BOSTON (AP) -- Vanessa Atler is sick of being stressed out.
Yes, these are the Olympic trials and she really, really wants to go to Sydney. But stressing out isn't going to get anyone there. In fact, it will probably guarantee a spot at home.
Besides, Atler said, Bela Karolyi probably knows who he wants on the team already, anyway.
Atler meant that last part as a joke, but she might not be far off.
"I'd be very happy with the team just in the order they are now," Karolyi said after the first round of the Olympic trials Friday night.
"We have four extremely strong all-arounders," he said. "And we do have a Morgan White and Vanessa Atler who can really function as openers. They can solve our weaknesses in a variety of events."
Karolyi, the national team coordinator and head of the selection committee that will pick the squad for Sydney, was hoping the team would be a mix of the Magnificent Seven and the new kids who've been filling their leotards the last four years.
But it's not working out quite that way. Amy Chow finished second, solidifying her bid for a trip to Sydney. Combining her scores at nationals, she's now third overall with 54.081 points.
Shannon Miller and Dominique Dawes are a little more iffy. They picked up ground, but they're still not in the top six overall.
Dawes made the biggest climb of the night, getting as high as third in Friday night's event before dropping to sixth. She's in seventh overall with 51.751 points.
Miller is way down in 11th overall, but that's partly because she withdrew from nationals after only one event because of a hairline crack in her right leg. Instead of three scores like everyone else has, she only has one.
She took a big fall on her first vault, landing on her backside with a loud "WHUMP!" as Karolyi winced. She did nail her second vault, but managed only an 8.893.
"The veterans always have the advantage and Bela knows that," said Steve Nunno, Miller's coach. "I'll bet on the vets any day."
But Karolyi doesn't sound convinced.
"Very unlikeable," he said when asked the chances of Chow, Miller and Dawes all making the team. "(I'd hoped) to see a split participation between the 1996ers and the new generation. But the new generation has really, really proved extremely strong."
Finals are Sunday afternoon. Weighted scores from trials (60 percent) and last month's U.S. Gymnastics Championships (40 percent) will be combined and used to rank the gymnasts.
Karolyi and the selection committee will then pick the six-woman squad. They aren't beholden to the scores.
National champion Elise Ray is almost a lock after finishing first at nationals and again Friday night. She only had one score below 9.5 Friday, and that was a 9.499 on vault. That's a respectable score -- very respectable considering only three others scored higher.
And on uneven bars, nobody can beat her slick moves. Take her pirouette on the top bar. While other gymnasts do it by turning around on their hands, Ray pulls hers off the bars and turns her body while she's in the air.
"I'm very excited with how everything worked out, but at the same time, I'm looking forward to getting in the gym tomorrow and fixing the little details," she said. "I'm going for perfection Sunday."
As for the rest of the youngsters, they have some polishing to do, too. Kristen Maloney, second overall, botched a handstand on the uneven bars. Jamie Dantzscher, in fourth place, lunged forward on her balance beam dismount.
And Atler had the scariest fall of the night, landing flat on her back on her beam dismount.
"I just got overly excited. I was doing a good beam routine and I haven't done a good beam routine in a while," Atler said. "It looked worse than it was."
Miller probably wishes she could say the same about a couple of her scores. Besides her poor vault mark, she scored a 9.162 on the floor and a 9.287 on the balance beam.
Her beam score might be the most upsetting. Instead of starting with a chance to score a 10.0 on beam, the highest score she could earn was a 9.7 because judges didn't give her credit for one of her trademark moves. Nunno didn't grasp the scoring situation until they arrived in Boston on Wednesday, and by then it was too late to change it.
He and Miller just hope it won't be too late for Sydney.
"Shannon is right there," Karolyi said. "It's very, very much going to depend on her performance in the coming days."
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