Thursday, December 8, 2011

Your Questions Answered - Will Bross Make the Olympic Team?

Nicole Asked: "I was just wondering what is your opinion on the chances of Rebecca Bross making the Olympic team? And just all around what you think of her."

(Property of Vanessa Steck)
I'll be honest when saying that Rebecca Bross is not my favorite gymnast, nor has she ever been. While her form, specifically on bars, has always bothered me, I do appreciate her determination and talent. Had you asked me if I thought that she'd make the Olympic Team a year ago, my answer would have been a definite "yes".

I wish that I could say that I still thought that Rebecca Bross would make the Olympic Team. I want her to make the Olympic Team. If I had to give her a percentage, I’d say she has a 50/50 shot.

The primary reason right now, is of course, the knee injury which she sustained at the 2011 Visa National Championships. People have said that she may not have time to prepare before the Olympics. That’s not my only concern. I’m more worried about the fact that she may be pacing herself too quickly and not taking enough time off. (Becca was at camp in late November conditioning and working bars.) She could hurt herself a second time.

Bross is known for her reoccurring injuries. Back, foot, knee, it seems like the only person who’s injured more than Becca is Chellsie Memmel. While she had relatively healthy seasons in 2009 & 2010, in her current state, I, unfortunately, anticipate Becca being injured again.

If Becca is healthy in 2012, I truly hope that she can compete consistently. I’d suggest that she get rid of the Patterson dismount. As you’ll see in the video below (with highly dramatic background music), she's struggled with it for years. 

I can't see Marta putting up this kind of risk in an Olympic Team Final.

Her strong Bars and Floor could help her to earn a spot, but will it be enough?

Here are the 4 things that I think Becca needs to make the Olympic Team:
1. She needs to get back to 100% health wise. 
2. She needs to get rid of the Patterson dismount, or she needs to hit all of the time. 
3. Her Double Twisting Yurchenko needs to be consistent. (This is the least important of the 4)
4. She HAS to stay healthy for the rest of the season. 


  1. This is a good assessment. I hate to pick on her alignment on bars though, just because she was born knocked-kneed, and that's just something she can't help. Her form overall on bars is strong and she's obviously really good there, especially in her handstands. That and her floor, especially, should set her up well, but of course she does need to get/stay healthy. That Patterson dismount is so odd-- there are times when it seems like she can't miss ('10 Nationals, '10 Worlds) and other times when it's just really off. It gives her the highest d-score in the country though which is probably why they've tried to keep it.

  2. If she's only working bars and conditioning, I don't think she's pacing herself too fast. When she had the surgery in August, they said it was a 2 month recovery, so for her to be doing some gymnastics by November has her right on schedule it seems.

  3. I wonder why more people dont focus on how unprepared she was at visas when coming back from an injury. This to me is the biggest determinant when looking at her future comeback. She just seemed off and I don't think that being off like that then having an injury leads us to the old bross after a comeback. Any thoughts?

  4. @9:37 - That's a good point. Her post injury self was NOT in good shape, even a little bit.

    At the same time though, she did have an injury in 2008, and then she came back in '09 to almost win the World Championships.

  5. Well, after '10 Worlds, Bross did have surgery pretty late, in November. Clearly, it was a very slow recovery from that injury. It was so slow, in fact, that nobody even really said how much time she was going to need to recover. Things remained so quiet all the way through 2011 Nationals. I also think she may have grown a little bit and didn't really have any time to adjust her timing to it.

    This year, however, she had surgery all the way back in August and it was clearly stated that it would only be a 2 month recovery. For her sake, hopefully it's worked out for her (her being at camp already is a good sign) and she'll have plenty of time to prepare. Honestly, a 2 month break off for most of these girls would do them a world of good! I cringed when I was reading Wieber's and Maroney's tweets about being back in the gym just days after Worlds. Even Nastia took a full week off after '07 Worlds!

    One thing that Becca really has going for her is that aside from Nastia (who's future abilities are most unpredictable at this point), she is the strongest bar worker we have. Her injury should not affect her ability to train sufficiently there.

  6. As Nastia could tell you, broken bones/bone chips in the ankle/shin area can take a LONG time to heal. Nastia wasn't fully ready after 2006 surgery until 2007 Worlds, and even then she wasn't really ready.

    A kneecap dislocation is definitely more minor. Becca should be fine from this particular injury, now it's a matter of getting back in routine shape and staying healthy.

  7. I love Bross as a gymnast! She does amazing work, a consistent, 100% Bross is the only way she'll make it. Bars isn't as full of depth as let's say, vault, but its certainly a lot stronger now. Wieber, Douglas, Li, Vega, Ross, Liukin, Memmel, and The Caquatto sisters. The other place Bross fits in is floor... Raisman, Wieber, Ross, Vega, Maroney, possibly Sacramone, and Johnson. If she wants to fit into this scenario she can't just be the "old bross" because everyone has passed those marks.. she's gotta be even better. I, unfortunately, say no, she won't make it.

  8. There's a reason why Nastia can bypass the selection process, waltz into camp and make the National Team. It has more to do with politics than merit. Between Nastia (who is either a member of the Selection Committee or Marta's intern, I'm not sure) and her dad, Rebecca has more political clout than all of the other gymnasts combined.

    As far as athleticism is concerned, I doubt she will be able to deliver medal-worthy performances until 2013. Once the physical injury has healed, Becca will need to learn how to navigate all of the mental icebergs that have been left behind -- the latter, of course, being enormously time-consuming. Besides, with only six months or so remaining before the Games, there isn't a whole lot of time to do conditioning, training, upgrading and peaking (while attending camps and competitions) without turning to chemical aids.

    But Rebecca doesn't have to be totally fit, just political.

  9. This may be an unpopular opinion but I'm going to say it - I don't think Bross will be 100% until she's happy. People claim that Bross has a great "game face" and usually I agree. However, in 2011 Bross didn't have her usual "game face" instead she looked just plain unhappy. I have no doubt that she "wants it" [Olympic glory] however it may be something that she wants due to the pressure she has from her dad, WOGA's 'legacy', etc. Until she wants it for herself I don't think she'll be near 100%. Ones mental state definitely affects one physical being. Until she wants it for herself than will things more easily fall into place.

    Something has always stuck with me... In some interview Samantha Peszek made a comment that something she didn't like or made her sad (something along those lines) is when gymnast are obviously pushed by their parents and coaches and no longer do gymnastics for themselves. Not the Sam P is the be it all of gymnastics wisdom but the 2 people that jumped to mind when she said it were Jana Bieger and Rebecca Bross.

  10. I think the most important thing for Marta is that Bross has consistently hit the Patterson dismount in international competition. While she has had problems with it domestically, I don't think Marta will want her to lose it. Its worth a lot and (as seen in her opinion to take Gabby to worlds this year) messing it up in the US doesn't necessarily mean it will be replaced with something else.

  11. She is from Woga that means free pass. Unless it is Becca vs Nastia she will be on the team. Marta will make sure of it

  12. Nothing like conspiracy theories to liven up a dull interlude between Worlds and the Olympics. Marta and the selection committee will pick the five currently best performing athletes and the requisite alternates for the team at Trials. I sincerely hope that Becca will be one of those first five. But that will depend on how she's rehabbed, conditioned and trained, and not on "political" interest. The only person who wants a gold medal more than the dozen or so front runners for a team spot is Marta herself.

  13. I agree, @11:37. I can't see Marta putting anyone on the Olympic team who doesn't deserve to be there... ESPECIALLY with 5 members. Hollie Vise was a world champ coming back from an injury from WOGA and didn't make the 2004 team. I don't see Becca making it just on patronage alone.

  14. Hollie's interview with Inside Gymnastics several years later was sooo heartbreaking! The tragic part about the team announcement wasn't that she failed to make it--that's always a possibility when there are more hopefuls than spots to fill--but the utterly barbaric manner in which it all unfolded... live on national TV.

    While announcement was probably the worst day of Hollie's life, it was a triumph for another WOGAette with even more National and World Championship accolades: Carly Patterson.