Things Are Happening – July 20, 2018


Valentina announced today that she cut open the belly of a crow under the gleam of a solstice moon, the spilling innards of which instructed her to select a Euros team of Angelina Melnikova, Angelina Simakova, Lilia Akhaimova, Irina Alexeeva, and Uliana Perebinosova.


Obviously, I’m in heaven. This team is so damn weird and special, and I’m more excited for bars and beam than I can possibly say. (Admittedly, I’m excited in that “what if someone barfed during the royal wedding” kind of way, but still excited.) But also, um, a couple questions. Question #1: Why do you hate blood pressure? Question #2: Viktoria Komova, explain?

Well, according to Valentina, Komova was not selected for Euros despite finishing 3rd AA at Russian Cup because…wait for it…she has back pain and is inconsistent.

You’ve literally described every single Russian gymnast of the last 20 years, as well as all five other members of the team you selected. I have back pain and inconsistency just from saying the word “Russia” aloud right now. You’ll need to be more specific.

Also, Komova says her alleged back pain is not a thing.

Tell us more, Vika. Tell us more. You mean Valentina might have been disingenuous and inventing injuries again? I’m shook.

Oh yeah, Ilyankova is not on the team either, despite recording a 15.300 on bars at Russian Cup and placing 2nd AA. So…huh?

This is going to sound bad, but…she better be injured. You know what I mean. There’s internet rumor of a limp, which is the only way I can really see it making sense to take Perebinosova as a bars specialist over Ilyankova.

Perebinosova was too injured to compete at Russian Cup three weeks ago—and I was under the impression that she was “out of Euros”-injured—but apparently she’s better than Komova and Ilyankova suddenly, so that’s going to make for a super fun Euros competition. Alexeeva also missed Russian Cup—and doesn’t have the peak scoring potential of Komova on bars and beam or Ilyankova on bars—so the fact that she was chosen to do bars and beam means we can only assume she showed up to the final selection and American-consistency-ed all over everyone’s ass.


That’s 1000% what happened because it looked to all the world like Komova and Ilyankova were going to be on this team and then suddenly…

Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 20, 2018

2006 Worlds All-Around: Gymnastics Is Over

Thank you for joining me on this solemn occasion.

Before we begin, please don your ceremonial black shroud and dramatically lengthy weeping veil—lace handkerchiefs out, ladies!—as we commemorate the 12th anniversary of the death of gymnastics.

Goodbye, old friend.

The year was 2006, and an open-ended scoring system had broken out across the continent, engulfing community after community in death, famine, devastation, and a war that pitted brother against brother. Whole cities were ravaged by the idea of having to manage a difficulty score and an execution score (TWO NUMBERS MY BRAIN COULD NEVER), and orphan children wailed at the lack of perfect 10.000s, which had definitely been attainable right up until that moment.

Doomsday predictions that the elimination of the 10 would result in hyenas picking apart the desiccated remains of a once-regal sport proved—of course—entirely correct. Having been continuously perfect from 1950-2005, gymnastics was instantly ruined and the sport promptly canceled following the installation of known non-blonde Vanessa Ferrari as world champion, even after falling on beam and having kneecaps. That gentle doe gymnastics could never survive such a hellscape, and nothing good ever occurred again.

But how could such a thing have come to pass? Let us travel back to the year 2006 to find out.

Matt, Christine, and Mitch greet us with the news that meet-favorite Chellsie Memmel has withdrawn from the all-around final with a shoulder injury, so everything is already just terrible. Enjoy your podium of moldy leftovers. This is the worst year.

No one knows how Memmel’s shoulder got injured. Do 50 more jams.

Memmel’s absence means the status of favorite defaults to Vanessa Ferrari even though she excels at…[whispers, vomits]…tumbling. But this cannot be! The open code of points will be the death of us all! How is she not Khorkina! Continue reading 2006 Worlds All-Around: Gymnastics Is Over

2018 US Classic Roster Notes

Attention peasants! The US Classic is a mere 12 days away, and because everything is going super great, USAG used this definitely-not-down-to-the-wire opportunity to announce, “What up, turkey butts. Check it, we still have a number of sponsors. That number is one.”

Yes, everything is solved now because the CoverSecret US Classic will henceforth be known as the GK US Classic. GK released an official statement on the sponsorship agreement, saying, “Ugh, I mean I guess. We’re a leo company, so…”

In addition to revealing the new title sponsorship of the GK US RSTLNE Classic, USAG announced the list of competitors, a fairly hearty group, one that is overall Simone. With some Simone. I’m impressed by how Simone.

What’s more, Simone has suddenly decided to do the all-around instead of just bars and beam like she was originally planning because why not. Everyone else is like, “Can’t we just have ONE DAY?”

There are, however, four notable absences in the senior division this year: Maile O’Keefe, Marz Frazier, Trinity Thomas, and Gabby Perea, all of whom are already qualified to nationals and will still be able to compete the all-around there if they so choose. Thomas says she’s still planning to compete elite in 2018 but has also already started Florida-ing, so we’ll see. Ashton Locklear is injured and out for the year.

Seniors who have not already qualified to nationals will have to reach 52.000 all-around at this meet (or 39.750 on 3 events, or 27.000 on 2 events) to advance. Otherwise, they are cut loose at this point. Those who still need their qualifying scores are noted below. Continue reading 2018 US Classic Roster Notes

Things Are Happening – July 13, 2018

A. Qualified

Following American Classic, our list of senior gymnasts currently qualified to nationals has grown longer.

Morgan Hurd – 2017 worlds team member
Ragan Smith – 2017 worlds team member
Jade Carey – 2017 worlds team member
Ashton Locklear – 2017 worlds team member – OUT
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
Gabby Perea – April verification
Adeline Kenlin – April verification (2 events – UB/BB)
Alyona Shchennikova – April verification
Shilese Jones – American Classic
Shania Adams – American Classic
Madeleine Johnston – American Classic
Kara Eaker – American Classic
Madelyn Williams – American Classic (3 events – VT/UB/BB)
Audrey Davis – American Classic (2 events – VT/UB)
Riley McCusker – American Classic (2 events – UB/BB)

We’ll see Biles and Malabuyo at US Classic (and obviously any petitions they might need after that point will be granted). Plus, there are others in the mix like Olivia Dunne, whom we expect to add her name to this list at Classic or through petition, so it should be a pretty hearty field. Last quad, the senior fields at nationals got too small and exclusive (13 people in 2013 and 2014), so I’m pleased to see we’ll be back over 20 competitors this year.

The currently qualified juniors are

Kayla DiCello – February verification
Sunisa Lee – April verification
Jordan Bowers – April verification
Sydney Barros – April verification
JaFree Scott – April verification
Leanne Wong – April verification
Lilly Lippeatt – April verification
Tori Tatum – Junior Pan Ams
Konnor McClain – American Classic
Skye Blakely – American Classic
Olivia Greaves – American Classic
Ui Soma – American Classic
Aleah Finnegan – American Classic
Levi Jung-Ruivivar – American Classic
Sydney Morris – American Classic
Ciena Alipio – American Classic
Karis German – American Classic
Zoe Gravier – American Classic

B. Men’s National Qualifier

On Saturday, the US men will compete in their own version of the American Classic at the OTC—except there has been not a whisper of streaming or anything…because men’s. You’ve all opted out of the stream, and you didn’t have a choice.

Come on, guys. Grab a phone, make like a Russian, and instagram it or something.

Several of the big names will be competing—Mikulak, Penev, and Whittenburg—though all three have already qualified to nationals by virtue of being on the national team. Penev and Whittenburg have both been out with injury this year, so putting up scored routines here is a critical benchmark for them heading toward nationals and heading toward a worlds selection process where their overlapping FX/VT strengths will probably pit them head-to-head for a spot.

Keep an eye on…your local carrier pigeon or something…for results from this one.

Juniors compete at 12:30 MT and seniors at 6:00 MT, and you can check out the start list here.

C. Valeri in Brazil

Well well well well well well well well. Valeri Liukin led a national team camp in Brazil this month, his second time doing so this year. A guest-coaching stint may just be all this is (there has been no official announcement that he’s taking over or doing anything permanent), but Brazil does have a history of hiring Russian expats to lead the women’s program. Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 13, 2018