The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – August 16, 2019

A. Retirement news

In surprising elite retirement news, Juliette Bossu has decided to call it quits. I still had Bossu on my prospective French worlds team to contribute her fantabulous bars right up until…she announced her retirement, so this is quite the significant development.

France still has a convincing core four in MDJDS, Boyer, Charpy, and Devillard, so they may try to replace the bars number that Bossu would have contributed with someone like Carolann Heduit, but this could also open up a spot for Aline Friess and her rudi to pump up the vaults since Friess also has a somewhat viable bars routine. The fifth person on the team must bring a bars routine now because neither Boyer nor Devillard will bring much of a countable score there.

Our favorite cat Celine Van Gerner also announced that she will be leaving gymnastics behind, so there’s no point anymore. We’ll always have the time the FIG felt it had to make a rule just for her. Van Gerner has been an essential contributor on bars, beam, and floor for the Netherlands for so long that it will be difficult to replace those routines, but now is the time that newer athletes like Naomi Visser and Sanna Veerman must rise to fill that role.

Agnes Suto-Tuuha has retired from elite competition as well, having spent a good chunk of the last three quadrennia as one of the top all-around gymnasts in Iceland. She won the all-around title at nationals just this year as well as being Iceland’s top finisher at worlds in 2018, and since it has been a few years since we’ve seen Irina Sazonova, Suto-Tuuha has filled that position as the scoring leader of Iceland’s team. She was also the most likely gymnast to be able to qualify a WAG Olympian for Iceland, so that’s going to be quite the tough ask now.

Oh, also, Valentina is trying to retire Aliya but neither Aliya nor we are having it. I’m sorry your application has been denied. Come back 1 year. Mustafina has, however, withdrawn from Russian Cup.

B. NCAA developments

Because LSU looked at the concept of losing Sarah Finnegan, Lexie Priessman, McKenna Kelley, and Julianna Cannamela next season and went, “Well crappit,” they went out and added Alyona Shchennikova to the roster for the 2020 competitive season.

Shchennikova had previously verbally committed to Michigan like her sister, but then switched to LSU, and it seems as though this year’s Achilles tear clinched the decision to head to LSU this fall rather than try for the 2020 Olympic process.

Coming off that injury, I would treat anything you get from Shchennikova in the 2020 season on vault and floor as a bonus, but there should be enough recovery time for them to get a bars routine and potentially some beam from her. That would provide a solid complement to Kai Rivers (who can compete all four, but her main things will be vault and floor) and Kiya Johnson who’s expected to compete all four pieces.

From a class that looked quite sparse not too long ago, LSU is now looking at bringing in two lineup-level routines on each event from this year’s freshmen, at minimum. If Shchennikova can’t do vault and floor, LSU is still looking at needing Bailey Ferrer to come along on those events next season to prevent a net loss in depth, but…getting ahead of ourselves. They’ll be plenty of time for that discussion in October-December.

Meanwhile, Boise State coach Neil Resnick has announced his retirement (so Tina Bird will be the lone head coach next season), Kelsey Hinton is the new head coach at William & Mary, and Lou Ball and Tom Haley have been promoted from assistants to associate head coaches at Oklahoma.

C. Upcoming events

We’re currently in a break in terms of major events right now, but the break will be short lived. View this as your opportunity to get excited for the crying-on-the-stairs championship that is Russian Cup, the resumption of the world challenge cup series, and the US worlds selection camps.

Russian Cup – August 23-27
(23rd is qualification, 24th is women’s AA, 25th is men’s AA, and 26th and 27th are event finals)

Mersin Challenge Cup – August 30-Septempber 1

US men’s world selection camp – September 4-8
(Last year, competition took place on the 2nd and 4th days of the camp, so that would be September 5th and 7th)

Szombathely Challenge Cup – September 6-8

Paris Challenge Cup – September 14-15

Guimaraes Challenge Cup – September 19-22

US women’s world selection/Prep camp – September 21-26
(Last year, the streamed day of competition was the 2nd day of camp, so that would be September 22)

D. GymCastic

This week we have I’m Just Pissed Off Already—the full recap of US Nationals. And reminder you can also listen to the episodes on this very site in the box on the right (or below the posts on mobile), and that box is being updated again I promise.

Next week is the big Olympic qualification explainer special, so get those questions about this kdsf;lakdsjfla of an Olympic qualification process in to me on twitter @TheBBSituation if you want them answered in the episode. No question too dumb, no “what if” too obtuse.


%d bloggers like this: