The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – July 12, 2019

A. World Championships

The FIG has released the definitive registration list for worlds—it’s slightly more definitive than the provisional registration, but decidedly less definitive than the nominative registration. It largely went as expected, though it’s worth noting that our two question mark nations, Cuba and North Korea, are both registered to send athletes this time around. Because you never know with them.

The real news is that Poland has not registered a full women’s team despite finishing 22nd last year and qualifying a team of five to 2019. The retirement of KJK has put a strain on the squad to be sure. Theoretically they’d still have Marta Pihan-Kulesza, Gabriela Janik, and Wiktoria Lopuszanska to put together a team score, though we haven’t seen Lopuszanska compete in 2019. Still, Paula Plichta continues kicking around. Ring ring, Alma Kuc, ring ring. There are gymnasts in Poland. Rather, Poland is slated to send just one athlete to worlds, which is an additional problem because both Pihan-Kulesza and Janik really should be there.

This doesn’t end up changing things for any other country because Egypt was the #25 team at worlds last year and theoretically the next country in, but as the top team in Africa, Egypt had already received a wildcard to send a team to worlds this year to fulfill continental representation.

You can tell there’s not a lot I find interesting this week since I’m leading with the politics of Poland’s world championships team selection. It’s my passion.

We also learned this week that Courtney McGregor is returning to worlds competing for New Zealand to try to get that sweet, sweet Olympic spot.

B. University Games

I mean, I did a GIF recap of Nabs’ every move and facial expression in qualification, so I think that competition is fully covered, right? Right.

Anyway, Japan sent a team of ringers and won pretty much all the things. Hitomi Hatakeda was the queen of the parade and will have to do a lot of Japan-saving this autumn because of the Mai situation. And Lilia Akhaimova is going to kill you forever with things like this tremendousness.

End of meet.

C. Men’s National Qualifier

The US men held an ice cream social at the OTC to decide who else got to qualify to nationals, and the answer was some of the people. Of significant note, Donnell Whittenburg just did squeak through in the second-to-last position.

It doesn’t seem like Whittenburg is quite back (though you still want to keep him in the mix because of his four-event potential for 2020 if he does get back and peaks at just the right time), but trying to put together a men’s team for 2019 is getting pretty fascinating again, with the same dilemma emerging as last year. A dilemma named “well, there’s Mikulak and Moldauer and errrr…”

In US women’s elite, start lists are out for Classic, in case you want to start planning your attention schedule a week in advance through the use of a highlighter—as well you should, because we’ve got a lot of overlapping important routines going on here. Also, Jordan Chiles is going right after Simone on each event, so get ready for a lot of close-ups of Simone taking her grips off while yelling “come on Jordan” rather than seeing Chiles’ actual routines.

D. NCAA news

Lindsay Bruck, whom you remember from those Michigan teams of the late ’00s, has been named the new head coach at New Hampshire. She was already on staff before, so not a huge shock there.

Katie Heenan has been pulled in to replace The Suze as Georgia’s volunteer assistant coach, and I’m already highly concerned that she might not own a pair of leather heels with diamonds on them. Kupets needs to take Heenan on an extended makeover musical montage to turn her into Suzanne.

Meanwhile, some small baby infant children have done all growed up: Ashleigh Gnat is now an assistant coach at Penn State, as are Kaytianna McMillan at Seattle Pacific and Maile Kanewa at Michigan.

Ragan Smith confirmed she’s going to Oklahoma this fall, as we kind of already knew but then weren’t sure about for a second. Oklahoma is losing 8 routines from its championship lineups from last season—4 Brennas, 3 Lehrmanns, and a Marks—and while a lot of that can be replaced internally from those already present, Oklahoma will be looking to Smith to make an immediate contribution because she’s going to have to be THE ONE in this new class.

E. What else?

Hmm, what else happened? Katelyn Ohashi won a Daytime Desi for wearing high heels or something.

Also, this exists, and nothing will ever be the same, and I’ve never been happier.

I, too, am playing the role of a vision from 1984.

Carry us, Kerri

On this week’s Gymcastic episodes, we have the (psychological) breakdown of Nabieva’s University Games performance, a commission about…us…as a podcast…and people, and a special announcement from Morgan Hurd about the new Olympic Channel series All-Around that debuts next month and will follow Morgan, Chen Yile, and Angelina Melnikova’s Meltdown on their journey toward the Olympics.

Shining comet.

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