The State of the US Team, Post-Classic

In assessing the possibilities for a US world championships team now that things are starting to get real, let’s begin with what would be the highest-scoring US team based on Classic results.

Simone Biles15.40014.00014.80014.900
Kaliya Lincoln14.15012.95014.000
Joscelyn Roberson14.65011.10014.30014.000
Skye Blakely14.10014.35014.300
Zoe Miller13.65014.75012.45012.150

It’s already a hefty score (the US won the 2022 team final with 166.564), but also far from being even a whiff of a finalized team. So how can it change, and what would a few of the major contenders need to do to change it?

Jade Carey: Carey would gain a major advantage in team scenarios by bringing back the Cheng at nationals, giving her a leg up on the VT/FX spot currently occupied by Kaliya Lincoln on the Classic team. Then, even a high 13 from Carey on floor would have her gaining tenths on the current team.

While much of the focus has been on Carey v Roberson, it’s also possible to see both of them on a team together, joining Biles to cover vault and floor, next to a pairing of Lee/Jones or Lee/Blakely that covers bars and beam along with Biles (or with Miller in there somewhere, especially if Roberson’s domestic beam scores continue being 14s).

Suni Lee: Lee’s 14.500 beam from Classic would already increase the team beam total, just not by enough to be on the highest-scoring team for a single event. Now, if she were to pair that beam score with a bars routine of anything over 14.150, then she adds more in a UB/BB position than Blakely currently does. Or, depending on the size of the bars score, more than Miller in a bars specialist position. 

Expectations will be more muted for an event like floor for Lee since that will be the last to come back for, but nearly any viable team the US produces will be stacked on floor so there’s little reason for that to be account unless her floor is immediately amazing. Right now, she’d profile as bars and beam for team final purposes, with much hinging on the difficulty on bars.

Shilese Jones: We know to expect a high bars score from Jones when she returns to compete, and since she’ll have other routines that are also viable in a team final, that could see her displace Miller on the prospective Classic team by matching that bars score. 

That, or she could join both Miller and Lee on the Epic Bars Team of all time. In similar fashion to the Carey v Roberson conundrum, Jones and Miller may be jockeying for the same spot on a team given their bars ability, but not necessarily. If Jones is scoring well enough on vault and floor to cover those events alongside Biles and one of Carey/Roberson, then Epic Bars Team would fit as a group of five.

But, there wouldn’t be room for both Epic Bars Team (Lee, Jones, Miller) and Epic Vault Team (Biles, Carey, Roberson) on a five-person squad, so something would have to give. Or multiple things, if Blakely or Jordan Chiles have something to say about it. 

Jordan Chiles: Imperative for Chiles will be her all-around placement, especially in a situation where the Epic Teams outlined above are deemed too risky or not sufficiently able to cover all the events in every phase of competition. But also if USAG just fully checks out and picks all-arounders again.

Like several others, Chiles is a very viable option for that Kaliya Lincoln role on the Classic team, so as we go, she’ll be looking to show that her floor is just a little bit better than the other 14.0ers, that her DTY is just a little bit better than the other DTYs. Showing that she adds tenths in multiple places, showing that she provides a tangible advantage on the leg events compared to Shilese Jones (which was the case at 2022 worlds), while also bringing more realistic bars and beam compared to a Carey or a Lincoln would be her path onto a highest-scoring team.

Outscoring Blakely in the all-around would also be an aim for Chiles as one can foresee a scenario where they are both fighting for a remaining spot (say, in a Biles, Lee, Jones, Carey/Roberson world).

14 thoughts on “The State of the US Team, Post-Classic”

  1. Pretty interesting assessment — seems like there’s little room for Wong, DiCello or Douglas.

    1. I didn’t think there was a path for Douglas to make this year’s world team….

      1. There is no path for Douglas ever to compete at top level again. She was never anything near Biles; she won in 2012 because Komova effed up big time.She’s DONE.

  2. That’s the thing with the U.S. women’s team: too many very good gymnasts; too few spots. Great for the team but bad for the individuals.

  3. I feel Leanne could make the worlds team ,don’t write her off just yet .

    1. How?
      She isn’t top 3 on anything.
      Even last year she got taken for bars and ended up not doing them and instead did vault, which was pointless with Carey and Chiles doing two vaults.

      Not on the top scoring team after doing the all around, without Lee on bars, Jones not competing, and Chiles and Carey not doing all around here. That doesn’t bode well for her.

      1. She only did bars because she was injured last year. I wouldn’t *predict* her to make the worlds team but it’s not out of the question because she is one of the few outside of Simone that can go close to 14 on every event at full strength. The others being Skye and maybe Shilese (with her beam upgrades)

  4. Skye Blakely’s inclusion on last year’s team based on her beam potential gives me hope that the 2023 selection committee will not go purely on AA rank order. There is so much diverse talent and specialization this year that all 12 routines in the team final this year should be from the top scorers on each event. There should be no event where there’s a “just get through it” routine like we saw with Carey’s beam last year.

    I am more and more in favor of both Roberson and Carey making the team provided they are both getting 14.6s/14.7s on vault and 14.1s/14.2s on floor. Combined with Biles’ scores, that would be an untouchable vault and floor rotation.

    The counterpart to Roberson and Carey would be Lee and Blakely who could send the bars and beam rotations into the stratosphere.

    What is currently unknown now is how Jones’ combined vault, bars, and floor scores compare to the vault and floor scores of Carey and Roberson. If Jones is within 0.2 of them on vault and floor but consistently 0.7/0.8 over Biles on bars, she would be the better choice over either Carey or Roberson AND provide an excellent AA backup.

    Chiles and Wong are going to have show something more than a top 4 AA score. Chiles is similar to Jones when it comes to vault and floor but doesn’t have that killer 3rd event. Wong doesn’t have a single top 3 event at the moment and didn’t make a compelling enough AA case at Classic.

    Miller is an extremely compelling choice but lack of a strong 2nd event really limits her chances and relies on a lot of other pieces falling in place.

  5. But you are basing this on the scoring at a US meet. That right there means it doesn’t hold true.

    Kaliya Lincoln is an amazing tumbler but her landings are uncontrollable . Her leaps and jumps are nicely done but the new artistry judging rules with International judging should lower her score significantly.

    Joscelyn has scored well outside the US this season but World judges might be better strict.

    Sorry for my English. It is not my first langauge.

    1. None of the US girls scores dropped significantly on floor from nationals to worlds last year. Maybe if you count Shilese.

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