US Worlds Team, By The Numbers

Lots and lots of acrimony over the worlds team this year—mostly by me, because scores and charts and frustration over “rank order” from previous selections—which is fine and normal.

But Spencer, why do you have a problem with the selected team if those were the gymnasts who earned it on the day?

My earlier post was hideously short on charts, so I’m going to try to answer that question and break things down a little bit in terms of WHY I think what I think with some examples and comparisons, even starting with a chart in favor of the selected team. (GASP I KNOW.)

The argument for the selected team

The argument for the selected team is based mostly on performances at selection camp specifically (at least the scores we have from the first day). So the more you value “hit on the day” reasoning, with the assumption that you’re then selecting athletes peaking at the right time, the more you’re likely going to approve of the team as selected. The team as selected (once again with the assumption that McCallum is the alternate because of her AA placement and because that seems to make the most sense in this 6) was the highest-scoring group on the day:


That exact chart is your argument for this team. It is so loaded on vault, that it doesn’t matter that the bars scores are so anemic that they’re even counting a fall from Biles.

That’s also why I think of Grace McCallum as the clear alternate in that group, because she can’t replace anyone to create a higher-scoring team.

That team scores better than your next best team on the day, which would have Leanne Wong in place of Skinner.


The argument against the selected team

The argument against the selected team is that it is based on the assumption that Morgan Hurd will fall on bars (and that Leanne Wong will fall on vault) again, when that hasn’t been the story this season. Morgan Hurd has struggled mightily on floor to the point where you would never use her on floor in TF, but that hasn’t been the case on bars….until selection.

If we use the average score of the four big domestic days of competition this summer (Classic, Nats 1, Nats 2, Camp AA), the selected team comes out like this:


This team, based on average, has to count MyKayla Skinner’s bars score, which is the risk it opens itself up to. By average, this team falls behind teams like this one:


This one (still a possibility if the alternate position is different):


And this one:


So basically it comes down to the age-old question of which is more important, an average of recent meets, or one specific, recent-est meet. And I will always defend the one that includes more data points.

The scenarios in my newly beloved MCCLURE system come out similarly to the ones based on pure average, so for the sake of ease and clarity, I decided to use basic average there, but if you’re curious, the highest-scoring team by average, except dropping the lowest and averaging the remaining three score, would be this one:


Compared to the selected team, which ends up here:


So these charts are why, despite the inconsistency of Morgan Hurd this year and some lower AA placements, I would put her on the team. The full collection of scores we have justifies that.

115 thoughts on “US Worlds Team, By The Numbers”

  1. PREACH.

    Literally USAG should just not have a team coordinator if they aren’t actually going to be doing any team selecting.

    1. Why are they even paying him a salary?
      How much is he making?
      I bet it’s gotta be six figures…for what?
      To sit there for an hour… “decision making”, when what he has done all year is “select” teams using rank order from specific competition results. There is no need for his role then, and certainly there is zero need for a selection committee.

      This is from a company on the verge of bankruptcy.

  2. We are talking about 4 tenths when the US wins by 8 points. At the end of the day who cares

    1. It’s not just about points and winning. That’s been covered. There are many other important aspects; medal potential, team balance, investing in gymnasts for the future, and learning to how properly strategize. And crowding VT/FX line ups just isn’t the superlative strategy. Neither Biles or Carey are likely to get injured, and both are almost guaranteed their respective finals. Skinner isn’t needed on floor with those two, Lee, Eaker, and McCallum. It just doesn’t make sense, especially when you’re putting up a weak bar routine, when it COULD be replaced by someone who should be invested in for Tokyo (because Eaker and Carey are likely to get the individual spots, so that leaves space for all-arounders like Hurd, Wong, McCallum to step-in). That’s why we care

      1. Skinner also has a good chance at the team because of her VT and FX w/ Jade as an individual. Her big 15 on VT basically cant be matched on another event by anyone (except Eaker). if she makes any improvement on UB or BB it will be hard to ignore her as a top contender.

      2. I’m sorry, but Hurd and Wong are AA, but Eaker isn’t? Neither Hurd nor Wong have beaten Eaker’s AA scores from Classic or selection camp this year. Just because they can’t medal in EF doesn’t make them more desirable all-arounders or more investment worthy, as you say, for Tokyo. I find it tremendously more likely Mykayla will be on the Tokyo team than Morgan, Leanne or Grace, but that’s just math and strategy, I suppose.

      3. Ya, Skinner with her consistent vault looks really good for any team.

        Side note Morgan Hurd has been off like all season and has back pain. Why do most people want her on this team? It’s not like she’s guaranteed to make finals among AAers who are beating her and stronger bars, floor and beam routines in this team. Similar reasoning for Leanne Wong, she’s also been inconsistent. Had a great American cup, historically has trouble on her DTY, didn’t do AA at Pan Ams.

        Maybe Tom Forster is acting as a team coordinator and thinking about consistency, who is injured and who has been steadily improving… and bam you have the presumed team and best alternate

    2. For me it’s about fairness to the women who work so hard to make these dreams come true.

  3. Forcing the world to watch Jade Carey and Mykayla Skinner on FX is just cruel. Artistic gymnastics has ceased to exist.

    1. The code leaves as much room for dance elements to be rewarded as for tumbling elements. There is artistry in both. Good form counts for both, so I say if you think a gymnasts is more artistic because she is a beautiful dancer, then that gymnasts should be working the code to raise their scores on dance elements. The code doesn’t discriminate. It’s up to the athlete to compose a routine that maximizes her strengths.

    2. Gonna defend them both here. I like a beautifully performed, “artistic” routine as much as anyone, but Jade’s tumbling is – like her vaults – so spectacular that I enjoy her routines anyway. (Though I recognize it’s pretty poor, and maintain that better music and choreography would help her there. I feel similarly about MyKayla, though her Moors is really too piked for me to enjoy fully.

  4. One other note… Skinner wasn’t doing her Cheng first in previous comps (even though it was scoring higher) and using those scores would close the gap a tenth or so (15 & 14.8 on the cheng at Nats vs a 14.6 & 14.75 on the 2.5). Her highest 3 cheng avg is then a 14.95 (vs the 14.867). Also Morgan had a stick bonus or two in there at the domestic comps as well which again would close the gap a bit, probably just under 3 tenths of a point or so. At this point we are talking a large hop on a landing or an OOB….

    My point is, its even closer than we think with the two teams while the one with hurd is slightly higher, its almost negligible at this point and we are arguing over very little. If she wasn’t peaking right now, she wasn’t peaking right now. Hitting her bar routine at selection camp when her argument for the team is the 3rd bars score in TF (and maybe nothing else) is super important.

  5. Thank you Spencer for coming through with numbers and rationality, things people have lacked when defending the selected team.

    It’s darling to me that they have resorted to the last nesting doll, “Team USA will win anyway, so why does it matter?”, to defend this decision. It matters to have a NTC that does a good job because things won’t stay hunky dory forever. Simone will retire someday (soon, probably) and she accounts for most of the victory margin Team USA has enjoyed recently. This same NTC has already turned a possible gold into a damn bronze at Junior Worlds with this kind of bullshit selection, and people are still clinging to any argument they can find because their favourite was picked, while belittling other people by saying they are just upset their own favourite wasn’t picked. Gagging at the hypocrisy.

    Also, imagine if Mykayla Skinner’s Cheng actually got the 2 point deduction for being performed on one arm at Worlds. Not gonna happen, but imagine the internet chaos!!

      1. I like you beamscoring, and even when you’re annoying at least you use some kind of reasoning to explain your answers. <3

      2. Thank you, second anon, you are very kind. First anon is weak and will not survive the winter and should have been eaten by their mom.

    1. I cannot see her scoring well internationally on anything. Her form had improved so much at Utah and still wasn’t pristine, but it’s gone right back to where it was three years ago. The feet, the legs, the split that never really gets there, the head way too low to the ground. She gives me a heart attack every time she tumbles. I’m actually shocked she’s never had major injuries keep her out.

      1. I agree that she has some form problems. She is a bit of a chucker with her tumbling. She doesn’t set up high before she starts twisting, but she has a strong sense of awareness that seems to keep her safe and gets her around enough to do the skills. I disagree that she has not improved though. I watched the selection camp, and was very impressed with her leaps on beam. She seemed to reach 180 on all of her split elements. She is not as good as Wong or Hurd in her execution of split leaps but she is improving for sure.

      2. With regard to how Mykayla will score internationally, I don’t think it’s a big concern. Mykayla scored fine at Worlds last quad, and she’s significantly better than Jade in terms of choreography/presentation on floor, and Jade won a silver on floor this quad. International judges may even be easier on this stuff than U.S. judges (except for on beam, where even the best have trouble scoring well internationally).

  6. Spencer argument and i kinda agree goes beyond a mere academic tenth here and there…. Its about team balance to cover any disaster. Suppose we have to take simone out (which couldve happened last yr) or suppose we had to take suni out or kara out after the 24 hr dateline does the team has any built in back up given its too late to add yr raveling alternate at that point….. I kinda have to agree with his point that an unbalanced team is not a good thing in those situations….

    I think what spencer needs to do at this point is show us some charts on what happen if we have to take out simones or suni or kara and not able to use grace because its past the 24hr dateline…

  7. “My earlier post was hideously short on charts, ”
    Your love for charts is one of my favorite things about your blog. Thanks for giving us math minded gymnerds some charts!

  8. There was always going to be an uproar regarding this team selection because everyone is so dang close. It’s been said a thousand times, but there are dozens of team permutations that win gold. I am praying that an actual full report is released that explains the selection process in detail.

    As sad as I am to see Morgan off the team, I’m going to try to play devil’s advocate. If she replaced Skinner and the 5 person team was Hurd, Biles, Lee, Eaker, and Carey, then Hurd does bars and possibly vault. Hurd’s bars routine at trials could be classified as a complete meltdown with her having not just one, but two massive errors. And then you go a couple months ago to Pan Ams where she was nearly missing the vaulting table with her right arm entirely. Combine that recent history with an unusable floor and comparatively weak beam, and Hurd’s prospects go down. We don’t know what happened day 2 at camp, but it clearly wasn’t enough to change any minds.

    And then looking at Skinner’s vault average, she was counting her weaker Amanar in some of those scores. Internationally, her Cheng could get 15.2 or even 15.3 (remember, this is a vaulting world where Maria Paseka gets a 14.5 with her Euros Cheng).

    I am concerned about the lack of super strong backups but the Skinner vault potential is very tempting and they decided to give her a chance. Hurd would have done brilliantly on this team of course, but I don’t think she unfairly lost a spot.

  9. Stupid question time: is there a rule that non-traveling alternates…not travel? After 2003, I assumed USAG would want to have multiple alternates in position in case there was a repeat of that nightmare.

    1. But even in 2003 they were able to fly in Chellsie Memmell. They can fly in Morgan or Leanne. Unless 2 people go down less than 24 hrs prior to the meet, but I think if you’re planning your team based on that fear, then you’re overplanning for disaster. It could certainly happen, but I think if you have 2 people go down 12 hrs before the meet, you don’t look back at what-ifs, you just do the best you can and go out with that attitude and enjoy the challenge.

      1. i had to go back and read up on the 2003 worlds. Had to say that was an amazing performance by underdog Memmell. Maybe i ill dig up the meet video to watch later since i never watch 2003 edition before.

  10. None of these charts factor in medals or readiness, because they can’t. Both criteria per USAG. I was ambivalent if Mykayla or Morgan made the team, I think there’s an argument for both sides.

    Medals — Morgan has no medal potential on UB, Mykayla is a 2019 top 5 worldwide vaulter that could step up if Simone or Jade miss. Readiness — I’d go with what competition mattered most, on what, and how the gymnast performed; Morgan had her worst UB routine this year when her neck was on the line, Mykayla rose to the occasion.

    And lastly, what’s at stake here for team final is a few tenths of a point on a guaranteed gold depending on if you want to risk Morgan, Leanne or Grace’s falls, which they all did when it mattered most, versus Mykayla’s solid vault.

    All four of these girls knew this meet would be the most crucial for the team pick and all four were vying for that 5th slot. The other 4 slots were decided unless something jarring happened. In my opinion, it went to the 5th most ready, most likely to score internationally.

  11. Easier way to argue for the current team: Twitter says Grace did very well on bars this morning (perhaps that means she hit the Downie+Pak+Chow 1/2 and got her full 6.3 D she’s been trying for since Nats), and if that’s the case, she is for sure on the team as the bars third bars score they need in absence of McCusker, presuming that routine scored better than Wong’s 14.15 from yesterday. The alternate position is really between Carey and Skinner.

    1. In no world Carey is outperformed by Skinner in any apparatus. If McCallum has a 6.3 D bars, Skinner is the alternate.

      1. Yes I agree, the only place where Skinner might beat Carey is on bars but that is irrelevant for both of them on this team, so Skinner is almost definitely the alternate. I only didn’t say that she was for sure because if Carey is looking really really rough in training (which I hope she isn’t), then Tom could put Skinner on instead. Similar to how last year Ragan was for sure the alternate, but if Kara had been looking super rough during training, Ragan could have been put in as the beam specialist. The same reason both years as to why they aren’t naming the alt till podium training.

      2. And if for whatever reason, grace can’t hit her ub to get a high enough score in podium training then they will just go back to having skinner back on the TF and make up the bars deficit with skinner vt which would score at least a 15.1 compared to a 14.7 vt from grace or 14.5 vt from suni. also mykayla will certainly keep carey motivated and not slack off…

        the problem for grace is that she has to score very significantly high on the ub to displace skinner/carey vt….if we add back the 1 point from the fall and another 0.3 point to give grace a 14 for her bars and downgrade eaker bars to a 13.7 that would still not be enough.

        If grace did indeed do very well on day 2 on bars then usag team selection is exactly correct.

        it’s gonna be a cage fight all the way to podium training…lol…

      3. If Jade overlooks her vaults and takes large landings, MyKayla can squeak by who has good controlled landings. Form deductions are missed in vault, in thinking of Paseka, Mustafina, also Vanessa Ferrari, Raisman.

      4. Except that Skinner beat Carey in AA at Selection camp. I’d totally let Skinner do AA at worlds and see how she goes, because Carey has sealed her fate and is going to the Olympics in an individual spot … and Skinner may well be on the 2020 Olympic team given the teams format.

    2. Lol twitter hates Skinner and will do anything to convince themselves she is t going to World’s. I call BS and they aren’t going to send McCallum for one bars routine.

      Skinner is going. Her vault will score 15.2-15.3 internationally. If the other girls want to make teams they need vaults bigger than DTY

      1. Actually if they let mccallum on in tf she will be doing vt and bars.. So she’s not there just only for a bars..

  12. The high confidence as to why the members were selected is a curious thing to me. I love your charts. I have mine from every meet this year too. But they only show part of the story.

    Personally, I’d weigh each meet lower the farther away from the selection camp, not doing pure averages or dropping falls. This would factor in peaks and consistency that would miss otherwise. Doing so, brought me to the team they selected.

    I don’t know how they came to the team they selected, but I think it was a smart choice and if there’s a concern it needs to be brought up, privately to committee and/or after worlds. The last thing the team needs is a morale beating from community advocates right before competition.

  13. My husband and I were talking about this and he asked about the biggest downside risk for the U.S. – what does the team look like if Simone can’t compete? So I went through the numbers and put together a Simone-pocalyse team (though, she can still win the all-around with a kidney stone, so maybe we shouldn’t worry so much…) because that’s the scenario where the U.S. would run the highest risk of actually not winning the TF.

    Based on averages, the team of 5 should be Lee, Carey, Eaker, McCallum, and Hurd. However that is the only team that does better than Lee, Skinner, Carey, Eaker, and McCallum (171.799 vs 171.375). If day 2 bars was bad for Morgan, you could make this argument for the conservative team that has the highest chance of winning if Simone couldn’t compete for whatever reason. And you could argue that averages understates Skinner’s potential since she has been improving (especially on floor) all summer. Still, I’m bummed to see Morgan off the team.

    1. actually, that’s not the worst situation. The worst situation is a no simone with only 4 gymnasts left doing the TF in the case it’s past the 24 hr dateline. That is what spencer is alluding to

      Anyone interested in calculating that scenario?

      1. I think that unfortunate scenario favors Lee, Carey, Eaker, and McCallum (which is within the chosen team).

      2. see if you can do a rough calculation on the worst case of Simone-pocalyse with lee, carey, eaker, mccallum vs lee, carey, eaker, skinner

        I am pretty interested in seeing how many different in points that would be between the two as well as the total points.

      3. Permutation-wise based on averages: (1) Lee, Carey, Eaker, McCallum (170.631), (2) Lee, Skinner, Carey, McCallum (170.031), (3) Lee, Skinner, Carey, Eaker (169.508)

        But I did this quickly, and it’s close.

      4. Thnx rachel. Well i already said earlier that you cant yet count out dark horse mccallum esp if it is shown that she scores consistent 14.4 + on bars… So it will be a cage fight all the way til podium training this year.. Much more so than any other years

  14. A completely different thought. What is the most important issue to focus on right now for USAG? I think it’s rebuilding trust and changing the culture, and also prepping for the 2020 Olympics. For this, using most recent results makes a lot of sense. If one can explain the system (the top scoring all-arounders make the team) to Joe or Jane Public–it’s good. It’s also good for the parents, coaches and athletes to understand exactly what the criteria was. There are still disappointed athletes, but at least it’s based on their performance. It’s clear to me that the specialists and their coaches have gotten the message–all-around matters. Look at how much the specialists have improved on their weaker events! And preparing for the 4-member team in 2020 also makes a lot of sense to use strong all-arounders. I understand the charts and graphs and trying to make the best scoring team with specialists. But I also think one needs to look at the bigger picture of USAG changing the culture and perceptions going forward.

    1. Yes, the US likely wants to avoid controversy in selection amidst the Nassar stuff. HOWEVER, while selecting Top 6 is crystal clear, it is still not necessarily the most transparent. They literally released selection guidelines outlining that the selection would be based on a holistic approach – taking into account the different major competitions AND how different team members fit together for a TEAM. Had they simply announced Top 6 would make the team, many girls’ strategy would be different. They may save themselves to peak precisely at trials rather than show their worth throughout the year. This crystal clear argument only works if they had specifically announced that PRIOR to the competition. There was no point in Tom Forster, or even the selection committee, being there at the selection camp at all. Top 6 make it anyway.

      1. I mean, do we know how much Forster shared with the coaches about team selection? I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone close to the ground knew that the team would be the top 6 AA unless something bizarre happened. I’m not convinced that Morgan or Leanne or Grace or anyone had a different strategy because they thought they’d make it for bars. It looks to me like they’re all trying to be the strongest AAers they can be, not strategize for ‘holes’ in the team. I think the only surprised people are the fans.

        Their press release about selection criteria was idiotic though. They named literally every criterion that you could possibly use short of “Martha saw you eating a potato chip last month and now you’re banned for life.”

  15. The US team really doesn’t have to worry about score like the men’s does and ultimately I would say this team will still be competitive to place 1st on all events. Vault and floor is a given no matter whether Skinner is on the team or not. For beam, the US is taking its top three beamers to go head to head with the Chinese, which if everyone hits will be a true showdown. For bars, neither Russia nor China are at their full strength (No Agafanova, Ilyankova, Mustafina, Fan Yilin, or Yin Sisi) and Simone+Suni+Grace has the potential to be 6.2+6.3+6.4 routines. And then the medal potential is just incredible:

    AA: Simone, Suni, Kara, Grace
    VT: Simone, Jade, Mykayla could all medal
    UB: Suni, Simone
    BB: Kara, Simone, Suni
    FX: Literally whichever two get in the final will certainly be contenders.

    1. US Vault scores for Skinner have never been realistic. She is consistently underscored domestically. Her Cheng will score nearly a point better than Hurd’s DTY internationally.

      1. Well, based on the COP she’s overscored on that Cheng since she should get the deduction, but she never will.
        Anyone who thinks Skinner will have lower international scores is sadly mistaken. See 2014 Worlds.

      2. Thank you. This happened to her in 2016. Domestic scores for her vault were much lower than she received internationally. I remember wondering back then if the judges had been encouraged to keep her scores down.

    2. Grace could also medal on BB, especially given that beam finals are often splat-fears – she’s consistent there and scored something like a 14.5 at camp, higher than Lee. I tend to think she’s a little overscored domestically but even so.

  16. Spencer I do wish you’d do some charts on permutations with a look at medals/world competitiveness. Skinner’s vault is a back up medal option – Hurd’s nothing is at the moment. And what they bring to the team is very similar, so why not use medal competitiveness as a deciding factor?

    I also think it’s possible that they are taking McCallum as at least an option for the bars spot.

    A lot of people seem to be reacting very strongly to the team, which was going to happen regardless, but I’m somewhat surprised to see you, Spencer, among them.

      1. Skinner is a lot closer to being top 2 on vault than Hurd is on anything. And if she makes the final she is much likelier to medal.

  17. Anyone that can medal is on the team, everyone else isn’t. Seems straight forward to me. They’ll figure out in podium training who gets the last boot.

  18. Whats the problem, Morgan from an insider messed up again today. Grace didnt, made her bars connection! So what is the issue? Falls dont count when its Hurd?

    1. If this is the case then the problem is this wasn’t publicly stated anywhere. If we had day 2 scores to clearly support the team I think there would be somewhat less angst.

      The MCCLURE system used 2 days of camp and 2 days of nationals, and nothing older than that. It’s possible that doing the same thing on the women’s side nets the selected team – but when the team was announced we had no way to know that.

      (This isn’t saying straight MCCLURE on the women’s side makes sense – it may not, because it doesn’t weight camp enough and doesn’t consider medaling possibility. But then again it may because it is hands down the best 100% objective selection criteria I’ve seen so far and I think that is critical right now.)

      1. Agree that USAG needs to be better about making results from camp known, especially when there’s a team selection on the line and especially when it’s for the biggest meet of the year. They needed to release the day 2 scores even if they weren’t going to do the stream.

      2. Yes! It’s shady not to show both days, and disappointing because I thought this regime was moving beyond the hidden selection. It’s like they wanted to give themselves a secret cushion in advance in case they wanted a different team than the scores showed. If Morgan did mess up on bars two days in a row and they’d shown it, fans would be much more understanding of her being left off. Bad decision by USAG in my opinion.

  19. When Morgan hit at Worlds Camp in 2017, there was an uproar from gym fans. She does not deserve it because she was inconsistent all year around and should not be based on one camp.

    Now when she did not hit at Worlds Camp in 2019 and has been inconsistent all year round, there was an uproar because she is know their fave gymternet darling.

    Seriously keep the same energy. Ridiculous bias. While you all are doing maths, maybe you also should do maths on personal reasons you don’t want to admit when choosing the team.

    1. There likely would not have been an uproar around Morgan’s place on the team in 2017 if USAG had streamed the selection camp. Or at least posted scores. They should have. Seeing someone hit really changes things, rather than being told a selection committee (which has been suspect in the past) saw something.

  20. There is way more backlash against people who thought Hurd should be on the team than actual people who thought Hurd should be on the team. Not everyone is going to agree about what the team will be and there are valid arguments, using different logic, for different team permutations. The amount of shrieking about how Hurd shouldn’t be on the team is just nutty given that SHE ISN’T ON THE TEAM.

    1. “Not everyone is going to agree about what the team will be and there are valid arguments, using different logic, for different team permutations.”

      Can this just be plastered all over the gymternet any time there’s any team selection in the US?

    2. Can I just point out that a few days ago people were screaming at each other over whether Riley or Morgan should be on the team, and now… neither is.

  21. Lets try a new approach that might satisfy camp “scores from all season count” and camp “what happened at camp counts”: weighting the camp score in averages. Camp is worth two scores and every other event is worth one score. Lowest score dropped and the rest are averaged (so four counting scores instead of three). If you are good enough (re: Simone) counting a fall at trials camp doesn’t matter. I don’t have the data, but I strongly suspect this would favor a team with Mykayla over Morgan. Does anyone have this data?

    Other points to consider that haven’t really been discussed much above:
    1. Mykayla was super consistent in NCAA this year, and escalated back up to elite level quite quickly.
    2. Morgan hasn’t seemed to be herself since surgery in the spring.
    3. Is everybody really sure Jade mightn’t be the planned alternate if Grace has her magic bars connections?

    *Disclaimer: not a Mykayla fan per se, just think that by the numbers and trajectory (gut feeling) she belongs on this team.

    1. I would definitely expect Mykayla to be the alternate if Grace is on the team. Jade is still outscoring her on their specialty events.

  22. If anyone else got any more info or link about the 2nd day, esp about grace, please post it. thanks. :).

    as we’ve known since last year, grace is a dark horse and she has continued to be a dark horse …. lol….

  23. Spencer – the event-wise totals in the first 3 charts are all the same, probably a cut/paste error. (I think the 2nd and 3rd are wrong).

    In half-hearted defense of “rank order from selection camp” : the Classics-Pan Ams – Nationals scheduling put Forster in a bit of a (self-inflicted) bind. Since he told the Pan Ams team members they had auto-invites to selections, that kind of devalued the nationals scores for those athletes. So to compare like-for-like, it’s selection camp and classics, so you’d lean toward the more recent event. But that should have been made clear to the participants ahead of time. And that competition shouldn’t have taken place on a floor that looked like a Dali installation…

    I am very curious to know how Day 2 selection camp went. Which 2 events did everyone do? Who chose which events they’d do? The gymnasts? Did they bring in a decent floor?

  24. Am I the only one that is slightly worried about Skinner and Carey overdoing themselves in training because they could be in a potential battle to make it to VT finals? Will they burn themselves out before team competition?

  25. I feel like you can’t look at classics or even nationals scores for skinner. She looks like a completely different gymnast every few weeks! Amazing progress and you can feel her determination. So excited for her!!

    1. Yes, I also like that a country with as much depth as the US will be taking a team to Worlds with two gymnasts in their 20s.

  26. A lot of people on here who are defending the choice of Skinner are doing it based on medal potential. I love medal potential as a criterion, and it’s why I was in favor of Skinner in 2016 and why I would have chosen Simone, Sunisa, Jade, Kara, and Riley pre-withdrawal. But I don’t think that argument makes sense for her here. Forget about medaling, only two gymnasts will make the final, and I expect Mykayla to be boxed out in both cases if she, Simone, and Jade are all on the competitive team. Simone, Jade, Sunisa, and Kara cover most of the bases in the lineups and pretty much the US’s entire medal potential. Given that, I would have chosen Leanne since she hit bars (that we saw at least) at camp, which is basically the one iffy spot, and the entire team puzzle makes more sense with her (all three top AAers get to do AA in QF, for example.)

    1. Exactly. MyKayla can’t medal if she can’t make the finals, and she has yet to beat Jade on vault or floor. Camp was clearly weighted most heavily here. And yes, floor at camp was crazy, but they BOTH got beat by Simone, Sunisa, AND Kara. If you’re trying to say take me to do vault and floor, you have to be in the top three on both of those events.

    2. If Simone or Carey misses vault, Skinner will likely medal. Morgan, Leann, and Grace had little chance to medal even if someone missed qualification. Slight difference, but a difference nonetheless.

  27. Or how about this — neither Mykayla nor Morgan are likely to make event finals or AA if the girls ahead of them hit. The difference between the each adds point-wise is not astronomical — who adds more seems to depend on the day at this point. So why not just take the one who hit the all around best at the world trials?

  28. I think this is just overthinking the situation. How do you know Morgan will not fall again? She has done it twice in a month! I don’t care if her years’ overall total is high because she is not able to put clean routines TODAY.

  29. TBH Skinner might just be the alternate, which honestly, I think for her comeback she would be just thrilled by that! If that is the case all you crybabies BETTER keep the same energy! Otherwise it was all personal bias against Her! PERIODT! End of story!

    1. Here we go again with the charming Skinner fans! How can you be so angry even when your preferred gymnast got selected? Relax already.

      1. The person wrote she is probably the alternate. So, Skinner fans and Hurd fans seem to be the same cousins, so what is your point ho?

      2. Not sure why I have to spell out something so obvious, but: the point is that many Skinner fans – including this one – seem incapable of even enjoying her success without tearing down other gymnasts. It’s generally Hurd or Carey lately, but watch out McCallum if Skinner is alternate. Just post “what an amazing accomplishment for Skinner!” without saying that Morgan’s fans are crybabies. Try being happy for your favorite without being a dick about it. Especially when your fave… is on the team… and the gymnast you’re making fun of… is not.

  30. The code leaves as much room for dance elements to be rewarded as for tumbling elements. There is artistry in both. Good form counts for both, so I say if you think a gymnasts is more artistic because she is a beautiful dancer, then that gymnasts should be working the code to raise their scores on dance elements. The code doesn’t discriminate. It’s up to the athlete to compose a routine that maximizes her strengths.

  31. These charts are weirdly soothing to my ravaged soul. I feel too many feelings to be a USA gym fan, you guys. I needed the numbers today.

    A couple things I wanted to say re: the argument that the US will win anyway so the team roster doesn’t matter… no. First of all, it’s an insult to the athletes who work their butts off all year long to take a team to Worlds that does not maximize scoring potential, even if it only misses by a few tenths. What is the point of all that training and effort if the attitude is: the US “is just going to win anyway?” The team competitions are always my favorite part of Worlds and the Olympics because they are a showcase of each country’s gymnastics talent. I am SO PROUD watching a beam lineup with both Simone and Kara, for example. What gets me about the selected team is that it does the US some injustice on bars – yes, you have Lee, and Simone always scores well, but why put up a subpar routine from Skinner, Carey, Eaker or McCallum when you could bring a much nicer one from Morgan, or Leanne Wong? It may seem like a minor quibble, but I want to see the full range of talent in the US get a chance to shine at Worlds, dammit!

    And again – this isn’t just about Morgan, though I am still crushed that she didn’t make it. I think Leanne Wong, with her lovely bars and beam, would have been a good option as well. She’s been consistently good on bars this year and hit at selection camp.

    1. Everyone values different things. It hurts my soul, personally, when the USA performs vaults perfected in the 1980’s in team finals.

  32. I’m still a bit confused about the logic of assuming McCallum is the alternate over Skinner. I understand rationalizing the weak bars with the boost in vault score, but McCallum’s average of the two events combined is higher than Skinner’s. You can substitute Eaker’s bars for Skinner, and Grace’s total is still higher. It may not be as flashy, but it yields a higher score (based on results from this summer), leads to a pretty balanced and secure team, and in my opinion makes a lot more sense when it comes to making line-ups.

    1. I agree with this. At first glance it looks like McCallum would be the alternate, but I think it’s just as likely that it will be Skinner. It may actually come down to the AA – which of them is scoring higher? Grace usually beats MyKayla in the AA. (This is, of course, assuming that Kara Eaker doesn’t nab that third AA spot, in which it’s probably even more of a wash.) Anyway, I like both of them, but I think if the two I’d prefer Grace to compete because her bars routine is better. *shrug*

    2. Assuming skinner score 15.1 for her vt and grace scoring 14.7 (which are doable for both), if grace is going to replace skinner, she has to add at least 0.4 points over kara’s bar which means grace has to consistently score at least 14.3 on bars.

      she got a 14.2 at AC and 14.5 at Classics, 13.95 and 13.5 at nationals. So 14.3 + is doable but not easy.

      It probably will come down to podium training. much more so this year than any other years i think.

    3. Ya’ll are getting super confused because Skinner vaulted her Amanar first this summer, so if you are going by her AA scores, you may be right. However, she switched her vault, so you have to substitute her Cheng for her Amanar. When you do this, Skinner comes out ahead of McCallum.

  33. Random thoughts (posted on the “Selected” story but repeated here):

    1) How confident are we that Grace is the alternate? Not because of her AA ranking at the trial, but because she is a TRUE AA’er, and can provide 4 serviceable routines if anyone (including Simone) were injured. It seems the safest to me, but *shrug*

    2) IF Grace is the alternate, then Spencer might be right, and taking Carey & Skinner means one is going to be left off their signature events, since nobody can imagine the US only putting 2 gymnasts up for AA in quals… (right? RIGHT?!)

    2b) But what if the US plans on putting Simone, Suni and Kara up in the AA, and, based on “criteria X and Y”, Jade and Mykayla each get to compete ONE of their signature events in quals to try and make the finals? It doesn’t make much sense, to bring 2x identical specialists to each only compete one event…

    2c) Would this strategy (assuming Skinner lands her Cheng and medals) make Mykayla eligible for the apparatus WC circuit, and the US could employ Italy’s strategy of ending the WCs with gymnasts in the 1-2 positions?

    I know it’s complicated, but when it was pieced together that is what Italy was doing w. Ferrari and Mori, I have to admit, it’s a pretty good strategy to really shore up the spot against fluke injury AND give a bit more freedom in the 4-person team selection (e.g. Jade could get named to the team, and the forfeiture of the WC spot would transfer to Mykayla).

    1. Ever since someone suggested it I’ve been very on board with what you explained in 2C. The eligibility criteria were clearly written to freeze out anyone except Jade at the time, so even if Mykayla didn’t medal, I don’t see why USAG wouldn’t come up with some excuse to change the criteria to accommodate her if she and USAG both wanted it to happen. I wish they would, honestly, but I imagine funding and feelings—the leftover baggage of a teenager burning them so hard by asking to go a different route—would be in the way.

  34. Okay so disclaimer: I was not and am not wedded to any team permutation, any gymnast appearing or not appearing, specific rules for team selection, etc. I feel like most arguments out there have merit. I am more in favor of going by numbers than not, but I’m not especially fluent in statistics. I am, on the whole, grateful for the effort to get at the numbers in this situation. Seriously, Spencer, your work is much appreciated.

    All of this being said, I have to admit I’m a little surprised (and confused) by the degree of consternation about the selection, particularly on this blog. We all knew the deal going in, well enough to have identified and highlighted important routines—Hurd’s bars, Wongs’s vault, Eakers’ beam—that could influence the ultimate team roster, depending on whether they were hit or missed. It’s one thing if you disagree with how those routines were weighted; it’s another when you title a post “US Worlds Team ‘Selected'” as though there was no consideration given.

    While the MCCLURE system takes more data points into account than the on-the-day system, it can’t sufficiently cover all of the relevant factors in play. I get your reasoning behind which meets to average, and I know you had to draw a line somewhere, but I don’t see how such a limited set of data is enough to make an objective call on what permutation would be highest scoring, especially when other factors are taken into account:

    – Neither Lee nor Skinner competed full AA at Classic, for two different reasons

    – Hurd, Wong, and Eaker competed one extra meet outside of the country between Classic and Nationals, which affected the amount of rest they got and possibly the way that they structured their routines at Nationals

    – Difficulty fluctuated for at least some of the gymnasts over the two meets/three days, for various reasons

    – Individual trajectory/trend in performance, arguably the most important element of the decision beyond the numbers, is barely captured by this system, if at all

    And that’s just what I pulled off the top of my head.

    I understand the differences in opinion, and everyone’s entitled to feel whatever way they want, including feeling angry or overjoyed or dead inside.


    I think it’s disingenuous to accuse the selection committee of failing to do their due diligence when A) there’s more than one valid way to make the decision, B) there’s an entire second day of results we’re not privy to, and C) the numbers presented here aren’t complex enough to back up the accusation.

  35. Oh my! what! skinner skinner the dislikes. From the top to the bottom. Int USA gonna win by 8tenths. And skinner has medal potential. I int see Hurd winning any medal on bars with that field. The more yall talk about skinner the more she will give u more to talk abt. Watch skinner make team and pick up 3 medals at 🗺 And next yr she making the Olympic team. I had to defend her and I’m not even a fan of her. But the selection committee did their job who are we to question. We don’t know if Hurd fell on day 2.

  36. Missing worlds might be the best thing for Hurd. She now has time to breathe, recuperate from a very long and competition-heavy summer, and get settled with her routines.

    I think one thing that really hurt Hurd was her constantly changing floor routine. She seemed to do a different routine every time she competed and never really found a combination and order of tumbling passes that worked consistently for her.

    Morgan’s bars are very good, but she needs to upgrade. She needs a connection Shaposh 1/2 out of her Pak, and two inbar circles at the end of her routine instead of toe-ons.

    I also think Morgan is well able to upgrade beam beyond where she is now.

    She just needs to maintain her vault and keep the consistency there.

    1. Completely agree, especially on her bars transition. It’s always looked out of place in a routine that’s otherwise lovely. I hope she’s able to use this as an opportunity to build towards Tokyo!

  37. Another interesting bit and piece:

    If you take the last 5 finishers from trials (wong, hurd, lee, chiles, thomas) and form a team. Here’s their team score:

    vt 42.8
    ub 41.45
    bb 42.3
    fx 39.6
    total 166.15

    that’s a fairly competitive team. i think…might not be a guaranteed podium medal but definitely into TF.

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