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 Mustafina has, however, withdrawn from Russian Cup.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.


20 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – August 16, 2019”

  1. Juliette Bossu is retiring (partly) because she was not included in the group of gymnasts that are preparing the world championships by the French team staff, and I don’t get it.

    1. She said that the French staff is favoring AA gymnasts, in preparation for teams of 4 in Tokyo.
      She is a UB specialist because of knee pain (not by choice).
      So, when she learnt she wouldn’t go to Worlds, she decided all her personal sacrifices were not worth it

      (Read it in the French news, I’m French, feel free to ask me anything if you need a translation or something)

      1. @Maria Thank you so much. Always loved her gymnastics and was VERY depressed to hear she was retiring. UGH.

      2. i feel for the french. euro is a tough shit for continental championship non-nominative qualification. and also she likely cant get into the worlds cup lead. also france just don’t have enough good AAers that can grab an non nominative spot from AA cup. It sucks for the current quad for them since they are basically limited to 4 whereas under the old system (which we are going back to) as long as they get a team in, they can bring 5 people..

  2. I’m sad that Juliette had to retire due to knowing that she won’t make the Olympic team based on the world cup qualifications process and the French team’s preference for AA. She has so many good qualities and lots of potential that I hope she might reconsider a comeback after this crazy quad and it’s absurd rules. I mean if Komova (the retiring/comeback queen) can do it, anybody can lol.

  3. Hey, now that there have been a few more international competitions/scores and retirements, any chance for a team standings update? And since being out of Russian Cup means Mustafina is out of Worlds (at least for now), is there a chance for a shakeup in the medals?

    1. Seconding the request for a team standings update! I did some of the work myself but…

      I hope there is a chance for a team shakeup. Would love to see either Canada or France break through on the team podium (and Melanie DJDS for an AA medal please!) A few months ago I would have also included Brazil and Japan in that wish list but between Andrade’s injury and Japan’s stubbornness re Mai, I don’t see either of those things happening now.

  4. So disappointed that Katelyn Ohashi’s dream of being cast on Dancing With The Stars is not happening. Today’s ABC GMA revealed the two athletes who have been selected:

    -NFL’s Ray Lewis who pled guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with the stabbing deaths of two men. (Source: wikipedia)

    -NBA’s Lamar Odem who fell into a coma at a brothel. (Source: )

    With selections like those, I can see why Katelyn Ohashi was not a good fit for that program!

    1. That’s a pretty stupid dream (if it really is her dream.)

      Such a disappointment how the Val/Ohashi relationship went from inspirational to overexposed to just flat-out exploitative, fame-whoring nonsense in the course of just four years.

    2. I wonder if Ohashi’s participation in the Aurora Games precluded her from joining Dancing With The Stars?

      Casted celebs were all at ABC in NYC Wednesday August 21 for live shows and interviews and a full day of meetings etc, but that happened to be the same day as the Aurora Games gymnastics events held in Albany NY which isn’t very close to NYC…I don’t think you could realistically appear and fully participate at both events on Aug 21st.

      Ohashi had likely committed to appearing at the Aurora Games before any final ABC decisions were made regarding Dancing With The Stars casting and timing. If ABC later asked Ohashi if she could be in NYC all day August 21, she would have had to say No in order to keep her Aurora Games commitment.

      1. I’m pretty sure that if the producers wanted Ohashi that badly, they’d have figured out an accommodation.

    3. honestly ,I don’t understand why gymnasts,or anyone, wants to compete on that show anymore. there have been many weird choices by the producers before and As an athlete i would want to distance myself from that, it seems almost embarrassing to be chosen.


    Did anyone else catch the Aurora Games’ gymnastics night live on ESPNU or in person? It was Team Americas vs Team (Rest of) World.

    Power tumbling: impressive, but no totally stuck final landings.

    Beam: Some falls (incl Nabs and Nush and Boren), but Ohashi nailed her (albeit watered-down) routine with a 9.9 score. I think Team World’s Captain Nadia Comaneci at 57 years old could have topped them and scored 10.0 (just kidding).

    Parkour: Parisian ghetto street sport consisting of Speed rounds and Style rounds of running through/under/over/around various bars and walls etc. I think Team America’s Captain Jackie Joyner-Kersee at 57 years old could have kicked their asses (just kidding). I enjoyed Columbian Navarro’s first style round finale: a flip off of a wall she had been hanging from. Also Russian Shevchenko’s fun use of some gymnastics air elements in her second style round.

    Aesthetic: Broadcaster Samantha Peszek likened this sport to synchronized swimming but without the water. Apparently this is a rather new sport in the US, but popular in parts of Europe.
    Team America was a San Diego jr team that performed well after a false start of their music–they calmly froze in a starting position until the music was stopped and re-started. Routine seemed to be a combo of floor x, multi-person lifts, and chorus line display.
    Based on some pre-routine interviews I thought Team World (Finland?) seemed older and more experienced, but the San Diego girls outscored the Europeans by 0.8 to give Team America their first (slight) lead of the evening.

    Floor Exercise: Everyone did well. Nabs (Tatiana Nabieva) was a twisting phenom (starting with a triple full which she calmly kept in bounds by keeping her heel raised) and scored a 10.0–the first of the night! Everyone was anticipating Katelyn Ohashi’s FX. She watered down her first pass, used her Tina Turner routine music but with some lyrics added, and scored 10.0 to secure Team America’s victory for the evening.
    Amer World
    Power Tumbling 56.6 57.6
    Balance Beam 28.8 28.5
    Parkour 34.0 34.0
    Aesthetic 9.4 8.6
    Floor Exercise 29.7 29.6
    TOTAL 158.5 158.3

    After final scores were announced as a 0.2 victory for Team Americas, all participants did group dancing at the end (apparently organized by Miss Val of course) which was fun…incl brief acknowledgements of Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Nadia Comaneci, and Shannon Miller.

    All events were held on top of a covered indoor ice rink…and athletes commented about the dampness and slickness of equipment (incl the balance beam…uh oh!).

    UCLA fans felt at home seeing Miss Val, Samantha Peszek, Danusia Francis, Katelyn Ohashi, Asst Coach Dom Palange (Dom wore a UCLA shirt), and UCLA Bruin Track and Field Olympic legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee!

    Attendance was only fair, but far far better than the tennis attendance of the previous night.

    1. You’re not making me regret my decision to watch that DVR’ed episode of Bachelor in Paradise instead.

      1. Seriously.

        Like don’t get me wrong, I loooove Nabs and I like Nush and loved pre-viral Ohashi, but that… event sounds awful. “all participants did group dancing at the end (apparently organized by Miss Val of course) which was fun” ??? ew

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