Too Many Injuries? USA Without Sacramone.
I have said, and probably written, on many different occasions in the past two months “It’s okay. This puts a dent in team USA’s lineup, but they are still the favorites for gold, in my opinion.”
I said it after that horrible first day of nationals. I said it after Bross was injured on day two. I said it when Mackenzie Caquatto was injured at camp. I said it when everybody thought that Marta had picked the wrong team. I said it when Anna Li’s injury was exposed.
I’m not sure anymore.
On paper, the US doesn’t lose much. Using their high scores from nationals, the US loses .7 on vault if Raisman is used, .5 on beam if Vega is used and .05 on floor if Vega or Maroney is used. That’s a grand total of 1.25, which isn’t a whole lot when all signs pointed to the team dominating worlds.
In reality, they may lose a lot more. Alicia was undeniably the leader of this team. She even emphasized it as her role in all of the pre-worlds interviews. Alicia has proved herself countless times in team finals, if we don’t count Beijing. Vega and Maroney have never performed a routine on the world stage. Maroney has been to two international competitions. Ever.
Alicia is still listed on the team, which means that she will probably be on the floor during the competition to support her teammate. That could boost the confidence of the team to some extent. Some people seem to be excited that if the team medals, Alicia becomes the most decorated US gymnast, even though she isn’t competing. I do not feel the same way. While the whole world knows that Alicia’s presence would have been helpful to this team, it doesn’t seem like the right way to earn this honor. It doesn’t seem like the way that she would want to do it. Then again, one of Shannon Miller’s medals was from a team competition that she did not compete in.
Anna Li, however, is training bars and possibly hitting. The bars situation on this team is pretty scary with Raisman, Vega and Maroney. They’d be lucky to get a 14 out of one of them, or even a high 13. There are only five competitive gymnasts on the team, so if Li is ready to do bars for finals, she may get that chance after all.
In prelims, every girl is getting a chance to compete all around. Marta, you wanted experience for the new girls and now you’ve got it. It will be very interesting to see who hits and who ends up in the finals. John Geddert, Jordyn Wieber’s coach, seems optimistic.
Team USA will be fine. We have depth and talent, youthful energy and focused determination. Time to step into the spot light!
I agree with this. I am definitely not saying that USA has no shot at winning team gold, I am just saying that they are no longer the overwhelming favorites, and maybe aren’t the favorites at all. China is up there. They’ve worked out their vault problems and have been hitting in training. If the Russians manage to hit, they are up there as well. Romania can never be counted out.
Last year, team finals were so exciting because of all the falls. This year, it’s going to be a close competition because of all the injuries. Hopefully in London, we will see all of the teams with their top gymnasts competing their best routines when it counts. This quadrennium is full of talent, and it would be a shame if the Olympics did not represent that.