WORCESTER, Mass. —
Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas were in attendance — doing the Harlem Shake, firing a T-shirt cannon and awarding prizes to members of the crowd of 4,577. Ross performed an exhibition on the balance beam before the awards ceremony.
Her withdrawal from the competition on Tuesday left two spots available.
Ohashi and Biles were picked, and they proved worthy of their selection.
Ohashi, the 2011 U.S. junior champion, scored a 15.333 on the balance beam and held onto the lead with a 14.4 on the floor exercise. Biles, who was third at juniors last year, had a 15.733 on the vault — the highest score in the competition — and was in position to win before falling off the beam during a tumbling series near the end of her routine.
Ohashi said she remembers watching last year’s competition at Madison Square Garden and thinking, “Maybe next year I’ll hopefully be there, too.” Asked where she would have otherwise been this weekend, she said: “At home, probably watching TV shows and crying.”
Leyva, the defending American Cup champion and winner of the bronze all-around in London, struggled to recover from a stomach bug and stumbled badly in the floor exercise and high bar and finished sixth in the field of eight. Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev was second on the men’s side, followed by London silver medalist Marcel Nguyen of Germany.
Leyva walked through one tumbling pass in the floor exercise and posted the worst score, 12.8, on the rotation. But he responded with a 14.566 on the pommel horse, typically his worst discipline.
“I used that energy for the rest of the event,” he said. “The pommel horse was one of the best routines I’ve ever done.”
With his stomach “bubbling” through the high bar routine — one of his strengths — Leyva crashed to his stomach on a laid-out Tkatchev, a straddle-release move. He hit his knees on dismount and gave a half-hearted wave as he left the mat.
“It was an uncharacteristic feeling out there,” he said. “I hate excuses. It’s like a huge pet peeve of mine. But I wasn’t really feeling like myself.”