Riley McCusker Kicks Off 2019 Season At Birmingham World Cup

Riley McCusker's 2019 season is set to begin the same way her 2017 season did: at a World Cup. About six months after competing at her first major international competition, McCusker is set to make her 2019 debut at the Birmingham World Cup. In 2017, she made her senior elite debut at the American Cup. Hopefully, that's as far as the parallels will go for McCusker's 2019 competition season.

Her performance at the 2017 American Cup was not how she wanted to begin her senior career. Besides a fall on bars and hitting her feet on the mat while swinging on the low bar, McCusker dangerously slipped off the beam during her dismount. Luckily, she bounced back from her first meet of 2017, winning all-around and beam at Jesolo and earning three medals at P&G Championships: all-around bronze, bars gold and beam silver. McCusker looked poised to make her first World Championship team. Unfortunately, an injury prevented her from even participating at the World Team Selection Camp, so she would have to wait to represent the U.S. on one of the biggest international stages in gymnastics.

The Birmingham World Cup marks McCusker's second World Cup, and she will be vying for the all-around crown. McCusker last competed in October at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, where she competed on all four events in qualifications and did bars and beam in the team final. While McCusker hasn't competed in an all-around competition in almost six months and has yet to compete in an all-around final in a major international meet, she is more than capable of hanging with the world's best.

At last year's World Championships qualifications, she earned a 54.765 in the all-around, good enough for eighth. However, the two-per-country rule prevented her from competing in all-around finals. Her strongest events are bars and beam where she has a good balance of execution and difficulty. On bars, she competed a Maloney to Tkachev and a Ricna to Pak salto to Chow 1/2 on bars and on beam, her routine included a Mitchell, followed by a double wolf turn and a triple series. Though not as difficult as an Amanar, McCusker's DTY is solid, and she had difficult tumbling on floor, including a tucked full-in, a piked full-in and a double layout.

Because it's the beginning of the season, her routines and skills may be slightly different and not as polished as they were last time she competed, so her scores may be different, but for McCusker, the Birmingham World Cup isn't necessarily about winning. With just three international assignments under her belt (the 2017 American Cup, the 2017 City of Jesolo Trophy and the 2018 World Championships), it will be beneficial for McCusker and the national team staff to see the MG Elite gymnast get more international experience, see how her routines score, see how she stacks up internationally and to prepare for the end-goal of the year: the 2019 World Championships.

A good performance at the Birmingham World Cup will be helpful in preparing McCusker for the rest of her season, including the U.S. Classic, U.S. Gymnastics Championships and ultimately World Championships, should she make the team. 

And in the pre-Olympic year, making the World Championship team is important, though not required, for making the Olympic team. In 2012, four of the five members of the Fierce Five competed at the 2011 World Championships. In 2016, again, four of the five members of the Final Five competed at the 2015 World Championships.

Competing at World Championships provides an opportunity to prove what a gymnast is capable of on one of the biggest international stages, and the Birmingham World Cup offers a similar opportunity. McCusker will be competing on four events against some of the top gymnasts in the world to start her 2019 season and show the world what she's got.

St. Louis To Host 2020 U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials

St. Louis, Missouri will host the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for men's and women's gymnastics, USA Gymnastics announced today. The trials are scheduled for June 25-28 at the Enterprise Center and the artistic teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be named in St. Louis.

Oklahoma Caps Incredible Season With An NCAA Title

In the inaugural Four on the Floor final of the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, the Oklahoma Sooners won the team title and are back on top after scoring a huge 198.3375. The LSU Tigers had another runner-up finish and earned their highest NCAA Championship score with a 197.8250 ahead of last year's champion UCLA Bruins, who were in third with a 197.5375. The Denver Pioneers concluded their season with a fourth-place finish, their best ever final ranking in program history, with a 197.0000.

UCLA, LSU, Oklahoma & Denver Advance To 2019 NCAA Finals

After placing in the top two in their respective semifinals, UCLA, LSU, Oklahoma, and Denver have qualified to the first Four on the Floor NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championship final. In semifinal I, UCLA finished in first with a 197.6750, and LSU finished in second with a 197.5125. In semifinal II, Oklahoma won with a 197.8500 while Denver came in second with a 197.0375.

Individual All-Around Competitors At 2019 NCAAs

While the full teams duke it out for the NCAA team championship this weekend, gymnasts will be competing individually for event titles as well—including for the all-around. 

Title Or Bust For No. 1-Ranked Oklahoma Women

When the 2019 season began, the Oklahoma women’s  gymnastics team found itself ranked No. 2 in the nation. After losing out to UCLA in the 2018 championships, the ranking seemed to be a good reminder of what the Sooners missed out on.

Fueled By 2018 Letdown, Oregon State Makes It To NCAA Championships

Coach Tanya Chaplin remembers the moment well. With her Oregon State squad on the verge of making it to the 2018 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, the unthinkable happened.

UCLA Looking For A Repeat In Legendary Coach's Final Meet

Even if you’re not a gymnastics fan, you’ve probably had some sort of exposure to the UCLA gymnastics team. You may have seen Katelyn Ohashi moonwalking and split-jumping to Michael Jackson in her viral floor routine. You may have seen Kyla Ross win the team gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, or Madison Kocian win the team gold and the bars silver medal in Rio. And you may know that the Bruins are the reigning national champions, which they won by 0.0375 last year in one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Never Satisfied, Oklahoma Men Strive For Fifth Consecutive National Title

NORMAN, Okla. — Yul Moldauer’s resume speaks for itself. The Oklahoma senior is a 15-time All-American and owner of seven individual national championships. Those are just a few of the honors and accolades the Colorado native has amassed in his time with the Sooners.

Morgan Hurd, Sam Mikulak Win Tokyo World Cup

On Sunday (late Saturday evening in the U.S.), gymnasts competed in another FIG World Cup, this time in Tokyo, Japan. There was both a women’s and men’s competition, and both meets showed talent from a range of countries. 

Denver & Oregon State Earn Upset Bids To NCAA Championships

On the last night of regionals anything can happen, and Saturday’s action at the Corvallis regional finals proved that. No. 4 Florida, No. 5 Denver, No. 12 Boise State, and No. 15 Oregon State matched up in the final evening of competition, but only two could move on to the NCAA Championships.