Things Are Happening – November 4, 2019

A. November camp

USAG confirmed that Laurie Hernandez is indeed attending the November national team camp, as she alluded to on the Twitter Box. The camp roster features…nearly all the seniors, though the members of the world championship team do not have to attend. Jordan Chiles and Trinity Thomas are also not scheduled to make a cameo in this episode.

A couple discussion-worthy notes appeared in Nick Zaccardi’s piece about Laurie’s return: Laurie was not required to send video to verify her readiness before being invited to camp. I think that’s initially jarring because it’s so different from what we’re used to, though I don’t have a problem with there being an open invitation to past world/Olympic medalists to return to camp if they feel prepared. It shows trust in the athletes as though they are…aware human people rather than weird pets? “You’ve been here before, and I trust you to know whether you’re ready or not.”

It’s not a bye right onto the national team. It’s just a November camp. I wish it weren’t based on some rando conversation with Tom at nationals (if Laurie is auto-invited back, then all former medalists should be given the same consideration), but no issue with the actual move.

The other note worth picking apart—which also came from Tom—is the idea that the one of the two US individual competitors at the Olympics would be viewed as the team alternate and would be selected at least partially on the basis of being able to fill in on vital events should an injury befall a team member.

Where this comes from: At the Olympics, unlike worlds, you cannot send a traveling alternate to train with the team and do PT, the way Skinner did at worlds this year. You just get your team members, which is particularly significant this year as there are just four on a team and all are expected to compete AA in qualification. Typically, the US has set up a separate semi-nearby base for the alternates to train (like when Iordache was able to come in for that day and train with the US alternates in Rio after Romania was like “BE HOMELESS PLEASE”).

Not sure exactly what the US plans to do for Tokyo, but in the event of a last-minute injury (Peszek 2008 style), the Olympics doesn’t allow for an immediate alternate to be there in the training gym ready to step in. For this Olympics, however, there will be individual competitors from the US also hanging around, so the US can use one of them as an alternate should something happen.

To me, selecting an athlete for that 6th Olympic spot primarily based on her alternate capabilities would be a lame use of the spot. You pick the people with the best individual event medal chances for those positions. And honestly, those two considerations don’t look like they’re going to be mutually exclusive.

If, say, your two individual competitors at the Olympics end up being Jade Carey and Kara Eaker because you like their individual medal chances, well, they’ve been placing pretty well in the AA lately too and can work as very viable alternates for the team spots. But individual medal capability needs to be the first priority in selecting the 5th and 6th Olympians.

Side note: The mentions of Jade Carey as being basically guaranteed an individual Olympic spot are making me increasingly [ellipsis]. She has a large lead, but this has been treated as all-but-guaranteed based on the expectation that Carey would go to more events. She still needs to go to those events and do her normal and keep other people from getting points. Otherwise, it would be very manageable for Maria Paseka to pass her.

The US program…knows that, right? Because you can never be sure. The internal US criteria written last year mention sending athletes to three events and don’t specifically mention sending them to more.

Speaking of the apparatus Olympic route and those criteria, if Laurie Hernandez were to be placed back on the national team this fall/winter, she would then meet the US criteria for being sent to apparatus world cups by virtue of her 2016 beam silver medal. #justsayin

In other US national team developments, Jordan Bowers retired from elite so that KJ can eventually lift her chin toward her while she’s on beam with the pride of a thousand suns.

B. Swiss Cup

In a sign that times may be a-changin’, a female US elite gymnast spent her Sunday competing at a late-year fun meet with no discernible practical applications. So that was cool.

Jade Carey—definitely undermining my assumption that she wasn’t going to Cottbus because of post-worlds resting and increasing the strategic anxiety noted above—joined Allan Bower to win the title at the mixed-pairs Swiss Cup. The duo hit vault and floor respectively in the final round as Team Wonder Bread outscored a Ukrainian team that had to deal with being too Ukrainian to function (meaning Varinska fell on bars, even though Oleg nailed PB for 15+).

The highest score of the final round actually belonged to the bronze medalist Swiss team of Steingruber and Hegi, but they had been relegated to the bronze-medal match after splatting in the semifinals and losing to Ukraine. The splats also caught up to the Russian team of Dalaloyan and Schekoldina, which finished 6th.

Much like the Brabant Trophy the previous weekend, athletes were required to select three different events to compete in the 1st round, 2nd round, and semifinals—and then could choose any event they wanted in the final round. Carey elected to save herself from having to do floor here by going with VT, UB, BB in the first three rounds, and then vaulting again in the final.

I spent GymCastic last week praising the competitors at the Brabant Trophy for not vaulting in the final round because it’s boring, even though they could obviously get a better score there. And then Jade Carey and Giulia Steingruber were like, “Cool story bro, eat these vault scores.”

A number of the competitors made a whole Swiss tour of it last week, also competing at the “three events of your choice because tired” Arthur Gander Memorial, where Lorette Charpy was the surprise winner in the women’s competition and Oleg Verniaiev was the non-surprise winner in the men’s competition because gots to get those bills.

C. Cottbus roster

Speaking of Cottbus, November’s Olympic qualifier did a much needed “oh, wait, yeah, also these people” update to the roster, adding US men who were previously not on the official registrations—Colin Van Wicklen, Donnell Whittenburg, and “Stephan” Nedoroscik. So…is this like a Steve Urkel/Stephan Urquelle situation, where Nedoroscik is suddenly going to show up without those pommel horse goggles and be all hot now?

D. Also…

I was looking through a 1990 edition of USA Gymnastics Magazine (remember magazines?) for GymCastic research purposes and stumbled upon some real winners.

There has never been a more early-90s concept than a men’s XXL white t-shirt with Bugs Bunny on it leaning against the word gymnastics. The idea of Shannon Miller doing an autograph signing while wearing that t-shirt is so vivid for me right now.

Also, what if you just mailed in this order form today and were like ONE BUGS BUNNY GYMNASTICS SHIRT PLEASE?


There was also this hotness. My favorite part is the looming specter of a single ghostly windbreaker sleeve (with excellent indeterminate shoulder location—is it here? Is it there?).

Jessie Spano WISHES she could put her mind to this.


Meanwhile, here we have what was supposed to be a high five but looks more like a slow interpretive maypole performance that Hunter and Jaycen choreographed for their wedding and made everyone else sit through.


You guys…

BURLY. BOOKENDS.

Is it an inappropriate wedding gift to give Hunter and Jaycen a DVD of Burly Bookends 4?


Oh ring ring, I’d like to order a pair of white sweatpants by phone.

You know what, make it two, so I can dress my children like twins.

And if both pairs could have little blood spatters down the leg, that would be ideal.

A MATCHING WHITE SWEATSHIRT?!?! SOLD!

Right after this was taken, the little one pulled the head off a hamster and started slowly singing, “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.”


Luan, don’t say “flip the monkey.”


NEED A HUG? This demon rabies monster that I made from my own leg hair is ready to help!


Are…both rabbits named Jenni?

I know that shouldn’t be my first question, but it is.

I mean, these rabbits are definitely haunted, that’s a given. You wake up in the middle of the night, and that thing is doing Mary Lou’s compulsory beam routine entirely of its own volition, is what I’m saying.


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64 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – November 4, 2019”

  1. Ooooh – speculation time!
    What research might Spencer have been doing that the answers could be found in 1990 USA Gymnastics magazines? I’m guessing it wasn’t late-1980s/early-1990s merchandise.

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  2. I’m really disappointed here now. Laurie Hernandez did send a video. It’s called, “Is it Possible with Laurie Hernandez”, it was even aired on the Olympic Channel during Worlds.

    The good news – the answer was yes; the bad news – Laurie couldn’t do it … YET. Tom was impressed by her novel foreshadowing that he sent her an invite. #Laurie4TeamPUR

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  3. Tokyo stocks: Simone, Suni, Riley, MyKayla; Jade, Kara.
    Grace is really the only person I can see changing that picture based on Tom’s statement and being rightfully in the mix already.

    Kara will hopefully change up her beam routine or improve her ring leaps, otherwise she won’t be a safe bet. I saw Emma on the list too, if she’s fully recovered, she’s better AA than Morgan or Leanne has shown this year. TBH if AA is going to be THE big deal, Kayla is the junior that could come snag a spot. Rumor is her upgrades would put her in top 5.

    I still don’t know what Laurie’s end game is, but I don’t see that happening. Even if she shows up with a top 3 BB routine, it won’t be enough, I’m guessing if you aren’t top 8 AA score or called Jade, you have 0 chances of going.

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    1. Kara has a DTY did it last camp in FEB. Did it well. She needs to focus on AA and not just beam. She is a solid aa, good at floor, improve bars, improve her leaps or change routine structure and GET THE DAMN DTY in competition!

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      1. At this point I feel that its just gonna be the top 4 aa at trials and jade and whoever places next as the team because tom forester and “selecting”.

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      2. Kara’s 1.5 is suspect enough that I struggle to see a DTY becoming a regular feature of her program any time soon…

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      3. Top 4 at trials + #5 and Jade is a pretty reasonable strategy for picking the team given the 4-4-3 format at this Olympics.

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    2. Simone and Jade are locks for Tokyo.

      The four others at the moment in my opinion will come from:
      Sunisa > Grace > Riley > Kara
      Kayla > Leanne > MyKayla > Morgan > Emma

      Every single one of these girls are working on upgrades, some are big. Which means they increase the chance of injuries. The first four already have strong chances for medals, they’re also the top 4 AA at the moment.

      I suspect Tom will choose on AA alone, since Jade is unlikely to forfeit her guaranteed spot. Considering AA totals seem to coincide with the same girls that can get individual medals and the huge lead the team has regardless, I don’t think it’s as terrible as others say it is.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Emma has competed at like one early-season senior meet her whole career… it’s unbelievably ridiculous to say she’s “better AA than Morgan or Leanne this year.” Like yeah, she *could* be. Skinner could also be #3 on bars if she cleaned up her form, but we have zero evidence to suggest that she can or will.

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    4. ooohhh, don’t sleep on the juniors! people are talking about Kayla DiCello, and Olivia Greaves looks incredible for bars. it really is a deep, deep field.
      Personally, I am not convinced Kara is the front-runner for the 2nd individual spot. She was on two worlds teams and didn’t medal on her supposed sure-bet event. Don’t get me wrong, she’s fantastic, they all are. But in the grand scheme of things, I can see someone like Olivia Greaves passing her for the individual spot.
      This AA-focused strategy for the individual spots is really confusing, though. Like, is Tom trying to select an athlete with a stand-out event, or going for the 6th best all-arounder? these seem different strategies and it seems hard to train for both at the same time.

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  4. Why does Lauries comeback bug me? I feel like her coming back for only the olympics seems to be a cash, sponsor, endorsement grab! She has never even been to a worlds competition etc! I just feel its greedy. YET if she is in shape, and is the top 4, I say get it gurl, 2020 it is, make dat munty hunty! But it just doesn’t feel right to me.

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    1. Why doesn’t it feel right? It gets sickening when people constantly treat gymnasts like pets who have to act and behave a certain way in order to be treated with respect.

      Considering how few professional gymnasts there are and how short the window is for sponsorship opportunities, Laurie using her comeback as a sponsorship grab isn’t a bad thing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. @Anonymous No, what is truly sickening is people like you who attempt to justify utter greed and self-interest by demonizing sensible commenters who call out such obvious and egregious behavior. ‘Pets?’ Expecting minimal amounts of class, or at least something other than Retton/Khorkina-type vulgarity and opportunism is treating gymnasts like ‘pets?’ Hernandez had her turn. She was only at an Olympic-competitor level for about six or eight months ONCE, and she’ll never be there again.

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      2. I may slightly roll my eyes at Laurie coming back in a sponsorship grab, but at the end of the day, who is she really hurting? All of the other gymnasts trying for Tokyo except Simone are (so far) keeping their NCAA eligibility so it’s not like she is taking away sponsorship money that might have gone to other gymnasts. Simone has enough endorsements that I’m not worried about her. If anything, Laurie and her sponsorships could bring some positive attention back to gymnastics, the way Simone has done. And these days gymnastics could use all the positive attention it could get.

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      3. Oh please! This is another girls dream, which Laurie has already experienced! Any girl should take advantage of sponsorship because of the short window, indeed! But THAT being your motivating factor, etc doesn’t sit well with many! She will get it either way. Oh look the underdog who came back so late, and made her dreams come true again! Or the narrative of, I tried, but sometimes things dont always work out the way we want, self esteem speeches.

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    2. yeah, it bugs me too. I think it’s because she’s taking so much air out of the discussion – so much attention is focused on her even though she’s not on a realistic path to become a Tokyo team member. It’s completely fair for her to want to come back and want to compete again. But it’s a bit disingenuous to pretend she’s on a straight path to Tokyo.

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      1. I think if Laurie said “I know it will be very difficult to make the team because the other girls are so strong and my comeback has progressed slower than expected, but here’s why I’m still trying/why I think I have a shot” I would feel a bit more kindly toward her.

        Of course she probably can’t say that publicly, but since she hasn’t, it sort feels (to me) like she thinks she can just walk back onto the team if she is in shape. Which is disrespectful to everyone else who either started their comebacks at appropriate times (Biles, Skinner, Thomas for what she appears to be aiming for (I think Trials, not the team)) or has been competing fiercely this entire quad (everyone else).

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  5. The only successful comebacks are the ones back for more than 1 yr before the start of the Olympics.. Good luck to hernandez to being the first one to break that trend… It s the new age so i guess tom is trusting the athletes with more saying… But that wont give hernandez any favor at the end if she hasnt earned it..

    I still see skinner having a much better chance than laurie at this point

    So we are definitely not allow and/ or wont bring anyone else except the six? I am still a little confused because i thought you can still put in anyone you want 24 hr before qual?

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    1. I am also more confused now about the alternate thingy. I know for jade’s nominative spot, if she gets injured or give up that spot if because they want her on the team to replace someone else injured, US will lose it.

      But the other 5 slots are non-nominative so US should be able to name literally anyone to those slots 24 hr before qual?

      Also, I thought that after qual, you can’t really have any substitution. Meaning the 4 member team are locked by name and after qualification, you can’t put in the individual non-nominative person anyway for an injury?

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      1. Jade can still say nevermind on her spot and they could win 2 extra non-nominative spots before Tokyo. Almost zero chance Jade would do that.

        But, yes, they can put in anyone they want 24hr before qual on any non-nominative spots. There just won’t be a travelling alternate so he’s basically just giving a highly unlikely reason (ahem…excuse) to put the strongest AA person left off the team in the 5th non-nominative spot.

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      2. WP, like anonymous said, you are still able to put someone in for any of 5 non-nominative spot up to 24 hrs before the competition. The complication is, that you cannot even start the process before the replaced one has surrendered her credentials and moved out of the Olympic village, and all the paperwork has to go through the USOC instead of just USAG.

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      3. And yes, once the competition has started, a team member is a team member and an individual is an individual. No change of that between the qualification and the team final. Otherwise some teams effectively would have an alternate and others not, which is not how it works.
        Also, you can in principle replace any of your 5 non-nominatives, but you cannot do it in such a way, that you put in the team your non-nominative individual and then bring in someone else for that non-nominative spot. Additional quota place will be lost in such case anyway, no matter if it was nominative or non-nominative. Reference: chapter H Additional Notes of OG Qualification Rules.

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      4. Well, in 2016 the US brought 3 traveling alternatives. But this time they will bring zero traveling alternates?

        If the injury happens after qualification to anyone, whether team or either of the two individual spots, then i do understand, that’s it you would just lose those spots, ie team will be 3 up 3 count for both qual and TF if the injury is to a team member. If it’s either one of the individual, then you have to give up that slot.

        I thought that if the injury to either a team member or the individual non-nominative is more than 24 hr before qual, then they can replace using anyone. They would only have to give up the nominative spot completely when there’s injury to that spot, no matter when. That’s not the case?

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      5. Oh FFS. No one is saying the US won’t bring traveling alternates. All Tom said is that the individual would likely be an alternate for the team. If there was the (hopefully unlikely) case of someone on the team being injured, the individual would be bumped up to the team and one of the alternates would replace the individual. It’s not the most strategic way of using either the individual spot or the alternate (because the individual and the person being injured may have completely different strengths) but it is a logistically logical way of doing it.

        Man, some of you people overthink everything.

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  6. The Swiss Cup … I’m surprised Jade chose to do UB and BB instead of FX. Working on confidence on those other 2 but went back to VT so they’d still win? I was half expecting her to do FX with the triple twisting double she’d shared on Twitter. Allan did a great job – his FX keeps improving and his solid PH score is badly needed on the men’s team; he might make the Tokyo team yet.

    Anyone know where we can see all of the upgrades the women’s team is putting together? I have seen a few, but any website where they are being compiled or discussed?

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      1. Actually if you look at the world’s selection report that picked the team, the #1 team selected was with Yul at 258.683, the #2 was if Alan took Yul’s spot at 258.599 – a difference of 0.09. Guess what? His floor score has increased by well more than that. Also factor in that Yul fell on PH at worlds in Team Q and Team F. Trevor also did no favors with his spot. So I’d say he does have a shot.

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    1. The new NCAA ruling doesn’t say you can compete as a professional. It doesn’t just dissolve all previous rules – it is specifically about athletes using their likenesses to earn money. I.e. endorsements.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Also, there are no actual new NCAA rules just yet… their announcement last week was about requiring each division to form a committee to begin coming up with the new rules. Those 3 committees, from the 3 divisions that make up NCAA sports, are then to submit their proposed new rules to the full NCAA in January of 2020. From there, if I remember correctly, the NCAA as a whole will work on cementing the new rules from the proposals through August of 2020. The new rules will not be implemented until at least 2021.

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  7. Seems like it would be in the US’s best interest NOT to send Jade to those remaining world cups and let Paseka have the VT spot. Then they have the freedom to choose all six Olympic spots.

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    1. Agreed. I don’t think the US should want Jade to get the spot.

      But since I want Canada to get a Pan Am spot and their chances increase significantly if Jade gets a nominative spot, I hope she gets it.

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    2. Although it would have been best for USA Gymnastics not to permit any gymnast to go the apparatus world cup route, they’re not going to hold Jade back now considering how close she is to guaranteeing her Olympic spot. Although the spot is not yet guaranteed, neither are the other two spots. Besides the point that Jade is very close to clinching that spot, there’s also the very real issue of fairness to consider – it wouldn’t be ethical for USA gymnastics to allow a gymnast to go this path and then pull that option away midway.

      Regarding the “5th spot”, it ideally would go to a gymnast who doesn’t work out on the 4-person team but has a good chance at a bars or beam medal (because Jade is already going for the vault and floor medals). It’s very possible that no one will fit that bill either because they’re not strong enough on bars or beam or they are strong enough but are also good enough to be on the 4-person team. On paper, Eaker is the most likely person for this spot now, but she could improve her all-around program enough to be on the 4-person team.

      If Tom does end up using the “5th spot” on someone like Wong or Skinner who can be an alternate, then the risk is that person loses out on everything (2 per’ed out of event/AA finals) and doesn’t get a team medal.

      It’s a sobering thought that a female US gymnast might leave the Olympics without a medal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But I think being in the Olympics itself would be a huge fulfillment than being an alternate left at home so I don’t think they mind even if they leave without a medal. It could also be a huge drive for this gymnasts to pursue for 2021 Worlds still especially as some of this girls would probably not retire from elite yet. Someone like Kyla Ross maybe.

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      2. That is the risk of the individual non team spot and also of jade spot is that neither can get the team medal and both can be 2 pered out…

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      3. I wrote the long post above so I’m directly replying to the comments above. I completely agree that the Jade Carey route route is risky in that it doesn’t guarantee anything and specifically guarantees no team gold. I do think the world cup route was the smartest for Jade at the time the decision was made because it has allowed her to fully control her own fate and not rely on being selected for Tokyo.

        I would argue however, that the other individual spot is going to be a very tough position to be in especially if that position is being used as an alternate spot. It’s going to be a pretty isolated and lonely spot to be in not being able to compete with the team and not being able to wear the national team leotard – even more so without a good chance at a medal.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Why wouldn’t it be ethical to stop sending Jade to World cups? The US rules state they’ll send eligible gymnasts to X number of cups (3 I think ?). That’s the deal.

        It’s certainly not less ethical than this whole allowing-one-gymnast-to-go-to-World-Cups-but-not-all thing.

        I have to agree that it might feel harsh to be the #5 gymnast who gets the non-team spot. But it’s a lot better than the classic alternate position. (Actually it’s kind of a fun idea that all the team alternates get to compete as individuals – too bad there’s not enough space to do this at every competition.)

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      5. I agree with the above that there’s no reason why USAG needs to send Jade to more ethically. They’re not taking away an opportunity from her. That was the whole Ted Stevens issue. She’s gone to three cups, hasn’t she? They take the scores from three cups. She’s had her opportunity. And as for the other two spots not being certain, that’s technically true I guess, but it really doesn’t seem likely, especially given the restrictions on which gymnasts are allowed to earn Olympic spots at the continental championships and how many more options they have who are eligible to earn the spots.

        Also, as for a US gymnast leaving without a medal, I really don’t think it’s so sobering. Both of the last US-fest Olympics have had at least one US gymnast leave with only a team medal. It’s not all that shocking that all six gymnasts might not be able to win an individual medal, especially given how much of that will be competition among themselves.

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      6. Simone, Jade, Sunisa, Kara can all get medals in EF. The next top AA are Grace and Riley. So that’s who is going. No other person has a high enough AA or EF score to likely medal without being 2 per country out. So that’s that.

        Team – Simone, Sunisa, Riley, Grace; that’s top 4 AA, team balance is good there as well.
        Individuals – Kara (5th AA), Jade.

        MyKayla or Kayla might get on the team if someone falters when it comes down to the wire, but I see no other possibilities barring injury.

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    3. Yeah, this isn’t the first time Spencer has made some sort of statement on here about how the US HAS to send Jade to more cups to earn the spot, and I’m pretty confused by it, especially given how he was so clear about how going the nominative spot route would be a bad strategy for USAG

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  8. Now that NCAA is moving to “Pay to play”, we’ll likely see gym warmups etc covered with sponsors’ logos etc just like the race car drivers. 😉

    [Which NCAA gymnast will likely get the Bubba Burger sponsorship?]

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    1. Will people please just READ THE ACTUAL PROPOSED RULE CHANGE instead of just making shit up and then extrapolating wildly about it?

      I know you’re joking but the NCAA is not moving to “pay to play.”

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t personally care since I’m not really interested in either gymnast, but it seems shitty that Ashton had to requalify elite before returning to camp after a year off, while Laurie doesn’t even have to show routines after three years off.

    Obviously those were different camps, and they’re different gymnasts, and also whatever sometimes things aren’t fair, but it is inconsistent.

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    1. well, laurie does have the advantage over ashton is that she was on the actual team and also did win an individual medal.

      but i do agree that you can’t just give anyone a free pass to the national team. and laurie is not getting a free pass to the national team yet. it’s only an invite to camp, not an invite to the national team.

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      1. Ashton was on two Worlds teams to Laurie’s one Olympic team, and Ashton’s experience was more recent, so I’m not sure there should be that much of an advantage. My point was just that Ashton was told she had to requalify elite just to attend camp (not to be on the NT), whereas Laurie apparently just had to talk to Tom Forster and say she wanted to go. That’s inconsistent and doesn’t fit with this whole fairness/transparency thing that Forster is supposedly promoting. (IMO they should’ve told Laurie the same thing purely from a strategic standpoint – if she’d had to get her shit together earlier this year to make an elite qualifier, she’d probably be a more legitimate contender now).

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      2. I also think letting Laurie go to camp just based on her decision is questionable. I disagree with Spencer that this shows improvement. I see the point that we’re trusting the athlete to judge her own physical preparedness, but the thing is camp isn’t just a “come one, come all” thing. Athletes do have to earn a camp invite, and I think Laurie should have to do the same after such a long break.

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  10. So – pending any real knowledge of what she actually looks like in competition right now – I think Laurie is less likely to be in contention for an Olympic team spot than for an individual spot, specifically for BB. I find it hard to believe that she could come back less than a year out from the Olympics and suddenly be one of the top AAers in the country, but she is gorgeous on beam (even in her training videos – I had forgotten how pretty she is to watch there) and if Eaker keeps getting slammed for her ring positions… well, maybe. It’s still a long shot, but that’s probably Laurie’s most likely route to 2020.

    As for the other spots, Biles is obviously a lock, and Suni Lee has got to be a frontrunner. I think Carey will definitely go, if not on the team then as an individual. Beyond that, your selection pool is: Morgan Hurd (should’ve taken her to Worlds!), MyKayla Skinner, Kara Eaker, Grace McCallum, Riley McCusker, Leanne Wong, and (maybe) Jordan Chiles, Kayla DiCello, and Olivia Greaves.

    I think the other frontrunners are, in no particular order, Skinner, McCallum, Hurd, Eaker, McCusker (if she’s healthy), and maybe Wong. Personally, my dream team is Biles, Lee, Hurd, and Skinner, which I think not only gives you great scoring potential but a great team dynamic and mental fortitude, plus Carey and Eaker/McCusker in the individual spots. But we shall see…

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    1. The way i see it, in this Tom’s world, if your not an AA you unlikely to make it. So just because Laurie can somehow bring her bb back to 2016, that by itself might be enough.

      So she has basically 7 months to get her AA and beam back. and possibly have to also put in upgrades on top of her 2016 program. I am not optimistic at all. That’s like doing it even faster than skinner making it to worlds. and for someone who hasn’t done much of any gymnastics since 2016 as compared to skinner who compete almost every week in college.

      I pretty much see this all as just her fulfilling her contracts with her sponsors which i mean, if that;s part of her contract then i guess it’s just business even if it does seem a little distasteful in some ways.

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  11. Can someone explain to me please why Jade might be expected to give up her spot if she wins the individual? It literally makes no sense. Why would she give up a guaranteed spot to hope for a possible chance? Plus of she did that, wouldn’t the US have one fewer person at the Olympics? Am I missing something here?! (I mean possibly, it is so confusing!)

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    1. The only reason Jade would do it is if she got in writing they’d put her on the team barring injury. She would agree because it’d be a guaranteed team medal. USAG would *prefer* to have 2 non-nominative spots and in every conceivable team score configuration Jade is on it.

      USAG would not do this because athletes would flip that she basically blackmailed a team spot by going the individual route while several other girls could have done the same, but weren’t allowed to.

      There is NO WAY this will happen, people need to STFU about it.

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      1. Thank you! Funny though as I still see her as being on the team even if she went as an individual. Why wouldn’t the coach put her up for vault in the team final though even if she’s one of the strongest athletes?

        Isn’t Simone also going through the AA qualifications? And someone will get a nominative spot from the Pan Ams surely?

        Why don’t some of the other gymnasts try for the individual world cups of there are still enough of them left?

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      2. Scorpiodancer, Jade going as an individual means that she cannot contribute any routines to the team qualification or final. If they substitute Jade for another athlete on the 4-person team, then the USA would be giving up that individual spot and the person replaced by Jade would not compete. The ONLY time the 5th or 6th spots would be used on the 4-person team would be in the case of an actual injury.

        I personally think the 6th spot needs to go to someone with beam/bars medal potential who could also do the all-around if needed. That spot seems to fit Eaker best right now, but she could also make the 4-person team if her all-around continues to get stronger.

        This 6th spot is also the most likely way for Laurie to make the Olympics. She’d need a Rio-level beam plus usable scores on the other 3 events (sort of where Eaker is now).

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      3. There are a few things regarding the qualification process which preclude the situation you proposed.

        I’ll start with the spots they earn. The US can’t earn a world cup apparatus spot, an AA world cup spot, and a continental championship spot. Each team is limited to two additional spots, with the earlier spots getting precedence in assignment, and the apparatus world cups the first assigned. In short, once Jade is set in her spot, that’s that and the US can’t get two more spots. As for Simone earning an additional spot, it will be a spot for the country and not for her. Also, she’s earning spots through the only route which allows people who were on the worlds team which earned the team spot (why it’s allowed for non-nominative spots and not nominative spots… I don’t know… FIG is stupid.)

        As for why they wouldn’t put her on the team, they could if for some reason she decided to ditch the world cup route (assumingit would work for her to decline the spot before the US is barred from getting the non-nominative spots) or she ended up not winning the nominative spot. However, if she gets the nominative spot, they would have to forfeit that spot to put her on the team and the US would be left with five spots instead of six. Tom has said outright they won’t do this, for obvious reasons. For the team and non-nominative spots, they can shuffle those around until 24 hours before competition, but the apparatus world cup spot is for the specific athlete and that athlete ONLY. Furthermore, the individual athletes have to compete separate from the team and, again, that has to be set 24 hours before competition, so they don’t just have a group of six to work with while other teams only have four.

        And, as for your original question about Jade declining her spot, this is something the Careys have actually expressed interest in. However, it seemed like they wanted to earn a nominative world cup spot AND THEN try for a team spot which she would ditch the world cup spot for. Again, Tom has basically shut that down. If she really wants to go she could still pursue that I guess and she is strong enough that she could probably get an additional spot the US picked for even if she didn’t make the team, but as the person above said, why would you do that?

        Also, just a further clarification that Jade rejecting her spot wasn’t what Spencer was referring to. She has gone to three world cups, and they take points from three. He was saying the to guarantee not losing her spot to gymnasts later in the series, USAG would need to send her to more cups, but I think it’s in USAG’s best interest not to do so. While it is definitely in Jade’s best interest to have a guaranteed spot for herself, it is in USAG’s to have as much control over who they send as possible. So they would probably actually prefer it if Jade lost her world cup spot to someone else and they could get the non-nominative spots.

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      4. Wow it’s so complicated. I had no idea the nominative person couldn’t compete with the team. Is that a US decision for them personally or is that the rule for everyone?
        I was also confused because of Simone going to the AA world cups she would almost certainly win. Then thinking there was no way the US coaches wouldn’t put her “on the team”.

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      5. Laura- that’s the rule for everyone. It’s not a USAG rule. The individual spot competitors are not part of the team. They’re there to compete as individuals. The only way they would be part of the team is in case of injury and in that case, they would no longer be an individual-they would be replacing a team member, like an alternate. And their individual spot would not be replaced by another athlete from their country.
        Personally, I think it’s dumb to choose any of the individual team members based on whether they could contribute to the team in case of injury. Just pick the best individual event medalist hope for the individual spot, pick the team based on the best team with backups built into the team, then name real alternates for the team in case a team member gets injured. And if a team member gets injured past the replacement deadline- oh well, that was always a possibility in any Olympic year.

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  12. Everyone is like “HERE’S THE REAL CONTENDERS FOR THE TOKYO TEAM” and then just lists the top 8 NT gymnasts.

    Declaring that Eaker, for example, will or won’t be on the team at this point is so meaningless.

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  13. Olympic channel’s ALL AROUND episode with Morgan practicing UB and the pressure to do insane upgrades for a chance at Tokyo was pretty sad. Unless she can upgrade UB to the point of being medal worthy, she really should be focusing on bringing up her AA overall, which a VT upgrade would be the easiest route to go. The whole 3rd UB score is nowhere near enough. Her biggest AA score this year puts her in #7 on the US team alone. o.o

    Without having an EF medal worthy routine or top 5 AA total score, she has basically 0 chance of going to Tokyo. I think Tom has been indicating for a while now they aren’t putting specialists on the 4 person team, apparently not even the last non-team spot either. I’m pretty concerned at this point about injuries more than anything else.

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