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.
Sep 2, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT
Olympic champ figure skater yet to make official decision, but shows which way he is leaning.
Sep 2, 2014, 10:57 AM EDT
Would he rather race fast cars or cheetahs?
Sep 2, 2014, 7:41 AM EDT
Schild won silver behind Shiffrin in Sochi and is one of her idols.
Sep 1, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
Lewis joins staff with two other Olympic sprint medalists.
Sep 1, 2014, 1:09 PM EDT
Germany is the latest rival to a potential U.S. Olympic bid in 2024.
Sep 1, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT
Seven from Nigeria, two from Sierra Leone out due to Uzbekistan’s restrictions.
Sep 1, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT
Olympic silver medalist swam three days after suffering allergic reaction to jellyfish sting.
Aug 30, 2014, 5:27 PM EDT
American overcame a 69-second deficit, passing 19 women on the 10km run to cap dominating season.
Aug 29, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT
Olympic champion cites “medical reasons” hours before weigh-in.
Aug 29, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT
Statistically, the U.S. might be better off not winning in Spain in the Olympic scope.
Aug 29, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT
Olympic champion missed 2013 Worlds after knee surgery.
Aug 29, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
An accountant five years ago, triathlete is dominating after Olympic disappointment.
Aug 28, 2014, 4:56 PM EDT
Allyson Felix, David Rudisha beaten in first of two Diamond League finals meets.
Aug 28, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT
Steen and Peder Mondrup completed the Ironman Copenhagen in 15 hours.
Aug 28, 2014, 11:12 AM EDT
Olympic Flag handed over to Buenos Aires, host of 2018 Youth Olympics.
Aug 28, 2014, 10:37 AM EDT
Officials looking for 70,000 people over the Olympics and Paralympics.
Aug 27, 2014, 4:44 PM EDT
Chinese basketball star also updates on what he’s been doing in retirement.
Aug 27, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT
IOC president sits down with Lewis Johnson at Youth Olympics.
Aug 27, 2014, 1:52 PM EDT
How can we apply the results looking ahead to the Rio Olympics?
Aug 27, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT
Diamond Races up for grabs, plus Gay vs. Powell in the 100m.
- Evan Lysacek: ‘My career is coming to an end’ 0
- Usain Bolt takes on all questions in India 0
- Haley Anderson wins Pan Pacs open-water 10K by .01 after jellyfish sting, move to Maui 0
- Gwen Jorgensen wins World Championship in triathlon 0
- How the FIBA World Cup impacts the Olympics 0
- Gwen Jorgensen’s glory awaits in Edmonton 0
- Tyson Gay last place in Zurich; Jenny Simpson leads U.S. winners (video) 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (57)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (38)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)