Best "Year" of USA Gymnastics

As i was trying to pick a past competition to watch, it got me thinking which competitive year was the best, post 1988? Obviously the Simone years feature the best “gymnast” and most difficulty, but severely lacks competition at the very top. No real criteria here, just wondering everyone’s opinions.

Just in terms of the quality of gymnastics, I would go with 1992, 2004, 2012, and 2016.

  1. By the end of the Olympics, every member of the team had won an individual Olympic medal (Gabby at the previous games)

2003 nationals is a meet I go back to a lot. Patterson is out with injury but the competition has a lot of depth and is pretty open at the top. You get the senior nationals debut of Memmel and Sacramone, the surprise 2002 world champions competing, a close fight at the top with a double defending champion and it’s before all the chaos of the worlds team dropping like flies. There’s good gymnastics a long way down this list:

I don’t know if I’d pick 2003 as the best year given the mistakes and injuries; but 2003 nationals is definitely a comfort meet.


I think of 2003 as the junior season that could have been. A whole year of Patterson v Memmel v McCool. You definitely don’t get 15 year olds of that calibre nowadays.

I remember reading an article though that made a data case for how USA gymnastics reached its peak in 2012 and would probably never repeat it. The juniors who competed that year were seriously talented


I don’t remember what year the 2-per EF rules changed, but I would have loved to see what kind of podium sweeps would have happened in the last 20 years if that rule hadn’t been put into place.

For the record, I still hate that rule.


2 per country for EFs I think started as early as 1976, which was especially tough since finals were only 6 gymnasts. No gymnasts from outside of the eastern block competed in event finals.

I believe that the most gymnasts from a single country to contest an event final was 4. In 1972, Korbut, Tourischeva, Lazakovich and Burda were all in the floor final and swept the medals.

I was at the 2003 Nationals and it was such an exciting competition to experience personally. I just didn’t like how the juniors only got one day of competition that year. It was weird.

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2012 was a year full of talent and lots of medals. one of my favorite years.


That would have been fun. I always thought it was interesting that GAGE decided McCool should do another year as a junior.

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Either 2003 or 2004.
USA won team gold for WAG in 2003 and the MAG won team silver, nearly beating China for gold. Both were the best results at a Worlds for either team (MAG won silver in 2001 as well). Additionally Paul Hamm won the AA and Patterson got silver. US also had three individual champions, Memmel (UB), Vise (UB), and Paul Hamm (FX).
2004 was also a strong year with both teams winning silver, Hamm and Patterson took AA gold, Patterson, Humphrey, and Hatch took silvers and Kupets got a bronze, with Hamm also taking HB silver.

If you are just looking at WAG, then 2005, was by far and away the best year for USAG. They went 1 and 2 in the AA, UB, BB, FX. Sacramone took home bronze on vault, and .006 away from silver. The ladies took 8 of the possible 10 gold and silver medals. They also won 9 out of 10 medal chances (2 per country X 5 events. Had there been a team competition, there is little doubt that Bieger, Sacramone, Liukin, Memmel, Kassi Price (UB/FX) and Annie DiLuzio (VT/BB) would have destroyed the field for the team gold.


For 2005 I think it completely depends on how much importance we place on quality of the field. Is it just about the results, or do we think about how some US minor medals have required the gymnasts to beat more impressive competition than others who won gold?


Well I think that Liukin, Memmel, and Sacramone were proven top tier gymnasts based on later results, also winning medals at later Worlds/Olympics.
I think the 2005 results would likely have been the same had it been a full Worlds.

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If 2005 has been a full team worlds, who do we think the 6 would have been?

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Bieger, Sacramone, Liukin, Memmel, Kassi Price (UB/FX) and Annie DiLuzio (VT/BB)

VT (Liukin, Bieger) Memmel, DiLuzio, Sacramone
UB (Sacramone, Bieger) Price, Memmel, Liukin
BB (DiLuzio, Sacramone) Bieger, Memmel, Liukin
FX (Price, Bieger) Liukin, Memmel, Sacramone

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Yeah, that would’ve been one of the most straightforward team selections in history!

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Liukin and Memmel, certainly, and Sacramone on vault too. I think her being a world floor champion, particularly with that routine, was as much a function of a weak field as anything else.

2005 was such an odd worlds. An almost comedic lack of depth, but at the same time so many superstars of the sport having a massive glow up. Liukin, Memmel, Tweddle, Cheng Fei and Sacramone would be a 5-3-3 lineup to die for.

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I have to disagree.
There was a world floor champ (Dos santos), an Olympic floor champ (Zamo), a European floor champ (Severino), a European floor silver medalist (Harmes), a European floor bronze medalist (Lepennec), the 2005 World AA bronze medalist (Russo), the 2005 World silver medalist (Liukin).

So Sacramone definitely bested a talented field.

It did help that half the field fell in finals (including top qualifier Dos Santos), plus strong floor workers failed to advance from qualifications due to mistakes or falls (Ponor, Cheng Fei, Kozich all made floor finals in Athens for example). There were others that could have advanced but fell or made huge errors (Pavlova, Zhang Nan, Hypolito) and Memmel was eliminated due to 2 per country and Zhang Yufei got injured, with Beth Tweddle also withdrawing due to her ankle injury from bars final.

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Yes, the fact that the performance were so weak is the most significant factor. Alicia didnt beat Olympic style Zamo, she beat off year Zamo.

Also some of the gymnasts you mention weren’t particularly strong floor workers anyway. Fair play to them for turning up and hitting when the rest didn’t of course, but Lepennec and Harmes going into 05 worlds as the European silver and bronze medallists is evidence of what a weak year it was. And it wasn’t Russo’s best event either.

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This one still gets me….withdrawing as a precaution to save herself for the 2006 CWG which she had to pull out of completely in the end due to a training injury. Argh! She had such frustrating injury timings throughout her career.

FWIW she scored 9.525 on FX in the AA which would have been second in the EF.

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