Shaylee Dunavin, Jeffrey Gluckstein win trampoline silvers at Pac Rims
Before heading off to the final Olympic trampoline qualification event next week, the U.S. trampoline team captured four medals over four events at the 2016 Pacific Rim Championships.
Taking place in Everett, Wash. from April 8-10, the Pacific Rim Championships involved athletes from countries around the Pacific Ocean, such as Russia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan. While the sport's most decorated athletes, such as 2012 Olympic champions Dong Dong of China and Rosannagh MacLennan of Canada, weren't competing in Everett, the competition was intense and the U.S. athletes fought hard for every bounce.
On the first day of competition, the U.S. women won the team title, with Japan and Canada taking silver and bronze, respectively. The U.S team was led by senior athletes Charlotte Drury and Shaylee Dunavin, plus junior athletes Alyssa Oh and Jessica Stevens.
U.S. women's trampoline team
Drury started the competition strong, qualifying in first place for the individual finals as well as contributing to the team's gold-medal finish. In the individual final, Drury found herself landing too close to the edge of the trampoline after the first few skills. Attempting to recover, Drury instead landed on that mat and was forced to cut her routine short. Drury finished in last place--not the result she hoped for, especially with the final Olympic qualification event so close.
Last fall at the 2015 World Championships, Charlotte Drury barely missed her first chance to qualify for the Rio Olympics when she finished 11th in the semifinal round. If Drury had finished eighth or better, she would have earned the U.S. an Olympic berth.
Sharing in the U.S. women's team gold medal was Dunavin, who is known more for her success in the non-Olympic event of synchronized trampoline than individual. She's finished seventh or better in the synchro event at the last three world championships, while she was 35th individually in the qualifications round at the 2015 Worlds.
But at the Pacific Rims, Dunavin stepped up as Drury fell victim to mistakes in the individual final. Competing a stylish routine that included a pike triffis and a full-in rudi out, Dunavin won a silver medal in between two Canadian women, Samantha Smith in first and Samantha Sendel in third.
Both Drury and Dunavin will travel to Rio to to participate in the Rio Test Event on April 19. Only one will have the chance to compete: Drury is currently named as the competing athlete, with Dunavin serving as the alternate. The chosen athlete must finish in the top five to earn the U.S. an Olympic berth. After this weekend's competition, Dunavin has momentum on her side and may be picked to represent the U.S. at the Test Event.
Whichever woman (hopefully) earns a spot at the Rio Olympics for the U.S., the Olympic athlete won't be chosen until the trampoline national championships in June.
In the individual final, the younger Gluckstein, Jeffrey, outperformed his brother to win a silver medal. He was joined on the podium by Dmitrii Ushakov of Russia (gold medal) and Dylan Schmidt of New Zealand (bronze).
There will be two U.S. men competing at the Rio Test Event, but the U.S. will receive only one Olympic spot even if both finish in the top five. At the world championships, the first qualification event, two athletes per country are able to earn Olympic berths. But at the second qualification event, the maximum is reduced to one per country.
Jeffrey Gluckstein is slated to be the alternate at the Rio Test Event, with Logan Dooley and Aliaksei Shostak competing.
Steven Gluckstein was the sole U.S. man competing in trampoline at the 2012 Olympics. He had a disappointing competition in London, crashing early in the qualification round and finishing sixteenth of sixteen.