2018 US Classic Roster Notes

Attention peasants! The US Classic is a mere 12 days away, and because everything is going super great, USAG used this definitely-not-down-to-the-wire opportunity to announce, “What up, turkey butts. Check it, we still have a number of sponsors. That number is one.”

Yes, everything is solved now because the CoverSecret US Classic will henceforth be known as the GK US Classic. GK released an official statement on the sponsorship agreement, saying, “Ugh, I mean I guess. We’re a leo company, so…”

In addition to revealing the new title sponsorship of the GK US RSTLNE Classic, USAG announced the list of competitors, a fairly hearty group, one that is overall Simone. With some Simone. I’m impressed by how Simone.

What’s more, Simone has suddenly decided to do the all-around instead of just bars and beam like she was originally planning because why not. Everyone else is like, “Can’t we just have ONE DAY?”

There are, however, four notable absences in the senior division this year: Maile O’Keefe, Marz Frazier, Trinity Thomas, and Gabby Perea, all of whom are already qualified to nationals and will still be able to compete the all-around there if they so choose. Thomas says she’s still planning to compete elite in 2018 but has also already started Florida-ing, so we’ll see. Ashton Locklear is injured and out for the year.

Seniors who have not already qualified to nationals will have to reach 52.000 all-around at this meet (or 39.750 on 3 events, or 27.000 on 2 events) to advance. Otherwise, they are cut loose at this point. Those who still need their qualifying scores are noted below. Continue reading 2018 US Classic Roster Notes


Things Are Happening – July 13, 2018

A. Qualified

Following American Classic, our list of senior gymnasts currently qualified to nationals has grown longer.

Morgan Hurd – 2017 worlds team member
Ragan Smith – 2017 worlds team member
Jade Carey – 2017 worlds team member
Ashton Locklear – 2017 worlds team member – OUT
Jordan Chiles – 2017 worlds team alternate
Margzetta Frazier – February verification
Grace McCallum – February verification
Maile O’Keefe – 2018 American Cup
Trinity Thomas – 2018 Tokyo World Cup
Gabby Perea – April verification
Adeline Kenlin – April verification (2 events – UB/BB)
Alyona Shchennikova – April verification
Shilese Jones – American Classic
Shania Adams – American Classic
Madeleine Johnston – American Classic
Kara Eaker – American Classic
Madelyn Williams – American Classic (3 events – VT/UB/BB)
Audrey Davis – American Classic (2 events – VT/UB)
Riley McCusker – American Classic (2 events – UB/BB)

We’ll see Biles and Malabuyo at US Classic (and obviously any petitions they might need after that point will be granted). Plus, there are others in the mix like Olivia Dunne, whom we expect to add her name to this list at Classic or through petition, so it should be a pretty hearty field. Last quad, the senior fields at nationals got too small and exclusive (13 people in 2013 and 2014), so I’m pleased to see we’ll be back over 20 competitors this year.

The currently qualified juniors are

Kayla DiCello – February verification
Sunisa Lee – April verification
Jordan Bowers – April verification
Sydney Barros – April verification
JaFree Scott – April verification
Leanne Wong – April verification
Lilly Lippeatt – April verification
Tori Tatum – Junior Pan Ams
Konnor McClain – American Classic
Skye Blakely – American Classic
Olivia Greaves – American Classic
Ui Soma – American Classic
Aleah Finnegan – American Classic
Levi Jung-Ruivivar – American Classic
Sydney Morris – American Classic
Ciena Alipio – American Classic
Karis German – American Classic
Zoe Gravier – American Classic

B. Men’s National Qualifier

On Saturday, the US men will compete in their own version of the American Classic at the OTC—except there has been not a whisper of streaming or anything…because men’s. You’ve all opted out of the stream, and you didn’t have a choice.

Come on, guys. Grab a phone, make like a Russian, and instagram it or something.

Several of the big names will be competing—Mikulak, Penev, and Whittenburg—though all three have already qualified to nationals by virtue of being on the national team. Penev and Whittenburg have both been out with injury this year, so putting up scored routines here is a critical benchmark for them heading toward nationals and heading toward a worlds selection process where their overlapping FX/VT strengths will probably pit them head-to-head for a spot.

Keep an eye on…your local carrier pigeon or something…for results from this one.

Juniors compete at 12:30 MT and seniors at 6:00 MT, and you can check out the start list here.

C. Valeri in Brazil

Well well well well well well well well. Valeri Liukin led a national team camp in Brazil this month, his second time doing so this year. A guest-coaching stint may just be all this is (there has been no official announcement that he’s taking over or doing anything permanent), but Brazil does have a history of hiring Russian expats to lead the women’s program. Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 13, 2018

Euros Team Selections

The European Championship is less than a month away, and if you’re me, you’re already way too excited about it. Nominative rosters have been released and several countries have announced their final team selections, so let’s check in on who’s definitely going, who should be going, and every nation’s overall prospects.

Once we get closer to the event and the teams are finalized, I’ll do a full scoring analysis.


Nominative roster:
Viktoria Komova, Angelina Melnikova, Angelina Simakova, Uliana Perebinosova, Maria Kharenkova

We know this nominative roster is nonsense because Perebinosova is injured and not going to Euros, so it probably just reflects some elaborate Valentina mind game (“I’d rather take an injured ghost than you, Varvara”).

At this point, I would consider Melnikova, Komova, and Simakova locked. At the even-year European Championship, there is no all-around final and the team competition format is 5-3-3, so if you’re a nation like Russia that’s expecting team gold here, selection is all about finding three people for each event. This locked group would give us

Vault: Melnikova, Komova, Simakova?
Bars: Komova, Melnikova, (?)
Beam: Komova, Melnikova, (?)
Floor: Melnikova, Simakova, (?)

So from there, you more or less need one more person for each event. Now, you could use Simakova for bars and beam and Komova for floor, but you want to protect Komova as much as possible, and there are higher-scoring options than Simakova on bars and beam. The most value you could add to this team immediately would be with Ilyankova.

Vault: Melnikova, Komova, Simakova?
Bars: Komova, Melnikova, Ilyankova
Beam: Komova, Melnikova, Ilyankova?
Floor: Melnikova, Simakova, (?)

That’s the best available bars trio, and while Ilyankova is not an ideal beamer, I don’t know that there’s a more reliable option out there right now. She could end up doing beam at Euros. For the remaining spot, a lot comes down to whether you trust Simakova to vault (she should have a vital rudi but missed for 12s a couple times at Russian Cup). If you do trust Simakova, then you’re left looking for only a floor routine and another possible beam option. That’s why Kharenkova—now a beam and floor specialist—has seemed an appealing choice. Yet, her inconsistency and general Kharenkova-ness could be her undoing.

Still, Russia may elect to roll the dice with Kharenkova and put up this team.

Vault: Melnikova, Komova, Simakova
Bars: Komova, Melnikova, Ilyankova
Beam: Komova, Melnikova, Kharenkova
Floor: Melnikova, Simakova, Kharenkova

If that’s too scary, then you replace Kharenkova’s name with Alexeeva (if healthy) or Zubova in the above scenario, though Zubova is in the exact same consistency boat as Kharenkova. I’m not sure there’s much of a difference. It’s all terrifying.

Another sensible option could be to hitch the wagon fully to Ilyankova for beam and go with Akhaimova as the fifth team member. Akhaimova could provide a third floor routine as well as a backup vault option instead of Simakova—though Akhaimova’s vault scores haven’t been that big lately either.

Needing a third DTY (Russia just can’t show up to the team final with some full) is how Nabieva or Trykina would get on the team, but floor would be a real problem in that case.

This may be the hardest team to pick, but Great Britain is in the running for that as well. Continue reading Euros Team Selections

National Team Rankings – July 2018

How It Works
Taking into account all scores recorded at competitions in the last six months, each nation is given a team total based on how its best-scoring group of five senior gymnasts would do in a hypothetical 3-up, 3-count team final.

Each individual’s best scores may come from any official competition (they need not all be from the same meet), and whichever group of five gymnasts would produce the highest score is the one selected.

Countries that have not shown enough senior routines in the last six months to fill a 3-up, 3-count team on each event are not included.

Rankings will be updated on the first of each month, and scores will expire after six months in order to provide the most up-to-date snapshot of where nations are at the current moment. The current rankings include only scores from January 2018–June 2018.

Joining the rankings this month were Poland, Latvia, and Thailand. No nations dropped off.

Last month’s ranking is in parentheses. Continue reading National Team Rankings – July 2018

Things Are Happening – June 29, 2018

A. The Ranch

The DA and assistant DA in Walker County, Texas provided an update on the investigation into the ranch today, announcing that That Guy has been indicted on six counts of sexual assault of a child, and (the surprise here) that Debbie Van Horn has also been indicted for sexual assault of a child. This was for “acting as a party” in one of the assault charges against That Guy, according to the DA. Yikes. There’s more and more and always more.

If you haven’t been up on it, Van Horn is the one who was always sitting on the folding chairs amongst all the backpacks at every competition and you asked “who is that lady?” every single year—the trainer who we’ve said should have seen, should have known, should have watched, should have questioned, and should have followed up. But such a direct charge, acting as a party in the sexual assault of a child, comes as a surprise.

They didn’t announced any other indictments, but the investigation is ongoing. They did mention that several other people would have been charged with failure to report, but the two-year statue of limitations has expired, so they couldn’t charge them. They interviewed the Karolyis, Steve Penny, and Rhonda Faehn as part of the investigation, making a specific point of sassing Steve Penny’s lack of cooperation. “He didn’t provide much assistance.” Yep. We know.

Martha also definitely worked her magic because the DA and assistant DA were very keen to tell us about how the golden child did nothing wrong and was just a humble coach who was bamboozled by USAG. They found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the Karolyis, so it seems they’re off the hook here.

B. American Classic

While most of the US gymternet erratic-twirl-machine has been consumed with the news of Tom Forster becoming the new women’s High-Performance Team Coordinator, which I wrote up yesterday (short version: He sounds like the best of the available options, proceed with caution because of USAG and 90s coaching, hilarious GIF), we also received the roster for the newly broadcast American Classic on July 7th at Utah.

Senior elite
Shania Adams
Sloane Blakely
Jade Carey
Audrey Davis
Kara Eaker
Jaylene Gilstrap
Olivia Hollingsworth
Madeleine Johnston
Shilese Jones
Adeline Kenlin
Emily Lee
Isabel Mabanta
Grace McCallum
Riley McCusker
Alyona Shchennikova
Deanne Soza
Madelyn Williams

Junior elite
Ciena Alipio
Love Birt
Skye Blakely
Sophia Butler
Kailin Chio
Claire Dean
Kayla DiCello
Amari Drayton
Addison Fatta
Aleah Finnegan
Delaney Fisher
eMjae Frazier
Gabreille Gallentine
Elizabeth Gantner
Karis German
Trista Goodman
Zoe Gravier
Olivia Greaves
Maeve Hahn
Selena Harris
Kaytlyn Johnson
Levi Jung-Ruivivar
Alonna Kratzer
Lillian Lewis
Kaliyah Lincoln
Lauren Little
Mallory Marchelli
Konnor McClain
Sydney Morris
Brenna Neault
Sienna Robinson
Katelyn Rosen
Lyden Saltness
Abigail Scanlon
Ava Siegfeldt
Ui Soma
Calvary Swaney
Tori Tatum

The senior roster is fairly typical for American Classic, where the biggest names who have been competing recently do not attend because there’s literally no reason for them to, but we will see the likes of Riley McCusker, who’s getting back into competition form after a medium-sized injury absence, and Jade Carey, who has been adding skills on bars this spring.

USAG will be streaming the meet on YouTube, juniors at 11:00am MT, seniors at 4:00pm. Hopes sessions will be the day before.

Scores at this one are important because seniors need to have a 52.000 AA (or 39.750 three-event score, or 27.000 two-event score) to advance to nationals if they didn’t already reach that score at one of the verification meets or a USAG international assignment. (Jesolo and Gymnix don’t count for qualification since they weren’t official USAG assignments—because, you know, that makes the scores less valid or something?) As for the juniors, they need a 51.000 AA and cannot qualify with the three- or two-event score. Both juniors and seniors will have another chance to get their scores at US Classic on the 28th if they don’t get them at American Classic.

By my count, the seniors who have already qualified for nationals are Morgan Hurd (2017 worlds team member), Ragan Smith (2017 worlds team member), Jade Carey (2017 worlds team member), Ashton Locklear (2017 worlds team member – currently injured), Jordan Chiles (2017 worlds team alternate), Margzetta Frazier (February verification), Grace McCallum (February verification), Maile O’Keefe (2018 American Cup), Trinity Thomas (2018 Tokyo World Cup), Adeline Kenlin (April verification), Gabby Perea (April verification), and Alyona Shchennikova (April verification). Shilese Jones also got a 3-event qualifying score at April verification.

Note: Kenlin’s vault at the April verification was on a soft surface, so I’m not sure if that was allowed to count for her qualifying score. As always, this information is cobbled together and incomplete (because a public list is not kept by USAG due to FUN), so there may be others who have qualified already and we never saw those scores. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 29, 2018

Tom Forster – Team Coordinator

USAG announced today that everything is totally fine and fixed, so you should stop asking questions and also bye.

And by that, I mean that Tom Forster has been selected as the new National Team Coordinator. Or, sorry, the new High-Performance Team Coordinator. Because that makes it all different and better. Nothing to see here. The performance is going to be so high. You won’t believe how high the performance will be.

Fans of the 90s will remember Forster of Colorado Aerials as the coach of Theresa Kulikowski, Kristy Powell and Doni Thompson—and Kerri Strug for a hot minute during her whistle-stop tour of America. Since then, he has held a lower-profile and more behind-the-scenes role in the elite coaching scene, and he was not the primary elite coach for the recent athletes from Colorado Aerials who may have been on your radar (Emily Muhlenhaupt, Kiersten Wang, Sharaya Musser).

That, quite honestly, could have been an influencing factor in the decision. He hasn’t had an opportunity to be publicly horrible in quite some time, which already put him on the high end of the list of candidates. And that seems to be the general reaction from within the gymnastics community—”it could have been worse”—what with names like Peggy Liddick floating around, and all. The consensus: he’s the best of the available options. The national team coaches seem to be optimistic about Forster, which means he will be given a chance rather than being thrown to the wolves immediately after the announcement. But of course, the proof will be in the…not being an aggressively ego-driven abusive maniac? Just that. We’re asking so much, I know. Stay cautious, my friends.

It may be unfair, but USAG has taught us to mistrust its process and automatically mistrust anyone it might think is suitable. Kerry Perry likes you? Well then what’s wrong with you? Continue reading Tom Forster – Team Coordinator

Quad Records

Current national scoring records for the 2017-2020 quad (seniors).

All-Around Ragan Smith 57.850 August 2017
Vault Jordan Chiles 15.150 August 2017
Bars Riley McCusker 15.050 April 2017
Beam Ragan Smith 15.350 July 2017
Floor Ragan Smith 14.433 October 2017


All-Around Elena Eremina 57.900 August 2017
Vault Angelina Simakova 15.050 November 2017
Bars Anastasia Ilyankova 15.275 August 2017
Beam Maria Kharenkova 15.350 October 2017
Floor Maria Kharenkova
Angelina Melnikova
14.500 August 2017
April 2018


All-Around Liu Tingting 56.800 May 2017
Vault Zhang Jin
Liu Jinru
14.550 May 2018
May 2017
Bars Fan Yilin 15.166 October 2017
Beam Liu Tingting 15.300 May 2017
Floor Wang Yan 13.800 September 2017


All-Around Asuka Teramoto 56.800 August 2017
Vault Sae Miyakawa 15.100 June 2017
Bars Hitomi Hatakeda 14.500 June 2017
Beam Kiko Kuwajima 14.500 February 2018
Floor Mai Murakami 14.800 August 2017


All-Around Ellie Downie 56.198 April 2017
Vault Ellie Downie 14.950 March 2017
Bars Georgia Mae-Fenton
Becky Downie
14.600 3 occasions
April 2017
Beam Alice Kinsella 14.050 March 2017
Floor Taeja James 14.100 April 2018


All-Around Martina Maggio 55.450 May 2017
Vault Martina Maggio 14.800 May 2017
Bars Martina Maggio 14.050 May 2017
Beam Elisa Meneghini 13.950 September 2017
Floor Desiree Carofiglio 13.900 May 2017


All-Around Eythora Thorsdottir 56.350 February 2017
Vault Tisha Volleman 14.500 September 2017
Bars Sanne Wevers 13.933 November 2017
Beam Eythora Thorsdottir 14.850 February 2017
Floor Eythora Thorsdottir 14.000 February 2017


All-Around Rebeca Andrade 56.000 April 2017
Vault Rebeca Andrade 15.150 September 2017
Bars Rebeca Andrade 14.450 September 2017
Beam Daniele Hypolito 14.600 June 2018
Floor Thais Fidelis 14.200 August 2017


All-Around Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos 55.450 May 2017
Vault Coline Devillard 14.633 April 2017
Bars Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos 14.650 November 2017
Beam Marine Boyer 14.900 May 2017
Floor Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos 14.200 May 2018


All-Around Tabea Alt 54.866 April 2017
Vault Sarah Voss 14.600 December 2017
Bars Elisabeth Seitz 14.900 November 2017
Beam Pauline Schäfer 14.150 June 2017
Floor Kim Bui 13.566 April 2017


All-Around Nina Derwael 54.250 March 2018
Vault Maellyse Brassart 14.100 February 2018
Bars Nina Derwael 15.350 May 2018
Beam Nina Derwael 13.900 June 2017
Floor Rune Hermans 13.500 March 2018


All-Around Ellie Black 56.199 May 2018
Vault Shallon Olsen 14.900 March 2018
Bars Ellie Black 14.400 October 2017
May 2018
Beam Ellie Back 14.400 August 2017
Floor Brooklyn Moors 14.600 February 2018


All-Around Larisa Iordache 58.466 September 2017
Vault Larisa Iordache 14.800 September 2017
Bars Larisa Iordache 14.533 September 2017
Beam Larisa Iordache 15.566 September 2017
Floor Larisa Iordache 14.266 September 2017
All-Around Georgia Godwin 56.325 May 2018
Vault Emily Little 14.750 May 2017
Bars Georgia Godwin 14.575 May 2018
Beam Georgia Godwin 14.625 May 2018
Floor Georgia Godwin 14.525 May 2018

Continue reading Quad Records

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama