The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – February 7, 2020

A. Maggie Haney suspended

The long-delayed Maggie Haney hearing finally started this week and within 13 seconds resulted in a provisional suspension, pending the results of the hearing and investigation into allegations of verbal abuse such as threats, bullying, and harassment in addition to having gymnasts compete while injured.

It is at least somewhat encouraging that USAG has decided the prospect of garbage behavior like that gets you a suspension now, instead of a cake like before. Cut to the other elite coaches hiding their Most Verbal Abuse trophies from previous quads.

For now, Maggie has been added to the suspended members list and prohibited from contact with minors. There is a logistical wrinkle to this since Riley McCusker is 18 and could therefore continue to train with Maggie should she so choose—but there could not be any minor gymnasts in the gym at the time, and Maggie couldn’t coach at camp or at meets. So basically she’s suspended from coaching for the time being.

Meanwhile, let’s just copy and paste this from 1900 other posts at this point: Listen to people when they tell you about their own experiences. Don’t listen to people when they tell you about the experiences of others and what obviously could not possibly have happened, because they’ve never seen it. The egotism in that attitude remains remarkable to me. As though your personal experience is more accurate or important than others, or is universal fact that can be exactly mapped onto all other people. You don’t know. We don’t know. We weren’t there. So just listen.

B. Simone’s Yurchenko double pike

In fun news, Simone posted a video that you’ve definitely seen by now of her doing a Yurchenko double pike into a pit. It’s into a pit, so…you know…just, settle. But also, it’s Simone. And cool. And remarkable how realistic it looks as a proposition. She’s completing that vault early enough to try to land it for realsies, even though the only possible reason to do this vault is just to say that she can, and did.

Because nerd, my favorite part of this whole thing is theorizing about the prospective value of a Yurchenko double pike, since we don’t really have any equivalent skill values to go on by comparison.

Currently, the highest-valued vaults in the code are the Prod and the Biles at 6.4. This would certainly be the most difficult vault in the code, so as a start, it has to be above 6.4. In considering the value of the double pike, we also have to leave room for a prospective value of a Yurchenko double tuck, should someone do it. Because the code has started regularizing the value of individual vault upgrades at 0.4 each, we can assume that the double pike would be 0.4 more than the double tuck, which is a helpful standard to go on. I would also consider the Yurchenko double tuck to be more difficult than any vaults in the current code, so I’d say you put the prospective double tuck at 6.6. The code tends to like to go with even numbers for no reason, but I’m not complaining because it makes me feel safe—counting backwards by evens is so much more relaxing than counting backwards by odds, am I right? AMIRIGHT?

So if you theorize that the double tuck should be 6.6, then the double pike would go to 7.0.

I’m not saying that’s what the WTC would do. I’m saying that’s what I would do (there’s actually also a solid argument for the double pike at 7.2). The most likely thing the WTC would do is consider the Yurchenko double tuck at the same value as the Produnova at 6.4—those vaults are the same value in the men’s code, and the FIG likes to pretend the MAG and WAG codes are the same sometimes—and then go 6.8 for the Yurchenko double pike. That’s my guess. Or, they could consider the double tuck 6.2 and go 6.6 for the double pike if they really want to be dicks, but the outrage would be immense.

Or, they’ll just say it’s too “dangerous” and give it 2.4. WTC things.

C. World cup rosters

The rosters for the all-around world cups in Stuttgart and Birmingham have no been released, so let’s go through them.

Stuttgart men
David Belyavskiy (RUS)
Oleg Verniaiev (UKR)
Lin Chaopan (CHN)
Kazuma Kaya (JPN)
Yul Moldauer (USA)
James Hall (GBR)
Pablo Braegger (SUI)
Nestor Abad (ESP)
Andy Toba (GER)
Lukas Dauser (GER – wildcard)
Caio Souza (BRA)
Tang Chia-Hung (TPE)
TBD

Stuttgart women
Sunisa Lee (USA)
Angelina Melnikova (RUS)
Ana Padurariu (CAN)
Asia D’Amato (ITA)
Elisabeth Seitz (GER)
Kim Bui (GER – wildcard)
Asuka Teramoto (JPN)
Kelly Simm (GBR)
Tisha Volleman (NED)
Wei Xiaoyuan (CHN)
Aline Friess (FRA)
Alba Petisco (ESP)
Senna Deriks (BEL)

Birmingham men
Sun Wei (CHN)
Oleg Verniaiev (UKR)
Nikita Ignatyev (RUS)
Joe Fraser (GBR)
Giarnni Regini-Moran (GBR – wildcard)
Kazuma Kaya (JPN)
Ahmet Onder (TUR)
Yul Moldauer (USA)
Pablo Braegger (SUI)
Diogo Soares (BRA)
Joel Plata (ESP)
Lukas Dauser (GER)
Tang Chia-Hung (TPE)

Birmingham women
Grace McCallum (USA)
Alice Kinsella (GBR)
Ellie Downie (GBR – wildcard)
Alice D’Amato (ITA)
Ana Padurariu (CAN)
Elisabeth Seitz (GER)
Aleksandra Shchekoldina (RUS)
Marine Boyer (FRA)
Zhang Jin (CHN)
Cintia Rodriguez (ESP)
Vera Van Pol (NED)
Hitomi Hatakeda (JPN)
Maellyse Brassart (BEL)

NOTES
–Anyone else think it’s weird that Ellie is the wildcard in Birmingham while Kinsella is the GB athlete whose result counts for Olympic points?
–Birmingham presents another event where Russia is not sending its very best new WAG seniors. Is this a try? Did Valentina get them all arrested for eating dairy already? Russia will be favored to get an extra Olympic spot out of the European Champs but isn’t necessarily going to get one from the apparatus WCs, and therefore kind of…needs the all-around to get to 6 Olympians? Are you going to screw this up, Russia?
–Obviously Oleg is going to all of them because Oleg. But we also have Pablo Braegger giving him a run by being on the list for the first three events, as is Yul Moldauer. Looks like Mikulak will do American Cup and Tokyo, and Moldauer will do Stuttgart and Birmingham (while also being the WC at American Cup).
–Ana Padurariu is on the list for both Stuttgart and Birmingham and if she survives, it will have been a gift from the heavens.
–Italy WAG really does have every opportunity to get an Olympic spot from the AA world cups.

Meanwhile, in American Cup developments, new British senior Jennifer Gadirova will replace the still-injured Amelie Morgan, while Rene Cournoyer has been selected to fill out the final men’s place, which means that Korea, Italy, France, Turkey, and Kazakhstan all declined the spot first.

For now, Chinese gymnasts still appear on the lists for the all-around world cups and the Melbourne apparatus world cup, but coronavirus-panic travel bans may make it impossible for them to travel to compete. It’s a sucky situation but one without an obvious fair solution. The Iranian gymnasts who’ve apparently had their visas denied are also still on the list as of now, and we can only hope it will remain that way.

D. Elite Canada

Canada’s first big competition of the elite season gets underway today, and the gang’s all there—including Ellie Black, scheduled to make her competition return from injury, and Shallon Olsen because…why the hell not? (Note that Olsen is still on the list of competitors but is not present on the start list for Friday night when Alabama is also competing, you know, in a whole different country. Rose Woo is another on the original roster who does not appear on the day 1 start list.)

Ellie Black is typically the default favorite at all Canadian competitions, though it will be worth watching her level at this point because I wouldn’t expect her to be full Ellie-Blacking it at this point (and, tellingly, she isn’t on the list for any of the first three AA world cups), which could provide an opening for the likes of Ana Padurariu and Brooklyn Moors.

Senior competition begins at 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT on Friday and continues with the second day on Sunday at 5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT. The juniors start on Saturday at 11:30am ET/8:30am PT and continue with the second day at the same time on Sunday. The competition is on FLO, and full scoring and stream links can be found at the Streams & Scores page in the top menu as always.

E. GymCastic

This week, a sort-of-depressing episode about Maggie Haney’s suspension and USAG’s bankruptcy settlement offer and the crimes of That Guy is saved by the beacon that is Simone’s vault video…

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