2017-2020 Code of Points: A Deep Dive

The 2016 Olympics are officially behind us. I know that because I’ve already reached the point where it took me a second to remember who won men’s floor. I want to say…Herb?

Rio is old news. Our shiny new toy is the next quadrennium in all its inevitably grotesque horrors (and also beauty?). The first step in preparing for a new quad is pretending like you’re actually going to remember what all the code changes are, even though you will absolutely think the Amanar is still a 6.3 for at least 3 more years. Like a loser.

Thankfully, the 2017-2020 code has already been bestowed upon us (a couple times). The latest version will be considered up to date until such time as Her Nellieship decides that it’s garbage again.

With our new holy book in hand, let’s review the major and minor changes worth caring about and decide exactly how probably terrible they’re all going to be.


Item #1: WE ARE THE FINAL FOUR (composition requirements)

As with the Olympic teams in the 2020 quadrennium, five becomes four in the realm of composition requirements as well. Our trusted 5 CRs have been reduced to four, lowering the total composition requirement from 2.50 to 2.00.

Obviously, you say, they finally got rid of that worthless, hideous, and frankly disturbing passage-of-dance-elements requirement on floor!

Ah ha ha. Heavens no. That would make too much sense. Rigor mortis running must be protected at all costs!

Instead, the requirement for a D-level dismount has been removed for bars, beam, and floor.

Verdict: Perfectly acceptable. Ideally, it will encourage greater dismount variety (particularly on bars, where it is much needed) as there will be no real punishment for competing a C dismount other than its being worth a tenth less than a D. No double-jeopardy CR punishment as well.

This change is mostly for the benefit of the lower-level elites (and Romanian bars), allowing them to remain slightly more competitive with simpler dismounts. It will have no immediate effect on the routines of the top gymnasts, other than forcing everyone to get accustomed to D scores that are 0.5 lower.

Next quad, a D score in the high 5s will be good again, and any D score in the 6s will be top-of-the-line. Continue reading 2017-2020 Code of Points: A Deep Dive

Vampires and Nadia Comaneci: The Karolyi Story

Now, listen to the audio version of this post.


Here, at the sunset of Martha Karolyi’s career, NBC has bestowed a wondrous gift upon your disgusting peasant life. It’s the 51-minute, totally journalismy, investigative documentary you always wanted, answering every question you ever had about the Karolyis.

As long as those questions include “How awesome are the Karolyis? A lot?” and zero other questions.

It’s an extraordinary addition to the canon, a valuable prequel to recent blockbuster The Ranch. All the big superhero franchises have prequels, and the Karolyis are no different. In this installment, we learn the history of how Bela, Martha, and Howard Stark joined forces to defeat Hydra. (Actually, that would have been a lot better.)

Please note that, contrary to what you may have read, this piece is not called Karolyi. It’s called KAROLYI. It must be shouted. Like the screams that wake Kristie Phillips every full moon. I’m pretty sure that’s also Bela’s signature. KAROLYI.

Why exactly are we starting with Bela and Martha taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snows of Transylvania while Martha is mummified in 198 layers and praying for the sweet release of death?


Because you needed a new lock screen image and this is preposterous? (JUST WHY)

No. Because this…is a love story.

But is it though? Because I thought it was about gymnastics.

NOPE. LOVE STORY. This is the story of those two legendary star-crossed lovers, Bela and Martha, and how their love saved…scrunchies and capitalism? Or something?

Because when I think romance, I think Bela Karolyi.

Their life is basically You’ve Got Notting Love Actually. Continue reading Vampires and Nadia Comaneci: The Karolyi Story

Things Are Happening – August 26, 2016

A. Shambles (aka, Romania)

In one of the most shocking turns of events, Catalina Ponor has decided to defer her traditional post-Olympic retirement—directly connected to immediate un-retirement—until at least next year, announcing that she intends to keep going straight through to her home Euros in 2017.

The pile of dust that used to be Romania’s program will have some telling decisions to make with regard to teams in 2017. There will be tremendous pressure on Romania to win medals at Euros as a way of proving that there’s still life in the program, and the best-scoring team and one most likely to get those precious, precious medals would be a group along the lines of Iordache, Ponor…a recovered Bulimar?…is Laura Jurca still alive? Something like that.

At the same time, would relying on the veterans for their short-term ability to win medals simply be repeating the mistakes of the past? Will the next generation of new 2017 seniors in Ghiciuc, Cimpian, Crisan, and Botnaru fall away like the last one did if they are not brought along with the main team and built up as competitive senior elites rather than “are you a level 10 who’s here suddenly”? Those new seniors won’t have the scoring/medal potential of the veterans, and may show some disappointing performances, but is that worth it for the investment in 2019-2020 potential?

Sadly, the answer for the 2017 teams will most likely be…the four who have legs at the moment of team selection? But I’m still interested to see what Romania’s focus will be next year. Immediate medals? Changing course to focus on the future? (Ideally) a combination of the two?

B. NBC’s Primetime Garbage

NBC is shocked, shocked I tell you, that a growing number of people are consuming content online rather than through traditional TV broadcasts, which showed up in the Olympic ratings. BUT WHO WOULD HAVE SEEN THAT COMING? Continue reading Things Are Happening – August 26, 2016

The Legend of Aliya and the Acro Series

August 11, 2016.

A Thursday.

By all accounts, a perfectly ordinary Thursday.

But for beloved defender of the kingdom Aliya Sparkle-Hair, it was the day she would become a legend. It was the day she would march into the women’s all-around final, gaze up at the glowering, blood-encrusted maw of that notorious villain Actually Doing An Acro Series, and utter those brave, immortal words, “NOT. TODAY.”

Not all heroes have swords, we learned from Aliya, and sometimes the strongest choice a hero can make in the face of a villain is to do nothing at all. (Like literally nothing. She didn’t even come close.)

No, Aliya Mustafina did not perform acrobatic series that day, or even attempt one, but if bravery, integrity, and the quest for justice  were composition requirements, she would receive All. Five. Tenths.

But how did we get here? How did we reach such depths in this epic conflict?

It wasn’t always this way. Like most hero-villain duos, Aliya and Actually Doing An Acro Series were not so different at first. Some might say, even friends.


They laughed and played, frolicking through the lush meadows of the Sparkle-Hair kingdom, blithely ignorant of the fierce battles that would await them in the coming years.

It was not until 2012 that Actually Doing An Acro Series began to reveal her true nature, to expose her jealousy and aggression through her pattern of petty efforts to take down the rightful queen.

But like any proper monarch, Aliya Sparkle-Hair simply smiled, adjusted, and endured.


Sadly, Actually Doing An Acro Series’ schemes only grew more insidious with each passing year, and our hero Aliya was left with few options.


“Whatever,” she said. “Your mom’s face doesn’t display true rebounding action.” Continue reading The Legend of Aliya and the Acro Series