Things Are Happening – June 29, 2018

A. The Ranch

The DA and assistant DA in Walker County, Texas provided an update on the investigation into the ranch today, announcing that That Guy has been indicted on six counts of sexual assault of a child, and (the surprise here) that Debbie Van Horn has also been indicted for sexual assault of a child. This was for “acting as a party” in one of the assault charges against That Guy, according to the DA. Yikes. There’s more and more and always more.

If you haven’t been up on it, Van Horn is the one who was always sitting on the folding chairs amongst all the backpacks at every competition and you asked “who is that lady?” every single year—the trainer who we’ve said should have seen, should have known, should have watched, should have questioned, and should have followed up. But such a direct charge, acting as a party in the sexual assault of a child, comes as a surprise.

They didn’t announced any other indictments, but the investigation is ongoing. They did mention that several other people would have been charged with failure to report, but the two-year statue of limitations has expired, so they couldn’t charge them. They interviewed the Karolyis, Steve Penny, and Rhonda Faehn as part of the investigation, making a specific point of sassing Steve Penny’s lack of cooperation. “He didn’t provide much assistance.” Yep. We know.

Martha also definitely worked her magic because the DA and assistant DA were very keen to tell us about how the golden child did nothing wrong and was just a humble coach who was bamboozled by USAG. They found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the Karolyis, so it seems they’re off the hook here.

B. American Classic

While most of the US gymternet erratic-twirl-machine has been consumed with the news of Tom Forster becoming the new women’s High-Performance Team Coordinator, which I wrote up yesterday (short version: He sounds like the best of the available options, proceed with caution because of USAG and 90s coaching, hilarious GIF), we also received the roster for the newly broadcast American Classic on July 7th at Utah.

Senior elite
Shania Adams
Sloane Blakely
Jade Carey
Audrey Davis
Kara Eaker
Jaylene Gilstrap
Olivia Hollingsworth
Madeleine Johnston
Shilese Jones
Adeline Kenlin
Emily Lee
Isabel Mabanta
Grace McCallum
Riley McCusker
Alyona Shchennikova
Deanne Soza
Madelyn Williams

Junior elite
Ciena Alipio
Love Birt
Skye Blakely
Sophia Butler
Kailin Chio
Claire Dean
Kayla DiCello
Amari Drayton
Addison Fatta
Aleah Finnegan
Delaney Fisher
eMjae Frazier
Gabreille Gallentine
Elizabeth Gantner
Karis German
Trista Goodman
Zoe Gravier
Olivia Greaves
Maeve Hahn
Selena Harris
Kaytlyn Johnson
Levi Jung-Ruivivar
Alonna Kratzer
Lillian Lewis
Kaliyah Lincoln
Lauren Little
Mallory Marchelli
Konnor McClain
Sydney Morris
Brenna Neault
Sienna Robinson
Katelyn Rosen
Lyden Saltness
Abigail Scanlon
Ava Siegfeldt
Ui Soma
Calvary Swaney
Tori Tatum

The senior roster is fairly typical for American Classic, where the biggest names who have been competing recently do not attend because there’s literally no reason for them to, but we will see the likes of Riley McCusker, who’s getting back into competition form after a medium-sized injury absence, and Jade Carey, who has been adding skills on bars this spring.

USAG will be streaming the meet on YouTube, juniors at 11:00am MT, seniors at 4:00pm. Hopes sessions will be the day before.

Scores at this one are important because seniors need to have a 52.000 AA (or 39.750 three-event score, or 27.000 two-event score) to advance to nationals if they didn’t already reach that score at one of the verification meets or a USAG international assignment. (Jesolo and Gymnix don’t count for qualification since they weren’t official USAG assignments—because, you know, that makes the scores less valid or something?) As for the juniors, they need a 51.000 AA and cannot qualify with the three- or two-event score. Both juniors and seniors will have another chance to get their scores at US Classic on the 28th if they don’t get them at American Classic.

By my count, the seniors who have already qualified for nationals are Morgan Hurd (2017 worlds team member), Ragan Smith (2017 worlds team member), Jade Carey (2017 worlds team member), Ashton Locklear (2017 worlds team member – currently injured), Jordan Chiles (2017 worlds team alternate), Margzetta Frazier (February verification), Grace McCallum (February verification), Maile O’Keefe (2018 American Cup), Trinity Thomas (2018 Tokyo World Cup), Adeline Kenlin (April verification), Gabby Perea (April verification), and Alyona Shchennikova (April verification). Shilese Jones also got a 3-event qualifying score at April verification.

Note: Kenlin’s vault at the April verification was on a soft surface, so I’m not sure if that was allowed to count for her qualifying score. As always, this information is cobbled together and incomplete (because a public list is not kept by USAG due to FUN), so there may be others who have qualified already and we never saw those scores. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 29, 2018

Tom Forster – Team Coordinator

USAG announced today that everything is totally fine and fixed, so you should stop asking questions and also bye.

And by that, I mean that Tom Forster has been selected as the new National Team Coordinator. Or, sorry, the new High-Performance Team Coordinator. Because that makes it all different and better. Nothing to see here. The performance is going to be so high. You won’t believe how high the performance will be.

Fans of the 90s will remember Forster of Colorado Aerials as the coach of Theresa Kulikowski, Kristy Powell and Doni Thompson—and Kerri Strug for a hot minute during her whistle-stop tour of America. Since then, he has held a lower-profile and more behind-the-scenes role in the elite coaching scene, and he was not the primary elite coach for the recent athletes from Colorado Aerials who may have been on your radar (Emily Muhlenhaupt, Kiersten Wang, Sharaya Musser).

That, quite honestly, could have been an influencing factor in the decision. He hasn’t had an opportunity to be publicly horrible in quite some time, which already put him on the high end of the list of candidates. And that seems to be the general reaction from within the gymnastics community—”it could have been worse”—what with names like Peggy Liddick floating around, and all. The consensus: he’s the best of the available options. The national team coaches seem to be optimistic about Forster, which means he will be given a chance rather than being thrown to the wolves immediately after the announcement. But of course, the proof will be in the…not being an aggressively ego-driven abusive maniac? Just that. We’re asking so much, I know. Stay cautious, my friends.

It may be unfair, but USAG has taught us to mistrust its process and automatically mistrust anyone it might think is suitable. Kerry Perry likes you? Well then what’s wrong with you? Continue reading Tom Forster – Team Coordinator

Quad Records

Current national scoring records for the 2017-2020 quad (seniors).

All-Around Ragan Smith 57.850 August 2017
Vault Jordan Chiles 15.150 August 2017
Bars Riley McCusker 15.050 April 2017
Beam Ragan Smith 15.350 July 2017
Floor Ragan Smith 14.433 October 2017


All-Around Elena Eremina 57.900 August 2017
Vault Angelina Simakova 15.050 November 2017
Bars Anastasia Ilyankova 15.275 August 2017
Beam Maria Kharenkova 15.350 October 2017
Floor Maria Kharenkova
Angelina Melnikova
14.500 August 2017
April 2018


All-Around Liu Tingting 56.800 May 2017
Vault Zhang Jin
Liu Jinru
14.550 May 2018
May 2017
Bars Fan Yilin 15.166 October 2017
Beam Liu Tingting 15.300 May 2017
Floor Wang Yan 13.800 September 2017


All-Around Asuka Teramoto 56.800 August 2017
Vault Sae Miyakawa 15.100 June 2017
Bars Hitomi Hatakeda 14.500 June 2017
Beam Kiko Kuwajima 14.500 February 2018
Floor Mai Murakami 14.800 August 2017


All-Around Ellie Downie 56.198 April 2017
Vault Ellie Downie 14.950 March 2017
Bars Georgia Mae-Fenton
Becky Downie
14.600 3 occasions
April 2017
Beam Alice Kinsella 14.050 March 2017
Floor Taeja James 14.100 April 2018


All-Around Martina Maggio 55.450 May 2017
Vault Martina Maggio 14.800 May 2017
Bars Martina Maggio 14.050 May 2017
Beam Elisa Meneghini 13.950 September 2017
Floor Desiree Carofiglio 13.900 May 2017


All-Around Eythora Thorsdottir 56.350 February 2017
Vault Tisha Volleman 14.500 September 2017
Bars Sanne Wevers 13.933 November 2017
Beam Eythora Thorsdottir 14.850 February 2017
Floor Eythora Thorsdottir 14.000 February 2017


All-Around Rebeca Andrade 56.000 April 2017
Vault Rebeca Andrade 15.150 September 2017
Bars Rebeca Andrade 14.450 September 2017
Beam Daniele Hypolito 14.600 June 2018
Floor Thais Fidelis 14.200 August 2017


All-Around Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos 55.450 May 2017
Vault Coline Devillard 14.633 April 2017
Bars Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos 14.650 November 2017
Beam Marine Boyer 14.900 May 2017
Floor Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos 14.200 May 2018


All-Around Tabea Alt 54.866 April 2017
Vault Sarah Voss 14.600 December 2017
Bars Elisabeth Seitz 14.900 November 2017
Beam Pauline Schäfer 14.150 June 2017
Floor Kim Bui 13.566 April 2017


All-Around Nina Derwael 54.250 March 2018
Vault Maellyse Brassart 14.100 February 2018
Bars Nina Derwael 15.350 May 2018
Beam Nina Derwael 13.900 June 2017
Floor Rune Hermans 13.500 March 2018


All-Around Ellie Black 56.199 May 2018
Vault Shallon Olsen 14.900 March 2018
Bars Ellie Black 14.400 October 2017
May 2018
Beam Ellie Back 14.400 August 2017
Floor Brooklyn Moors 14.600 February 2018


All-Around Larisa Iordache 58.466 September 2017
Vault Larisa Iordache 14.800 September 2017
Bars Larisa Iordache 14.533 September 2017
Beam Larisa Iordache 15.566 September 2017
Floor Larisa Iordache 14.266 September 2017
All-Around Georgia Godwin 56.325 May 2018
Vault Emily Little 14.750 May 2017
Bars Georgia Godwin 14.575 May 2018
Beam Georgia Godwin 14.625 May 2018
Floor Georgia Godwin 14.525 May 2018

Continue reading Quad Records

The Weekend Meets

Mediterranean Games

The Mediterranean Games has a bonkers format in which the team final is spread out over two days with half the apparatuses on each day (like it thinks it’s event finals or something).

After the first day—vault and bars—the host nation Spain enjoyed a lead over second-place Italy on the women’s side, but it all turned swampy for Spain on beam and floor on day two with a rash of 11s. In the end, the Spanish ended up more than 3.5 points behind the victorious Italians and nearly 3 points behind the silver-medalist French, having to settle for team bronze.

Things were looking exciting for Egypt after the first day as the Egyptians held a surprise advantage over a mostly second-tier French side. Once France pulled it together on the second day for the strongest combined beam and floor scores of the competition, Egypt didn’t have much of a shot at a medal but still managed a respectable fourth place, about two points behind the bronze medalists, Spain.

Louise Vanhille and Lara Mori tied for the top qualification spot into the AA final, ahead of Giada Grisetti and Ana Perez.

On the men’s side, Spain took the team title, but only just ahead of the silver medalist Turkish side, which was able to outpace France by a single tenth for that second spot. Italy ended up fourth here, not able to overcome being terrifying on pommel horse, and Cyprus took a perfectly acceptable fifth place—not too close to the medals, but Marios Georgiou did qualify second into the all-around final. He qualified behind Nestor Abad, who hit all six events in team competition, and ahead of Ahmet Onder of Turkey.

The competition will continue Monday and Tuesday with the all-around and event finals.

US Elite Qualifier

This weekend, Brestyan’s hosted the final US elite qualifier before July’s American Classic. It was mostly a Hopes-fest—there are always many more Hopes athletes attempting to qualify because they’re not yet broken down by the injustices of the world and are still young enough to be full of hope. Oh! Maybe that’s where the name comes from.

But, on the senior elite side, Riley McCusker showed up at this one to tell us that she’s still a person, recording a 13.200 on bars and 13.300 on beam. Stephanie Berger of Brestyan’s got her all-around score for Classic, and Jaylene Gilstrap of Metroplex got her three-event score.

On the junior elite side, several gymnasts achieved their AA qualifying scores for the Classic meets: Brenna Neault of Precision, Olivia Greaves of MG Elite, Aleah Finnegan of Being A Finnegan, Lauren Pearl of Brestyan’s, Alonna Kratzer of Top Notch, Zoe Gravier of MG Elite, and Mallory Marchelli of Stars.

Next up: American Classic on July 7.

Youth Olympic Games Qualifier Continue reading The Weekend Meets