World champion Jordyn Wieber edged Gabby Douglas for the top spot after the first day of women's competition at the U.S. Olympic Trials, held Friday in San Jose, Calif.
Jordyn Wieber (U.S.) on beam in San Jose
Wieber calmly grabbed first place with four steady routines all above 15.000. On bars she upgraded her dismount, adding a full-twist back to her double layout. Her lock-legged landing on her Amanar vault, however, provided a scary opening moment for her as she was lucky to avoid a knee injury.
"There are so many areas I can improve [before London]," Wieber said. "I feel like I haven't peaked yet."
Douglas, second to Wieber at the U.S. championships in St. Louis, also survived a few nervous moments. On bars in the first rotation, she nearly fell after a Stalder-pirouette went awry, struggling to press to handstand. She missed connections on balance beam as well, taking her lowest score of 14.90.
"Man, I just pulled [the handstand] out of nowhere!" she said of her bars save. "The most important thing is to believe in yourself and go out there and do it."
Alexandra Raisman, third in St. Louis, was third again with the highest score on floor exercise (15.600) despite going out of bounds on her first pass of 1 1/2 to Arabian double tuck to layout front. She also stepped over the line on her Amanar vault.
"I feel good where I am right now," she said. "It's not the time to be perfect."
Elizabeth Price was fourth with the second-best score on vault (16.050). She took her lowest score on balance beam for a nervous set.
"I think I did some of my best routines today," she said. "I won't be as nervous Sunday as I was today."
Kyla Ross tied Anna Li for the top mark on uneven bars (15.50) but finished fifth after falling on her Amanar in the final rotation. Sarah Finnegan outscored the field on balance beam (15.10) to place sixth.
McKayla Maroney, who had missed some training following the concussion she suffered in St. Louis, impressed with the top score on vault (16.10 for the best Amanar in the world) and a solid floor score (15.20, nearly stuck 3 1/2 twist mount). She fell on both uneven bars and balance beam, however, to drop her to seventh in the rankings.
"I'm thankful that I'm even here," Maroney said. "I knew I had to hit vault because it's the most important event for me to make the Olympic team."
World and Olympic medalist Alicia Sacramone hit both vault (15.70) and beam (15.00) to keep her in the running. Sacramone, who suffered a torn Achilles last fall, chose to wear one of her 2008 Olympic leotards.
"I'm having a lot more fun this time," she said. "I put a lot more pressure on myself before Beijing."
2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin, however, struggled toward the end of her two events, despite the screams of adoration from the nearly sold-out crowd. On uneven bars, Liukin hit the first part of her routine only to break form on her final handstand and sat down her double front (14.05). On balance beam, she was nearly flawless before taking a large deduction on her switch ring leap.
"I wanted to perform whether I'm on the team or not," Liukin said. "I wish I could have hit a better bar routine. I just kind of ran out of gas. It is what it is."
WOGA teammate Rebecca Bross performed well on uneven bars for 15.30, but swallowed a 12.05 on balance beam (falls on standing Arabian and Arabian double front dismount).
The women return to the floor on Sunday. The top gymnast after the two-day competition automatically clinches a berth to the U.S. Olympic team. The selection committee of Marta Karolyi, Terin Humphrey and Steve Rybacki will decide which gymnasts earn the remaining four spots, as well as up to three alternates.
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1. Jordyn Wieber 61.700
2. Gabrielle Douglas 61.400
3. Alexandra Raisman 60.300
4. Elizabeth Price 59.600
5. Kyla Ross 59.400
6. Sarah Finnegan 59.050
7. McKayla Maroney 58.300
8. Brenna Dowell 57.250
9. Kennedy Baker 56.150
10. Sabrina Vega 56.000
11. Alicia Sacramone 30.700
12. Anna Li 28.600
13. Nastia Liukin 28.550
14. Rebecca Bross 27.350