Oct 9, 2013, 5:19 PM EDT
Martha Karolyi certainly wasn’t lacking confidence after the U.S. women won more than half of the medals at the World Gymnastics Championships.
“We are ready to go for Rio,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “We have some more reserves.”
Start with the stars. There’s Simone Biles, in her first year as a senior gymnast, who won the all-around title in Antwerp, Belgium, last week.
“You can see that fire in her eyes,” 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin said at the Diana Nyad Swim for Relief event in New York on Wednesday. “Her skills are just through the roof. It’s not just her skills, but it’s the way that she executes them. It’s the Amanar on vault. She got a skill named after her on floor (exercise).”
There’s also Kyla Ross, the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team, who won three silvers, including in the all-around. Both Biles and Ross are 16.
McKayla Maroney, 17, again showed she’s the best vaulter in the world by defending her title on the high-flying event.
The reserves that Karolyi referred to? Well, there are two sets.
Olympians Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman all took time off after the London Games but expressed interest in returning to training at some point. Raisman is already back in her Massachusetts gym.
Nobody has made back-to-back U.S. Olympic teams since 2000, so perhaps the more noteworthy reserves are juniors.
Karolyi “insisted she has several 13-year-olds already gearing up for Rio,” according to the AP.
The top two finishers at the U.S. Junior Championships are too young to compete at the senior level next year. Bailie Key is 14, and Laurie Hernandez is 13.
If history is any indication, they could very well pass Biles and everyone else as the top U.S. all-around hopes by the 2016 Olympics. In the last 10 years, 10 different women have been the top U.S. finisher at the year’s biggest competition.
Look at the last Olympic cycle. In 2009, Bridget Sloan won the World Championship. In 2010, Rebecca Bross was the world bronze medalist. In 2011, Wieber won the World Championship. In 2012, Douglas won the Olympic title.
Neither Sloan nor Bross made the 2012 Olympic team. Neither Wieber nor Douglas was old enough for senior events in 2009 or 2010.
“The turnover is so high,” Liukin said. “I think it is important to take it one year at a time. It’s so hard now to do so when the Olympics has gotten so much more attention, I feel like, in the past few Olympics.”
Liukin would know. She was too young for the 2004 Olympics, entering senior competition in 2005. She took the silver medal behind U.S. teammate Chellsie Memmel by .001 of a point at the 2005 World Championships.
Liukin had to keep her form for three more years before the Beijing Games, while her biggest competition come 2008, Shawn Johnson, was 10th in the junior all-around at the 2005 U.S. Championships. Liukin, then 16, had no idea that a 13-year-old would eventually rival her.
“In ’05, I would say I wasn’t aware,” Liukin said. “It was my first year on the senior rankings, and I was so excited to be there (at worlds). I remember it was in Rod Laver Arena in Australia, in Melbourne. I remember walking into that arena, and it was like 20,000 people, and I just looked at my dad with huge eyes.”
Liukin, now a freshman at New York University, knew better in 2009. She pulled out of the 2009 World Championships before the team was named because she didn’t feel she could compete at her best. She was also well-versed in the U.S. gymnastics landscape, with rising stars such as Bross, who also trained under Liukin’s dad, inspired by Liukin’s performance in Beijing.
“I knew there was a whole new generation of girls wanting to push me out,” Liukin said. “That’s the way I feel like these young girls are. They’re so ambitious.”
Apr 23, 2014, 8:34 PM EDT
Lochte said he almost didn’t come back to swimming after knee injury.
Apr 23, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT
Phelps says he gained 30 pounds in retirement but has shed most of it in training.
Apr 23, 2014, 5:42 PM EDT
Phelps’ contract with Speedo ran out at the end of 2013 after a 12-year run.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:18 PM EDT
Michael Andrew, 15, turned pro last year and has been drawing comparisons to Michael Phelps.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:10 AM EDT
When to watch Michael Phelps’ return to competition.
Apr 22, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT
How Keflezighi spent the morning after his upset victory.
Apr 22, 2014, 1:57 PM EDT
Americans’ tactic played small role in Keflezighi’s victory.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:39 AM EDT
Sochi figure skating analysts will be fashion experts at Churchill Downs.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:11 AM EDT
Ohno follows NFL wide receiver, celebrity chef in ambitious attempt.
Apr 22, 2014, 8:21 AM EDT
Johan Bruyneel guided Lance Armstrong’s teams for all seven stripped Tour de France wins.
Apr 21, 2014, 8:42 PM EDT
“I needed it for healing,” one survivor said.
Apr 21, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
First U.S. man to win Boston Marathon since 1983.
Apr 21, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT
Meb Keflezighi made history on an emotional day at the 2014 Boston Marathon by becoming the first American man to win the race since 1983. Watch highlights of the 38-year-old Keflezighi’s victory here, courtesy of Universal Sports: Keflezighi reacts to his historic win and the emotion of winning one year after the Boston Marathon bombing,…
Apr 21, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT
Shalane Flanagan led early but was dropped around 21 miles.
Apr 21, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT
Paralympic champion prevails one month after winning silver in Sochi.
Apr 21, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT
Double the police presence from last year.
Apr 21, 2014, 9:38 AM EDT
Former linebacker ran in 2012 and saw the first bomb from a hotel last year.
Apr 21, 2014, 9:07 AM EDT
Race starts by honoring those lost and those who saved at last year’s race.
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.
- Michael Phelps ready to start ‘journey’ in comeback meet 0
- Another Michael set to make splash at Mesa Grand Prix 0
- Michael Phelps’ comeback at Mesa Grand Prix competition, broadcast schedules 0
- Ryan Hall, other U.S. runners wouldn’t help East Africans catch Meb Keflezighi 0
- Emotions flow for runners, spectators at Boston Marathon 0
- Meb Keflezighi stuns to win Boston Marathon (video) 4
- Rita Jeptoo repeats as Boston Marathon winner in course record 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 (38)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)