On December 13th, USA Gymnastics announced that Simone Biles and Kyla Ross have accepted their invitations to compete at the American Cup on March 1st, 2014. The meet will be held in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The FIG have invited the top eight women from the 2013 World all-around to compete. Along with Simone and Kyla, invitations were extended to Aliya Mustafina (RUS), Larisa Iordache (ROM), Yao Jinnan (CHN), Vanessa Ferrari (ITA), Giulia Steingruber (SUI), and Shang Chunsong (CHN).
Aliya recently said she will not compete in Greensboro. Since 2011, when she lost the American Cup title to Jordyn Wieber, Russia has not sent any gymnasts to the competition. I had hoped that Aliya would participate, but it looks like her country will be skipping this event again.
Larisa Iordache will probably compete, and if she does, she will have a great chance to win the overall World Cup series. She recently finished second at the Stuttgart World Cup and first at Glasgow!
Vanessa Ferrari will most likely compete, as she too has performed in Stuttgart and Glasgow. In addition, her coach recently indicated that she will be at the American Cup.
I would love to see Yao Jinnan and Shang Chunsong participate, and I’m sure that they would both have a great chance to medal. But unfortunately, China has not sent a gymnast to the American Cup since 2011 and before that 2007. Hopefully, the trend will reverse in the near future!
Giulia Steingruber competed in Stuttgart but skipped Glasgow. Her 7th-place AA finish in Antwerp this fall was an incredible achievement and she has a great chance to medal in Greensboro if she competes.
Assuming that Aliya, Yao, and Shang all skip the American Cup, it leaves three open slots in the roster. The 9th, 10th, and 11th-place finishers in the AA at the World Championships were Asuka Teramoto (JPN), Victoria Moors (CAN), and Carlotta Ferlito (ITA).
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if those three gymnasts accepted their invitations. Asuka and Victoria both competed at the 2013 American Cup. Carlotta competed in Stuttgart and Glasgow, but unfortunately she was injured at the latter competition. Should she choose not to accept her invitation because of this, Roxana Popa (ESP) might compete, as she was 12th at Worlds. Roxana competed in Glasgow and also won the Mexican Open in November.
The 2014 American Cup field could be the strongest in many years, with the 2013 World champion and the silver medalist competing! It will be a wonderful opportunity for Kyla Ross, who had to skip last year’s event due to an untimely injury.
In general, 2014 is shaping up to be a great year for gymnastics. The addition of the Pacific Rim Championships and the Youth Olympic Games to the usual elite calendar will be exciting. And the World Championships in October will feature a team final, unlike the individual Worlds of 2013. Let’s hope 2014 is as fun as this year, if not more! #
Image via Getty Images.
Article by: Anna Rose Johnson