Winter Cup Preview

Winter Cup—now with added women for heart health!—has arrived. The men and the Nastia proteges will get things started on Friday, with the elite women competing Saturday and Sunday. Full weekend gymnastics schedule.

If we’re being honest, there’s not a ton riding on the women’s competition when it comes to Olympic prognostication because it’s still so early in Selection Time—especially as national team spots can now be earned here, at March camp, or by petition. Also, most of these people haven’t competed since they were several feet shorter, so I’m going to try to cool it on TEH STAKES. (When has that ever worked.) But there are still some athletes and concepts I’m eager to see play out this weekend.

Laurie Hernandez

A shining treasure and the dove of peace, Laurie Hernandez is finally set to make her return to competition at Winter Cup, 54 months since the last time we saw her get a score. In large part, Hernandez’s participation in this competition is about the fact that she’s there and that’s exciting. She’s a star of the sport who has overcome the Haney of it all to make a return.

As yet, we haven’t seen any D-score-based indications that she’s making a capital-O Olympic push, but we also haven’t seen any actual competition work. This performance, then, will be revealing in terms of what track she’s on and whether the timing looks realistic. Hernandez is preliminarily expected to compete beam and floor here, understandable as the two most likely events on which she would be up to competition level.

Riley McCusker

For MG Elite refugees in general, this competition can be a significant benchmark because the last time we saw McCusker compete, she was being escorted off the floor after bars so that no one could see how rhabdo she was. Time has passed.

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