Gymnastics First Pitches — A GIFstory

We have one hallowed tradition in American gymnastics, valued above all others. It goes as so: When you achieve some degree of success, you are rewarded for this accomplishment by being carted off to a local baseball establishment so that you may embarrass yourself for all eternity by revealing to the world that your willowy gymnastics bird arms have never actually done a ball-throwings even once before.

It’s never remotely close, and we all enjoy the crap out of it. At which point, some four-year writes a video headline like “FLIPPING OUT: Gymnast does AMAZING cartwheel first pitch,” but it was actually an aerial walkover, and it was only OK, so we have no choice but to frame them for murder.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Anyway, the latest run of first pitches has come from our new national champion UCLA team, which went to Dodger Stadium and made the smart choice of deferring first-pitch duties to Fish Hano, who received this honor because of important qualities like having seen a baseball before.

Not bad. Good use of one-armed walkover. Ideally, we’re bringing that pitch down into the strike zone, but given the state of affairs historically, I’ll take it.

Now Katelyn, we need to talk…

Exactly sideways.

See me after class.

Question: Did you do it in L grip? Because whatever this situation was actually looks physically difficult to achieve.

Side Bowling will be a demonstration sport in Tokyo 2020.

Katelyn does get bonus points for pitching out of an illusion 1/1, compared to most of the others who are doing A elements into their pitches. Sadly her D-score advantage is not close to making up for everything we need to take in execution. In the 2017-2020 code, there’s no way that’s going over 6 in E score at worlds.

For next year, Katelyn can get some pointers from Hano and Kocian, who has quite a prolific first-pitch career herself.

I’m not awarding connection bonus in this case because there’s a clear cessation of momentum in between the elements, but the individual skill execution is clean and the pitch is accurate, even if traveling exactly 4 mph. She should anchor UCLA’s first-pitch lineup next season. She’s totally getting held down by the judges going in the 4th spot right now.

Kocian also shows a comprehensive repertoire with several different composition options, so I’m not taking for “lack of variety in choice of elements” either.

Being honest, Kyla (right) is going to need a little work if she’s going to make the first-pitch lineup again next season.

I mean, it’s clean as always because Kyla, but I’m looking for a little more distance and amplitude to be among the top scorers, otherwise I don’t see this going over 9.850.

The real winner there is Maroney in the center, who decides to throw from the actual rubber like a champion, not that wimpy grass, and is still the closest to a strike of any of them.

The cool thing about Gabby’s (left) is that it actually travels backward in time on the way to the plate. Explain?

Maroney strictly adheres to the idea that the first pitch should be a whole skit, and I’m here for it.

I mean, we’ve got an olde-tyme leg kick, two elements, and a little horsey-prance. It’s obviously just a little ploy to get herself three inches from the plate (and she still almost misses), but I certainly can’t take any artistry deductions here.

I’ll give Jen Kesler credit for competitive velocity, and the accuracy is not awful, but…girl this form. I definitely have to take for knees, and feet, and body alignment.

That’s the part that’s supposed to be good! Someone’s not making her own Lindenwood beam lineup at this rate…

A serious issue we must discuss is the frequent use of the aerial cartwheel combination into the first pitch. People. You’re facing the wrong way. What is the state of coaching in this sport??? Faulty composition. Would you try to do a bail into a Shaposh? I mean come on. It’s like Komova’s pre-dismount Russian orphan 1/2 turn all over again.

Note that the actual result of Laurie’s pitch does not make the cut here, just a cackle. Neither of which bode well.

This side-aerial composition epidemic is obviously what threw Toni off.

Because let’s hope something did.

She could have taken out a local kindergarten class with that thing.


That was a balance check. On the ground.

Pull it together, Nastia.

The aerial walkover is a better look, but I do think gymnasts just assume that everyone who isn’t a gymnast is 1000 feet tall.

“If I throw it directly into space, you’ll catch it?”

“Baseball is the one on broomsticks, right?”

I appreciate the variety in showing a full turn + sissone + first pitch.

But typical Simone, the more difficult it is, the better she does.

Here she does well to sort of cheat the side aerial into side position to keep the connection going. I’d credit it. Take notes.

Nastia, you’re not even trying anymore…..

Sure it was almost a strike, but you know you got invited because you were supposed to do an aerial right? Otherwise you’re just some lady pretending she’s happy to be wearing a baseball cap for the very first time.

Gabby, you might be a little too excited about this pitch quality.

Aly is definitely not giving you Smurfs the satisfaction of an aerial, ever.


So Danell…

Um. You missed your guy?

Evelyn, which team do you play for?

Meanwhile, back at the 2007 floor final…

Sac, always taking silver.

Even an afterward-handstand isn’t going to save that one.

Though let’s be honest, Shawn has had her downs too.


You tried.

12 thoughts on “Gymnastics First Pitches — A GIFstory”

  1. Somehow exactly what I never knew I needed on a Thursday morning!

  2. Great! How about the singing of National Anthems at sporting events?

    I know Peng Peng Lee has sung the US and Canadian national anthems at sporting events (sometimes with Hallie Mossett and Alex Waller).

    Any other gymnasts as featured singer(s) of the national anthem?

    1. Marz Frazier has an absolutely beautiful voice. There is probably footage out there somewhere, but if not, I think it’s a safe bet that she’ll get a crack at performing at a UCLA meet next season.

    1. Maybe its some fundraiser for her gym or something – still not sure how that would play

  3. Absolutely dead. I couldn’t believe this kept getting funnier. Snort laughing.

  4. So good and so many candidates for best bit. “I DID A BASEBALL” gets my vote.

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