The 2016 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Champions will take place in Everett, Washington, USA from the 8th April until the 10th April 2016.
It will feature teams from across the Pacific Rim including the USA, Japan, China, Canada and Australia.
Both men and women will compete in Artistic Gymnastics and Trampoline and Rhythmic Gymnastics will also take place as part of the Championships that will see Everett become one of the many meccas for the worlds best gymnasts this weekend.
Competition for WAG will begin on Saturday, 9th with Podium Training occurring on Friday 8th. Podium Training, along with competition will be streamed live on the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel.
It will be a highly contested competition on the women’s artistic side of competition with the US sending 6 of it’s top contenders for the US Olympic team. Of course, headlining is 3 time World Champion and 14 times World medalist who needs no introduction, Simone Biles who will compete for the first time since last years World Championships where she won her third consecutive World AA title, having not competed at the American Cup or in Jesolo in March. Interestingly, and not surprisingly, given the strength and depth of the US senior field, the US team is made up solely of senior gymnasts, a change from the usual Pac Rim lineup where we see 3 junior gymnasts and 3 senior gymnasts compile the 6 person team. It was expected that this would happen due to the sheer amount of gymnasts that are in contention (and should) make the US Olympic team. However only 5 can be chosen and new seniors Laurie Hernandez and Ragan Smith are making a strong case to earn an Olympic berth. Earning the bronze and silver medals AA in Jesolo, just behind Gabby Douglas and grabbing the gold and silver medals on BB also, they are both cementing themselves into the radar of Martha Karolyi.
I suspect Laurie, if she has a clean competition will actually grab the AA silver medal at these Championships, behind Simone as, in the selection camp for this team she placed 2nd AA and would have placed 2nd in Jesolo, had she not faultered slightly on UB.
Ashton Locklear, with Madison Kocian out of action has had a busy start to 2016 as the UB specialist for the US. Back in action after a rough 2015, Ashton grabbed the gold medal on UB in Jesolo and is fully expected to do the same in Everett.
2012 Olympic Champion, Aly Raisman will lead the team, as the mother of the group, making sure that little Ragan is taken care of. Raisman, who has had an ok start to 2016, winning FX in Jesolo, placing 3rd on BB, however faultering slightly on her VT during the AA final and placing 6th, I am unsure as to what to expect from her this weekend. Usually, I could categorically state that she will absolutely hit and be a rock, whilst I don’t think she’ll have a bad competition, doubts are creeping into my mind about her. However she could, if all goes well grab the AA silver medal, the FX silver medal and medal on BB, that is absolutely possible, along with being Martha’s favourite and a mother to her little minions.
The most surprising name on the US roster announced on Sunday was Brenna Dowell who has ha d a tumultuous few years in the elite world. On the scene since the 2008-12 quad, Brenna became a senior in 2012 and qualified to the Olympic Team Trials. Not expected to make the team, it was great that she qualified and she was expected to make a splash in 2013. That she did, placing 3rd AA at P&G Championships and making the 2013 World Championships. However last minute changes made her the alternate and she did not compete. Made the alternate again in 2014 after competing at the 2014 American Cup, placing 2nd AA, Dowell started college in January 2015 at the University of Oklahoma and everyone thought her quest for a World Championships spot, if not an Olympic spot was over. However, in a surprising move, Brenna decided to defer a year and keep competing elite, in a bid for the 2016 Olympics. Dowell made the 2015 World Championships at long last, however had a pretty disastrous qualifications and honestly I, along with most thought her Olympic dreams were over and I was just happy she got a World gold medal at the end of her elite career.
However, to the delight of many Brenna fans (and there is a lot), her name popped up on the roster for this weekends Pacific Rim Championships, clearly showing Martha has not taken her out of contention. Dowell, if she hits is an asset on the UB and VT, and will be in with a shot of a medal on the UB.
Sadly, Maggie Nichols who was selected to compete injured her knee in training whilst still at the Ranch, a day after being selected. It is reported to be a meniscus injury and that it is minor, however will require surgery. She has returned home and is hoping to be back to training soon. Ragan Smith was her replacement.
Aside from the US, who are most certainly the headline act, Australia is also sending their top team of gymnasts. It is the team that will also represent them next week at the Olympic Test Event in Rio, where they hope to qualify a full team to the Olympic Games. Japan has sent a largely junior team with one senior, Nagi Kajita. Canada have also sent a top team including Shallon Olsen and Brittany Rogers, all top contenders to represent Canada this Summer in Rio.
Sadly, China and Russia, top contenders for team medals in Rio have not sent WAG teams. However, given that the Russian Championships are taking place this week it is understandable.
Overall, it will be an excellent competition and it will be interesting to see how the individual gymnasts of the US team figure amongst eachother, along with how Canada, in particular score and how Australia score, given the upcoming test event.
The event will be streamed live from the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/usagymnasticsorg
Start lists are available here: http://www.pacrimchamps.com/results/
More information on the event is available here: http://www.pacrimchamps.com/
WAG schedule is as follows:
SATURDAY, APRIL 9
1:30 pm: Women’s Team Final, All-Around Final, Event Qual. – Subdivision 1 (CRC, CHI/PAN, MEX, HKG, AUS, COL, SIN, TPE/ECU/HON)
7:00 pm: Women’s Team Final, All-Around Final, Event Qual. – Subdivision 2 (USA, NZL, JPN, CAN)
SUNDAY, APRIL 10
12:00 pm: Jr. Women’s Individual Event Finals
6:00 pm: Sr. Women’s Individual Event Finals
Full WAG roster is as follows:
Georgia-Rose Brown, Emily Little, Larrissa Miller, Rianna Mizzen, Emma Nedov, Emily Whitehead
Shallon Olsen, Kirsten Peterman, Megan Roberts, Brittany Rogers, Madison Copiak, Audrey Rousseau
Melany Cabrera, Makarena Pinto
Yurany Avendano, Ginna Escobar, Marcela Sandoval
Heika del Sol Salas Castro, Ivanka Victory Arroyo
Giulianna Pino Alcivar
Tsz Sum Elizabeth Chan, Nim Yan Choi, Sau Chung Kwan, Yan Yin Ng
Cassandra Loustalot, Mariana Vazquez
Courtney McGregor, Mackenzie Slee, Charlotte Sullivan
Valentina Brostella Arias
Colette Chan, Janessa Min Yi, Nadine Joy Nathan, Sze En Tan, Qiyan Zeng
Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Ashton Locklear, Ragan Smith, Lauren Hernandez, Brenna Dowell
Paula Arevalo, Ximena Quintana, Juliana Villa
Luciana Alvarado Reid, Camila Montoya Jimenez, Franciny Morales Barquero
Cheuk Lam Chan, Ho Yat Cheung
Natsumi Hanashima, Soyoka Hanawa, Kiko Kuwajima, Mana Oguchi
Paulina Aranda, Louise Lopez, Jimena Moreno, Jazibe Sandoval
Stella Ashcroft, Estella Mathewson
Celeste Pei Lu Tong
Ko Ching Fang, Pin Ju Lai