US Olympic Gymnastics Trials 2012: 4 Underdogs We Want to Make US Olympic Team
The U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials are less than two weeks away and the anticipation is killing us. OK that’s a stretch, however with the final decision as to who gets to represent America at the London 2012 Olympics, time is running short for some very talented gymnasts.
While the top three of five spots are probably a lock for both the men and women, the final two are still available and frankly, it’s anyone’s game. San Jose is ready and June 28 - July 1 will be the weekend hopes and dreams may be realized or utterly dashed.
One fact remains – both the men and women's teams need more than one trick pony athletes. Gone are the days of single event specialists at the Olympic Games. Now every routine matters and with gold at stake, every gymnast must pull his/her weight in a collective team effort.
Who will join John Orozco, Danell Leyva, Sam Mikulak, Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman in July?
It won't be easy, but here is who we hope makes the cut.
Jonathan Horton placed fourth, right behind Sam Mikulak at the Visa Nationals earlier this month. This puts him in a precarious position, as only the top two with combined scores from Nationals and Trials will automatically be named to the Olympic team.
This seasoned athlete is still in top condition, his previous foot injury aside. Horton's high bar routine is medal worthy, though he has changed up his floor routine to protect the foot, He has trouble on pommel, which is why his spot on the team is not secured.
Beyond that Horton has the skills along with the experience to lead the men and challenge the competition, particularly Japan.
He is a team player with his head on straight, never gives way to excuses and has the tenacity to contribute big time. If anyone deserves to head back to the Olympics for a second time, it is Horton. Hopefully, the selection committee will appreciate his value.
This young lady deserves a shot at Olympic history. Her consistency on all apparatus proves she has the nerves required to compete on the largest of athletic stages.
If she lacks anywhere, it is floor exercise. She needs to pick up the pace and grab every tenth for connection bonus points if she is going with the same routine she did in St. Louis and soften up her body positions during dance transitions. Oh, and fix that double turn or take it out and replace it with a different difficulty.
With specialist McKayla Maroney in the mix, Ross has her work to do. To represent the U.S. she must prove her worth by going four for four at Trials.
Chris Brooks is a dependable contributor, particularly on vault. The team needs muscle on pommel horse and Brooks needs to quickly step up his game on this particular event. The U.S. men desperately need higher value and clean pommel routines.
However, at the Visa Nationals he outscored teammate Jake Dalton on both pommel and parallel bars though they tied for fifth in the all-around. Either man could be chosen, so this one is anybody's guess.
Does Brooks have the stuff to secure a team medal in London? Who knows, but he does deserve to be headed to England.
A relative unknown to the general public, Elizabeth Price raised some eyebrows with her performances at the Visa Nationals this month.
Her uneven bar scores were impressive considering how sorely the team as a whole fairs on this apparatus. She could stand in for Aly Raisman on bars and definitely hold her own on floor exercise and vault.
Her beam work comes up short, but no matter. Raisman along with Jordyn Wieber and Kyla Ross can pick up that slack.
Hand this young lady a ticket.