News, notes and quotes LIVE from the 2018 U.S. Championships at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Feature Photo by Grace Chiu
Men On The Mend
A number of athletes competing in Boston aren’t quite yet at full speed, on the mend from a variety of injuries. Headliners Yul Moldauer and Sam Mikulak are both suffering from back issues, and Donnell Whittenburg is still recovering from shoulder surgery (he’s expected to compete two events). National Team Member Marvin Kimble withdrew (hamstring), and Eddie Penev was sidelined recently with an ACL injury.
Tokyo “Not Currently on Raisman’s Radar”
According to an article in Wednesday’s Boston Globe, a Tokyo 2020 run is not currently in the cards for 2016 Olympic captain Aly Raisman, who had previously hinted that she may make a run for the Games. A leading advocate for victims’ rights, Raisman has been focused on using her voice to make a difference.
“I’ll always love gymnastics,’’ she told the newspaper. “That’s why I’m speaking out. I lived through it, and I know there’s a better way. I feel right now I’m in a good place in my life. Right now, pushing for change is more important than being on the competition floor.”
Raisman, a Massachusetts native, plans on attending the competition as a guest of TD Garden, not of USA Gymnastics, according to the article. The newspaper reports that USA Gymnastics provided a statement calling Raisman “one of our most decorated athletes” and a “passionate ambassador for young women,” adding that the organization “looks forward to the day when our legal situation is resolved, so we can join together with Aly and other survivors for additional positive change.”
National Qualifier Champion Colin Van Wicklen was spectacular in podium training, rocking big skills and looking focused and confident. His handspring double front half-out vault was sky-high and well landed (time after time). 2018 Championships is just the next stop on his self-described #RedemptionTour, with an ultimate goal of Tokyo 2020.
“Competing at the Olympics isn’t just a goal, but a lifelong dream of mine. Just the idea of competing on an Olympic team keeps me up at night and wakes me up in the morning. I think about Tokyo every single day of my life.”
“Walking away from Rio with all the medals that I had won, I was like, ‘You know what, I don’t think it can get any better than this,” Simone Biles said on Wednesday. “Even in the long run, say I make Tokyo and I don’t walk away with as many medals… you know, I tried. That’s all I can ask for from myself. So that’s what we’re working towards!”
Simone performed well in podium training, dazzling with her double twisting double layout opening pass on floor and wowing with her in-the-rafters Amanar on vault. She struggled some on uneven bars but also hit a flawless set during the rotation. As she spoke with the press for media day, Biles was candid, confident and not afraid to speak her mind, which was quite refreshing for press day interviews that are know for many “I just want to hit four-for-four” comments.
Memorable Moment for Morgan
One of the highlights of all of podium training was reigning World Champion Morgan Hurd’s double-double on floor. Quick and crisp, she whizzes through the air and lands with cat-like precision. Bravo!
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