Ashton Locklear named replacement athlete for Team USA

By Jody Meacham - For the Daily Journal

Jody Meacham | Silicon Valley Business Journal

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Ashton Locklear’s quest to make the women’s gymnastics team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics fell short Sunday night in the U.S. Olympic Trials, but she’s still going to Rio as one of the team’s three replacement athletes.

Should a team member be injured or dismissed from the team for any reason before the the women’s competition begins, Locklear could be added to the team.

It took the best uneven bars performance of Madison Kocian’s life to beat Locklear, who could still become the first Hamlet and Lumbee Tribe athlete to compete in an Olympics.

After tying in Friday’s first round of bars competition with identical 15.750 scores, Kocian pulled off a 15.900 Sunday against Locklear’s 15.700.

Their execution scores were an identical 9.200. But Kocian’s more difficult routine — hers had a difficulty of 6.700 versus Locklear’s 6.500 — was the difference.

Kocian’s two days thus produced the best and second-best bar performances of her career totaling 31.650 for the two days and marked only the second time in eight head-to-head matchups that she had topped Locklear on the bars. Locklear finished second on the bars at 31.450.

Locklear, who has been limited to bars and balance beam among the four gymnastics disciplines by a twice-broken back, was trying to make the team as a specialist in bars as the national champion in that event.

The five-member women’s team for Rio will consist of all-around winner Simone Biles of Spring, Texas, who is also the reigning three-time all-around world champion; Lauren Hernandez of Old Bridge, New Jersey; Gabby Douglas of Tarzana, California; Aly Raisman of Needham, Massachusetts; and Kocian, of Dallas.

Joining Locklear as a replacement athletic will be MyKayla Skinner of Gilbert, Arizona and Ragan Smith of Lewisville, Texas.

There will be more from Sunday night’s finals in Tuesday’s Daily Journal.

Jody Meacham, a journalist for the Silicon Valley Business Journal in San Jose, California, will cover Ashton Locklear in this weekend’s Olympic trials.

Jody Meacham | Silicon Valley Business Journal Meacham | Silicon Valley Business Journal

By Jody Meacham

For the Daily Journal

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