Maroney returns from concussion in time for trials
By WILL GRAVES,
Updated June 27, 2012
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) McKayla Maroney was back at it Wednesday, bounding across the floor during podium training for the U.S. Olympic trials barely two weeks after a frightening fall during the national championships that left her with a concussion and a fractured nose.
The reigning world vault champion was warming up on floor before the finals in St. Louis on June 10 when she over-rotated at the end of a tumbling run and landed with a sickening thud that could be heard throughout the arena.
"My brother said he could hear the boom," Maroney said with a laugh.
The 16-year-old laid on the floor for several minutes before being taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released before the end of the competition, even tweeting a picture of herself sitting on a hospital bed in the emergency room. She sent the picture to calm her followers thought admitted to using a filter to de-emphasize the puffy black circles underneath her eyes.
Maroney petitioned her way onto the national team so she could get a spot in the trials, capping an eventful two-plus weeks. She underwent three ImPACT tests, the same test given to NFL and NHL players to diagnose concussions, during her rehab. She was cleared to continue training and planned to compete on all four events when the women get going on Friday night.
"The very important thing was to make sure she didn't end up with a psychological scar," said U.S. women's team coordinator Martha Karolyi. "And that is absolutely not the case. She performed totally normal, did not show any hesitation with any of her skills."
Dr. David Kruse, a member of the USA Gymnastics medical staff, said it was the first concussion of Maroney's career and called her recovery time "normal." She missed a week of training before returning apparently no worse for wear.
Maroney is considered on the bubble to make the five-person team and likely needs to post solid scores on both vault - where she crushed the field at worlds in Tokyo last fall - and floor.
STAYING THIRSTY: Steven Legendre's luggage was stuffed to the seams with coconut water and Gatorade this weekend.
The last thing the 2009 NCAA all-around champion wanted to risk going into trials was another bout with dehydration that led to a dismal performance at nationals. Legendre stumbled to a 10th-place finish after his forearms cramped up during the preliminary rounds and he never quite got a handle on it during a weekend that did little to impress the U.S. men's team selection committee.
The 23-year-old Legendre blamed the situation on getting out of his normal routine while on the road when he traded sports drinks for good old water.
"You think you're drinking water, you're hydrated and good to go," Legendre said. "Well, I don't think I was replenishing whatever I was losing during sweat and competition, with the adrenaline and stuff, I kind of dehydrated faster than I'd normally experience in practice."
Legendre has been on each of the last three U.S. world championships teams but understands the stakes are different with an Olympic spot on the line. He is one of a handful of men battling for what is likely the one available spot behind John Orozco, Jonathan Horton, Danell Leyva and Sam Mikulak.
STYLING AND PROFILING: Danell Leyva picked up the July issue of "GQ" magazine because of the picture of supermodel Kate Upton on the cover.
It wasn't until Leyva started flipping through the issue that he remembered it also contained a pictorial of the U.S. men's gymnastics team. Various members of the team, including Jonathan Horton, Alex Naddour and Chris Brooks, were captured holding various gymnastics poses in unusual places.
For Leyva, it was atop the roof of his parent's gym in Miami. For several other members it was during the end of a training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The chance to channel their inner Zoolander was a blast for Leyva, who plans to go into entertainment when his career is finished. For others, like Brooks, it took a little while longer to warm up to the camera.
"It was like, `Man, these have got to look so ridiculous, there's no way they're going to look good,'" Brooks said.
Only after looking at a couple of proofs did Brooks relax. While it was still a little weird, he thinks there may be an ancillary benefit to being splashed in a fashion magazine.
Namely, getting Upton's attention.
"I've got a fairly big picture in there, I hope she's looking at me and she's going to see it 8-10 times and be like, `Oh, who is that guy?'" Brooks said with a laugh. "Then in a couple months, I'll be on the cover with her."
SHAWN'S NEW GIG: Shawn Johnson will be in London, after all.
Johnson said Wednesday she'll be the correspondent at the P&G House, interviewing athletes when they stop by after competitions.
"I'll be on the other side of the camera," the reigning Olympic gold medalist on balance beam said.
Johnson, who also won the 2007 world title, announced her retirement June 3 because of lingering effects from a 2010 knee injury. She tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus, along with her hamstring, in a ski accident, and feared long-term damage if she continued.
She stopped by the Olympic trials to help P&G announce a $75,000 grant to support development of youth sports, and plans to return Friday to cheer on former training mate Gabby Douglas.
"It's strange," she said. "I was watching training earlier and kind of had a pit in my stomach."
AP National Writer Nancy Armour contributed to this report.