It was an interesting night of competition during night 1 of the 2016 Olympic Trials in San Jose, CA.
Some of the top athletes showed some sort of small to large uncharacteristic break during competition.
Could the pressure be getting to Simone? She showed quit a few breaks in concentration last night on all four events. Steps on Vault, leg separation on Bars, bobble on a turn on Beam, and missed connections on Floor. Maybe she needed to get them out now in order to get herself in check for the upcoming Games that she is still guaranteed to compete at.
The reigning Olympic All-Around Champion started out strong with a more enjoyable to watch Floor routine but then ended on a low note when she fell from Beam on an easy skill, a full turn.
Maggie Nichols who is still trying to prove herself ready to be on an Olympic Team fell also on Beam while performing a side aerial. But even after being out for some time due to a knee injury she only trails Douglas by 0.30. If she can pull it together during night 2 of Trials, she might be able to take a spot away from Gabby.
The two athletes fighting for a spot in a head to head competition, Ashton Locklear and Madison Kocean, were actual tied, again, on Bars with a 15.75. But when it came time to compete on Beam, another event they could both contribute on, it all came apart for Locklear who fell off during her series.
Locklear was visibly upset after leaving the podium, most likely knowing that may have sealed her fate of not making the Olympic Team.
Kocean, who would definitely be used on Bars during Team Finals, can also be a solid replacement on any event if needed to step up.
The two stars of the night were Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez.
Aly continues to be a rock solid competitor who isn’t asking for a spot on the Team but instead is telling the Selection Committee that she is on the Team.
Then there is Laurie who seems to be getting better and better. Beginning with the Secret Classic, she has only shown improvement at each competition and proving this by finishing 2nd last night behind Biles and ahead of Raisman by almost a full point.
So, based on night 1 of competition, here are my picks for the 2016 US Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team:
- Simone Biles
- Aly Raisman
- Laurie Hernandez
- Madison Kocian
- Gabby Douglas / Maggie Nichols
*Alternates: Douglas/Nichols, Skinner, Smith
After night 2, look for my next Road To Rio article with my picks of who will compete in the Qualifying Rounds, the All-Around, and Team Finals.