Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Brenna Situation...

Team USA today announced that only three athletes, Kyla Ross, Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney would compete on all four events in the qualifications early next week. Nothing was said of the fourth team member, Brenna Dowell, who is now 'the alternate'. This is certainly a shocking heartbreaking decision for Brenna, who was clearly expecting to have a chance to compete. Watch her emotional interview with gymnastike here

Sadly we won't be seeing Brenna on bars in Antwerp

The World Championships this year is an individual affair, with no team competition to take place. Each country is allowed to put up three athletes on each event, a maximum of two can qualify for the finals. Simone and Kyla are obviously locks for the all-around. Current World Champion McKayla Maroney is somewhat a specialist on the power events, whereas Brenna is strong everywhere, especially on bars.

Maroney has been named as the 3rd all-around athlete, despite clear weaknesses on bars and beam. I am happy that she has the chance to see how she stacks up at an international competition, but am really scratching my head over the decision to put her into the all-around, when Dowell has a really good shot at qualifying for the bars final. Maroney could still compete on vault and floor. What's more, Maroney is unlikely to qualify for the all-around final if Biles and Ross hit.

Why would Marta pass up the opportunity to give Brenna some valuable World-stage experience, when Maroney has already had bucketloads? If it was always the intention that Brenna was to be an alternate, why get her hopes up and name her to the team in the first place? Many US athletes could have filled the fourth spot on the team, but Brenna showed the consistency and determination required. Imagine all of those months of hard training, all of that sacrifice, the joy of making the team, only to then to find out that you have traveled halfway across the world to be an alternate.  It's just plain cruel and Brenna deserves more than that. I bet her coaches are fuming, I would be too.

Brenna will be an excellent team player over the next quad, she has great execution and can produce good routines on any apparatus. Let's hope 2014 will be her year.

Article by Imogen Browne (Follow on Twitter @Iflip4gymblog)

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