I think the motto here is, “What happens at camp stays at camp… and what happens at Visa’s means absolutely nothing.”
2011 USA Women’s World Team
There’s no question it’s a strong team. Though we don’t yet know who the alternate will be (I think Vega is most likely), this team can definitely put up a very strong team finals lineup on all four events. Bars in particular will be thrilling to watch, assuming Wieber, Douglas, and Li compete in the finals.
Assuming Vega as the alternate, here’s a likely team finals scenario:
A couple of potential concerns…First, McKayla Maroney has been having a lot of trouble with her back. If she’s unable to compete floor, they’ll need to use either Alicia Sacramone (tremendous problems with staying in bounds and mediocre difficulty) or Gabrielle Douglas (bombed her routine Day 1 of nationals) on this event.
Secondly, if the team uses Vega instead of Douglas, their bars lineup will be less than ideal, as they’ll need to use either Raisman, Maroney, or Vega as the third gymnast on this event. Raisman and Maroney both have relatively low D-scores and can barely break a 14, and Vega has a slightly higher D-score but had multiple misses at Covergirl and Visa’s and didn’t break a 14 once.
Ideally, they’ll keep Maroney healthy so she can compete floor, and this would give Team USA essentially an ideal lineup on all four events. They key, once again, will be keeping all of these gymnasts as healthy as possibly over the next couple of weeks. And don’t be too surprised if this team does in fact have to pull in its non-traveling alternate – Shawn Johnson – at the last minute.
It’s interesting that Anna Li wasn’t even placed on the national team initially and now finds herself on the world team. And it’s interesting to see that Gabby Douglas could all but commit mortal sins at nationals and end up with a world team spot as well. Such is the selection process nowadays…very difficult to predict and equally difficult to understand at times.
I really, really, like the process of selecting TWO teams through a selection process. In fact, I wish this could be the case every year. It gives a great deal of hope and motivation throughout the entire process to gymnasts who aren’t quite ready to make the world team but who are healthy enough to compete internationally. A spot on the Pan American Games Team is a perfect “consolation” for these gymnasts and an incentive to continue training. It will also be a great confidence booster and tremendously valuable experience that will serve them very well as they transition towards next year.
2011 USA Women’s Pan Am Games Team
So interesting to see three Olympians on the Pan Am Games Team…hopefully this will serve as a huge positive incentive for these three veterans, as we’d all like to see all three of them in the mix for London next year.
Let’s keep Team USA strong and healthy over the coming weeks! It’s been a grueling process for these girls to this point, but I believe a healthy, rested, energetic American squad could take the gold in Tokyo.