It's time to make up a list of New Year's wishes/resolutions to create a more perfect gymnastics world, even if "more perfect" is impossible. Regardless, here are 10 hopes for 2017…
Simone Biles (pictured): Since 2013 she has been the ideal ambassador for our sport. She makes gymnastics look fun despite her incredible level of difficulty. She's also humble in an era of pro athletes who often posture after slam dunks, touchdown catches and home runs—things they are paid obscene amounts of money to do, anyway. It's all about them. Simone will have none of that. And while the grapevine suggests that she will not return to competition in 2017, we can always hope. After all, she has a winning streak on the line. So here's to Biles showing up next October at the 2017 Montreal World Championships!
Aly Raisman (pictured): If the above doesn't happen, could the Rio runner-up have her eye on the 2017 World title? Why not? She looked more fit in Rio than in London four years ago.
Kohei Uchimura (pictured): What can we possibly impose on a guy who, like Biles, has won all of his titles with class and humility. Though his winning streak began in 2009, he is not afraid of defeat. So we hope he competes at the 2017 Worlds. It just wouldn't be the same without him.
Oleg Vernyayev: The wily, wiry Ukrainian finally won a major all-around medal in Rio, even if it went from gold to silver with the slightest landing shuffle in the final rotation on high bar. He, too, has a legitimate shot at the Montreal gold.
Oksana Chusovitina (pictured): It is strange to consider that this amazing Uzbek is still competing at 41, but she does it for the right reason: she loves gymnastics. That she learned a Produnova (handspring-double front vault) at her age shows that she is eager to expand her skill set. So let's celebrate what she adds to the sport and pray that she continues indefinitely!
Manrique Larduet: After winning the all-around silver at the 2015 Glasgow Worlds, this talented Cuban was humbled by injury in Rio. Like Vernyayev, he has the raw potential to capture the gold in Montreal, as long as it's refined (his potential, not the gold medal). So we hope to see a healthy Manrique in 2017 with all of his edgy bravado.
Morinari Watanabe (pictured): The new FIG President won his election, 100-19. There was no need for a recount. Raised as a Samurai, he rightly believes that "What you are going to do is not important, What you did is important." So by the end of his first term, which will effectively conclude with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, we hope he can bring back the artistry that defined his Japanese compatriots, whose Olympic and World dynasty lasted from the 1960 Rome Olympics to the 1978 Strasbourg World Championships (five Olympic team titles; five World team titles).
Sam Mikulak: Let's hope that Sam, undefeated at the U.S. Championships since 2013, can get out of his own way and allow his exceptional ability to transfer to the world scene. He's just too talented.
Ragan Smith: A Rio alternate as a first-year senior, Smith could have a breakout year if healthy. According to Dominic Zito, her choreographer, she will retain her ingenious Addams Family floor exercise in 2017, a wise choice, indeed. One of her goals is an all-around medal at the 2017 Worlds, which is totally possible.
Donnell Whittenburg: Here's hoping that he can shake off his Olympic alternate status and focus on the future. He could have provided the wow factor that was missing from the U.S. men in Rio. The big rings routine, the booming vault, the incredible releases on p-bars. He flat out does things that others can't. Hopefully for him, he'll get to show his stuff at the 2017 Worlds.