I'm sure plenty of people are aware of this but it's news to me as a new gymnastics fan, and presumably others too. At worlds qualifications in Antwerp, (and any post-Olympics worlds) only 3 gymnasts per country can compete each event. This means that there isn't room for 3 gymnasts to battle it out for the all around final and have a fourth specialist compete for her chance in event finals. First of all, this truly makes Maria Paseka redundant this year since Ksenia Afanasyeva can equal or better her vaults while also being a floor favourite, whereas Paseka can only challenge on vault. Unfortunately for Afan, this also means that she's highly unlikely to compete all-around if Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina are fighting fit, unless they only bring these three gymnasts. This is now an ideal opportunity for Anastasia Grishina to impress on beam and bars with some upgrades- I wrote her off before since without upgrades she cannot challenge for a medal anywhere, and while she probably still won't they'll be happy enough to give her the chance I think.
It's no bother to Romania who are only bringing three girls but it makes US Nationals more important as it will effectively decide their second all-arounder, as they also cannot have Simone Biles, Kyla Ross and Brenna Dowell/ Peyton Ernst/ Elizabeth Price battling it out in qualifications. This makes the inclusion of a beam/bars specialist like Peyton Ernst/Abigail Milliet or a healthy Katelyn Ohashi more likely than I previously thought as a team dominated by strong vault/floor workers makes less sense than ever since they can't all compete for the chance to qualify, let alone qualify. For me, despite her strong performance and some floor upgrades, it also betters the case of Kyla not competing the all-around since if you think about it, her floor and vault spots are practically a waste when you consider what the US have in store on those events. Not a particularly popular opinion and I will absolutely shed it IF Kyla has more upgrades in store and really closes the door on anyone else doing the all-around in her stead. Of course, Simone Biles could implode completely as an all-arounder and have to fight McKayla Maroney for a vault/floor spot...there are a lot of possibilities.
For China, it is a golden opportunity for any floor/vault specialists for they cannot have a team where they're all vying for beam and bars spots. If Tan Jiaxin and Sui Lu do well at National Games and if the latter is happy to delay her retirement, they make the most sense since Tan has two strong vaults (DTY/ Tsuk 2/1) as well as a very good hope of making bars finals for which she can battle Yao Jinnan and Shang Chunsong for in qualifications, while not interfering with Sui Lu's chances of similarly battling Yao and Shang for a beam finals spot and potentially floor. Zeng Siqi is still a logical pick for a beam spot though she will need to be back on the National Team by then, but she's not useful on another event..so in short I'm really looking forward to National Games more than ever.
Let the various Nationals/Cups begin!
The good news which is widespread by now is of course that Chellsie Memmel will be competing in power tumbling, aiming for a worlds spot. Chellsie, despite being substantially decorated, never received her rightful Olympics experience thanks to injuries and also never received her due from USAG despite saving them at no less than two world championships team finals with some individual medals- including two world titles- thrown in for good measure. She was of course unfairly treated last year, and I had thought with her subsequent retirement, barely-there Pro Gymnastics Challenge appearance, long career filled with injuries and last but not least, upcoming wedding, that we had seen the last of her in a competitive gymnastics way at least. But underestimate her at your peril! I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when certain people in USAG got wind of this. Power tumbling worlds is pretty close but presumably, she didn't begin training just last week or when she broke the news. Really looking forward to seeing how she gets on in her training and if she doesn't make the worlds team, rest assured CFM remains more of a BAMF than ever. I don't usually use acronyms and I tend not to swear here...but these ones just flow when mentioning this inspirational, incredible gymnast. Go Chellsie!