The U.S. women looked confident and ready to continue dominating in a commanding qualifications team win this weekend at the 2018 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha. The women of Team USA are heavy favorites to win the their fourth straight Worlds team gold medal, continuing the streak of American dominance in women’s gymnastics.
In addition, Simone Biles is going for a record-breaking fourth World all-around title. Biles is also a top contender for the gold medal on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise.
Though bars has been considered a weak event for the U.S. in the past, this year’s team does not follow that pattern. With Riley McCusker, Morgan Hurd, and Biles’ upgraded routine, the U.S. has three difficult, well executed, and consistent routines that can earn big scores in the team finals. Though there were a few mistakes and missed handstands in podium training and qualifications, it should all be easily cleaned up before Tuesday’s women’s team final. In addition, Biles and Hurd will be in medal contention in the uneven bars finals.
Kara Eaker only competed on beam in qualifications, where she will give the U.S. team a big boost over their competitors in the race for the team gold. Though Eaker had a few mistakes on connections, she was beautiful in her form and recovered nicely for the second half of her routine to maintain fluid connections throughout.
Hurd and Biles looked incredibly solid on beam, making for one of the strongest beam lineups this quad. While McCusker struggled on her routine with a fall in qualifications, she will be a threat for a big score in the team final if given the chance. Hurd, as always, looked fantastic on beam, moving fluidly throughout and making a standing full look easy. Biles’ high level of difficulty, fluidity, and clean execution will end the U.S. beam rotation on a high note. Hurd will not be able to defend her silver medal on beam from 2017 due to the two per-country rule, but she will give the American team another big beam score in the team final.
As always, the US women showed clean, powerful tumbling on floor in qualifications. There were a few bounces out of bounds and shaky landings, but with the US’ high tumbling difficulty, they have some wiggle room to work with. Hurd and MCCusker’s routines continued to improve from the summer, with cleaner landings, more powerful tumbling, precise leaps, and beautiful artistry.
Grace McCallum also joined the floor lineup, where her clean twisting and nearly-stuck landings could give the US a big score if called upon in the team final. Biles will anchor the floor lineup with her 6.7 difficulty score, the highest in the world. With cleaner landings and no out-of-bounds deductions, Biles could earn the highest floor score in the world so far this year and give the U.S. a big lead to work with in the team final.
Though most of the U.S. team is not competing the most difficult vaults in the world, their level of execution should be enough to keep them ahead of the field. Hurd’s vault looked solid and will keep her in the running for an all-around medal in Thursday’s final.
Biles’ new vault has been the biggest news of the World Championships so far. The reigning Olympic all-around champion competed the Biles, a roundoff half-on double twist, in qualifications and could compete it in the team final as well. However, she will stick to competing the Cheng in the vault event final, as it is less risky. If competed successfully, this vault is expected to have a difficulty score of 6.4. Biles is the favorite to pick up gold medals in the team, all-around, vault, beam, and floor finals.
The U.S. women will compete in the women’s team final Tuesday, October 30th as they go for their fourth consecutive Worlds team gold medal.Tags: Grace McCallum, Kara Eaker, Morgan Hurd, Riley McCusker, Simone Biles, United States, World Championships