The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – June 17, 2016

1. None for Komova

Gorgeous apocalypse Viktoria Komova heaved up the pile of cinders that used to be her skeleton this week to declare that her everything hurts and that she has been forced to stop training for Rio. Obviously. This is why we can’t have nice things.

It’s really good that Valentina named her to the Olympic team 88 months ago then. That was a productive exercise. Now, with Komova out and Afanasyeva being the usual amount of Germany, the Russian senior squad is basically Aliya Mustafina standing astride a tower of human bones. Or as she calls it, Thursday.

As for the Olympic team, this should get interesting now. Komova’s absence could increase Spiridonova’s chances, but without Komova, the most gaping chasm becomes a beam lineup that would feature Mustafina, Melnikova and literally no other person. Theoretically, Tutkhalyan would be the obvious replacement here, but I can’t imagine that her zero hit beam routines from Euros helped her case in any way. Is Kharenkova getting resurrected? Gutsu? Who’s doing floor again? Dear dear.

I suppose right now Russia is looking at relying on Mustafina and Melnikova to do as much heavy lifting as possible, including AA in the team final for either or both. Paseka would vault and be a usable third option on bars (Spiridonova would score higher and be an EF threat, but the remaining team spots may need to be used to plug holes on other events). If Afanasyeva can come back enough to give them a floor routine, that would be ideal, leaving Russia basically looking for a fifth member to deliver a relatively non-horrifying beam routine (AHAHAHAHA) rather than both beam and floor.

2. P&G Championships rosters

The women’s roster has been released for P&G Championships, offering no tangible surprises. Come on, roster! Maggie Nichols is planning to return here, with her amazing Midwestern dreamcoat made of question marks the most fascinating topic up for debate heading into the event. We have absolutely no idea what her level is now and whether her difficulty will be team-competitive again. Very exciting.

(We’ll wonder and wonder and wonder, and then she’ll show a DTY in podium training and everyone will go, “Oh…letdown words” and officially anoint the team as Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Hernandez, and Koclear.)

We’re all agreed at this point that Nichols would need an Amanar by Trials to make a strong case for herself, right? Because I don’t think third-best floor routine will be enough on its own. Or, do we just want to pretend that it’s realistic for her to have suddenly upgraded bars by five tenths in the last three months? We do? Great. Me too.

In other affairs, Bailie Key and Nia Dennis are planning to compete for realsies this time instead of for fakesies, though Norah Flatley is absent from the roster once again.

Also, we really need to get some clearer and more specific guidelines on how many people will be selected for Trials after this meet. Right now, all we’ve been told is “top 8 AA and…like…undetermined number of others-ish?” which is not remotely helpful or good enough. I want # of people. I want cutoff scores. It will be so much more exciting to watch the second day of nationals (once Simone is 80 points ahead of everyone) if we have an actual race to watch rather than just “most of these people might probably make it…?”

3. This Isabelle Severino story

That is all.
See you later.
I’ll be busy with my made life.

4. Penn State

In the latest Penn State development, Sam Brown has turned her attention to trying to force the NCAA to do weird things like care one iota about the well-being of its athletes and address abuse in a way that’s real. It’s worth a read.

Also, Jeff Thompson is still the head coach at Penn State. Somehow.

5. Rio Medals

https://www.instagram.com/p/BGpWD-LoN2z/

Simple, relatively understated design. That’s probably good, but it is tacky to give the Rio logo size precedence over the Olympic rings. No one cares about your dumb logo.

Also, does anyone else think this picture makes them look a little…cheap? Like they’re absolutely made of chocolate? They look like the toy medals you would get at the gift shop next to the venue, or find in a happy meal or something. I’d basically expect to flip it over and see a picture of Aladdin on the other side.

The actual reverse side (?) is getting less play but is much better.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 1.08.18 PM

If I had an Olympic medal, that’s the side that would be on display.

These are realistic thoughts I have.

6. Olympic Trials

Tickets arrived this week. This is happening. Get ready.

I know that’s not strictly news, but it’s obviously the most important development of all. If you need me, I’ll be in the nosebleed section whispering sarcastic comments to myself.

 

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