Aug 20, 2013, 4:16 PM EDT
Overarching storylines now that the U.S. gymnastics championships are over …
1. The women’s team doesn’t have legitimate replacements for the Fierce Five yet.
Good news for any 2012 Olympians looking to get back into the mix … Team USA still needs you. McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross put on a show at nationals, claiming all of the event gold medals (Ross: balance beam, uneven bars; Maroney: vault, floor exercise).
The only newcomer who set herself apart was all-around champion Simone Biles. With only a handful of juniors from this year’s competition moving to the senior ranks in 2014, there’s plenty of room, and plenty of need for the Fierce Five to return. Judging by this weekend’s performances — the USA could really use a Gabby Douglas uneven bars routine right about now.
2. The American men have some serious depth.
The U.S. men are finally getting a break after cycles of rebuilding after Olympics. The combination of a young Olympic team in 2012 and a great mix of specialists provides a luxury of depth for the first time in many years. In the past the men’s team has leaned heavily on one or two stars (Paul and Morgan Hamm, Blaine Wilson), but the World Championships team this year could be entirely made of men with Olympic and/or worlds experience.
It’s so deep that the 2012 U.S. all-around champion, John Orozco, didn’t make the World Championships team outright; he’s an alternate who could replace the injured Danell Leyva. Things are looking up for a program that has much to prove after their poor showing in London.
3. USA Gymnastics delivered big time for their audience.
USA Gymnastics gets a round of applause for their digital and social media efforts, especially by former University of Michigan gymnast Scott Bregman, who has changed the game for the 50-year-old institution. Up until last year there were few options to see junior portions of competitions, or even day one preliminary competitions for the sport’s most die-hard fans.
USA Gymnastics live streamed all major events this season. They also live streamed podium training, previously only open to the media, and added athlete interviews and vintage full broadcasts of domestic competitions dating to 1980. USA Gymnastics uploaded a staggering 1,200 videos from the weekend’s National Championships, totaling more than 72 hours of coverage. Their YouTube views totaled nearly 1.4 million during the five-day competition. The most watched video? Maroney’s night two vault.
4. Reputation still counts.
Gymnastics remains, in part, a subjective sport. In past decades and even under today’s revised scoring system, gymnasts have relied on reputation to get the benefit of the doubt, whether it’s from the team selection committee or from the judges.
Maroney has set the precedent of near perfect scores on vault. While she was great at nationals, the judges awarded a 9.7 execution score for a vault that was clearly inferior to her Olympic team final stunner that earned a similar 9.733. The good news? If she sticks the Amanar at the World Championships, we could see the first perfect 10.0 at a worlds under the new scoring system.
5. Mykayla Skinner to Worlds?
Three of four women’s spots on the World Championships team are already locked up: Biles, Maroney and Ross. There’s only one spot left and no standout specialists to fill it. Martha Karolyi has thrown surprises in the past, so don’t count out Mykayla Skinner.
Skinner, 16, lacks the polish of her teammates, but she boasts some of the most mind-blowing gymnastics out there, including a double twisting double layout on floor that if performed at the World Championships would bare her name in the Code of Points. She didn’t hit in night one, but she stuck the double twisting double cold Saturday, finishing third on the event behind Maroney and Biles. She can further her cause at the selection camp next month.
Bonus: Bats love gymnastics, too
During the first night of men’s competition a large bat frantically flew around the heads of the audience and commentators in the XL Center (video here). Nastia Liukin muted her mic a few times during the broadcast out of fear of the shrieking as the winged mammal flew by. The bat even got it’s own Twitter account (@PGChampsBat). The arena said it died of “natural causes” before the next day.
Apr 19, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT
Watch every runner cross the finish line on Monday.
Apr 19, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT
Two-time Olympian hasn’t run a marathon since the London Games.
Apr 18, 2014, 9:41 PM EDT
All eyes will be on a changed Boylston Street on Monday.
Apr 18, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
Universal Sports will have live coverage and is on a free preview nationwide.
Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
Monday’s race figures to come down to two men.
Apr 18, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
An American with Massachusetts ties wants to win.
Apr 17, 2014, 1:59 PM EDT
Mark Wells previously sold his gold medal, too.
Apr 17, 2014, 12:21 PM EDT
Sochi club team is being reformed.
Apr 17, 2014, 9:56 AM EDT
Furtsch Ojeda talks about winning 4x100m relay gold at 1932 Olympics.
Apr 17, 2014, 9:10 AM EDT
Trial goes on break until May 5.
Apr 16, 2014, 6:54 PM EDT
Olympic swimming champion finished 2013 race before explosions.
Apr 16, 2014, 4:43 PM EDT
Deal takes Nike, USATF through next seven Olympics.
Apr 16, 2014, 2:57 PM EDT
Decathlon champion talks Montreal 1976, Steve Prefontaine and the greatest athlete of all time.
Apr 16, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT
Police commissioner asks spectators not to flock to Boylston Street on Monday.
Apr 16, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT
Judge will spend break reading 2,000-page court record.
Apr 16, 2014, 4:17 AM EDT
Korea Skating Union is protesting the makeup of judges, not the results.
Apr 15, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT
Survivors, first responders, those affected by attack take part in tribute.
Apr 15, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT
Teams’ tweets sent at same time Tuesday morning.
Apr 15, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT
World’s fastest man might not race again until June.
Apr 15, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT
What is the competition like in Phelps’ potential events?
- Boston Marathon to move forward with traditional spectacle of a finish 1
- Boston Marathon men’s preview 1
- Boston Marathon women’s preview 1
- Miracle on Ice hockey player selling his Olympic gold medal 1
- Evelyn Furtsch Ojeda is first female U.S. Olympic champion to reach 100 years old 0
- Oscar Pistorius’ prosthetic leg used in testimony 0
- Summer Sanders returns to run Boston Marathon again 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (55)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (46)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (37)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)