The women that will make up the US Women's Gymnastic Team for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London won't be selected until the summer of 2011. One potential member, hard on the comeback trail, is a familiar face to the team and the American public. Massachusetts native Alicia Sacramone may once again represent her country on the world stage.
Born in Boston in 1987, Sacramone is one of the most successful gymnasts in US history. She has five individual US vault titles to her credit, and is tied with Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin for the most World medals for an American gymnast, with nine. The Winchester, Massachusetts native has enjoyed success, but on the Olympic stage, she fell short.In 2008, Sacramone retired from gymnastics after the Bejing Summer Olympics. The American women took home a silver, but they had hoped for more. It was a difficult meet for the then-20 year old athlete. She was criticized for costing her team a gold in the all-around, but no one was more critical of her performance than Sacramone herself. To add insult to injury, she failed to medal in the individual vault event, even though the third place finisher fell. By women's gymnastic standards, she was getting old, so her retirement did not surprise anyone.
But her disappointing experiences there did not let her stay on the sidelines for long. In 2009, she announced her intention to return to training and competition. Her first meet back was the 2010 Covergirl Classic in July, where Sacramone won the vault and balance beam. Her comeback success continued at the Visa Championships one month later, when she again took home top honors in the vault.
In October, 2010, the former Olympic captain once again joined a team of gymnasts in world competition, this time at the World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Sacramone came home with two more medals, another team silver to go with her Olympic medal, and her third first place finish in individual vault in four months.
After the event, Sacramone reflected on her return to gymnastics: "I am glad to be back representing the U.S. To walk away like I did after the Olympics, with so many injuries and being disheartened after the Olympics, it's nice to set my mind to something, work hard and come back and get a big reward for all the work that I've done. It makes it worthwhile."
Sacramone's work is not yet done. She'll be competing at the Covergirl Classic again in July, 2011, and the Visa Championships in August. After that, there is one piece of unfinished business left, and in London next year, she'll likely have her last chance at Olympic Gold.