I have to say “squad” because one of these seven will end up as the team alternate, but here they are:
Poor Kytra Hunter. She became yet another victim of the current selection system and competition format, which demands specialists on very specific events and fails to appreciate a gymnast’s true worth. On one hand, I understand Martha’s reservation about putting too many floor/vault gymnasts on one team, as we already have Sacramone and Raisman. On the other hand, I feel Kytra has rightfully earned her spot with her performances all year. She would have benefitted much more from the selection procedures of the old days, which rewarded scoring potential equally across all four events and were less biased towards some events over others. In the end, her relative weakness on bars has left her off a team that she should have been a part of.
Another concern is the lack of backup on floor if an injury occurs. Sacramone isn’t doing floor, Sloan hasn’t competed a floor routine since the 2009 worlds, and neither Davis nor Caquatto would be optimal for team finals on the event. Needless to say, if someone injures an ankle, knee, or Achilles, we could be in trouble.
It appears that Sloan, Davis, and Caquatto will likely be playing survivor over the next week and a half to avoid being named the alternate…and it’s all going to be about bars. The good news for Sloan is that she probably won’t have to be at her best as an all-arounder in order to make the team; she’ll simply have to convince Martha that she’ll score better on bars than Caquatto or Davis. Who will prove to be the most reliable bar worker among these three…or should I say, the least reliable? Every missed bar routine in training will be like an X on Martha’s checklist…and all of them know it.
Way to go for Chelsea Davis! This must be an absolute dream come true, especially considering her future as an elite gymnast seemed quite uncertain just one year ago. There’s no question she has worked incredibly hard to come back from all that she has, and she must have rocked bars when it mattered the most at the selection camps. It wouldn’t surprise me if she has even increased her difficulty on bars just a bit, as her Tcatchev was out of this world and there were clearly some skills she could link together more efficiently for more points from her routine at Visa’s.
Ditto for Mackenzie Caquatto. I don’t see her contributing anything more than bars, but if she nails that routine in the team finals it could be a big asset to the USA team. It’s great to see her effectively erase her fluke-fall from Visa’s and earn the biggest accomplishment of her career.
Bross, Sacramone, and Larson were practically locks, and Raisman was pretty close. Here’s a look at a potential team finals lineup, assuming, hypothetically, that Chelsea Davis is the alternate:
It’s a very strong team, and let’s hope they can all stay healthy for just two more weeks. Could six of these girls be wearing world gold around their necks later this month? We’ll soon see!