Rounding Off: Chellsie Memmel says she's "not shutting the door on gymnastics” after disappointing second night at U.S. Championships

Plus, Team GB announces its women's team, Aliya Mustafina makes retirement official, U.S. trials roster confirmed and a look back at China from Atlanta 1996.

By Scott Bregman

2008 Olympic team silver medallist and 2005 world all-around champion Chellsie Memmel of the United States is leaving the door open for more in her inspiring return to artistic gymnastics at age 32.

“I am not shutting the door on gymnastics and plan to stay in the gym and see what more I can do,” Memmel said in an Instagram post Monday. “It has been too much fun to stop now and I will not be done because of a bad night.”

Memmel’s bad night came Sunday at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Ft. Worth, Texas. She had falls on all three events on which she competed. In Friday’s opening day, Memmel was much better earning scores of 14.750 on vault and 13.700 on balance beam.

It was Memmel’s first U.S. Championships since taking third in 2011. She originally retired a year later in 2012. Since then, she’s been married and given birth to two children.

Her return to the sport, prompted by downtime cleaning her parents’ gymnastics facility at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, has been inspiring.

“I cannot thank everyone enough for the support/love/encouragement on this crazy journey of mine,” Memmel wrote. “It has truly taken a village to help me get to this point and I love every person in mine.”

British Gymnastics announces women’s team for Tokyo


On Monday, British Gymnastics announced its four-woman squad that will compete in Tokyo: twin sisters Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova, Amelie Morgan and Alice Kinsella.

Two-time Olympian Becky Downie was not included in the team. Downie, the 2019 uneven bars world silver medallist, has faced a difficult and emotional last month, dealing with the sudden death of her 24-year-old brother Josh just before Team GB’s final trial.

“This past year has been incredibly difficult, but this last month has been unimaginable,” Downie wrote in a post on Twitter.

Many, including sister Ellie Downie, a four-time Youth Olympics medallist, raised questions about whether Becky Downie was being retaliated against for speaking out about abusive coaching practices last year.

"I would say it comes as a shock, but after how we’ve been treated this year, it’s not really," Ellie Downie said on Twitter.

James Thomas, British Gymnastics' performance director, told the BBC that the selection was based solely "gymnastic merits and nothing else."

"With such a strong pool of talent in Great Britain and only four places available the selection meant making difficult decisions," Thomas said.

Now, Downie’s competitive future remains uncertain.

“I’m not sure what will happen in terms of my future, but all I know is that I still love the sport, and I feel like I’min the form of my life,” she wrote. “I do know that I don’t want to retire like this.”

Aliya Mustafina makes retirement official

After months of speculation, two-time Olympic uneven bars champion Aliya Mustafina has officially announced her retirement. Earlier this year, the Russian Artistic Gymnastics Federation announced that Mustafina would serve as a junior national team coach.

At the time, she declined to discuss her training.

“I’m not talking about it or commenting on it,” she said.

But Tuesday (8 June) at the Russian Cup, Mustafina was honoured prior to competition. The Russian owns seven Olympic medals: uneven bars golds in 2012 and 2016, team silvers in 2012 and 2016, all-around bronzes in 2012 and 2016, and floor bronze from 2012. She is also the last non-American woman to claim a world all-around title, having taken the crown in 2010.

Field for U.S. trials finalised

18 women and 20 men will compete for spots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the U.S. Olympic team trials, scheduled for June 24-27 in St. Louis.

The U.S. women’s team is taking shape after impressive performances from Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles, who finished 1-2-3, respectively, at the recent U.S. Championships. The battle for the fourth and final spot on Team USA is likely to be fierce in St. Louis. The U.S. women have two additional quota spots in Tokyo: one qualified by Jade Carey via the apparatus World Cups and one that will be assigned to another athlete following the U.S. trials.

Notably absent from the roster are Memmel and 2017 world all-around champion Morgan Hurd. Both women submitted petitions to compete at the trials that were denied.

On the men’s side, newly crowned U.S. champion Brody Malone is likely to be joined by six-time U.S. champ Sam Mikulak and 2017 national champion Yul Moldauer. Several men are in contention to join that trio. The U.S. men have one individual quota spot, as well, after Paul Juda finished second at the Pan American Championships.

From the vault...

This week, we take a look back at Team China’s compulsory balance beam rotation from Atlanta 1996. Mo Huilan led the efforts, scoring 9.650. China went on to finish fourth-place in the overall team standings.