On Saturday McKayla Maroney will compete for the first time since she famously won a silver medal on vault in the 2012 Olympics and was not very happy about it. Maroney and Olympic teammate Kyla Ross are performing at the U.S. Classic in Chicago, which you can stream live for free at 2 p.m. ET on July 27. It will be a chance to see how the Olympians have done since they became famous, what new tricks they've learned, whether they can keep up with the up-and-coming gymnasts, and yes, because they are teens, how many inches they've grown. (And in gymnastics, being taller is bad since it changes the speed of your flips and rotations.) You should watch it because it will showcase the familiar-but-still-unsettling gymnastics combination of athletically cool and aesthetically cheesy, and because the next Olympics are so, so far away. Here's what to watch for:
Since the Olympics, Maroney has proven to have a rather intense social media presence to document her many appearances in awards shows, teen TV, and endorsements. As for gymnastics, she has had three surgeries since the Olympics, where she competed on a broken toe. At Classics, she'll be performing on two events, vault and floor. She's doing the same two vaults that won her silver. Here's one from a training video from two months ago:
Lots of these GIFs come from workout videos, because there haven't been many major competitions this year. We're moving toward the peak part of the gymnastics season, with this competition leading up to the national championships in August and the world championships in September. There will be only four spots on the world championships team this time, and no team event. That means the four will be picked based on who can win the most medals, not who helps round out the team.
We didn't get to see Maroney compete floor at the Games. Here's some tumbling she might perform on floor on Saturday.
Maroney says she's already focused on Rio.
She is also not practicing good data security.
Ross has grown at least three inches since the Olympics, but it doesn't look like it's affected her too much. Ross didn't take much time off at all after 2012, and competed at the American Cup in March and a tour of small European meets earlier this year. She's upgrading her tricks on beam, which means she might do this:
... or maybe something like this:
She's working to get back her Amanar on vault, and its making small changes to her bar routine.
Biles is a new senior this year. She's short and super strong and powerful, sort of like 2008 Olympic beam champion Shawn Johnson. So, for example, she can do a triple-twisting double back. Granted, it's on a special extra-bouncy floor, and onto a soft surface, but that's like so many twists and flips.
If Biles doesn't fall, she has a great chance to beat the Olympians in the all around and in the individual events.
She came in second at the American Cup in March, doing stuff like this:
During training before Classics on Friday, Biles showed can also do that thing with a half twist.
Like Jordyn Wieber, her weakest event is bars, but she has a bit better swing.
Some others to watch out for...
This is Dowell's second year as a senior, and she's added a lot of new skills. She's also powerful, with an Amanar on vault, powerful tumbling, and a difficult bar routine.
Priessman is also a powerful tumbler, plus she has an Amanar.
On floor, Skinner will compete a double-twisting double back flip with her body in a straight position, which is super hard. It's the first time she's competing it, and she says it's "10 times harder" than all her other tumbling passes.
Hundley showed a lot of impressive skills on bars at the national training camp a couple months ago:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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