By Kate Joseph
The U.S. women’s team for the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships was named last week. The Championships will be held from Oct. 3 to Oct. 12, 2014 in Nanning, China.
U.S. gymastics currently holds sixth place in the world for most medals won, at 102, with 39 gold, 36 silver, and 27 bronze. Their last team win was in 2011 when the championship was held in Tokyo, Japan.
This year’s team is headlined by all-around world champion Simone Biles, 17, of Plano, Texas, and 2012 Olympic team gold-medalist Kyla Ross, 17, of Honolulu, Hawaii. The duo won all-around gold and all-around silver, respectively, at the 2013 World Championships.
“I think it just shows what I’m capable of,” said Biles last month at the P&G Championships where she won the all-around for the second year in a row. “And I still have it to go out there and compete and have fun the same way I have been doing.”
Biles has also earned gold medals for her performance in floor exercise at the 2013 World Championships as well as vault and floor at the 2014 U.S. Championships.
Ross feels every move she makes will matter in the possibility of her competing in the 2016 Olympics.
“I feel like every competition counts,” said Ross. “This year going into team worlds, it’s important for [U.S. Women’s national team coordinator] Marta Karolyi to start to see who’s going to be on the team and who’s going to be a contender for the next Olympics.”
Ross has been competing professionally since 2010. She was the all-around gold medalist at the 2014 City of Jesolo Trophy. Also this year, Ross earned gold medals for balance beam at the Visa/P&G Championships, and balance beam at the Pacific Rim Championships.
The remainder of the team consists of five other gymnasts:
Alyssa Baumann: 16, Plano, Texas. Silver medalist on the balance beam at the 2014 U.S. Championships and the City of Jesolo Trophy.
Madison Desch: 17, Leneza, Kansas. Finished 13 overall at the 2014 U.S. Championships.
Madison Kocian: 17, Dallas, Texas. Silver medalist on the uneven bars at the 2014 U.S. Championships and the 2014 Pan -American Championships.
Ashton Locklear: 16, Lumberton, North Carolina. Gold medalist on the uneven bars at the 2014 U.S. Championships.
McKayla Skinner: 17, Gilbert, Arizona. Gold medalist in all-around vault and floor at the 2014 Pan-American U.S. Championships, and vault and floor at the 2014 City of Jesolo Trophy. Silver medalist in floor and vault at the 2014 U.S. Championships.