If two U.S. gymnasts consistently take the top spots in competition, they become the pair to watch and are sometimes referred to as a “rivalry.” It happened with Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber in 2012, Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson in 2008, Nastia Liukin and Chellsie Memmel in 2005, Carly Patterson and Courtney Kupets in 2004, and Shannon Miller and Kim Zmeskal in 1992.
So the question is: who will step up as the next dynamic duo?
A possible pair could be Kyla Ross and Katelyn Ohashi. Like Liukin and Memmel in 2005, both Ross and Ohashi rely on a great deal of grace and style to achieve good scores. Their strongest events are uneven bars and balance beam, providing a change of pace from the Douglas/Wieber rivalry of last year.
Ross and Ohashi’s lesser events are vault and floor exercise, but this is where their major differences come into play. When Ross competes her 6.3 Amanar, she has quite a head start over Ohashi, whose vault is a double-twisting Yurchenko, worth 5.8. But Ohashi has a 6.1 floor exercise routine, while Ross’ is valued at 5.5. Ross has said she would like to upgrade her floor routine for 2013, and likewise, Ohashi has said she would like to compete an Amanar in the future.
In 2010, Kyla Ross won the U.S. junior title over Katelyn Ohashi by 2.15 points; and in 2011 Ohashi won the title over Ross with a 3.3 advantage. In 2012, Ross joined the senior ranks and finished fourth with a 119.950. Ohashi, who was not at her best after taking time off due to injury, notched a fifth place spot in the juniors with a 114.900.
On her best day, Ohashi’s all-around difficulty level was 25.0, and Ross’ was 24.5, provided that Ohashi performed her 7.0 routine on balance beam, and Ross competed her 6.5 vault.
Of course, all of those figures will change now with the new Code of Points. It’s hard to say who will hold the edge after we factor in new routines and new judging. However, this weekend at the WOGA Classic, Ohashi posted a 15.000 on uneven bars and a 15.800 on balance beam—a score that would have won the 2012 Olympic beam final. (On vault she scored 14.300 and did not compete floor exercise.)
We may be treated to Ross and Ohashi’s first senior match-up soon: Ross is scheduled to compete at the American Cup on March 2, and Ohashi may be selected to join her. The announcement should come out the last week of February.
Article by Anna Rose Johnson
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