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Wieber and Douglas Tied for Lead After Prelims
(8 votes, average 4.75 out of 5)

Defending U.S. champion Jordyn Wieber closed the first day of the Visa Championships with a stellar floor exercise to grab a midway tie with Gabrielle Douglas at 60.65. Wieber and Douglas avoided major breaks but both had multiple wobbles on balance beam.

"This competition just shows that everyone's working hard," Wieber said. "It also makes we want to improve." Wieber also said that "it's really important to defend my title."

Douglas was relaxed and happy afterward, having gone four-for-four.

"This is a huge step from Pacific Rim (championships) and Chicago (U.S. Classic)," she said. "There's another day to come, so I'm not gonna get too happy."

Alexandra Raisman posted the second-highest score on balance beam (15.20, tied with Alicia Sacramone) to finish third all-around with 60.200. Kyla Ross played it safe here (double-twisting Yurchenko instead of an Amanar) and placed fourth (59.75) ahead of McKayla Maroney (58.70), who leads the vault (16.15). Ross said it was her coaches' and Marta Karolyi's decision to not throw the Amanar, since she wasn't doing them very well in training.

Elizabeth Price of Parkettes made a strong statement by placing fifth (59.60), earning a 15.80 for her excellent Amanar and showing some of the best tumbling on floor.

Most of the crowd came to see how 2008 Olympic champion Nastia Liukin would fare as she attempts to make the 2012 London team.

Liukin's first event, uneven bars, did not go as planned. She labored a bit and caught her Pak too close to the low bar and did a mini free-hip circle to maintain rhythm. But when she got the end, she did a front layout dismount (13.05/5.7).

Liukin said she has no trouble doing her dismount (double front-half) when she practices the second half of her routine, but "putting it into a (full) routine is completely different."

Douglas followed with a clean set (15.45/6.5), and Rebecca Bross got through without the problems she had in the warm-up (15.20/6.5).

Beam went much better for Liukin, and it took the judges a long time to come up with her score of 15.10 (6.1).

Douglas stayed on beam but had plenty of balance checks. Still, Marta Karolyi gave it a nod that seemed to say, "Not bad." Her floor set was better, and got a few claps from Marta.

Bross made it through beam until the end, when the warning bell sounded before she sat down her Patterson dismount (13.55).

Which brings us to 2009 world champion Bridget Sloan, who hit a clean bars set (two piked Tkatchevs, 15.10), having opened her night with a simple Yurchenko-full. She stayed on beam but was slightly off if a few places (13.85/5.7), and she had a few poor landings on floor, as well.

As for Sacramone's chances of making the 2012 team, she probably couldn't have done better than she did tonight.

"I think I have a chance," she said. "I don't envy the people who have to pick the team."


USA Depth: IG's Christian Ivanov compiled two five-member women's teams based on their scores at Visas. Following is what they could score in a 3-up, 3-count team final format:

Team 1: Wieber, Raisman, Douglas, Ross, Maroney: 182.500

Team 2: Vega, Bross, Sacramone, Price, Finnegan: 178.450

Both would have a chance to win the Olympics.

Nastia Liukin was the first gymnast to take the floor for warm-ups. She sat down on the edge of the floor exercise mat at 4:35 p.m., two hours before meet time. She wore pink ear buds, listening to music from her pink iPhone. She wore a pink leotard. Nobody else was even on the podium. She must be anxious to get this meet under way.

Get it over with: The competition draw had Liukin and Bross beginning on bars. Liukin was second up, Bross fourth, with Gabrielle Douglas in between. On beam, the next event, Liukin was first up, Bross third. And their meet was over for the day.

Quality over Quantity: During uneven bars warm-ups, Liukin took fewer turns than the others. She worked through one routine with several helping taps from her father/coach Valeri Liukin, and did no real dismount. It must feel strange for Valeri to be coaching his daughter and Bross, both of whom are trying to earn a spot on the Olympic team on the same two events.

"It's something that's there, and we both know it's there, but it's not brought up," Bross said.

Elite Coaches: The senior women's field -- 23 gymnasts from 18 clubs -- includes coaches from China (5), Bulgaria (1), Romania (4), former Soviet Union (5, at least) and the U.S. (several).

Applause: When McKayla Maroney stuck an Amanar during the pre-meet warm-ups, the crowd and a few coaches clapped spontaneously. That's how good her vault is. During the next rotation, the same thing happened after Douglas stuck hers.

Click here for USA Gymnastics' YouTube channel, featuring videos from St. Louis.

External Link: USA Gymnastics

2012 Visa (U.S.) Gymnastics Championships
June 8, St. Louis, Mo.

Senior Women's All-AroundVTUBBBFXTotal
1. Jordyn Wieber Geddert's 6.5 15.65 6.3 15.05 6.2 14.70 6.1 15.25 60.65
1. Gabrielle Douglas Chow's 6.5 15.35 6.5 15.45 6.4 14.80 6.1 15.05 60.65
3. Alexandra Raisman Brestyan's 6.5 15.45 5.9 14.10 6.5 15.20 6.5 15.45 60.20
4. Kyla Ross Gym-Max 5.8 15.10 6.4 15.50 6.1 15.10 5.5 14.05 59.75
5. Elizabeth Price Parkettes 6.5 15.80 6.2 14.95 5.8 14.30 6.0 14.55 59.60
6. Sarah Finnegan GAGE 5.8 15.00 5.8 14.00 6.7 15.35 6.2 14.80 59.15
7. McKayla Maroney All Olympia 6.5 16.15 5.8 13.40 5.9 14.55 6.0 14.60 58.70
8. Kennedy Baker Texas Dreams 5.8 14.65 6.4 14.85 5.8 14.15 5.9 14.40 58.05
9. Sabrina Vega Dynamic 5.3 14.10 5.9 14.25 6.0 14.20 5.9 13.95 56.50
10. Bridget Sloan Sharp's 5.0 13.85 6.4 15.10 5.7 13.85 5.6 13.45 56.25
11. Brenna Dowell GAGE 5.8 14.25 5.6 14.10 5.7 13.70 5.7 13.65 55.70
12. Mykayla Skinner Desert Lights 5.8 14.55 5.5 13.20 5.5 13.65 5.9 14.15 55.55
13. Grace McLaughlin WOGA 5.3 13.80 5.5 13.75 5.7 13.70 5.7 14.15 55.40
14. Abigail Milliet Denton 5.3 14.05 5.5 13.50 5.8 14.15 5.3 13.55 55.25
15. Brianna Brown Cincinnati 5.3 13.95 5.6 13.35 5.5 13.60 5.5 13.30 54.20
16. Amanda Jetter Cincinnati 5.3 14.10 5.9 13.55 5.0 12.55 5.6 13.35 53.55
17. Brandie Jay GK Gymnastics 5.8 14.60 6.2 13.65 5.4 12.05 5.4 12.25 52.55
18. McKenzie Wofford Zenith Elite 5.3 12.00 6.1 14.40 6.2 13.70 5.2 11.80 51.90
19. Alicia Sacramone Brestyan's 6.3 15.45 0.0 0.00 6.2 15.20 0.0 0.00 30.65
20. Rebecca Bross WOGA 0.0 0.00 6.5 15.20 6.2 13.55 0.0 0.00 28.75
21. Nastia Liukin WOGA 0.0 0.00 5.8 13.15 6.1 15.10 0.0 0.00 28.25
22. Mackenzie Brannan Capital (TX) 5.3 13.80 0.0 0.00 0.0 0.00 5.7 13.80 27.60
23. Anna Li Legacy Elite 0.0 0.00 6.7 15.15 5.6 11.95 0.0 0.00 27.10
Comments (2)add comment

Rachel T said:

Initial thoughts
I hate to be critical and mean no disrespec, but I can't imagine Bross making the team. I'm quite surprised that she continued to keep the Patterson dismount as she has never been consistent with it. Liukin needed to be flawless in my opinion in order to make the team as we havent seen her perform in such a long time and she wasn't tonight. When someone has been missing from competition for a long time, consistency is always the biggest fear. She is talented but we haven't seen enough of her to feel she would be consistent. Again, she had her problems tonight and really need to be perfect. The same comments for Liukin would go to Sloan as well. She had problems and wasn't great and truly needed to be in order to be considered. Of course this was only day 1 and a lot can happen, but I am not feeling good that these three will make the team. Please know that I love them all, just don't think they will make the very short list of only 5 slots, which I think is horrible it has been dropped to five.
June 08, 2012
Votes: +13

Elizabeth Peters said:

I love Jordyn, but her welier kip isn't really done that well and the commentators keep crediting her with the first but many years ago a gymnast from American Twisters (Tim Rand) competed them and did them correctly. Can someone help me here I though in a weiler kip your hips were clear of the bars.
June 09, 2012
Votes: +0

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