A. Pac Rims
The Pacific Rim Championships—one of the most geographically tenuous excuses for a gymnastics competition—begin today with the men’s team/AA competition. This is followed by the women’s team/AA competition on Saturday and event finals for all on Sunday. Here’s the full schedule:
Friday, April 27
2:45pm CT – Men’s subdivision 1
6:00pm CT – Men’s subdivision 2 (including USA)
Saturday, April 28
2:30pm CT – Women’s subdivision 1
5:00pm CT – Women’s subdivision 2
7:30pm CT – Women’s subdivision 3 (including USA)
Sunday, April 29
3:30pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr FX & Jr PH; Women’s Sr VT & Jr UB
4:05pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr PH & Jr FX; Women’s Sr UB & Jr VT
5:10pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr SR & Jr VT; Women’s Sr BB & Jr FX
5:45pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr VT & Jr SR; Women’s Sr FX & Jr BB
6:50pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr PB & Junior HB
7:25pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr HB & Junior PB
Flo has the broadcast rights, so I’ll make sure to provide live blogs.
The US women’s team is Hurd, McCallum, Chiles, Lee, DiCello, Bowers. The US men’s team is Mikulak, Kimble, Modi, Chow, Hong, and Lazarus Barnhill (the real name of a non-1950s detective).
Reviewing the competition format: Each country may bring up to six competitors—maximum three seniors, minimum three juniors. The team format is 6-5-4, but the sixth team member may also compete on each event in order to get an AA score (or qualify to EF), even though the score cannot count for the team.
That last part is significant because there will be apparatuses where the US decides that, say, Sunisa Lee has the 6th-best routine on the team overall, but she would still be able to compete on those apparatuses and therefore retain her opportunity for a junior AA medal.
As is typical, the US will enter Pac Rims as the heavy favorite for team and AA medals on both the men’s and women’s side. That’s especially true this year since the likes of China and Japan have elected not to send teams. They never send full-strength teams to this competition, but as we know on the men’s side, a C team from Japan or China would still be pretty good.
On the women’s side, Canada has sent some of its second-tier seniors with Marois, De Jong, and Victoria Woo and its first-tier juniors in Emma Spence, Zoe Allaire-Bourgie, and Imogen Paterson. Those are the best juniors Canada has right now, and all turn senior later this quad, so it will be worth checking out how competitive they are.
Australia is sending two seniors who didn’t make the CWG cut (Talia Folino and Kate McDonald) along with four juniors. Kiara Munteanu was on the original roster but has withdrawn, as has Yesenia Ferrera for Cuba. Maybe she realized that Cuba isn’t on the Pacific.
Others to watch out for include Martina Dominici of Argentina—also not on the Pacific. ANYBODY HAVE A MAP ANYBODY MAYBE HAPPEN TO KNOW HOW THE HELL TO DO THIS. Dominici is the future and present of Argentina’s team but is looking for a rebound competition after struggling at Gymnix. Also check out Nicolle Castro and Jimena Moreno for Mexico, probably Mexico’s top two AAers right now who will be significant if Mexico is to make a run at a solid team placement at worlds this quad.
B. Dateline: Karolyi-Fest 2018
Obviously we just can’t with this.
Dateline did an episode ostensibly about how Maroney was abused by That Guy hundreds of times and let down by those in a position to do something about it, but mostly it ended up being a chance for the Karolyis to float their “Oh, little old me? Why, how could I have known anything? I am but a humble coach” narrative. Because they’ve never seen anyone do anything ever and are conveniently absolved of blame in all situations because it was USAG’s responsibility to care about… whats the word…oh, like, safety?
Maroney: You knew what I ate, you knew what I wore, you controlled what I said, how could you not know?
I’d add to that: How could you not CARE to know? Even if you maintain that you didn’t know, and even if it wasn’t in your job description, how could you not care to know? After Don Peters, after Marvin Sharp, after all the others, how could you not make it your business? How could you not make it your first priority for this thing you built that you’re apparently so proud of and devastated about how it’s being dragged down? And how could you still be content saying it wasn’t your responsibility? It was everyone’s responsibility. Even people who are actually innocent in all of this are consumed by guilt. Why aren’t you?
But Martha is also, you know, so so sad that anything…bad…might have…happened…
It is technically true that many of the issues were USAG’s domain not Martha’s, like having appropriately specific abuse reporting and prevention training, establishing codified reporting standards and consequences that cannot be fudged by the CEO on an ad hoc basis to suit nefarious and secretive ends, or not agreeing to have the training camps at SOMEONE’S DAMN HOUSE.
Side note: there’s a shot of that TV/massage room.
What a professional-looking environment! So many boundaries being maintained between doctors and minors here!
But still, the Karolyis’ insistence on having a completely clear conscience and not bearing any responsibility perfectly meshes with our very lowest expectations. They’re completely incapable of seeing how a fear-based coaching environment provides a Petri dish for abuse in all forms—capable only of self-preservation. I didn’t do it, so it’s not my fault. Because Martha and Bela are the real victims here. I know hundreds were sexually abused, but WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF MARTHA’S LEGACY?????
Also did you know that the gymnasts were never afraid of Martha? Mmmhmmm. And that the Karolyis were definitely never verbally abusive to anyone or called anyone fat?
VERY BELIEVABLE INFORMATION.
Never verbally abusive? Verbal abuse was like your whole thing. It was basically on the poster.
And they were only physically abusive in Romania, you guys, which apparently doesn’t count because it wasn’t America.
Great work, everyone.
One more thing: A RETREAT FOR FAMILIES WITH FOSTER CHILDREN???????
C. Aly and Rhonda
Aly was unhappy with the Dateline episode, mostly because it shifted focus away from USAG executives and because in it she had a big bombshell moment where she named Rhonda as someone who ignored her reports of sexual abuse, which was cut out of the piece.
We don’t yet know when Aly’s reporting to Rhonda happened (or how this is different from Rhonda being informed by Sarah Jantzi in the original Maggie situation) or what Rhonda actually did with any of this information, so it’s difficult to form a reliable impression just yet either way.
It’s a tough one because it’s perfectly valid to say simply that anyone who was at USAG up through the end of 2016 needs to go because of fundamental organizational mishandling and ignorance—something anyone in a position of power (like a VP) would have known about and therefore been responsible for. Those in this camp probably also favor decertification because of a feeling that the entire organization is toxic from the inside out. You have to start fresh. (The worry being that the elite gymnastics world is too small for there to even be such thing as “starting fresh.” It’s always going to be the same people, the same coaches, with the same influences and same cultural problems that need to be fixed.)
But there are also different categories of culpability here that should be noted. We have the calculated evil: those who attempted to silence others, those who valued controlling the story over athlete safety, those who were involved in illegal NDAs, those who have withheld information from law enforcement or Congress. And then we have others, those who had better intentions but did not necessarily know the right things to do. This second category is guilty of things like not being aware that they needed to report immediately to the police (which should have been part of the most basic training in any of those jobs, including for all the coaches) or trusting Steve Penny to do the right thing when he said he was handling it despite the fact that he’s Steve Penny.
Those are not failures to be ignored, but they’re of a different category than the calculated evil. The second category can be fixed and learned from. My impression has been that Rhonda is in the second category, but that’s just an impression. We don’t know that, which is part of the point Aly is making here. We still don’t know who knew what and said what, and when, and who is really guilty of the calculated evil. It’s not good enough to go just on impressions, or what you’re told, or what you think of people’s characters. That’s exactly what got us into this problem in the first place. We need facts.
D. All-Japan Championship
One of the reasons Japan is not sending a team to Pac Rims this year is the conflict with this weekend’s All-Japan Championship, an all-around competition, where qualification has already concluded. On the women’s side, Mai Murakami leads with 56.032 despite an iffy beam, ahead of Asuka Teramoto in second with 55.432, Hitomi Hatakeda in third with 54.032, and Aiko Sugihara in fourth with 53.565.
It’s also a solid result for Sae Miyakawa to be in fifth all-around because she’s not so much with the bars and beam. She did record the top vault score with 15.000 and the #2 floor score with 14.000, behind Mai’s 14.766 because of Mai in Japan.
Here are the scores for the top qualifiers for the AA final.
|1. Mai Murakami||14.700||13.866||12.700||14.766||56.032|
|2. Asuka Teramoto||14.533||13.866||13.466||13.566||55.431|
|3. Hitomi Hatakeda||14.266||13.900||12.866||13.000||54.032|
|4. Aiko Sugihara||14.066||12.600||13.233||13.666||53.565|
|5. Sae Miyakawa||15.000||11.766||11.533||14.000||52.299|
|6. Nagi Kajita||14.100||12.133||12.533||13.266||52.032|
|7. Yuki Uchiyama||13.366||14.133||11.433||12.833||51.765|
|8. Chiaki Hatakeda||13.433||11.233||12.733||13.666||51.065|
Kenzo leads men’s qualification, while Uchimura sits a point behind him in fifth after, according to Google translate, a “rainy fall” on horse. I also learned from Google translate that there’s such a thing as a “Tennessee Tkatchev,” which I will be referencing a lot from now on.
E. Simone’s new skills
There are all these people doing gymnastics and then Simone just showed up to be like, “BYE SMURFS” with all the upgrades.
On bars, we see her adding three new skills—one F and two Es—in the Fabrichnova dismount, the piked jaeger, and the long sought-after Shap 1/2. What’s encouraging is how realistic they all look, though I was partial to that one time we saw Simone do a Mustafina dismount and it was beautiful. But, yes, the Fabrichnova is worth more, whatever. Do all those, and she can very realistically break 6.0 in D and match her 2016 D score—when she had an extra five tenths in CR. (Now, if she were able to connect the Shap 1/2 out of the Pak, then…)
On beam, we see mostly the usual suspects but with a casual double double dismount. It’s a skill I would be very excited to see her put in a competition routine particularly because it would force the WTC to break out of the A-G system on beam. They’ve done it already with floor passes, but not yet on beam. Since the full-in dismount is already a G, the double double would have to be given a higher value.
The Moors is getting the most attention among Simone’s floor showings, but don’t overlook that front 1/1 through to full-in split jump for 0.3 CV, bonus that makes the pass worth the same as a DLO 1/1 or double double tucked. (I’m like snooze, Moors, what have you done for me lately.)
Not to be outdone, there is a momentary flash of a TTY, a skill we know Simone is physically capable of doing but also the one here that’s not an actual competition skill right now. She can get there, because Simone, but I’d temper vault upgrade expectations for the moment.
The bars upgrades are the wow moment here because they’re real and already quite well done.
It’s an “even more super long than normal!” special episode this week because we had a lot to get through considering we had to do play-by-play of both NCAA nationals and the Karolyi Dateline episode.
G. Beam routine of the week
Anna Mirgorodskaya, a classic. That mount. The smoothness. It’s so unnecessarily long and excellent. Mirgorodskaya competed for Ukraine in 1995-96, the crowning achievement being this beam routine in the team optionals at 95 worlds for 9.650, as well as making the bars final at 96 worlds.
Mirgorodskaya missed beam in the team optionals at the 1996 Olympics for 9.287 because Ukraine, which also meant she missed out on making the all-around final in an intra-team three-per-country-rule tiebreak that she lost to Sheremeta after they both finished on the same total. Which is also the most Ukraine thing to ever Ukraine.