Don't Count Price Out
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Don’t Count Elizabeth Price Out
By Elizabeth Grimsley
Who is Elizabeth Price? Before this year, that question would leave many searching for an answer. However, as 2012 began, so did Price’s bid for London. Price has come storming onto the competition scene in the past few weeks, leaving fans and media alike wondering if she’s has a shot at making it on the 2012 Olympic team. “I consider Elizabeth [Price] one of the big guns,” National Team Coordinator Martha Karolyi said. “She is a very strong gymnast.”
Price’s bid started at the City of Jesolo Trophy earlier this year where she helped Team USA win the gold medal in the team competition. She also finished a respectable sixth in the all around, second on vault, seventh on uneven bars, and fifth on floor exercise. Price then moved up a spot in the all around to fifth at the 2012 Secret U.S. Classic.
However, the noise really started to build at the 2012 Visa Championships where Price’s difficult routines, and big upgrades from previous years, stood out among her competitors. “It’s really important to add upgrades to your routine every year,” Price said. “It’s good confidence for [me], and it’s good to show everyone what [I] can do.”
Price not only compets the coveted Amanar on vault, but does so with high execution. But how can Price do a vault so well when others struggle so much? She says that focus and good basics are the key to success with this vault. “I think of all the basics that lead up to it like the entry into the vault, blocking off the table, and the basic skills that help you finish the big skills help,” she said. Some say that Price’s vault is one of the best in the world– only behind World Vault Champion Mckayla Maroney and U.S. junior Simone Biles. “Her two and a half is very consistent with big flight,” Karolyi said. Price actually scored a 15.8 for her effort on day 1 of the Visa Championships– a score that was second only to Maroney.
On bars, Price has high-flying skills such as a Church to shoot over connection. Her difficulty of a 6.2 stands near the top of the pack as it’s only one tenth lower than World Champion Jordyn Wieber’s routine and four tenths higher than fellow Olympic hopeful Sarah Finnegan.
Price’s other standout event is the floor exercise, where she has a routine worth a 16.0 if it’s done perfectly. Her power and uncanny ability to stick her tumbling is what makes Price’s routine so exciting to watch. “She has the best double double, I think, in the world– without exaggeration,” Karolyi said. “And an excellent double layout, as well.”
Price’s only weakness, besides maybe a lack of artistry, is the balance beam– an event that the U.S. is deep on. This being said, Price’s low difficulty probably won’t be a factor in whether or not she makes the team. Karolyi also said that although she somewhat lacks international experience, Price won’t be counted out because of it. “We’re working on her,” Karolyi said. “And even though she never got one of the big competitions, I had her in two international meets and in both occasions, she was calm and competed well. So if it comes down to this, I won’t shy off just because she didn’t go to Worlds before.”
Just last year, Karolyi took a team comprised almost only of Worlds newbies with Aly Raisman being the only team member with prior experience. “Last year we took a brand new team to Worlds,” Karolyi said. “And they did the job. If they’re well prepared, we’ll be happy.”
If she can stay consistent and continue to be calm under pressure, you may very well see Price on the plane to London. She may be a dark horse, but you shouldn’t count Elizabeth Price out. “She definitely is one of the people who is right there to be placed in our puzzle,” Karolyi said. “She is in contention.”
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Photo- Lloyd Smith