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The search for a new U.S. gymnastics captain

Feb 8, 2013, 11:24 AM EDT

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The eight year de facto U.S. gymnastics team captain, Alicia Sacramone, announced her retirement from the sport late last month, and so this post started as a tear-stained, high school diary entry. But that didn’t seem totally appropriate. Instead I’ve decided to be positive, kind of, and pick who might be the next Alicia. Unfortunately Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, who took charge of the role while Alicia was out with an Achilles injury, isn’t in the picture for 2013 and hasn’t announced any future intentions to continue in the sport. So we have cross her off for now. Who’s next?

1. Jordyn Wieber – Wieber seems like the obvious choice. She’s mentally tough and physically dependable. She showed strength of character by putting her personal disappointment aside and coming through big time to help her team clench gold in the Olympic team final. Sounds like leadership material to me. She’ll be one of the most experienced, and most decorated seniors going into the 2013 season.

2. Elizabeth Price – Ebee was phenomenal at Olympic Trials. Still a little green, she was just short of making the team and settled for alternate. Since then she’s been on fire winning two world cup all-around titles and gaining valuable international experience. Ebee has the respect of the other elite gymnasts and in time could grow into a team leader with her positive outlook and powerful presence.

3. Mckalya Maroney – Maroney recently revealed she’s, “not done” and that she’d like to compete at the 2013 national championships and make the world team. She’s admitted that it’s a long shot due to her 2012 surgery following a tour related injury, but that doesn’t mean she can’t contribute leadership. Maroney only competed one event for team USA in London, but she was by far the biggest cheerleader for the entire team on the sidelines. Plus, she has that natural leadership swagger.

4. Rebecca Bross – No word yet from Bross on retirement (which is a good thing). Touted as the future of USA gymnastics in 2009, Bross had a meltdown at the U.S. Trials and failed to the make the team as an event specialist. Yet, she’s the most decorated world championship gymnast of the last four years (six world medals) and having seen both great success and great disappointment she has the right perspective that makes a great leader. Bross has been there and could be trusted to help lift a team up. She gets my vote.

Who gets yours?

  1. mj1818 - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    I vote Jordyn she showed a lot of pep in London.

  2. watermelon1 - Feb 8, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Mckayla isn’t worried about gymnastics anymore. She used it as a gateway and is now too busy trying to model and get into acting.

    Can’t blame her… Gymnastics is such a time commitment and takes a really physical toll on the body… Much worse than most professional sports.

    • niecy716 - Feb 9, 2013 at 12:09 AM

      McKayla has said she wants to try for Rio. She wants redemption for what happened in London if you ask me. She came so close to Gold, yet so far. Whether or not she’ll make it… I think her best chances are having her own vault. Maybe a triple? Everybody seems to be doing an Amanar these days, even some level 10s. Just doing a great Amanar won’t be enough for this next quad unless she works on her other events.

      If these are the only options I think Jordyn or Rebecca might be best. But Jordyn might not be in Elite long either. Her coach said she might try for this Worlds team but she accepted an assistant coaching job at UCLA. Elizabeth doesn’t have quite the same amount of international experience as those two, though she’s getting there. Who knows when Aly will come back, if she comes back at all. Nobody will be able to truly replace Alicia in my opinion….

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