I dedicate this blog to Katie D. If it wasn’t for her I never would have been motivated to finish it:)
Every blog turns into an episode of the Brady bunch lately (Marcia, Marcia,Marcia, Worlds, Worlds Worlds) so I thought I would add my two cents. I was planning on waiting 2 weeks but we can always make another blog for the camp and team being named so here we go.( What is 2 plus 8? Write the answer down on your first comment so I can make sure someone is reading this blog and not just commentating on it. Rocío and H are excluded for actually reading what I wrote in the comments section. I’m kidding for those who don’t know I am always being sarcastic:)
( No vault mentioned)
AA: 1-Simone 2-Gabby 3- Aly
UB: 1-Kocian 2- Brenna 3- Simone
BB: 1- Simone 2- Alyssa 3- Gabby
FL: 1- Simone 2-Aly 3- Mykayla.
As far as I am concerned we all need to forget those placements because they have little to do with who will be named to the team. Kocian has been hitting UB this year and mad props to her but I am starting to wonder if we even need a specialist for UB when IMO the team will have Simone and Gabby on it. I still think Bailie Key will also be on this team which means we have the 3 up for team finals we need. Maybe it’s me but doesn’t it make more sense to bring another specialist with a chance at an individual medal say Mykayla Skinner who verified an Amanar at camp and already has a Chang? Sure Kocian could win a medal on bars if she hits but the only reason that even has a chance of happening is because Yao Jinnan and Aliya Mustafina won’t be at worlds and the only chance she could win a gold medal is because the Chinese in general get royally screwed when it comes to bars). Brenna Dowell, placed second on bars at camp and there is no way Marta is bringing her to Worlds as much as I would love to see her have a chance but she is way too inconsistent to count on and I would hate to see Marta Maddie Larson her way back to Oklahoma. Same with Alyssa Baumann is way too inconsistent on beam and useless on every other event to even consider for this team but bringing a vault / floor specialist means we need a bars/beam specialist and there is no one that fits that description. Well one person does but she hasn’t been hitting lately. What is 10 minus 2, let me know:)
This entire selection is one big fat wad of gum Writing a blog and trying to keep it straight is literally the hardest blog I have ever had to write. There are so many things that should happen, things that make sense but they aren’t probable when it comes to Marta and how she chooses a team.
The situation that makes the most sense but won’t happen:
Simone, Aly, Maggie, Bailie, Gabby and Madison Kocian.
Simone, Maggie, Bailie and Gabby duke it out for the AA and Aly does VT, Beam and Floor with Kocian doing bars.
That could very well be the team but I don’t see Aly being left out of a chance to do AA and frankly I don’t think she should be. She placed third at Nationals and placed third at the most recent camp and as far as I am concerned she deserved the shot at an AA medal with how consistent overall she has been since her comeback started. She has consistently won an AA medal at 3 of the 4 meets she has competed at (Nationals, Jesolo, and the most recent camp. She finished 4th at Classics with a fall on floor )
Then that brings us to Maggie Nichols. Maggie has had a great year. She’s been consistent but whatever she brings to the table as an AA gymnast is lost completely when you say team finals. She isn’t top 3 on any event but vault and the 3 people ahead of her on Marta’s chart all have Amanars ( Simone,Aly and Gabby) which sadly makes Maggie disposable. Now if we can get away without using Aly’s Amanar the team will be better for it but as of right now Gabby’s Amanar is a myth and we really don’t know how good it looks.
Then we have Gabby. Now I personally find it interesting that she didn’t finish top 3 on bars at either Nationals or the most recent camp. The one thing on her side is she was beaten by specialists like Brenna and Kocian. I personally always fine her overscored and overrated but my dislike of her is obviously not shared by Marta or the US judges she has competed under this comeback. The only internationals judges she has faced are those at Jesolo where she finished 4th and still got a gift on beam (tho she has improved since then start value wise) There is no way Marta is leaving her home and the camp judges are as bad as the real ones.
Bailie Key is a huge enigma in this scenario. The international judges like her better than the Marta camp judges do. Bailie never seems to rank high at any of these camps yet at Nationals she managed to be top 3 on floor and bars and would have been top 3 on beam without a fall. I really think Marta is sending her a message by low balling her at camp events to try and force her hand at upgrades she is training but not competing. Forget what you heard she did at the most recent camp or scored at any camp ran by Marta and look back at her past results in general. While I think the National judges are still on Marta’s payroll when it comes to Gabby and Aly IMO they were in general pretty good this year for anyone not a former Olympian with a comeback.
So look At Jesolo where she only scored a 14.900 on bars but it was the third best score for the US team. On Floor she finished 3rd but her score was a 15.00. That is very usable in a team finals. I still consider Bailie a lock unless Marta goes whacko and decides to add a specialist and make Bailie the alternate but I personally think Key will be the second AAer as long as she doesn’t fall when it comes to international judges.
Aly Raisman is as close to a lock as you can get without actually being a lock. An Amanar and a floor routine that by the time Olympics comes around will rival Simone Biles in start value (mark my words) along with a beam in progress is too good to be left at home the only thing we really need to consider is if Marta will use her on 3 events or 4 which brings me to
The NON AAers
Madison Kocian She might have finished 6th at Nationals but an AA gymnast she isn’t. Injury or not her DTY is below average and her beam is a mess. She is a pretty dancer but her only useful event in a team finals is a bar routine she doesn’t always hit in pressure situations. I can see her hitting it at camp and missing at Worlds or missing at camp and being left off this team altogether. With all due respect to what she has done with her UB this year remember Jana Bieger hit her bars too until camp time at the Olympics and Marta then pretended she didn’t exist. The real problem here is she isn’t good enough on beam to be used as a bars and beam specialist. Her only useful event is that bar routine which brings me to
Alyssa Baumann. Any way you slice it she has one useful event and that is beam but unlike Madison she hasn’t been consistent with this routine. It’s beautiful when she hits but there is no way in hell I would ever trust her to be part of a team finals UNLESS you’re team USA. Much like Madison she is part of a US team that is going to dominate Worlds team finals. Unless the team falls apart as a whole there is no way the US is losing that gold medal. She is Serena Williams against an un-ranked Italian at the US Open (Oh wait…………) No chance in hell she makes this team.
Brenna Dowell She verified an Amanar and camp and hit her uneven bar routine finishing second at camp (rumor is she was 5th or 6th in the AA but I don’t remember where I read that. Lets be real here NO WAY Brenna touches this team but I very much like her improvement on bars since Oklahoma. Her big connection is actually done pretty well when she hits but with Kocian being more consistent she is on this team way before Brenna is even considered. She basically has no shot.
Mykayla Skinner Much like Kocian she is an AA gymnast in no sense of the word except that she competes the AA. Say what you want about Mykayla she competed admirably at Worlds last year and IMO should have come home with 2 individual medals (VT and floor) If she gets a chance to compete at Worlds, She, Hong, Biles and Paeska will be fighting for the 3 medals during vault finals but finding her a place on this team is kind of hard unless you remove Maggie Nichols as an AAer from this discussion. Making Maggie the alternate is the only way I see Mykayla on this team (adding her with a bars/beam specialist or Kocian who will be allowed to compete beam even though she sucks. It’s a tough situation because like I said above do you take Maggie and use her as an AAer with an Amanar who has no shot at making any event finals or do you take Mykayla and use her Chang for team finals knowing she has a great shot at winning a medal on vault. I can see why people think Maggie deserves this Worlds and I agree with you 100% but I also think Mykayla deserves these Worlds too.
Kyla Ross Okay so this year has been a complete loss for my poor Kyla Ross but how many times did Dominque Dawes choke away a National Championships yet still be added to the US team because the coaches knew when it came down to it she would be there for the team? I refuse to give up on you Kyla even though I personally feel if you really had your head in the game you would be staying home from those weekend trips to UCLA and spending extra time in the gym preparing yourself for a chance at Worlds. I don’t see Marta taking her but lets say she gets her bars down for Worlds camp and finishes first would you leave her at home? Would it matter if Kocian fell or say Kocian hit but Kyla was better. Lets just say there is a lot to think about.
Ashton Kutcher Okay Locklear. She was injured. She had surgery what happens if she shows up to Worlds camp with a 6.6 routine and hits it both days would you leave her home (in spite of placing 4th at Worlds last year) or would it all depend on what you get from Kocian.
The lock of all locks
Simone Biles She is the best gymnast on 3 of the 4 events and top 3 on bars. She could finish tenth and still be put on this team and not a single person would argue with that decision. I would hate to see her do all 4 events in qualifying and team finals so she is tired for the event finals but she will probably have to do that.
Hey I felt like we owed it to her to at least mention her:)
My Team (s)
My brain says we should take the team of Simone, Aly, Bailie, Gabby, Maggie and Madison and leave Aly off bars in prelims but my Marta brain says we take the same team and leave Maggie off bars in prelims so Aly gets a chance at the AA.
We take Simone, Aly, Gabby, Bailie, Skinner and Kocian with Simone, Aly, Gabby and Bailie doing AA in prelims with VT/FL Skinner and Beam/Bars Kocian making Maggie the alternate. This same situation could be used for Bailie being alternate and Maggie taking the AA.
My BLIND self would take a team of Simone, Maggie, Aly, Bailie, Skinner and Ross (who hits at camp) using the first four for AA and Skinner and Ross as the bars/beam specialist.
and last but not least I would take a team of Simone, Kyla, Aly, Maggie, Bailie and Kocian and leave Gabby at home for my sanity🙂