Bailie Key

Kyla Ross
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U.S. gymnastics nominative World Championships roster released

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The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won’t be announced until after an October selection camp, but the International Gymnastics Federation has published “nominative” (preliminary) rosters for all nations.

Seven U.S. women are listed, though the final team that competes in Glasgow, Scotland, in the last week of October must be of no more than six women (an alternate may be designated).

The seven “nominative” women are:

Simone Biles — 2013/14 World all-around champion
Gabby Douglas — 2012 Olympic all-around champion
Aly Raisman — 2012 Olympic floor exercise champion
MyKayla Skinner — 2014 World Championships vault bronze medalist
Maggie Nichols — 2015 P&G Championships all-around runner-up
Brenna Dowell — Traveled to 2013 Worlds but didn’t compete
Madison Kocian — 2014 World Championships team member

Missing is Kyla Ross, the only U.S. woman to make all of the 2012 Olympic, 2013 Worlds and 2014 Worlds teams. Ross, who won silver and bronze in the all-around at the last two Worlds, was 10th in the all-around at the P&G Championships in August. She faces greater competition to make this year’s Worlds team given the returns of Douglas and Raisman and the improvement of Nichols.

Also missing is Bailie Key, who was fourth in the all-around at the P&G Championships. The last time a top-four woman in the U.S. all-around didn’t make that year’s six-woman World Championships team was last year, when Nichols was third at the P&G Championships but suffered a season-ending injury one week later.

In 2011, Mackenzie Caquatto was fourth in the U.S. all-around, made the nominative list and then suffered a team camp injury and missed Worlds.

In 2012, Elizabeth Price finished fourth in the Olympic trials all-around and did not make the five-woman Olympic team.

The final U.S. women’s gymnastics teams for the 2013 and 2014 World Championships were all made up of gymnasts who were on the earlier nominative lists.

The last time a Worlds team member came from outside the nominative list was 2011. That woman was Douglas, when Caquatto was injured.

In 2010, Kytra Hunter also finished fourth in the U.S. all-around, was on the nominative list and didn’t make the team.

That year, the reigning World all-around champion Bridget Sloan came on board from outside the nominative list. Sloan only competed on the balance beam at the earlier 2010 U.S. Championships and worked her way back from injury to ultimately make the Worlds team.

Also of note, Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina is on the nominative list. Chusovitina, 40, could break the record for most Olympic gymnastics appearances if she makes a seventh Games next year.

Chusovitina has competed for the Soviet Union, Unified Team, Germany and Uzbekistan. She has won 11 World Championship medals and two Olympic medals. All of the hardware since 1992 came on vault.

MORE GYMNASTICS: Russia names World Championships roster

Simone Biles falls, still leads Gabby Douglas at P&G Championships

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INDIANAPOLIS — An arena gasped as Simone Biles crawled on her hands and knees.

Biles, who hasn’t lost an all-around competition in more than two years, who is the favorite for Olympic all-around gold in Rio, fell on her floor exercise routine on the first night of the P&G Championships on Thursday.

The crowd was shocked. So was Biles.

“Everyone thinks I’m a robot,” she said later. “I guess I’m human now, so that clears everything out of the way.”

That may be true, but the standings don’t lie, either.

Counting a fall, Biles leads the all-around halfway through by 1.4 points over best friend Maggie Nichols and by 2.4 over Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas (full standings here).

Neither Nichols nor Douglas fell on any of their four events Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Biles’ overall difficulty and execution are so great that she could probably fall again on the final night of competition and still earn her third straight U.S. all-around title Saturday (NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra, 8-10 p.m. ET). Perhaps fall two or three times.

The pizza-loving Texan who has been known to light a candle to the patron saint of athletes before meets is four routines from becoming the first woman to three-peat at Nationals in 23 years.

“It just shows how amazing she is,” Nichols said. “Honestly, she’s my biggest role model. I look up to her so much.”

Biles, 18, bookended her performance Thursday with her highest scores ever on uneven bars and vault in three years at senior Nationals.

But she also fell on her uneven bars warm-up, made two errors on balance beam that even a non-gymnastics fan could spot and had that spill on a floor exercise pass her coach said she’s been doing since age 9 or 10.

Biles is the two-time reigning World champion on floor, her signature event.

“She’s getting really hard on herself for the mistakes,” said her coach, Aimee Boorman. “I think this meet was great that she had errors, one really significant error, and she really was able to move on.”

The first peer to find Biles after her floor exercise fall (video here) was 2012 Olympic floor exercise champion Aly Raisman, who, like Douglas, is competing in her first Nationals in three years. Raisman was fourth after the first day.

“I fell on beam, it’s OK,” Raisman told Biles with a hug, adding that she hadn’t fallen on beam since she was 8 years old.

“It’s strange,” Biles responded. “I’m not tired.”

Biles went from floor to her final event, vault, in third place behind Nichols and Douglas but close enough that an average landing would let her sleep on a lead.

“She usually lets it carry over,” Boorman said of Biles and mistakes.

Not this time. Biles stuck her Amanar vault (one of the hardest being done in the world today) and scored 16.25 points, the highest of the competition and, apparently, a personal best.

“She’s been trying to get a 16 for so long,” Boorman said. No woman scored 16 points in the vault final at an Olympics or World Championships since 2008.

Biles and everyone else are competing in hopes of making the six-woman team for the World Championships (last week of October in Glasgow, Scotland). That team will be chosen following a fall selection camp at the Karolyi ranch in Texas.

Second-place Nichols, a Little Canada, Minn., native whose Twitter handle is @MagsGotSwag12, led the competition after each of the first three rotations Thursday.

Nichols finished third in the all-around at the 2014 P&G Championships and looked destined for her first Worlds team until dislocating her left kneecap the following week.

“Maggie Nichols, the biggest improvement I can see in this quadrennium is her,” U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi said Wednesday. “At the beginning, she was just average, new elite, two and a half, three years ago. … Of this moment, she is showing definitely world-class gymnastics.”

The Olympic champion Douglas, who finished second to Biles at the Secret Classic on July 25, said she can be better than she was Thursday and has more to show as she continues her return after two seasons away from competition.

“I need to just clean up my landings a little bit,” she said. “I need to work on not being too anxious to land. Just press and stick.”

What does Douglas think of Biles’ big lead while counting a fall?

“It just says that she’s a very good competitor,” Douglas said as Biles sat 10 feet away. “This is definitely going to push me, push Aly to be even better than we are.”

Raisman said she began her beam routine Thursday afraid she would fall. And that’s exactly what happened.

“It’s still not where I want to be, but that’s OK, we’re not supposed to peak at this meet,” she said.

The third active member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team, Kyla Ross, tied for 12th on Thursday. Ross won World Championships all-around silver and bronze medals the last two years but has been off so far this season.

Biles was also not at her best Thursday, but it was still plenty good enough.

“She’s tough on herself, and she doesn’t want to disappoint anyone,” Boorman said. “There’s so much, all of the media hype about her, potentially going three national championships in a row. Then all of the Rio hype and all that. It’s putting a lot on her shoulders. She’s 18, and it’s a lot.”

The P&G Championships continue with the first of two days of men’s competition Friday night (Universal Sports, 8 p.m. ET).

Men’s preview: Sam Mikulak eyes three-peat; top contenders absent

Simone Biles deals with rising expectations ahead of P&G Championships

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INDIANAPOLIS — Simone Biles shed tears Wednesday.

Biles, the two-time reigning U.S. and World all-around champion who hasn’t lost in more than two years, did something unexpected on the balance beam while practicing ahead of the P&G Championships at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

She fell.

“A lot,” coach Aimee Boorman said, unconcerned. “Even on a bad day, it would have been better than what she did today.”

Biles called it a “waste of a workout,” one day before she begins a quest to become the first woman in 23 years to win three straight U.S. all-around titles (broadcast schedule here).

“I cried it all out, so it’s good,” she said, unconcerned. “I just get so frustrated with myself that the first thing I go to is to cry.”

Boorman’s coaching advice?

“She told me to screw my head on,” Biles said.

The sequence was a reminder that no matter how many gymnastics legends pump Biles up as the greatest to ever wear a leotard, she is capable of mistakes. Even defeat.

“We get so nervous because we have to be perfect all the time, and that’s not even possible,” Biles said.

Her last loss in a public all-around competition was March 30, 2013. Biles has won eight straight meets since and is the prohibitive favorite to win the Olympic all-around title in Rio de Janeiro next year.

But behind closed doors, at a national team camp at the Karolyi ranch in Texas earlier this year, Biles finished second in “verifications,” combining scores from all four apparatuses.

“I would rather see you at the top,” U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi told Biles that day, unconcerned, according to Biles. “It is what it is.”

Biles will compete Thursday and Saturday against a field much deeper than in 2013 or 2014. It includes Olympic champions Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, at their first nationals since 2012, and 2013 U.S. junior champion Bailie Key, who missed last year’s meet due to injury.

“Everybody wants to knock down the champion and be the new champion,” Karolyi said. “Mentally, it’s a little bit more pressure.”

Performances at the P&G Championships will go a long way in determining who is chosen for the six-woman team for October’s World Championships. That team will be named following a more important fall national team camp.

Biles is in no danger of missing the Worlds team. She will win in Indianapolis if she hits all eight of her routines, NBC Olympics analyst Nastia Liukin said.

“I think all the girls are just like, ‘Simone’s just in her own league, and whoever gets second place, that’s the winner,'” Raisman joked in a USA Today podcast recently. “Simone’s just doing her own thing. Her and [Japanese Olympic all-around champion] Kohei Uchimura just can do their own thing together.”

With a reputation like that comes expectations.

“She’s human, and I think people see her as being something other than human,” Boorman said.

Australian swimming champion Ian Thorpe once said, “If you turn those expectations into a negative, that becomes pressure. If you turn those expectations into a positive, it becomes support.”

The support is there. Biles feels it around her native Houston area, where she graced a local magazine cover and is recognized more and more.

But Boorman said she thinks sometimes people see Biles “as being something other than human.”

“If she were to not win at this point in her career, she wouldn’t be disappointed in herself or upset that someone else beat her,” Boorman said. “She would be worried about disappointing other people, the people that hold the expectations of her.”

Gabby Douglas looks to disprove social media doubters at P&G Championships