The women’s competition lineup as it is doesn’t seem too exciting. If I were sending out the invites, I would do something like this (only two on this list are actually slated to compete):— Jordyn Wieber, USA: (My opinion: Let her compete, she’s slated as the next Shawn Johnson and if USA Gymanstics wanted this competition to be seniors only, it would have instituted an age requirement. At the same time, if USA Gymnastics wanted the
— He Kexin, China: She’d bring that huge bar routine and the name recognition of an Olympic gold medalist. The American Cup would be a wonderful place for her to showcase her not inconsequential potential as an all-around gymnast, too.
— Ksenia Semyonova, Russia: If she could overcome injuries and growth spurts, this bright young Russian, a serious 2009 World all-around contender, would dazzle the crowds in Chicago.
— Samantha Shapiro or Mattie Larson, USA: Wieber is all power, and these two from All Olympia in California are all grace. The balance would be a great presentation at an American Cup.
— Cui Jie, China: If they’re letting the U.S. juniors compete, why not allow one of China’s rising stars in as well?
— Lauren Mitchell, Australia: Mitchell seemed like just another strong member of the Australian team until she won beam gold at the World Cup final and solidified herself as a force to contend with in her own right. She’s not a great barworker, but it would be fun to see how she stacks up against some of the other all-around hopefuls.
— Beth Tweddle, Great Britain: Tweddle has been so close so many times to a major international all-around title (some would argue that the American Cup doesn’t necessarily qualify as a “major international all-around title. Still…) What a great chance this would be for Britain’s best ever.
— Koko Tsurumi, Japan: Another whose best days are still ahead of her. With Tsurumi and newcomer Natsumi Satsuda (remember, she does the layout Garrison mount on beam), Japanese women may make inroads in catching up to the Japanese men this quad.
— David Sender, USA: It’s always fun to see a guy with something to prove, but his performance at last week’s Winter Cup doesn’t bode well for big American finishes against the likes of gymnasts like Fabian Hambuchen. Nevertheless, I’d like to see what he can do in a meet like this.
— Kohei Uchimura, Japan: The reigning Olympic silver medalist’s road to London should begin with a win here. Even if he did nothing but blow the competition away, it might provide the American Cup with some legitimacy as a big, um, competitive international competition.
— Benoit Caranobe, France: Nobody gave much thought to the Olympic bronze medalist before he became the Olympic bronze medalist. He could use the American Cup to give himself some more notoriety.— Sasha Artemev, USA: The male Nastia had a very good Olympic Games, and it partly cracked his reputation as one of the U.S.’s most brilliant, least consistent gymnasts ever. A good showing at the American Cup would improve his chances of being looked at as one of the new leaders of the U.S. team even more.
— Ashley Watson, Great Britain: Hey, if they’re letting the female juniors compete…this guy was darn good at last month’s Australian Youth Olympic Festival, where he won the all-around.
— Anton Fokin, Uzebekistan: This p-bars genius would bring a lot of artistry to this meet.
— Fabian Hambuchen, Germany: Big skills, big star power, big dreams, nice guy. Who wouldn’t want him at their international meet?
— Nathan Gafuik, Canada: Canadian representation is needed at this meet. Gafuik is competitive on every event except pommel horse. Let him come and show his stuff.
If you could make the American Cup lineup, who would you choose?