The reigning world champion was about the only one not affected by nerves Friday, breezing through the first night of the Olympic trials and all but assuring herself of the lone guaranteed spot on the five-woman London team.
Wieber finished with 61.7 points, 0.3 points ahead of Gabby Douglas, who had to work out of a hole after making a big error on uneven bars, her first event.
Only the winner of the two-day trials competition is guaranteed a spot on the five-woman London team, with the remaining four will be picked by a selection committee following Sunday night’s competition. And some of the favorites will be sweating a little more after sloppy performances Friday night.
Aly Raisman, normally rock steady, finished a distant third after a big wobble on balance beam and going out of bounds on floor exercise, where she is the reigning world bronze medalist. Kyla Ross landed her vault on her backside and is fifth. McKayla Maroney fell off both uneven bars and balance beam and is seventh. And reigning Olympic champion Nastia Liukin had another rough night.
Liukin knows she needs to put up huge scores on uneven bars to have any shot at the team, and she failed to do it again Friday night.
She scored a 14.05, better than she did at nationals three weeks ago, but nowhere close to the 16 national team coordinator Martha Karolyi wants to see.
Wieber, on the other hand, appears to be peaking at just the right time.
Bridget Sloan, the 2009 world champion, is out of the running for the Olympics after spraining her left elbow during warm-ups.
Athletes aren’t allowed to petition directly onto the Olympic team, so the injury effectively ends her chances.
The team will be named Sunday.
Sloan, also a member of the squad that won the silver medal at the Beijing Games, was working on uneven bars when she hurt her elbow.
She was examined by Dr. Larry Nassar, physician for the U.S. women’s team, and went to try and warm-up on balance beam.
But she soon left the competition floor with coach Marvin Sharp, and the announcement that she was scratching came about 30 minutes later.