The State of the Russian Team Address

Qualification and all-around finals are complete at the Russian Cup, and so even though event finals are still to come, two days of competition provide a clear enough picture to examine where things stand with the Russian team. Or, if you’re Valentina, a clear enough picture to just outright name the team before the end of the competition. Imagine asking Valentina about petition selection procedures. She would put a cigar out on your tooth.

The Russian women are currently facing an even more dramatic version of the Big Three Problem that currently consumes discussion of the US women. Viktoria Listunova, Vladislava Urazova, and Angelina Melnikova are so far out in front of the rest that putting those three up on every event in the Olympic team final would be a completely viable and understandable approach.

At the Russian Cup, it was Melnikova who led after qualification when everyone had some degree of nightmare on beam and Listunova fell both there and on floor. In the all-around final, however, Listunova resolved her life, while Melnikova fell on beam, allowing Listunova to take gold, Urazova silver, and Melnikova bronze. The order at this point is insignificant because all three are locks for the Olympic team, but it will be significant at the Olympics when someone gets Wiebered.

In contrast to the US fourth-spot mess heading into trials, at this point there are pretty much only two viable choices for Russia’s remaining spot: Elena Gerasimova and Lilia Akhaimova. (We had all entertained the potential of Yana Vorona for a moment, but she has not had a nice time at this competition.)

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Things Are Snubbing – June 7, 2021

A. Morgan Hurd’s Trials Omission

Last night, following day 2 of nationals, USAG announced the bevy of 18 athletes who had advanced to this year’s Olympic Trials, comprising the top 17 AA from nationals as well as Riley McCusker.

The most notable among the notable items here was the absence of Morgan Hurd, who competed only beam and floor at nationals, struggling on beam both days with a ton of falls.

USAG has been trying to pretend that the process for petitions is still incomplete, but this would…seem to indicate otherwise?

It’s a tough one because it’s clear that Hurd’s performances at nationals did not merit advancing to trials (even acknowledging that she got hosed in the floor score department), and athletes with equivalent showings—including Chellsie Memmel—were also not advanced to trials.

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US Nationals Women’s Day 2 – Live Commentary

Pre-meet notes:

-Laurie Hernandez has withdrawn from the competition after her day 1 knee injury. If she were to continue in the process, she would have to petition to trials, but is that really going to be accepted since she hasn’t shown Olympic Trials-level gymnastics this year?

-Uchimura has been named to Japan’s Olympic squad as their +1. The men’s team of four will be Hashimoto, Kaya, Tanigawa W, and Kitazono.

-Katelyn Jong won the US junior title earlier today, with Madray Johnson 2nd, Kaliya Lincoln 3rd, Joscelyn Roberson 4th, and Kailin Chio 5th.

-17 US men have already been named to the national team/trials based on their championship performance, and that doesn’t even include Yoder yet, who will need to be added. It’s a big group. Trials fields used to be that big but haven’t had that many people in a long time.

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US Nationals Men’s Day 2 – Live Commentary

In the news earlier today, the women’s Olympic spots were determined at the Pan Am Championships, with Rebeca Andrade dominating the competition to earn a spot for herself. We did have a bit of an upset for the second spot, with Luciana Alvarado of Costa Rica holding off the entire Mexican team to earn the second available spot. Alvarado had been sitting in the 4th alternate position from the 2019 worlds standings and improved on her 2019 score by more than three points today.

Now, to the US men. Eyes on Mikulak today to see if things go slightly less nightmarishly (although I still maintain he can afford for things to go nightmarishly), but I also want to see how things shape up for Wiskus, who did not exactly have a ME OLYMPICS kind of night on day 1 either. The US just generally needs to see more people who can get better than an 83.

One would think that Malone’s massive lead of more than 2.5 points would keep him in control today, but also this is men’s, so…

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US Nationals Women’s Day 1 – Live Commentary

I’m sure it will go normal.

In rounding up what took place earlier today, Classic champion Katelyn Jong leads the junior standings by a little more than a point over Kailin Chio. Through two of three subdivisions at men’s Pan Ams, the US and Brazil look good for gaining additional Olympic spots, with Paul Juda’s 83.000 and Diogo Soares’s 82.700 the top (eligible) scores, and no one else is going to pass them. That 83.000 for Juda would have put him 5th in the standings yesterday.

Also, the vault almost fainted and had to be held up with a bunch of sandbags. Super fine and good.

News for today’s competition is that Hurd will be sticking to just beam and floor, which means she (like McCusker) will have to be placed on the national team and added to trials by the committee. And I would approve both of those. They should be at trials. I’m generally interested to see how many people make trials this year, and how forgiving the petition process is for that, particularly with regard to people like Memmel and Hernandez, whom everyone wants to see because awwww, but also….

So anyway—is Carey going to do the layout triple double??????

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US Nationals Men’s Day 1 – Live Commentary

I’ll keep it light on the skill-by-skill and heavy on the “Daggett what are you saying about?”

Competition was listed to begin at 6:30 CT but it will actually begin at 7:00 CT, which is when the Olympic Channel broadcast starts. Olympic Channel is slated to have the whole 2.5 hours.

Some news to dissect from today before we get started: The FIG went all TWIST-town and announced that the Doha World Cup will be going ahead after all, starting June 23. So enjoy your casual 20 days to prepare! That means that the quests for Petrounias and Ferrari, among others, to make the Olympics are still alive.

In competition news, Elisabeth Seitz won the German national AA by a tenth over Pauline Schäfer, with Sarah Voss in 3rd, Kim Bui in 4th, and Emilie Petz in 5th. Some VERY close team-score scenarios using various combinations of those five athletes, so the final trial on June 12th should be interesting.

As for the US men, one of the bigger stories I’ll be watching today is whether NCAA champion Brody Malone is for real in his push to make the US team. It’s an appealing prospect given his particular strengths and the fact that it’s just…something a little different and interesting, but he has not made major teams before and doesn’t have the scoring history of the default four from 2019—Mikulak, Moldauer, Wiskus, and Modi.

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