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Aly Raisman the second gymnast for American Cup?

I think it’s possible.  After a couple posters reminded me, I did realize that there are some gymnasts who were juniors last year who will be turning 16 this year, and thus are now “seniors” and eligible for the world team.  Bridget Caquatto and Aly Raisman are two of those gymnasts, and they finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, at last year’s junior U.S. Championships (behind Kyla Ross, who will only be turning 14 later this year).

Bridget and Aly are both great gymnasts, but I really like Aly Raisman in particular.  She’s from Brestyan’s – the same club as former world champ and 2008 Olympian Alicia Sacramone – and if you’ve seen her gymnastics, you know she’s almost a clone of her famous clubmate.  Her style, strengths, and overall look of her gymnastics are all strikingly similar to Alicia’s, and she’s even been using the same floor music that Alicia used to become world floor champion in 2005.  I’m normally not a fan of “hand-me-down” floor routines within the same club, but I must say there’s something about Aly that is very engaging.

After placing 3rd all-around at last summer’s junior U.S. championships, Aly was later named to the U.S. team at the Junior Pan American Games in November.  She didn’t disappoint Marta, as she again placed 3rd in the all-around and also won gold on both floor and vault.  It was quickly becoming apparent that Aly not only resembled Alicia in appearance and style, but in her powerful abilities on floor and vault.  Like Alicia, Aly’s beam is also sharp and solid, and bars is unfortunately quite weak – though decent enough for her to put together a strong all-around.

Let’s take a look at some of the performances of this rising star over the last year.

Aly Raisman Vault 2009 Junior Pan Am Games

Aly Raisman Vault 2009 PKI

Aly Raisman Floor 2009 Junior Pan Am Games

Aly Raisman Beam 2009 Junior Pan Am Games

Aly Raisman Beam 2009 Junior U.S. Championships

Aly Raisman Bars 2009 Junior Pan Am Games

And some of you may have seen this video of Aly performing a rarely seen 3 ½ twist on floor, over a year ago at the Parkette Invitational:

Aly Raisman 3 ½ twist on floor, 2009  PKI

I’ll admit…she doesn’t quite have it altogether yet. But she seems to be rapidly improving and has great potential on both floor and vault – something our team needs. She’s a solid beam worker and has potential to become very good there too – just as we saw Sacramone do in the 2005-2008 quadrennial. I would think that having Alicia training right along side her now will do wonders for Aly, as she’ll have one of her role models pushing her, helping her, and inspiring her everyday.

I’d still love to see Mattie Larson receive the call for the American Cup, but particularly with the questionable status of several other contenders for this meet, I think Aly Raisman could very well be a surprise pick for that second spot.