We officially have the US women’s Olympic squad. The four-woman team will be Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Grace McCallum, and the two individual competitors are Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner.
Which makes total sense and is logically sound at every turn.
Just kidding, it’s a clown fire, obviously.
So let’s get into it. We always knew it was going to be extremely close for the fourth spot on this team, and it ended up being even closer than that. But if we dive into the actual numbers from Olympic Trials, this is what we see.
Based on each athlete’s best score from trials on each event, we end up with these 3-count team scores
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Skinner: 177.662
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Wong: 177.396
Biles, Lee, Chiles, McCallum: 177.395
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Eaker: 177.329
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Jones: 177.296
Biles, Lee, Chiles, DiCello: 177.262
And based on each athlete’s average score from the two days of trials, we end up with these 3-count team scores
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Skinner: 175.080
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Wong: 174.981
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Eaker: 174.831
Biles, Lee, Chiles, McCallum: 174.730
Biles, Lee, Chiles, Jones: 174.681
Biles, Lee, Chiles, DiCello: 174.647
In both methods, the team with MyKayla Skinner comes out on top, followed by the team with Leanne Wong. The team with McCallum is in third and fourth place respectively.
What we saw at trials was a team of Biles, Lee, and Chiles that didn’t really need any help, but the routine that provided the biggest boost to the score was Skinner’s vault, thanks to her difficulty. That’s why I would have selected Skinner for for the fourth spot. She earned it with her results at trials more than the other contenders.
Now, it is very close and there are absolutely valid reasons to want someone like McCallum (though this argument also extends to Wong and DiCello) on that team instead of Skinner despite Skinner making up the highest-scoring group. Most significantly, McCallum provides more realistic routines on all four pieces. She would be a better Swiss army knife to slot into any and every role should someone get super injured, or someone get “I’m kind of injured but you don’t want to remove me from the team because I can still do bars,” or if you simply want to rest someone in the team final because it’s a long event and you’re going to win anyway.Continue reading But Why?: Reflections on the US Olympic Team