The Americans were already scrounging for a third bar worker, and after Rebecca Bross’ untimely mishap, they’ll now be scrounging for two. Before Bross’ injury, the six I had picked for the world team included:
Alternates: Mackenzie Caquatto and Anna Li
Fortunately it sounds like Chellsie Memmel’s aborted bar routine and suspected shoulder injury may have represented more of a precautionary measure, as her post-meet interviews suggested she’s still planning to try for the world team. Though her spot does seem a bit more tenuous now, I think most would agree she’s still a front runner for Tokyo . So that leaves one spot open, and with multiple world medalist Bross now gone, there are some mighty big shoes to fill. So who’s up for the challenge?
Mackenzie Caquatto has to be the front runner at this point. From the Covergirl Classic to Visa’s, she’s now hit three bar routines in the row and shown she’s capable of scoring a 15 on this event. She has world championship experience and performed solidly in Rotterdam last year, including on bars in the pressure-packed team finals. She’s got a year’s worth of college competition under her belt, which doesn’t hurt her one bit. And she was overall one of the most solid gymnasts at the national championhips, placing 4th all-around and second on bars. For now I’d consider her the best replacement for Bross.
Do you have to be a national team member to make the world team?
This is an interesting question and one I’m sure that Anna Li and Bridget Sloan would like to know the answer to as well. The 2011 women’s national team was announced after the meet, and despite having the highest bars score on Day 1 and placing third overall on the event, Anna Li’s name wasn’t on it. Neither was Olympian and world champion Bridget Sloan’s. You’d have to think Anna Li would at least be considered for the team, especially after Rebecca Bross’ injury and the team’s growing deficit on bars. And you have to think that Marta would love nothing more than to have Bridget Sloan at least on bars at this point – that she’d be begging her to put a routine together for next month’s selection camp. Perhaps we’ll know more when the invitees to the selection camp are officially announced, but as for now I wouldn’t necessarily count these two out.
Does Gabrielle Douglas still have a shot? After her absolutely disastrous beam routine both days, fall on floor on Day 1, and failure to throw her Amanar as she had initially announced, most would say no. But it’s worth noting that she did still tie for third on bars and essentially hit this event both days, aside from a very short dismount on Day 1. If she showed more mental toughness and continued to hit bars at the camp, could she actually still be in the mix?
Shawn Johnson is far from a bars specialist, but she can score solid 14’s, and I think everyone can agree she ended up being one of the most reliable gymnasts of the national championships. Her beam routine on Day 2 brought back memories of Beijing and the goose bumps to match. I think she’s more likely going to be a leader for the Pan Am Games Team, but if she adds a little difficulty on bars and perhaps puts together a solid floor routine, I wouldn’t consider her totally out of the question at this point. Don’t forget, this team will now need a new alternate as well.