got it from Nastia,” he said with a grin. “She’s
my little dude.”
If Bross is Liukin’s little dude, Larson, 18, is
the accomplished dancer. But she also packs a
punch. Her floor routine that began the meet
on day two was stunning for its sass and style,
not to mention its gorgeous, floating double
layout mount. “I was a little bit nervous going
into floor,” said Larson, who won the event. “I
didn’t warm up all of my tumbling passes.”
Her All Olympia coaches, Galina Marinova
and Arthur Akopyan, wanted her to save
some energy for the actual competition, and
the strategy worked.
With Sloan’s status for worlds up in the
air—“She’s right at the almost impossible situation,” said national team coordinator Marta
Karolyi—Larson is a worthy replacement.
Injured a year ago for the Visa championships,
the Los Angeles resident said she was pleased
to be able to finish the meet, period.
“It feels so good,” Larson told IG. “Walking
away from a competition being 100 percent
healthy feels just as good as winning sometimes, because being healthy is such a big factor in gymnastics now.”
“I was a little bit nervous
going into floor; I didn’t
warm up all of my
Larson also is a good fit for the U.S. team,
which needs strong uneven bars routines.
Hers includes a Stalder-Shaposhnikova, Stal-der-Tkatchev and Stalder-full pirouette to
Tkatchev. She also outscored Bross on vault
with her high double-twisting Yurchenko.
“I’m really happy with how everything
went,” Larson said. “It’s my first time hitting
eight-for-eight at nationals.”
Third-place Alexandra Raisman also avoid-
ed a major mistake, and her high level of diffi-
culty on three events makes her a prime can-
didate for the world team, which won’t be
decided until early October. She vaults a dou-
ble-twisting Yurchenko but is capable of an
“I competed a 21⁄2 (Amanar) at the Classic,
but I fell on it, so I’m not really sure what I’m
going to compete yet,” she told IG, adding
that she likes her chances for a spot on the
team for Rotterdam. “I’m just going to try to
do [at the training camps] what I did tonight
and stay positive.”
For the second year in a row, Hill’s gymnast
Kytra Hunter quietly placed fourth, but she
also did the loudest trick on floor, a layout full-
in, back-out. Her double-twisting Yurchenko is
one of the best on the senior team as well, and
her beam isn’t bad either. A freshman at
Florida this fall, Hunter, who turns 19 on Oct.
25, could well make the world team.