A battle for the final spot

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Graves, Will. "A battle for the final spot." The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC). July 8, 2016


Ashton Locklear, an 18-year-old gymnast of Lumbee decent, has a chance to be selected to compete for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Locklear, who lives in Hamlet, is competing with friend Madison Kocian for the fifth and final spot on the USA women’s gymnastics team.

There are five total spots, but the other four are all but secured by veteran gymnasts Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez. If Locklear was to make it, she would be the team’s anchor on the uneven bars. Kocian and Locklear have fairly similar backgrounds and scores. Locklear helped lead the United States to a team gold in 2014 at the World Championships, and Kocian did the same thing a year later.

Locklear, who fractured her L4 vertebra in 2013 which sent her career down an unanticipated path, will have her and Kocian’s friendship tested at the trials, as whoever gets chosen will likely come home with a gold medal. Many expect the United States to win the event regardless of who they choose. NBC will cover the team announcement at 8:30 p.m. on July 10, 2016.

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