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Stretching Out: Ross and Biles, Tortoise and Hare
(7 votes, average 3.71 out of 5)

While the P&G Championships in Hartford, Conn., may not be a fable, the senior women's all-around race could certainly end like one tonight. Sprinting to the first-day lead was Simone Biles, the energized first-year senior from Bannon's Gymnastix. She's so gifted that the job of her coaches, Aimee Boorman and Luis Brasesco, is to figure out which amazing tricks not to do. Sitting calmly in second is the even-keeled Kyla Ross, whose Gym-Max coaches Howie Liang and Jenny Zhang have always been cautious when choosing routines for their star. Biles watered down on Thursday, while Ross treaded water with virtually the same difficulty from a year ago. A Biles-Ross duel is the jitterbug versus the waltz.

Biles, 16, carries a .75 advantage over Ross heading into tonight's final. It's a considerable margin, yes, but also less than a fall. On Thursday, she carried a 24.30-23.70 edge in D-score. That is likely to remain close to the same. The meet will  be determined by the E-scores, and that's where Ross, also 16, coughed up points Thursday.

The most critical intangible between the two is experience, not to mention the respective amounts of sleep each got the past two nights. Ross, a two-time junior champion and Olympic gold medalist, probably slept like a baby. And Biles? She placed third in the juniors in 2012 and has had two full days to wonder if she'll be the new senior national champion. With pressure like that, her difficult routines become even harder.

Still, you have to like Biles' chances because she does so many things well: a booming Amanar vault that outscored McKayla Maroney's the other night; a tucked full-in off beam that doesn't barely get around (she drops out of it); and her tumbling on floor is impressive for its difficulty and also for the fact that she takes only a few steps into her hurdles. Smart coaching. And if you're looking for a weak event, her 14.75 on bars was third-best of the field. She's an all-arounder, all right, and could be a factor at the upcoming worlds in Antwerp.

It wouldn't surprise if Ross comes out on top either. Have you ever seen her panic? Have you ever seen her fall? She definitely has less risk than Biles in going four-for-four. And though her routines may lack that did-you-see-what-she-just-did!? moment, she executes them with a calm, methodical confidence that usually yields impressive E-scores.

Tonight should be interesting. Ross may be trailing Biles at the midway point, but the race is far from finished. And when it's over, we will learn which prevailed: experience or potential. The tortoise or the hare.

Comments (1)add comment

Max said:

Answer to your question
"Have you ever seen her fall?" Lots of times. Didn't she fall at Classics?
August 26, 2013
Votes: -2

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