The No. 1 Gymnastics Podcast in the Galaxy

Getting to the Games: A Checklist

Article written by GymCastic Crew Member Stefane Victor.

2015 Worlds Gymnastics Team
Could this be the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team?
Secret Classics gave us a great indication of absolutely nothing. Aly’s weakest event is still bars, Ashton Locklear is still one of the best bar workers in the world and Gabby Douglas is still #blessed.

As we approach P&G Championships, it holds true that the Olympic Team is a puzzle. Here, GymCastic has broken down a checklist of what each contender needs to do between now and the end of Olympic Trials to make the Team, and what or who stands in her way.

Top Dogs

Simone Biles v. Simone Biles’ Body

The term “lock” was invented for a gymnast like Simone, because at this point, medals have likely already been engraved with her name. Her checklist is simple:

  1. Stay healthy

Gabby Douglas v. Gabby Douglas v. Everyone else

Gabby’s main focus is to be as much of a challenge to Simone as possible in case Simone has an off day in the AA final. Gabby is pretty much a lock for the Team with others clicking at her heels.

  1. UB: Connect a Stalder out of her Pak to increase her D-score to 6.6, right up there with the specialists.
  2. VT: Upgrade to an Amanar. With this vault, Gabby would definitely get the second spot for the AA and would really start chipping away at Simone’s massive lead.
  3. FX: Upgrade. Gabby needs a back 3/2, either into a double Arabian or a 3/1. Tumbling upgrades and dance improvements would help Gabby score in the 15.0-15.2 range.

Maggie Nichols v. Aly Raisman v. Laurie Hernandez

This is the most exciting matchup. All three off these gymnasts can make the Team. If they don’t, look for a UB specialist to take one of these spots.


  1. VT: Add her her Amanar. Without it, Maggie has a much weaker case for making the Team.
  2. FX: Regularly score in the low–mid 15.0s on FX using all her tumbling from 2016 SCAM.
  3. Score higher than everyone other than Gabby and Simone, at least, in every meet she enters. Because she is solid and not exceptional on each event, she is a strong AAer you can put anywhere. If Aly or Laurie outscores her, Maggie’s case becomes weak.


  1. FX: Aly’s golden ticket. She needs to continue to focus on cleaning up leaps and landings and she will have a spot on the Team and potentially a FX silver medal.
  2. VT: Replicate what she did at Classics.
  3. Consistency: She has fallen on every apparatus at least once and needs to stop that immediately if Martha can count on her during TF.


  1. BB: Be on par with Simone throughout the selection process.
  2. UB: Replicate her routine from Classics where she put up a huge(ly overscored) 15.4. That’s 0.4 better than Simone. Any gymnast who can make a strong case for two events during TF gets Martha’s attention.
  3. Get help from Gabby and Maggie. If neither can produce an Amanar, Laurie is much more in the picture. If either can, it may make more mathematical sense to take a bar specialist along with Simone, Gabby, Aly and Maggie.

Madison Kocian v. Ashton Locklear


  1. Prove that she’s the best best bar worker in the U.S. If she and Madison are flip-flopping throughout the summer, there won’t be a reason to take someone who can’t do AA (Madison). If she can beat Madison by at least 0.2 every time, she will make a case that, mathematically, she should be on the Team.
  2. Prove she is usable on beam, a key event for Martha. She did that at Classics. A few more times, and she might be on her way to Rio (probably over Maggie or Laurie).


  1. Tie Ashton on UB. If Madison can at least tie Ashton, Madison’s ability to do AA will take her to Rio.
  2. Clean up her UB form. Yes, she’s the World champion, but she looks like the city champion when you compare her form to Ashton’s. She specifically needs to work on keeping her feet pointed and together on her pirouettes/Stalders/releases/entire routine to achieve the international style (if there is one).
  3. Show she can put up at least a 14.0 on the other events—nothing more.

On the Bubble

Along with the top contenders, a few gymnasts have presented a strong case for themselves throughout the quad and are likely alternates. These girls are also favorites for a Team spot if one of the major players are injured.

Ragan Smith:

  1. BB: Hit her strongest event. Her upgraded dismount—two back handsprings to a Patterson—is one of the most difficult in the world. The conversation around Ragan will end abruptly if she becomes unreliable or shows nerves on her key event.
  2. UB: Hit her weakest event. Though she doesn’t excel, she has the biggest advantage over Aly here. Ragan scored almost two full points higher than Aly at Classics, and this event could prove to the Committee that Ragan is a better rounded AAer.

Brenna Dowell:

  1. VT: Despite what others may think, this is her most crucial event. She needs an Amanar (and a very good one) to be in contention for more than an alternate spot.
  2. FX: Her second most important event. Adding one or two upgrades (tumbling and leaps) could have her score in the low 15.0s. She has videos up of an Arabian double layout and a double front 1/1. Upgrades could help her snag a spot from Maggie or Laurie.
  3. UB: Hit this event. Nothing more.

Alyssa Baumann

  1. VT: Not her most crucial event, but it’d serve her super well to have a DTY the level of Gabby 2015/Kyla 2013. Those were consistent, TF-worthy vaults.
  2. BB: She needs to be scoring higher than she is. The high-15.0 range would put her in the Olympic conversation as an asset—not just a replacement. Her routine is great/beautiful/all of the things, but she needs to move quicker through the exercise and land her dismount better.
  3. UB/FX: Score well on these events to boost her AA standing.

Mykayla Skinner

  1. VT: Her Amanar at Classics looked great. Add a bit more height for a better score, but she still has the second best vault in the U.S. right now.
  2. FX: Whip out all those upgrades. But exceed execution expectations on said upgrades.
  3. Get off social media until Rio to give gymnastics fans and the media—hungry for scandals surrounding Olympians—a chance to forget her unfortunate posts that left a bad impression.

Rachel Gowey

  1. Don’t break. This seems to be the hardest thing for Chow’s best hope at putting someone on the Team.
  2. Bring on the upgrades. Although she’s good on every event, she’s great when you factor in her “potential” D-scores. She’ll need every upgrade she has on all events, and then she could be a better choice than the current favorites.
  3. UB/FX: These are the events the U.S. has the most room on the roster for, so Rachel needs to hit her strongest events.

Take our checklist into account, and tell us who’s on your Team!

See related: Getting to the Games: A Test Event Guide

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Other episodes

Join the club!

Social Stream

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x