As expected, U.S. all-around champion Simone Biles and 2012 Olympic champions McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross will lead the U.S. women’s gymnastics team at the World Championships beginning Oct. 1 in Antwerp, Belgium.
The only question before the official team announcement Sunday was the identity of the team’s fourth and final member.
Enter Brenna Dowell, 17, who placed third in the all-around at the U.S. Championships last month, behind Biles and Ross.
Dowell beat out the likes of Elizabeth Price (2012 Olympic team alternate), Peyton Ernst (fourth, U.S. all-around) and MyKayla Skinner (third, vault, floor exercise) for the final spot. A selection committee chose the team following a selection camp in Texas this weekend.
Price was named the non-traveling alternate.
Maroney is expected to at least try to defend her world title on the vault, where she also won Olympic silver. She’s also a medal threat on floor. Maroney could do just those two events, freeing up Dowell for uneven bars and/or balance beam.
Or, all three of Biles, Maroney and Ross could compete in the all-around. If that happens, Dowell would not compete.
The U.S. has excelled at the last two year-after-the-Olympics World Championships. Chellsie Memmel and Nastia Liukin went one-two in the all-around in 2005, and Bridget Sloan and Rebecca Bross did the same in 2009.
No members of the 2009 World Championships team went on to make the 2012 Olympic team. No U.S. woman has made back-to-back Olympic teams since 1996 and 2000.
There is no team event at this year’s World Championships. The top international threat in the all-around is 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2010 world champion Aliya Mustafina of Russia, who won the 2013 European all-around title and the World University Games.