US Classic Preview

Olympic-year Classic: the most important least important competition on the quadrennial US calendar.

It’s just Classic. We know it doesn’t decide anything, and yet…the US women’s Olympic team will be announced in a short 39 days.

So you need to be…kind of close?

The deal with Classic is that most of the top Olympic team contenders can survive not doing the all-around here—or having some iffy events—and we’ll forget about it in a second. If we look back to 2016, Raisman was the only eventual Olympian to do all four apparatuses at Classic, with Biles, Douglas, and Kocian all sticking to bars and beam, and Hernandez just doing bars. I’d expect to see more competing this year just because it’s been so long for so many people and only a handful of the top competitors have done the AA even once in the last year. But the standings aren’t going to make or break any Olympic hopes this Saturday. That comes later.

This competition should, however, give us a few more scores to plug in to try to make sense of who’s really in contention. The current best-case-scenario team for the US using 2021 scores is Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee, Kayla DiCello, and Leanne Wong, which is less than useless information because, like, Simone and whatnot. And I’m tired of information being less than useless.

Plus, there are some people who actually do need a tangible qualifying score here, or are simply looking a little outskirts-adjacent in their Olympic quest and could do with a couple competitive routines.

Here’s the schedule
Juniors – Friday, 6:40pm ET (FLO)
Seniors Session 1 – Saturday, 1:00pm ET (Peacock)
Seniors Session 2 – Saturday, 7:00pm ET (NBCSN)

Skye BlakelyCiena Alipio
Sophia ButlerSydney Barros
Skylar DraserSimone Biles
Addison FattaJade Carey
eMjae FrazierJordan Chiles
Laurie HernandezKayla DiCello
Shilese JonesAmari Drayton
Hailey KleinKara Eaker
Temple LandryAleah Finnegan
Emma MalabuyoKaris German
Grace McCallumMorgan Hurd
Konnor McClainAlonna Kratzer
Chellsie MemmelEmily Lee
Elle MuellerSunisa Lee
Katelyn RosenLauren Little
Jamison SearsRiley McCusker
Ava SiegfeldtZoe Miller
Faith TorrezKaylen Morgan
Mya WitteAnya Pilgrim
Lexi ZeissLyden Saltness
MyKayla Skinner
Leanne Wong

And as we get toward team selection, remember

So, let’s talk about who we need to talk about.

Chellsie Memmel

Real talk: This year’s Classic is the Memmel show, and that’s all there is to it. After 9 years away, Chellsie Memmel is officially back at a competition.

Expectations will of course be pretty modest, but in her latest video of her “mock meet,” Memmel did show a Yfull on vault and a 5.8-6.0 beam routine. If she hits both of those in competition, she’ll be very capable of getting the 27.0 two-event score she would need to advance to nationals. It may not match the grand and unrealistic dreams we entertained earlier in the comeback process, but it would be pretty stellar if she comes back and hits to make nationals, forever erasing any need to reference The 2012 Incident.

Simone Biles

The only thing that can stop this meet from fully being the Memmel Show is if Simone does indeed decide to pull out the Yurchenko double pike. Because if she does, that would kind of…be the show.

Of course she doesn’t need to. Simone doesn’t need to do anything. But, you know, Classic is the traditional place to try out new vaults and see how they go. If she doesn’t, I think we at least need to see some platform heels with goats on them. I’m not asking for a lot.

Laurie Hernandez

Another athlete who has something real riding on this Classic performance is beloved cherub of the gymternet, Laurie Hernandez.

Hernandez competed at the March camp and went 51.800 in the all-around, missing by 0.2 the qualifying score she needed for nationals. Her vault, beam, and floor total would suffice as a three-event number—so she is qualified to nationals in some capacity already—but at least based on the information we’ve received (this is a very real sport that’s real), she’ll still need to get her 52.000 AA score here to be able to do all four events at nationals. We did not see bars when she competed at Winter Cup, so progress on that event will be telling.

And if she doesn’t get her score, I am willing to create a diversion at nationals during bars.

Morgan Hurd

Hurd is the Olympic team contender I’m most eager to see at Classic because, other than Biles, Hurd is the one we haven’t seen anything from thus far in 2021. Gymnastically, at least. Life-wise, she’s tearing it up.

As Hurd didn’t make the 2019 worlds team, she’s among those most in need of setting a competitive scoring standard in order to get herself back into the primary Olympic team conversation. Hurd’s best-ever AA score is a 57.000, and since we’ve already seen Chiles break 57 this year, 57 is increasingly looking like the mark if you’re going to be able to make an Olympic team. Hurd will need to be at her best ever this summer.

Complicating matters could be the elbow fixification that she underwent fairly recently, which could temper expectations for what she’s going to do here. Though there’s also not really a ton of time to slowly get back into things. We may need a plan.

Jordan Chiles

World Champions Centre will occupy its entire own rotation group at Classic…

…and it may not be entirely the Simone Show.

The Jordan Chiles 57.050 from Winter Cup is the highest score recorded by an American gymnast this year—by more than a point. Any team you come up with using 2021 scores at this point is going to have Chiles on it.

Now, we’ve all been down this road. There’s so so so much more to be said as the top gymnasts really only start to enter the fray, so Chiles will want to keep that scoring up every minute to remain in the primary conversation that she recently catapulted herself into.

And showing a signature “must take me for this” score wouldn’t hurt. So about that Amanar.

Jade Carey

Now, because Carey has already clinched herself an individual Olympic spot, there theoretically should be less than nothing riding on her Classic performance, but also…whaaaaat is the plan here? Recent intimations that she might try for a team spot at Olympic Trials have thrown things into disarray. (To be on the Olympic team of four, Carey would have to give up her individual spot, meaning the US women would get 5 Olympians instead of 6.) So…might we get some kind of an answer as to what she’s thinking?

The current FIG Olympic calendar is a full mess because no one knows what’s happening with Doha, but in the previous incarnation of the calendar, individual qualifiers were required to inform the FIG of their intentions with regard to their individual spots before the dates of US Trials, precluding any kind of wait-and-see strategy.

Kara Eaker and Emily Lee

Speaking of those who might be aiming for an individual spot on an Olympic team, Kara Eaker has reigned as the US beam queen this quad, but by far the highest beam score of the year belongs to Emily Lee with her 15.100 at March camp. With many of the top all-around contenders capable of going mid-14 on beam and making the team—or even getting an Olympic +1 spot just on the basis of “I’m pretty good everywhere and finished 5th at Trials” (sigh)—those whose AA scores aren’t always going to be 57s but can nail a beam set will really be looking for 15s throughout the process.

Riley McCusker

One weird thing to keep in mind is that McCusker potentially does not have a nationals qualifying score.

She wasn’t on the 2019 worlds team, didn’t do March camp, didn’t have a meet assignment in 2020, didn’t do American Classic, and competed three events at Winter Cup (only AA scores from Winter Cup counted for nationals qualification, for some reason). Though I say potentially because she very well could have a usable number from a camp at some point that wasn’t released, and did successfully petition onto the national team. So…once again, this is a very real sport that’s real.

Anyway, 52 is a super easy score for her to get, but regardless of that, I would put McCusker in the same category as Hurd as someone who needs to use any opportunity to reassert herself in the scoring hierarchy to avoid getting Yim-Schwikert-ed out of the way after success early in the quad.

MyKayla Skinner

We haven’t seen much from Skinner this year, though she did compete two vaults at March camp and went a very competitive 15.200/14.800 (6.0/5.4) for them. I’m of the opinion that the status of Biles and Carey as locked Olympians (we think…) precludes Skinner from making any sense as an event specialist, so she would have to become a top-scoring all-arounder starting now to make the Olympics.

Also she’s probably not interested in getting somewhere close to the team and leaving it up to a selection decision again.

Sunisa Lee

As…the closest we have to a frontrunner in the non-Simone batch (?), Lee is probably not among those who needs a serious result at Classic. This isn’t as critical a competition for her (I mean, I would like some evidence that vault and floor are going to be OK for the trials push, but…)

Mostly we’re just here to see what bars skills come out this time.

Leanne Wong

The pressure is on for team “even though she has made no major squads before, I’m quite confident Leanne is going to the Olympics” as we head into crunch time.

Wong career-best is 56.765, so she’s going to need to pull out something we haven’t seen before to look like one of those 57ies.

Grace McCallum and Kayla DiCello

Last we saw of McCallum, she was doing some hidden routines and training sets at the American Classic.

This has only stoked the flames of speculation that she might be among those pulling out something new at US Classic. Especially for gymnasts like McCallum and DiCello, their path to an Olympic team is through being complete enough in the all-around to place in the top 4 at trials (which is what DiCello has been doing at camps), but everyone in that position is also looking for a difficulty buffer that can help them overcome a sudden bad moment that might crop up.

Skye Blakely and Konnor McClain

The new ones are being wrenched out of “she’s full of potential” territory quickly because they’re now part of legitimate Olympic team conversations.

We’ve seen great bits and pieces from them so far this year (i.e., beam), but both will have to show the whole thing to look like they can go on a likely Olympic team. McClain hasn’t shown bars or a competitive floor yet as a senior, and I’m also interested to see where things stand with Blakely’s vault. She tried a DTY at March camp, but went back down to the FTY for American Classic. I have to think she’ll need that DTY come nationals/trials to get a top AA score, even with a presumed huge beam number.

Who Needs a Score?

A number of people don’t have their 52s for nationals yet.

As mentioned with McCusker, this is by no means an official list because not every camp score gets released, but this is my general outline of seniors competing at Classic who still need their 52s (or 39.750 three-event, or 27.000 two-event).

Sophia Butler (did 3 events at March camp for 38.550)
Skylar Draser (did 2 events at American Classic for 24.600)
eMjae Frazier (did 2 events at Winter Cup for 16.350)
Laurie Hernandez (has 3-event score for VT, BB, FX)
Hailey Klein (went 50.600 at Winter Cup)
Alonna Kratzer (went 49.750 at Winter Cup)
Temple Landry (went 50.400 at American Classic)
Lauren Little
Emma Malabuyo (went 48.850—three-event 39.050—at March camp)
Chellsie Memmel
Riley McCusker (?)
Anya Pilgrim (went 50.850 at American Classic)
Katelyn Rosen (has two-event score for VT, FX)
Lyden Saltness (went 51.650 at Winter Cup)
Jamison Sears (went 51.650 at American Classic)
Ava Siegfeldt (did 3 events at American Classic for 35.600)
Mya Witte (did 3 events at American Classic for 37.550)
Lexi Zeiss (went 51.600 at Winter Cup)

100 thoughts on “US Classic Preview”

  1. eMjae qualified AA for nationals at the most recent camp according to Parkettes’ instagram. would be nice if we had scores from camp!

    1. Actually, the post does not specify which events she qualified for, just that she qualified

  2. Chellsie is my hero. Can’t wait to cheer her on! What a line up… so many favorites coming back/ exciting new talent…I haven’t been this jazzed to watch a meet in a really long time.

  3. So Chelsie most likely won’t compete AA at nationals? Sad cause she put in all that time training an alleged floor routine and bars skills

    1. Chellsie can petition to compete AA at nationals, there was an NBC article where it sounds like that’s what she is doing.

      I love Spencer, but he has been a little off his game lately.

      1. So you aren’t fully on your game either.

        NBC article discussed possibility of petitioning. However, it does not confirm that is what Memmel plans to do.

        She has confirmed a hamstring injury (why she is not doing DTY and watering down on beam) so if she is carrying this nagging injury it is unlikely that floor would be an option.

        She is not aiming for the Olympics as she has stated this, but she is just trying to get to Nationals and maybe will think about Worlds.

      2. I know about Chellsie’s hamstring injury. But I don’t think she would be putting together a bar routine and trying to do a floor routine if she wasn’t thinking about trying at least one of them at nationals.

        You added a lot of implications I didn’t say in your response.

      3. Clearly, you have comprehension issues.
        Memmel was likely to do AA at US Classic, hence the bars and floor routines. The hamstring seems to have halted that as evidenced by her watering back on vault and balance beam.

        Plans drastically change with injuries.

      4. Why do you think Chellsie is eligible to petition?

        Requirements to petition are an attendance at a Camp, a recent AA score(s), and a doctors note explaining why said AA score wasnt a 52.

        As far as I am aware, she doesn’t have any of these.

      5. @Doug there is some unspoken precedent of allowing former Olympians to petition to trials. For example Liukin only competed beam at 2012 classics but did bars and beam at nationals

      6. @ Anonymous 11:41 Clearly you have civility, decency, and basic social skills issues. In addition, Memmel has mentioned her hamstring injury/issue but has not specified any exact plans for the future, NOR in fact did she say outright she was going to do AA at Classic. So you’re not only a tired little asswipe trying to be cute and snarky, you’re no more ‘on your game’ than the commenter you tried to insult. Little bitches like you are so infinitely predictable and tiresome!

      7. @11:39pm Anon

        Memmel stated that AA was the goal for US Classic but the hamstring injury is what caused her to limit herself to vault and beam. She also had to limit her difficulty because of the hamstring.

        She made these comments herself in the live chat of the YouTube videos she posted. She said she would like to add bars at Nationals if possible but she will not being doing floor due to the hamstring.

      8. @Anonymous 5:39 “stating that it was a goal” is not the same thing as a declaration of “yes, I’m going to do it”–which Memmel never made about Classics AA. But nice try at defending the asshole.

  4. Praying Leanne Wong is not an Ou Yushan case, where they should def be on the team but make it hard to justify

    1. Based on what Leanne has shown lately, I don’t think she is looking at a “definitely should be on the team but won’t be” situation. The only situation where she definitely should be on the team is if she delivers. If not, there are plenty of others who can.

    2. Why would Wong “def be on the team” but for a set of bad scores?

    3. Leanne has shown not one shred of the difficulty, execution, or consistency IN COMPETITION that would make her a ‘must be on the team’ gymnast. No, training videos DON’T count.

    4. Not sure where Wong’s Amanar and Cheng are, but she keeps crashing DTY.

  5. Remember yall, never forget 2 kids 9 years! No matter what Memmel does, even if she falls or doesn’t qualify for nationals, 2 kids 9 years! Thats the narrative! 2 kids 9 years. Dont 4 get. Chell yeah! If Chellsie has soft knees in her beam series, or lacks extension! Doesn’t matter! 2 kids 9 years! Chell yeah! Doesnt matter! If Chellsie falls it doesnt matter! 2 kids 9 years! Chellsie doesnt qualify but petitions, doesnt matter ! 2 kids 9 years! Chell yeah! Chellsie doesn’t make even the top 10 in any event. Doesnt matter! 2 kids 9 years! Wash and repeat one more time… No matter what happens, doesnt matter ! 2 kids 9 years!

    1. I get that you’re annoyed with people being excited about Memmel, but actually it is still impressive that she made a comeback at all even though she’s nowhere near the Olympic contender her megafans fantasize about.

      1. Megafan here, it’s not about Chellsie being Olympic ready or even close. It’s a story about a woman who had moved on with her life but then decided to go back to the sport she loves because she loves it. It’s incredible that she’s come this far, and I’m here to support her because a) it’s awesome, and b) I love that this shows gymnasts can have range, it’s great to do something because you love it, and it broadens the general public’s idea of what gymnasts can look like. It’s never too late to work hard and chase your dreams. I am here for it.

      2. @Anonymous How exceedingly generous of you, Your Royal CUNTNESS, to deign to give your qualified approval to Memmel’s comeback!

      3. @Allie. She’s wonderful and it’s wonderful. Pay no attention to the turds like Anonymous 7:42 and 11:50; they’ll never do anything remotely as difficult or as inspiring as Memmel has done and their rancid jealousy is eating them alive 😀

      4. Anon from 11:50 here – I was actually trying to express that Memmel‘s comeback is impressive, and that even though some of the hype is annoying, that it does matter that she has had two kids and been out of the sport for nine years.

        These comments are a great example of the megafans taking their love for Chellsie a little too far though! You’re only allowed to say she’s going to the olympics, otherwise you’re a hater 🙄

      5. @Anonymous 11:50–Well, you certainly did a miserable job of expressing that sentiment! MANY of Memmel’s fans, including this one, know the Tokyo Olympics is not feasible for her. Anyone who uses the word ‘hype’ about a comeback such as the one she has mounted however, is beneath contempt. Your comments are superb examples of lousy basic composition skills paired with ridiculous generalizations. Way to compound your initial error by doubling down on your asinine and completely false statement!

      6. @Anonymous 11:54 Why would I do anything you requested? By the way, ‘yelling’ online IS TYPING IN ALL CAPS LIKE THIS. The more you know 😀

  6. Now I don’t know if I have time to rewatch Derry Girls before Saturday.

  7. Grace has various broken parts in her hand, according to an article that came out a couple days ago. She did her secret beam routine at A. Classics so that people wouldn’t count her out. And she’s a fighter. And stuff like that.

      1. That’s a pretty major setback. It kind of makes you question Sarah Jantzi’s coaching and whether she’s pacing Grace well, considering what happened with Maggie Nichols.

      2. I think that’s a little unfair about Sarah. She has talked a lot about how she has learned from her mistakes from Maggie and has been trying not to repeat them with Grace. If you read about how this injury happened, it sounds like a fluke accident on a series she has been doing successfully for years, which can happen to anyone. It’s very different than with Maggie where she had a series of overuse injuries and and injuries on skills she was pushing too hard to do that she maybe shouldn’t have been doing, like the Amanar.

      3. She stunned her finger on the beam after slipping on a LOSO. How can you blame Sarah for that?

      4. It is very sad. Of course, ‘Anon’ had to try to blame the coach for a freak accident of the sort that could and does happen to anyone in any gym anywhere. Isn’t that charming?

  8. Why Spencer is always making GIFs from the TV show I just finished? Is he stalking me?

  9. Do yall think Morgan Hurd is gonna show up or picket in the front of the building with her rolled up cargos and Nirvana t shirt, (Im sure she loves all their songs) Do you think she will try to make sure the others girls are WOKE enough to not compete? Since it’s so embarrassing to compete for the USA? Do you think she will compete for another country? A utopian one that has no issues, a glorious Eden with no hate, etc? A land where residents bake cakes filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy, and Morgan can do flips and leaps with unbounding glee!

    1. You see all the civil unrest happening and are proud to be an American, right now? You must be white lol

      1. hehe so cute like there arent White Liberals who love to speak for the minorities! lol cute. Got em! That’s right… ooh the you must be white! Ooh weee get em!

        Yes America is so much worse then other countries right now thats true. I mean what’s happening in Israel, naw. But if anything Morgan Hurd is the one who is our beacon of light and hope.

        Yes all Americans are racist, all Americans are xenophobes,. all Americans are transphobic (those darn gender reveal parties opressing me) All Americans are psychopaths, All Americans are Terfs, All Americans are misognysists… insert any buzz narrative word of the woke.

        Since America isnt a COMPLEX system full of so many differing peoples etc. Which eden should would move to where issues dont exist that wouldnt be sooo embarrasing to represent?

        Hush. I dont want your answer, I need to defer to Hurd!

        A 19 year old who has found her woke voice and is leading us to salvation. She is the light and the way! I hope she arranges a sit down to WAKE us from our WHITE AMERICANNESS… Silence is compliance. So Morgan needs to live by her virtue, her mighty mighty virtue and just not compete otherwise she is going against that virtue and just making those capitalist evil White men more money if she makes the team! Or during each routine when the camera pans to her she can shout FIGHT THE POWER, SILENCE IS VIOLENCE.. lmao..

      2. Er, or you see the civil unrest happening and you think welcome to the human race. Not an isolated American problem. Nice try though. Take a human history course.

      3. Educate yourself. 2/3 of countries around the world aren’t even allowed to have civil unrest without their government squashing their dissent.
        Meanwhile, Americans have a right to peacefully protest.
        Oh, do you like being able to criticize your country online (like you just did)? Because while you (as an American) can do that, most others cannot!
        I am, in fact, proud to be an American. Thanks.

      4. @SilenceIsCompliance Shouldn’t you be planning the next insurrection/seditious coup, little Proud Boy BITCHCUNT? Or smeaing your shit on public property? Or perhaps planning sexual assaults on children? Run along now, little MAGAturd.

      5. Or you see the preparations for a Nazi coup in 2024 or even 2022 and realize that those who do not learn from catastrophic mistakes are condemned to repeat them. Take a course in basic European history, you MAGAtroll dunce.

      1. Wow, you sure told them! I’m going to use that the next time someone reads me!

  10. I think I’m most interested to see Morgan and Jordan.

    Morgan probably needs to beef up beam and bars quite a bit to remain competitive

    I’m also curious to see what Jordan upgrades. She scored a 57 with a TON of room to grow

    1. I agree about Jordan. Very excited to see if she has continued to progress.

    2. That 57 from Chiles was so absurdly inflated though. That would barely have gotten a 55.5 internationally.

      1. Yep. The crazed Chiles fangirl mob has no clue what *international* judges will do to her ‘wolfs’ (lol), leaps, and split positions on floor unless she cleans them up. Not to mention some of her very unlovely beam and bar positions. She is a good gymnast who has made tremendous progress but the next Biles–or anything even close– SHE AIN’T.

  11. I really do not get the Sunisa hype. Yes! She is good, especially on bars, but so are others who proved to be much more consistent. The US is not going to take her just for bars. At 2019 worlds she fell a lot, had she not had the sob back story the gymternet would have written her off… falls on BB twice and bars in finals just does not cut it…
    Go Suni, prove me wrong 🙂

    1. Calling her personal tragedies a “sob back story” is pretty harsh. She’s been through such a tough time with her dad and losing family members to Covid – I don’t think it’s wrong in any way for people to support her and want her to have success.

      I do think she’s being held together at this point with her injuries, so I’m not sure if she’ll make it to Tokyo, but don’t write her off like that just because you don’t get the hype.

    2. I just find Lee‘s gymnastics more creative/interesting than say McCallum or McCusker. But hard to say why.

    3. “Sob back story?” I do hope someone you are close to (assuming there is anyone on earth who’d put up with sewer scum like you–a big ask) suffers the same fate as John Lee–or that YOU do.

    4. The Sunisa hype is because her legs are straight and she can hit a ring position on beam.

      Which cannot be said for 95% of the gymnasts on the US National team.

      I’m guessing you’re a Skinner fan?

  12. actually Sunisa Lee just confirmed that her achilles is hurting, not her ankle. Also, she still doesn’t know if she will compete vault or floor, but will do bars and beam for sure

  13. I think I’m most curious to see Morgan – I really have no idea where she stands…

    I’m also wondering if Mykayla Skinner can do the routines she showed on yt in competition environment. It’s quite unfortunate for her that Simone and Jade are basically locks, so she needs 4 events…

    1. Morgan is the biggest question mark because we’ve seen the least of her gymnastics since 2020. Funnily enough I think that her last meet (American Cup) was severely underscored. The scoring was 2017 worlds level of harshness.

  14. Great write up. Thank you for taking the time to keep us all informed!

  15. Spencer – I am surprised you’re so confident that a YFull and her BB routine are a safe bet for a 27.0.

    Her YFul is gonna get MAX 13.8. That leaves a 13.2 for beam which, going by Euros beam judging, would almost get her on the podium at Euros. That’s simply not going to happen. She would have to go absolutely lights out to get a 13 (or her friends on the beam judging panel may throw her a high 7 because Chellsie BAMF Memmel).

    Either way, I’m surprised by your confidence. Laurie got a 13.9 at Winter Cup. LAURIE. A 13.2 is going to be a stretch. Even for a hit set.

    1. The US domestic beam scores are much higher than those Euros international scores. Not to mention Listunova with a 5.9 routine broke 14, and Iordache got 13.4 with a fall for a 6.2 routine. Memmel is going for a 6.1. Those routines that medaled at Euros were much lower difficulty.

      1. Are you really comparing Listunova to Chellsie on beam?

        Cmon man. Maybe the domestic US judges don’t see it, but Chellsie’s routine internationally would get slaughtered. She has at least 5 tenths in pauses and adjustments alone (that they won’t take at Classics but they sure would at Worlds).

      2. Sweetie pie. Listunova has pauses and wobbles till the cows come home. Are you really so stupid you can watch them and lie about their existence?

    2. Hernandez–HERNANDEZ!! (your hyperbole is *risible*, pal)–had 5.5 D, six tenths below what Memmel is planning. It was a nice routine; it had nothing stunning or ‘wow’ about it.

      1. Lol I’ll bet you 10 bucks that Chellsie doesn’t get a 6.1 D Score

      2. Sucker bet. Too bad you’re only an internet TROLL–I’d collect.

  16. dream 2021 Olympic Team:

    Biles, Lee, Hurd, McCallum (high scoring team)
    Alternates: Chiles, DiCello, Skinner
    +1: Carey, McCusker

    I have a feeling Kayla DiCello is going to show up with mega routines and maybe spook onto the team a la Kyla Ross 2012.
    Jordan was ranked highest in the first 2020 Olympic predictions years ago, so it’s definitely possible for her too.

    I think even with Grace’s injury set back (which wow they kept that under wraps…I had no idea until reading these comments) she will work to be on the team and be fresh.
    A Maggie Nichols redemption story.
    (There were also likely a number of Athlete A prejudices against Maggie from usag at the time of 2016 trials. She deserved an alternate spot.)

    If not Hurd (which I hope she makes it), I could see Jordan or McKayla subbing her spot to beef up that leftover Vault/Beam/Floor spot and maybe even Sunisa getting the +1 spot if she’s not able to get her vault and floor back in time and subbing in Kayla or Riley for team (bars/beam/floor).

    The math will change but ultimately a number of various teams could score about the same.


    1. Maggie was nowhere close to even an alternate spot on the 2016 team. There was no event where you would use her unless you wanted a backup DTY. This is a very unfortunate narrative that arose from that documentary because her gymnastics absolutely did not warrant any spot on the team. It doesn’t help that Aimee Boorman chimed in and said that Maggie was ripped off… Again, Maggie was so far away from making the team it wasn’t even close. She had no Amanar, bars and beam had deteriorated, and she barely could make it through floor.

      1. Utter drivel. It’s Douglas whose gymnastics for all of 2016 warranted no spot on the team. We’ve all heard your bullshit attempt at a fake narrative trashing Nichols. It is right out of the Karolyi/Nassar/Penny playbook and it is toxic, oozing excrement–just like you.

      2. Gabby absolutely earned her place on the team for all around and also for bars. She was 2nd AA at Worlds, she won the 2016 American Cup as well.

        She was 3rd all around in qualifications at the Olympics and was 2 per’d and was 7th on beam in qualifications and was 2 per’d. She had the highest execution score on any event of everyone in Rio with her UB set. She had a minor error in finals that cost her a medal. But had she hit like she did in TQ and TF she would have taken bronze.

        If Nichols had an Amanar she could have been taken. Bars had the obvious hole and Locklear WAS the best choice between her and Douglas looking at scores. However, given Kocian’s luck of getting injured and with Locklear unable to do VT/FX, it was very clear that Douglas was the best gymnast to fill that spot because of her all around prowess, and her fabulous DTY.

      3. The thing I don’t get about this mentality that Nichols was left off the team solely for political/LN-related reasons is the fact that Raisman was in a similar situation, and her place on the team was never in question. I don’t doubt that it played some role, but if they were trying to send a message through team selection, wouldn’t Raisman have been left off, too? Also, Nichols first disclosed in the summer of 2015, and she still made the World’s team that year. I love Maggie, but I hate that this narrative has become so pervasive, and that people use it as a reason to hate on Gabby, who really has nothing to do with this.

      4. To the vicious poster above, nothing I said warranted that kind of response. None of what I said attacked anyone.

        Gabby Douglas made the team because of how strong Laurie, Simone, and Aly were on the events that Gabby didn’t need to be. Bars was a huge hole on the 2016 national team and Gabby, who had an excellent bars routine + very usable routines on all other apparatus, made her the best choice for the team. Ashton Locklear could have maximized the team score but wouldn’t have been able to fill in elsewhere. Gabby was the safest choice in case of a last minute injury and was a viable medal contender on bars.

        A 2015 Maggie would have been on the Olympic team due to her Amanar and floor. However, there was mathematically no place for her on the 2016 team. If you replace Gabby with Maggie, Maggie would have scored maybe 0.1 higher than Laurie on vault, but then you would have lost Gabby’s bars score. She also wasn’t scoring higher than Laurie on floor to be considered the 3rd best floor worker. You can’t deny that Maggie was still one of the world’s strongest AA gymnasts, but with that hyper-competitive US women’s team, she simply didn’t work out.

      5. To the vicious little troll who just rehashed every lame argument from 2016: yes, denigrating Nichols and attempting to pretend that Athlete A had nothing to do with USA Gym’s attitude towards her is an attack. And your attempts to defend Douglas completely ignore the fact that Douglas only ever won when others fucked up. Komova handed her the London AA title on a silver platter; when others hit, Douglas died, over and over and over again. Douglas was NOT necessary for bars and certainly contributed nothing else; as usual, she was incapable of a clutch performance when it counted. And to ‘Hannah’ –no one said that punishment was the ONLY motivation for Nichols’ omission from the team. Try not attempting to put words in others’ mouths, honey. It was *one* of the reasons and there was enough cover for their bad faith/disingenuous crap that they didn’t get nailed on it. No one needs fake reasons to dislike the fact that Douglas was undeserving of a second Olympics and that others were more worthy; we have plenty of real ones. That is all.

      6. @Hannah Not at all an analogous situation. Raisman, later one of the fiercest fighters, was not the lightning rod Nichols (Athlete A, if you can’t remember) was from the get-go. Raisman was a returning Olympic medalist AND a medal threat for London in at least one individual event; she was not injured at a critical juncture. Nichols was always underrated and was a far more obvious target. Nichols’ injury provided the COVER which USA-Gym and Karolyi needed to screw her over. It obscured the actual vendetta and motive while conveniently including has-been, underperforming Douglas (she was terrible at Championships AND Trials; whatever happened to those events meaning anything towards Olympic selection? Hmm?) so that the team looked less ‘white plus Simone.’ Plausible deniability. Win-win for Karolyi, Penny,

    2. You underestimate how much the domestic judges love McCusker and dislike Hurd. Not to mention Hurd is coming back from several surgeries as is McCallum.

      The team you named seems like a great team for 2020, but for 2021 I think it will be Biles Lee McCusker and then either Chiles or DiCello

      1. I’m not sure I agree with your scoring claims regarding Hurd and McCusker. From what I’ve seen, they seem to be scored fairly for the gymnastics they produce. I’ve seen complaints about Hurd’s bars scores before. Hurd is very clean on bars but has issues on her pirouette angles and transition catch angles. I think she gets several 0.3 deductions and even 0.5 deductions for some of her finishing positions.

      2. I also feel like Morgan gets hammered by the domestic judges – beam especially. Grace’s beam scores compared to Morgan’s last year were truly baffling.

    3. I love having pointless fights in this comment section but the 2016 debate is the deadest horse. And there’s so much current stuff to argue about!!

  17. Spencer, as always, bravo. You’re amazing.
    The way I’m so ready for a full Spencer diagnostics/team prediction after classics

  18. There are very few gymnasts who can get away with not being at or near their best for this competition. Biles can get away with whatever and Sunisa Lee doesn’t have much to prove, but everyone else needs to bring their B+ game at the very least. It is concerning that Sunisa Lee might have an injured foot because her floor score is very important to the team.

    Chiles needs to replicate her Winter Cup performance at EVERY competition from this point on because she has a reputation for poor consistency she needs to break. If she has a 2019 trials kind of day at any of the upcoming competitions, it will seriously hurt her chances. Getting an Amanar will be a huge boost to her.

    I don’t know where McCusker and Hurd stand. Both of them have lost their standing as the very top beam and bars workers and Hurd’s floor has never recovered to where it was in 2018.

    As usual, Skinner doesn’t even look close to being in the conversation yet always manages to be near the top. Her ability to hit in competition might help her especially if other big names have a fall or 2.

    DiCello is one of those gymnasts who could find herself on the team purely due to consistency and being top 3 or 4 at every upcoming competition.

    Eaker, Wong, and Emily Lee are all gymnasts with the potential to make the team or the 6th spot but will need hits at every competition moving forward.

    I wonder if the Careys are negotiating a deal with Tom to guarantee her a spot on the Olympic team if she gives up her individual spot… if I were Tom, I’d want the max 6 gymnasts to go to Tokyo and I would force Carey to take her individual spot.

    So many moving pieces. This truly has to be the most uncertain Olympic team selection in a long time. In 2016, Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, and Kocian/Locklear were near locks at this point. We really only have Biles as a lock this year with Sunisa Lee as almost a lock. The other 2 spaces in my opinion are wide open and will depend purely on competition performance.

  19. Like the write up!

    People need to know that Grace, Chellsie and Laurie are basically out of the question for Tokyo, due to injuries or low difficulty. I don’t know why people act like they have shots. If Suni is unable to recover quickly and get 4 events, she’s out too. Tom clearly stated the other individual spot must be an AA’r that can sub in last minute for the team and they aren’t going to put up someone that can’t compete events on the actual team either.

    I want to see Morgan, Riley, Leanne, Kayla, MyKayla and Kara. They were the ones in 2019 that seemed most likely to fight for spots to join Simone, Suni and Jade in Tokyo. I think Jordan, Skye and Emily are somewhat in the conversation now too, which is great!

    1. I agree with you on Chellsie and Laurie.

      Grace – I want to see an actual 2021 routine before I say that.

  20. This may have already been answered but where is Olivia Greaves?

  21. Does anyone know where can I watch videos from podium training?

  22. This team as of right now is so completely uncertain. Simone is the only true lock, followed by Sunisa being a lock if she gets her floor back where it needs to be.

    The other spots are totally up in the air and will probably be determined based on who hits at trials.

    Jordan’s amanar worries me. She kinds needs that to be competitive for the team, and every time she landed it, it was so scary.

    Morgan is kinda gonna get left behind if she can’t beef up on pretty much all 4 events.

    Laurie looks great, Chellsie does too.

    BAH idk who this team is gonna

    1. It’s kinda fun (for us as viewers). In 2016 at this time we were like… pretty sure who the team would be. Maybe by nationals we’ll have a good idea but right now there’s so many possible contenders for the three team spots and the extra +1.

    2. If Jordan has a consistent Amanar from here on out, she makes a very compelling case for herself. However, we have to see more consistency on the other 3 events before she’s proven herself. I think the Winter Cup scoring was a bit inflated and a low 56 was more in line with Jordan’s performance. Floor is especially concerning because she would be decimated by international judges on her dance elements. The tumbling is 95% there there but she has a massive downgrade risk with her wolf turns. At Winter Cup she underrotated both her triple and double wolf which turns an E and D into a D and A (0.4 loss). Plus she didn’t hit her ring position or land either of her split leaps well.

      But the value of an Amanar is huge. Vault is the huge weakness this year to the point where there’s a risk of putting up a weak DTY in team finals…

  23. Don’t you dare counting out Grace even after her injuryl. In podium training, she did Maloney+Pak+Chow1/2, toe half to piked jaeger, Downie and FTDT on bars. Full in and double double on floor and double pike off beam.
    I get that she might not compete all this, but she will definitely upgrade a lot until nationals and trials.

  24. Morgan did Maloney + Stalder full + piked tkatchev, Downie + pak on bars
    Back tuck full, series and double pike on beam
    Full in on floor
    She is such a queen, what a comeback this is gonna be even if she doesn’t make the team

  25. 1). I LOVE that you LOVE “Derry Girls”…because I LOVE that show too!!!

    2). Also…PLEASE let Chellsie Memmel erase Steve Penny and 2012!!! Please let it happen!!!

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