2016 Competitions / Road to Rio

US Women’s Olympic Trial Preview – Bars

Here is the next installment of my review before Trials.  Bars has been the US’s worst event since the open ended system started in 2006.  Thankfully, we aren’t as bad as Romania on the event but due to our weakness it has always caused some more concern over the other events at competitions like Nationals & Trials.

This is a list of the top six gymnasts on bars throughout the year, with each of their scores averaged.  In parenthesis next to their score would be the number of times they have competed this year.  Competitions include American Cup, Jesolo, Pacific Rim, Classics, and Nationals.

  1. Madison Kocian – 15.61 (3)
  2. Ashton Locklear – 15.60 (7)
  3. Gabby Douglas – 15.07 (6)
  4. Simone Biles – 15.00 (4)
  5. Laurie Hernandez – 14.89 (5)
  6. Rachel Gowey – 14.83 (3)

This really shows how close Madison is to Ashton on the event.  It also shows how close Simone Biles is to Gabby Douglas.  Laurie is farther behind than expected in my opinion, but in this list she’s counting a 13.80 from Jesolo which really knocks her average down.

So for this second list, this is removing the highest and lowest score from the list.  For those gymnasts who just have three scores, the median score is used.

  1. Madison Kocian – 15.700
  2. Ashton Locklear – 15.625
  3. Laurie Hernandez – 15.083
  4. Gabby Douglas – 15.079
  5. Simone Biles – 15.075
  6. Rachel Gowey – 14.850

Another list that Madison wins.  It helps her out that she’s only competed bars three times in a major competition this year, so her median score was taken instead of an average.  Ashton has competed bars more so than any other gymnast this year with a total of seven, so she had more variance in her scores which brought her average down a bit.  However in this list, her five scores only ranged from a 15.55 to a 15.70 so it really shows her consistency on the event.

Then we have three gymnasts within a point from each other.  Laurie bumps up two spots after being able to get rid of her 13.80 from Jesolo.  The consistent Simone gets a bit closer to the more inconsistent Gabby too.  Gabby was able to get rid of her 14.50 from the second day of Nationals but also had to get rid of the huge 15.65 she had at the US Classics.

This last list will be the gymnasts single best score they’ve received this year.

  1. Ashton Locklear – 15.85
  2. Madison Kocian – 15.70
  3. Gabby Douglas – 15.65
  4. Laurie Hernandez – 15.40
  5. Simone Biles – 15.10
  6. Rachel Gowey – 14.90

Ashton overtakes Madison in this list, but the unfortunate thing for Ashton is that it’s only a 0.15 difference which really makes it difficult to consider taking her over Madison, especially when Madison comes out on top in the other two lists.  This is the best list for Gabby as well, because it shows she could bring a considerable difference between using her versus Simone in team finals, however it’s to her detriment that it’s the only list that really has this much a difference between the two, causing some to question if she’s going to be consistent enough to deliver those types of scores through possibly four routines on the event.  Laurie also has a small consistency problem, though hers was mostly low scores in the beginning of the season to high scores in the more recent competitions so hopefully for her she can stay on that upward trend.

My loose predictions,

  1. Ashton Locklear – 15.65, 15.75
  2. Madison Kocian – 15.60, 15.75
  3. Laurie Hernandez – 15.35, 15.25
  4. Gabby Douglas – 15.00, 15.55
  5. Simone Biles – 15.15, 15.10
  6. Rachel Gowey – 14.85, 14.70

In these predictions, I have Ashton coming out as the winner of bars between her and Madison, however the gap will still be close enough that Marta will most likely send Madison to Rio since she prefers her all-around skills.  Laurie will continue to stay on an upward trend and while not having outstanding scores, will end up third over Gabby Douglas who can hit it out of the park, or drop her score a lot due to a few missed handstands and connections.  Simone Biles will stay exactly where she has been for most the year, continuing to show consistency on the event.  Rachel Gowey who I haven’t talked about yet, is a great bar worker but is definitely a long distance behind the top five at the moment, yet she’s more consistent than other bar workers in her range like Ragan Smith and Brenna Dowell.

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