If you are a gymnastics fan and are anywhere near Shawn Johnson's hometown of Des Moines, Iowa this weekend, you have some serious gymnastics to take in. The USA Gymnastics Cover Girl Classic will take place marking the return to competition for Olympians Nastia Liukin (Olympic All Around Champion) and Samantha Peszek. With competitions at the Senior International Level, Junior International Level and Challenge Level all the best up and coming stars for USA Gymnastics will be competing! I remember watching Shawn Johnson compete at Classic when it was held in Virginia Beach a few years ago – it was so exciting to see the amazing talent she displayed then.
My predictions – Nastia Liukin will easily take the competition. She is in a class of her own and I don't think anyone is prepared to surpass her yet. She has had an award-filled, media packed year, but has continued to train – I don't expect to see her throw all her hardest tricks this weekend – just be consistent.
However, many of last year's Olympic Trials competitors are back and stronger than ever.
- I really look forward to seeing Olympic alternate, Ivana Hong compete again now that she is training at Nastia's club, WOGA, and I am sure teammate Rebecca Bross will shine, too.
- Olympic Trials competitiors Jana Bieger and Corrie Lothrop are back and I fully expect them to deliver consistent performances.
- Up and comer Mackenzie Caquatto was so cute at last year's Olympic Trials – it will be interesting to see if the experience has helped give her confidence and maturity in her gymnastics.
- Others to watch include Olivia Courtney, Rheagan Courville, Kytra Hunter and Cassie Whitcomb
If I could only watch one session, it would definitely be the junior division – they are always loaded with talent and fun to watch, but the junior division is where we often see stars for the next Olympic team start to emerge!
- I predict Jordyn Wieber will take the Junior division fairly easily. As the defending US National Champion in the Jr. division plus the Tyson American Cup Champion, Jordyn has the experience and skills to keep her hot streak going!
- The crew at WOGA (home to Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin) have quite a few up and comers who will be competiting in the Jr. division
- Senior competitor Mackenzie Caquatto has plenty to cheer about – her sister Bridgette Caquatto will be competing as a Jr.
The events will be streamed live on Universal Sports' website on Saturday, July 25 (Watch here) and serve as qualifiers for the 2009 Visa Championships to be held August 12-15 on Nastia's hometurf of Dallas, Texas. For a complete list of competitors and meet information, be sure to visit USA Gymnastics (they have recently redesigned their site and it looks SO much better!!)
UPDATED!! Thanks to readers for letting me know that Nastia is only competing beam tonight. Also, Jr. Competitor Jordyn Wieber has scratched due to a minor injury and is already qualified for Championships. Corrie Lothrop is injured as well with an achilles issue. Mackenzie Caquatto is also out of the competition this evening. If you are at the competition or have any additional info, photos, or news on the meet to share, be sure to leave us a note in the comments or send them in via email to char [at] sportsgirlsplay [dot] com.