Simone Biles

World Gymnastics Championships nominative lists announced

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The U.S. women’s team for the World Gymnastics Championships won’t be announced until Wednesday, but the International Gymnastics Federation released “nominative lists” of gymnasts for every nation.

These lists mean nothing for the U.S., but it’s interesting to note which names were submitted. Here they are:

Simone Biles — 2013 World all-around champion
Kyla Ross — 2013 World all-around silver medalist
Alyssa Bauman
Madison Desch
Madison Kocian
Ashton Locklear
Mykayla Skinner

Full women’s nominative list | Men’s nominative list

The World Championships in Nanning, China, start Oct. 3.

Last year, the four U.S. women on the nominative list ended up being the four U.S. women who flew to Antwerp, Belgium, for the event. The 2013 World Championships only included individual competition. This year, the team event returns, so nations can send seven gymnasts.

Biles and Ross are considered shoo-ins for the team. Ross is the only member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team who could make it with none of the other Fierce Five members active this year.

Brenna Dowell made the 2013 World Championships team with Biles, Ross and McKayla Maroney, but she did not compete in Antwerp in favor of the other three competing in all four events in qualifying.

Dowell did not make this year’s nominative list, but she is among 12 women attending next week’s U.S. National Team camp in Texas from which the World Championships team will be chosen. Here are the 12:

Simone Biles — on nominative list
Kyla Ross — on nominative list
Alyssa Bauman — on nominative list
Madison Desch — on nominative list
Madison Kocian 
— on nominative list
Ashton Locklear — on nominative list
Mykayla Skinner 
— on nominative list
Brenna Dowell
Felicia Hano
Veronica Hults
Amelia Hundley
Macy Toronjo

The U.S. women will be looking to win a second straight World Championships team gold, but the pool of gymnasts to choose from is shallower than hoped. The following gymnasts will not be competing in Nanning:

Maroney underwent surgery earlier this year.

Maggie Nichols, who finished third in the all-around behind Biles and Ross at the P&G Championships last month, dislocated a kneecap at the Pan American Championships.

Rachel Gowey, who is from the same gym that produced Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas, broke an ankle in training at the P&G Championships. Gowey was fourth at the Secret U.S. Classic behind Biles, Ross and Nichols.

Peyton Ernst, who replaced Biles at the Pacific Rim Championships in April, had shoulder surgery and missed the P&G Championships.

Lexie Priessman, the 2012 P&G junior all-around champion, withdrew from the Secret U.S. Classic after suffering an ankle injury, had surgery and did not compete at the P&G Championships.

Katelyn Ohashi, the 2011 P&G junior all-around champion, hasn’t competed in more than one year.

Elizabeth Price, the 2012 Olympic alternate and American Cup winner in March, retired from elite gymnastics.

The U.S.’ biggest competition should come from Olympic silver medalist Russia, expected to be led by veteran Aliya Mustafina.

The entire U.S. men’s team announced Aug. 24 is on the nominative list, along with Japan’s reigning all-around gold and silver medalists, Kohei Uchimura and Ryohei Kato.

Tokyo 1964 Olympic cauldron lighter passes away

Kelly Slater has an Olympic decision to make

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Surfing icon Kelly Slater is in great position to qualify for his sport’s Olympic debut in 2020, but he’s undecided about making a required event appearance this summer to stay eligible.

The top two U.S. male surfers in this season’s World Surf League final standings are in line to qualify for the Olympics.

Slater, a 47-year-old, 11-time world champion, is ranked third among Americans through six of 11 events, but the No. 2, two-time world champion John John Florence, is likely out for the rest of the season after an ACL tear.

If Slater keeps up his current pace of results, he will pass Florence’s point total by the end of the season in December.

“It appears as though I have to make a decision [on the Olympics] sooner than that,” Slater said after being eliminated from South Africa’s J-Bay Open in ninth place on Wednesday. “I’ve really got to figure out all the factors around that and make a decision in the next few weeks.”

Slater’s concern is the ISA World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan, in September, an event that top Olympic hopefuls on the WSL tour are required to attend, barring illness or injury.

“I think I have to surf that event, and if I don’t, it may disqualify me,” he said (the International Surfing Association, the sport’s governing body, later confirmed it would disqualify him). “But I’m not sure if I want to go to Japan and compete right now.”

The ISA Games take place in the week between the next two WSL events, the latter hosted by Slater’s Surf Ranch wave pool in California.

“I’m not exactly sure how I feel about the Olympics right now, anyways,” said Slater, who last year said he was “50-50” on the Olympics when noting his differing thoughts on the qualification process and venue. “The point is, I’m not really focusing on it at this point. I’m trying to get myself back in the flow of the tour.”

Slater missed 13 tour stops between the 2017 and 2018 seasons after breaking a foot and having multiple surgeries.

He finished fifth, third, ninth, ninth and ninth in his five most recent events to get into Olympic qualifying position. He expected more after placing third in the two contests he entered healthy last season. Slater said he competed at J-Bay after straining his back “really bad” on Sunday, keeping him from surfing the three days before the contest.

“Ninth place, to me, used to be a pretty awful result. I’m used to at least a quarterfinal on for most of my career,” he said. “I’m not horrified by my results, but I’m also not surprised. Maybe other people are because everyone focuses on my age and that kind of thing. It’s not like I’m going to all of a sudden forget how to do this thing, you know?”

Slater, at 48, would be the oldest U.S. Summer Olympic rookie competitor in a sport other than equestrian, sailing or shooting (or art competitions!) in the last 100 years, supplanting Martina Navratilova, via the OlyMADMen.

“Right now in my head the focus is more on this tour than it is on the Olympics, but we’ll see,” he said. “I was starting this year with a lot of pressure on myself to try and make the Olympic team and think, maybe I’ll retire there next year and that will be the end for me. It put so much pressure on the start of the year for me that I didn’t feel like I could freely compete. It was putting too many things in my head. I needed to let that take a backseat and not worry about it. I’m just not really thinking about it a lot.”

MORE: Top U.S. surfer has links to Egg McMuffin, Guinness World Record holder

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China on brink of sweeping every gold medal at diving worlds

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Shi Tingmao joined Guo Jingjing as the only women to win three straight world titles in an individual diving event, giving China 11 gold medals in 11 events with two finals left in Gwangju, South Korea.

Shi, who swept the individual and synchronized springboard titles in Rio, claimed the 3m world title on Friday by 18.25 points with 391 total. Countrywoman Wang Han took silver, 5.8 points ahead of Australian Maddison Keeney.

Americans Sarah Bacon and Brooke Schultz missed the 12-woman final, placing 14th and 29th.

China, which has dominated the sport for two decades, is looking to sweep the golds at an Olympics or worlds for the second time after winning all 10 events in 2011. This year’s feat could be more impressive, should China win the last two events Saturday — a mixed-gender springboard and the men’s platform.

That’s because three mixed-gender events were added to the world program (but not the Olympic program) since 2011. And this year, China has not only won every gold but also taken every silver in the three individual Olympic program events thus far.

China is in strong position to go one-two in the men’s platform. Yang Jian and Yang Hao were nearly 70 points clear of the field in Friday’s semifinals.

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MORE: Diving Worlds TV Schedule