The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – February 14, 2020

A. Kerri Strugglin’

Obviously, the first order of business. A Kerri Strug biopic is currently being shopped around, with Olivia Wilde attached to direct. We’ve all been workshopping this story for 24 years, so…battle stations.

Even if this gets made and distributed (long way to go), there are 99 ways it could go wrong, so prepare for all of them, and hope that we’re actually in the correct moment in time for this movie to be made…slightly non terribly? No one is interested in pretending everything’s great anymore, right?

Because if this had been made in 2006, it would have been all sports movie, she did it on one leg to win the gold for RED WHITE AND BLUE, hooray, Bela saved America by shouting you can do it, Kerri doesn’t talk in a “been in the gulag for too long” whisper at all I don’t know what you mean, EVERYTHING’S FINE [nervous laugh], American hero teammates who love each other.

There’s a vague glimmer that now we might be able to hope for the good version, i.e. these people are BONKERS, Bela and Martha are gargoyles, she did it on two legs because otherwise she’d be dead, no one checked out her injury after the first vault, Nassar was there, the US had already won without her second vault, Khorkina is pissed about the stupid American beef patties screaming so hard it made Russia eff up floor, “little girls dancing for goldbarf barf barf.

Most of this isn’t a good story, so that needs to be the movie. Perfect better be a sarcastic title.

Also if clap-clap-clap, chop-chop-chop isn’t a scene, the whole thing is worthless.

Anyway, we’re obviously seeing this as a family first day, first show, and I already have totally unfounded visions of Olivia Wilde stuffing Kerri Strug into a knapsack and carting her all through Oscar season, the end.

B. A Riley from Arizona

Riley McCusker announced on instagram yesterday that she will now be training at Arizona Sunrays with Jade Carey.

As was discussed before, Riley is an adult so technically could have continued training with Maggie Haney at MG Elite during Maggie’s suspension, but Maggie could not have gone with her to camp or coached her at competitions, so…what’s the point in that? Riley was going to need to end up somewhere, and it turned out to be Arizona.

The internet being the internet, there’s a lot of “what this could do for Riley’s vault and floor” going on because apparently training at Jade’s gym means she immediately becomes Jade transfiguration-style, which…no. Riley is who she is. The work is done. Classic is in three months. This is basically just a placeholder gym, a Maggie-detox halfway house, a box for her to train in where there’s another elite and they know what the deal is.

Also this “the remainder of my elite journey” language feels very ready-for-Florida, doesn’t it?

C. Brooklyn, California

We also (finally) got the announcement this week that Brooklyn Moors has signed with UCLA. The announcement just says she’s joining in 2021, which is a little vague—for the 2021 season, or starting in the fall of 2021, for the 2022 season?

But for now, we’ll just assume it’s for next season, since that was the initial word as to when she’d be starting. Moors’ presence would officially complete that prospective class of Jordan Chiles, Frida Esparza, Chae Campbell, Emma Malabuyo, Ana Padurariu, and Brooklyn Moors, which is going to be truly insane if they are all still intact.

D. Tokyo, Version 1.0

The FIG has revealed the entry list for the final AA world cup event of the series, Tokyo, and it features by far the strongest women’s field of the four events. Not, perhaps, surprising given each nation wanting to give its top athlete the chance to test out the equipment and general Tokyo-ness of it all before the actual Olympics.

Though strategically, Olympic-qualifying-points-wise, that may not be the best call because…Simone gonna win. This is not your most likely chance to get points.

The field is as follows:

Women
Simone Biles (USA)
Nina Derwael (BEL)
Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos (FRA)
Ellie Black (CAN)
Mai Murakami (JPN)
Chiaki Hatakeda (JPN – wildcard)
Giorgia Villa (ITA)
Ou Yushan (CHN)
Ana Perez (ESP)
Angelina Simakova (RUS)
Naomi Visser (NED)
Sarah Voss (GER)
Lucy Stanhope (GBR)

Men
Artur Dalaloyan (RUS)
Xiao Ruoteng (CHN)
Sam Mikulak (USA)
Oleg Verniaiev (UKR)
Daiki Hashimoto (JPN)
Kazuyuki Takeda (JPN – wildcard)
Joe Fraser (GBR)
Pablo Braegger (SUI)
Lee Chih-Kai (TPE)
Caio Souza (BRA)
Nestor Abad (ESP)
Andy Toba (GER)
Loris Frasca (FRA)

Oleg Verniaiev and Pablo Braegger are the Gold Star Boys of the series this year, planning to compete at all four. It’s a similarly strong field for the men, meaning it’s going to be difficult to get a ton of ranking points, even if you’re good. I’m also taking Hashimoto’s presence here—the main competitor at the home world cup—as a sign of how much Japan sees him as the breakout star to be.

Mai Murakami has also been allowed to emerge in public again as Japan’s main competitor here, and because of Asuka Teramoto’s Achilles injury that takes her out of Stuttgart, Mai will compete there as well and is suddenly going to two world cup events as was originally prophesied.

So, yeah, Asuka Teramoto tore her Achilles and Claire Pontlevoy tore her ACL and both will miss the Olympics and everything is terrible. This is extremely troubling for Japan’s competitiveness as a team at the Olympics because Teramoto was a lock for the four.

E. Justice for Khazia

AAI announced the semifinalists for the AAI Award (best senior), and significant absences include Jade Degouveia, Kim Tessen, Madison Kocian, and Khazia Effing Hislop, which is an unacceptable oversight.

Also a bunch of others are missing. It’s a weird-ass list.

Ultimately, they’re going to end up having to choose between Kyla and Maggie, but the list of six finalists is going to have some intense snubs when you consider how many others need to be there. You can see someone deserving like Houchin getting snubbed pretty easily when you have people like Karr, Korth, and Edney, plus elites like Vega, Gowey, and Hundley all fighting for the other spots.

F. Me and Bobby Malone

USAG released the field for Winter Cup, which starts in a week and runs simultaneously to the Melbourne World Cup. In fun news, this list is riddled with mistakes, including the presence of one Bobby Malone on the roster.

FIG : Chinese people :: USAG : MAG

Anyway, the whole gang is slated to be there except for Donnell Whittenburg and Stephen Nedoroscik.

G. GymCastic

This week, we take on UCLA’s Pride meet, a bad week for commentators, dumpster fire updates, terrible injury news, terrible gymnastics article news, and Elite Canada.

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