Who’s Who in 2012: Raisman the Rock


Aly Raisman, Visa Championships 2012. Photo Credit Heather Maynez

Stars are great. They shine brightly, illuminating the sport of gymnastics to the rest of the world. Stars like the fierce competitor Jordyn Wieber, who inspires us with her ability to never give up and come through with high flying skills on floor and vault and incredible difficulty on beam. Stars like the effervescent Gabby Douglas, who entertains us as much with her personality as with her breathtaking bars work. But in a three up three count team finals scenario, you don’t just want stars. You want a rock.

Aly Raisman, donned by NBC’s Alexa Ainsworth “Reliable Raisman” is our rock. She is the one you can depend on to go out and hit time after time. She has an incredible ability to be in the moment – not allowing herself to feel any more pressure when she is competing than when she is training. Since her senior debut in 2010, Aly has proven herself again and again to the gymnastics world and most importantly to Marta. Marta said this weekend of Aly:

“…[Aly] always wants to prove herself to me! She looks in my eyes before competition and I just nod: ‘Everything is perfect, Aly.’ I really love to have this type of gymnast. She’d give her heart to be good.” –Gym Examiner

And she is more than good. She is great! She does one of the hardest floor routines in the world. Her first tumbling pass is absolutely unbelievable in its level of difficulty. And her second pass is so high you wonder if she is ever going to come down.  Aly won two national event titles this weekend (Floor and Beam) and placed third in the all around. She continues to gain our trust even as she captures our heart with her humble attitude, sky high tumbling, sweet smile and loyal friendships with the other gymnasts. Check out Aly’s routines and her interview after the first night at the Visa National Championships. (For a more recent post about Aly after the Olympics, check out Aly Raisman Rises to the Top.)

Sparkles Galore – Junior Women’s Prelims 2012 Visa National Championships


The first thing I noticed when I walked in was all the sparkles. Really, it is hard to miss! But the second thing was how much more businesslike the women are. Even these little juniors. There were definitely some stand outs and the future of USA gymnastics is looking great. For a full effect, read through Gym Examiners quick hits and check out all the routines on USAGymnastics youtube.

Overall Impressions

I think that US gymnastics has heard the complaints of no artistry. There were so many beautiful, well danced, polished floor routines out there today! It was a delight for this floor lover’s heart. Also, Texas Dreams is a force to be reckoned with. Kim Zemeskal’s girls look awesome on every event. Polished, with great attention to detail. She is also delightful to watch with her girls.

Standout Gymnasts

Of course, you can’t ignore Lexie Priessman with her almost 2 point lead after night one. Her floor routine was on fire- she REALLY danced it up and did some incredible tumbling to boot. Her 15.25 outclassed the rest of the field by over half a point!   Priessman, Amelia Hundley and Katelyn Ohashi all look like seniors out there. They just have a different quality to their competition and will be ready for next year without missing a hitch. And then there is Bailie Key. It is hard to believe she is only 13. She competes with the finish and professionalism of a senior, and has the difficulty to match her poise. It is hard to imagine how incredible she will be by the time she finally becomes a senior if she continues on this pace.

Three other gymnasts must be mentioned. First up, Simone Biles.  She is just a little bundle of dynamite! What power! Even when she is just walking across the floor she looks like she could combust. She is a delight to watch on every event. Second is Nia Dennis. This little girl is a young Awesome Dawsome.  She has beautiful dance and tumbles and does release moves on bars up in the rafters. Last but not least is Lauren Hernandez. I must say, she is my new favorite junior. The girl can dance! And every movement is finished with precision and grace. I love watching this one! She didn’t have the best day, but I can’t wait to see her again.

Standout Routines

Current Standings

All-around:
1. Lexie Priessman, Cincinnati, Ohio, 59.200
2. Bailie Key, Coppell, Texas, 57.550
3. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 57.400
4. Madison Desch, Lenexa, Kan., 57.200
5. Amelia Hundley, Hamilton, Ohio, 56.750
6. Katelyn Ohashi, Plano, Texas, 56.650

Women’s Vault:
1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 15.800
2. Lexie Priessman, Cincinnati, Ohio, 15.700
3. Bailie Key, Coppell, Texas, 15.000

Women’s Bars:

1. Polina Shchennikova, Arvada, Colo., 14.650
2. Katelyn Ohashi, Plano, Texas, 14.350
3. Lexie Priessman, Cincinnati, Ohio, 14.150

Women’s Beam:
1. Amelia Hundley, Hamilton, Ohio, 14.300
1. Madison Desch, Lenexa, Kan., 14.300
3. Bailie Key, Coppell, Texas, 14.250

Women’s Floor:
1. Lexie Priessman, Cincinnati, Ohio, 15.250
2. Bailie Key, Coppell, Texas, 14.700
3. Katelyn Ohashi, Plano, Texas, 14.400