Things Are Happening – August 4, 2017

A. Zero Downies

The summer of 2017 is not a great time in Downie Land—and therefore not a great time for any of us—as Ellie suddenly revealed that she has been gravely injured since March and competed at Euros even though her ankle was attached by only a single strand of floss, which seems like it would have been hard.

So, now she’s having surgery, which means we’ll have exactly zero Downies at worlds this year what with Becky’s elbow injury from Euros as well.


But, it also means there are some open spots to be won by gymnasts who might not previously have seemed likely to make the British worlds team, a team that looked like an inevitable Ellie, Becky, Tinks, Frags quartet only a couple months ago. Tinks and Frags are probably the top two AAers if they have their lives together, but now Georgia-Mae Fenton has a real shot at a bars spot if she can work out how not to get injured right on the eve of competitions, and then there’s room for one more. Gabby Jupp can come back and do beam, right? Right. Good idea, me.

B. Man Championships

BREAKING NEWS: When the women compete at P&G Championships two weeks from now (I’m not ready), there’s also some kind of men’s competition going on at the same time. Like a man championship. Huh. Learn something new every day.

(This year, you know the man days will be when everyone goes to Disneyland…)

USAG has the roster for us, so now we know that the men’s senior field will be as follows:

 Donothan Bailey Sean Melton Michael Reid
 Cameron Bock Sam Mikulak Jalon Stephens
 Allan Bower Akash Modi Christopher Stephenson
 Antonio Castro Yul Moldauer Jordan Valdez
Adrian De Los Angeles Zack Mollett Kiwan Watts
Chandler Eggleston Alex Naddour Matthew Wenske
Austin Epperson Stephen Nedoroscik Colin Van Wicklen
Trevor Howard Sean Neighbarger Donnell Whittenburg
Marvin Kimble Brandon Ngai Michael Wilner
Kyle King Kanji Oyama Andrew Wilson
Jordan Kovach Eddie Penev Shane Wiskus
Anthony McCallum Alex Powarzynski Alec Yoder

We’re missing 5 of the 15 people who were named to the national team after Winter Cup: Chris Brooks, Hunter Justus, Grant Breckenridge, Robert Neff, and Jake Dalton (injury petitioned onto the national team).

If this roster is the group we’re choosing from, then heading into the competition I’m fairly partial to a worlds team that looks like Moldauer, Modi, Mikulak, Penev, Whittenburg, Naddour, with room still available to be surprised. Much depends on how many events Mikulak is planning to do this year, which ones they are, and how they look. You know, just those little things.

One thing I’ll be watching is whether the US ends up deciding to send two AAers to worlds or just Moldauer (because I mean come on). Taking two AAers would leave only one spot left on each event for the other four members of the team and might limit the number of Eddie Penevs than can make it onto the squad, which would be a serious problem.

C. Junior worlds

The FIG just completed its summer meeting, announcing a fairly significant resolution: it plans to organize a junior world championship beginning in 2019.


This, of course, is excellent news because of more major competitions, but I also have a number of questions re: the women’s competition. How are we limiting the ages of competitors/what’s the allowable range? They’re not going to let 4-year-olds compete, but this better not be available only to 15-year-olds or something because the field would be pretty pitiful. Also, is this going to be a team competition (yes) or just an individual competition (no)? The quality of this meet can go a lot of different ways depending on the restrictions.

I’d prefer an age range of 13-15 and a five-member team competition. That’s not going to happen because, while the US would have no problem fielding a competitive five-member team of juniors, pretty much every other country would have a lot of trouble scrabbling together a group. It would be even more of a rout than senior women’s team competitions. (Although recent evidence seems to suggest that a team of Russian juniors would be more competitive than a team of Russian seniors, before they’ve been broken emotionally.) If there is a team competition, it will probably be more like 3-member teams, which seems to be the trend.

We probably should also discuss how this completely undermines the argument in favor of senior age limits that they’re imposed to protect the young ones from being pushed too hard too early. Now, I’m fine with undermining that argument because it was BS to begin with (juniors are being pushed the same amount, just without the major competitions at the end of the road), but if you’re organizing a world championship for 15-year-olds, it’s harder to justify keeping them out of the real world championship for 16+. What’s even the difference?

D. Raducan to the rescue

Andreea Raducan will be the new president of the Romanian gymnastics federation and is going to fix everything and save the world. Glad we’re agreed.

E. NCAA odds and ends

Janay Honest let us know on twitter that she and Sonya Meraz have been granted scholarships for next season. 1) About damn time. They’ve contributed much more than a number of people who have been on scholarship the whole time. 2) We could barely figure out who was getting squeezed out of the 12 to make room for Peng’s sixth year, let alone these two.

Ashley Priess is joining Nadalie Walsh’s Illinois staff as an assistant.

Auburn is another school angling for honorable mention at the UCLA Awards for Most Gigantic Team, with 6 new 2017-2018 freshmen and 18 team members total. Along with the departed seniors, it appears that Sarah Garcia has left/done a medical. She vaulted for a portion of the season in 2016 but was out with injury for the entire 2017 season.

Arkansas has also released its roster for 2017-2018, reflecting a few things we already knew: that Amanda Wellick is back as a super senior and that Leah MacMoyle is done. The roster also includes Lakin Legereit, who was not previously on the list of freshmen. Of note, she has a full-in on floor.

F. Brazilian Championships

The competition slate is still sparse at the moment until P&G Championships ushers in the late-summer rush (with Universiade, Russian Cup, and Chinese National Games as well), but at least the Brazilian Championship has the common decency to be taking place this weekend.

Flavia Saraiva is not competing.

The Brazilian Championship has hereby been canceled.

The Brazilian selection for worlds could get interesting because my first instinct is to say they should just pull a US-women-2013 and go with three all-arounders in Andrade, Saraiva, and Fidelis, but that does eliminate the opportunity for someone else to be like, “I’m also a person!” Maybe the championship will change my mind.

G. GymCastic

This week, Jessica, Lauren, and I round up every feeling we (or anyone) had about the U.S. Classic competition, junior and senior divisions, including which juniors impressed us and will be future champions, which seniors did and didn’t impress us and what that means for world championships, and whether looking rough at Classic really even matters.

Also, we cast the Simone biopic. Because duh.

H. Beam routine of the week

The story of today: ANGER BEAM.

You can try to be one with the beam blah blah blah. Or you can just murder it in its sleep like a serial killer. I love the speed of work. I wish everyone did beam as though they were trying to force the downstairs neighbors to move out the way Produnova did.

30 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – August 4, 2017”

  1. Not that I expect you to know this necessarily (because everything about the 2020 team selection is mysterious), but would junior world team members be subject to the same can’t-compete-at-Worlds-in-preceding-year(s) Olympic rules as senior world team members?

      1. I’m relatively sure I’m getting most of this wrong, because it’s super confusing. As I understand it, 2020 Olympic gymnastics teams will have 4 members, and countries can qualify up to two event specialists to go to the Olympics but they will not be part of the country’s team. The event specialists will qualify through World Cup events but cannot be part of the 2018 or 2019 World Championship teams. (That’s probably not entirely correct – like I said, it’s incredibly confusing.)

      2. It is such a shame that the rules are so poorly communicated that no one can figure out something as major as how to qualify for the Olympics…

        And then things are further complicated by the men getting 6 team members and women 4 at World Championships, while both men and women only get 4 at the Olympics.

        So are the men who are vital to a 6-person World’s team every year for the next 3 years, but don’t mathematically work out on a 4-person Olympic team just crap out of luck since they were forced to forgo the World Cup qualification route?

        Even though I hate that women are limited to just 4 per team at all future championships, at least it will help with the planning and will allow those gymnasts who are just barely out of the team picture to go the World Cup route from the start.

        The World Cup route could be ideal for gymnasts like Shchennikova who are on the cusp of being either an all-arounder and/or an event specialist on a team but aren’t quite there.(Can you even qualify for the Olympic all-around through the World Cups or just individual events?)

        But then again, are we going to see the World Cups turn into mini-World Championships where “overqualified” gymnasts come in and steal all of the spots from the gymnasts from the mid- and low-tier delegations?

        And I could be completely misguided as to how this alternative qualifying route is even supposed to work…

    1. So I think you’re sort of correct – that’s only to earn a NOMINATIVE spot through the World Cup apparatus qualification. Then you can’t be on the 2018 or 2019 world’s team to earn the nominative spot. If you are going the AA World Cup route, then it’s non-nominative and belongs to the federation.
      Lauren from the has a good explanation

  2. I highly doubt the USA men will only send one AAer, Akash and Yul are basically the exact same level, Yul won winter cup and American cup but Akash won NCAAs which for MAG is just a modified elite code. I fully expect them to be neck and neck for the national title.

    1. But Yul fell off pommels at NCAA. When they both hit at 2016 NCAA, Yul won, and at the two meets they’ve both hit since then, Yul walked away with the win both times. If they’re both on, Yul has shown to be the better gymnast.
      All that aside, I would love to see them both do AA.

  3. UCLA scholarship mystery:
    I count twelve recipients among the returning athletes, plus two incoming. (Glenn twins, Hall, Hano, Honest, Kocian, Lee, Meraz, Ohashi, Preston, Ross, Toronjo plus Dennis and Tratz). That’s two more than allowed.
    My completely unsubstantiated fear is that the Glenn twins are out of the picture. Which I hope isn’t the case because they would be the first L10 scholarship recruits for UCLA like, ever? And I want them to kick ass so Miss Val recruits more L10’s and less broken elites (ps – I love you, broken elites. I just also want UCLA to have gymnasts able to compete).

    All that said, hooray for scholarships for Meraz and Honest!! In my book, they have already earned them and then some with their contributions the past three years.

    Also, I want Hallie Mosset to choreograph Janay’s floor this year. The two of them create such good routines together. My recollection is that she will be volunteer coaching this year, no?

    1. I think I’ve heard that Peng might not be on scholarship, since it’s her sixth year, but idk. I guess we’ll see when the roster comes out. UCLA’s scholarship situation is always a mystery…

    2. I’m pretty sure Peng is no longer on scholarship. Back in 2015, Sam Peszek mentioned that not having a scholarship for her 5th was a consideration for whether she wanted to go for the extra year. Not sure who else is off scholarship though..

      Also, UCLA has had several L10 scholarship recruits in recent year. Preston and the Glenn twins are currently on the roster. Angi Cipra and Vanessa Zamarripa were both also L10s.

      1. Right! I forgot Preston was L10, coming from CGA I just had her as elite in my mind.

    3. Yes, that is correct about Hallie Mossett scheduled to help with UCLA coaching/choreography this upcoming season.

      Jordyn Wieber is also supposed to be returning to help with coaching. Many months ago, news was that Mikaela Gerber would return for one year to assist the program in some capacity–I don’t know if this would be an administrative position or what.

      UCLA has another large group of freshmen who recently arrived (seven athletes including German elite Pauline Tratz not pictured). It will be difficult to get into the line-ups! Hopefully someone can actually compete a 10.0 starting value vault, and hopefully someone can have the stamina for a complete/in-bounds floor routine.

      1. I had also heard that only one Glenn twin was getting a scholarship with the “possibility” of both in the future…I remember thinking at the time that both were good enough to both get scholarships but was told that was their dream school, and Val knew it…

      2. Wow, hearsay perhaps, but I’m surprised to see a Glenn and Dennis even mentioned. Hopefully they have great seasons ahead.

        Dennis recently won the Level 10 All-Around National Championship, so hopefully she can continue that success and stay healthy as a Bruin. (Is “stay healthy as a Bruin” an illogical phrase?!)

        So the bad news is that only one Glenn may have received a scholarship, but the good news is that together they received a 2-for-1 labra surgery discount last season. (Those surgeries can be very expensive you know with large deductibles and copays 😉

        I guess JaNay Honest will no longer be flashing her “W O” Walk-On finger symbols at the start of her floor routines.

      3. Nia Dennis is definitely on scholarship. She signed an NLI on early signing day last fall along with Pauline Tratz (early NLI= scholarship for the most part). Dennis is a former elite and level 10 AA champ this past year and was a super early verbal commit. Plus most UCLA walk ons are CA residents b/c they are getting in state tuition and are eligible for more Aid and academic money for being from California.

      4. OK, that makes more sense. UCLA’s gymnastics roster is so large there are 2 last names of Dennis, 2 first names of Grace, 2 first names of Madison, etc.

        UCLA had to switch from Adidas to Under Armour this year just to get enough uniforms for the huge gymnastics team! 😉

      1. No. Stella Savvidou is a walk-on. Here is a link to an old 2016 Danusia-hosted video (see 3:25) where Stella and Sonya Meraz show the W.O. finger symbols that JaNay Honest used in floor exercise.

  4. Regarding UCLA scholarships…Is it possible that JaNay Honest and Sonya Meraz are splitting one scholarship between them and sharing it?

    I hope that the scholarship count explanation isn’t that Kocian could be out for the season with potential shoulder surgery. Apparently she hasn’t had shoulder surgery this off season yet, but may need it. If so, would her scholarship be available in the count?

    1. If you are redshirted you are still on scholarship and part of the count (like 98% positive). Also it seemed that she is just pushing thru from her injury ? I guess she feels it will be better than last year since she actually has a break and isn’t going non stop from the pre Olympic comps basically thru the super six?

      Plus if she was planning on having surgery she would have already done it and if she has to have it close to season it will be out of necessity because than she would have to sit out rather than trying to come back for season so who knows.

    1. I think Leah announced her retirement around the same time as the coaching upheaval at UGA, which might explain why some fans may have missed it. 🙂

  5. UCLA is my conference rival team, but I’m excited for Honest & Meraz. They performed well for any gymnast, especially walk-ons, and absolutely earned those scholarships. Cheers to them.

    Question about the W-O JaNay flashes in her floor routine….was that a thing? I had never heard of that before. There’s always a story about what a gymnast does in her floor routine, but I haven’t heard of this one. YouTube links?

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