Women's Pacific Rim Team Announced!
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With the competition nearly set to start and athletes needing to get to Washington state, it came time for USA Gymnastics, namely Marta Karolyi, to select the women’s team for this weekend’s Pacific Rim Championships held in Everett, WA. Well, Marta didn’t disappoint in giving us something to talk about!
Perhaps a continuation of the test she aced at the AT&T American Cup, Gabby
Douglas (Chow’s) emerges from the shadows of an alternate universe and onto the main stage for the U.S. team. Similar to the reach she displays on her enormous reverse hecht (now hechtS!) on uneven bars, Douglas is extending her hands toward that shopping cart in the Olympic apparel warehouse. Look for Douglas to perhaps add a couple tenths to her already stacked uneven bars set. Also, she’ll be watching those heels on the edge of the carpet before she grooves to Kid Cudi beats and uses the podium as a TumblTrak after her second and fourth passes. Gabby Douglas seems primed for the challenge.
A tidy choice is that of Kyla Ross (GymMax). The first year senior (2012) competed as a junior at the last Pacific Rim Championships in 2010, donning a vault title and silver on uneven bars, balance beam, floor and the all around in the junior rankings. Many see Ross’s ability to be a stable all arounder as her biggest strength heading toward Olympic season. With her selection, it’s evident that USAG and Marta want to see a bit more of how Ross responds to international pressure. There were definitely a lot of girls to choose from, so watch for Kyla Ross to bring some upgrades to the table. Her Amanar has been solid for her in competition through 2011, but look for improvements on the preflight to solidify her case against others’ with the same vault. Ball-parking numbers, there are probably ten American girls putting Amanars onto competition surface. Remember when USA was headhunting for double fulls?
The third member of the U.S. senior women’s contingent at the Pacific Rim Championships will be Jordyn Wieber (Geddert's Twistars). The Michigan native is fresh off an American Cup win that was not her strongest effort. Speaking of efforts, that reverse planche on uneven bars was brute strength and determination. Mad props, Jordyn! Otherwise, some have noted a bit of spark lacking in Wieber’s gymnastics as of late. It might be to the 2011 world champ’s advantage to allow a bit of doubt to creep in at this point in 2012, letting some of the Olympic hype spread to other members of the U.S. team. Given the other girls on this team, it might not be a shock to see Wieber pulling event specialist duty and sitting out the all around. Though in 2010, when she competed as a junior at Pacific Rim, her all around score topped both the junior and senior fields.
Not to be left out, the U.S. women will additionally send three junior athletes to be part of the team in Everett. Katelyn Ohashi, a native of nearby Newcastle, WA will travel to her home state with hopes of shaking up the seniors a la Wieber in 2010. Joining her is the new duo of ‘Cincinnati Kids’ Amelia Hundley and Lexie Priessman, perhaps the second coming of Jaycie and Amanda? Ohashi and Priessman each have back-fulls on balance beam, Ohashi’s laidout from flip flops and Priessman’s a standing, tucked. Hundley adds the sass of a competitive dancer (because she is) on floor and no glaringly weak event. Priessman throws another Amanar in the U.S. effort, giving the delegation its choice of two and a halves to feature in team competition.
This is a strong statement by the selection committee in the Olympic year. With Marta Karolyi recently alluding to her desire for all Olympic contenders to be part of the full process (Classic, Visas, Trials), Pacific Rim is one of the final international stages athletes will have to prove themselves on before that “process” begins in late May. Team USA looks to be exploring their options at this point…not a bad idea!
Per usual, Inside Gymnastics Magazine will be bringing you all the news and notes from Everett, WA this weekend! Look for a feature in the 10th Anniversary Issue of Inside Gymnastics for the May/June 2012 edition.
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Photo Credit: John Cheng 2012
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