The 2018 Junior Pan American Championships takes place this week, with competition starting on June 13 and concluding on June 15 in Buenos Aires. The event includes a team final, all-around final, and event finals for both the men and women. Team USA is sending top juniors Jordan Bowers, JaFree Scott, Tori Tatum, and Leanne Wong.
Below, we have provided a background on each competitor and where they are expected to contribute for Team USA. You can check out the live stream for the competition HERE from the Federation Metropolitana de Gimnasia.
Jordan Bowers: The Veteran
Solid Rock Gymnastics' Bowers is the only gymnast on the women’s team who has competed internationally already for the USA in a team situation. She was a member of the Pacific Rim Championships team that competed in Colombia earlier this year, helping Team USA to a gold-medal finish. Bowers also finished first on floor exercise in this competition and took third place on bars. Her key skills include a big double front tuck for her opening floor pass and a full twisting double back for her second pass.
Check out her routine from 2018 Pac Rims:
Bowers will also be key for the US on bars, where she has beautiful lines and impressive connections, including her opening toe-on full to Maloney to Pak to Van Leeuwen.
JaFree Scott: The Up-And-Coming All-Arounder
Scott is one of the two GAGE gymnasts who will be competing at Pan Ams. Although she is new to the international elite scene, she has a ton of promise as an all-around gymnast. She’s very powerful and will be useful on vault, where she competes a high double-twisting Yurchenko with great distance. Her tumbling on floor is impressive as well and includes a piked full-in and a double Arabian. Her amplitude extends to bars also with her release moves. Her opening combination is a Komova (inbar to Shaposh), stalder to immediate uprise to a massive Ray.
The event we enjoy watching her on the most is beam. She competes a huge Arabian, with an impressive upright chest position on landing. Like Bowers, she also has a front handspring to front tuck in her routine.
Check out her performance from the Pac Rims verification camp in April:
Video via USA Gymnastics
Tori Tatum: The Consistent And Reliable Competitor
Twin City Twisters' Tatum is recently coming off a solid performance at the City of Jesolo Trophy, where she competed as an individual. She participated in the all-around, vault, bars, and floor finals for the junior division and proved she is one who can be counted on in competition. She also placed seventh in the all-around final, the highest of any U.S. junior competitor, totaling a 52.3. Tatum competes a strong Yurchenko 1.5 on vault, and has strong release moves on bars, such as a Van Leeuwen and piked Jaeger. Her beam includes a unique combo of aerial cartwheel to back handspring step out, and her opening floor pass is a full-in.
Check out her strong bar routine from Jesolo below:
Leanne Wong: The Master Of Execution
Wong is the second GAGE gymnast on the Pan Am team. In typical GAGE style, she has incredible execution on all four events. In fact, at the 2017 P&G Championships, Wong was in the top three for execution on every event except bars for both juniors and seniors. Team USA will rely on her for all four events, but especially for vault, beam, and floor, which are arguably her strongest events. She may be the strongest vaulter on the team given the great execution she has on her Yurchenko double. Wong has been training an Amanar, which she verified at camp in May, but she will likely stick to a double for this competition.
Check out her vault from last year’s P&Gs here:
Video via USA Gymnastics