Team Line Up and Event Qualifier Predictions


With podium training already in the books and a few days left before qualifications, the time to speculate is ripe. After looking at the line up and performances in podium training, here are the likely line ups for Team USA in qualifications and team finals and predictions on event finals qualifiers. There aren’t a lot of surprises here, but one point of speculation is how much the US will use Kyla Ross during team finals.

The US team is likely to be very dominant in the team competition. Ross has the capability to not only contribute on every event in team finals, but also to win a silver medal in the all-around and event medals on beam and floor. In order to give her the best chances of individual success, resting her injury would be wise. However, Marta Karolyi tends to put the focus of the needs of the team first. It will be interesting to see if she decides to rest her or use her on all four events.

What are your thoughts?

Vault

Qualifications

  1. Madison Kocian
  2. Alyssa Baumann
  3. Kyla Ross
  4. MyKayla Skinner
  5. Simone Biles

Team Finals

  1. Alyssa Baumann or Kyla Ross (If they decide to rest Kyla Ross for individual finals
  2. MyKayla Skinner
  3. Simone Biles

Event Finals Qualifiers

Simone Biles

Simone Biles on vault in podium training.

MyKayla Skinner

MyKayla Skinner on vault in podium training.

Bars

Qualifications

  1. MyKayla Skinner
  2. Simone Biles
  3. Kyla Ross
  4. Madison Kocian
  5. Ashton Locklear

Team Finals

  1. Kyla Ross
  2. Madison Kocian
  3. Ashton Locklear

Event Finals

Madison Kocian

Madison Kocian in podium training.

Ashton Locklear

Ashton Locklear in podium training.

Alternatively Kyla Ross will be right on the heels of these two. If either of them falter, she will be right there to jump into event finals.

Kyla Ross in podium training.

Beam

Qualifications

  1. MyKayla Skinner
  2. Madison Kocian
  3. Alyssa Baumann
  4. Simone Biles
  5. Kyla Ross

Team Finals

  1. Alyssa Baumann
  2. Simone Biles
  3. Kyla Ross

Event Finals

Simone Biles

Simone Biles in podium training.

Kyla Ross

Kyla Ross in podium training.

Alternatively, Alyssa Baumann can easily sneak into finals if one of these two falter.

Alyssa Baumann in podium training.

Floor

Qualifications

  1. Madison Kocian
  2. Alyssa Baumann
  3. Kyla Ross
  4. MyKayla Skinner
  5. Simone Biles

Team Finals

  1. Alyssa Baumann or Kyla Ross (If they decide to rest Kyla Ross for individual finals)
  2. MyKayla Skinner
  3. Simone Biles

Event Finals

MyKayla Skinner

MyKayla Skinner in podium training.

Simone Biles

Simone Biles in podium training.

All photos by John Cheng via USA Gymnastics

Simone Biles Refuses to be Lonely on Top


In 2014, Simone Biles is without a doubt the most dominant gymnast in the world. She does some of the most difficult gymnastics with such ease, it is hard to comprehend just how incredible it really is. She defies the normal “rules” on floor, ending her routine with a pass that many gymnasts start with, and doing it with so much bounce to spare that you honestly wonder how many flips and twists it will take to nail those feet to the ground.

But Biles is not one to follow the rules. Most gymnasts present a serious demeanor on the floor, not watching other competitors routines and zoning in on what they have to do. Though there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not her style.

Biles is all smiles and energy on the competition podium right up until she starts her event and again immediately as her feet touch the floor for her dismount. Except floor, where the sincere grin just never stops. Between routines she can be found chatting with other teammates, cheering on fellow competitors and laughing with her coach.

Simone Biles videobombs Kyla Ross's interview with USA Gymnastics.

Simone Biles videobombs Kyla Ross’s interview with USA Gymnastics.

 

They say that it is lonely at the top. But that is just not something Biles is willing to accept. Though she is serious about her gymnastics, and can immediately get into her zone when she needs to be, it is obvious that she values her teammates and her relationships with them more than anything else out on the floor. She is the first one to congratulate a fellow competitor on their routines, and it is unlikely that any gymnast mounts an event that Biles has not cheered on. She is known by all for her infectious smile and tackling other gymnasts with her bear hugs. McKayla Maroney says of Biles, “It’s impossible not to love her.”

Her twitter feed reads like a memoir to all the people she loves and can’t live without.

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So though Biles is miles ahead of her competitors when it comes down to the score, she is determined to walk the Road to Rio step by step and arm in arm with her U.S. teammates. This bouncy bundle of joy is changing all the rules about how to compete gymnastics. And giving many people in the world a lesson on how to live life.

 

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

McKayla Maroney – the Princess of Poise


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Photo by John Cheng

McKayla has gone through so much in the past year, it truly is quite amazing that she is not only at Worlds, but has improved since last year. Three surgeries, media frenzy, meme fame and a changed life. She has made no bones that she has some unfinished business called doing her best at the Olympic vault finals. So between now and then, she will give gymnastics her all.

Though vaulting is what she shines at, she really wants to be an all-arounder. And floor is her favorite event. So it was incredibly meaningful for her to be able to compete all around in the qualifications. She didn’t have her most spectacular day, but she did really well.

She started her day out on floor. She had a number of small bobbles on her landings and her leaps weren’t quite all the way split. But it was really a great routine. Many on the gymternet felt like she was really underscored here.

After seeing her INCREDIBLE vault in podium training, this amanar was anticlimactic. But it was a normal, amazing vault from McKayla.

Her second vault however, was one of her better ones.

McKayla is not known for her bars. But this was most definitely one of the best bar routines she has ever done!

On the other hand, this beam routine was most definitely not her best. Getting into the swing of competing beam again often takes some time.

As always, the highlight of the day was McKayla’s interview. Such poise, so much authenticity, and so much grace. i fall more in love with this girl every interview.

She only qualified into the vault finals, being another victim of the 2 per country rule on both floor (where she tied with Kyla Ross but the tie was broken with Kyla’s higher E score) and the all around (where she placed 5th in the world).

Kyla Ross Podium Training


Kyla looked beautiful in podium training, as always. She has one of the most beautiful DTY being performed with just the slightest of little slides of her landing.

Her bars today weren’t quite as effortless and fluid as usual. In Gymnastike’s Beyond the Routine with Kyla done just before World’s Selection camp, Kyla was having a little trouble on bars and actually said that it was her hardest event. Should we be concerned? Nah. Kyla has been the most consistent bar’s performer of all the gymnasts going for the bar’s title. I am sure that she will put up the same beautiful routine she always does.

Kyla’s beam looked like always- like she is dancing in the clouds. So light and effortless. A small wobble and a bigger step than normal on her dismount. But she looks great.

Every time I watch this routine, I just CANNOT believe how far she has come in her performance this year. This routine is interesting, beautiful, has great musicality and expression of the music. In all honesty, I love it. I never thought I would say that. I LOVE Kyla Ross on floor. She needs to clean up her landings to save on those precious points. But it is as likely for her to stick her first two/three passes as not.

The highlight. Who would have thought that shy little Kyla could become so incredibly comfortable, herself, and fun in front of the camera. Love this girl.

All photos and videos from USA Gymnastics

Kyla Ross Grabbed Her Destiny


Kyla Ross in Team Finals (Photo Credit: USA Gymnastics)

Kyla Ross enjoyed years of success as a junior all around competitor. But in these games, she come in as a team player. A table setter on beam and a middle routine on bars.

Kyla did have a chance to make it into the bars finals, but hit her feet on the low bar in qualifications. Currently sitting as a reserve, her last chance for Olympic glory lay in contributing to the team. Kyla literally grabbed ahold of her destiny as she swung her way to a great bars routine. Then she tumbled through her beam routine, securely showing herself to be the Queen of Clean of both events.

Kyla Ross in Olympic Team Finals (Photo Credit USA Gymnastics)

Kyla contributed key routines today during the team finals – a bars set that kept us ahead of the incredible Russians and a lead off beam routine that set the tone for a solid, no miss beam rotation. You would have never known that Kyla was a first year senior with the least amount of international experience. She came out today like a pro and walks away a gold medalist.

Kyla Ross in Team Finals (Photo Credit: USA Gymnastics)

Thank You Kyla for your incredible contribution and your years of hard work!

Kyla Ross with coach Jenny Zhang (Photo Credit USA Gymnastics)

Everything You Need to Know for Women’s Team Finals


Tomorrow is the day, the long awaited Women’s Team Final! Twelve countries qualified into the Olympics and now eight will move on to compete in the finals. Four of these countries will fight to be on the podium. The other four fought to get in the finals and are ecstatic for the opportunity to compete.

First, the details.

  • You can watch the team finals live on NBCOlympics.com at 11:30 EST or on Prime Time NBC tomorrow night.
  • Each team brings five gymnasts and puts up three gymnasts on each event. All three scores from each event count and will be added up to determine the final score.
  • The top two scoring teams start on vault, the third and fourth on bars, fifth and sixth on beam and seventh and eighth on floor, allowing you to most easily compare.

Now the Qualifiers.

Photo Credit USA Gymnastics

The USA had a strong performance in the qualifying round and qualified in first with a 181.863. They scored 1.4 higher than the second place team. In the world of gymnastics, that is a strong lead. They had a wonderful competition and really stood out on vault, their strongest event. There is room however for an even stronger performance as they had some minor mistakes on every event.

Photo By MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

Russia qualified in second with a 180.429. They had a great day. Their bars is just a beautiful thing to watch and they did not disappoint! Their biggest area for improvement is Aliya Mustafina who, if rumors are true, will be competing her amanar. She has yet to compete this or even show it in training since tearing her ACL on the vault last year. She also had a number of errors in her beam routine that could be cleaned up. Russia is a fierce competitor with beautiful gymnastics and they will come on strong. Don’t let the gap in qualifications fool you. They can challenge the USA.

China qualified in third with a 176.637. China also had a shining bars performance, but had some problems on beam and floor. They also don’t have the difficulty on vault to keep up. They can definitely do better than they did, but it is unlikely that they can challenge for the gold.

Romania qualified in fourth with a 176.264. Romania definitely did not have their best day. A team that is known for decades for their consistent, hit performances had a number or missed routines. Mostly, because their star Larisa Iordache has been battling an injury this week and did not perform to her usual standard. Catalina Ponor also had very uncharacteristic mistakes. Neither Larisa nor Sandra Izbasa threw the more difficult vaults they have been training. It is unlikely that Romania will have another dismal performance. They are competitors and champions with decades of history of coming through in Olympic Finals. With a few more days or recovery for Larisa, a regular day of performance for Catalina, and all the vault difficulty being thrown, Romania will be right there in the battle for the gold.

The other four teams six or more points behind Romania – Britain, Japan, Italy and Canada. But all of them fought hard to make it to team finals and are ecstatic for the chance to compete in the Team Finals. None more so than Britain, who will have the opportunity to bring down the house in their home crowd.

Though Romania and Russia can bring on the heat, this really is the USA’s to loose. It should be a great team finals, with a lot of incredible gymnastics!

What I Love About Kyla Ross


I love Kyla’s smile. Hunting through her pictures, it is a reoccurring theme – this broad beaming smile that just makes you smile back. You don’t see it as often in her competitions, where she is more focused and serious. Or in her interviews. But a picture speaks 1,000 words. I think Kyla’s personality is summed up through her smile.

I love Kyla’s attitude. “I am a contender.” She has said this many times in interviews.   Not arrogant  and assuming, but quietly confident. She knows what she can contribute to the team, and keeps plugging away, practice after practice, meet after meet to prove it.

I love that Kyla is still a teenager. She has had plenty of international experience, but not yet enough travel and media attention to mature her beyond her years. Kyla seems like a normal teenage girl. It helps us remember that these girls are still just that – girls.

Gymnastics wise, I love Kyla’s lightness. Every move she makes looks effortless, airy, like she tumbling or dancing through clouds. She is the Queen of Clean. She is dependable and it is easy to feel confident that she will deliver.

Good Luck Kyla! Thank you for your years of hard work and sacrifice to bring us your beautiful gymnastics. May the Olympics be more than you ever dreamed it would be!

What do you love about Kyla? Do share!

All Photos Credit NBC Olympics