The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

A Very Important Trials Preview

The Olympic Trials are just a few short days away, and there are still so, so, so many questions we need answered, like whether Maggie Nichols is going to show up with 2015-style with competitive top-three vault and floor routines to send tremors through the presumptive team of Biles, Raisman, Douglas, Hernandez, and Kocian.

And that’s it.


How’s a person supposed to preview Olympic Trials under these conditions? When we’ve had so many competitions that we already know everything and have talked about it 45 times? I can’t work like this!

But of course I kid. Trials will be much more entertaining and interesting than simply waiting to see whether or not Nichols hits an Amanar and then cryogenically freezing ourselves until the Olympics. I mean, I’ll be at the meet, so it’s already more important and glamorous than anything else that has happened this decade. (Keep an ear out because we’ll be Gymcasticing from trials.) Plus, there are actually several other questions that will need answering in addition to the Nichols equation.

2. Will Madocklearashtocian finally catch on as the official BARS FIGHT nickname?
Only if Locklear beats Kocian by plural tenths. Otherwise, they’ll be back to their original mashup couple name, Kocian.

3. Will Gabby Douglas hammer throw a sack of Japanese kitchen knives labeled “stay pressed” into the crowd after finishing top three on bars on night one?
Will be tough for her, but she finished 4th AA at nationals and needs to do something heroic to make sure she earns one of the AA qualification spots at the Olympics.

4. Will Andrea force Ragan Smith to play Candyland with her during the third rotation?
Critical. Could have huge implications for who ends up getting the anchor spot on Hi-Ho Cherry-O in the team final.

5. Does the fact that Maria Paseka’s Cheng at Russian Cup looked like an instruction manual on how to make saltwater taffy help Skinner’s alternate chances?
It doesn’t. But at this point, Skinner would be a medal favorite on vault if she were to end up being needed.

6. Will Al accidentally call her Heather Locklear at any point during the competition?
Vegas is giving 3:1. I’m putting my life savings on it.

7. Will Martha get up at the end of the competition and announce her successor by bestowing a jewel-encrusted neck-pinch glove upon the new monarch?
With great power comes great responsibility. Neck-pinch wisely.

8. Will the number of “Laurie Hernandez just stands there smiling during someone else’s routine” shots outpace the number of “Simone Biles just stands there smiling during someone else’s routine” shots?
The race is going to be super tight. Like Komova/Wieber style. I wouldn’t want to call it. But that’s why we love sports, right? Is Laurie Hernandez being given too many chalking-up closeups to soon?!?!?!?!?! THE PRESSURE.

9. Who will be sent to the hospital after getting struck in the eye by a rogue Swarovski crystal before falling directly into a plate of banana cream pies?
Steve Penny, I’m looking at you. This competition is threatening to be really straightforward, so you’re going to need to step up the entertainment factor if that’s the case.

10. Will Simone make the Olympic team?
What if she just didn’t?


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