YES! This week focuses on the Olympics once again, and begs the question…who will make it!? But this week with a little bit of a twist and a focus on the 2016 Olympics in Rio rather than the ever so distant 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Perhaps you may be crying to your computer screens that there’s more to Gymnastics than the Olympics, which I agree there is but it is the pinnacle of the sport and it’s every gymnasts dream.
Aaanyway this week I will take a look back in time in a bid to determine who will be on that 2016 USA Gymnastics team in Rio. What if history repeats itself? 2009 could be examined and compared to 2013 as it was a breakout year for many of the stars of 2012. However there was anomalies such as McKayla Maroney finishing 27th AA at the 2009 Visa Championships. So I felt the 2010 season was slightly more accurate and it can clearly be seen that by 2010, the stars of 2012 were definitely beginning to make their mark.
Sooo plain and simply if Gymnastics ever becomes a simple and logical sport this is who will make the team in accordance to who made it in 2012.
2012 USA Gymnastics Team in London:
Gabrielle Douglas, 4th AA 2010 Visa Championships (Jr Division)
Jordyn Wieber, Withdrew from 2010 Visa Championships, 1st AA 2010 Covergirl Classic (Jr Division)
Alexandra Raisman, 3rd AA 2010 Visa Championships (Snr Division)
Kyla Ross, 1st AA 2010 Visa Championships (Jr Division)
McKayla Maroney, 3rd AA 2010 Visa Championships (Jr Division)
Future Gabby Douglas? JORDAN CHILES
Filling the shoes, according to statistics of Gabby Douglas is none other than Ms.Jordan Chiles! Jordan finished 4th AA at the 2014 P&G Championships. Ironic, isn’t it? It’s not as if this comparison hasn’t been made before… ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7lmHscYBr0 ). Unfortunately for all the idealists out there, Jordan is a 2001 baby, as we’ve discussed before and is not eligible for the 2016 Olympics. While we do hold out a lot of hope that she can hang on and make it to the 2020 Olympics, an alternative must be established.
Introducing…the real future Gabby Douglas….NIA DENNIS
The minute I saw Nia Dennis the connection to Gabby Douglas was made in my mind, as I’m sure it was for everyone. I don’t know, perhaps it was the similar sky high bar releases, the lean body which disguises the incredible power both Gymnasts possess or perhaps it was the obvious ethnicity similarities. Whatever the case was, by now, in 2014, two years after I first saw Nia Dennis she is well on her way to becoming the lead in Flying Squirrel: the Sequel. In an incredible turn of events Gabby Douglas began training at Buckeye Gymnastics in 2014, alongside her mini me. Perhaps she made the connection aswell? Brace yourselves though it’s only a matter of time before NBC catch on to this. It will be Alicia and Aly mini me syndrome times 2000, and frankly if Aly is Alicia’s mini me then Nia is Gabby’s identical twin. Aaanyway, yes, Nia finished 2nd AA at 2014 P&G Championships. In 2010, this was Katelyn Ohashi, who wasn’t eligible for the 2012 Olympics. So seeing as Jordan was Gabby’s exact match and she’s not eligible for Rio I’m just going to take the liberty of switching the Gymnasts and calling it and saying Nia Dennis could be the next Gabby Douglas IF history repeats itself. And that’s a big if.
The next Jordyn Wieber… Bailie Key?
This was a tough one, Jordyn did not compete at the 2010 Visa Championships as she withdrew due to injury. As afore stated she did, however place 1st AA at the 2010 CoverGirl Classic. Guess who placed 1st AA at the 2014 Secret US Classic? Ms.Jordan Chiles. This name just keeps popping up doesn’t it? Well, seeing as Jordan is not eligible for Rio 2016 I had to find an alternative. Bailie Key is in a very similar situation to Ms.Wieber as it happens. Bailie did not compete at the 2014 P&G Championships due to injury, just like Jordyn in 2010. Bailie competed at the 2014 Pacific Rim Championships and placed 1st AA, just as Jordyn did at the 2010 Pacific Rim Championships. Also, had Jordyn competed at the 2010 Visa Championships, she probably would’ve won, just as Bailie probably would’ve done in 2014. There is no doubt in my mind that Bailie will make an impact on Gymnastics internationally in 2015, especially as, just like Jordyn Bailie will become a Senior International Elite in 2015. Perhaps Bailie will do the unthinkable and beat Simone Biles, winning the All-Around at the P&G Championships and the World Championships the year before the Olympics, just like Jordyn!?
The next Aly Raisman…MAGGIE NICHOLS?
Its Swaggie Maggie herself! (Said in a heavy Minnesota accent, of course). Maggie finished 3rd AA in the Senior Division at the 2014 P&G Championships, just like Aly Raisman, who finished 3rd AA in the Senior Division at the 2010 Visa Championships! Funny enough, for a long time now, I have compared these two Gymnasts, along with Amelia Hundley, who deep down I hoped would become the new Aly Raisman. However Maggie is very similar to Aly in a lot of ways. Both are not exactly standouts. Neither Gymnasts are as flashy as Simone Biles or Nastia Liukin and neither win everything. However both are consistent in competition, always managing to stay in the mix and grab one of the top spots. Along with this quality, both Gymnasts accompany their consistency with a tremendous work ethic which makes up for their similarly questionable form. This work ethic and consistency is something Martha Karolyi values greatly and although Maggie may not have as many large competitions under her belt as Aly did at this stage in 2011, Maggie does have an extensive list of international success and experience under her belt and it seems that despite a knee injury in late 2014, taking her out of contention for the 2014 World Championships team, Maggie is still determined and focused on getting to Rio in 2016 and could very well become the Aly Raisman of 2016.
Future Kyla Ross….JAZMYN FOBERG?
It’s the underdog of the MG Elite trio and the one i’ve been routing for all along. Just like Kyla did in 2010, Jazmyn Foberg placed 1st AA at the 2014 P&G Championships! Also similar to Kyla is the fact that Jazmyn is a 2000 baby and does not turn 16 until the year of the Olympics. While this was not a problem for Ross who only became eligible to compete as a Senior in 2012 it may prove more of a problem for Ms.Foberg. As of January 2011, Kyla Ross had won two Junior National AA titles and had four International Assignments under her belt, placing either 1st or 2nd AA in each event. Contrastingly, as of January 2015, Jazmyn Foberg has won one Junior National AA title and has had no International Assignments. As we all know, Martha is all about consistency and likes Gymnasts to have proven they can compete on big stages time and time again without faultering. Unfortunately for Jazmyn, time is not on her side. Kyla only competed in one International event in 2011 and 2015 will more than likely not boast many more opportunities for Jazmyn to prove herself internationally. Unless Jazmyn can really blow Martha away in the few chances she gets internationally and nationally, Jazmyn’s Olympic dreams may not come true. However, I still hold out hope, look at Elizabeth Price! Coming from relative obscurity, fresh from the junior ranks and placing 4th at Olympic Trials! Who knows! Anythings possible!
The next McKayla Maroney….Norah Flatley?
Norah placed 3rd AA at the 2014 P&G Championships and McKayla placed 3rd AA at the 2010 Visa Championships. That’s about as far as the similarities go with regards to these two Gymnasts. Norah’s best event is beam..McKayla’s beam was always…shaky to say the least. McKayla’s best event was vault…Norah’s vault is….cute. She’s just too small to compress those springs! Perhaps she’ll take a growth spurt this year and become an absolute powerhouse and a vault specialist..who knows, anything is possible as we know from watching the 2010 Gabby transform into the Gabby we all know and love today. Anyway this is an odd pairing, however Norah is definitely one to watch for 2016 and will definitely lead the Chow army to success. Like Foberg she is a 2000 baby, which puts her at a disadvantage, however she has had two international assignments and, as we all know she is in the hands of a master. Chow knows how to pace athletes. After all, who would’ve ever guessed Gabby would’ve made the 2012 Olympic team, let alone become AA Champion if we looked at her in early 2011. Norah is on the right track. She’s definitely one to watch, just like McKayla was in 2011!
Obviously, this is an extremely unreliable set of predictions. Had I made these predictions based on the 2009 and 2013 results, the team would’ve consisted of an entirely different set of Gymnasts. Bridget Dean (Gabby Douglas), Lexie Priessman (Jordyn Wieber?) (both won Junior National AA title the year of the Olympics and were injured a year later), Amelia Hundley (Aly Raisman), Bailie Key (Kyla Ross), Sydney Johnson-Sharpf/ Lauren Farley (McKayla Maroney).
As you can see the results are a little different and it shows just how much things can change in one year in the crazy sport of Gymnastics. There is no way of predicting USA’s team for Rio in one and a half years time. A lot can change. IF history repeats itself it will be a miracle and it will leave out a lot of Gymnasts. Simone Biles, Lauren Hernandez, Ragan Smith, Alexis Vasquez, Emily Gaskins, MyKayla Skinner, Madison Kocian, Ashton Locklear and Rachel Gowey to name but a few would be left out IF, in the unlikely event history were to repeat itself. Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Kyla Ross would not have the opportunity to become the future versions of themselves rather than being impersonated in Brazil by younger models IF history were to repeat itself, and that would be incredibly sad. However, luckily for them its highly unlikely but…you never know! Anything can happen! It’s Gymnastics!!