs, and that she can contribute on any event. And her training in Jesolo definitely helped to make her case. On floor she showcased three difficult turns- a Memmel, a double L turn and a quadruple turn as well as a piked full out. Her beam looks beautiful, and she does one of the most solid, upright standing arabians in the world (second only to Nia Dennis). The routine: arabian, switch ring, backhandpring step out + layout step out, switch split + switch half, full turn, front aerial, sheep jump, onodi + wolf jump, aerial, roundoff double pike dismount. Baumann completes the package of being able to represent the US on any event with a solid double twisting yurchenko on vault and a beautiful bar routine.

Maddie Desch put in solid training sessions, however she needs cleanup work on all of her events. She threw a solid DTY on vault, however landed with quite a low chest and without the flight dynamics of many of the other US gymnasts. Desch puts together quite an impressive bar routine, but will need to clean up some form issues and landing on her dismount. The same is true on beam. Desch has some great skills, but needs to work on amplitude. All in all, Desch looks solidly like she belongs in Jesolo, but will need to continue sharpening her skills and performance as the year goes on.

Senior International Debuts

Bailie Key is not stranger to the international elite scene, making her fourth appearance at the City of Jesolo Trophy. She comes into Jesolo as the reigning junior all-around champion for two years running. Key was injured and did not take part in the junior national championships last year, but her resume is long and distinguished. Her senior debut has been widely anticipated, and Key will be expected to be a major player for the podium this year. Key is competing the same delightful floor routine from last year, and she has added a double wolf turn. Tumbling upgrades are also expected but were not shown in the training videos. She brings the same strong, consistent beam routine as last year though re-worked and with a wolf full turn. Its on uneven bars that Key shows the most upgrades adding a Ricna + pak combination and a Chow + overshoot to handstand + stalder 1/1 + Ray. Her bars have beautiful flow and form with just a slight form break on her new low bar work. Her DTY on vault showed a lot more form issues than she used to have, but it was just one vault.

Emily Schild is actually a second year senior, but injury kept her out last year so this will be her senior debut. Schild showed a lot of promise at the 2013 Nastia Liukin Cup, but has never quite put it all together due to injuries and mishaps. She will be looking to give a solid performance in Jesolo. There were no training videos of Schild on vault, which has been her strongest event in the past. She showed a pretty and well done floor routine in training, but depending on the tumbling passes may be lower in difficulty than many of her US teammates. Her beam routine was clean, showing off her beautiful lines, but had some major form breaks in her back tumbling. Schild has gorgeous lines and a great swing on bars, with lots of great inbar work. However, a number of form breaks keep it from being really solid, but her full twisting double layout dismount is fabulous!

Megan Skaggs is another first year senior, and this will also be her first international assignment. She has a quick and expressive floor routine to some exotic music that is fun to watch. On both beam and bars, Skaggs has a lot of potential with difficult skills and pretty lines. However, she needs to do clean up on a lot of wobbles and form breaks. She pulled around a DTY that landed quite low.

Returning from Injury

Last but not least is Maggie Nichols, who missed out on last years world team selection camp and worlds due to injury after making a name for herself at the 2014 US competitions. Nichols has a great floor routine with a lot of energy and expression, including a piked fullin and a triple turn. She has a nice beam routine with a piked front tuck with a half and a switch ring. She had the cleanest DTY next to Ross. And where Nichols really makes a statement is on bars. She brings in seven connected skills! Toe 1/1 + Chow + pak + Maloney + overshoot to handstand + toe 1/2 + van Leeuwen. Nichols will be one to watch.

These ten world class seniors are all showing great consistency in training. While the gold is likely wrapped up, it will definitely be a battle for the other two spots on the podium. Winning, not just trophies, but helping to position them for selection to a much bigger international competition later this year.

Photo from Simone Biles Twitter.

U.S. Senior National Champions and National Team


Simone Biles made what everyone already knows official. At this point in USA gymnastics, she is in a league of her own. She decisively won back to back U.S. National Championship titles, this time by over four points – with a fall. Over a two day competition, she looked incredibly strong, relaxed and consistent until the very end of her beam routine where she fell. And when you are so far ahead that you are competing with yourself, that is frustrating. But on the scoreboard it hardly mattered. Biles also walked away with the national title on floor and vault.

Kyla Ross won her second silver national all-around title, as well as her second national beam title. Ross is also in a league of her own this year firmly capturing the silver despite two uncharacteristic falls on night one. Ross proved to everyone that she is indeed human on the first day of competition with a fall on floor and on bars. Her almost inhuman consistency and perfection are marveled at around the world, and they returned in full force on night two, where she earned the highest execution score total. 

Maggie Nichols, the only gymnast on the medal podium to hit eight for eight routines, took the bronze. At this championship, Nichols put an exclamation point on her statement from the U.S. Secret Classics. She is a consistent all-around gymnast who can be depended upon to hit on any event. She also won the bronze on bars, an important event in USA gymnastics.

Apart from the three all-arounders, Ashton Locklear made quite a splash at this competition, easily winning the uneven bars national title. Between the national championships and classics earlier this month, she has posted the highest bar’s scores in the world this year with her incredibly clean and difficult bar routine. 

The top six all-around gymnasts were automatically added to the national team. Additionally, four more gymnasts who were named to the Pan American Games team were also added. Ross and Biles, who have loads of international experience were left off the team, letting other gymnasts gain much needed international competition experience. 

U.S. Senior National Team

Alyssa Baumann, Plano, Texas/WOGA, Simone Biles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, Madison Desch, Blue Springs, Mo./GAGE, Brenna Dowell, Odessa, Mo./GAGE, Amelia Hundley, Fairfield, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics, Madison Kocian, Dallas/WOGA, Ashton Locklear, Huntersville, N.C./Everest Gymnastics, Maggie Nichols, Little Canada, Minn./Twin City Twisters, Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max and MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights.

The gymnasts leaving on a bus on Sunday to Canada to represent the USA at the Pan American Games are Baumann, Desch, Hundley, Kocian, Locklear, Nichols and Skinner.

The results for the all-around top six and the even medalists are as follows.

All-Around

  1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 122.550
  2. Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif., 118.300
  3. Maggie Nichols, Little Canada, Minn., 117.900
  4. Alyssa Baumann, Plano, Texas, 116.100
  5. MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz., 115.450
  6. Amelia Hundley, Hamilton, Ohio, 112.200

Vault

  1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 31.025
  2. MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz., 30.225

 Uneven Bars

  1. Ashton Locklear, Hamlet, N.C., 31.050
  2. Madison Kocian, Dallas, Texas, 30.750
  3. Maggie Nichols, Little Canada, Minn., 29.400

Balance Beam

  1. Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif., 30.550
  2. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 30.300
  3. Alyssa Baumann, Plano, Texas, 30.300

Floor Exercise

  1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 31.150
  2. MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz., 30.000
  3. Maggie Nichols, Little Canada, Minn., 29.000

2014 US Classics Senior Recap with Results and Videos


The 2014 U.S. Classics went surprisingly without a lot of surprises for this point in the Olympic cycle and in the year. A few gymnasts brought new upgrades, but it was not crash after crash or fall after fall as it can sometimes be. Adding some of the future junior stars to the senior session was a great success, as it let many fans who don’t follow gymnastics as closely start to get to know some of the players on the road to Rio. Plus, they are just so cute! Let’s start with the seniors however.

Simone Biles of World Champions Centre began her bid to defend her World All-Around title with a bang. The Secret US Classics are just a warm up meet for the rest of the season. But Biles looked ready to win another all-around and floor title tonight. Competing what is probably the best floor routine she has ever done, she started the night with a whopping 15.8. That score includes a US only sticking bonus which added .2 to her score. She went on to rock a powerful first vault and managed to hold on to her second vault. She had a little rough start on bars, but came through with a great routine. She ended the night with a solid beam routine and easily won the all-around with a 61.7.

Simone Biles – Floor – 15.8

Simone Biles – Vault – 15.9

Simone Biles – Bars –  14.75

Simone Biles – Beam – 15.25

Kyla Ross of Gym-Max continues to be an important player in the world of US gymnastics. The undeniable team leader, she is one everyone can count on both on and off the floor. She started the evening by adding a new upgrade to her floor routine. It was actually nice to see Ross take a risk of competing something that is not yet perfect. That is exactly what the US Classics are for, but it left her with a slightly lower score than usual. Ross moved on to vault, where she competed her beautiful DTY and stuck the landing. A back injury earlier in the season has kept Ross from competing at as high of a difficulty level on bars as she has the last two years, but she holds on to every point with beautiful execution. A solid, steady, quintessential Ross beam routine easily clinched the silver for her, and helped her to break that 60 all-around score barrier with a 60.05

Kyla Ross – Floor – 14.6

Kyla Ross – Vault –  15.2

Kyla Ross – Bars – 15.0

Kyla Ross – Beam – 15.25

Maggie Nichols of Twin City Twisters took third with a 57.6. Nichols was steady on all four events, taking advantage of other athletes falls and falters. She looked clean and confident and competed very well.

Maggie Nichols Bars – 14.7

Maggie Nichols – Beam – 14.1

Maggie Nichols Floor – 14.3

Maggie Nichols Vault – 14.5

Rachel Gowey of Chow’s Gymnastics was very impressive. Making her senior elite debut at these Classics after being out for a year due to injury, Gowey made a splash. Beautiful long lines and the ever clean form that is the mark of all of Chow’s gymnasts made her a standout, and her difficulty on top of that make her a strong contender for this years world’s team. She fell on her amanar, but made enough of them during training that it would seem she will have the vault in time.

Rachel Gowey – Beam- 14.85

Rachel Gowey – Floor – 14.15

Rachel Gowey – Vault – 13.85

Rachel Gowey – Bars –

not yet uploaded

Amelia Hundley of Cincinnati Gymnastics was a junior standout, and her senior debut has been long awaited. So it was a dissapointment to many fans that she was not shown during the broadcast at all. Hundley is a steady athlete on all four event, but really shines on floor. The calm girl becomes an animated performer.

Amelia Hundley – Floor – 14.25

Amelia Hundley – Vault- 13.9

Amelia Hundley – Bars – 13.8

Amelia Hundley – Beam – 13.5

 

Ashton Locklear of Everest Gymnastics missed most of last year with injuries. However, her incredibly clean lines and beautiful technique stood out clearly on bars. Her bars were some of the most impressive gymnastics of podium training, and brought in a huge score during the competition.

Ashton Locklear – Bars – 15.7

 

Madison Kocian of WOGA began the competition first up on her best even. Kocian has good all-around potential, but her real spot on a world’s team will come on bars. She did not disappoint, with a clean, difficult, fluid bar routine. However she fell off the beam and then scratched the rest of the meet sitting on the sidelines with ice on her ankle. Fans are hoping it’s nothing serious as it was the same ankle that kept her out of competition last year.

Madison Kocian – Bars- 15.4

 

MyKayla Skinner of Desert Lights Gymnastics has been working hard to improve her execution, form and artistry. Though she has a ways to go, you can definitely see the progress. Known as the daredevil of the US, she brings incredibly difficult skills to the table. However a fall on floor and lower execution scores all around left her out of the running for the podium.

MyKayla Skinner – Floor – 13.4

MyKayla Skinner – Vault – 15.0

MyKayla Skinner – Beam –

Brenna Dowell of GAGE sprained her ankle a few weeks ago and only planned to compete bars at this competition.

Brenna Dowell – Bars – 11.2

Check out the full results and watch all the routines in HD!

 

 

Maggie Nichols is Going to Tokyo


The final U.S. women’s gymnastics assignment for the spring has been made.Yesterday, USA Gymnastics announced  that Maggie Nichols will be competing at the 2014 Tokyo World Cup. This is the third (and final) international assignment the US has made for this spring.

Peyton Ernst, Kyla Ross and Maggie Nichols on the podium in at the City of Jesolo.

Nichols, a second year senior, has represented the USA internationally three times in 2013 (including an exhibition) and once this year. She had a great competition last weekend at the City of Jesolo meet, coming in third in the all-around behind two U.S. teammates. More importantly, she showed consistent, solid routines on every event. She performed a dynamic, entertaining routine on floor, placing third in qualifications (but did not advance to event finals due to the two per country rule) and showed a great beam set as well.

Nichols replaced Peyton Ernst who was the nominative gymnast for the competition and who represented the USA at the Tokyo World Cup in 2013. This comes as no surprise, as USA Gymnastics had announced earlier in the month that the final decisions would not be made until after the City of Jesolo Trophy meet. Ernst is the second alternate for the team representing the U.S. at the Pacific Rim Championship behind Brenna Dowell.

Peyton Ernst, Bailie Key and Maggie Nichols. Photo from Maggie Nichols Twitter.

The Tokyo World Cup  is the final meet of the 2013-14 International Gymnastics Federation World Cup all-around series. It will be held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium April 5, 2014. Many of the same competitors seen at the 2014 AT&T American Cup, the most recent meet held on American soil in the series, are expected to compete. They include 2006 World all-around champion Vanessa Ferrari of Italy, Victoria Moors of Canada, Carlotta Ferlito of Italy, and Roxana Popa of Spain. Asuka Teramoto of Japan, the defending champion, is also expected to be there.

 

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