Things Are Happening – October 13, 2018

A. Take Out the Trash Day

If you thought your paying-attention duties had ceased after the naming of the women’s worlds team, you neglected the importance of the patented USAG Friday night news dump.

In it, USAG revealed several things it hoped you were already too drunk to pay attention to closely. First, the humble peasants were allowed to see the selection procedures that govern which gymnasts will be allowed to take the Jade Carey Route through apparatus world cups to gain personal qualification to the 2020 Olympics. Basically, it’s Jade Carey and no one.

First, to be eligible, you must meet at least one of these criteria:

You’ll note the words “current national team member” cropping up in all of them. You’ve always had to be a national team member to get international assignments, so there’s nothing new or particularly onerous or unreasonable here, but these requirements do signal a desire to narrowly limit the number of people who can try for this. It tells me they don’t really want people with past elite success like Ashton Locklear or MyKayla Skinner just popping up and yelling, “Send me to Azerbaijan!”

Only three seniors currently meet these standards: Biles, Hurd, and Carey. Because we expect Biles and Hurd to compete at worlds this year with the team, that would leave only Carey able to go this route. But, these rules do not specify junior/senior, so by my reading, Sunisa Lee and Leanne Wong would both also be eligible for those early 2019 apparatus world cups (once they turn senior) through criterion 2, should they want that.

I don’t think that will happen because both will probably still see themselves as AA, team-spot contenders at this point, but it should be possible.

Now, what I really want to know is whether these rules were written before it was decided that Jade Carey would go the apparatus route (and she happened to be the one who met them), or were they written after it was decided that Jade Carey would go the apparatus route (to ensure she was the only one who met them). It’s USAG, so these are the kinds of questions we’ve been trained to ask.

Actually, what I REALLY want to know is…why only day 1 of championships? What even is that? Oh, USAG.

Item the second:

Basically, if you are lucky enough for USAG to deign to send you to a world cup, you better not suck. Place worse than 2nd, and the selection committee can stop sending you to any more events. If it so chooses. If it so chooses = if you’re not one of the golden children, and it looks like you might screw this up for everyone.

Item the third:

USAG will pay to send you to a maximum of 3 events.

This is significant. Each athlete counts her or his 3 best finishes in the final apparatus WC rankings, so athletes must go to at least 3 to have any hope of getting the Olympic spot. USAG won’t send you to any more than that, meaning you have to perform perfectly at all 3 to have a shot at earning this spot. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous item because if you do place worse than 2nd at an event, and you only go to 3, you’re probably not getting that Olympic spot anyway.

It also signals to me that USAG is looking for as many “outs” as possible. If at any moment it looks like this isn’t going to work, USAG can cut its losses, stop sending you to these events, and focus on the other routes for individual qualification.

As someone who doesn’t think USAG should be going this route at all for the women’s team, I don’t actually mind that. It’s totally cutthroat for the athletes who might go to these events, though. One fall in an event final, and you’re out. Other nations sending will be sending athletes to all 8 of the apparatus events to try to build up the best possible results and drop the bad ones.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s say Chusovitina goes to all 8 apparatus world cup events, wins vault at 3 of them, and has a smattering of 2nd-5th place finishes at the rest of them. Very possible. Meanwhile, Carey goes to exactly 3 events, and gets 2 golds and 1 silver on vault. With only the best three results counting, Chuso gets that Olympic spot for vault. Those who get the most tries will have an advantage.

It won’t be easy to get these spots, and these rules from USAG intentionally make it harder.

Now, these rules are still written loosely enough to give USAG the freedom to do whatever it wants. It *may* prevent someone from continuing if they finish worse than 2nd (but may not…). It won’t *fund* participation in more than three events (but what if your rich parents or your fancy gym fundraiser foot the bill…)

Even with that, I still read these requirements as USAG saying it doesn’t really like this method of qualification and wishes people wouldn’t do it. It is therefore adding stricter requirements than the FIG’s qualification rules in order to make it so difficult that most people won’t be eligible or won’t be successful. Unless they’re constantly perfect. And if you’re constantly perfect, by all means go to the Olympics.

But if USAG is thinking like me and does hate this method of qualification, why even let people do it in the first place? Well…

B. Ask Tom Forster

Following the announcement of the US women’s worlds team, Tom Forster did a Twitter Q&A that I had very low expectations for—but that also kind of exceeded those low expectations.

I thought this would be a big load of nothing. The early “isn’t Simone great?!?!?! SHE SURE IS” exchange is exactly what I thought the whole thing would be, but as it went on, Forster did give us some insight into the questions we’ve had about Olympic qualification, at least with as much depth as a Twitter Q&A would allow.

Of note, we got some clarification on the ambiguous issue of “the US can’t prevent an athlete from trying the apparatus world cup route should she or he want to” that we had heard about but didn’t really…get? Apparently, this isn’t coming from the FIG but instead coming from what I would say is a very strict reading of the Ted Stevens Act, an act which broadly says that national governing bodies can’t prevent athletes from participating in competitions.

There’s a hearty legal history as to what this actually means with regard to denying Olympic opportunities, one I don’t pretend to be an expert on. But I will say it’s interesting that this is something USAG suddenly cares about. I can’t imagine Steve Penny and Martha Karolyi being like, “BUT THE TED STEVENS ACT” in their days. Steve Penny was going to make sure Martha could do what she wanted and no questions would be asked.

And yet…if you’re actually saying the Ted Stevens Act requires NGBs to allow athletes to participate in any Olympic qualification pathway they want, some other NGBs would be screwed. That’s not how this has ever worked. All NGBs prioritize certain competitions for strategic and financial reasons, and do it every day…

C. Mary Bono

Also in the Friday news dump was the casual slide-in that USAG has appointed an interim CEO (you know, just that), and she’s a doozy.

Important: When you’re proud of a hiring decision, you always announce it late on a Friday without a media conference call and without any real statement from the person you’re hiring. Another reminder that USAG isn’t real and has the communications strategy of a bonobo.

Mary Bono is, first of all, a former Republican congresswoman from Southern California—because some rando politician with occasionally horrific views is want everyone wanted in this position.

Us: “We’re worried that the next CEO will also be concerned only about image and soundbites and won’t have a strong grasp of the actual issues or job.”

Them: “Then how about a member of the US House of Representatives?”

Us: “Oh…sweetie…no…”

Other important things to know: Mary Bono is the one who married Sonny Bono, post-Cher. So, you know, the qualifications are through the roof.

Is this a satire?

If they wanted to appease the public, they would have just hired Cher, who would have called Kerry Perry a “crazy bitch” and had all of us on board right from the start.

We’ve also learned that USAG is living in the year 1520 BCE and still hasn’t gotten that whole “vetting social media” thing down because it quickly became apparent that Mary Bono is one of those “boycott Nike” psychopaths.

Remember that time Kerry Perry was really proud of that deal she was working on with Nike? And remember that time Simone Biles is a Nike-sponsored athlete?

Great work again, everyone. Nailed it.

Simone is, quite correctly, unhappy.

Bets on Mary Bono being canceled faster than the ranch or MLT?

D. Romanian nationals

So, it didn’t go super awesome. Nica Ivanus was the top-placing senior with a 52.050 (and we have to assume Romanian domestic crack even in that), and only one of the worlds team members broke the 13 mark…on vault.

But, the big news was the withdrawal of best gymnast Denisa Golgota before the competition began with some kind of muscle issue.

For Romania’s sake, you hope that the issue is mild and that the decision to sit Golgota is just (understandably) precautionary. Golgota is so important to Romania’s chances of placing in the top 24 at worlds that if she even had a bad haircut, I would be like, “You’re not competing at nationals. Too risky.”

If Golgota really weren’t able to compete at worlds this year, Romania would immediately move to Threat Level Midnight in terms of qualifying a team to 2019. They need her to be the team’s best score on every event.

E. Other competitions

France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland competed at a friendly meet today in preparation for worlds, one that provided encouraging results for a number of those teams.

We’re desperately worried about Germany’s beam at worlds, so solid scores there from Grießer, Voss, and Scheder will allay those fears for about 30 seconds. Grießer’s 3rd-place AA finish is significant for her and should serve to remove any questions about whether she was the right choice as the replacement for Schäfer.

Italy’s health and depth has been a serious question, so the reemergence of Martina Basile here as an option is critical. She has not been on any of the nominative rosters for Italy, leading to the assumption that she was unavailable, but get her on the team right now.

Irene Lanza, a potential team member or alternate who just recently appeared on the nominative list, also made a very good argument for herself by placing top 3 among Italians on all four events.

Based on this competition, we could see Cereghetti relegated to alternate status because she did not record top-3 scores for Italy on any event.

This was also an opportunity to see where Rizzelli placed since it has been so long since she competed, her 13.650 on vault and 11.900 on bars not really making a huge splash. Bars is a major worry for this Italian team, however, so it’s probably worth the risk of putting up Rizzelli in case she can get something big. Few others can.

Of note, Elisa Meneghini, who has appeared in the alternate position on nominative rosters so far, did not participate here.

Dear Switzerland, I’m still concerned about you without Steingruber, but the performances shown in this meet should be enough to get by if repeated at worlds.

At the Youth Olympic Games, the real competition has finally arrived—now that we have dispensed with that mixed team competition—and the favored Italian Giorgia Villa met expectations with her gold medal in the all-around final, recording a score over 54. Taking second was Amelie Morgan of GB with another super solid performance (her ability to hit beam is very appealing), and Anastasia Bachynska continued giving everyone hope for a brighter future for Ukraine once she and Varinska can compete together with her bronze medal performance.

Tang Xijing of China was in contention for a medal but missed beam to finish 4th, and Ksenia Klimenko had a bit of a nightmare with a couple misses on bars and beam, yet still somehow managed to take 5th. She’s lucky a piked Yurchenko 1/1 isn’t in the code, because that’s what she would get credit for if it were. Even so, there wasn’t enough separation in E score between her full and the others.

F. GymCastic

Your assignment is to use this weekend to catch up on another two-episode week, as we delved back into the Jade Carey situation for an ultimate individual vs. team debate, then did a commissioned episode about the 1993 NCAA national championship.

67 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – October 13, 2018”

    1. Another take on the Bono issue: she was part of the same law firm that worked with Penny/USAG. On top of the boneheaded insensitivity that hire shows to the survivors (which I am shocked isn’t getting as much play as the Nike issue), it also creates a million conflict of interest problems. For instance, Penny could eventually sue USAG (e.g., if they fail to indemnify him or pay his legal bills). And if Bono was at all involved in the suit from her law firm days, and/or wasn’t walled off from accessing materials about it (and as a former gymnast, it’s certainly likely she was consulted, and at the time there was no reason to wall her off) she could have to recuse herself from any decisions relating to the conflict (see Model Rule 1.9b). Why the heck would USAG risk hiring an attorney to lead USAG that not only was involved in protecting Penny, but as a result might have to step out of some of its most important decisions?

  1. Brb holding a candlelight vigil and praying to all the deities that Denisa Golgota will be healthy for Worlds.

  2. yes, jade is the only 1 eligible right now. but theoretically if aly, madison, and laurie come back and is placed on national teams then they are also eligible 🙂

    I do see a few potential problems with USAG criteria.

    1. must be a current national team member with a worlds or olympic medal on an event in 2016-9:

    See above… also if you got a worlds medal on an individual event in 2018, then you are already disqualified by fig/olympic rules to earn an individual 2020 spot, unless you just feel like you want to be macho and do a 2018 or 2019 event world cup for the heck of it?

    2. must be a current national team member placing first on an individual event at US nationals in 2018 or 2019:

    ok good luck with that one while biles is around…. obviously no one did that in 2018 since simone got 1st in everything on day 1. i think they should take this down a notch to maybe also include number 2

    1. or maybe not and keep it as you have to qualify as #1 ….lol… by beating simone before we will send you to event world cup! wow. they really thought this out to prevent as many people from going this route….

      let see now if jade can win all 3 of her first cups events….

    2. Wouldn’t allowing #2 on day one of this year’s nationals still only make jade eligible since the other two are competing at worlds this year, making them ineligible?

    3. Anyone else want Skinner to challenge these rules in a courtroom? I say Skinner because she’l likely the only one who may want to, has been burned (in her opinion) by USAG previously and the rules appear to be made to disqualify (i.e.: Aly, Laurie, Madison all likely being eligible to be back on the team next year if they prove they can still compete).


      1. The courts stay out of this kind of thing in the US. They find any reason to not deal with it. Skinner would probably have to take it up in arbitration with the USOC and USAG.

    4. “if you got a worlds medal on an individual event in 2018, then you are already disqualified by fig/olympic rules to earn an individual 2020 spot, unless you just feel like you want to be macho and do a 2018 or 2019 event world cup for the heck of it?”

      They could send Simone to essentially spike someone else’s chances. Like if Simone, Jade and Maria Paseka are all at the same event, Jade (especially without updgrades) would likely finish 3rd which would put her out of the “must finish in top 2” criteria so they wouldn’t have to send her to any more. But, with Jade, Simone is the only one they could send to do that, since no one else actually qualifies to go.

  3. Is the day 1 thing because they only did two vaults on day 1, not day 2? I vaguely remember that happening…If so, it still doesn’t make sense for the other events.

    Did Jade’s dad threaten to sue via the Ted Stevens Act or what?

  4. i guess they did think hard about the whole event cup thing. maybe the careys was like demanding it and threatening lawsuits so they kinda say sure go ahead but we have very strict rules :)……

    I guess tom and them did really think hard about it :)…. he did admit strategically AA cups and panams were better BUT we have to support all our athletes in EVERY possible routes (due to a law)…. yep, brilliant !

    I feel better now…. If tom can do a monthly Q&A, i think that would also be great.

    1. I would LOVE a monthly Q&A with Tom. That would be a huge step in the right direction. I’m still not 100% sold on the guy but this was very positive.

      As for the Careys… I really have to gives props to Jade and her dad for identifying this opportunity and just going for it. We all assumed USAG wouldn’t allow athletes to go this route for strategic reasons, and all the other coaches probably assumed the same thing. But Jade hasn’t been an elite for very long and clearly didn’t get the memo that you’re supposed to live in fear of the national team staff… lol. Clearly she and her dad were like, “Hey, you didn’t actually say we couldn’t go, so we’re going.” Get it Jade. It’s a brave new world post-Martha!

  5. This is precisely the US’s way of NOT “going the individual qualification route” while outlining the ways it has made it theoretically possible for an athlete to individually qualify in order to show they have officially not “prevented” athletes from qualifying in this manner. Not only does funding only 3 WC competitions per athlete offer a huge advantage to the athletes who attend all of them, it offers a huge advantage to the athletes who show up at the meets that happen to show up to the competitions where the judging panels happen to be particularly lax, and the odds are the 3 competitions the US funds for you won’t end up being the 3 most lenient panels. No one is going to qualify this way that is going to change the outcome of who the final 6 would be either way.

  6. Last but not least, don’t forget you have to place first at US nationals in an event on day 1….. meaning you better hope simone will make a big mistake on the event you plan to go to the event cup for or that you are actually really better than her 🙂

    1. Yep good luck being a better current gymnast than Simone. Though anyone who can beat her (without a major mistake) on vault or floor would totally deserve to go to whatever World Cup the underdog athlete’s heart desires.

      As for bars or beam, well though Simone is improving on bars there are still gymnasts who can beat her on a given day even if Simone doesn’t make a mistake. And beam is beam – nothing is written in chalk when you’re balancing on four inches. 🙂

  7. Actually Silivia Sfiringu places first, not Nica Ivanus :). Sfiringu has a total of 53.600 and Ivanus 53.300.
    Romanian scoring is on crack. Some of the girls got 13.000 on bars – hahahahaha.ha.ha
    Not even in my wildest dreams that would happen and I’m doing some crazy voodoo every night for this but clearly I such at being a witch.

    1. Crisan has gotten a few 13.1s internationally at world cups and Euros last year on bars

  8. Off the elite topic but staying with NCAA (though a different sport): Any Kentucky Wildcats gym fans rooting for the ‘Cats to win the SEC East this year?

    It’s basically a three team race now that the Bulldogs, Wildcats and Gators all have one loss… and start playing each other. UGA’s next three weeks are: BYE, @ Jacksonville to play the Gators and then @ Kentucky.

    1. I would LOVE it! I would also love if you guys could upset Bama in the conference championship game!

      Although, I’m a Buckeye fan, so it doesn’t impact my team. 🙂

      1. Not a guarantee Bama will represent the SEC West yet – Nov. 3 in Baton Rouge against LSU is THE big game… If LSU can do what Auburn did in 2017 and upset both UGA and Bama (at home) then it’ll be LSU with the advantage…

        At this point the Iron Bowl will likely just be a bragging rights situation as Auburn is looking pretty bad lately, so the LSU game may be the last chance for Bama to have a loss on its resume. Of course, this week could be a “trap” game for Bama as they head to Knoxville for a date with the Vols before their bye.

        I’m actually hoping UCF runs the table, wins its conference and forces the CFP committee to put them in the Top 4 – if they stay undefeated two years in a row it would be hard not to put them into the semifinal games, even if they play in a “soft” conference. Though Cincinnati is still undefeated and on the UCF horizon and so is undefeated South Florida.

  9. I .. actually hate Item the First less than I expected to? To be considered for this route, you really should be a very credible medal threat on your event(s), which means you need to be able to survive 2-per-country. If you medal at worlds, you survived 2-per-country. I’m fine with that. I think the second one should be top 2 on both days of nationals, or win 1 day. The third one I don’t get at all. Like, if someone goes to American Cup (which is an FIG event, no?) in 2019 and wins floor, they might easily be the US’s 5th best floor worker. That makes no sense.

    I also would have added that they can’t have won an AA thing at the same thing – so no AA medal at worlds, no top 2 AA at nationals. Because those are people we need for the team. They shouldn’t be going the events route.

    Also, the national team requirement is ridiculous and negates everything. It’s my impression that putting true one or two eventers onto the national team is entirely by human discretion – if Skinner or Locklear showed up at nationals and won their events but didn’t compete AA, they are not gauranteed spots on the national team. So USAG could just deny those so they didn’t have to allow them to go to world cups.

    But. What I really, really hate is the limit of 3. Even if, say, Jade goes and is perfect, and wins all 3, if Chuso wins the other 5 it’s all but chance who actually “wins”.

    So…I expected worse, but this is still bad.

    Also: I don’t really care whether they came up with it and gave it to all the national team coaches when the national team was named, or whether they went “huh, yeah, Carey is definitely qualified to go this route, let’s try to describe why formally”. Either seems not utterly terrible.

    1. The whole point they re making is they really hate route and hope discourage just about anyone.. including even jade…. but obviously these rules were made after what I am almost certain is a threatened lawsuit from the careys that we didnt hear about..

      So yes these rules do look ridiculous but theres a reason so… and I think just about everyone here support it 🙂

  10. From all of this reading I think there ia a high likelihood that the careys did threat lawsuits that we just didn’t get to hear about… I mean why go through the trouble of this well thought out rules if something really substantial didn’t happen.. it all seems very retrospective to me … highly unlikely these rules were made before the careys threat..

    I think jade will soon realize their mistake, if she hasnt already…she had paid for it by giving up a nearly guaranteed team gold as well as good chance of vt and fx silver. Unless she is perfect and even if she does win all 3 cup events there is still chance of tie breaker rule…

    1. i’m not convinced that the careys threatened to sue, but even if they did, that’s their right. ultimately usag has only itself to blame for not releasing these rules sooner (should have happened in early 2017).

      isn’t it also possible that usag went to the trouble of creating such elaborate rules because… they don’t want anyone else to do this, and… it’s their job?

      1. maybe they did try to tell everyone early on right when the light bulb went off in the careys head. but couldn’t dissuade the careys… and esp given the current environment being friendly toward lawsuits against usag, they just relent to the careys and then made up the rules afterward…

        i can see their reasoning behind now having to bow to the ted stevens act and cannot immediately say right away that we will not go this route since that is a ground for not letting athlete compete… so they had to do what they have to do.

  11. I too found the rules to be extremely strict but mostly OK. The apparatus cup route to the Olympic games is uniquely problematic for a program with USAG’s depth, and for once, it’s not a problem of their own making! (Though they’re certainly at fault for not making these requirements known sooner.)

    It will be interesting to see whether the FIG’s new qualifying rules affect the way gymnasts pace themselves… in other words, the apparatus cup series route seems to reward longevity in a sport where you often see young athletes reach senior level and peak at exactly the right time to win a couple of Olympic medals and then sort of fade from the sport. Like Laurie Hernandez, for example. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the ability to qualify a nominative spot to the Olympics BEFORE 2020 might increase the number of adults (i.e. athletes in their 20s…) present at the Games. I kind of like that.

  12. Yikes, I really hope Denisa Golgota makes it to Worlds, for her own sake as well as Romania’s. I still can’t believe how quickly the Romanian program cratered – from narrowly missing bronze in TF at 2014 Worlds to this? Just four years later? How the heck could this possibly have happened?

    Situations like these, when a country has a good junior field but weak seniors, make me regret that there’s no way to qualify a team to the Olympics using those juniors. In other words, juniors b. 2003-2004 should be able to help their countries qualify a team to the Olympics if they’re good enough, especially since they’ll probably be the ones competing there. Romania, which has some decent juniors but a weak senior field, would looove that option. Italy also comes to mind… their senior field is just good enough for them to be comfortably in the top 24 this year at Worlds, but let’s be honest, those seniors are going to be qualifying a 2019 spot for Giorgia Villa, Elisa Iorio, and the D’Amato twins. Not for themselves.

    IDK, maybe the solution is to lower the age for qualifying senior to 15 or 14.

    1. Which used to be the case. Until recently, anyone age-eligible for the Olympics could compete at Worlds the year before (which was the main or only qualification event). Then they changed it so you had to be 16 in the calendar year, no matter what, but they added the Olympic Test Event qualification route so you could still have first year seniors qualify a team to the Olympics. Now as far as I can tell there is no route for this for teams (and only for a few individuals – ie the ones from AA world cups and Continental Championships, which will likely mostly be 5th/6th spots, not 1st/2nd).

      Like, if I understand correctly, you have to have a decent team *in 2018* to qualify to the Olympics *in 2020*. No exceptions. That’s just not the timescale elite gymnastics works on.

      FIG did not think these qualification paths through.

      1. Ooooh that is really interesting about the age issue. Do we know why the change was made?

        When you really look at the qualifications rules, you can sort of see what the FIG was going for… and I agree with a lot of their goals… but in practice it’s turning out to be quite a nightmare lol.

  13. I am not a MyKayla fan, and this might be a bit harsh, but I am going to say it: I would much rather watch Skinner’s gymnastics than Carey’s. College has allowed MyKayla to clean up her form to an astounding level while fostering consistency and what genuinely appears to be joy. I imagine that at full difficulty, Skinner would outscore Carey internationally for just those reasons. Jade seems like a very nice, reserved person and her tumbling is spine-tingling difficult, but her performance quality at this time is very limited comparatively.

    1. IA with you. I’ve never been a Skinner fan but she’s cleaned up her messiness while maintaining some difficulty at Utah and after two years I believe she has hit ever routine without a major error/deduction. (But I still prefer Maggie to continue winning NCAA individual titles to become the greatest college gymnast ever.)

      If Skinner doesn’t try for another Olympics and go this route, perhaps Laurie can go to the World Cups to qualify herself as a floor worker – I’ll take Laurie’s floor work over Jade’s any day.

    2. Totally agree. I too have been pretty harsh on Skinner in the past, but to me she is the perfect fit for an individual spot and way more appealing than Jade Carey as a gymnast. I’m sorry but Jade’s floor exercise my as well have nails on a chalkboard for music. It’s not that Skinner is much more artistic, but she at least seems to recognize there is an audience and gives some level of energy it all…..

  14. Quick question about the requirement that gymnasts who go to apparatus world cups have to be current national team members…

    In theory, couldn’t someone like Locklear, who is not currently on the national team but training at an elite level, petition their way onto the national team and THEN request to be sent to the apparatus cups?

    1. look at the eligibility criteria at the top of the article. it’s pretty clear from that that even if skinner or locklear somehow finagle their way back to national team, they would still not be eligible.

      the only people that are eligible if they finagle their way back to national team are the 2016 olympics people that won an individual olympic event medal: aly on fx, laurie on beam, madison on bars…..

      lets see if any of those 3 will try to finagle their way back just to do event worlds cup 🙂

      1. this has been very well thought out by tom and co…jade will be the first and last one to try this stunt….

        of course aly, laurie and maddy are welcome too once they make it back to national team 🙂

      2. Honestly, I think anyone who has the money and determination to threaten a viable lawsuit against USAG could make themselves as relevant in this process as any of the 2016 Olympians so long as they were senior elite national team members at that point. After all, the organization is barely worthy of that title at this point and has barely any ability to make, much less enforce, their arbitrary understanding of the FIG rules. Kocian and her family have made it well known that her success in gymnastics has not been worth the abuse she endured and since she is academically minded, I doubt she would pursue a run for 2020. Laurie has a spot a la Gabby in 2016 due to marketability if she can provide a strong score in whichever apparatus the US has deficiencies in but we know it would be an intense push for her to be ready physically. Skinner and her folks, in contrast, come across as the sort to fight for what they believe was stolen from her and she is actually in shape…

      3. Skinner and Locklear could be eligible IF they get back on the National Team AND either win an event at U.S. Championships or win an event at a FIG event. Winning an event at Championships would be tough for Skinner, since Simone is better on vault and floor, and for Locklear it would depend if she upgraded enough to be able to win bars. Winning an event at an FIG event is more possible if they get sent to an FIG event Simone doesn’t attend, like Pan Ams. But they would still have to get chosen to go to one of those FIG events in the first place.

      4. What about Aly?

        Her family definitely has the financial resources. Plus if she wanted to try for her third Olympics going the World Cup route on floor and maybe beam would be a good way for her to accomplish getting there. I know she hadn’t really been in the gym as of last summer, but now is when she’d have to start training – Aly was in way better shape in 2016 than in 2012 and I imagine she’s doing light workouts to maintain some shape for her public image. It would just be a matter of regaining strength. I don’t foresee Aly doing bars again or even vault if she were to come back now and try.

        Though I also think Aly should work on getting into law school. Based on her support for the athletes and anger at USAG it would be a good route for her to take to eventually make a real difference.

      5. Oh I see – I was thinking Locklear might be eligible because she won bars at a couple of FIG events in 2016 (Jesolo, PanAms). But it’s only World or Olympic medals from 2016 on that qualify.

      6. To the person mentioning Aly and law school — has she even gone to college yet? I thought she’s just been doing press.

      7. Aly’s has taken college classes – I assume somewhere close to Boston, but could be online somewhere – since 2013 or 2014. I don’t think she’s obtained a degree yet and not sure what her yearly plan is but it’s definitely looking like a more than four-year plan.

        Not sure if she’s been taking much in the last couple of years since between the 2016 Olympics, post-olys press tour, the USAG drama and other media commitments, plus her book. She’s still only 24 though so there’s plenty of time is she does decide to pursue law school or even medical school or business school. Business school may also be an option… I just suggested law school because it opens up many doors and she’s been so front and centre with the legal proceedings. A law degree would be a first step if she ever wanted to eventually become USAG president like so many gym fans seem to want her to be.

  15. I love the thought of Cher taking over as CEO of USA Gym. At her introductory press conference, she’d sing, “Do you believe in life after Marta!?!?!”

    1. Cher taking over brings to mind some wishful thinking of “If I Could Turn Back Time”. 🙂

  16. The USAG has made qualification requirements so that, at the moment, only Jade Carey is eligible to go. So it seems like they are trying to make this difficult for gymnasts to use this route as an option.
    But as the USAG seems to have control over writing what the requirements are, if they really wanted to stop Carey from going, why didn’t they just write the requirements that way? They didn’t have to make winning a 2017 Worlds individual medal an “in” to participation. That was USAG’s choice. All they had to do was leave out the “2016” and “2017” parts of criteria #1 and then no one would be eligible yet but they wouldn’t be afoul of the Ted Stevens act either. So if they really wanted to stop any athlete from doing this, or being eligible until 2019, why didn’t they just do that?

    1. because the careys probably threatened them with a suit and they probably already under pressure agreed to it… then they retrospectively made up these new rules after agreeing ….. and figure well, we will have to put an end to this…

      I am almost certain these rules were made retrospectively.

  17. I find this word choice fascinating…

    “Restrictions on athletes who compete in the 2018 World Championships
    Any athlete who competes actively (receives a score) in the 2018 World Championships will not
    be eligible to qualify as an individual to the 2020 Olympic Games under Criteria 5 of the 2020
    Olympic qualification rules.”

    Not even pretending modestly that the US will not be top 3 in 2018, just saying outright that it is a fact…

  18. I’mjust Going to watch Nationals, Worlds, and the 2020 trials. This is just too much. Let me know when a team is chosen and I’ll watch.

    Also, they should have just made the team size 6 again.

    1. That’s what I did 2001-2016, but now I feel somewhat guilty about it. If the athletes are putting it all in every day, despite all the stupid, I feel I owe them my attention. Or at least, I’m afraid that if too many of us go back to watching twice a year the abuse level and the stupid level will rise even higher.

  19. My heart sank when i got to the part about Golgota. I really, really hope this is just precautionary.

  20. I have been calling Romania for not finishing amongst the top 24 since March. I still think they will have a disaster on UB in TQ in Doha and do poorly on the other events and finish 25-27th. I predict Egypt will qualify ahead of them. Egypt….let that sink in.

  21. Question about qualifying through the World Cup Apparatus Finals Route: Do they count placements or scores? So theoretically if Chuso goes to all 8, gets 3 Golds and then places 2-5th for the others, and Jade goes to 3 and gets 2 Golds and 1 Silver, will it purely count medal total or look at who had the best total score between the two?

    So for example:
    WC 1: Chuso wins gold with a 14.233
    WC 2: Jade wins gold with a 14.466
    WC 3: Jade wins gold with a 14.600
    WC 4: Chuso wins gold with a 14.133
    WC 5: Chuso wins gold with a 14.200 and Jade wins silver with a 13.966 (presumably because she had a fall)

    Chuso’s average is at a 14.189; she also has 3 golds
    Jade’s average is at a 14.344; she has 2 golds and 1 silver

    Who would get the spot?

    1. They count placements (3 best out of 8), so in your example there is no tie. Chuso gets 90 points and Jade 85 (the points tables are in World Cup rules, the scale in AA is different). The Olympic qualification tie-breaking rules are here: Within the same event they count scores. Between different events, (if two athletes from the same country win their event or one athlete wins more than one event) they compare ranks; first, of all competitions they attended, not just three counting, and if they remain tied then ranks obtained in the qualification round.

      1. Thanks for this! Not an easy thing for a US athlete to try this then. What happens if both get 90 pts? Like, they all win 3 golds?

      2. All Individual Apparatus, except Vault
        In case of a tie in points of the final score at any place, the ranking will be determined by the following criteria:
        1. The gymnast with the highest E-score prevails
        2. The gymnast with the highest D-score prevails
        3. If they remain tied, the gymnast with the best final rank in the Qualifications prevails
        In case of a tie in points of the final score at any place, the ranking will be determined by the following criteria:
        1. The highest of the 2 Vaults before the average for the final score
        2. The highest E-score of either Vault performed prevails
        3. The highest D-score of either Vault performed prevails
        4. If they remain tied, the gymnast with the best final rank in the Qualifications prevails

        If jade does amanar and cheng, then i think she could beat chuso in a tie breaker… since i haven’t seen chuso done a great produnova,

      3. Can someone try to win at the World Cups – say one of the current NCAA gymnasts during the school “off-season” or even Simone, and not use it to qualify for the Olympics?

        I mean Simone will be on the US team for sure (baring injury), but could she decide she just wants to add a little more hardware to her trophy cabinet…

        What happens if Simone wins gold at all eight World Cups on vault and floor (just for fun)?
        Simone equals $$$ for USAG when she competes so why would they try to prevent her from competing…

        Since Simone is just doing the vault/floor competitions for fun, someone else will get the the individual spot since she will be a Team USA AAer.

      4. Should there be a tie at a rank decisive for the qualification to the Olympic Games through the Individual Apparatus World Cup, the tie will have to be broken as follows:

        * The number of the counting ranks achieved by the respective gymnast will be added. The gymnast with the lowest total will prevail.

        * If there is still a tie, the final score of the three counting exercises will be added and the gymnast with the highest total score will prevail.

        * If there is still a tie, the total execution score of the three counting exercises will be added and the gymnast with the highest total execution score will prevail.

  22. Anon, yes, gymnasts, members of the team that earns the Olympic spot for their team are eligible to compete at the World Cup. They get prize money and World Cup Ranking List points, but not Olympic Qualification Ranking List points. That second list is kept separately and is re-calculated, as more gymnasts become ineligible. That will happen to a bunch of gymnasts at the 2019 Worlds, as 9 more teams qualify there and some people qualify through AA and some specialists will get the spot through 2019 EFs. For example, Chuso should try to keep both ways open. Since she cannot be sure now about how her form will be at 2019 Worlds, she should start with the World Cup in Cottbus 2018 and further. Then she can try to get a spot at 2019 Worlds. If that fails, she can keep trying via World Cup. If she succeeds at 2019 Worlds, her so far earned OQRL points will be re-distributed to the next eligible gymnasts down the list.

    WP, the tie-breaking rules that you posted above are for determining the ranks in one single competition. To determine the one who wins the tie when three best ranks are added, you need to use the procedure that can be found at that google drive link above.

    1. lol… i copied that from the pdf from that link…. guess i copied the wrong section?

      anyway, yeah, unless jade do the cheng/amanar combo perfectly at all 3 of the sponsored events by usag, she probably won’t get the spot.

      I think we can all forget about “NCAA’s on off season or spare time” coming back to do worlds cup and getting individual spots. USAG made these rules to explicitly discourage everyone from doing this kind of things…. like i said, i think they agreed to jade after they were strong armed into it and they are also making it hard for her as well..

      I can see that in this new era of accoutablility and athlete’s right etc, they can’t be like the old martha’s way of “nope we are not even going there to begin with” and they can’t say right at the beginning that we won’t allow anyone to do event worlds cup so it is what it is….

      I think the new era is good to have less abuse and more transparency… but if people start to try to game the system, then we are going to have more of these rules….. I can’t completely blame the careys for trying…. but i am pretty sure they know they are pushing it….

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