By Ashlee Buhler for Inside Gymnastics
We are in for an exciting weekend of gymnastics and so ready to see who and what shapes the competition Fort Worth!
The best male and female gymnasts in the country are ready to meet again at the U.S. Championships as they continue their journey to Tokyo. In one of the largest—and arguably one of the deepest field of contenders the U.S. has seen in a long time—there will be no shortage of incredible routines to keep your eyes on! Some routines will make you smile, while others will leave you in awe and wanting more and we can’t wait!
Here are 10 routines you don’t want to miss in Fort Worth!
1. Simone Biles – Vault
Let’s be real, you don’t want to miss the GOAT on any event, but her vault is what got everyone talking after the GK U.S. Classic. Despite taking a big hop backward during competition, Simone’s Yurchenko double pike was good for a 16.100—the highest score by any gymnast this Olympic cycle. She came close to sticking the vault at several points leading up to the competition and if she can do it in competition—it is going to be a monstrous score.
2. Chellsie Memmel – Beam
Nine years after hanging up her leotard, Chellsie Memmel is back out on the competition floor! Chellsie impressed at Classics in her competitive debut on vault and beam and although she didn’t have the best showing on the latter, the potential is huge! With a jam-packed routine featuring a triple series and her signature standing arabian and illusion turn, Chellsie has the potential to reach a 6.1 start value on the event and be competitive with the rest of the field. But no matter what happens—seeing Chellsie back out on the competition floor is all we really need!
3. Sam Mikulak – High Bar
All eyes will be on Sam Mikulak in Fort Worth to see if he can notch his seventh All-Around title, but keep your eyes on his high bar routine for sure. Sam not only has difficulty and is exceptionally clean, but he certainly knows how to fly high and get the crowd pumped up after a stuck landing. When Sam puts it all together, he is gold medal-worthy on this event!
4. Jordan Chiles – Floor
With super-hero status and similar to her very famous teammate Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles knows how to control her power with clean execution. Floor has always been known as one of Jordan’s standout events and it makes perfect sense when you watch her compete. She has high flying tumbling (check out her full twisting double layout) and most importantly, she knows how to nail those landings! At Championships, look for Jordan to challenge for the medal podium on this event as well as in the All-Around!
5. Morgan Hurd – Floor
Morgan Hurd is one of the most expressive gymnasts you’ll see on the floor in Fort Worth. Inspired by the book “The Dark Tide,” Morgan said she is telling a “very dark” story with her routine. Few gymnasts can emote and perform like Morgan, which makes her such a treat on this event. Skill-wise, Morgan is working her way back from two elbow surgeries and still has upgrades to add to her routine, so be on the lookout for that!
6. Sunisa Lee – Bars
One of the most thrilling routines you’ll see at Championships is Sunisa Lee on bars. Suni is capable of stringing together some of the most difficult elements that can be done on the event—so don’t blink or you might miss it! (Her Nabieva + Bhardwaj + Maloney + piked Geinger combination will make your jaw drop!) When Suni connects all her skills, she has the potential to start from an astronomical 6.8, which is by far the highest start value on the event in the whole country!
7. Kara Eaker – Beam
Light and effortless—Kara Eaker is poetry in motion on the beam. The rhythm of her routine is so fluid, it really is hard to look away! Plus, she has difficulty (6.6 start value) that makes her hard to ignore. Beam is the event that could punch Eaker a ticket to Tokyo as an individual if not chosen as a member of the four-person team, so clean performances on both days of competition will be critical.
8. Yul Moldauer – Parallel Bars
Yul is one of the cleanest gymnasts you will see in the competition—particularly on parallel bars. From the pointed toes in his swing to the finishing position in his handstands, Yul is next level on this event. Not to mention, he knows how to stick those landings!
9. Laurie Hernandez – Floor
Laurie Hernendez has always been a fan favorite on the floor thanks to her theatrical and energetic performances. Laurie debuted her Hamilton-themed floor routine at the Winter Cup earlier this year and has since made some modifications to her routine that we cannot wait to see under the competition lights.
10. Brody Malone – High Bar
To say Brody Malone is good on high bar is the ultimate understatement. He is a two-time NCAA Champion and a junior national champion on the event from 2017, but he has yet to win a senior national title on the event. Will that change in Fort Worth? Brody has what it takes!
Photos by Grace Chiu and Scott Curty for Inside Gymnastics
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