Aly Raisman opened the Olympic selection season just as she did four years ago — with an all-around victory at the Secret Classic.
The three-time London 2012 medalist totaled 59.25 points in Hartford, Conn., beating an all-around field that did not include Olympic champion Gabby Douglas and World champion Simone Biles. Full scores are here.
“Every single night before I go to sleep, I have butterflies in my stomach, it’s like I can’t turn it off,” Raisman, trying to become with Douglas the first women to make back-to-back Olympic teams since 2000, told Andrea Joyce on NBC Sports Live Extra. “We are all kind of freaking out.”
Biles and Douglas each took it easy Saturday, competing on two of four events (strong on uneven bars; imperfect on balance beam) to warm up for the P&G Championships in three weeks and the U.S. Olympic Trials in five weeks. The five-woman Olympic team will be announced after the Olympic Trials.
“I would grade it … like 75 percent,” Biles said. “I still had wobbles here and there and my form on bars [was off]. … You don’t want to be 100 percent just yet. At P&Gs and trials, that’s where we want to give it our all and start peaking.”
Raisman notched her first all-around title since the 2012 Secret Classic, when she similarly beat a field that didn’t include the other top U.S. women (Douglas and Jordyn Wieber at the time).
“I still feel like the same as I was in 2012,” Raisman, 22, said.
On Saturday, Raisman fell in the first 10 seconds of her first routine on uneven bars, her weakest event. She stayed on her feet on balance beam and floor exercise and then closed with the difficult Amanar vault, taking a small hop on the landing.
“It’s always really crazy when you’re trying to think positive and then one second you feel good, and the next you’re off the bar,” Raisman said. “If I make the Olympic team, it’s not going to be for bars, so I knew that I needed to prove myself on the other three events. … that’s what [U.S. national team coordinator] Martha [Karolyi] is looking for.”
Raisman decided to come back for a second Olympic run in part because she missed the London Games all-around podium, losing bronze by a tiebreaker.
If she makes the Rio team, Raisman will have to beat one of Douglas and Biles on qualification day at the Games to reach the Olympic all-around final (assuming she’s used on all four events in qualifying, by far not a given). Raisman failed to do so at the 2015 World Championships, where Biles and Douglas went on to take gold and silver.
On Saturday, Biles posted the highest balance beam score (15.65). Douglas had the third-highest uneven bars score (15.65).
Gymnastics competition concludes in Hartford on Sunday, with the final day of the P&G Men’s Championships, the first of two Olympic men’s selection meets.
Donnell Whittenburg leads after the first day, eyeing his first U.S. all-around title.
NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage of the men from 1-4 p.m. ET on Sunday.
NBC Olympics gymnastics producer Julia Fincher contributed to this report from Hartford.
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