The Scores: Post-Classic Edition

Now that everyone got a 65.750 for every routine at the US Classic, it’s time to revisit the hierarchy of US scores from before Classic and examine how things have changed now that everyone has added a new score to the mix.

Let’s start with arranging the squad by top score achieved on each event at any meet so far in 2019, with the top three on each event highlighted for the purposes of highlighting.

Compared to the pre-Classic scores, the biggest changes come from MyKayla Skinner’s Amanar bumping up the standard on vault—ensuring you now have to be vaulting something more than a DTY to get into the highlighted zone on vault. Of course, the problem still persists that she and Carey are likely too similar to be chosen for the same team of five, so the race for the best DTY among the others is still live.

The standard has also been raised on beam by a pretty exceptional margin, where those 14.3s and 14.4s that looked OK before Classic no longer look that convincing by comparison. The 15.400 that Eaker showed on beam will keep getting her on teams because it looks so valuable even compared to the very strong 14.3s from Lee and Wong. But how realistic is it? Eaker was getting 8.0 E scores at worlds last year, so should we expect something more like 14.8 for her rather than 15.4? And is that 14.8 as convincing?

Questions, questions. Anyway, if one were to select a world championships team for a three-up-three-count TF scenario using only these peak scores, the highest-scoring team would be

If that particular scenario doesn’t strike your fancy, may I interest you in average scores? Here is the same list, but using averages of all 2019 scores on each event for each athlete instead of just the peak score.

The world doesn’t change exceptionally drastically using averages, with really only that American Classic routine dragging down Sunisa Lee’s bars number, and the Birmingham World Cup performance taking McCusker much farther down the standings. Those McCusker averages account for the only change we’d see in the best-scoring Team Final group, which would include Hurd instead of McCusker because Hurd’s performances so far this year have been more even.

Meet back here after nationals when we actually know a little something more? OK. It’s a date.

60 thoughts on “The Scores: Post-Classic Edition”

  1. I think the likely team would be biles, hurd, mccusker, eaker, carey also…i could see mccallum being the alternate…

    Maybe skinner can pull an upset and displace carey? Lol… Probably not but then again you never know? See brenna….

  2. If I were in charge (sorry for long essay, am procrastinating):

    I personally would not take Carey to worlds. I just don’t see the point. She’s going to the Olympics anyway, and the most she can contribute is a few extra tenths that we don’t need for TF, and a silver or bronze VT medal (the US can get two FX medals without her help).

    Unfortunately for Skinner, unless she’s the number 2 AA by the end of the summer, I also wouldn’t use that spot on her either. Unless she’s the #2 AA in 2020, she’s not making the team, and she also doesn’t need additional international experience. Assuming the field is as tightly packed after nationals as it is not, I’d use the ‘extra’ spot for one of the newer seniors that is on the cusp (Wong, Lee, etc.).

    I think upgrades from McCallum (Amanar and/or a few tenths on bars), Hurd (bringing up/back the D on floor and beam), or Chiles (Amanar) would be game-changers.

    I actually think Riley has one of the less stable spots. She has to stay in the #2 or maaaybe #3 AA spot, because without that, her BB and UB might not be quite strong enough to justify her over Eaker or Lee.

    Somewhat challenging for Hurd is that McCallum and McCusker (UB/BB) are reasonably well-matched in strengths/weaknesses.

    If USAG had more resources, which I bet they do not, I would also send Skinner and Carey both to all remaining world cups. Much as I dislike Skinner’s publicly-displayed personality, I think the USAG permitting Carey (but no one else) to take the world cup route was extremely unfair, and Skinner should get the chance to compete for that spot with her. (although I think Skinner would have to beat Carey in all four in order to take the spot away – that’s fair enough, Skinner could’ve come back in 2017 or 2018, but she didn’t). I might be really confused about qualifying, too and that ship may have already sailed.

    1. Agree with these assessments. Adding to your thoughts on McCusker, I’m kind of mystified by the faith the gymternet suddenly has in her based on one early-season meet. It’s hard to trust her consistency, Maggie Haney has a record of being terrible at pacing, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think she has a bunch of upgrades up her sleeve for this year. Also, she didn’t win either bars or beam, which are supposedly her signature events. I kind of suspect that smart pacing by McCallum and Hurd will end up making her irrelevant for World’s this year.

      I also agree with the Carey thing. Imo if she wanted to skip past the Olympic team option, that’s a good strategy for her, and the World’s team should stick to Olympic team-option people as a strategy for building international experience. No shade for anyone, just strategy.

      Skinner I kind of feel bad for! On one hand, oof yeah, she’s not my favorite person, but on the other hand, she’s working so hard but really up against it. I’m skeptical that she fits in, since full-difficulty Carey and Hurd are in the way of her being valuable as a floor worker (unless she upgrades past what she was doing last quad, which I guess is possible). Maybe she gets taken for vault this year, if Carey doesn’t, and if McCallum doesn’t upgrade?

      I’m SO DAMN EXCITED to see the upgrades that Nationals is going to show and I wish it was nearer to actual world team selection because I bet the pacing is gonna mean that all this stuff stays a mystery until October!

      1. I agree re: Jade. She chose the path that makes the most sense for her, but if she’s opted out from 2020 team, there’s no reason to include her in 2019. The US team will dunk on everyone with or without Jade Carey.

      2. Riley had a fantastic meet this weekend, but her history is inconsistent. Maggie tends to push and try to peak too soon. While she has gorgeous form, she is not going to get those E scores internationally. She is barely top 3 on any event, even though people talk about her as a bars specialist. Not hating on her at all, just going by the numbers (I share Spencer’s love for spreadsheets and highlighters).

        I really hope they don’t just choose based on AA performance. Would the US still win team gold, yeah probably. But it lowers your best possible team score by at least a couple points if you do that.

    2. Honestly, I’d just send Skinner. Ideally, I’d like to see US athletes go 1-2 for either the vault spot or floor spot, and that way if Carey gets injured (and let me be clear, I am not rooting for ANYONE to get injured), there’s a US athlete in the second spot to ensure we can still send six athletes. USAG going for a world cup spot was stupid, but now that they’re committed to that route, they need to protect the spot.

      1. Oh that is a good point! Skinner could help lock down that spot – it’s still unfair to other gymnasts but at least it’s less unfair and helps safeguard that sixth spot.

        I personally think Carey would beat Skinner head to head over four WC matchups but in either case (a) it would really push both of them to improve and fix their weak spots and (b) I just want to see it.

      2. That’s a good call! I don’t care for the current system, but it exists, so… it would be smart from the US team POV to work within it by sending another athlete. The blatantly exclusive eligibility criteria that USAG wrote for Carey would have to be revised, and not gonna lie, it would be verrrrrry funny to see the additional contortion needed to work in someone like Skinner who’s been off the scene for a few years.

        When it comes to the financial part, who knows what USAG would do. No clue whether Skinner could or would self-fund, but hey, imagine if she’d been paid for her time at Utah and all the marketing using her face! And how she could’ve used it to further her career outside of college! Whoa, what a cool and supportive concept that would be for everyone’s favorite 501(c)(3), the NCAA!

      3. It occurred to me that the US can’t really do this now because Jade has points on two events. It would be a major problem if Jade wins FX and Skinner VT, or vice versa. Then the US would be earning two nominative spots through WCs, both going to specialists in an area in which we are already basically guaranteed gold medals via Simone.

      4. The US can’t win two nominative spots. There is a max of one per country.

    3. i like your answers and perspective. Also the best part about 2020 is that however anyone qualifies they can compete the AA so i think that’s why Jade is seriously working on her AA game. Even if she doesn’t make it to 2019 for reasons you said, she’ll most likely go to 2020 and can redeem herself in the AA hunt since other than Biles the 2nd spot could be anyone’s to take on a good/bad day scenario. I think what the gymnasts should focus on going into 2020 is who’s gonna steal that 5th spot. It could be any gymnast. Will it be another specialist? Will another specialist be taken for the team because they have a “must have” score for the TF? I think its gonna be an interesting lead up to 2020. Riley could be left off the “team” but get that 5th spot hmm

    4. Over Lee? Really? How so? Her ankle is still giving her troubles. She didnt blow anyone away on bars as I thought she would, her score wasnt Eaker level specialist. The other girls if they hit would have beaten her. How so? Lee? She hasnt proven anything.

  3. I wouldn’t take Jade to worlds either. Let her stay on the word up circuit. Hurd and grace can also medal on floor. Jade has two medal worthy vaults. That amanar is very messy. She has been doing it since 2017. Skinner came bk 2 months and had the second best vault at classic. As long as Simone lands on her two feet the gold is hers. With skinner determination, strength and perseverance I hope she beats jade at national on vault or give a new senior the experience like Lee.

    1. Why are you all stanning Lee? She didnt blow anyone away on bars, barely got second and not by much, which Simone or Riley if they hit would have surpassed her score easily. Her ankle is still giving her issues. You really think she adds value beyond your sentiments to the team>? How so?

      1. People are excited about Lee’s potential. Her AA total at Jesolo was impressive, even considering that meet’s crazy high scores. I agree that the hype around her is still just hype, because she hasn’t proven her ability to hit repeatedly over multiple meets (plus her health is a concern).

        But it’s disingenuous to claim that McCusker and Biles “didn’t hit” bars at Classic while Lee did – none of the three did their best possible bar routine, but they did all hit. And if all three had hit to their max potential, Lee would win. That’s why she’s in the conversation even though she has a shallow record.

  4. I think it’s evident from the scores at Classic that USAG doesn’t want to take Jade to Worlds either. I don’t particularly like Jade’s gymnastics, nor have I really been a fan of this World Cup strategy even if it is good for her, but I also don’t like these USAG politics of marking people down. No way she should have bad the same score on floor as McCallum or on vault as Skinner. But USAG appears to be pissed and wants to justify not having her on the World team.

    Although given Forster’s “just take the top AAers” strategy of late, they could also just keep Jade off the team that way if they wanted.

    1. I thought that Carey’s scores were fair considering all of her execution deductions… her floor has fantastic tumbling but she loses a lot on the landings and leaps. McCallum’s FX had the bobble on the Silivas but the other three passes were great and had stuck landings.

      1. I like McCallum a lot and I will always root for a fellow Minnesotan but let’s not pretend that she didn’t also have big execution deductions too. Jade had a much higher D score than Grace too. I think Jade’s scores are justifiable in a vacuum but not when compared to the other scores at the event.

        (Considering I don’t really like Jade’s gymnastics, I find it odd that I’m arguing about her scores. I just don’t like USAG politics.)

  5. I’m confused why everyone keeps saying “Tom’s” strategy of picking teams by AA results. I get that when Martha was in charge, we all assume her power was absolute and the selection committee was a rubber stamp, but do we know that it’s still that way?

    Also the first couple of times it happened, people seemed happy about it, like “these meets don’t matter and it’s so transparent and the gymnasts are given opportunities based on something concrete, etc”… why have we turned on it exactly?

    1. If I remember correctly, the first use of assigning spots like that was for the All Around Workd Cups (last year?) , so going by AA ranking makes sense. It wouldn’t make sense for selecting in a team context where not everybody competes on every event, so you would get a better overall score by taking a few specialists.

      1. Yes, and it made sense (IMO) in the context of junior worlds, in which experience is more important than sending the winningest team (and we were going to lose if Russia hit anyway due to the D deficit). I thought it was very appropriate.

        I’m also fine with it in terms of Pan Ams. Team USA will win in any case, and it’s not a very important competition. Pan Ams is an extra opportunity for non-Simone gymnasts to establish themselves prior to Worlds selection. I guess I personally would’ve put Lee or Jones on the team instead of Finnegan, but I don’t see it being a big deal either way.

        At Worlds/the Olympics – AA only isn’t the best strategy. Sure, the US will almost certainly win anyway due to depth, but it seems like you should put together the best possible team when the world gold medal is on the line.

        So it’s not that people are “turning on” the choose-the-top-AA strategy, it’s that the importance/relevance/point of the meets will change and consequently the strategy should also change.

    2. Also Tom is in charge, that’s why people say it’s “his” strategy. A “the buck stops here” situation. Possibly his hands are tied as team coordinator, but I doubt it, since choosing teams is a fairly big part of that role.

      Not to mention Martha’s approach of building the highest-possible-scoring team isn’t exactly unique. Japan is one of the only major gymnastics countries that I can think of that just takes top AAers.

  6. Spencer, you need your own podcast. After Jessica’s cop-out with her “conflict of interest” on the podcast yesterday, I can’t stand to listen anymore. I’ve always enjoyed Spencer’s commentary, but I feel he has outgrown Gymcastic. Spencer is always honest, which I appreciate.

    1. I both agreed and disagreed with Jessica. Yes, disclosing a conflict of interest is the right thing to do, but it doesn’t have to stop you from covering a subject. In every Washington Post article about Amazon, they disclose that Bezos owns the Post, but…they still write articles about Amazon. And while I appreciated Spencer’s take, it was buried at the end of a very long podcast, sandwiched by commentary by Jessica about how she doesn’t want to talk about it. They could have held it over to the next episode and made this one just about Classics, giving the Mariah Carey story more breathing room. It felt like Jessica wanted to pay lip service to the issue and then move on as fast as possible.

      1. I do think this subject deserves much more of a deep dive, and I don’t think this is the last we will hear about it. I think they could have given it more time. However, this specific instance is not that shocking or surprising, this happens ALL THE TIME in NCAA. It shouldn’t, and it stinks. But it’s not new or unique to UCLA or Miss Val. NCAA as a whole is so corrupt it’s ridiculous, and I think you could find instances like this at pretty much every major university without digging too hard. That doesn’t excuse or make it right, and I’m glad it’s being talked about so maybe some change might eventually happen.

      2. I pretty much agree with all of this. Disclosing the conflict of interest is 100% something that should be done, no matter what. I personally don’t care if a two-host show has one host recuse herself on a certain topic so long as the other host is willing to speak openly, and it felt like Spencer was allowed to do that.

        The problem, I think, is how Jessica has positioned herself as someone who is passionate about preserving objectivity and transparency (and acknowledged that she hasn’t always pushed on interviewees in the past). Over-explaining her reasoning for backing out makes it seem like she feels some degree of guilt for doing it. Really, she just needs to own her decision and let Spencer do his thing.

      3. Jessica is so unprofessional. Not a journalist – just an ass-kissing fangirl, and for me, not even an entertaining one.
        I generally don’t listen to Gymcastic as a result, because I don’t want to support it (or put myself through that experience), but it bums me out every time I remember that she is considered gymnastics media.

      4. In the real world, conflicts of interests are a two way street. You can have a conflict of interest that makes a positive bias more likely, OR a negative bias. The problem is that while Jessica discloses her bias (which is good!) it doesn’t get in the way of her covering POSITIVE stories about Val, but now that the news is negative, it’s “I can’t talk about it” (and it seemed like she barely let spencer talk about it). I’m guessing that when the Aurora Games come around, she won’t be shy about promoting them.

      5. I generally like Jessica but I agree that I was disappointed with how she handled this. I agree with the above that it was good that she disclosed the conflict but it shouldn’t preclude her from talking about it, that she came across as very defensive, and that it appeared she wanted to shut down Spencer’s discussion (whether true or not, it’s how it appeared and appearances are important). She spent more time talking about her conflict that Spencer did talking about the actual issue with Maria Caire, which was a big distraction and now somehow she has become part of the story. Overall, I was just unimpressed.

      6. I only just got to the Gymcastic episode, and honestly when I heard it I was surprised no one on here had called out the “hit piece against Miss Val and UCLA” line. To me, that was far more alarming than anything she said about the conflict of interest.

  7. I’m super impressed by Eaker’s bar improvements. Obviously that beautiful beam routine deserves to be seen at Worlds again, but homegirl was also 5th on floor and 7th (?) on bars. Very much usable on 3 events. If she can bring out a that DTY she was training, she can totally rival Riley and Hurd for the “second best AAer” spot, not just as a specialist.

    1. Yeah totally agree im rooting for Eaker! i think Morgan should focus on bars. Right now that’s her ticket to teams, she surprisingly has the most consistent bar scores and is really focusing on execution. Morgan Hurd = bar specialist we’ll see

  8. I am interested to see how the placement is at Pan American Games. Riley is probably the favorite, but I think Leanne Wong or Kara Eaker, on a good day, can beat her especially if Riley is having an “off” day. Don’t forget the Canadians… they are sending their A team. Ana and Ellie are very competent to win the AA, with Ellie winning the AA at the last Pam American Games in 2015 when we sent our B team. the only A team members missing are Simone Biles, Grace McCallum and Sunisa Lee, who are probably pacing themselves for Worlds Team selection. I hope Grace can bring it to Worlds again. She has improved so much over the last year. But let’s not forget Skinner. Instead of Jade Carey, I would take MyKayla if she can up her Vault and FX scores.

    1. Re Canada, Ana has withdrawn from Pan Ams FYI. Gymnastics Canada posted on their Facebook page that she had a minor injury at camp last week and so they are playing it safe and resting her to make sure she is good for Worlds. She has been replaced by Onyshko.

  9. well, at least a few people on here do somewhat root for skinner…lol… the way i see it jade has her individual spot more or less locked up. it would have been good to see the fight between skinner and jade for that individual spot but probably won’t happen. but i do want skinner to hopefully up her game and surprise us. she definitely has some chance no matter how small.

    1. I would say her only serious thing holding her back is bars. In either a top 4 AA for the “Team” for 2020 or that 5th specialist spot Mykayla is going to have tough time making a case for having a must need score. And her bars may have gotten cleaner in NCAA but her set was super easy and short. I watched her podium training bars and it looked just like 2016 Mykayla on bars. I could totally see her getting an alternate spot again but will she pass it up like Alicia Sacramone did possibly in 2012?

    2. I mean, I don’t like Skinner and I hope she doesn’t represent the US at the Olympics, but I still think she deserves a fair shot. Carey taking a specialist spot really decreases Skinner’s value, even to the team.

  10. Lee needs to still prove herself in the AA, if her ankle lets her. Cuz she didnt win silver on bars by a large portion. She had no Eaker moment. She needs to bring more than a bar routine that the other girls can match score wise easily. And I actually root for Skinner, as you can tell she is working her butt off. As opposed to Carey, who Im sure is a hard worker, but since 2017. I dont see much improvements, everything is decent, baseline acceptable, but I dont see any major improvements in her skills or performance value. If someone is gonna likely go to the Olympics as a floor specialist, I want someone who can perform the shit out of it. She is a robot who tumbles. But she will go, but as a result of her pretty much gonna get the specialist spot I dont really want her on the world team.

    1. It’s true that Carey’s VT seems to be regressing, but I don’t get why people are pooing themselves over Skinner’s “improvements” relative to Carey’s. Skinner’s been doing elite for way longer than Carey, with a lot less improvement over that time. Carey started 2017 in JO and ended it with a World silver on vault. She didn’t even have an elite bar routine that year. Sure Skinner is four years older than Carey, but she’s also been on the elite NT since 2011.

      I also don’t get where this “Skinner is such a hard worker” narrative comes from. Last quad there were multiple reports from her own coach that Skinner wasn’t interested in working on her weak spots (form, flexibility), but prefers to chuck challenging skills because that inspires her. Which, fine, but that’s not the mark of someone willing to do what it takes to make a team.

      (That said, I won’t be too surprised if this time she’s ready to work on those leaps and execution. IMO she’s one of the most physically talented gymnasts in the US, so if she’s going to actually focus on her weaknesses, everyone better look out.)

      1. Hmmm – Link please to those alleged interviews her ‘coach’ made last quad that fits your buzz word ‘NARRATIVE’?? Lol how bout this quad sis? You can tell Skinner wants this. From collegiate, to performing some of the skills she is now, you would have to work hard and WANT IT badly to put it all out there. Unlike Trinity who’s coming back to Elite, lala, is an utter joke. Yeah I sait what I sait and nuthin you nerds say will change my opinion. Secondly Carey looks like she is pushed around by her ambitious father, and she just seems to be a humble girl, trying to please her daddym who clearly doesn’t have the skill set to improve her weak spots…

      2. Crazy Skinner fan you can relax. You’re right that it’s a new quad and we might get a new Skinner. That’s why I said I wouldn’t be too surprised if she’s decided it’s time to buckle down and work on her strengths as well as her weaknesses. And if she does, she’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

        I’m not hunting down links just because you don’t pay attention. But anyone can tell that Skinner prioritized difficulty over form – between 2011 and 2016 we saw her D increase, but her execution only improved a tiny bit. What more proof do you need that leaps weren’t her priority? I’m not saying Skinner doesn’t put in effort. But she definitely only worked at stuff she wanted to work on – things she was good at. That didn’t get her on the team in 2016 and it won’t get her to 2020 if she doesn’t change that strategy.

        Also, no amount of cringey slang is going to convince me that “coming back” to elite from an NCAA career in which she maintained a ton of her elite skills is somehow more impressive or difficult than coming back from injury or an actual retirement.

      3. Of course you’re not hunting down links, because there is none! Just something you heard, but never read. Some gymnasts just arent flexible, no matter how ‘ hard’ they work. They can only go so far. The only thing cringe is your buzz word social justice “NARRATIVES” to confirm your silly biases… Tons of elite skills in college? A DTY… and a double double on floor, don’t make it any less hard. She just posted in her instagram, how she knows she has weaknesses, isnt the most flexible but is working HARD to improve this. But go off sis. Jumping from NCAA to Elite is so simple for her… And yep I am a Skinner fan now after all the misogyny, and sexist comments towards her, and silly over reactions to her. Ooh look at me, donning a social justice ‘narrative’ now. lol

      4. Pretty sure one was a Beyond the Routine documentary that has the coach saying something very similar

      5. Yeah, I think it wouldn’t really matter how much proof one provided to the commenter above… I think she’s just hyped on supporting Skinner, which like, okay, it’s a comment section on the internet not the Supreme court chambers. She can drop as many “go off sis” statements as she wants, or yell about how she’s triggered by the word “narrative,” or whatever. I’m actually not trying to troll Skinner stans but it just seems to happen.

        Skinner’s Instagram post acknowledging her weaknesses really seemed like a change from what she’s said in the past and makes me hopeful that we’ll see her fix some of these issues that drag her down.

        I am probably biased against The Skinner, because she seems so talented – more so IMO than say Raisman or Ross, both of whom had more illustrious elite careers. Of course not everyone has the same natural flexibility, but I doubt Skinner is much less naturally flexible than Raisman or Biles or any of the other ‘power gymnasts.’ Yet Skinner didn’t seem to be maximizing her potential, AND she seemed to feel entitled to success without changing her strategy. Maybe Skinner just didn’t want to work on her flexibility – that’s totally her choice, maybe she felt like dance elements are kind of bullshit. Or maybe her coaches just weren’t able to help her with those skills.

  11. If Skinner can get her vaults at 2016 Raisman levels and has the 2nd best floor score behind Biles (excluding Carey), then she makes a good (not great) case for making the 2020 team. USA has got beam and bars covered twice over. While there are a number of strong DTYs, an excellent Amanar or Cheng alone is reliably worth 0.6-0.7 extra. It’s questionable whether connection-heavy beam and bars routines from the specialists can reliably get such a point advantage.

    Improving floor is going to be the hardest thing for Skinner considering the USA has a few very strong floor workers. Skinner would actually benefit most from slightly downgrading her routine (cutting her final pass entirely, downgrading her Moors to a Chusovitina, and adding a second wolf turn or C-leap) and boosting her E-score by a point. Her Moors was very rough, but her full-twisting double back and double-double weren’t bad.

    On top of that, she showed a beam routine that looked almost as solid as her peak 2016 routines – and that’s even without a 0.5 boost from a full twisting double back dismount.

    I think why there so much discussion about Skinner is because although she’s miles away right now, everyone saw that there’s a possible path to Tokyo for her after just one competition.

    1. Yes I feel like Skinner having a path on floor is more difficult than one would think because of the strength of the rest of the performers. Hurd is a world medallist on floor, McCallum would have made finals had she not been two per countried, Eaker has just shown that her E score puts her in the conversation, Wong’s American Cup score also makes me a believer for her (yes, it’s Scam Cup but Scam is more legitimate than a domestic competition and it’s a bit better now that it’s a World Cup). Even McCusker with mistakes finished 14th at Worlds last year.

      Skinner getting her vault to Raisman 2016 levels is also something I’m skeptical of. And based on Classic, she only adds 0.1 on vault over McCallum, 0.2 over Wong. Not really worth it if you ask me.

  12. Right now the only lock is Biles, which makes this discussion so much fun.

    Question – Morgan Hurd is a former world AA champion and has another bronze in the AA. Has there ever been someone with that type of pedigree who didn’t make a worlds team when they were competing for a spot? I’m curious about that history.

    1. So none of these situations are directly comparable as Morgan is a former world champ who is a current world medallist and I can’t find any quite like that situation. But there are some situations where someone with big AA credentials and someone with recent AA credentials didn’t make the team. For the former, there was Nastia not making the 2012 Olympic team. For the latter, there was reigning world silver medallist Jana Bieger not making the 2007 World team. The Jana Bieger example feels more comparable than the Nastia example since Nastia just wasn’t prepared, but Jana was not a world champ.

      I guess another close example was 2015 Kyla Ross who had some pretty good credentials even if she wasn’t a world champ, as some might have considered her a “lock” after 2014 Worlds. But IIRC, she pulled out of the worlds camp shortly before the camp when it became clear that she was still struggling with her growth. So she was out of consideration but not due to injury and probably would not have made the team if she had gone to camp.

      1. I would argue that Ross in 2015 is a good comparison to Hurd 2019, and in my opinion Ross’s competition record was more illustrious too. She basically had Hurd’s exact credentials plus an Olympic team gold and a reputation as one of the most consistent under pressure.

        But 2015 Ross also had to deal with returning competition who had similarly long and successful careers to hers – no one could reasonably worry that Raisman and Douglas wouldn’t be able to hit at the international level. Whereas Hurd’s veteran status is an actual advantage to her over Eaker, Wong, Lee, and so on. They haven’t proven their ability to hit at Worlds or the Olympics.

      2. Yes, Ross 2015 felt like the most apt comparison. I would say Hurd looks better at this point than Kyla did at 2015 Classics so we’ll see if Morgan can avoid Kyla’s 2015 fate. I think Kyla came out OK in the long run with going to UCLA and she already had her 2012 Olympic gold but since Morgan doesn’t have an Olympics under her belt, she will have the extra challenge and extra motivation to push for 2020.

  13. So the mix for 2019 Worlds and the 2020 Olympic Games is currently:

    Simone, Morgan Hurd, Riley McCusker, Grace McCallum, Leanne Wong, Kara Eaker, Jade Carey, Sunisa Lee.

    There are also a number of “dark horses” with the ability to step it up and maybe also get into the conversation (MyKayla Skinner, Shilese Jones, Gabby Perea, Trinity Thomas, Emma Malabuyo for next year, maybe Faith Torrez, maybe Chiles) but the ones above are the ones we KNOW can bring the results.

    In my opinion Suni Lee has the potential to really contend for an AA spot, but as her main strengths are UB and BB she will be competing with McCusker for that role and I just don’t quite think she’s ready – she needs to be fully healthy and get a little more senior experience. Maybe she will surprise me, but I see her as more of a candidate for 2020. Similar story for Leanne Wong – she is excellent but given the ferocity of the competition could perhaps use some more time at the senior level. That said, of the two I could see Leanne sneaking onto the Worlds team this year, especially if she chooses to debut the Amanar this season.

    Kara Eaker looked fantastic in the AA at this meet. She is already almost un-droppable from a Worlds team because of her BB, but if she can keep this up through Nationals and Worlds trials she could make herself even more so. I wouldn’t go so far as to say she could beat McCusker or McCallum in the AA just yet, but she may be on track to surprise us there in the future.

    Not sure I totally understand the argument about not bringing Jade to Worlds – just because she wouldn’t be in the Olympic TF doesn’t mean she wouldn’t be a contributing part of Team USA. Why should others get priority over her just because they are contending for team spots rather than nominative spots? This is not to say that she is indispensable to the Worlds team, but as of now she has the real ability to bring home individual medals on both VT and FX, uniquely in the US field besides Simone. If the objective is to win as many medals as possible I think you sort of have to take her.

    That leaves McCusker, McCallum and Hurd contending for the AA spots. I think Morgan will come up big when it counts, as she always does, and I suspect Riley will do enough too (you want her for the UB and BB scores anyway). I think Grace needs to show that she can beat at least one of them in the AA to get on the team for sure; otherwise, she will need to hope they don’t take Carey – their strengths overlap but Jade has the potential to win more medals thanks to VT.

    TL;DR: I believe the Worlds team will be some combination of Biles, Hurd, McCusker, McCallum, Eaker, Carey, Wong.

    1. Agree. I think it’s Biles, Hurd, McCusker, McCallum, Eaker with Wong as the alternate. I’d assume they’d want to see how a team looks without Carey considering they won’t have her for the Olympic team.

      Wong or Lee could slip in with great showings to replace any of the others besides Biles. Just not sure they’d use Wong because she’s essentially McCallum with less experience. I think Lee is the wild card because she didn’t show all 4. Either way they’re both ideal alternates.

      I want to see McCallum get an Amanar but I’m also scared she’ll hurt herself…

    2. IF Lee is ready, and that’s a big IF, I think the best team is:
      Biles, Lee, McCusker, McCallum, Eaker

      Assuming Biles is one every event:
      Vault: McCallum, Lee/McCusker
      Bars: McCusker, Lee
      Beam: Eaker, McCusker
      Floor: McCallum, Lee

      It’s the most well rounded team that doesn’t include a floor/vault specialist like Carey or Skinner. I just don’t see them NOT using this year’s worlds team as a dry run for the Olympics to see what kind of scores they’d get without them.

      Obviously if Lee isn’t ready and can’t get the 14+’s on every event, then Hurd or Wong could slide in and mix it up again.

  14. My pick for worlds right now is Biles, McCusker, McCallum, Eaker, and Carey. Hurd is first alternate IMO.

    1. I’m waiting to see Hurd increase her difficulty on floor or upgrade elsewhere because they seem to be saying she has those upgrades and just didn’t use them at classics.
      As it stands right now, she’s a super reliable “safe” bet but others like McCallum and McCusker have higher scoring potential. She could just be being super smart about pacing and saving herself knowing that she’d be going to this, then Pan Ams, then Nationals, then worlds selection. We’ll see.
      Anyone know what her upgrades could be?

  15. At this point in team I would be happy with anyone but Skinner on the team.

    (Her gymnastics are not that impressive and her personality is just a big no-no)

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