Before the start of the women’s U.S. Championships in St. Louis this evening, I wanted to throw out my most up-to-date London StockWatch List, including all of the major moves since the recent U.S. Classic. I’ve got some discussion on several of the Olympic contenders and some things to watch for in the competition below.
1. Jordyn Wieber
2. Gabrielle Douglas
3. Aly Raisman
4. Kyla Ross
5. McKayla Maroney
6. Nastia Liukin
7. Bridget Sloan
8. Sarah Finnegan
9. Rebecca Bross
10. Alicia Sacramone
11. Sabrina Vega
12. Anna Li
Just Outside The Top 12:
Major Moves Since May
Obviously Chellsie Memmel and Shawn Johnson have been removed from the list.
Nastia Liukin moved up from 9th to 6th after delivering a top-notch beam routine at the U.S. Classic and showing shades of her 2008 Olympic bar routine – including some excellent dismounts done separately – in podium training in St. Louis this week. If she delivers 15’s on bars and beam both days in this week’s competition, she may well jump into the coveted top five.
Bridget Sloan moved up from 8th to 7th after looking fantastic in podium training for this week’s nationals. The 2008 Olympian and 2009 world all-around champion has a repetitive history of coming on strong for world and Olympic competition at the very last minute, and it appears she is doing it yet again. Sloan has unveiled new skills and excellent form on both bars and beam, as well as her signature strong tumbling on floor in training in St. Louis. The question remains how well she’ll handle competitive pressure after being largely out of competition for nearly three years.
Sarah Finnegan dropped from 6th to 8th after failing to unveil the Amanar on vault this week that she was rumored to be training., and also after Olympic veterans Liukin and Sloan have shown some fabulous bars work this week – an event where Finnegan would be unlikely to contribute to Team USA.
Alicia Sacramone moved up from 12th to 10th after showing she is essentially back to full strength and ready to compete on both vault and beam, and in fact has added a couple of valuable leaps to her beam repertoire. Sacramone’s dilemma remains the fact that the U.S. now has multiple Amanars that are even more valuable than her signature handspring rudi, but it’s possible that she could still outscore some of these vaults and also demonstrate more consistency under pressure. The third beam spot is also still questionable for Team USA, and Sacramone could be a front runner for this role as well. She’s stated plans to try and add floor back to her arsenal for the Olympic Trials – something that could potentially boost her chances if it is world class.
Rebecca Bross dropped from 7th to 9th after looking shaky on beam and falling on her Patterson dismount – again – at the U.S. Classic. Her bars is about as good as it has ever been, and still keeps her in the mix, but with Kyla Ross and Nastia Liukin both looking good on bars and beam, Bross’ Olympic hopes are fading. Let’s hope Bross delivers what she’s capable of on both of these events this evening and keeps herself in the mix.
Anna Li moved from just outside the top 12 into the 12th spot. Anna Li is still a bit of a question mark, in part due to the fact that she really just has one event to offer (bars), and in part due to the fact that this one event is absolutely world class but not yet consistent under pressure. Anna will be competing on bars and beam in tonight’s competition, and while her look on beam is quite nice, it would seem doubtful that she’d suddenly be able to come up with a 15 on this event, which she’d need to do in order to contribute to the team here. This leaves bars, where her innovative and high-flying routine is just downright cool – not to mention very highly valued. She has to be considered on the same page as Bross at this point – as a one-trick pony – but hasn’t yet proven the consistency to be higher on this list. I would love to see Anna nail some HUGE bar routines in St. Louis and give the selection committee s – and all of us- something to think about.
I’ll post some thoughts on the women’s meet later on tonight!