Saturday, 28 June 2014

The US worlds team

Summer is well advanced, not that you'd know it from Ireland's propensity for continuous rain, but how and ever.....this means worlds are only a few months away. And as always, it is the potential US team that is far and away the most interesting to speculate about. It is a shame that nearly everyone else, including the rest of the top 4, will be struggling to get 6 healthy bodies onto the plane to Nanning, as they have so little room to manouevre with the lack of depth.

As with all teams though, the core is pretty much in place barring injuries, and no doubt they will take out yet more 'sure things' in the months to come.

Simone Biles will continue to be the standout. Top all-arounder, highest-scoring contributor on vault and floor, more than likely to be used on all 4 in team finals. The favourite to repeat her feat and take AA gold again, and she could well take floor and vault gold too. If she got into all 4 event finals again, I wouldn't be surprised. But, she has of course been dealing with quite a bit since Antwerp, what with the somewhat dramatic leaving of her previous gym, although with her excellent coach thankfully, and a shoulder injury which sidelined her out of all early season competition.

Simone started the year with a bang, displaying many upgrades in a camp video including a rather nice BHS-LOSO-LOSO, beautiful Cheng and front 2.5-front full and a workable shap half on bars. Then came the shoulder and my Chellsie Memmel-esque visions. Then back at Pac Rims displaying a much improved brand new floor routine with her old immense power and vigour back on display at podium training, then she was pulled out of the competition at the last minute. The fact that she's attending camp and has stated that she's totally fine goes a long way to allaying fears, as too does her physique which like Aly Raisman, would really help deflect injuries. But what effect has the long time off had, and how has it affected her training? I did suspect, and Marta herself confirmed, that bars is the event taking the hit, she's not fully back there yet and they need work. I'm really curious to see her at Classics but I'd expect that by worlds her bars will be at Antwerp level, with the shap half and maybe an upgraded dismount. I may be overly optimistic, but I think we will be seeing a strong, powerful Simone this season once again who will anchor this team.

Marta's recent report on Kyla Ross was extremely positive so it looks like we'll be seeing improvements on her earlier performances this year where she had downgraded and was very laboured looking. What I think we'll see is the difficulty she had in Antwerp, and the sharpness she had then too. Upgrades would of course be both welcome and awesome, but I think at this stage with her back injury earlier this year, massive height increase and desire for college that the strategy makes sense, though it didn't for the previous two years. She remains an important asset to the team with valuable input on bars and beam especially, and has a super solid DTY good for a 15.2/3 and a floor that always does well execution-wise (AHEM let's not forget she beat McKayla Maroney into the floor final last year!)

Essentially, there is no scenario other than her own health whereby she wouldn't be in Nanning. If she stays elite, she could be demoted to specialist in major competitions due to new seniors outscoring her, but that's not going to be an issue this year. However, the return of no less than Gabby Douglas who is set to do the all-around at Nationals and is at 80% in her return definitely jeopardises Kyla making the AA final at worlds if Simone is at full strength. Nothing better than a good scrap to qualify though.

Other than those two, nobody else is set in stone as such but we can have a good guess. Certainly Ebee would have been had she not retired from elite. She's a big loss and I'd love to have seen her finally get the chance to really shine on the world stage, but I completely admire her decision and look forward to seeing her in college. It's just a pity that Stanford do not allow spring enrollment for athletes, but then again given Ebee's severe past injuries and the dedication and training time required for elite, that's still a pretty big ask.

Gabby Douglas is on this team if she's ready. Bars, bars and beam, AA, whatever she has in the tank really. Like most people, I was very shocked that she made the decision to move back quite quickly but seeing that she never stopped being in incredible shape, it's not too surprising that she's reportedly well on the way and that worlds is feasible for her. She was gifted with the ultimate body type for gymnastics really. If she was at 80% at the last camp, then what can she deliver once competition season rolls around again? Hopefully more than bars, and she seems to be prepping for the AA at Nationals. I don't think she would say that if it wasn't likely. AND, just released this morning, a training video containing a quite lovely Tkachev-Pak and prep for a new Ling! I'm interested in her beam which will need some little adjustments for the code anyway, and her floor. Her last floor was, well....bad, so I'm impatient to see what they have come up with for her. However, having all 4 events is a big ask. Even 2 would be great, especially bars/beam.

The darkest of dark horses and the ultimate underdog, Mykayla Skinner, could quite easily end up on this team. I have said before myself that she won't be selected due to poor execution and the fact that there are others covering her strong events, but I freely admit now that she's in with a great shot. McKayla Maroney, despite being great at coming back from injuries in time previously, is unlikely to be ready. This, and Ebee's retirement, are majorly to Mykayla's advantage, as too is the uncertain status of Lexie Priessman. She has not just one supremely difficult vault, but two, which neither of the latter two had, and with McKayla out, Mykayla (keep up with the correct Michaela variations!) has a great opportunity to take silver in vault EF after Simone. Floor is harder to predict. She will more than likely present with difficulty greater than 6.5, but greatly to her cost if her landings get the best of her again and if the judges get their protractors out looking at her leaps. She will still score high enough, especially obviously if she does one like her Nationals Day 2 routine from last year. She'd complement Kyla very well. However, how much does Marta trust her? Mykayla has barely any international experience, with just 2 Jesolo's under her belt. She still needs to prove herself, and be too good to ignore.

To quite a few, the idea of her being on a team makes a mockery of gymnastics due to her poor basics and execution. I won't pretend that they are fabulous or act as if she shouldn't be hit hard for it, she totally should....although, it's nice to see her making improvements in that department and I'm glad she's working at it. It is of course always better to see power coupled with great form, but she's just so exciting and so fun to root for. I found myself really not caring about her BHS on beam and its deplorable form in the camp video a while back because LOOK at the way she totally nailed a killer tuck full in combination right after it! You go girl! That is the effect she has on me. I also think it's a little funny to act as if bad form and basics are a shocking new revelation to the gymnastics world, heralded in by the US. Bent knees, crap toepoint, bad leaps...these things have been around for decades, even occasionally lurking amongst the (GASP) Soviets. That doesn't excuse this particular example. Yes, she should have a much stronger foundation in the easier things and it's terrible that this wasn't achieved at an early age, especially given her vast, vast talent and aptitude for the sport. But please spare the dramatics as if everyone else is perfect by comparison.


In yet another twist to this tale of the potential US team, Lexie Priessman shockingly exited her long term gym, CGA, and departed to a nearby gym under a coach she has previously worked with. I highly doubt this was entirely amicable. Anyway, I'm pleased for her as I don't have a whole lot of time for CGA and MLT but given her string of injuries and desire for college, I'm curious about her short-term plans. Go big or go home before college with the chances of injury reduced in her new home? Or slowly wind down, again, staving off injury before college? She is certainly a good prospect for this team if she's ready, decent bars, good floor, potential amanar, but she'd have to fight for it. I'm a little anxious that it may be too little too late for her and elite, and she'll go down like Katelyn Ohashi. The too young junior superstar that bows out before making their mark in elite. I truly hope she gets her chance this year before undoubtedly shining at LSU. Curious to see her against the likes of Brenna Dowell.

Speaking of those two, they're quite similar. Decent-strong bars and floor, serviceable amanars though neither rock solid in that regard. I'm unsure about both. Brenna never really broke through last year, despite having the goods. Her demotion to alternate at the last minute last year in place of an all-arounder who is really not an all-arounder, is not an encouraging sign. If her floor has solid landings, her amanar is landed that bit better and her bars show off their phenomenal potential which she did to great aplomb at American Cup, then who knows? She is another who benefits from Ebee's retirement, as the latter's strong and solid performances on the same 3 events are now off the table.

Of course, this is the US, and there a number of other options.

WOGA girls Alyssa Baumann and Madison Kocian have their eye on a bars/beam spot, which Gabby Douglas may well have already 'stolen'. My issue with both girls is that they're not equal and need to be combined into one gymnast. Madison is excellent on bars, less so on beam. Alyssa is strong on beam, but her bars are more average. It's a problem. I don't know what happened to Nica Hults who should by rights be in the running for this too, she seems to have faded away quite considerably.

Peyton Ernst and Maggie Nichols will of course be looking to step up into the team also. I see them both as being fairly well rounded, but being in the position of not having the d-scores or outstanding qualities on a particular event to really shove themselves forward. Hard to tell where they're at just yet. Likewise, Rachel Gowey and Amelia Hundley. The former has a new amanar, lovely beam and promising floor and bars, along with arguably the best coach in the world. She also has virtually no experience at all, including no Nationals, and was a bit disappointing at Jesolo. Stellar performances at Classics and Nationals will really boost her but I really do not see her snatching an AA spot regardless. The latter, especially given her nice bars, could be a solid team player, IF she is healthy.

Similar to Nica, I don't see much happening for Polina Shchennikova and Maddie Desch. Maddie's teammates Sarah Finnegan and Sabrina Vega have completely gone to ground with no camp appearances, since they are apparently preparing for college, although no word on where, I figure that's where we'll see them next.

Another 5ish weeks to go until we can really get a grasp of this team, I'm so impatient!

Who is the core of your team? Is it too early for Gabby Douglas to really be ready? Can MLT keep her remaining senior elite in one piece?


83 comments:

  1. I'm excited for worlds but I don't really enjoy competitions where a team is guaranteed the gold medal...but I guess worlds is worlds. Oh well, hopefully by 2015 there will be more competition.

    I think Simone should be safe with her Antwerp routines since the AA competition won't be deep. If anything, it'll be like last year's AA. I think Kyla should get the second AA spot since I feel she's the most reliable. Gabby should definitely focus on bars and beam this year and work vault and floor next year in my opinion. The U.S. has many good vault and floor workers, so Gabby won't be useful in that area (at least I don't think so. I'm not sure how far she has progressed on the those two events).

    I think Skinner is guaranteed a spot at this point. McKayla's injury has hindered her progress this entire year. Plus, Skinner has improved her Cheng and floor execution. I think Brenna is guaranteed a spot as well for her vault and bars. I don't think she will get an AA spot because of her subpar beam and in my opinion, she needs to improve her floor in terms of artistry.

    Kocian and Baumann could both end up being chosen only if Gabby ends up not going. I don't know about you, but I love Baumann's beam and Kocian's bars! But if Gabby impresses at Classics and Nationals and she is chosen for the World's team, I think Baumann will end up going because Gabby is more steady on bars than she is beam. The only person I'm not sure about is Lexie Priessman. I'm not too confident that she'll make it though. Also, Gowey's lack of experience could be her disadvantage.

    So my predicted US team is Biles, Ross, Dowell, Skinner, Douglas, and Baumann. If Gabby ends up not going, then Kocian.

    By the way, will you be analyzing other teams or just the U.S. because they're the only country with a deep field?

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    1. I'm confident in Biles, Ross and Douglas if healthy and ready, and fairly confident in Skinner...everyone else is a bit up in the air.

      Unfortunately, not the other teams. They don't have much to choose from. China in particular barely have 6, Russia barely have 6 healthy, and Romania too will be scraping a team together.

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    2. Regarding Douglas' skills on UB, I think she used to have Healy. I'm not good at telling the one armed turns apart, are you sure she now trains a ling too? I'm sure it's in the realm of possibilities. BTW, I think your assessment of the team is super accurate. It'll be interesting to see who is ready come the classic. I can see any number of the almost world team members dropping elite. We'll see what happens. I'm rooting for Gowey and Priessman to be that last two. If Gabby isn't ready, Dowell or Kocian.

      Regarding TF, it should be interesting. GB, Romania, China, Russia and Canada all have pretty decent teams, injuries and headcases included. I'm hoping it's a nail biter!

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    4. It's definitely a Ling (not a turn expert either but this is what it's being called in many places) and she would be the first non-Chinese to do it. If she does do it now!

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  2. I personally think this year world championship will be interesting. and i also believe the competition is stronger than most of us think. yes the gold medal is for the USA to win or lose they control their destiny. i am not thinking about Russia or even Romania. but China to me has been preparing for this championship that will be in their country. and they have a good 4 gymnast who could trow good DTY and some double twisting Tsukaharas. their beam and bars are always exceptional. floor being their only weakness.
    Italy, Germany, and Great Britain are interesting. to me there's depth maybe not the high difficulty overall, but vast depth in my opinion to make silver and bronze very interesting come October

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    1. Agreed. Why is everyone thinking China is weak? They have 2 FX that could score in the low 14's because of winter upgrades and Yao will likely do the amanar with at least one other dty. Bars and beam should get them great scores; their only downside is that they're inconsistent and with everyone effectively having all new routines, and hometown pressure, they could count many silly mistakes. Still, silver is theirs to lose as gold is for the USA.

      Bronze- will be between Romania (only if they clean up on their overall execution on every apparatus, amp up the bars d-scores, and they FINALLY give Bulimar AA upgrades), Britain (if they have their strongest team and Russia and Romania falter), and Russia (they'll upgrade and maybe some veteran gymnasts will be healthy by October; the downside is they have the worst health record, confidence and consistency is absent, and with many desperately needed upgrades, but little time to learn train and perfect them, will suffer from low scores and headcase mistakes).

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    2. I just remembered Wang Yan averaged a 15.2 at the Chinese nationals. She does a beautiful rudi. So between her vault and a DTY and an amanar China is definitely looking like the silver medalist team (what a contrast a few months makes when last year no one thought they'd be able to fight for a medal at world's.

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    3. Wang Yan is still a junior. She was born in 1999. She will almost certainly represent China at the Youth Olympic Games in August, but she can't compete at Worlds until 2015.

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  3. Wang Yan is too young, she does not turn senior until next year. People are thinking China are weak because they barely have 6 seniors to throw together.

    Yao does not have an amanar but she does indeed have a nice DTY. Shang still has an FTY and while she should contribute strongly on other events, she has never scored well internationally. Worlds may be in China but the judges are still international. Tan Jiaxin has been injured but is expected to be back in time. She was already so inconsistent but could contribute big time, especially if she actually does have the amanar. Her beam and floor are questionable and she usually falls off bars.

    Chen Siyi is very inexperienced. She may have a DTY (fell on almost all of her attempts warming up at nationals) and a good floor, but it's definitely not a given.

    I'm not sure where Huang Huidan is at. She is undoubtedly a big asset on bars and also beam to a lesser extent if she's ready.

    Wang Wei, retired. Tan Sixin, incredibly unlikely.

    They will probably have to pad out the team and alternates with regional girls who would never usually see the light of day internationally. This is why they are weak, they have huge potential for big scoring routines, but also huge headcase potential, and will struggle to even name a team.

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    1. I actually think that the Chinese team is pretty much settled. Yao looked great and will be used in all four events. Shang for beam, floor and bars. Tan Jiaxin and Chen Siyi for vault. Huang for bars and Bai Yawen for beam. The last floor routine will probably be between Chen Siyi and Tan Jiaxin.
      It’s actually a decent team. Great bars and beam, 3 DTY and possibly an amanar and two good floors.
      I see Xie Yufen as an alternate but she might surprise.
      As far as I know, all are on the national team and all with the exception of Bai Yawen competed internationally.

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    2. Team China definitely has great potential, it's really a shame they lost Weng Wei. Her inclusion on the Nanning team definitely would have made things easier. She really only needed a one or two well executed/stronger dance elements on floor and she would probably score as high as Yao or Shang on FX.

      Is Bai Yawen a senior? I believe I saw her beam but I thought she was a junior.

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    3. When did Wang Wei retire? I have looked all over the internet and nothing says anything about that. This years worlds will definitively be more interesting team wise with more than four countries in the mix for a medal.

      Can't wait to see what team GB has in store for worlds. I Romania is simply waiting on some juniors to become senior. Russia is just a mess at the moment. No news about China and it looks like the USA will fly through this year.

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    4. Bai Yawen is a new senior. I absolutely loved her beam!
      Wang Wei is actually not retired. She competed for the Zhejiang team during Chinese Nationals this year. But she didn't make any of the event finals which is not a good sign. I think she lost her DTY and her floor is probably not what it used to be. If she gets all her skills back then she might have a chance but its unlikely.
      I like team GB but I don't think they will make the podium. I think Romania and China will battle it out for silver.

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    5. I think Wang Wei did retire after Nationals. If she's still training, it'll mostly be for national competitions.

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    6. Yes Bai Yawen and Xie Yufen. It's a team that has no margin of error and no real alternate selection..Deng Yalan maybe, she's a vaulter.

      It has potential for big scores, of courses. But they'd need to be very lucky, they're relying on a lot of uncertainties such as Chen Siyi hitting her vault. I'd call it a weak team because of the total lack of depth and the potential for headcasing.

      China have amazing seniors for 2016 and one or two for next year but this is definitely an off year for them as a team.

      There's no fanfare for retirements except Olympians, world champions. Wang Wei may be asked to compete at Asian Games, but that's it. She is almost certainly gone unless she reverses her decision.

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    7. Deng Yalan is another 1999 girl (and another one with real promise for the 2015 team, IMO).

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    8. Aww, I can never keep her age in my head, thanks. Yeah Yuan Xiaoyang, I was annoyed she was kept from doing the AA at Asian junior, she should have been allowed compete for the YOG spot.

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    9. I know I'm a bit late to this discussion but what about Li Yiting? Could she be a potential vault specialist for them? I know her routines were really watered down at this year's nationals. Is she injured? Also, I hope Shang Chunsong starts getting scored fairly internationally. It's really completely unfair the way they've been scoring her.

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    10. Li Yiting was injured and had surgery iirc. I'm not sure of her commitment to elite at this stage, she may be retired.

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  4. What do you guys think about Nabieva's supposed comeback? Are they using her as a placeholder for a recovering [or up and coming] gymnast? Is she there to give the illusion of depth? Or is it a serious comeback?

    To me, she made the right decision to retire; her gymnastics is abysmal and could no loner contend for finals at the World stage. Her best scoring event is bars (14.5-14.8ish) but that's an event Russia, the US, GB, and CHN are strong on, so having lost her 2010 bars d-score, an event final is unlikely. Over the winter break she had posted videos of her fooling around with new skills and it was obvious that the retirement put her out of shape but it also struck me as odd that she should be doing this at all since she was now a coach... until she came back for the Russian Champs. I just can't help thinking that her gymnastics form and technique has no bottom to how far it can deteriorate and wonder what the Rodienenko's are thinking she can contribute to the team.

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    1. I honestly think Nabieva has a chance to make it to worlds if her effort is real. However, I can't speak to her motivation. She may be groomed for vault and bars, and if you think about it, her potential contribution with VT and UB is greater than either of the bars specialists (I would imagine, an injured Rodionova without beam would be dropped for Nabs). Of course it depends upon who is actually available three months from now. It's at least safe to invest in Nabs now in case the injured national team members are not ready.

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    2. She came back last year and then ran off again, so it's hard to assess both the commitment and her skill level. She's not much use to a strong Russian team as no real outstanding scores but could well be valuable to an otherwise star-less team.

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  5. Russia is a completely mess at this moment, i don't understand why a system that consistently has its gymnasts hurt, dysfunctional, mentally weak and unprepared for competition, does not do whats necessary to fix the leadership. they are too good to be struggling like this. it seems that the decision are made for personal vendetta rather than what's best for the team. they should be the USA challenger.
    anyway Nabs form has always been atrocious in vault, floor, and beam. and she is a mental case, but at this moment they have no choice the team is depleted and dysfunctional. and i do not trust them to develop their junior into great seniors with the current leadership. and quite frankly in the next two years if this continue i expect Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and Canada to surpass them.

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    1. I bet they wish they had anna pavola lmaooo. She is probably laughing at them now.

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  6. your the greatest blogger alive , I wish we could get married so we can talk about gymnastic all day. gabby shaposhnikova is so clean, the form is impeccable. I am waiting to see her on beam and floor.simone biles is to far ahead for gabby to touch her. she has a 6.4 on floor , no matter how gabby plays it that is her biggest advantage.for her to beat biles she will need to focus on her bars and beam. I believe if gabby can clean her beam up she has biles on it.bars of course with her clean form and start value biles cant caught.

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    1. Hahaha.

      If both were at full strength, it would be hard to call. Undoubtedly that would be an awesome showdown.

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    2. So can we get married? Lmaoo

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  7. I think gabby will try like Shawn and natia; but probably won't make it.?i think possibly ub and bb . I really see skinner madicn or Payton making it over gabby. If kyla is healthy she'll be the second aa . However I can't Waite until nxt yr and 16 with the pace and skill set of baillie key: I see her not only challenging but beating biles. Not only is she difficult but she has elegance that the international judges like. See has upgrades and a possible armarar and cheng with work on bars I see her hitting 60s with 59 as a jr. This girl is the real deal. She stays healthy she'll be hard to beat.

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    1. I disagree I think that gabby hasn't even reached her full potential. The difference between her and shawn is she doesn't have any crazy injuries.shawn I believe would have made the team if she wasn't l hurt. Now nastisa half assed her come back, she trained like half a year and expected to get into the mix. I agree payton is good, but biles is going to upgrade. She has so many skill she can upgrade payton will not caugh her, even with good execution.

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    2. Gabby possibly leaving Chow's for another gym has really thrown the cat among the pigeons. How committed is she to the comeback? Is Chow the only coach for her? Too many questions.

      I fully agree that Gabby has more to give than she showed in 2012. Enormous potential, and I want to see more of it.

      I've never heard of Bailie having a Cheng? Certainly she has been training the amanar for years. I'm excited to see some more progress with her bars, they seem to be slower paced than the rest of her events.

      Gabby will make it as least as UB/BB IF she has the commitment and work ethic to sticking with it. Enormous, enormous talent.

      Biles is unlikely to throw the Cheng this year according to her ask.fm but is aiming for the Mustafina, that's still an upgrade. Her shap half is in doubt also, but she still has upgraded on last year. Will be very interesting to see what she throws this summer.

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  8. Catherine, I know you like Laurie Hernandez, so I thought I'd share - apparently she has a serious knee injury and is out six months! I'm crushed as I was really looking forward to seeing her again. Oh well. :(

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    1. Yes, knee dislocation and patella injury. Devastated, I was already concerned about her as she has had sooooo many injuries and her difficulty is too high and pushed too fast.

      I hope she recovers beautifully and takes 2016 by storm but a dislocation, I'm afraid of injuries like that :(

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  9. I also believe that Gabby has a great chance to make it this quad, because quite frankly the girl has amazing genes. without seeing any routines I was flabbergasted by the amazing shape she was in. that's something that Shawn and Nastia could not achieve. also Gabby has giving herself a good amount of time even if she does not makes the world team this year.
    another good point for her is that she is still amazing at bars which the US is still weak on. she swings with such ease and she flies on her skills. she has the ability to do flight skills and series, and also the pirouetting skills like her ealy and know the ling she is training.
    finally at this stage I feel that Simone will beat her, but if Gabby achieves her full Olympic form I think is close or advantage Gabby. because she can score in the 15's or higher on all four of her routines more so than Biles, and the international Judges love Gabby look more than Biles.

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    1. Please let them know cause you have the right idea!!!

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    2. The US is not weak on bars: Kocian, Ross, and Price all score 15's and above. Of course Price is gone but Dowell scored a 14.8 at AmCup and her rate of improvement has been rapid since 2013 World's; Al Fong said she's planning to have a bars over 6.5 so I believe she will get a 15+. That means in order for gabby to be beneficial over these three girls she'll have to prove she's not just a good BB but a solid one at that. And that is something she has never been. Anyways, we've seen massive skills being trained on the bars and beam by Gowey, Nichols, Ernst, and Baumann so they're also looking to clinch a UB/BB spot. I don't discount Gabby, I think she'll surprise us with good, but shaky, routines, but I don't know if she'll be better than girls who've been in the gym non stop.

      Gabby doesn't seem to want to compete at Classics, and Martha made that a condition of her being considered for the World's Team. Makes sense; to compete twice (Classics & Nat's) would prove that she has the focus and mettle for competition. Reclaiming " full Olympic form" will mean nothing without recovering her Olympic stamina-it's the difference between regaining skills and having actual routines. Just my two cents on gabs.

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    3. I see your points, but the reality is that the US is weak on bars. there is no gymnast other than Ross who internationally can score in the 15. and anyone in the gymnastics knows that American cup scores are inflated when it comes to American gymnast. Dowell will not score high in international meets because her form is not very good. too many legs separation, bent elbows, and miss hands stands. Kocian is not a proven gymnast internationally and therefore cannot be counted to score in the 15. Price retirement really hurt, so quite frankly the field is weak in the US is a fact. also floor could be a issue looking at the pool of gymnast available it could be a situation in which the US can struggle to score 2 routine in the 14's is something is to happen to Kyla the only solid options in the 15's is Biles because Skinner is not proven internationally. difficulty is nothing if the execution is bad, the judges will not be nice and floor is the hardest scored apparatus. And where did you get the notion that Gabby does not want to compete at classic, from what I understand the plan is to maker compete 2 to 3 apparatus with bars being the main one, trust me Chows knows what he is doing with both her and Gowey in terms of having the opportunity to make the world team.
      the only 2 solid gymnast on that world team of 6 at the moment are Ross and Biles with Ernst being right behind because she is to Marta what Raisman was. solid on all apparatus even bars.

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    4. Im always baffled by this notion of an "international gymnast" which to me seems to be code for skinny or it denotes that judges in the US don't know what the hell they're doing. This argument that a gymnast won't score well intentionally has been used on EVERY gymnasts ever in the US but yet they all score well internationally. It was assumed Raisman would never see a World or Olympic team because she lacked artistry and had no flexibility in her leaps on FX and BB (plus her bars were atrocious) yet she saw every major intl event and has been successful at all of them too. The same was said of Biles, of Ebee, of Weiber, of McKayla Maroney as an AAer last year, of Sloan, of Shawn Johnson and yet, surprise of all surprises, these gymnasts all score well at intl events too because there is no such thing as in international look. The code only recognizes a skill and who has performed it correctly. Otherwise, how could any American beat someone like Grishina on floor?

      Skinner will score well internationally, Kocian will score well internationally, and Dowell too, as long as they prove they can score well in the US. If you don't count Jeselo as an international meet then we're at a stalemate because the US simply doesn't compete that much abroad. But twice this year Kocian has competed and been awarded over 15 on bars. Once was at Jeselo (15.1), an intl meet in Italy, the second was earlier in the year at the woga classic (15.033), another international meet (but held in the US). Both times her bars have received good ratings so why would it be so ludicrous that she wouldn't score somewhere near, equal or better than that range at World's (she even scored a 15.1 at '13 Nationals but got injured).

      I really like Peyton cuz she has nice fluidity on bars and floor but so does Nichols, and they both score comparably, yet Nichols has more advanced upgrades it seems from the May training videos. Doesn't mean Peyton can't make the 6 person team but she's already hinted in her Ask box that she'll choose the NCAA next year so...

      ...I think Gowey and Douglas will shock everyone in the right ways at Nationals (maybe they'll be too nervous to do well at Classics? But Gabby did say she only wanted to compete Nat's, and Chows hinted they would skip Classics but petition her way into Nat's since she's been attending camp). Tbh, I'm not really worried about US girls supposedly having no experience because this isn't Russia we're talking about with inconsistency and headcase mistakes (the reigning AA champ had no intl experience either). Every year, our World's teams consists of untested gymnasts but our girls are groomed to win and they know what it means if they eff up even once on the big stage. (Sorry for the essay. I had no idea all these thoughts were in my head...I have no gymnastics friends in real life to talk to lol).

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    5. I never said in any of my statements anything about "international gymnast" or a gymnast weight affecting if they are liked or not. matter of fact i said that Price retirement hurts because she won many international events outside of the US and proved that she scored well internationally and could be counted to execute. second all the gymnasts that you mentioned above Biles, Shawn, Weiber, Mckayla, Sloan, Raisman were all superstars Juniors who everyone already new about and were expecting big things from before they turned seniors so I don't get how anything about them not scoring well internationally was said about them ever. the only one that applies to is Gabby who was never expected to do anything, many of us did not even have her on our radar other than spanny tampson because she was inconsistent and did not execute at home in competitions. kocian only reference in scoring 15 on bars as a senior is at jeloso which is not a international meet but a friendly competition done by the Italian Gymnastic federation. Dowell scored a 14.733 at the american cup which is called with sarcasm SCAM for consistently over scoring American gymnast, other than her vault she scored in the 13's in the other events including floor. Skinner was not even getting great scores even on her vaults until recently because her form has improved somewhat lately. but she had a reputation of chucking skills with execution and form not mattering.
      this code of points is all about execution, the level of difficulty is important but not what makes you win competitions. you have to execute with great form or they will hammer you. Ross and Mustafina don't have the most difficulty, but they score higher than many gymnast with greater difficulty because their execution is flawless. I don't doubt the USA on vault, beam, or floor they blow any of the competitors away. but bars are a problem because the international field is full of competitors with at least 3 bars routine that can score in the high 14's or into the 15's. I don't think the US can say so yet. but hey it may not even be necessary, but we know Marta she does not like leaving anything in doubt, is not about just winning but killing the competition.

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    6. I guess we'll see come World's because I think you'll be blown away to see us score three bars routines in the 15. Like I said if you don't count jeselo or Woga Classic, both meets that have an international field, as a legit competition, I'm not sure what is. With or without Gabby, we'll do fine and qualify two girls into that event final.

      The international look reference was because you said such and such a gymnast will not score well under an international panel and im pointing out how repetitive that statement has been of every US gymnasts even when they were expected to have medal potential. US domestic meets are over scored but that's b/c all domestic meets anywhere are. Still, many girls will be able to replicate their domestic scores abroad and I believe we will see Kocian, among others, do well on UB and show that the US has a strength on every apparatus. Our gymnasts don't have to be "proven internationally" for them to be successful on the international stage because the real challenge is defeating their competitors within their own country. If you do good at US Nat's, that is proof enough you have the mettle for World's, so I'm still not concerned about anyone who hasn't impressed you just because they haven't competed abroad.

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    7. The US is weak on bars. Weak in the way that China and Russia are not on this event (AHEM Russians are eating into this strength with their injury rate) , but of course, magnificent compared to the way Romania are weak on bars. It's much less of a strength than vault or floor are with their huge depth. It doesn't mean they can't throw 3 strong routines together...Ross, Kocian and Dowell possibly. It just means they have to work harder at forming a strong bars lineup I suppose. And Dowell's consistency on this event is slightly worrying, and Kocian is practically untried as a senior.

      The international look...Biles doesn't have it. Nor Raisman, Wieber, Deng Linlin and scores more. Nastia and other ballerina-esque types have scored excellently well with hints of overscoring, sure. I think it's more down to hype personally. Gymnasts who are hyped, who have the buzz of expectation, tend to do well. There are scores of elegant swan-like girls, Noemi Makra, Ilaria Kaeslin, Sophie Scheder...and their scores suck, consistently. We can also see political statements in action or backlashes, which Shang Chunsong's scores show in my view.

      The US system, camps, reps, conditioning..Marta has it down. It took a while but it's churning out seriously impressive results for the last while. They do not need international experience, but it still helps. Kocian has spent so much of her career injured for instance that she has missed Nationals. I'm not saying she can't go to Nanning and hit, but she'd really need to be perfect this summer whereas more experienced girls might have a little more leeway.

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  10. When you mentioned Finnegan and Vega have "gone to ground" - Is that a House of God reference or an Irish idiom?

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    1. It may be somewhat Irish in origin? I do mean disappeared though and not dead or anything like that...seeing it in quotations makes it look a little sinister!

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    2. Ha I see. Like a plane/military thing? I was always routing for Finnegan to make a team. Too bad all these GAGE girls are injured/can only contribute on 2 events in team final.

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  11. So I read that Madison beat Kyla at camp behind Simone. I really hope that Kyla was holding back at that competition or something. I really want both Kyla and Simone to be the in AA at worlds. I will say tho that what frustrates me about Kyla is her bars routine. She has the capability to score 1-2 tenths higher in her d-score if she just compressed her routine but other than that I love her and I feel like Simone and her are going to go 1-2 at this years worlds.

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    1. Also my dream team would be Biles, Ross, Kocian, Douglas, Priessman and Dowell. VT: Biles, Priessman, Dowell; UB: Ross, Kocian, Douglas; BB: Ross, Douglas, Kocian; FX: Biles, Priessman, Dowell

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    2. That is a statement if ever I saw one, of 'buck up Kyla!' unless Madison has drastically improved her vault and floor, two events her gym are not known for.

      Kyla's bars were significantly downgraded earlier this year, I really hope they're back up to 6.4 or higher. Whatever about her other events, her bars have always annoyed me because they look far, far too easy for her.

      Last year at camp Brenna was 1st more than once, which was to buck up the others I think, Brenna ended up being pulled from worlds as we know..

      I'm very curious about where Priessman is at. In my mind Skinner has that spot, since even a healthy Priessman doesn't have a second vault, and neither does Dowell.

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    3. Ross' form on bars with an easier routine hasn't had the same polish to me. Sure I bet it's "easy" for her compared to others, but it looks like her growth and back injury are taking a bit of a toll. I'm hoping for the best, as she is absolutely lovely to watch, but I don't know what to expect.

      I can see a DTY Kocian taking Ross with her 5.9 bars and less than stellar beam set. I'm surprised Gowey is never ranked near the top, I think she has fantastic potential.

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  12. The international look refers to the willow body type such as komova. They are not as powerful but the execution and the artistry are good. Then the power house , which is equally impressive. They are body types like biles and weiber. They can do some of the most difficult skills , but execution suffers. It kills me how toes are not pointed and splits are less then 180. I feel that the code should really reward execution more rather then difficultly. Don't get me wrong I love seeing a double double , but if the form and landing are bad then it useless.I do t underatand how you can do a bhs bhs layout with no error, but a full turn gives you problems. I love to see a clean split leap +wolf +side somi , then a sloppy but high bhs+ bhs+ layout.

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    1. This is the reason I could never get behind Skinner or Aly. I admire the fact that they do hard skills but there leaps always get to me. As for the code being favorable to difficulty then execution I have to disagree. I looked at the score for last years worlds and with the exception of Simone, technical gymnasts were scored better.

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    2. Think about it if you have a 6.5 difficully with a 8.5 execution in the new code you still have a great score. Now you have a 5.8 difficully but a 9 in execution (which is so damn rare in the code) you still play caught up to a 5 point d score. Without the help of an over generous and drunk judge you can't caught them. Wait unless you are kayla ross clean or alyia mustifina cleam (minis the form on the triple twist on floor,but if you close your eyes its ok ).

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    3. Lol if you close your eyes and drink, Mustafina's triple looks lovely! Biles' leaps are at 180, in fact they are quite nice. Likewise Wieber's were fine. There are numerous offenders though (check out Raisman's Olympic floor, those leaps are hit..super slow motion gifs prove it) sadly..

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  13. Assuming no injuries:

    Simone and Kyla are on the team. Simone is more of a shoe-in, but it would be very difficult to see a team without Kyla.

    Skinner is on the team assuming Maroney doesn't make some miraculous recovery. If Maroney does, as is her want, it would be a battle of the 'kaylas. Imagine the fun NBC would have!

    The other 3 spots would go to some combination of Dowell, Baumann, Douglas, Kocian, Ernst, and Gowey. My current prediction is Dowell, Baumann, and Douglas with a team lineup:
    VT- Dowell, Skinner, Biles
    UB- Dowell, Ross, Douglas
    BB- Biles, Baumann, Ross
    FX- Dowell(?), Skinner, Biles
    That first FX spot is really quite open.
    If Douglas is in shape as an all-arounder come Worlds, she might push Dowell off the team in favor for Ernst or Kocian, seeing as VT-UB-FX was kind of Douglas's spot in 2012.

    Ernst or Kocian could go in place of Douglas if she wouldn't bring any higher scores for the team. Ernst could potentially go in place or Baumann if she's more consistent/higher scoring on beam come Worlds and if she has one of the top-scoring UB routines.

    Gowey is the dark horse/wild card for the team. She really could potentially fill pretty much any spot other than Biles's (though I would really rather not see her Amanar of 7/2 on a competition surface). Heck, if she can live up to her training footage in competition, she might even be our second all-arounder. But then again, she wasn't super strong in Jesolo, so we don't know what she'll do in competition. Basically, if she comes out strong and consistent in the US elite season, the team is blown apart and starts from scratch again.

    Nichols might also show some strong gymnastics, but at this point I thinks she's more up for an alternate spot.

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  14. I completely agree with everything you said. I believe you are spot on except for Dowell.
    I don't know if is me, but I get the feeling they (Marta) do not like her gymnastics. probably only bars they like her. and I have a feeling like you said that Gabby and Kocian have been working on vault, floor, and bars and if either is in form Dowell is out completely.

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    1. Brenna clearly isn't Martha's favorite, but unless one of the others gets a consistent Amanar, I think she's on the team for her vault. Martha's not going to put up a DTY when she could have an Amanar unless it means the rest of the team would go to pot. Brenna also fills one of the bars spots, so I think she's relatively safe if no one new shows up with an Amanar.

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    2. Ebee's out is Brenna's in. She should by rights be on this team, although it's so hard to know given what happened last year and her uninspiring AA performance last year, and the fact that she's quite weak on beam, an event they could do with a strong routine for.

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  15. I would love feed back um my team is
    Simone, Kyla,gabby, skinner, baumann, Rachel

    Vault: Rachel, Skinner, Simone

    Bars: bauman or Rachel, Kyla, gabby

    Beam: Kyla, bauman, Rachel

    Floor: Rachel, Simone, Skinner

    Plz give me respectful feedback for this is my opinion

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    1. I doubt the readiness of Rachel's Amanar. She got it a couple months ago and it was still rough around the edges. This being her first international competition, I doubt that they would use her on 4 or even 3 apparatus. This is why I believe dowel has a good chance. She is already a fairly seasoned senior with experience and offers solid 3rd performances on vault and floor after Biles and Skinner. Plus she can ready on bars if needed.

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    2. I completely disagree.. Rachel got it a couple months ago and i don't think it was that rough around the edges.. she most likely will have it improved.. I don't like dowells gymnastics and I think Marta made it pretty clear neither does she..

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    3. Rachel had very similar issues to Gabby and Shawn in terms of technique/block and rotation. It takes a lot more than a couple months to really get a vault down, especially a big upgrade to an Amanar which is further made difficult by the new blind landing. Plus the video nay showed it on a soft surface. Marta likes consistency. Rachel has yet to show herself as such and I don't think Marta would risk her Amanar. And again, doing four or even three events for your first international comp (not counting Jesolo) would be a lot. Dowell has proved herself over the past year or two and has become consistent and reliable.

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    4. I don't see both Baumann and Rachel on this team, one or the other. It would make for an awesome team, but a little bit too weak on vault and floor for Marta's liking I'd imagine.

      Rachel is a work in progress I think, a pity she was knocked out for 2013.

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  17. Rachel shows a ton of potential, but we never know if she can pull it together in comp, however, Chow is quite arguably the greatest coach in the USA ever. I have faith in him and her.

    Apparently Skinner also won a camp a couple of months ago, and her videos do show execution improvements. Her difficulty is much higher than Priessman and I don't know how much faith I have in her. She only had a DTY in May and is injury prone.

    I don't know how ready she will be, but Marta likes Gabby and she has experience
    my team: Biles, Ross, Skinner, Kocian, Douglas/Gowey Dowell

    VT: Biles, Skinner, Dowell
    UB Ross, Kocian Douglas/Gowey/Dowell
    BB Ross Kocian Douglas/Gowey Biles?
    FX Biles Skinner Dowell

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    1. Yup, a lot of potential. I hope she can get it all together. I share your Priessman fears, I think it may just be too late for her and she's outshone on her strongest events.

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  18. Well i will get a better idea of team after classic on the 2nd. But for now the players are Biles, Ross, Skinner, Kocian, Bauman, Douglas, Erns, Gowey, and Dowell. As I have said before i think Biles and Ross are in. with the other 4 spots up for grab. Remember is 5 up 4 count for qualification, and 3 up 3 count for team finals at worlds.
    second is that i don't think that Martha simply cares about difficulty, if the execution is not there. and taking Skinner and Dowell on the same team is not smart because they both have execution and form issues. Skinner can make a Vault and floor final. I don't think that Dowell can make either or a bars final, she has too many form issues, miss handstands, bend elbows, and foot separation on her routines. I don't think that if Ross, Gowey, Douglass, or Kocian hit bars at classics and nationals she beats them. and from what i understand Gabby has her Amanar back. so I am not too sure about her been relative safe.

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    1. I agree with anon dowell on the team just isn't ummm..I don't wanna say realistic but y'all know what I mean.. that's why baumann makes more sense..for now!!

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    2. Dowell's vault and bars are perfectly respectable. She'd really just be a table-setter on both events, it's not like her E scores would ruin the team at all. Martha put Aly on two Worlds teams and the Olympics team. Martha cares at least as much about consistency as she does execution, so if Brenna puts up three solid performances this season and no one else comes with an Amanar, Brenna should be in pretty good shape to make the team. It's not like her execution is terrible, maybe not the best, but it's nothing outrageous.

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    3. Baumann makes some sense, but her bars aren't great. It's hard to know.

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  19. Sabrina Vega is out she dislocated her knee cap. And is still recovering. And Nica hults is injured also. Something about her patella. And has to have surgery.

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    1. Vega's knee was quite a while ago, I'm wondering what her intentions are as regards continuing elite/recovering for college. She did move gym when many would say only college was realistic after all. I didn't know about Nica :(

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  20. I can't wait to respond to comments tomorrow, finally some time :D

    Also, there is a rumour that Gabby has left Chow's and is looking around. This source is worth listening to, but of course it's not something we can bank on as being true. If it is, I will be seriously disappointed.

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    1. Ahhh, I'm quite bummed. I thought you'd be back with more info after dropping this bomb about Douglas. Plus I thought you'd chime in on some of these conversations on this post, which were pretty civil

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    2. There isn't any more info as of yet, although there was an article up on usa today which was swiftly deleted.

      I will be able to respond tomorrow, didn't expect to have a busy weekend.

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  21. I still think that it’s too early to count out Maroney. She’s been in the gym for over six weeks now and she’s pre-qualified to nationals. Even if she doesn’t compete there Marta will still let her petition to the selection camp. We could even see a 2010 situation where Marta waits until the first practice at World’s before naming the alternate. If Maroney has VT/FX back then she’s on the team. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Biles, Ross, Skinner and Kocian competing the AA in qualifications with Maroney and Douglas as the specialists and Dowell as the alternate.

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    1. Well, at this point we cannot count her in I think. A healthy Maroney will be on it I think.

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  22. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVbHf3A89HY

    Rebecca Andrade is doing a half on front layout as her second vault. Really beautiful, hope we have a better footage soon.

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    1. Her amanar looks a little shaky still, which is mind boggling as she raises the roof with it when she hits it. Also her floor has not progressed like I hoped. But then, her beam and bars have both come on. She's a little hard to decipher, but we should be able to have a good look at her routines in Nanjing, I'd imagine she will be chosen.

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    2. I like Rebecca Andrade but like you. i find myself confuse has to wetter she is going to be great or just solid. but she is young, and i love the potential of the Brazillian team for Rio. and Jade Barbosa is still going strong and looking good.
      by the way Gabby still seems to be in Iowa, there is a recent picture from someone that works in the usag called Adrienne willy that looks like it was taking yesterday, so who knows what is going on.

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    3. Yeah, I was also severely disappointed with her most recent floor. I don't like the new musica an she seems to have downgraded. After that crazy difficult routine at pan ams earlier this year it's even more disappointing.

      I am , however, excited about the fact that her coach has stated she's training the quad twist on floor for the olympics, that would be AWESOME.

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  23. Does anyone know if dowell will be doing college gymnastics this year and if that alters her decision of being elite

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    1. I imagine she doesn't know yet. If she thinks she will make the team for Worlds, she would go I imagine. She is heading to Oklahoma and I believe she can defer a semester.

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  24. Its official. Gabby left Chow's. Several sources confirmed.

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports/columnists/bryce-miller/2014/07/16/gabby-douglas-chows-gymnastics/12735441/

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    1. I wonder if is family related and if she is looking for a gym in Cali so she can be closer. Otherwise, I don't know what would make her want to leave Chow's if she is continuing training. IIMO, her Worlds and Rio chances went down a lot.

      Biles, Ross, Skinner, Dowell, Kocian, Gowey/Baumann

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