Here is our first article by new Full Twist contributor Anna Rose Johnson. We’re delighted to have Anna on board and are very much looking forward to her future contributions to Full Twist.
The 2013 American Cup field lost two of its competitors when Elizabeth Price and Larisa Iordache recently withdrew. The remaining roster consists of Olympic champion Kyla Ross, world champion Vanessa Ferrari, world medalist Koko Tsurumi, European medalist Elisabeth Seitz, world finalist Asuka Teramoto, and Olympian Victoria Moors.
At this point, it’s merely speculation as to who will take Price and Iordache’s slots in the Cup, which falls on March 2nd. This year, the American Cup competitors are based off the Olympic all-around standings, but Olympic alternates, such as Elizabeth Price, are allowed to compete if necessary. Sarah Finnegan, another London alternate, would be a likely choice and one who would definitely challenge for a medal in Worcestor.
The decision on which American will compete will be announced following the next U.S. women’s national team training camp, which is scheduled for February 23rd-26th. To me, this suggests that Martha Karolyi, the national team coordinator, might have the last word on which gymnast fills the void.
Of course, if a gymnast who did not make the Olympic all-around final competes at the American Cup, it won’t be a new situation. In 2011, Jordyn Wieber was given the green light to participate in the American Cup because Great Britain’s Nicole Hibbert withdrew, even though Wieber had not competed in the 2010 world all-around. And when Iordache won the bronze at last year’s Cup, she had not competed in the previous world championships.
If this scenario happens again, a likely candidate for the second U.S. slot would be 2012 Pacific Rim Championships winner Katelyn Ohashi, who will turn 16 on April 12th.
But if you look at the current U.S. national team, there are several options, health permitting: Kennedy Baker (8th all-around at U.S. nationals), Brenna Dowell (2012 Mexican Open champion) and Sabrina Vega (2011 world champion). Now, I’m not absolutely sure whether or not any of those three gymnasts are planning to continue in the sport, I’m only assuming since they are all young and looked good in the 2012 Olympic selection process.
Other standout juniors who could be chosen include Lexie Priessman (2012 U.S. national junior champion), Madison Desch (2nd all-around at U.S. nationals), and Simone Biles (3rd all-around at U.S. nationals).
More possibilities include six-time world medalist Rebecca Bross and Olympic champion Jordyn Wieber. While Wieber has committed to training for the 2013 U.S. Championships, she hasn’t revealed when her first meet of the year will be. It hasn’t yet been confirmed if Bross is still training for competition.
Larisa Iordache’s replacement is even more uncertain, because (to the best of my knowledge) it is indefinite whether or not her replacement will be another Romanian. If the replacement is to be a Romanian gymnast, a logical choice would be 2012 Olympian Diana Bulimar. I read that their Olympic teammate, Sandra Izbasa, is deciding this month if she will continue.
However, if Iordache’s replacement is not a Romanian, it’s really anyone’s guess as to who the final competitor will be. I would love to see a Russian compete–it was so exciting in 2011 when Aliya Mustafina participated. If it is going to be a Russian, some options are Anastasia Grishina, Tatiana Nabieva, Yulia Inshina, and Ksenia Afanasyeva. They were either Olympians or Olympic alternates in London. Anna Dementyeva won the recent Mikhail Voronin Cup, but she was not on the Olympic training squad.
It’s definitely fun to think about! Who do you think the replacements will be?
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