Kocian to diversify in pursuit of Olympic spot

Sat Jul 9, 2016 8:46pm EDT
 
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By Liana B. Baker

SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - Madison Kocian is looking to prove she is more than a one trick pony on the uneven bars as she bids for a coveted Rio Games berth at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team trials on Sunday.

Sitting sixth after Friday's opening night of competition, Kocian tied for first in the uneven bars with Ashton Locklear but will have to up her game for Sunday's second and final round if she hopes to be included on the five-member squad for Rio.

Uneven bars is one of the U.S. team's weaker events and the women's national team program director Martha Karolyi has vowed to choose somebody for the team "who is particularly good on that event."

Locklear has dealt with back injuries in recent years that have limited her focus to the uneven bars and the beam.

That leaves an opening for Kocian to show the selection committee that she can compete in all four events, which could give her an edge since she is prepared to act as a backup if any of her team mates in Rio get hurt.

"Having these extra events is probably helping my case to make that Olympic team," said Kocian, speaking after the competition on Friday.

"That's why I've been working really hard not just on bars and beam but also on the floor and vault to have that all around score in case Team USA needs it.

"After (U.S.) championships everyone thought I was a specialist but then I finished fifth overall. I think that helps my case for the selection committee."   Continued...

 
Jul 8, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Madison Kocian from Dallas, TX, during the vault in the women's gymnastics U.S. Olympic team trials at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports