It happened in Athens, it happened in Beijing, and it happened in Day 1 of these world championships…floor betrayed the U.S. women’s team. Thank goodness for Aly Raisman, as the rest of the team struggled quite a bit here. So much attention is put towards bars as being a weakness for the U.S., but if we look at recent history, floor has more often ended up being the team’s downfall. And unfortunately, the way this team was put together, the potential was there for the same thing to happen in Rotterdam…Caquatto and Davis were selected strictly for their bar work, Bross had a shin injury, Sloan hasn’t competed floor in a year, and Sacramone isn’t doing the event! When Chelsea Davis, who was actually looking quite sharp on floor, went down with a dislocated knee cap, that left just Raisman and Larson as our healthy and reliable tumblers…and of course Larson had an unfortunate fall. I can’t help but wonder if Martha wishes she had Kytra Hunter on this team after what happened in prelims. This floor in Rotterdam seems to be giving quite a few gymnasts some problems, but Kytra is powerful enough that this floor wouldn’t have been as much of an issue for her. Kytra has been one of the most spectacular tumblers in the world all year – and also one of the most consistent.
Not to take anything away from Mackenzie Caquatto, who did an outstanding job during preliminaries, but if we look at what she ended up bringing to the team on bars, it was a mere two tenths. That’s how much she outscored Mattie Larson by, and even Raisman scored just another tenth behind. I don’t think that quite justifies having a “bar specialist,” when Kytra Hunter would have provided much more than that on floor. Kytra Hunter, Aly Raisman, and Mattie Larson would have made a dynamite floor lineup for team finals, and it would have allowed Bross to rest her leg before the all-around finals.
Of course hindsight is 20/20, and this team will have to look forward to the final with optimism, as they certainly still do have a legitimate shot to win if they all hit. Hopefully Bross can remain healthy and can put up a strong floor score for the team, and perhaps Larson can pull out the stunning routine she showed at nationals. If they put up three great floor routines and hit the other events as well as they did in prelims, any color medal is possible for this team.