Once again, it's time to compile a shopping list for the world of gymnastics, based on what we witnessed in 2010. I invite all of you readers to add your own, as well.
Kohei Uchimura: A long winter's nap. Though he won his second world all-around gold this year, his taped left shoulder signaled the physical toll he's feeling. Apparently, it doesn't bother him that much, since he recently showed some new skills (triple-twisting Yurchenko, e.g.) at the Japanese nationals. If I were his coach, though, I'd give him a solid three-month hibernation of healing.
Aliya Mustafina: A deeper team. Yes, the Russian women won their first world team title in 2010, but they had help from the underachieving silver and bronze medalists. Mustafina carried her teammates on her back, especially on bars, where Russia placed seventh out of eight in the team final. Wait, what's that I see in her stocking? Viktoria Komova!
Rebecca Bross: More D-score. Ouch, that was hard to write. But as long as the Amanar vault she doesn't have is over-valued at 6.5, Bross should find a way to add a couple of tenths each on bars, beam and floor. Not an easy task, but her coach, Valeri Liukin, is a master strategist. Look what he did for his daughter in 2008.
Jordyn Wieber: A complete senior season debut. Junior winner of the Pacific Rim championships and CoverGirl Classic in 2010, Wieber crunched her ankles at the U.S. championships and couldn't finish the meet. Her presence on the 2011 U.S. world team could really help (she has an Amanar), but not if she's still limping.
Jonathan Horton: Paul in St. Paul. Horton, the 2010 world all-around bronze medalist, needs the competition to reach the next level. So a duel against Paul Hamm at the 2011 U.S. championships in St. Paul, Minn., should do the trick.
Mattie Larson: Another chance. After placing second to Rebecca Bross at the U.S. championships, where she won floor exercise, Larson struggled at the Rotterdam worlds, mainly on floor exercise. And even though her mistakes were big, the silver-medal performance of the U.S. women was a total team effort. Even U.S. national team coordinator Marta Karolyi admitted that Larson can be a beautiful gymnast at times. Remember, gymnastics is only a game. Give her another shot.
Vanessa Ferrari: More horsepower. I'm always impressed when a former star accepts a supporting role on her team. The 2006 world all-around champ was more polished in Rotterdam than in Aarhus, but without her signature tricks. Her coach, Enrico Casella, predicts some of those skills will return, which is easier said than done.
Danell Leyva: A re-gift to himself. I know it probably made more sense on paper to replace his cool jam-dislocate-hop with a jam-dislocate-invert on high bar, but he lost the spontaneous crowd reaction in the process. That skill really set him apart. But knowing him and his stepfather-coach, Yin Alvarez, they'll probably come up with something even better for 2011.
Daniel Keatings: Two strong knees. With the silky-smooth Keatings, who is coming off a torn ACL, the British men, seventh in Rotterdam, could be a legitimate top-five team at the 2011 Tokyo worlds. Keatings would really help the Brits, especially on pommel horse and p-bars.
Philipp Boy: Healthy teammates. The 2010 world all-around silver medalist was impressive, and he did the lion's share of Germany's team bronze, too. If he is supported by a healthy Fabian Hambüchen (chronic Achilles) and national champ Marcel Nguyen (broken leg prior to Rotterdam), he will be a Boy among men at the Tokyo worlds. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
Now, who did I miss?