The roster for the P&G Championships, the final event before the US Olympic Trials, has been announced. As expected, the biggest names in US Gymnastics will be on hand.
3 time World Champion Simone Biles leads the field, as she gets in one final tune-up prior to the Olympic Trials. She will be joined by 2012 Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas. Both gymnasts are expected to make the trip to Rio, barring injury.
Aly Raisman, fresh off her all-around victory at the Secret Classic, will also be competing. A strong finish at the P&G Championships may secure the 2012 Olympian a return trip to the Olympic Games regardless of her finish at the Olympic Trials.
For the rest of the gymnasts, the competition provides one last opportunity to impress national team coordinator Marta Karolyi before the Olympic Trials. The Trials provides an automatic qualifier only to the all-around champion, so gymnasts will likely need to not only have a solid Trials meet, but also a resume of strong performances in order to impress the selection committee.
Gymnasts such as Brenna Dowell, Ashton Locklear, Mykayla Skinner, and Madison Kocian are hoping two good competitions, coupled with their previous experience at the World Championships will be enough to earn them an invite onto the Olympic Team. Meanwhile, junior world champion Laurie Hernandez, in her first year as a senior competitor, is hoping her all-around game, as well as her potential, will earn her a trip to Rio. The P&G Championships offer the opportunity for all the gymnasts competing for a spot on the Olympic team to show off their skills in relative to one another. The full start list can be seen here.
The Return Of Maggie
The P&G Championships will mark the return of Maggie Nichols, who was sidelined for the past 2 months with a knee injury. Nichols was on her way to qualifying for the Olympic Team prior to her injury, as she has shown her skills in all four disciplines on the biggest stages.
At the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, Nichols performed every rotation in the team final, contributing to the United States' dominating victory in the team competition. She then placed second, behind Douglas, at the American Cup. Karolyi even admitted that Nichols was high on her list of potential gymnasts, saying "Maggie showed again that I can rely on her" after her American Cup performance. Still, this is the first competition since returning from injury, and Nichols will only have two competitions to remove any doubt that may be surrounding her knee injury.
Also returning to action is Bailie Key. After a strong 2015, where she was named a non-traveling alternate to the World Championships, Key has been sidelined for 2016. She did perform an exhibition uneven bars routine at the Secret Classic to prove she is uninjured and ready to compete. After showing so much promise last year, she will have two events to convince the selection committee to put her on the team.