Things Are Happening – December 20, 2019

A. American Cup

USAG announced the first entrants for the American Cup, revealing that Morgan Hurd and Sam Mikulak will grace us with their presences—with the second US gymnast for each division to be named later. Presumably, the selection of Hurd is designed specifically to shut up those of us who still aren’t done talking about the worlds selection process. Nice try.

The sub-announcement here is that Simone will not be competing at American Cup, because otherwise…they would have announced her. I’m guessing Simone will end up going to the Tokyo one because of Olympic host and whatnot.

This American Cup will be different from any other American Cup because of its status as an Olympic qualifier. It’s the first event in the series to determine which three countries on the women’s side and men’s side will earn an additional +1 Olympian to go to Tokyo along with their already qualified teams of four.

All 12 nations that qualified teams to the Olympics are eligible to send athletes to AA world cups this year, so with the extra wildcard spot that the US receives as host, that means we’ll have 13 men and 13 women competing at American Cup rather than the traditional nine. Because of that, the competition has had to make a slight format change.

Instead of the usual system—where the men would start with floor and horse and then the women (and NBC) would join the competition in the third rotation—the men and women will be competing in two entirely separate sessions, with the women in the usual time slot and the men competing later in the afternoon. This is absolutely necessary because American Cup is already wayyyy too long, and now you’re adding a bunch more gymnasts. It needed to be split up. For my sake, if no one else’s.

This is also a win for dedicated MAG fans because they’ll see more routines than the usual 3.75, though probably a loss for men’s gymnastics exposure because you know the women will still be on NBC and the men will at best be on NBCSN, if not just on streaming.

I’ll be interested to see the rest of the AA world cup selections for the US men this year because unlike the women (who can send all different people to the different meets and still be comfortable winning the series) the men don’t have that luxury and need to be very strategic about who they’re sending to which meets to try to place in that top 3—without breaking Mikulak by just sending him to all of them.

B. UCLA Signings

Because only losers announce all their signings during signing week anymore, UCLA yesterday added two additional gymnasts to its class for the 2021 season—scrappy little nobodies named Emma Malabuyo and Ana Padurariu.

Malabuyo and Padurariu are huge recruiting gets and could both be massive stars in college gymnastics…but also have extensive injury histories that mean their signings do not come without risk. The class they’re joining (which also includes Jordan Chiles, Frida Esparza, and Chae Campbell) will have to do a loooooooot to replace this year’s seniors and can’t afford critical members to be all, “Oh actually I’m super broken from elite and my back is just spiders and I won’t compete.” They have to do much routines. Many 10.

There’s still as yet no word on Brooklyn Moors, who is also theoretically supposed to be part of this class but wasn’t in the initial announcement or the Malabuyo/Padurariu announcement.

C. What Else?

-Andreea Raducan was like GET ME OUT OF THIS and resigned from her position atop the Romanian federation because she doesn’t need that shit. Hasn’t the woman been through enough? And now you’re going to try to make her fix that basket of snakes?

-Amy White of “bring me the secret documents and the toe of a pregnant newt, don’t ask why” fame is no longer with USAG starting now mysteriously. Also Maggie Haney’s hearing is going to be in January.

-Kenzito is competing again, showing a 6.9 D score on floor at the Toyota International. Meanwhile, Melnikova arrived at the women’s competition and said, “ALL THE TITLES ARE MY TITLES.”

D. GymCastic

In our final episode of the year, we catch up on all the news from December, including a discussion of the Jon Horton twitter dust-up re: the Simone tour (about which I have some feelings on the undercurrent of resentment of women’s success that tinges so many of the comments about “just wanting to grow MAG”) and the Russian Olympic ban that’s totally not going to end up being a ban, you guys. When Russians win gold, they’ll just raise a flag of Valentina’s face and play “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” and you’ll barely know the difference.

We also hand out our very serious Best of 2019 Awards and discuss our Best of the Decade lists.


E. OK Byeeeeeeeeeeeee

I’m going gymternet silent for the next nine days, but I have scheduled pieces to run here and there during that period (more team previews, the updated WTF Is NCAA Scoring posts), so you won’t notice I’m gone. Like when you put the pillow in the bed in movies so your parents don’t know you’ve snuck out and how that’s definitely a real thing that works.

34 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – December 20, 2019”

  1. >There’s still as yet no word on Brooklyn Moors

    This is a bit puzzling, but perhaps UCLA is just spreading out their announcements (…but why not also spread out Malabuyo and Padurariu into their own individual announcements?) If any two were going to be grouped together in an announcement, you would think that Canadian besties Moors and Padurariu would be announced together.

    At the recent Worlds, Moors did say in a Gymcastic interview (in youtube video entitled “Brooklyn Moors (CAN) Interview 2019 Worlds Stuttgart – Qualifications”):
    “I’m already committed to UCLA and I don’t think I’m ever changing no matter what…UCLA’s going to be my home.”

    UCLA will lose a stellar senior class but then immediately bring in Moors, Malabuyo, Padurariu, Chiles, Frida Esparza, and Chae Campbell…Wow!

    1. >There’s still as yet no word on Brooklyn Moors

      Moors’ own Twitter and Instagram accounts still show as of 12/20/2019:
      ” Future ucla bruin 24’ ”
      (where 2024 is the four-year graduation year for those entering in Fall 2020).

      Are there are enough scholarships available for such an impressive entering group? Even with Laney Madsen apparently having decommitted from UCLA, that class may be nearly described as an embarrassment of riches if Moors joins them as planned.

      1. Ucla will lose ross, kocian, Hano, tratz, grace and Anna Glenn, Macy Toronjo and Gracie Kramer. I know for a fact the first six are on scholarship so that should theoretically free six scholarships for Frida, Chae, Emma, Jordan, Ana and Brooklyn

    2. Also, Anna and Grace Glenn are redshirt juniors (injury freshman year), and they could come back for another year.

      1. On that note, I noticed during introductions at Meet the Bruins that both Glenns said they were “fourth years” rather than saying they’re “seniors.” Perhaps there is no reason whatsoever behind the wording, but I wondered if they maybe phrased it this way because they haven’t yet decided whether or not they want to stay around for a fifth year.

      2. And the rumor is that Anna and Grace Glenn = 1 scholarship, not 2, because they wanted to go to UCLA and were willing to “split” a scholarship (not sure who is the official recipient).

  2. What I really wanna know is the Shayla Worley UCLA story and the true tea! lmao. Someone @ her 🙂

    1. Or the time that the Worleys had a Go Fund Me page to take the family to China to see her compete because she was a “lock” for Beijing. Promised to return the money if she didn’t make the team or give it to another team member and then never returned the money and the entire family went to China on vacation.

      Miss Val apparently didn’t like Mrs. Worley and Shayla commenting to each that there were a lot of “queers” around UCLA while in her presence and immediately withdrew the scholarship from Shayla because of said comments.

      The Worleys paraded around like they were royalty rather than white trash.

      1. Oh I heard it was racist comments from the Worleys about LA, not homophobic ones, but either way… not surprising.

  3. I love that Spencer has pre-prepared content for when he is on vacation. Spencer, you’re the best!!

  4. When Kensley mentioned her fav moments of the decade she mentions 2016 Aly Raismans crumbing down into ‘tears’ after winning silver. But, there were no tears! Re watch. She was having a cry without tears moment. Maybe she was dehydrated.

  5. Go Morgan! You show them being on the B team in 2019 is behind you! Meanwhile, all the other countries will send their best AA athletes.

    Go Sam! It’s on American soil, so you should perform at your highest!
    Are they really going to make you go to all of these for a possible shot at the extra Olympic spot? Or is this just saving face when on home turf?

    Also, back to back episodes on GymCastic about Jonathan Horton, just in time for his new book Falling Forward out last week. Although most of the talk wasn’t nice. PLUGGED though!

  6. Exactly right on USAG trying to “apologize” to Hurd by giving her Scam.

    It will be the easiest of the 4 to win. Forster is saving Biles, Suni, and McCallum for Tokyo, Stuttgart, and Birmingham.
    Also, we don’t know if Hurd will be the designee for points or the wild card and not eligible for points.

    1. TF is he saving Grace for? After her Stuttgart performance she hardly even deserves a World Cup let alone to be “saved” because we need her to win a harder one.

      1. Simone, Suni, Riley and Grace … those are the strongest all arounders if you look at summer-fall 2019. AA totals is probably how TF will choose the Tokyo team too. Grace can make a significant error and still end up on the AA podium, the same cannot be said for Morgan.

        Morgan or her stans don’t need or deserve an apology. Athletes get spots to international competitions by earning them by proven, recent performances.

        The USAG announcement for the athletes at the American Cup is just another poor decision that they’ve become known for. It’s a disservice to the national team athletes this far in advance.

        Morgan might be the best strategic athlete in March, but that cannot be known this long in advance and certainly not based on recent performances.

      2. Uh…have you seen the results? McCallum was 5th in the World with a fall off BB in qualifications. Had she not fallen she would have been ranked 3rd. Let’s not forget that she “won” American Cup last year to get USA 1st place, 60 points for the World AA Federation Cup. (Leanne Wong was the Wild Card and not eligible for points). She’s a 2 time World Team member, 2018 Pac Rim champion and 2018 Pan American Champions Champion. She’s consistently in the top 3 in the AA in the US. But sure Jan, let’s focus on one BB fall during qualifications at Worlds. LOL. Haters gonna hate.

      3. Consistently in the top three at nationals? She has one national medal to her name. A bronze that if she had been scored correctly at that nationals wouldn’t even belong to her.

      4. And did you people ever think that maybe just maybe Morgan actually earned her spot at this upcoming American Cup? She did after all actually go to the last training camp of the year. Perhaps she looked great there and Tom felt she deserved this assignment the most. But no, Morgan haters seem to think she’s the worst gymnast they’ve ever seen and that she’s never accomplished anything. She’s not the one who’s been to two world championships yet has never even made into a single individual final.

    2. Ya we’ve all seen the results. 2019 started with Grace not even managing to win the American Cup against the wildcard entry.
      She’s the one who skipped PanAm Games yet performed horribly on night one of nationals to place 10th that day. She was awful again at trials and brought that with her to worlds. So which results were you referring to? The results that prove that she’s had a really rocky year? She was making the same mistakes at every meet and was falling at almost all of them.

      1. You are forgetting her 2nd place finish night 2 of nationals to place 3rd overall. She finished UB in 3rd place at World Trials after falling on it during the AA. She was 5th in the World WITH a fall. Regardless of her inconsistency last year at times she is still able to win World Cup AAs. She may have finished 2nd to Wong at American Cup, but she beat everyone else, which was the point, as she was the official competitor for the US.
        The US was extremely inconsistent last year with the exception of Biles. Lee fell multiple times at Worlds, yet she is still one of the best AAers in the World. Wong and Hurd failed to make the World team, yet they are both capable of winning World Cup AAs. McCallum, McCusker, Lee, are as well. Skinner would likely give a run for 1st place in a World Cup AA, thought UB will hinder her. Even Eaker might be able to get the win.

        I get your opinion that you don’t care for her as a gymnast, but facts are facts. Regardless of your feelings for her, McCallum is one of the best AAers in the World as the results at Worlds AA qualifications demonstrated.

      2. I’m not a huge fan of Grace or Morgan’s performances in 2019, but if you’re saying Morgan is a higher scoring all arounder than Grace last year, then you’ve obviously not looked at their scores.

        Both need to become more consistent and Morgan has to bring up her difficulty, but in all honesty I see neither one making the Tokyo team. I think their best performances are behind them, but hope I’m wrong.

        Leanne and Kayla are more likely to surpass them both. As far as the American Cup, it seems you would give it to someone that’s a top four all arounder, which Morgan is not. That’s why people are surprised.

        It’s not about winning an argument, I think people are assuming others haven’t watched all of the competitions or looked at the scores and are only looking at old medals and the all arounder series on the Olympic Channel. They’re all amazing athletes.

    3. Yay I’m so glad this winnable debate is back again 🙄

      I highly doubt that USAG cares about “apologizing” to gymnasts. They probably just thought Hurd was the best choice for American Cup. In the past, she’s been the most consistent out of these contenders, but also has the lowest peak scores. Not to mention she’s been relied up on as a “lead-off” many times – this is like a lead-off for the whole series.

      1. She’s also had the most time to get ready since her offseason started about a month earlier.

      2. It will be earlier in the season for most of the NOC, so likely the competition will not be as strong at American Cup as the others. I expect Tokyo to have the best field since it is the Olympics home. If I am non-American, I would prefer to compete at one of the other meets. Hurd had a rough year, that isn’t to say she isn’t a World class AA athlete. Hopefully she fixed FX because that is her glaring weakness right now considering she is a former FX World silver medalist.

    4. Morgan was 4th at nationals. That’s a top 4 all arounder. It was Simone, Sunisa, Grace and Morgan. Top 4.

    1. Bless. That is a weird fall. And notice that she also falls (comes nowhere close to landing) on the last pass – the challenging back 1 1/2. Her failed college career helped bring down Jay Clark as head coach at UGA, and for that I am forever grateful to Shayla.

  7. A little off topic but espn just alerted me to the fact that simone’s tour can be abbreviated GOAT 🐐. And this is intentional. She’s going on the GOAT tour! We should all call it the GOAT Tour from now on.

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