US Olympic Gymnastics Trials Results 2012: Top Qualifiers, Updates & Highlights
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The U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials ended Sunday in San Jose, California, but the journey to London has just begun.
Check out B/R's Olympic page for all the latest news and analysis on America's top gymnasts leading up to what should be a fruitful meet for Team USA.
If you want to turn the clock backwards and check out our live-stream coverage of Trials, we're keeping all that goodness below for posterity.
Thanks for checking in, and I'm sure we'll see you again before summer's end.
In a region of the country known for its booms and busts, America's best gymnasts are going for broke this week at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials.
The location: San Jose, California.
The prize: a trip to the London 2012 Olympics.
And if that wasn't enough, this year's crop of tumblers, twisters and acrobats could go down as one of the best in U.S. gymnastics history.
We're here to help you survey it all, providing updated results and timely analysis as the road to London takes shape.
Your U.S. women's gymnastics team for the London 2012 Olympics:
Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross
Tears are flowing. The crowd is in hysterics.
And the hunt for gold is on.
UPSET COMPLETE, DOUGLAS WINS
Jordyn Wieber may have been the best gymnast on the planet at last year's World Championships, but on this weekend she wasn't the best in her own country.
Sixteen-year-old challenger Gabby Douglas did just enough on her final rotation, floor exercise, to edge Wieber for the individual all-around title and an automatic qualifying spot on the London team.
The final margin of victory was 0.100 points.
As I type, Marta Karolyi and the selection committee have convened underneath the grandstand to decide the final four spots.
Wieber is a mortal lock. Third-place finisher Aly Raisman should be good to go.
McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, Elizabeth Price and Alicia Sacramone are all in the picture for spots four and five.
SACRAMONE WON'T GO QUIETLY
Counted out more times then I care to mention, 2008 Olympic veteran Alicia Sacramone hit her marks on balance beam and vault to remain firmly in the conversation for London.
Sacramone, 24, received a massive ovation from the crowd after sticking her second vault.
DOUGLAS' LEAD SHRINKS WITH ONE ROTATION REMAINING
As it was on Day 2 of Visa Nationals, Gabby Douglas entered beam with momentum and left it with question marks.
Douglas looked shaky throughout her routine, saving utter disaster on a couple of occasions and escaping with a 14.850.
Across the arena on floor exercise, Jordyn Wieber was her usual rock solid self.
Douglas leads by 0.600 points entering the final rotation.
Wieber is on vault, her highest-scoring apparatus on Day 1. Douglas is on floor exercise.
Were they to register the exact same marks they did on Friday in those respective appartuses, Douglas would win by 0.150 points.
Hold your breath.
GABBY DOUGLAS SURGES AHEAD
Thanks to a breath-taking 15.900-point performance on uneven bars, Gabby Douglas opened up a 1.350-point lead on Jordyn Wieber for first place in the individual all-around and an automatic Olympic bid.
With two rotations left, a major upset might just be brewing.
Facing a similar scenario at Visa Nationals last month, Douglas wobbled on balance beam and opened the door for Wieber to take control.
Wouldn't you know it, beam is up next for Douglas.
EMOTIONAL END FOR LIUKIN
Even at her lowest point, former Olympic all-around champ Nastia Liukin managed to deliver goosebumps.
Liukin whiffed on a high-bar release, falling face-first to the mat and effectively ending what little chance she had left of making this team. The thud echoed through HP Pavilion like a death knell.
For a moment, it seemed Liukin wouldn't be able to continue. Tears welling—either from emotion or the blunt force impact to her nose—she walked over to the chalk, steadied herself and continued with her routine.
Upon finishing, Liukin received a standing ovation from the savvy San Jose crowd.
MARONEY FALTERS EARLY
Firmly on the bubble entering Sunday, McKayla Maroney got off to a rough start on the uneven bars. The California native ran into trouble navigating the low bar and had to settle for a 13.700.
This wasn't one of Maroney's bread-and-butter events, but now she'll have to deliver big scores on vault and floor exercise.
Moments after Gabby Douglas wowed on vault, Jordyn Wieber stepped to the uneven bars, one of her weaker apparatuses, and connected for a beautiful 15.350.
It was the same score she earned on Friday, and further proof of her stunning consistency.
In the words of NBC color man Tim Daggett: "She looks absolutely unstoppable."
DOUGLAS LAYS IT DOWN
Gabby Douglas got Day 2 off to a flying start, sticking her vault and drawing rave reviews from a crowd that has fallen for high-flying ways.
The judges were similarly smitten, giving Douglas a 16.000. The score was a full two-tenths better than her vault mark from Friday night.
ANALYSIS OF THE MEN'S TEAM THAT WILL HEAD TO LONDON
The finalized Team USA roster announced on Sunday is a well-rounded five-man team, but it is short on experience. Jonathan Horton, 26, helped the American win their bronze in Beijing. He also got a silver for his work on the high bar. He is the only member of this squad with Olympic experience, which is not a shock, given he is the only member over the age of 20.
He certainly isn't the only member that has proven he can perform on big stages though.
Danell Leyva proved that much by winning the all-around title at the U.S. Olympic Trials, and he is outstanding on the parallel bars. John Orozco won the all-around U.S. national championship earlier in early June; Sam Mikulak won the NCAA championship in 2011 and came in third at nationals.
Jake Dalton is the reigning NCAA champ. He is explosive gymnast who will turn some heads on the floor and vault.
Four out of the five of these guys are also used to competing with each other. Leyva, Orozco, Dalton and Horton joined forces to help the U.S. win the bronze at the 2011 World Championships.
This is a deep, talented and diverse team. Each member will be a serious contender for at least one individual medal, and they definitely have the talent to take a team medal.
MEN'S TEAM ALTERNATES ANNOUNCED
Chris Brooks, Steven Legendre and Alexander Naddour will be ready to jump onto the team if one of the five members is unable to compete.
The three alternates were named on the official website of U.S. Gymnastics.
MEET THE MEN'S TEAM
The U.S. Olympics released the names, via their official Twitter account, of the five men who are set to head to London and represent their country in gymnastics.
Three alternates will also be named. We will get that to you when, and analysis on these guys in a bit.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: SUNDAY, JULY 1
Here's what we know about the big names on the women's side entering the final day of competition at U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials:
Jordyn Weiber and Gabby Douglas are almost assuredly in. Nastia Liukin is almost assuredly out.
The rest is up to interpretation.
Aly Raisman did solid all-around work on Day 1 and remains a strong favorite to earn one of the remaining three spots.
Beyond that, it gets even trickier.
Elizabeth Price, a 16-year-old Pennsylvanian without much international experience, was the surprise star of Day 1. Price turned in one of the evening's best vaults and posted solid scores on floor and uneven bars. With a strong follow-up performance, she can steal a bid away from fellow young-guns Sarah Finnegan and Kyla Ross.
McKayla Maroney and Alicia Sacramone continue to battle for what is ostensibly a vault specialist position.
Both held serve on Day 1. Maroney, as expected, was a bit better than Sacramone on vault, but Sacramone proved her worth with beautiful work on beam. Maroney's best event is better. Sacramone's top two events combined have a little more oopmh.
Neither has created insurmountable separation and neither has goofed in any major way.
The battle continues.
The Olympic trials for men's gymnastics are in the books, and a few things are certain. John Orozco and Dannell Leyva will be part of the five-man group heading to London. The other three competitors are still undecided.
The final three will be some combination of Jonathan Horton, Sam Mikulak, Jake Dalton, Chris Brooks, Alex Naddour and Steven Legendre.
Horton's third-place finish and Mikulak's excellent performance in Day 1 almost guarantee their spots on the team. Dalton and Brooks battled to stay in the top five in Saturday's action. They will compete neck-and-neck with Legendre's floor-routine prowess for the final spot.
Expect Naddour to be the odd man out.
Leyva did what was necessary on the final rotation of Day 2 to earn a first-place finish. He overcame a 0.550 point deficit from the fifth rotation to win.
Orozco's odd injury on the parallel bars landed him in second place. He lost by 0.950 points. Without the injury, he probably would have earned the top spot.
The Olympic team has not been announced yet, but we do know these two will be heading to London. They're the top male gymnasts at this point. The other three positions are up for grabs.
Horton should be named to the team after his third-place finish. He had a very solid performance over two days, but he didn't end on a high note. He miscalculated his rotation on a floor routine pass in his final rotation.
Dalton and Brooks finished tied for fourth place. They enjoyed a solid all-around day on Saturday, but they weren't able to get into the leaderboard's top three.
Legendre saved his best for last. He entered the final rotation in eighth place, but his 16.2 score on his final floor routine improved his final position. The team could be seeking a floor-routine specialist. If they are, he may find himself a spot among this year's top five male gymnasts.
The action was fast and furious on Saturday. Leyva and Orozco passed the lead back and forth, and Mikulak's injury left something to be desired.
The official Olympic team will be announced at 1 p.m. EST on Sunday.
Here's something to keep an eye on. Orozco will earn a bid on the Olympic team, but he had a scary situation in his final rotation. He seemed to cramp up on the parallel bars and told an NBC reporter that he couldn't feel his arms following the injury.
His handlers were looking at his wrist, but he appears to be all right. It could have been worse if he had fallen.
LEYVA AND OROZCO IN DEAD HEAT ENTERING FINAL ROTATION
After the fifth heat, Orozco leads by just over half a point. Leyva needed a 16.2 score on the vault in the fifth rotation, but he changed his routine prior to running and didn't get the score he needed to grab the lead.
Jonathan Horton is in third after a mediocre performance on the pommel horse. He has done enough to qualify for the Olympic team (I would think), but he won't see first place on Saturday.
Behind Horton is Chris Brooks. Brooks is followed by fifth-place competitor Jake Dalton.
With one rotation remaining, Orozco and Levya are looking for first-place glory. It should be an incredible finish.
OROZCO GRABS LEAD
After the fourth rotation, Orozco grabbed the lead from leader Leyva. His 15.35 performance on the rings propelled him to the top of the leaderboard. He currently leads by 0.150 points.
Jonathan Horton and Chris Brooks are in third and fourth place, respectively. Brooks' 15.6 performance on the parallel bars was nearly flawless.
Jake Dalton remains in the thick of things. He's just over nine points behind Orozco with two rotations remaining.
LEYVA LEADS AFTER THIRD ROTATION
Leyva is taking advantage of Day 1 leader Sam Mikulak's sprained ankle. After Day 2's first three rotations, Leyva leads John Orozco by 0.500 points. Jonathan Horton, Jake Dalton and Chris Brooks follow in third, fourth and fifth.
On-site reporter Damin Esper had this to say about Mikulak's injury.
The news of the day is Sam Mikulak having a sprained ankle. He's out of five of the six events today, but he will try to do the pommel horse.
This greatly diminishes his qualifying hopes, and it leaves the door wide open for Leyva and Orozco moving forward.
LEYVA CLIMBING LEADERBOARD
Dannell Leyva is vying for the top spot on the leaderboard after a solid floor routine (14.45) performance. He suffered a minor stumble at the beginning of his run, but he managed to right himself.
John Orozco entered today's competition behind Leyva. He performed with masterful precision on the high bad and followed that with a 15.2 in his floor routine.
Jonathan Horton and David Sender both performed well on the pommel horse. Horton scored a 15.85, and Sender turned in an epic 16.35 performance.
Stay tuned for Orozco's pommel horse performance, and the rest of Leyva's Day 2 routines.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: SATURDAY, JUNE 30
All eyes are on Michigan freshman Sam Mikulak today as he tries to overcome injury and expectation in pursuit of his first Olympic berth.
Mikulak gave the performance of a lifetime on Day 1 of the men's all-around competition, posting a higher overall score than co-favorites Danell Leyva and John Orozco.
But the victory was not without sacrifice.
Mikulak sprained his long-troublesome left ankle during the vault rotation and is now questionable for Saturday's decisive final day of competition. According to Jo-Ann Barnas of the Detroit Free Press, Mikulak would need to petition USA Gymnastics for a spot on the Olympic team if he is indeed not fit to compete.
Let's hope it doesn't come to that for one of America's most talented young gymnasts.
Mikulak's injury opens the door for one of Orozco or Leyva to win the all-around competition.
Leyva scored one point higher than Orozco on Thursday, moving him to first position overall for the lone automatic Olympic berth. That coveted spot goes to the gymnast with the highest combined score between Visa Nationals and U.S. Olympic Trials.
Beijing double-medalist Jonathan Horton has a firm hold on fourth position (combining his scores from Day 1 of Trials and Visa Nationals) and should make his second Olympic team if he can hold steady.
University of Oklahoma's Jake Dalton made a solid play for the fifth spot with a 90.550 on Day 1, just 0.15 points behind John Orozco's Thursday tally.
Chris Brooks, however, appears to be trending in the opposite direction. His 88.650 was just the day's seventh-best score, and he'll need a monster effort on Day 2 to have a viable chance at Olympic selection.
WOMEN'S QUICK FIRST DAY ROUNDUP
There's no doubt in anyone's mind in San Jose that Jordyn Wieber reached new heights on Friday with spectacular efforts on all four events.
Wieber, who turns 17 on July 12, has been an all-around champion at nearly every major competition over the past four years, and yet she continues to get better with each performance.
A true champion and worthy choice for the 2012 London Olympic Team, she's leaving little doubt as to her value.
Elizabeth Price also finished strong with a good floor routine. Sarah Finnegan scored 15.000 on vault, a good step forward.
Gabby Douglas was the biggest winner of the first day, finishing second with a 61.400, just behind Wieber's 61.700.
Raisman's solid final routine, despite a penalty deduction, puts her in third at 60.300, followed by Price and Kyla Ross.
Finnegan is sixth, followed by Maroney, Brenna Dowell, Kennedy Baker, Sabrina Vega, Alicia Sacramone, Anna Lil, Nastia Liukin and Rebecca Bross.
Liukin lost the most on day one. She can't continue the way she has been underperforming. Four years ago, she was on top of the world, and that's the way she should be remembered.
THREE DOWN, ONE TO GO
Gabby Douglas jumped into second place in the standings after three rotations and is nipping on the heels of leader Jordyn Wieber, who looks so under control it seems unlikely she feels any pressure from Douglas.
Kyla Ross is hanging in there in third, with Elizabeth Price and Aly Raisman in the hunt.
Not sure Nastia Liukin has done herself any favors so far. She just doesn't have it this time around. She's probably competing at the trials because of who she is and what she has accomplished. It's a shame she didn't give herself more time.
DOUGLAS A FLOOR SENSATION
Gabby Douglas was spectacular on her floor exercise, scoring 15.45. Grace and beauty combined with athletic ability is a killer combination, and Gabby has it.
She's grabbing the attention of the crowd, which appreciates the loving touches, the fun little additions and superb finish. She owns San Jose right now.
SACRAMONE COMING ON
A solid effort on the beam. One slight misstep, but she doesn't let it bother her. She looked much better than Raisman in the event.
Wieber and Price (she came back to earth a little with a subpar beam) have been consistently good to this point. They seem to be separating themselves from the others thus far.
I have to wonder if the absence of Sloan has any impact or if Maroney's injury issue is a little more bothersome than first thought.
Sabrina Vega gets penalized for going out of bounds on the floor exercise.
STANDINGS AFTER TWO ROTATIONS
Wieber is nailing it, leads with 31.250; Price next with 30.550; Ross 30.400; Gabby Douglas 30.150; Aly Raisman 29.750.
Maroney fell in the uneven bars. She didn't hit her head. She probably fell due to lack of training following her nose problem.
Liukin misses badly on bars. The crowd is still behind her.
Raisman stumbles on beam.
WIEBER BENDING IT
Jordyn Wieber is zeroed in. She's easily the best all-around athlete out there so far. She's the early favorite to clinch a spot on the five-member Olympic team by virtue of being the all-around champion.
Wieber on bars was splendid. She turned in one of the best routines this year. Stuck full twisting double layout dismount. She's on fire.
It's the kind of performance that people remember. She's head and shoulders above the rest. Scores a 15.350.
LIUKIN A LITTLE WOBBLY
Natasia Liukin started strong on the beam, but slowed and made a couple of critical missteps. A little hop on her dismount. She scores a 14.500. She'll have to come back stronger, or her comeback will stop here. Tough luck for the Olympic gold medalist. She probably needed a few more months of training with her father/coach.
Meanwhile, Kyla Ross and Anna Li each with a 15.500 on bars. Very solid routines.
MARONEY STARTS STRONG
The first go-around were solid for most of the athletes. McKayla Maroney turned in an impressive 16.100 on vault. There seems to be no worries about the nose she injured at the VISA Championships.
Maroney got a pass into the Olympic Trials and is making the most of it.
Very impressive vault from high school sophomore Elizabeth Price, who scored a 16.050. It already looks to be a fascinating competition.
COMPETITION STARTS WITHOUT SLOAN
Bridget Sloan, a 2008 Olympian, has scratched from the competition with a sprained elbow she suffered while warming up for the first day of the Olympic Trials in San Jose on Friday.
Sloan, with her coach Marvin Sharp, was examined by U.S. Team Doctor Larry Nassar. She later tried to continue warm ups but was forced to withdraw.
"This is not the way we planned to finish up, but she has had a wonderful career and I am very proud of her," Sharp told Inside Gymnastics. "She has represented the USA for the past eight years on the National Team, including the Olympics and Worlds where she won the All-Around title."
Sloan, while no longer in the running for a spot on the Olympic team, can certainly act as a team leader the rest of the way.
What To Watch For: Friday, June 29
The fellas did a nice song-and-dance during Day 1 of the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials, but on Day 2 we make way for the real stars of the sport.
Ladies, the stage is yours.
America's 15 best female gymnasts (at least according to a subjective selection process) begin their collective quest for one of five spots on what should be a loaded U.S. women's gymnastics team.
All competitors will go through the full, four-event rotation, with all scores counting toward an individual all-around total.
Three story lines to watch as the women get started:
Nastia Liukin's Redemption
The defending all-around Olympic champion is still among gymnastics' biggest stars, but she'll need much more than a healthy Twitter following to make her second Olympic team.
Liukin, who has largely been out of the sport since Beijing, looked rusty at Visa Nationals earlier this month, raising concerns over her fitness and preparation.
If she has somehow rediscovered her championship form over the past few weeks, we should find out early. Liukin's first rotation is on uneven bars, the apparatus she would likely specialize in were she to make the team.
Two of Liukin's 2008 teammates, Alicia Sacramone and Bridget Sloan, are also seeking a second Olympic team.
Like Liukin, Sacramone tackles her most important apparatus, vault, in the first rotation. Unlike Liukin, however, Sacramone looked sharp at Visa Nationals and seems to have some room for error.
With all due respect to Aly Raisman, a fantastic all-around talent and good bet to make her first Olympic team, the title of best American female gymnast has turned into a two-women race between defending world champ Jordyn Wieber and big-air connoisseur Gabby Douglas.
A smaller-than-expected margin separated the two at Visa Nationals, with the battle-tested Wieber eventually prevailing thanks to a Douglas misstep on beam.
But Douglas seems to gain confidence with each competition, and one wonders if/when she'll overtake Wieber, the sitting gold medal favorite.
It's always fascinating to see how the field's least seasoned competitors respond to the pressure of an Olympic Trials.
This weekend in San Jose, we'll see five young gymnasts who have never represented Team USA at an Olympic Games or World Championships: Elizabeth Price, Kennedy Baker, Brenna Dowell, Sarah Finnegan and Kyla Ross.
Among that quintet, Finnegan and Ross (both aged 15) are the names to watch.
Assuming their poise doesn't waver, each has the talent to make National Team Director Marta Karolyi's final five.
Quick Recap: Thursday, June 28
The U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials began Thursday afternoon, as the men's competition kicked off the action in San Jose. As expected, the matchup between America's top two all-around competitors was extremely close.
The battle between John Orozco and Danell Leyva carried into the competition, as Leyva edged his rival 91.7-90.7 in the all-around event. It gives Leyva a small measure of revenge after Orozco edged him for the individual all-around championship earlier this year at the Visa Nationals.
However, aside from all the hoopla about the growing rivalry between arguably America's top two overall talents, 19-year-old Sam Mikulak stole the show. The University of Michigan gymnast essentially sealed his spot on Team USA with a sensational performance.
Mikulak thrilled spectators with his all-around score of 91.8 points over six routines, which launched him ahead of Orozco and Leyva, the two more heralded competitors. The Southern California native also earned second-place finishes on bars and vault, giving him three top-three results out of the six events.
Mikulak, a 2011 NCAA National Champion, looked like he's ready to make a major impact and contribute in a significant role with Team USA if he holds on to qualify for a trip to London.
"Kid's a gamer," Jonathan Horton told the Associated Press while describing Mikulak's performance."He just knows how to perform. That's all there is to it. He just knows how to go out there and do his job."
What To Watch For: Thursday, June 28
The men take center stage on Day 1 of the artistic gymnastics competition.
All 15 male Olympic hopefuls will go through a full six-event rotation on Thursday and then once more on Saturday.
The athlete with the most overall points after 12 rotations wins the individual all-around title and earns the only automatic qualifying spot on America's five-man gymnastics team. All other team members will be chosen by committee.
Our preview starts with John Orozco (19) and Danell Leyva (20), the young scions of USA gymnastics who recently staged a thrilling battle for the individual all-around title at Visa Nationals.
Orozco scored an upset victory on the final rotation, leaving Leyva with a rare taste of disappointment.
Both are mortal locks for the U.S. team, but the title of top American gymnast won't be taken lightly. Expect ambition and precocity from these poster boys of Team USA's youth movement.
The team's other four spots are still waiting to be won.
Four years after he was the face of America's surprise team bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games, Jonathan Horton enters his third Olympic trials with no assurances of selection.
Horton's struggles on pommel horse in particular raise concerns that he could handicap Team USA in the team competition.
It's on Horton to prove otherwise this week.
Fans love his can-do attitude and the committee is sure to weigh his Olympic experience (which includes a 2008 individual silver medal on high bar), but is the combination of the two enough to overcome some conspicuous holes in his competitive profile?
If you're looking for some background info on the U.S. Trials, we've got you covered. Below, you can find some B/R previews and predictions:
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