Olympics: One spot open for U.S. women gymnasts
San Jose, Calif. — Technically, there are five spots available on the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team that will be unveiled on Sunday night at the end of Olympic Trials.
But not really.
Ashton Locklear knows it.
“We all do the math in our heads,” she said. “I think you kind of have to. You need to know what’s going on around you.”
Barring injury or a catastrophic drop in form, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez are heading to Brazil next month.
That leaves one position open — maybe — the one Locklear and good friend Madison Kocian will try to convince national team coordinator Martha Karolyi they’re worthy of during what may be the most important 48 hours of their athletic lives.
No pressure or anything.
“I definitely need to prove myself,” Locklear said. “I definitely need to show consistency.”
It’s a testament to the depth of the powerhouse program Karolyi has built that the only real lingering drama with less than a month to go before the games centers around who will serve as the anchor on uneven bars.
The top choices are the fluidly elegant Locklear — who helped the U.S. to team gold in the 2014 world championships — and the precise Kocian — who won gold on her favorite event at the 2015 world championships.
Tony Azevedo is heading to his fifth Olympics after he was chosen for the U.S. men’s water polo team for Rio de Janeiro.
The 13-player roster was announced at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.
The U.S. is looking to improve on its eighth-place finish in London four years ago.
Azevedo, 34, made his Olympic debut in 2000 in Sydney. The team captain was born in Rio and plays professionally for Sesi in Sao Paulo.
Goaltender Merrill Moses, who turns 39 on Aug. 13, also made the squad, but Moses and Azevedo are outliers for what likely will be one of the youngest teams in the Olympic field.
Most of the players on the roster are in their 20s, and Thomas Dunstan and Ben Hallock are only 19 years old.
The U.S. plays its Olympic opener Aug. 6 against Croatia.
France rallied from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat New Zealand, 66-59, moving two victories from a spot in the Olympic tournament.
The French clinched first place in their Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, Philippines, and play Turkey on Saturday in the semifinals. Canada faces New Zealand in the other semifinal.
Mikael Gelabale scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter for France. Boris Diaw, recently traded from San Antonio to Utah, finished with 10 points and six rebounds. The French, the tournament favorite, outscored New Zealand, 28-11, in the fourth quarter.
Corey Webster led New Zealand with 21 points.
In the other game in Manila, Ali Muhammed scored 23 as Turkey clinched its semifinal spot by beating Senegal, 68-62.
Semih Erden finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The semifinals in the other two tournaments already had been set and will be held today. Italy plays Mexico, while Greece takes on Croatia in Turin, Italy.
In Belgrade, Serbia, Latvia meets Puerto Rico, and Serbia hosts the Czech Republic.
The winners of the three tournaments will earn the final three berths in Rio.
The tournament starts Aug. 6.