Riley McCusker

Talk Gymnastics With Us!

Join Today... Members See FEWER Ads

I think she’s going to find herself odd man out. Her bars and beam are very nice, but not best in the US in an admittedly crowded field. She’ll need to distinguish herself as a top 4 AAer, again, crowded field, and she has a history of inconsistency–granted, maybe one she can put behind her with strong showings at Classics, Nationals, and Trials now that she’s training somewhere sane.

As to the DLO full out…on a rod floor with an air floor on top, and it’s waaaaaaaay back, not up. Fun, but I don’t see that translating to floor any time soon.
I reckon her best chance is being chosen for the 6th spot on the basis of her bars EF chances, and for that she’ll need Lee to be back and in the 4.
I have a feeling that Tom will literally pick the top 5 AAers from Olympic Trials. Barring a disaster from Simone or Suni - it would probably be the fairest way. And would save Tom from any critique. Public Twitter storms about selection is the LAST thing USAG wants or needs right now.

He has already demonstrated it already this year by not adding Blakely or McClain to the NT because they didn’t “do the all around at either meet”.

They are both potentials for the Olympics and were not added, meanwhile Finnegan and Drayton were added to the NT and won’t be in the running.

But Skinner was added even though she only did VT, because you know…logic

We also saw how 2016 selection became controversial.
Last edited:
Whatever her chances are, it won’t have anything to do with this tumble. Not happening.

What McCusker has going for her is that the judges rain down scores if she hits, especially US judges, and she more or less holds up with FIG. The downside is, the gym change, time off, new skills, newfound confidence, etc. do not seem to have translated to better scores or consistency (yet). Pressure will be at maximum at Trials. It’s a bad place to melt down, and you can’t really argue +1 for her or anybody else if they’re not staying on bars and beam.

It’s still early. Maybe it’ll all come and she’ll make it somehow. Forster seems to like her, for whatever that’s worth or for however little power he has.
I actually thought her DTY looked WAY better at Winter Cup. She didn’t get a good score because she was crunched and both feet OOB. But she opened out. Look at her arms. She never used to. You can tell that she can now do that vault, whereas it was always a question mark with Haney.
Yes! The DTY looked so much better. The change in her bars dismount was brilliant. Brian Carey has done good things with Riley so far.

But I still think it’s not going to be enough to get her to Tokyo.
I mean, with Jade not working TF, the US hole is on vault.

If Grace can show up with a reliable Cheng, I think that’s her ticket. I can’t see Morgan or Suni upgrading VT.
With Biles having a clean Cheng as anchor (or maybe even the Biles 2) the US doesn’t need any crazy vaulting. Two excellent, clean, and close to stuck DTY will suffice. Hurd, Lee, McCallum all have strong DTYs with McCallum the best of the three. She’s already vaulted in 2 team finals. The US team was completely fine without Carey on VT or FX in 2018. Even with 2 DTYs and Biles’ VT the US will top VT.

The US hole is on BB, they need 2 sets before Biles that won’t result in falls.
@irichluck21 you can say that about every team on beam though.

I think Grace could upgrade to this:

Triple Wolf
Double Wolf
Cross Straddle 1/2 - Cross Jump 1/1 0.2
Split Aerial LOSO 0.4
Sissone - Turn
RO Full In 0.2

DDCG|EDDD 0.8 = 6.3
  • Like
Reactions: MRR
Would Riley really add anything if she were to be named the +1? She would struggle to make any final and not medal unless other falter. Her best shot would be UB but even Simone was beating her there last time we saw them all
If you assume that Suni is on the team with Simone, between those two and Jade, making a final is a long shot for any other gymnast. If Simone and Suni still lead the pack come Nationals/Trials, I’d like to see the next two gymnasts and the +1 be the three that have the best averages over the four days (it is still 2 days of competition, right?) since those 3 should then be the most consistent which is really all you need.
god willing and the creek don’t rise, yes. And, like the others, I’d rather have the top 5 AA + Jade than top 4 AA + Jade + whoever is best on beam on the off chance of getting a different person in the beam final (unless that person is Chellsie because I can be biased if i wanna be) as it just feels more “fair”. Of course, it is only as fair as USAG’s judging can be so…

(either way, the fifth person is basically a footnote unless someone gets injured just before the competition so eh, can’t get too het up either way. I was going to say they should auction it off to pay off their lawsuit debts but they might actually think to do that and it wouldn’t be as funny as it should be)
I can envisage some scenarios where the 5th isn’t necessarily a footnote, but it would probably involve them being willing to choose based on EF medal chances.

So if Lee isn’t capable of the AA by that point, but continues to be a viable bars title contender, it makes most sense to send her as an individual. Or if the thing we all know won’t happen did happen, and Eaker was given sensible beam composition. Situations like that.

But if they just take the 5th AAer without thought for any of that, the odds of her getting out of prelims without some help from her teammates seem low. Simone, Jade and a theoretical healthy Sunisa are capable of hoovering up near enough everything between them. Even on beam, which is the only quasi gap there, Suni is good when she feels like hitting. She was only 0.1 behind the 8th placed qualifier in 2019. This is before even factoring in the 3rd and 4th team members.

eta- I completely forgot she fell in Stuttgart prelims. And even then she might still have made the EF if she’d stuck the dismount!
Last edited:
Well China did have the fall from LTT in Team Finals, but they did destroy USA in TQ by close to 2 points on BB. Last thing USA needs is China hitting UB and BB rotations cold and then having two falls on BB. Even if you sub Carey’s TF VT for Lee in Stuttgart, it is a difference of 0.6
USA won’t likely have Eaker on the team so they do need a strong BBer, although Lee has looked failry strong with her revamped routine.

Talk Gymnastics With Us!

Join Today... Members See FEWER Ads