The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – August 10, 2018

A. EVO

EVO Athletics—the gym in Florida where Aimee Boorman works now—announced today that it will be the temporary home of US women’s national team while a permanent training facility is constructed/discovered/wished upon.

That means that EVO will host events like the worlds selection camp and the prep camps this year (developmental camps are still scheduled to be held at the Flip Fest location as of the latest calendar).

Of course, the cynical part of me is going, “You just wanted to be vaguely associated with Aimee Boorman so that no one would criticize this decision because everyone loves her,” even though it’s not like Aimee is suddenly running the camps. She’s not going to be storming in with a cape yelling, “By your powers combined, I’m AIMEE BOORMAN!”

But, USAG did have to find a temporary location that’s free of NCAA conflicts of interest, current elite conflicts of interest, and being-just-someone’s-house conflicts of interest, with the necessary facilities and without a history of being terrible. EVO seems to fit those requirements well.

B. The deal with the nationals roster

As we discuss on this week’s GymCastic, the mystery of Deanne Soza’s qualification to nationals has been solved. Sort of.

The word on the street is that following US Classic, the International Elite Committee met and decided to lower the three-event qualifying score from 39.750 to 39.500, allowing Soza to get in with her performance from Classic. You know, like how you change the rules after a competition? And don’t even bother to tell anyone? How that’s a thing that happens?

It feels like no one is getting up in arms about this because the outcome is a positive one that we all wanted (Deanne Soza competing at nationals—yay), and the situation is ultimately super unimportant. No one got hurt, everyone goes home happy, it’s just qualification to a meet. Big deal. Relax. It doesn’t actually matter.

But also…stop behaving like a cabal of friends doing favors for each other and start behaving like an actual sports organization with rules and standards and professionalism. Because sometimes, the outcome isn’t quite so harmless.

Plus, Kim Zmeskal herself is on the International Elite Committee. Presumably she recused herself from this decision to keep things a little more above board, but we wouldn’t know that because no one has said anything about it.

Meanwhile, to the issue of Marz Frazier competing for UCLA at nationals instead of Parkettes. We’ll discuss this in more detail on GymCastic next week, but it seems to be just a simple issue of logistics. UCLA’s academic program for the gymnasts began on August 1st, so Frazier has to be there, rather than at Parkettes. And UCLA said, “You still want to go to nationals? Sure, we’ll take you to nationals.”

And…the end? Why is this a drama? Why does it matter what is listed next to her name?

Here’s an idea: Maybe we give the athletes a little more credit for their own successes and just get over the politics of vanity about which coaches get public credit for it. Who is deserving of the credit for Marz Frazier’s performances at nationals? Marz Frazier.

C. Junior Men’s Euros

Today was the turn of the baby boys. In the team competition, Russia just outpaced the British for gold, mostly on the strength of their rings and…wait for it…high bar. Meanwhile, GB looked to be in comfortable control of the competition before struggling on HB in the final rotation. The Russians gained more than 4.5 points on Great Britain in the final rotation alone, winning the team title by less than a point in the end.

With big performances in the final subdivision, Italy and Switzerland were neck-and-neck for a bronze medal that ultimately went to Italy by less than a tenth. Nicolo Mozzato of Italy broke 80 to take the all-around title ahead of Jamie Lewis of Great Britain and Sergei Naidin of Russia.

D. What Else?

Marvin Kimble has been betrayed by a hammy.

Katelyn Ohashi has a video essay out about how she was broken by super-backward weight and appearance expectations in elite that made it a joyless experience until she found NCAA.

Jeff Thompson is suing Penn State because now no one wants to hire the guy who inspired a public revolt against his and Rachelle’s……coaching methods. Boo hoo? If that’s what you think coaching is, maybe it’s a good idea that you not try to be a coach anymore.

Kerry Perry sent out a preschool newsletter to everyone about the changing of seasons or whatever. I half-expected her to tell us about how Mrs. Solberger’s class was wowed by seeing dinosaurs at the natural history museum.

E. GymCastic

This week, we dive into the women’s competition at the European Championships, with special attention paid to Celine van Gerner’s cat routine in event finals (featuring an interview with the routine’s choreographer, Daymon Jones). We have all the thoughts.

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