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Team USA Podium Training

Today was podium training. For Team USA, this is the ultimate dress rehearsal, complete with Starburst colored leos.

After watching Team USA during today's podium training for worlds, here are some initial thoughts.

Apologies to non-team USA fans, since I was at work, I didn't have time to watch other teams. I'll post some analysis later in the week as I have time to do so.

First off, we (the gymternet at large) are fairly certain that MyKayla Skinner will be the alternate as she went up last on every event for podium training.  For Team USA, podium training is basically a dress rehearsal for competition.  By this point, line-ups are (mostly) set in stone.

By this performance, we have determined that there will be four all-arounders in competition, Simone, Gabby, Aly and Maggie. Specialists are Brenna and Madison Kocian, oh and Brenna will not be competing on bars. Say what now? Brenna is an amazing bar worker and was super consistent all during NCAA season for Oklahoma (yes, I know this is elite, not NCAA). Why have Brenna on the team and not use her on bars? I think I would have made Madison the alternate and not MyKayla since she can be used on vault and floor and is probably even more valuable as an all-arounder in a pinch. Whatever.

Speaking, Brenna's bars are ridiculous. That Tweddle to Ezhova, ahhh! Glorious! She's become so consistent with that routine, it's a shame we won't see it in qualifications. At least it's nice to see NCAA Brenna competing in elite Brenna's body.

Team USA is still probably the weakest on bars, but they've got specialists and they can definitely put up a decent, solid score. Madison is lovely as always on bars (she's definitely got that WOGA style). Gabby's endos on the low bar are to die for and I love how bars is Simone's weak event, but she's even amazing on that event.  Aly Raisman is much improved on bars.  I no longer cringe or hold my breath when she is up. Her handstands are very nice, her swing is better. Maturity has really been good for Aly.

It's not just bars she's improved on, she was always good on beam and floor, but she's got a refinement about her. She's still powerful, and it's amazing that after all this time off, she's still got those skills. That Patterson, bam!

Speaking of Brenna, she hit a very nice beam set in training. Wonder if she'll wind up in beam finals? You never know, anything can happen.

Aside from the usual folks, my biggest hope for Team USA has to be Maggie Nichols. Maggie has come so far this quad.  She started as a young one, there were many newbies coming up from the junior ranks that year.  Last year, she was on track for the worlds team, but got injured at the Pan Am Championships. She came back and was super consistent, much more refined and elegant. She's improved every year, at every meet. I'm hopeful that she'll qualify for an event final, the all-around final, perhaps medal?


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