U.S. women’s gymnastics team faces familiar dilemma at World Championships

Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman
Getty Images
0 Comments

Three U.S. women are vying for two spots in the World Gymnastics Championships all-around final in Glasgow, Scotland, which brings to mind a tearful episode from the London Olympics.

Rules dictate a maximum of two women per nation can compete in the all-around final at a Worlds or Olympics, so one of these three women will not be in the all-around final at Worlds in Glasgow on Thursday:

World champion Simone Biles
Olympic champion Gabby Douglas
Olympic fourth-place finisher Aly Raisman

The two highest scorers out of Biles, Douglas and Raisman in Saturday’s qualifying will advance to the all-around final.

Biles has won nine straight all-around competitions dating to 2013 and is favored to become the first woman to win three straight World all-around titles.

In three all-around competitions this year, Raisman holds a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over Douglas after both gymnasts took 2013 and 2014 off.

Another American, Maggie Nichols, beat Douglas and Raisman in the P&G Championships all-around in August but is not on the qualifying start list for the U.S. on uneven bars. If that holds, she won’t be eligible for the Worlds all-around final.

At the London Olympics, three U.S. women competed on every apparatus in qualifying — Douglas, Raisman and 2011 World all-around champion Jordyn Wieber. Wieber placed fourth overall in all-around qualifying in 2012, competing while injured and missing the all-around final because she was the No. 3 American in qualifying.

This will mark the fifth straight World Championships where the U.S. has had more than two women do the all-around in qualifying, so it’s an expected problem.

In 2011, Douglas was the third-ranked American in all-around qualifying — behind Wieber and Raisman — and missed the all-around final.

In 2013, McKayla Maroney was the third-ranked American in all-around qualifying — behind Biles and Kyla Ross — and missed the all-around final.

In 2014, MyKayla Skinner was the third-ranked American in all-around qualifying — behind Biles and Ross — and missed the all-around final.

This year’s U.S. team is so deep that Skinner, who finished in the top four in two events at the 2014 World Championships, was designated an alternate at this year’s Worlds and is not expected to compete in Glasgow.

Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Nichols, Brenna Dowell and Madison Kocian are slated to compete for the U.S. in qualifying on Saturday and the team final Tuesday. The U.S. seeks a third straight World team title and is a heavy favorite given it dominated in 2014, prevailing by 6.693 points without Douglas, Raisman and Nichols.

The U.S. women who qualify for the all-around final will be medal favorites, likely along with Romania’s Larisa Iordache. Iordache took silver behind Biles last year but did not perform well in qualifying Friday.

MORE GYMNASTICS: World Championships broadcast schedule