Larson moved to the senior division in 2008. She finished second on beam and first on floor at the WOGA Classic. At the Gymnix International competition, she won the silver in the all-around and bronze on bars. She was also named to the Grand Prix Team in Italy but was unable to compete due to a small foot injury. During the Friendship International Exchange, she placed 4th all-around and won silver on floor behind teammate Alicia Sacramone. At her first Senior Nationals, she finished seventh all-around to make the National Team and qualified for the Olympic Trials. After the Olympic Trials she made the Olympic Training Squad. Unfortunately, an injury kept her from making the Olympic Team. She opened her 2009 competitions at the Gymnix World Cup and earned gold medals on beam and floor. She was selected as part of the European Tour. She did not compete all-around but helped the team win against Germany and France. Another injury kept her from competing at the U.S. Nationals, but she was petitioned onto the team. Late in 2009 she signed her letter of intent to UCLA, but decided that she would defer from college for a while in hopes of making the 2012 Olympic Team.
Larson suffered a double-ankle sprain shortly before the 2009 U.S. National Championships. Thus, she was unable to compete and did not recover in time to secure a bid to the 2009 World Championships. Larson made a strong comeback in 2010 winning the all-around competition at the CoverGirl Classic in July. More success followed at the 2010 U.S. National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut, where she won three medals including her first national title: gold on floor, silver in the all-around, and bronze on uneven bars. She was subsequently chosen to be a member of the US team for the World Championships in Rotterdam. In the qualification round she competed all four events and would have qualified for the All-around finals in 11th place if it weren't for the two per country rule. She also failed to make floor finals, her specialty, due to a fall on her first tumbling pass, a double layout. Nevertheless, she was set to compete floor in the team finals in a "3 up 3 count" format meaning that three gymnasts compete on an event and every score counts towards the team total. Larson had a sub-par performance, leaving out a mandatory connection, losing her a full point, and falling on her knees on the final tumbling pass, losing yet another point. The USA was beaten for the gold by Russia, who themselves counted 3 falls, by a margin of 0.2 points. Larson was subsequently heavily criticized not only for her mistakes but for her apparent lack of knowledge concerning the requirements in the floor exercise, as she could have easily made up for her missed connection by throwing in two easy skills as a front handspring and aerial.
Larson decided to abandon elite gymnastics and joined the UCLA Bruins, the reigning national champions in NCAA. Bruins coach Valorie Kondos Field ("Miss Val") said she had been waiting to recruit Mattie, known for her lyrical movements and artistry on floor, since she was nine years old. In the fall, Mattie Larson debuted a well choreographed marionette-themed floor exercise and has since competed it successfully, along with the other three events to contribute to the Bruins successful season.
Read more about this topic: Mattie Larson
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