By John Roethlisberger
Here’s my quick take on the selection of the men’s World Championship team. First, as my disclaimer, I will say that it’s easy for us outsiders to second-guess what a selection committee does, but until you sit in that room, you certainly don’t know what they consider and the pains they go through to make the right decision. That being said, I didn’t have a lot of second-guessing.
I think there are two schools of thought with an individual Worlds. First, who has the best, or most realistic chance at a medal, versus who did the best in the qualifying competition (the P&G Championships)? This can be a delicate balance.
I’ll start with the obvious ones in my opinion.
Alex Naddour – Top guy on horse, and probably the best medal hope at Worlds out of the entire men’s program. By the way, he looked awesome. His rings weren’t bad either, and he’ll battle Marvin Kimble for a spot on that event.
Yul Moldauer – Number-one all-arounder, and although he doesn’t look like a guy that is ready to win an event medal, if he puts together six solid routines, I give him a chance to win an all-around medal.
Donnell Whittenburg – He’s the next best opportunity for an individual medal with his vault. Even though he didn’t win rings, he has the skills, if he puts it together, he could surprise a few people.
Sam Mikulak – Technically he didn’t win high bar, but if you add back the 1.0 in deductions for landing on an 8” mat, he wins that event and is probably our best shot for a medal. He also nailed two pommel horse routines, and is a long shot there, but is the clear number two for the US on that event.
Eddie Penev – He tied for 1st on floor and has been a floor finalist at Worlds, so he earned his chance on that event. He will also vault, but with low start values, he will have to be perfect.
These five I felt were pretty obvious. It’s the 6th spot where there seemed to be some disagreement amongst the gymnastics community. Honestly, my choice was Alan Bower, not because I feel like he has a legitimate medal chance (no offense), but because he was unbelievably solid throughout the Championships; he seems like a guy who could benefit from the experience; and because there were not any significant medal opportunities still on the table. That being said, I see why they chose Marvin Kimble. He won or shared first on rings and high bar. The gymnasts and coaches have said for years, they want what happens on the floor of the qualifying competition to count the most, and on those two events, Marvin was 100% and won them both. His last 12 months, and his lack of consistency on the other events certainly didn’t help him make this team, but it’s not a team Worlds, and for Marvin, it’s not an all-around Worlds, so for this selection, Marvin got another opportunity and another chance to prove himself.
Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com