The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – September 13, 2019

A. Worlds Roster News B. US Women's Worlds Camp C. Bruno Grandi D. This weekend...ish E. Szombathely World Cup F. GymCastic

A. Worlds Roster News

B. US Women’s Worlds Camp

C. Bruno Grandi

D. This weekend…ish

E. Szombathely World Cup

F. GymCastic

A. Worlds Roster News

We’ve had some developments. First, Germany announced its final women’s team as Seitz, Bui, Scheder, Petz, and Voss—with Schäfer as the alternate. An interesting and unexpected choice. If everyone is healthy and hitting best-case-scenario routines, your highest-scoring German team would have Petz as the alternate, but Petz has been in form lately and hitting at the selection meets while others have been falling or not at full strength due to injury, so I can see it.

Schäfer had a weak beam routine at the recent meet in Worms, but she also scored 13.850 on beam at trials, and if anyone missed out because of a weak performance in Worms, I thought it might be Bui.

The named team is truly excellent on bars but concerns me re: beam because now you’re tasked with hoping the scores from Scheder, Petz, and Voss are all countable. (Seitz will also go on beam in qualification but she hasn’t scored a 13 on beam in 2.5 years, so you’re going to want to drop her score.). All three counters can be good—and Voss has emerged lately as a truly solid beamer—but the hitting concerns me enormously.

After pretending like it was going to send only one person to worlds, and then registering two, Poland has gone back to its original decision and opted not to send Marta Pihan-Kulesza to worlds for unclear reasons.

Dear Polish gymnastics,

You dumb? Do you fall and smack your head on something? Do you not want Olympics? Even with a bad day at Euros qualification this year, she scored 48.232, a score that still would have been high enough to place among the Olympic qualifiers had that been decided at last year’s worlds. So, address yourself.

Sincerely, me

Rounding up some other things: Anina Wildi has had to withdraw for Switzerland and will be replaced by Anny Wu. Peru’s team was not available at the time of the initial nominative roster release, but it has now been announced as Sandra Collantes, Ariana Orrego, and Fabiola Diaz for the women and Daniel Aguero, Arian Leon Prado, and Jesus Moreto for the men.

We also got an actual REPORT from the men’s selection committee discussing how they came up with the team they did, using actual spreadsheets, which is significant. We’ll always have disagreements over teams and the reasons those teams were selected—that’s the nature of the beast—but for a selection committee to clearly express its methodology and how it arrived at the decision is an encouraging step in indicating that national teams might be managed with a bit more professionalism and clarity going forward.

The women’s team is now required to release a report as well following its camp, so that should be fascinating. I’ll be impressed if there are team comparison spreadsheets included in that one. As long as it’s not just the words “RANK ORDER” scrawled in crayon, we can probably work with it.

For your next assignment, please imagine Martha having to write up one of those reports about her team selection.

B. US Women’s Worlds Camp

Speaking of camp, USAG announced that selection competition for the US women will be held on September 22nd and 23rd. Once again, only the AA competition on the 22nd will be streamed, and not the two-event competition on the 23rd (unlike the men, who streamed both days of competition), so…what continues to be up with that? It’s weird, right? I mean, you’re already there streaming the routines from the day before.

Post-nationals, we had sort of been able to piece together the invitees to the selection camp, but the roster wasn’t officially released until today. Everyone who placed in the top 14 in the AA from nationals, plus Riley, got an invite. So…nearly everybody.

I’m fine with that. It looked for a while like we would have an artificially limited group (last year’s selection camp had just 9 attendees), which didn’t seem necessary in a squad this deep with so many different options, especially when the Pan Ams team was given an automatic pass to selection camp.

Now, with a whole 15 people being invited, we have gone the opposite direction to some extent with a few gymnasts attending this selection camp who have an exactly 0% chance of making the worlds team, but…the more the merrier I suppose.

C. Bruno Grandi

Grandi’s dead. So…um…happy trails? Take it easy? I saw him speak once a couple years ago, and it was long.

D. This weekend…ish

First, we’re giving lots of bonus points to the Italian federation today (there’s a first time for everything) for live streaming nationals this weekend. Women’s competition began today, men’s starts tomorrow, and then finals are on Sunday. In the women’s AA today, Asia D’Amato reigned as the only one of the ’03 quartet to hit beam, which allowed her to take the national title, just head of Desiree Carofiglio, who had an excellent day to shut me up about the worlds team. I mean, this was her Dowell:

(Although she did only tie Mori on FX at 13.650 and that was with Mori struggling on her final double pike.)

Villa fell on her tuck full on beam and had a near-disaster on her 3/1 on floor going 800 miles OOB to place 3rd (still only 0.5 out of first place though), followed by Alice D’Amato and then Elisa Iorio. Will be interesting to see who gets to do the AA in qualification at worlds.

Meanwhile, the Paris World Cup runs Saturday and Sunday (qualification Saturday, finals Sunday), and a solid field is expected featuring most of the best Frenchies, and also Ellie Downie, Petrounias, Tomas Gonzalez, Rhys McClenaghan, Chuso, and Varinska and Bachynska. The Olympic Channel is streaming finals on Sunday at 1:30pm local time.

The Dutch women are back in action on Saturday, hosting a meet against Spain, Hungary, and Switzerland beginning at 11:00am local.

The senior women will compete at the Australian Classic on Monday and Wednesday, with 20 WAG athletes scheduled to compete, including the whole nominative worlds roster.

E. Szombathely World Cup

Last weekend’s Szombathely Challenge Cup can best be summed up in a series of GIFs (what can’t?)

F. GymCastic

We’re back this week with a deep dive into men’s selection camp and the departure of Dennis McIntyre, plus thoughts on Dutch things.

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