Gymnastics News Network
What else can be said regarding Simone Biles that hasn’t already been said? Pretty much nothing! She’s dynamite in a tiny package that appears to be completely unstoppable.
The three-time U.S. and world champion was almost perfect as she competed at the P&G Gymnastics Championships on day #1. Scoring a 62.900, Biles is a comfortable 2 points ahead of her competition, Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez (tied for second place currently).
But, it comes as no surprise that Biles would have such substantial lead after the first day of competition. It also wasn’t a big surprise to see the 2012 Olympic team members, Raisman and Gabby Douglas, also sitting in the second and fourth place positions respectively.
The shock of the night was watching the 2015 U.S. junior champion, Hernandez, perform beautifully and skillfully – like she knew what she had to do to get Marta Karolyi’s (U.S. National Team Coordinator) attention and she hit four for four.
Hernandez and Raisman each scored a 60.450 in day #1 of competition, tied for second place, while Douglas was fourth with score of 58.900.
The P&G Championships is the first of two Olympic qualifying events for the women’s team, which will be announced at the conclusion of Olympic Trials in San Jose in two weeks.
Two gymnasts trying to make a come back from injuries earlier this year are Maggie Nichols and Madison Kocian.
Kocian, came back ready to compete after a broken bone in her foot, and is currently placed fifth behind Douglas. Beam seemed to be her weakest event of the night while her bar set was stunning.
Nichols is still in the process of coming back from knee surgery and only competed bars and beam.
Biles easily placed first on floor, beam and vault and tied for fourth on bars – her lowest scoring event. With that being said, her bar routine was spot on and she even stuck her dismount, she simply doesn’t have the difficulty value as she does on her other events.
“I showed how hard I’ve been working,” Biles said of her performance. “I wanted to hit all four events and I did, so I’m pretty excited. Those were some of the best routines I’ve done.”
The veteran of the night, Raisman, 22, shared her words of encouragement with all the gymnasts trying to make the Rio team before they were set to compete. Hernandez (16) remarked that this helped to calm her and center her focus before she competed for the night.
“I went to the girls and said I was nervous,” Raisman admitted. “I said to take it like a team competition. The atmosphere for a team competition is the best. If we root for each other, it’s better.”
Hernandez was out to prove she deserved and belonged on the 2016 Rio Olympic Team. Placing in the top three on vault, bars, and floor, she was out to Marta that she could really her routines.
“Aly was saying that it wasn’t ‘every man for himself,’ more that we should treat this like a team event,” said Hernandez. “Star”
“We call her ‘Mama Aly,’” Hernandez shared, laughing.
After Hernandez dazzled everyone with a spectacular floor routine, Marta was caught mouthing “Wow” to her fellow selection panel.
“I think it’s important that the girls impress us, and if I say ‘Wow,’ it means I really like it,” Karolyi said. “It’s a positive point for Laurie. She did a very good job. She handled the pressure very well. She is a newcomer at the senior level and competed as a model gymnast; that’s what we needed to know.”
Douglas seemed to be very consistent on day #1, placing third on floor and fourth on uneven bars. With a sky high vault that made the arena erupt in applause, she went on to stick her bar landing, only to struggle slightly on beam with a few bobbles. Once she hit the floor though, Douglas performed to the crowd. Her routine matched her consistency with the other events and scored well enough to finish in the top four.
Kocian may be the wildcard as far as the fifth team member goes. She placed second on uneven bars, where the U.S. women seem to be the weakest. Only Ashton Locklear beat Kocian by a couple tenths on bars. Locklear, a bar and beam specialist, may not have a chance with such incredible depth from all the women who can compete all-around and who can contribute on other events if needed.
Other gymnasts looking to impress Marta and win a spot on the Olympic team include:
Amelia Hundley, MyKayla Skinner, Alyssa Baumann, Ragan Smith, Rachel Gowey and Brenna Dowell, who placed sixth to 11th respectively.
Source: NBC Sports
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