A. NCAA News
In Utah developments, Sabrina Schwab has taken a medical retirement after missing the majority of last season with a torn ACL. Injuries more than ability were always the concern for Schwab, someone who was WOGA catnip for the top NCAA coaches from a young age but also missed most of her L10 career with various ailments and bodily catastrophes.
Those injury concerns are what ultimately led UCLA not to offer Schwab a scholarship after her initial verbal. Utah gladly swooped in and took the risk on Schwab because of her sky-high potential, which worked out for one season of pretty 9.9s, but not beyond. The Utes should still have enough returning routines this season to fill out lineups, but Schwab’s were scores they would have been counting on.
We’ve seen some (IDed!) videos of Utah’s training come out over the last couple weeks, though it is slightly unsettling that we’re just seeing the same four gymnasts over and over. You have other people training……right?
Oklahoma is qualifying for the toe-point Olympics this week. Plus, Brehanna Showers busting out her Shushunova.
Meanwhile, Kocian isn’t telling you whether she’s going to have to redshirt in 2018 or not.
Highlights from Florida’s Halloweentrasquad.
It’s a Tsuk 1/1 and two Y1.5s for Denver in vault training.
Auburn is trying for the 1.5s.
Pitt has some ideas for the FIG.
— Pitt Gymnastics 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@Pitt_GYM) October 27, 2017
NCAA moment of the week:
When your old teammate/roommate steals your bank account and gets arrested so you go as her for Halloween pic.twitter.com/o0X9keJYAy
— S T O R E E (@storee34) October 31, 2017
B. NCAA coverage
The SEC Network has released its TV schedule for the 2018 season. It’s similar to the 2017 schedule, but the ESPN family of networks has added two Oklahoma meets to its slate this time around: the Oklahoma/Florida meet on the SEC network and the Oklahoma/UCLA meet on ESPN. That will be helpful for those who don’t have access to Random FSN Channel and therefore don’t get to see Oklahoma all that much.
Flo will be providing the live coverage of the four Elevate the Stage NCAA meets this season, beginning with January’s Pac-12 showdown in Reno. I know. But, that does mean I can live blog them for those among you who are not interested in throwing your entire life savings into a blender.
Still, you might have to do that anyway because Flo is also providing access to the BTN+ meets from the Big Ten this season that we don’t typically get to see without signing up for the BTN+ subscription (which is usually one subscription too far). That should mean a little more access to and awareness of the Minnesota/Illinois/Iowa-ish teams.
On this note, the question comes up every season regarding how to watch NCAA gymnastics meets, particularly for international viewers who are not familiar with our garbage exploitative greed-infested money-pit of a system. Because it’s about the education, you guys. For people outside the US and Canada, the Pac-12 (UCLA, Utah, Stanford, Cal, Oregon St +) does provide an international option, but other than that, most online content is geoblocked and paywall blocked, which means you will be left with using “illegal-esque, but no one actually cares” streams, the links for which will typically be provided around the time the meets begin in the comments section of the live blogs on this site by a brave few heroes.
For US viewers, most of the meets you’ll be looking for can be found in the following places:
1) The SEC Network typically broadcasts two live SEC (Florida, LSU, Alabama, Georgia +) meets on TV each Friday night and streams those meets—as well as a few simultaneous smaller meets that didn’t make the cut for TV and usually feature Missouri and Kentucky—on WatchESPN. Access to watch these meets requires a TV/web TV subscription that includes the SEC Network, which is the stumbling block for most.
2) Like the SEC Network, the Pac-12 Network typically broadcasts a couple meets per weekend and has several other non-TV meets streaming on the website, with access to those meets also restricted to those with a TV subscription including the Pac-12 Network. Unfortunately, the Pac-12 Network does not have a footprint on web TV right now (because that won’t catch on or anything…), but on the bright side, the illegal-esque web links for the Pac-12 meets tend to be pretty reliable.
3) The Big Ten (Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa +) has a few meets per season on TV (see subscription requirements for SEC and Pac-12 above), with the rest usually relegated to the BTN+ option, now available through Flo.
4) A few other schools will have meets on ESPN3, which is also through the WatchESPN app but is separate from the SEC Network. You don’t necessarily need a TV subscription for those meets if your internet provider has a deal with ESPN. Most do.
5) Oklahoma’s home meets are typically broadcast on a series of random regional Fox Sports Network channels, which can be the hardest to find depending on your cable package and do not have web streams.
6) The smaller schools from smaller conferences are the nicest because they often have free live streams since they can’t make any money off of them anyway. The quality varies…but also free.
C. Arthur Gander Memorial
The annual post-worlds Arthur Gander Memorial bestowed itself upon the gym world once again, with those wacky Swiss continuing to confuse everyone with their weird meet formats. Just wait until we get to the Swiss Cup. In this meet, the female gymnasts chose their best 3 events to compete with the “AA winner” being the one with the best 3-event score.
This year, that winner was Hitomi Hatakeda, who took the title on an E-score tiebreak over Marine Boyer. Hatakeda has been a sign of the growth of the Japanese women’s program this year in that Japan now has gymnasts it can send to win international meets who are nonetheless not making the cut for worlds team consideration. (At this point.) How very men’s program of them. Hatakeda is a very solid AA gymnast but one who doesn’t currently have a standout event, existing in that “I can do the AA for you in qualification” zone that is less and less valued in the smaller-team era.
Diana Varinska continued keeping Ukrainian gymnastics in a life-sustaining iron lung for a little bit longer with her bronze medal finish, while Catalina Ponor’s Farewell Tour took 4th position with a very “second-semester senior year” level of difficulty. Ponor is finishing out 2017 with a few more meets before she rides off into the sunset, and before we begin discussing when she’s going to come back to try to help Romania qualify for 2020.
This may actually be it for Ponor this time, we don’t know, but once Romanian finishes 13th at worlds in 2018, you can bet the “Ponor must come back” clouds will gather again.
Oleg Verniaiev cruised through the men’s competition, which was probably obvious but after that “Papa needs a nap” worlds performance, it was not a guarantee. Nguyen took silver and Deurloo took bronze. The guys had to compete four events out of the six, forced to make that difficult strategic decision of “do I protect my legs by not doing floor etc, or do I not do horse because YECHHHHH.”
D. Nabz and Aliya
Tatty Nabz showed up at the St. Petersburg Championship to do a couple tumbling passes, phone in one and a half wrist flicks, not even be bothered to upload the entire routine, and win the all-around. It’s the best thing to happen to any of us.
Basically put it in the team final right now.
It’s a VERY SPECIAL EPISODE this week, exclusively dedicated to the one-and-only Svetlana Khorkina. We discuss her career and accomplishments, what made her great, what made her awful, what made her must-watch TV, and what made her maybe a sociopath. The episode includes an interview with Luba, who has translated the best bits of Khorkina’s doozy of a new book.
F. Beam routine of the week
We did not appreciate Deng Linlin’s beam enough. This is what I have to say today. I know she was world champion and whatnot, but I feel like her 2008 beam routine got lost in the shuffle of the other great routines on that Chinese team and her obviously looking like a Kim Gwang Suk-year-old.
That layout. It’s one of the best ever. It is also how the CoP expects a layout on beam to look. So when we talk about layouts being low, or flat, or how they shouldn’t receive credit, it’s because they don’t rise like this one.