Tonight, the ladies portion of the US Gymnastics Olympics Trials begins from San Jose, CA. 15 ladies are vying for one of five spots on the Olympic team looking to defend their Silver Medal from Beijing (or rightfully take back their gold medal, depending on whose age you wish to believe from the Chinese gymnasts...)
Three ladies - Alicia Sacramone, Nastia Liukin and Bridget Sloan - are trying to return to the Olympics, while current world champion Jordyn Wieber, world bronze medalist on the floor Aly Raisman, and 2012 US All-Around Silver Medalist and possible new "it gymnast" Gabby Douglas look to cement their hold on one of the five spots.
Our UCLA connection in the competition is Anna Li. Li was an 8 time all American at UCLA, winning the NCAA title with the team in 2010. At Nationals, Li competed on the uneven bars, with a score of 15.15 and on beam, with a high score of 13.65. She is looking to make the team as a specialist on the bars, although it may be difficult, since bars isn't as weak of a position for the US team as it has been in the past. It may come down to if Liukin is ready, since she started her comeback to the elite level rather late.
If you've never watched Anna at the Elite level:
Anna at Bars at nationals - Apparently Anna may have upped the difficulty in this routine to a 7.1 (she was at a 6.9 before) to increase her chances at making the national team. That means if she was PERFECT, she'd have a score of 17.1, which is unheard of. If she can get a score in the 16s, she'd be hard to beat.
Anna on the beam at nationals - with several little balance checks, she gave away a few tenths here and there. If she can get a score in the 14s, she greatly improves her chances.
It's a little different from when Mohini Bhardwaj made the team in 2004 - they were allowed to take six gymnasts, and Mo was a great all around gymnast, who was so solid, she wasn't added on the team as a specialist. Also, Anna could be named as an alternate, and Liukin has a nagging shoulder injury. Liukin's best bet to making the team at this point is on the bars.
Best of luck to Anna and to all the gymnasts competing. You can watch at 9pm on NBC, or watch live on NBCOlympics.com at 6pm Pacific if you subscribe to a cable provider that allows streaming of the content.