By Patricia Duffy

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) recently released a comprehensive list of nominative rosters for the countries set to compete at the 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

  • The nominative registration included a tentative roster for the U.S. women.

  • Simone Biles, Morgan Hurd, Riley McCusker, Grace McCallum and Kara Eaker comprised the team with Shilese Jones listed as the alternate.

  • The roster is just a peek at the front runners for the U.S. team heading into World Team Selection Camp next week.

Feature Photo by Grace Chiu

UPDATE: USA Gymnastics released its official World Team Selection Camp Roster after this original story was published.

The nine women participating in the selection camp are listed below.

Simone Biles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre

Jordan Chiles, Vancouver, Wash./Naydenov Gymnastics

Kara Eaker, Grain Valley, Missouri/ Great American Gymnastics Express

Morgan Hurd, Middletown, Del./First State Gymnastics

Shilese Jones, Westerville, Ohio/Future Gymnastics Academy

Grace McCallum, Isanti, Minn./Twin City Twisters

Riley McCusker, Brielle, N.J./MG Elite

Alyona Shchennikova, Evergreen, Colo./5280 Gymnastics

Ragan Smith, Lewisville, Texas/Texas Dreams Gymnastics

U.S. national team members Jade Carey of Phoenix, Ariz./Arizona Sunrays, and Trinity Thomas of York, Pennsylvania/Prestige, declined the invitation to the selection camp.

Carey, who is the defending vault and floor exercise World silver medalist, and her coach, Brian Carey, want to pursue qualifying as an individual through the apparatus World Cup series, which precludes her competing on the 2018 World Team.

“Jade and I will be cheering loudly for the U.S. World Team, and we send best wishes for a safe and successful competition,” said Brian Carey. “Jade is honored to represent the United States and is looking forward to trying to make the team for the 2019 World Championships.”

“Both Jade and Trinity are important members of the U.S. National Team,” said Forster. “The new Olympic team and qualification process requires a new way of looking at the Olympic qualification process, and the four-person team does make it more difficult for an event specialist. We want to provide all of our athletes with the opportunity to achieve their dreams, and we support Jade’s and Brian’s goal of earning a nominal spot through the apparatus World Cup process.”

Read the full release here.

ORIGINAL: The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) recently released a comprehensive list of nominative rosters for the countries set to compete at the 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, including a nominative roster for the U.S. women. (See the full list below.)

Countries are required to submit a nominative roster as part of the registration process for Worlds, but the nominative roster is not the official team roster for the country. While some team’s rosters are the same as the nominative, others feature changes made to the roster post-submission either due to injury or selection camps having yet to happen.

Great Britain is a great example of this. GBR did not list Alice Kinsella as part of its women’s nominative roster, but when the official team was announced on Sept. 27, Kinsella made the final cut.

The U.S.’s nominative roster for the women is:

  • Simone Biles

  • Morgan Hurd

  • Riley McCusker

  • Grace McCallum

  • Kara Eaker

  • Shilese Jones (Alternate)

The U.S. women’s roster is just a peek at the front runners for the team heading into World Team Selection Camp. Although the U.S. women’s roster is not final, with World Team Selection Camp slated for Oct. 10-13, the nominative roster is a strong indication of who the U.S. will send to Doha.

In addition to the women listed, Jade Carey, Trinity Thomas and Emma Malabuyo (who did not compete at U.S. Championships due to a back injury) are expected to attend selection camp. The 2018 World Championships Team will be announced at the conclusion of selection camp on Oct. 13 and will feature six athletes (including one alternate), with the option for a non-traveling alternate to be named as well. (You can see the full selection procedure here.)

The nominative team’s release comes on the heels of a debate in the gymnastics community on which route the U.S. will take in the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

The U.S. women are expected to qualify a team of four plus two individuals (six gymnasts total) to the games. The U.S. has the opportunity to do so through the 2018 and 2019 World Championships and various other competitions in the next two years. Countries can opt to send their gymnasts to Event World Cups or All-Around World Cups in the lead-up to Tokyo. Olympic berths earned at the Event World Cups are for the gymnasts themselves while berths earned at All-Around World Cups are for the gymnast’s country.

Due to the depth of talent in the U.S., in theory the reigning Olympic Champions on the women’s side would opt to send gymnasts solely to the All-Around World Cups and Continental Championships to earn the two additional individual spots via that route, eventually selecting the full six-person delegation at 2020 Olympic Trials. But, recently, USA Gymnastics Women’s High-Performance Team Coordinator Tom Forster expressed confusion about the qualification process and, at the 2018 U.S. Championships, said that gymnasts hoping to earn an individual berth cannot compete in Doha.

This is not true for countries like the U.S. who would likely want to take the All-Around World Cup route, which earns Olympic berths for the country not the individual. The FIG states that gymnasts who help earn their country a team Olympic berth at the 2018 and/or 2019 World Championships can also earn their country an individual spot through the All-Around World Cups.

“An athlete who competed actively with a team which qualified for the Olympic Games in Criteria 1 (2018 World Championships – Team Final) or 2 (2019 World Championships – Team Qualification) may participate to possibly obtain an additional quota place for his/her NOC through the Individual All-Around World Cup Series.”

Specialists like Jade Carey (vault and floor exercise) and Kara Eaker (beam) are most affected by this since they could potentially be left off the women’s 2018 Worlds team due to the mix-up. Gymnasts like Carey and Eaker can compete with the team at Worlds and still go to the 2020 Olympics as individuals as long as the U.S. goes the All-Around World Cup route and does not send any gymnasts to the Event World Cups. The Event World Cup route was designed with smaller countries in mind that may not qualify a team.

The 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships kicks off on Oct. 25 and will feature the first world team competition since the 2016 Olympics. The Top 3 teams for both the men and women at 2018 Worlds will earn team berths to Tokyo 2020.