Men’s Selection, Day 1

Mikulak 14.5 14.9 14.15 14.6 15.35 14.25 87.75
Moldauer 14.6 14.6 14.25 14.7 14.55 13.4 86.1
Yoder 13.75 14.6 13.5 14.15 14.2 13.3 83.5
Modi 14.4 12.8 13.3 14.4 14.4 12.75 82.05
Van Wicklen 13.1 12.95 13.65 15 13.15 12.9 80.75
Bower 14.25 13.7 13 14.35 13.35 X X
Howard 13.65 X 14.55 14.05 12.7 12.3 X
Kimble X 13.5 13.6 X X 12.95 X

A few notes on what transpired at the first day of men’s selection competition yesterday, as we prepare for the final day of the selection process tomorrow at 3:30pm MT.

1) Mikulak and Moldauer are way ahead of everyone else. I wouldn’t use the scores, particularly for those two, as any kind of indication of their real-life scoring potential since they were high, occasionally to a comical degree. But compared to the rest of the selection field, they really are that far ahead of their teammates.

2) Marvin Kimble did not make his case. We’ve been waiting to see what level of competitiveness Kimble would show after missing nationals. His performances on the three events he competed on the first day were not yet at selection standard, particularly his critical HB routine where he got destroyed for an E score in the 6s—despite not falling—because of all the crazy form and late finishing positions.

Now, I’m still somewhat disposed to consider Kimble for the worlds team because of how disastrous everyone was on HB and what he potentially could score there. Even with a weak performance, his 12.950 wasn’t too different from the rest of the squad. That’s how dire things are on HB. Give me a possible 14 with the risk of a 12 over a guaranteed 13.2. I acknowledge, however, that a repeat of his HB performance on day 2 should eliminate Kimble from contention. But, if he manages a 14+…

Also hurting Kimble was the lowish score on rings, an event he would have been counted on to contribute to this team. He needed a 14 there. Right now, the US is left looking for a third good rings score, and that alters some of the selection dynamics. If only you had someone like Donnell Whittenburg competing…oh wait. Continue reading Men’s Selection, Day 1


Things Are Happening – September 19, 2018

A. US men’s selection camp

The two-day selection camp for the US men’s world championship squad begins tomorrow. And guess what. It will be streamed! Like a real competition! Well done, you.

It’s almost like getting more eyes on what you’re doing is a…dare I say it…good thing? And that it…helps promote the sport and the athletes competing? WHAT. The women’s program is like, “I don’t understand…”

Competition schedule
Thursday, September 20 – 11:00am local time (Mountain)
Saturday, September 22 – 3:30pm local time (Mountain)

The competition is limited to just the 8 members of the training squad—Mikulak, Moldauer, Modi, Kimble, Yoder, Bower, Van Wicklen, Howard—who will be divided into the 5 team members and 3 alternates following Saturday’s competition.

The big news is the withdrawal of Donothan Bailey due to injury—because he was just casually having a great year, with his best chance ever to make a worlds team. Ah ha ha. Dead.

Bailey’s replacement is Trevor Howard, who I suppose is here because of the potential 14.5 score he brings on rings. OK? That’s interesting to me because I wasn’t too, too worried about rings. If you have Mikulak, Kimble, and Moldauer, that’s not a terrible rings score by any means, so perhaps Howard’s selection is revealing of more rings anxiety (or more Kimble anxiety) than I thought there would be.

The Bailey withdrawal is the best news for Modi and Bower since it means they have less competition for those remaining couple spots. Based on the scores from nationals, the teams produced by swapping in and out Bailey, Modi, and Bower (and Van Wicklen for that matter) were so similar that only the smallest margin was going to separate who made the team and who didn’t.

Above all, Marvin Kimble is the major story to watch at this selection camp because he missed nationals. That means we don’t really know what we’re going to get from him—in addition to it being Marvin Kimble to begin with, so of course we don’t know what we’re going to get from him. His high bar routines will be the most important of the entire selection competition because that’s such a weak event for the US right now and because he can potentially bring nearly a full point over what a non-Kimble team would score there. Stay tuned.

B. is for Britain and also Becky

Lots to report on the British side of things today. At the team championships, the big development was the performance of this unknown upstart named Becky Downie, who won bars with a 6.6 D score, the highest in the world.

She’s so confident with all those impossible releases that the most significant challenge for her in this yeti of a routine will be getting the endurance back to avoid having to cast at horizontal as she gets toward the end. Put together, this set could challenge Derwael and would make Downie a medal favorite at worlds once again.

Not to be overshadowed, Ellie Downie also made her return at this competition (Becky’s like, “NO MY SHOW”). Ellie missed on bars for a 13.3, which nonetheless put her in second, but also scored 13.3 for a hit on beam with a not-pushing-it 5.0 D, good enough for third. Let your British-team anxiety be quelled. A little.

Amelie Morgan also continued her assault on our prognostications for next year (when she becomes senior) by placing in the top 3 on every single event, including winning beam. We also saw Alice Kinsella take second on beam and vault, Taeja James win floor comfortably with a 13.550, and Kelly Simm win vault with 14.050 (tied with Kinsella overall but higher on execution). Continue reading Things Are Happening – September 19, 2018

Things Are Happening – September 13, 2018

A. This weekend

We’ll start with the fun stuff—competitions. The Pan American Championships will run from Friday to Sunday, with a preview of the women’s competition and full schedule here. This will be the last official competition opportunity for the large majority of the teams until worlds—and a critical case-making meet for some of the borderline American, Brazilian, and Canadian contenders. 

Germany will hold an internal test on Saturday to begin making its own worlds team decisions, the women hoping to find a solution to…whatever that was at Euros. That solution is probably named Elisabeth Seitz. She’ll return to competition here, none too soon for Germany’s sake, performing alongside Schäfer, Bui, Voss, and the usual suspects. Sophie Scheder is not competing.

Women are at 1pm local, the men at 4:30pm local. If you are avoiding-geoblocking savvy, there will be a live stream.

The following weekend, we’ll get back into the World Challenge Cups swing, with Szombathely, followed by Paris. Both Downies are on the list for Paris. The entire nation of Great Britain breathes a sigh of relief.

B. The awful stuff

The latest news from the land of crime—Erika Davis filed suit against That Guy saying that he drugged and raped her in 1992. And it was videotaped. She told her coach. The coach got a copy of the tape. Then the athletic director named George Perles, still a trustee at Michigan State (“but why aren’t the trustees holding anyone responsible?!?!?!”), forced the coach to turn over the tape, resign, and sign an NDA. 

You should go to prison! And YOU should go to prison! EVERYONE should go to prison!

“How could he have gotten away with it for so long?” they asked.

“Why didn’t the victims come forward sooner?” they asked.

There’s always a George. Looking out for a Larry. 

C. Raschilla to Auburn

We were all wondering what would happen to Bryan Raschilla after he got dumped by Alabama. Well, turns out he will be Auburn’s new volunteer assistant coach in the upcoming season. Because he’s just so green and needed to gain some valuable experience in a volunteer position.

Suzanne, always a trendsetter.

Guys, anyone who’s anyone has an insanely overqualified volunteer assistant coach on staff now. Four for the price of three!

Anyway, my All-Volunteer-Assistant coaching staff of Suzanne Yoculan, Bryan Raschilla, Jordyn Wieber, and Courtney McCool will coach you to all the national championships. Continue reading Things Are Happening – September 13, 2018

Pan American Championships

This weekend, it’s all about Peru. The nations of the Americas are heading to Lima to compete for the Pan American gymnastics championship.

At stake is qualification to the 2019 Pan American Games (the top 8 nations advance). But more pressingly, this competition serves as a final opportunity to make a world championships case for gymnasts from nations that haven’t yet decided their final teams and are using this competition to test out borderline candidates.


Friday, September 14Men’s Qualification/AA/Event Finals

10:40am ET/7:40am PT – Subdivision 1
(Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Costa Rico, Uruguay, Trinidad & Tobago, El Salvador, Bolivia)

3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT – Subdivision 2
(Colombia, Venezuela, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Peru, Ecuador)

7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – Subdivision 3
(USA, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Chile, Guatemala)

Saturday, September 15Women’s Qualification/AA/Event Finals

11:10am ET/8:10am PT – Subdivision 1
(Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Jamaica, Panama, Dominican Republic, Bolivia)

1:30pm ET/10:30am PT – Subdivision 2
(Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Trinidiad & Tobago)

3:30pm ET/12:30pm PT – Subdivision 3
(USA, Brazil, Canada, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cayman Islands, Aruba)

Sunday, September 16Team Finals

11:50am ET/8:50am PT – Men’s Team Final

5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT – Women’s Team Final

The trampoline competition has been streaming on the Peruvian federation’s Facebook, so we’re optimistic that artistic will be as well. Continue reading Pan American Championships

Things Are Happening – September 7, 2018


UIC (University of Illinois-Chicago) has announced that it will be shuttering its women’s and men’s gymnastics programs following the 2019 competition season. The UIC men’s team has been among the ever-dwindling number of varsity, non-club programs in men’s collegiate gymnastics, the elimination of which is a sad moment in reinforcing the seemingly inevitable lurch toward oblivion for men’s DI college gymnastics in the US—and the urgency of the situation for women’s gymnastics, which is not far behind. Without UIC, we’d be down to 81 women’s programs, several of which are on year-to-year life support right now. The number of “safe” programs is less than you’d think.

The loss of one is a loss for all, and if a program is lost with a whimper, it makes other athletic directors around the country think, “Well, we can get rid of gymnastics and no one will care.”

The decision is not being conceded, and there is precedent for hope. Programs have been saved before in the face of announcements that they were to be cut. So by all means scream about it to the required people. But, you know, if you happen to be a secret billionaire and haven’t told anyone until now, that would be helpful too.

B. Women’s National Camp

The women’s senior national team has gathered for its first camp at EVO, its new temporary home, for physical abilities testing, verification, and competitive pretending everything’s going to be fine.

This serves as the preparation camp for those attending Pan American Championships—the team will leave directly from the camp—and the “we’re considering you for worlds, so try not to suck” camp for the others who have been invited. The roster is Biles, Hurd, McCusker, McCallum, Jones, Carey, Eaker, Thomas, Shchennikova, Chiles, Smith, and Malabuyo. So, no surprises there—the top 11 AA finishers from nationals, plus Malabuyo. I suppose Malabuyo would be classified as the surprise inclusion, only because her back was too injured for her to compete about 30 seconds ago at nationals.


It is cool that no one is standing like an arthritic Soviet zombie doll from the 70s—the way no one has stood ever. Getting the creepy out of gymnastics will be a lengthy process, with both small and large gains to be made along the way, and every little bit helps. Continue reading Things Are Happening – September 7, 2018

The End of a Kerry

We’ll always have all the empowerment.

Yes, the longest nine months in the history of the human timeline (it was only NINE MONTHS) are finally over. The USOC has forced Kerry Perry to resign her position as CEO of USA Gymnastics. It’s a massive relief to everyone, including Kerry Perry herself I’m sure.

Kerry Perry’s brief tenure will be remembered (barely) for Perry seeming totally unprepared for and overmatched by the task presented to her. At a time when USA Gymnastics needed forthright, confident, and rapid change—a clear, drastic plan laid out and followed by someone willing to look like the enemy to the stodgy, hidebound gymnastics oligarchy—it instead got the wishy-washy figure cut by Kerry Perry, one that quickly descended into self-parody with each unconvincing burble of nonsensical pseudo-inspirational tropes and self-help maxims. It was the Pinterest Presidency.

As was continually remarked about Kerry Perry, the worst of it wasn’t her fault. She wasn’t even associated with the organization until the very end of 2017, and yet she constantly behaved like a guilty party. Whether it was misleading Congress about NDAs or the as-yet-nonexistent Athlete Task Force, feigning “little ol’ me?” ignorance about every possible thing, or inexplicably protecting the job of Ron Galimore, Perry made the choice to associate herself with the worst that USAG had to offer. She could have fully cleaned house upon arrival and separated herself from the sulfur of her predecessor, but she did not. Instead, protecting the organization legally by never conceding even a shred of wrongdoing was the only rule of this game. It may be pragmatic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not gross.  Continue reading The End of a Kerry

National Team Rankings – September 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 March 2018–August 2018.

Joining the rankings this month were North Korea, South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Bulgaria, and Bangladesh. No nations dropped off.

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

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama