Although the field was quite small in this competition, I’d have to say I was still very impressed with the quality of gymnastics of the gymnasts who did compete. Simone Biles continued to sizzele (I’ll forgive one fall on beam especially considering she still won by over 4 points), Kyla Ross was dead on and scored within 4 tenths of her this time, Maggie Nichols had what has to be the best meet of her career, and several gymnasts in the running for the world team hit their respective specialties when it counted the most. It was a good meet!
I think I have my world team, so I’ll go ahead and throw it out there. I know we still have the selection camp to go – and we all know things can change there. But this is based on what I’ve seen at both the Secret U.S. Classic and the P&G Championships, and also based on the current rules and world team competition format:
Andy’s Projected Women’s World Team
Remember that the first day of competition at the world championships is 5 gymnasts up, 4 scores count. So at least 4 gymnasts will need to compete each event (ideally 5 so that a score can be dropped). But the main goal is definitely to maximize your team finals lineup, meaning you want your 3 best gymnasts on each event to be on the team. I think the team listed above best accomplishes that. It would be ideal for Madison Kocian to be able to compete floor and vault on Day 1 at worlds so that the team will have 5 gymnasts on each event (I haven’t seen Ashton Locklear compete these events so I’m not sure she is preparing to do so). But even if Madison weren’t ready to compete floor and vault, the team would still have at least 4 gymnasts able to compete each event in the preliminaries.
Here would be a possible team finals lineup with this team:
Baumman or Ross
Baumann or Ross
I know I may get some backlash for not putting Maggie Nichols on this team, so I wanted to explain why. I’ll say first that in a fair world, she WOULD be on this team. I think she totally earned it. She has hit every single routine at both the Secret U.S. Classic and the P&G Championships, placed 3rd in the all-around at both competitions, and has improved her all-around totals with each one (57.6, 58.65, 59.25). She is a rock solid competitor, could be put up on any of the four events, and would likely hit under pressure. But her greatest strength is as a very solid all-arounder. She’s not putting up 15’s except an occasional vault, and we have several gymnasts who can do that. Since Madison Kocian and Ashton Locklear have both put up three 15+ scores in a row on bars (Locklear even nearing a 16), it makes sense to utilize both of these instead. Skinner can put up 15’s on floor and vault and even medal in the vault final, and Baumann put up 15’s both days on beam here at the P&G Championships. Baumann’s routine looks potentially medal-worthy on the world stage – it’s THAT good. We don’t have another gymnast right now besides Ross and Biles who could reliably put up a 15 on beam, and Baumann proved she can do this. Assuming she hasn’t injured her elbow significantly with that fall on bars, I would put her on the team, even for that routine alone.
Maggie Nichols would be the PERFECT gymnast to lead off on all four events if this were the 1990s, and she’ll be a perfect stand-in gymnast in case someone gets injured, but unfortunately I fear she could become yet another victim of today’s rules. You never know though – depending on how things go at the selection camp, her consistency could prevail and land her a spot. We’ll just have to see, but I believe the above team is the highest scoring team we could put together right now.
Another wrench that could be thrown in would be Brenna Dowell’s vault. It sure would be nice to put another Amanar on the team, and Dowell has a very good one. I don’t know if she plans on doing vault in the selection camp, but I honestly think that would be her best ticket onto this team. Missing two out of the three bar routines she has competed when it’s the only event she’s shown is not going to cut it – especially when we have gymnasts like Kocian and Locklear who’ve put up huge 15’s three times in a row. As for now, I’d have to say that Dowell has lost her spot and will have a whole lot to prove at the camp if she hopes to earn it back. She’s an incredible gymnast and has one of the coolest bar routines in the world – I wish for her that she could have hit that again yesterday.
So who’s on your six-member team? I’d love to hear your thoughts!