Things Are Happening – June 14, 2018

A. Junior Pan Ams

Women’s team and AA competition concluded yesterday at the Junior Pan Ams, with the US taking the team title by 7 points over second-place Canada. The hosts Argentina beat out Brazil for the bronze.

Jordan Bowers won the AA title with a 54.750, followed by Canada’s Zoe Allaire-Bourgie with 53.450, and Leanne Wong with 52.950. Tori Tatum finished fourth overall with 52.600.

The top seven countries in the AA here each qualified 1 spot to October’s Youth Olympic Games if they want it. That would be USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala. (Panama’s athlete Hilary Heron finished ahead of Guatemala’s, but Heron is a 2004 baby and is not age-eligible for the YOG.)

The US is still ostensibly claiming that it’s not sending a female artistic athlete to the YOG (as per the original plan), but USAG also stated that it selected Tori Tatum for the team because she is age-eligible for the YOG. So huh?

There was some question over Tatum’s selection as a replacement for Sunisa Lee because Tatum finished behind Lippeatt, Pilgrim, and McClain at the verification meet at WCC, and those standings were used to choose the junior Pan Ams team. USAG’s explanation for the selection was that Tatum is YOG-eligible as a 2003 baby, while the other three are not. That would seem to indicate that USAG is planning to send a woman to YOG after all. Or is just a total garbage barge in all respects at this point, which is also true.

Anyway, if the US doesn’t send anyone, the next spot goes to Costa Rica.

On the men’s side, Brandon Briones of the US took the all-around title, with silver to Diego Soares from Brazil and bronze to Felix Dolci from Canada. The team standings followed the same pattern: Canada in 3rd, Brazil in 2nd, and the US in first.

All event finals will take place on Friday, and all the gymnasts have frostbite because the competition is being held in an industrial meat freezer. FUN!

B. Nationality news

Laney Madsen—who appeared at US Classic in 2017 to chuck all the beam difficulty into your face and competed most recently at an elite qualifier in January—has announced that she’s representing Bulgaria now and will be doing so at worlds this year.

Uh…OK? Sure?

This isn’t a BeloAmerican situation because Madsen’s mother is Bulgarian—so she has an actual connection to the country and equal heritable legitimacy to represent Bulgaria as to represent the US. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 14, 2018

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2018 Junior Pan Ams Live Blog

It’s the slow season. We’ll take what we can get. And what we can get right now is the Junior Pan American Championship.

The stakes here are predominantly the chance to be like “TROPHY,” but also seven qualification spots to this October’s Youth Olympic Games.

There is already some drama in that regard because the US women have never sent anyone to YOG before and were not intending to send anyone this year. But then when Sunisa Lee had to be replaced on the US team, Tori Tatum was selected (By someone…? At some point…?), reportedly because she was born in 2003 and is therefore age-eligible for the YOG—the competition the US wasn’t planning on sending any women to.

So fine and good. Definitely organized. Everything has been thought through so well. I, for one, feel extremely empowered. Continue reading 2018 Junior Pan Ams Live Blog

2020 Olympic Qualification Explained…But Like Actually

The 2020 Olympic qualification process is so weird and dumb, you guys. You are completely forgiven for putting off trying to understand it for as long as possible.

But it’s starting to be that time of quad…

Recently, the FIG released an entirely unhelpful gibberish video (the part about continental championships is actually indecipherable) that was supposed to explain this cuckoo-pants fever dream of a system to the uneducated masses. Thank you, it didn’t. Try again, but this time pretend like you’ve had a conversation with a human person before.

Anyway, here’s the actual deal.

What’s the team format for the 2020 Olympics?

Qualification is 4-4-3 (4 on the team, 4 compete each event, 3 scores count).

The Team Final is 4-3-3 (3 up, 3 count—the format we know well).

Translation: All four selected teams members will be all-arounders. It’s terrible.

How do teams qualify?

The top 3 teams from the 2018 Worlds Team Final advance to the Olympics.

Then, 9 more teams from 2019 Worlds Qualification will join them.

12 teams. Done. That’s all. No bothering with Test Event qualification this time. Team qualification is finished by the fall of 2019.

How do gymnasts without teams qualify?

In the all-around at 2019 worlds, the best 20 women and 12 men who aren’t part of qualified teams will also go to the Olympics (limit 1 per country) along with the top 3 from event finals who aren’t part of qualified teams (limit 3 per country).

These spots are for the individual, not for the country. So it’s not Switzerland getting an Olympic spot; it’s Giulia Steingruber specifically getting an Olympic spot.

What’s the deal with these specialist spots?

Oops. Don’t call them specialists. You might get murdered. They’re simply individuals and can compete all events at the Olympics if they choose.

This quad, there are several new methods of Olympic qualification open to any individuals, whether they’re part of a qualified team or not. Qualified teams can earn two more spots through these routes, bringing their potential Olympic teams up to six members.

Event World Cups
The overall winner of the event world cup series on each apparatus gets a spot at the Olympics (limit 1 per country). These spots are also for the individual, not for the country.

The event world cup qualification series begins in Cottbus in November 2018 and ends in Doha in March 2020. Each gymnast’s best 3 results during that period count for the final rankings.

All-Around World Cups
The top 3 countries at the end of the four 2020 All-Around World Cups (American Cup, Stuttgart, London, Tokyo) earn spots at the Olympics. These spots are for the country, not for the individual.

Continental Championships
The top 2 finishers in the all-around final at the 2020 continental championships earn a spot at the Olympics. That spot is for the individual, unless that gymnast’s country is already qualified as a team, then it is for the country.

What if I’m just pretending to be interested in all this but really only care about how it affects the US women?

Thank you for your honesty.

The US women will qualify a team of four gymnasts to the 2020 Olympics after placing among the top 3 teams at the 2018 World Championship (let’s be real here).

The US women will gain a fifth Olympic spot by sending athletes to the all-around world cup events in March and April of 2020 (American Cup, Stuttgart, London, Tokyo) and placing in the top three in the overall standings at the end of those four meets.

The US women will gain a sixth Olympic spot by sending athletes to the 2020 Pan American Championships and placing someone in the top 2 in the AA final.

The US will then select its team of six (four gymnasts competing for the team, two gymnasts competing solely for themselves) following the Olympics Trials as usual.

So, for US women’s purposes, the 2020 American Cup is the first meet that will matter for earning those two extra individual spots. You don’t have to worry about it until then.

The US will not bother with the individual event world cups since Olympic spots earned there are for the athlete rather than for the country. The US wants to be able to pick its own team, rather than have its team determined by external competition results.

I heard that people who are on the worlds team can’t compete at these other qualifying events. What white nonsense is that?

I know, it’s weird.

Countries that have already qualified teams to the Olympics cannot send the gymnasts who earned that team qualification off to earn more Olympic spots at the event worlds cups and continental championships. (This does not apply for the all-around world cups.)

Explain specifically for the US women, please and thank you.

So, since the US women won’t attempt to get a spot from the event world cups, this really only applies to the continental championships.

Basically, it will mean that the all-arounders on 2020 Pan American Championships team cannot have been on the 2018 worlds team. Not a big deal in the end.


And that’s that.

-12 teams of 4.
-Various individuals.
-Qualified teams can send up to six gymnasts to the Olympics given the right circumstances.

Things Are Happening – June 6, 2018

A. That Senate Hearing

You guys. I cannot even begin.

Yes I can. Let’s get into it.

(Watch here. Except probably don’t. Your life is worth more than that. RESPECT YOURSELF.)

Anyway, Rhonda Faehn, Lou Anna Simon, and “Steve Penny” appeared in front of a Senate subcommittee so that a bunch of senators could congratulate each other for how awesome they are for most of the hearing—and then rush the panelists to spit out answers quickly because suddenly they’re running out of time for questions. Oh, I wonder how that happened.

Dear Senators, the thing about your epic opening statement is that nobody cares about you and you don’t have anything to say. You know how annoyed you get when a no-personality youngun is running around making an endless and pointless video about how little personality they have? That’s you, in these hearings. You’re the SnapChat in this situation.

Whatever. The most important thing we have to talk about is Steve Penny taking the 5th and refusing to answer any questions. Well, except for the first question that was like, “Is your name Steve and do you suck?” You know he wanted to take the 5th on that one too, but it was just a biographical statement of fact, so he had to say yes. After that, no answers.

Everyone has to use this opportunity to remind each other that taking the 5th doesn’t necessarily imply guilt. But also Steve Penny. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 6, 2018

Summer 2018 Schedule

A daily guide to your summer of gymnastics fandom. Check back as times are resolved and events added.


Wednesday, June 13
Junior Pan American Gymnastics Championships

9:30am ET/6:30am PT – Women’s Team/AA, Subdivision 1
(ARG, MEX, PER, DOM, JAM, PAN, GUA, ARU)

12:45pm ET/9:45am PT – Women’s Team/AA, Subdivision 2
(USA, CAN, BRA, COL, CHI, CRC, ECU, NCA, PUR, VEN)

The US will be sending a squad of Leanne Wong, Jordan Bowers, JaFree Scott, and Tori Tatum that will be heavily favored to take the team title.


Thursday, June 14
Junior Pan American Gymnastics Championships

10:10am ET/7:10am PT – Men’s Team/AA, Subdivision 1
(BRA, COL, ARG, PUR, CRC, ECU)

2:30pm ET/11:30am PT – Men’s Team/AA Subdivision 2
(USA, CAN, MEX, DOM, VEN, CHI, CAY)

Guimaraes Challenge Cup

10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Qualification Day 1

The roster includes Isabela Onyshko, Taeja James, Maisie Methuen, Manrique Larduet, Ray Zapata, Giarnni Regini-Moran, Joe Fraser, and Yuri Van Gelder


Friday, June 15
Junior Pan American Gymnastics Championships

10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Event Finals
(Women’s VT, UB; Men’s FX, PH, SR)

3:10pm ET/12:10pm PT – Event Finals
(Women’s BB, FX; Men’s VT, PB, HB)

Guimaraes Challenge Cup

10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Qualification Day 2


Saturday, June 16
Guimaraes Challenge Cup

10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Event Finals Day 1


Sunday, June 17
Guimaraes Challenge Cup

10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Event Finals Day 2


Saturday, June 23
Mediterranean Games

9:00am ET/6:00am PT – Qualification Day 1

Spain, Italy, France, and Greece among others are expected to send teams. Italy is the defending team champion and Vanessa Ferrari the defending all-around champion.

Youth Olympics Qualifier – Europe

2:00am ET/11:00pm PT – Subdivision 1
6:00am ET/3:00am PT – Subdivision 2
9:30am ET/6:30am PT – Subdivision 3

Participants will include Elisa Iorio (ITA), Asia D’Amato (ITA), Ksenia Klimenko (RUS), Daria Belousova (RUS), Celia Serber (FRA), Carolann Heduit (FRA), Amelie Morgan (GBR), Phoebe Jakubczyk (GBR), Emilie Petz (GER), Iulia Berar (ROU), Ana-Maria Puiu (ROU), and Anastasia Bachynska (UKR)

German European Championships Trial

11:30am ET/8:30am PT – Senior & Junior competition

Continue reading Summer 2018 Schedule

National Team Rankings – June 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 December 2017–May 2018.

Leaving the rankings this month were Ukraine, Poland, and the Dominican Republic temporarily without three scores on each event in the last six months. (Ukraine would be ranked #36 even without the full complement of routines, but has only two bars scores in the last six months.) Rejoining the rankings this month were Denmark, Slovenia, Ireland, Taiwan, and Greece, and joining for the first time were Algeria and Namibia following the African Championship.

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

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama