2016 Competitions / Road to Rio

And She’s on the Team

Everyone knew this was coming but only a select few people liked the idea.

Gabby Douglas is on the 2016 US Olympic Team.

NBC had their projected team finals scenario posted right before and on their projection they only had Gabby Douglas doing bars in team finals.  So why take her and leave Ashton Locklear home?

Well I can spend a lot of time talking about why Gabby is a good backup on all events, but honestly that isn’t the reason she’s going.  The reason she’s going is because of who she is.  And that’s not necessarily Gabby’s fault.  But the idea of having the reigning Olympic all-around champion competing in Rio is a wonderful thing for USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee, and the International Olympic Committee.  Something that hasn’t been done since Nadia Comaneci competed at the 1980 Olympic Games.  Gabby has already been getting a huge amount of press and media in her comeback, landing on the cover of Teen Vogue with Simone, being in commercials for her sponsors, and starring in her own reality show.

This is something that Gabby brings to the team that Ashton Locklear does not.  And unfortunately marry this with the fact that Ashton cannot do vault or floor, and you have all the reasoning needed as to why Gabby deserves to be on this team, as much as anyone might not like it.

As for the conversation that Mykayla Skinner should be on the team instead of Gabby – that makes sense when you think of the projected prelim lineups at the moment.  Most people think that Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez deserve a chance to do all-around in Rio’s prelims due to their performances throughout the selection process.  And most think that seventh place Gabby Douglas should not get that chance.  That would mean leaving Gabby Douglas off of bars in prelims.  But if you leave her off of bars in prelims, what’s the point in bringing her?  Mykayla Skinner can score higher than her on vault and floor and Madison Kocian could do beam in prelims if needed.

The problem with this, other than the promotional ideas I’ve already stated, is that if an injury happens to Simone, Laurie, and Madison in the middle of the games, one of either Aly or Mykayla would have to do bars in team finals which is definitely not ideal and could be something that would cost the US team gold.

It’s just a sad situation when Gabby states in an interview that she doesn’t enjoy competing as much as she used to, when we all know Ashton or Mykayla would enjoy the idea of competing in Rio a lot more.  And I think this is where a lot of the anger towards Gabby is coming from at the moment.





2 thoughts on “And She’s on the Team

  1. Great write up. One question bothering me is why Nichols would have been in contention with an Amanar but Skinner never was when she did have a Cheng? Okay, if Skinner is on the team and someone gets injured, they would be stuck with Aly’s 14.2 bars.

    So why not Locklear? If someone gets injured, Kocian can fill in the other events. She was equal or better than Douglas on beam and floor. And she can do the same vault. She was planning to at Trials until Martha told her not to. The only argument for taking Douglas over Locklear is in the event that two gymnasts get hurt within the two day time period between the start of prelims and the end of finals. If a gymnast gets hurt earlier, they can bring in an alternate so it doesn’t matter.

    It’s not absolutely impossible two gymnasts would get hurt in that short period of time but using it as a reason not to take someone on the team means that an event specialist can never be in contention in the first place. Because any time you take someone who doesn’t do all four events means you’re screwed if two gymnasts get hurt. Doesn’t that reasoning mean Locklear never had a chance in the first place?


    • The problem with Locklear is what you described; a scenario in which two gymnasts get injured after opening ceremonies basically. While unlikely, it could happen just like how quick Memmel and Peszek got injured before 2008.

      I have read that Marta hates to use alternates. That in 2000 when Morgan White was removed from the Olympic team, she lost all her credentials, had to give back all of her US Olympic gear and couldn’t go near Sydney. It was a traumatic experience for her and the girls and was one of the reasons given as to why they did so poorly there.

      Locklear would probably have had a chance though if there was no Madison in the picture. If Maddie was still injured like she was earlier in the year I would believe Ashton would have gone. But since they had this option to have a girl nearly as good on bars plus had other events, they didn’t need Ashton anymore. It’s a sad situation for her regardless.


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