Anna Rose takes a look at Marta Karolyi’s USA WAG selection for Antwerp.
Not only is Simone the 2013 national all-around champion, but she also won the silver medals on every apparatus at the championships! Thanks to her consistency across all four events, she has the goods to qualify to every final in Antwerp. Simone’s best chances to win gold at Worlds are probably in the all-around and on vault. She also has a dynamic floor routine; at the Secret U.S. Classic in July, she competed a 2 1/2 layout, which could be named after her if she perfoms it at Worlds. That would be quite an exciting accomplishment!
In 2012, Simone was the U.S. Classic junior all-around champion. That was the competition in which more people began to take note of her huge Amanar vault and powerful performances. She made the national team at the U.S. Championships that year after placing 3rdAA. Simone’s first senior international assignment was the 2013 American Cup, where she made a huge statement by finishing second despite a fall from the balance beam. She continued to prove her talent by practically sweeping the City of Jesolo Trophy in March, and the five gold medals she won say a lot about her potential heading in these World Championships.
Brenna is unique in the respect that on every apparatus, her skills make you think, Wow!In particular, her uneven bars are spectacular (she dismounts with a full-twisting double layout). Brenna has been working on a toe-on, Tkatchev-half to straddle back on the low bar, a connection that she hasn’t made in competition yet. However, if she completes it in Antwerp, she definitely has a shot at a medal in the uneven bars final! Brenna won the bronze on bars at the national championships and was also third in the all-around.
Her spectacular year comes off the heels of an extremely successful 2012; Brenna won the Mexican Open in October last year and competed in the Olympic Trials, finishing 9th AA. It was hard to gauge Brenna’s true potential at those Trials, as she was a first-year senior in an Olympic year and hadn’t nearly reached her potential at that point. Now we have a better idea of what she’s capable of achieving!
One of the fabulous Fierce Five, Kyla Ross has continued to gain worldwide recognition this year for her stunning lines and beautiful skills. Kyla has a good chance at medaling in at least three finals: the all-around, uneven bars, and balance beam. She won the AA silver at the national championships, along with the bars and beam gold medals. Last year, Kyla’s floor exercise started from a 5.5 D-score. This year, she has upgraded to a 5.7, added a new tumbling pass (a double pike), and improved her overall execution, which will undoubtedly come in handy in the all-around!
Kyla’s results from the 2013 nationals only added to her medal haul from the last quadrennium. In 2012, she was, of course, the Olympic champion with her team and tied for uneven bars gold and beam bronze at the U.S. Olympic Trials. At both the national championships and the Pacific Rim meet that year, Kyla won the uneven bars silver medal. Also at Pacific Rim, Kyla won the AA silver, balance beam gold, and floor exercise bronze.
McKayla is the 2013 national champion on vault and floor exercise, and also one of the Fierce Five! Her comeback from injuries sustained last year has been extremely impressive; not only did she return with her two lovely vaults, but she added a new tumbling pass on floor (a double layout). McKayla is very artistic, which works well under the new Code of Points and will certainly be a contribution to the floor final in Antwerp. (She has one of the highest floor scores of the year!) As in 2012, McKayla’s best bet for gold comes on vault, as she has a 6.3 Amanar and a 6.0 Mustafina. If she hits in the final, she could very well come home with the gold.
Last year was her unfortunate Olympic vault final, when she sat down the Mustafina vault and came away with the silver medal after being virtually guaranteed the gold. She did, however, win a gold medal with her Olympic champion team. McKayla previously won the vault titles at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and the U.S. Classic. Making the Olympic team itself was a huge success for McKayla, since she had been injured at the national championships and had not been able to train much before the Trials.