Because it’s been a while.
A. Simone’s First Pitch
You know, obviously start with the most important news. Simone did a first pitch, electing to go for the back full in jeans, which puts it pretty high up the rankings right there because of her D score. You know she’s pissed that she landed it kind of short though.
Ideally, you would like to see your gymnastics first pitch take place in a single sequence and show good rhythm in connection. I’m not wild about how she had to wait for her Mistress of the Robes to deliver the ball to her after the back full, but we can work on it. She’s still got a year until she has to do her post-Olympics first pitches.
And pretty solid pitch as far as gymnasts go. I mean, she’s obviously never thrown anything in her life before, but we’ve seen it go a lot more tragically. And if you thought I was going to pass up any opportunity to revisit this…
I’ve truly never been happier. (See: Gymnastics First Pitches — A GIFstory)
Additional bonus points are also awarded to Simone for the use of hilarious height discrepancy.
B. Cottbus Nominative Roster
The 5th apparatus Olympic qualifier will be upon us in less than a month now, and the nominative roster for Cottbus has been released.
Post-worlds, we’re seeing those who are now in “Oh crap, I need this” mode kick it into gear, with Epke Zonderland on the list for high bar—along with Hidetaka Miyachi, as those two battle it out for the HB spot, currently tied on 85 points. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them get to the maximum of 90 points and have to go to a total score tiebreaker.
Tomas Gonzalez is also attending his first qualifier to do floor (going to be tough because Rayderley Zapata has that one nearly sewn up at this point, and is competing here). Gonzalez is currently 2nd alternate for the all-around spots from worlds, and his best path to the Olympics is likely two people ahead of him getting injured and not being able to go to Tokyo—or not being sent by their NOC.
The Chinese men are going ALL IN on an apparatus Olympic spot, and they’re definitely going to end up winning a couple of these events and heading to an intra-country tiebreak since each nation can earn only one spot per gender through apparatus world cups.
You Hao currently leads both rings and PBars, but he’s on the list to compete only PBars, so it looks like the strategy is to have him go for that spot and let Liu Yang go after rings (currently ranked 3rd there). Though Ali Zahran and Courtney Tulloch are both going after that rings spot as well, and are both competing at Cottbus, as is Eleftherios Petrounias. Now. After he didn’t get a spot at worlds. And he’s of course very capable of running the table at the remaining events if his arms are still attached.
The US has elected not to send any athletes to Cottbus. I could have seen the men sending someone who didn’t go to worlds like Colin Van Wicklen—it’s highly unlikely that the US men will get an Olympic spot this way, but why not.
For the women, the only one who’s going this route is Carey, and she was just at worlds, so if you’re skipping out on an event, this one makes sense to skip out on. She’s not in a position where she has to go to all of these. Though it is worth noting that she will need to go to some. At least one. Carey doesn’t have maximum points yet, so there’s nothing stopping Maria Paseka from going to the remaining events, racking up maximum points, and passing Carey on vault. For example. The US would need to send Carey to some of the remaining events to prevent that from happening—or a similar situation on floor, where Mori and Ferrari sit just 8 points behind Carey. Paseka, Mori, and Ferrari are all on the roster for Cottbus.
Also interesting, China has not put Lyu Jiaqi—the current leader on bars—into this event, but they are sending Fan Yilin, who is currently in 2nd place. Looks like she’s the chosen one for that spot? Also keep an eye on Li Qi, who is currently 2nd to Emma Nedov on beam. Both are attending this event. (As is Jia Fangfang, our tumbling world champ turned floor secret weapon.)
This Olympic qualification is getting exciting. If you’re into that kind of thing.
I have updated the full 2020 qualification page with the teams and gymnasts that have already qualified as well as the current standings of the apparatus world cup series.
C. Developments in Crazy
I have a firm, blanket belief that everyone involved in every aspect of the US women’s program is crazy and a psychopath and would run a suicide cult if not for their involvement in gymnastics. Nothing that has happened over the last month has done anything to dispel that belief. That is all.
Anyway, the Maggie Haney case appears to be on hold because they literally can’t find a single Team USA athlete willing to be involved with any of you people. HMMM A CLUE.
Also word on the street is that Svetlana Khorkina gave birth to a human baby. I have my doubts.
In different-type-of-crazy news: Fusuke Maeda went and did a triple back over the high bar and everyone was like, “Ahhhhh” and I was like, “Do a quad.”
D. Other Meets That Exist
Aside from Cottbus, we’re moving into the “fun” portion of the season, the one with a bunch of meets in central Europe where you compete in mixed pairs slash don’t always have to do all the events if you don’t want to.
On Saturday, the Netherlands is hosting the Brabant Trophy, a mixed pairs event featuring Melnikova, Stretovich, Regini-Moran, Bart, and Casimir, among others, and the Swiss Cup is coming up on November 3rd.
But basically, yeah, you’re in the wilderness until Cottbus. Time to get excited about NCAA? Time to get excited about NCAA.
E. Retirement-y Things
Tutya Yilmaz posted that she has retired from gymnastics. She competed at worlds this year, but her 48.265 was third among the Turkish gymnasts and saw her per-country-ed out of the Olympic qualification spots.
Rianna Mizzen also announced her retirement following injuries. We last saw her compete at worlds on Australia’s 2017 team, and while she’s competed here and there since then, she hasn’t been healthy for any spell.