A. All the NCAAness
So much. Suddenly, so much has happened.
First item: Samantha Durante confirmed that she’s off to LSU for the upcoming season, which is a sort of hilarious F-U to Georgia for firing her mom. “Oh really? Because I went and found a better team.”
I was wondering what LSU would do with that Kaitlin Szafranski scholarship after she left for Arizona State (though do we ever really know what the scholarship situation is at any school?)
We’ve also learned that Ashley Hiller, who just left Florida, is joining Oklahoma for next season. So, it wasn’t about finding a place where she could get a scholarship or compete more, then. But you know, maybe she’ll Nicole Turner.
In coaching news, a bunch of assistant coaching positions were filled this week, with Elise Ray initiating her quest to form a New Michigan Empire by selecting Ralph Rosso as her new assistant. His qualifications include seeming nice for the 11 seconds I talked to him at nationals (really all that matters).
Sarah Brown also announced her new assistants at Penn State as Dallas Becerra, who was her assistant at EMU, and Rob Drass, who was her coach at Missouri. With Sarah Brown and Kupets, that makes two coaches this year whose former head coaches now work for them. (Technically.) (Suzie work for none y’all.)
Utah State (head coach), along with Illinois, Denver, and Arkansas (assistant coach) have posted their openings with the NCAA. Still no word from Michigan State or Alaska.
B. Child labor
I typically don’t post about fetus verbals because it’s my super-effective form of silent protest (you don’t get your verbal acknowledged until you’re a senior gymnast), but we did have some higher-profile junior verbals this week, with Emma Malabuyo saying she’s going to UCLA and Maile O’Keefe saying she’s going to Utah.
They’re both on the Olympic track and years away from college, so whatever, but just…this is what’s happening for the moment.
UCLA might be passing Alabama as Texas Dreams’ new Florida. If that sentence makes any sense. Which it doesn’t.
C. Larisa the tease
We also have a new video of Larisa Iordache teasing everyone by training some massive upgrades, including a double double tucked bars dismount, a 3.5 on floor, and a Shaposh + Hindorff combo on bars. The majority of these upgrades actually look pretty realistic, but I’d also say, you know, hold your horses.
One of the reasons
gymnasts coaches don’t like posting training videos is that it makes everyone go, “OMG SHE’S DEFINITELY DOING ALL THESE SKILLS AND WILL COMPETE THEM TOMORROW AHHHHHHH.” Not necessarily. Even if they look hit-able, as these skills do, they also have to make sense in terms of minimizing deductions. Think of all the skills we’ve seen Biles do on video that she could absolutely hit but never performed because they didn’t make routine-sense (layout double double, Mustafina dismount).
I do really like the Fabrichnova as a bars dismount for Iordache, though. She looks like she’s finishing it pretty high and comfortably, which means it’s a smart way of upping her bars difficulty to keep herself AA-competitive without introducing the same huge fall risk of a new difficult release. Iordache’s bars routine is so important to Romania this quad (it’s basically everything) that she absolutely cannot risk a skill she might fall on. The Shaposh + Hindorff is a bigger fall risk, but it’s also somehow better executed than the Shaposh + clear-hip 1/2 she was doing last quad. So there’s that.
The 3.5 on floor is the bigger question mark for me. The main reason we pretty much never see a 3.5 on floor is that it’s worth only one tenth more than the 3/1 (which is insane, BTW), so if your 3.5 is even one iota messier than the 3/1, it’s not worth performing. Plus, there’s the downgrade risk from under-rotating, meaning that it’s dangerous to put the 3.5 and the 3/1 in the same routine because you might end up getting credited with a repeated skill.
D. Dutch results
At last weekend’s Dutch national championships, Tisha Volleman took the women’s AA title with 51.366 ahead of Marieke van Egmond in second. Note that Thorsdottir, Wevers, Polderman, and Titarsolej did not compete. Volleman also took the vault, beam, and floor titles, while Naomi Visser took bars with a 12.900.
On the men’s side, Bart Deurloo won the AA title by a bajillion points as one of only four gymnasts who competed the full AA. But, Our Epke did return at this meet as well to give everyone a thrill with a couple events, finishing 3rd on Pbars and 2nd on Hbar in event finals.
Yuri van Gelder also competed rings and won that final (duh), while Casimir Schmidt took floor and vault.
A team of US men (Moldauer, Oyama, Bower) flew to Portugal to be the ringers at a competition where no other team was really at their level. They took the team title by 10 points over second-place Norway, though they were charitable enough to let Kim Wanstrom of Sweden win the floor title over Bower and Wissem Harzi of Tunisia to win the horse title over Moldauer. Otherwise, Moldauer won rings and Pbars while Oyama won vault and Hbar.
D. Japanese Event Championships
The Japanese women’s squad is one of the more significant developments of the year so far, putting up scores that are quite competitive with what Russia and China have been doing (with all the necessary early-in-the-year and domestic-competition-scoring caveats).
This weekend, the Japanese women will be competing in the event-specific national championship, with all the major players appearing on the start list for at least a couple apparatuses. For the men, Kohei and Kenzo are also on the start lists for a few events apiece, but that means we won’t get another AA-score comparison between the two quite yet. Kohei is biding his time before reminding everyone that he’s Kohei.
E. 1996 All-around final
This week on GymCastic, we have PART 2 of the 1996 Olympics commissions, this time taking on the all-around final, an episode filled to the brim with all the LilyPod, Mo, Khorkina, Shannon, Amanar, NBC fluff, shouting-at-Nunno goodness you could ever ask for.
Also all the me-doing-an-extended-Tatiana-Gutsu-impression you definitely didn’t ask for. I know maybe she feel………pain.
F. Beam routine of the week
As a small teaser for this weekend’s recap post, here’s Andreea Raducan being all perfect, like back when Romania’s super solidity on beam was a thing.
That switch leap + one-arm bhs + layout stepout series gets me.