The eyes of Middletown will be focused on the U.S Gymnastics Olympic Trials next month as former Middletown High School South star Alyssa Beckerman is likely to bid for a spot on the team. Beckerman finished fifth overall at last weekend’s U.S. Gymnastics Championship in St. Louis, ahead of established former Olympians such as Amy Chow, Dominique Moceanu and Dominique Dawes. By placing fifth, Beckerman all but locked up a spot at next month’s trials. Beckerman finished just 1.675 points behind the winner of last weekend’s championship, Elise Ray. The top 12 finishers at the nationals advance to the trials, where gymnastics guru Bela Karolyi will head a committee that will choose the six-member Olympic team. Although performances at nationals and the trials will be considered when ranking the gymnasts, they will not be binding. Although Beckerman was expected to be one of the gymnasts to advance to the trials, it’s anybody’s guess as to how far she can take her Olympic aspirations. A large component in the hunt for one of the six available spots on the Olympic team is the opinion of Karolyi, who was lured out of retirement to assemble another dream team. In order to get him to agree to come back, the four-person selection committee was established because he argued that the new process would result in the best team. As a result, Karolyi has said that he can take someone who is dominant in one particular event rather than selecting six gymnasts who have high overall scores. However, some critics of the move argue that the new process opens the door for Karolyi to select the returning gymnasts from the 1996 Olympic gold-medal winning team over more-deserving candidates. Five of the seven gymnasts from that team are competing for spots on the Sydney squad. However, Beckerman said she knows that all she can do is give her best effort on the floor, and let the selection process play itself out. If she is selected to participate in the Olympic Games, it will mark the culmination of a lengthy training process, which led to Beckerman and her family moving to Cincinnati at the beginning of her senior year in high school so that she could train at one of the nation’s best gymnastic academies. That proved to be a good move when Beckerman finished eighth in the all-around at the U.S. Championships in 1988. Recently, she warmed up for last weekend’s championship by competing in the Spieth-Sogipa Cup in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where she took first.