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My final world team picks!

 

The announcement should be made tonight, so I wanted to throw out my last-minute final picks before the news surfaces.

 

It sure is difficult to throw out these picks with knowing so little about what’s going on at camp.  Of course a few rumors leak out here and there, but overall it really amazes me just how secretive the events of these camps have become.  No scores floating around, no results from the camp competitions, and very, very few details about hit or missed routines or specific skills thrown.  It was difficult enough to get the information that Mackenzie Caquatto had been injured and left the camp.

 

But anyway, here goes nothing…

 

Andy’s Picks for the 2011 U.S. Women’s World Team

Jordyn Wieber

Alicia Sacramone

Aly Raisman

McKayla Maroney

Chellsie Memmel

Anna Li

 

Alternate: Mckenzie Wofford

 

The first four, I believe, have essentially been locks all along.

 

Putting Chellsie Memmel in there is a bit of a gamble as I’ve heard bits and pieces about her not doing as well at the camp as she had at the Covergirl Classic and Visa Championships, but I have so much faith in this athlete.  Her beam performances alone at the Covergirl and Visa Championships were about enough to warrant a spot in my opinion, and the fact that she was showing some very strong tumbling on floor was also a very encouraging sign for a team that has struggled to hit great floor routines in numerous recent world and Olympic team finals (2004, 2008, 2010).  Chellsie knows how to hit both beam and floor under serious pressure – she’s done it more times than I can even recall.

 

Bars was going to be an additional huge bonus for Chellsie, and the place where she could potentially help this team the most if she simply added back the Hindorff to pak salto that we’ve seen her compete consistently since 2003.  Since it didn’t seem as though she was significantly injured after the fluke event at Visa’s, I figured she would rest her shoulder, regroup, and be ready to hit bars at these selection camps.  While I really don’t know whether that’s happened, I know what Chellsie Memmel is capable of, and in my opinion, this team can really use her.  She has the skills, the tenacity, the experience, and the mental toughness that could give a team like the U.S. a huge boost on the world stage right now.  She could be used on three events in team finals, and I think that warrants her a spot.

 

As for Anna Li…why not?  The other five gymnasts easily have vault, beam, and floor covered, and the team’s only real deficit in relation to Russian and China is uneven bars.  Even though we saw a couple of mistakes from Anna at Covergirl and Visa’s, she showed a great deal of mental toughness after these mistakes and demonstrated that she’s not a gymnast who’s going to completely fall apart.  She did hit the 15-mark on Day 1 of Visa’s, and despite some missed skills and combinations in competition this summer, she never scored below a 14.3 – a score that most of America’s alternative bar workers would achieve for a hit routine.  I would suggest taking a gamble on this potentially huge-scoring routine on the event America needs the most.  The worst that can happen is the team wins silver or bronze, and this one routine could potentially help them win gold.

 

I wouldn’t mind seeing McKenzie Wofford on the actual team, and I believe she may have an excellent chance.  She was one I initially considered a dark-horse pick for the team after Covergirl due to the gorgeous bar routine she showed there, her great international look and style, and her supplemental potential on beam.  When we didn’t see her at Visa’s I assumed she was out of the race, but I was pleased to hear she is in fact healthy and at the selection camp.  I put her as the alternate because I felt Chellsie would be more reliable on beam (given her track record) and could also be used on floor, and Anna Li’s bar routine can just potentially score a little higher.  But it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see this gymnast on the team, and I think she’d be a refreshing addition to the USA lineup.

 

I’ll post some thoughts and reactions after the announcement is made!