Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman competitive with U.S. teammates in comeback

Gabby Douglas
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Olympic champions Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman made promising returns in their first gymnastics meet since the London Games at the Jesolo Trophy in Italy on Saturday.

Douglas, the Olympic all-around champion, scored 58.9 points for fourth place among Americans. Raisman, the Olympic floor exercise champion, scored 59.1 for third.

“I was saying to Gabby, it feels like we didn’t take any time off,” Raisman said in an interview with the Italian broadcast. “We’re only more motivated than ever from here.”

As expected, two-time reigning World all-around champion Simone Biles won comfortably with 62.1. The 2013 U.S. junior champion Bailie Key was second with 59.5 in her first senior international meet.

It was the first time that the reigning Olympic all-around champion and reigning World all-around champion faced each other in a meet since 1980, according to USA Gymnastics.

The world’s other top gymnasts, from Russia, Romania and China, were not in the field.

Douglas, 19, made no major mistakes but took a small hop on her vault landing (video), a large step on her uneven bars dismount (video), a small hop on her balance beam dismount (video) and a large step on a floor pass (video).

She had 1.9 points fewer in start value than at the London Olympics. It’s to be expected that she would not perform the most difficult routines in her first meet in nearly 1,000 days. Douglas competed with her right ankle wrapped.

“We put in a lot of hard work,” Douglas said on the Italian broadcast. “It’s phenomenal being back.”

Raisman, 20, starred on her Olympic gold medal event, floor exercise. She scored a 15.2 (video), beaten only by Biles, who is the two-time reigning World champion in the event.

Biles, 18, posted the highest scores of Americans on all four apparatuses. The U.S. team includes 10 women whom USA Gymnastics national team coordinator Martha Karolyi deemed contenders to make the six-woman World Championships team in October.

Five women can make the 2016 Olympic team. Douglas, Raisman, Kyla Ross (who was 2.15 points behind Douglas on Saturday) and McKayla Maroney hope to be the first women since 2000 to make back-to-back U.S. Olympic teams.

The Jesolo Trophy, streamed on the Italian Gymnastics Federation’s YouTube page, concludes with individual apparatus finals Sunday at 4:30 a.m. ET.

The next likely meet for the top U.S. gymnasts is the Secret U.S. Classic on July 25 in Hoffman, Estates, Ill.

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