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.

43 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – February 14, 2020”

  1. Re: the Strug movie. As it happens, I’ve read the script. It’s the first gymnastics movie I’ve come across that actually g-e-t-s gymnastics. Like, it got the absurdity of U.S. gym commentary in the 90s & the absurdity of the Karolyis/the Karolyi system, all the while respecting the talent & grit of the athletes. It’s possible it’s been transformed completely since I laid eyes on it (or will be by the time it’s done). But when I read it, I gave it the gymnerd stamp of approval.

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      1. That’s why I said it may have been transformed completely, or might be transformed completely by the time the film’s done. I realize it might turn into a giant turd or end up in development hell. Just wanted to chime in what little I know abt the movie; I read the version that made Wilde sign on (hesitant to say anything else b/c I don’t wanna out myself), and as an avid gym fan of however many years I think it has potential to avoid common problematic narratives in gymnastics storytelling. Obviously “gymnerd stamp of approval” isn’t some official designation; I just meant that I trust the people involved at this point in the process and the intentions behind the film. Fingers crossed.

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      2. Oh go away ^
        She said she read the version that made Olivia Wilde sign on and doesn’t want to share more details.
        It’s up to you whether you believe her or care about this information or not etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ^Anonymous, you feel better? Do you feel you had your social justice moment just there? lmao. Defending random commentators on a message board. Pressed and pussified!

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      4. Like, I get that I’m just a rando voice on the Internet here. I was just excited & wanted to share that excitement with people who might care. But like I said, I’m hesitant to share details since I don’t want to risk doxxing myself (irrational as that fear may be); if you choose to think I’m trolling or just an idiot who knows nothing about the screenwriting process or whatever, that’s fine. I don’t necessarily get being rude about it to me or the anon above, though. FWIW, my email address (which Spencer could access since I entered it to comment) has my full name & I’d be happy to confirm things there, but that’s obviously not public, nor would I want it to be.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So … does that mean Donnell Whittenburg is officially retiring from elite? No winter cup challenge means not trying for the National Team. Unlike Stephen Nedoroscik, he’s not going to Melbourne either. I haven’t heard about any new injuries…

    I also wonder if they’re going to let Stephen on the team anyway with his one apparatus event? I really don’t understand why he’s going instead of Colin VW; Colin at least has a slim shot at qualifying through VT, Stephen has zero.

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    1. Athletes can petition if they’re unable to attend it. Also rosters will be finalized after the winter cup for olympic qualifying meets.

      Yul’s 50% hit rate on PH for 13s, 50% in 12s has to change. I see Tokyo team to be really shocking for people that aren’t following very closely. 4 man team is a game changer for 6 events, 3 up.

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      1. If you use the MCCLURE system on the current national team, but only for 4 slots, the highest team score is Sam, Akash, Allan and Colin using the last 5 scored routines. Swapping out Colin for Shane is the 2nd highest score. Yul doesn’t show up until the 5th configuration.

        To be fair though, Yul was rumored to be in worse shape than he’d admit publicly. So maybe he’s past that if there’s truth to it. There’s also new seniors that might factor in.

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  3. The two UF gymnasts could end up canceling each other out, therefore opening the door for a gymnast from a smaller profile school to make the Top 6.

    Is Maddie taking a full course load? Athletes have a four-year athletic scholarship, but it covers five years of academics. Based on the fact Maddie wants to go to medical school it’s probable she is just taking the minimum courses she needs to be eligible to compete and perhaps the hard ones which make achieving an 80-85 a success. (I would assume the winner usually has a 95-ish GPA.)

    GPA is a huge component in the AAI, as is volunteerism. Kyla is super smart and taking an insane load, but Maddie, while smart, may have decided to space things over a longer period. Also Maggie could have a higher GPA than Kyla just based on majors – Kyla is biological sciences/engineering while Maggie is communication/sports broadcasting which gives Maggie an advantage. (Nothing wrong with Maggie’s major, I know from personal experience what it is, and what’s it’s not – i.e. lots of math and science like Kyla.)

    Thought Kyla is competing the AA more this year (and in junior year) so she has that advantage over Maggie (and Maddie). Also, UCLA might not have wanted Kyla/Maddie to split the vote like Amelia/Rachel could for UF.

    Academics
    Athletics
    Volunteerism
    Those are the three categories where the winner is on top.

    Has there ever been a tie because I can see Maggie and Kyla both “winning” if it’s possible.

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    1. Is successfully committing credit card fraud on your teammate a sign of superior intellect, and does volunteerism count if it was court ordered?

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  4. It’s NBA all-star weekend…

    Normally I wouldn’t care about the event or post about it here, but I just heard there’s some kind of “competition” (celebrity 3-on-3 perhaps?) where former UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi will be on one of the teams.

    Not really sure what as I wasn’t really listening to the background noise report until they mentioned Katelyn’s name, which perked up my ears… So anyone who is interested might want to do some research.

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      1. I liked Ohashi’s gymnastics and she’s made insightful comments but I am not very impressed with her poetry or writing…

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    1. I do hope Ohashi has a plan for when the viral fame runs out (almost certainly this summer). She picked a college major that basically requires you to go to graduate school to survive in the job market, so hopefully her post-UCLA fame can either pay for that or launch her into some career where she can trade on her gymnast background and doesn’t need her degree.

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      1. Lots of people with her major get jobs but they’re things like working for nonprofits, labor unions, and schools and don’t pay too well. LA is a great market for it though.

        Personally I think Ohashi should take one of those jobs, then she could learn that activism / advocacy is more than instagramming. Not to mention she should have the financial cushion to make it not horrible.

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  5. Some wardrobe designer is going to win an Oscar for best costumes in the Strug movie, assuming she/he nails the patriotic appliques on Kerri’s mom’s vest and track suits worn by all the coaches. Those things are characters upon themselves. Of course, Khorkina will claim the movie was really all about her and demand that she play herself and do all of her own stunts. Actually, that might get me to buy a ticket.

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  6. Jades dad as Rileys coach with his long extensive elite career, and amazing coaching style with a delicate gymnasts like Riley? lol yeah naw.

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    1. God you remind me of the gigglin giddy buffoon Jessica from gymcastic with your stupid as fuck JADLEY… log off and take a moment to never return!

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  7. I do wonder, if Riley does make the Tokyo team, how much effort and attention she’ll get from her coach when she’s there. Obviously Papa Carey is going to be professional but we can’t reasonably expect that Riley will be as high a priority as his daughter is.

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  8. Riley seems ready for NCAA, she’ll likely break records there. I would love for her to be an Olympian, but she doesn’t seem as in it as I expected.

    So many girls are too closely matched to not be 100% committed, because that could mean the difference.

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  9. Do you think RIley, with her colgate smile, will give Jade the 411 on teeth whitening? Cuz honey, those corn in the cobs, buttered yellow kabobs in her grill, are the real reason she cannot perform her dance well. I feel a whitened smile, would give her confidence – that extra push to EMOTE. Say no to yellow teeth. 🙂

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  10. Curious UCLA’s Pride meet, And in the gymcastic podcast, it was all about Gay Rights… Curious which gay rights are we ‘Priding’ for? What rights dont gay people have in America ? Just curious. gay pride I get. Gay rights? what rights exactly, written in laws etc?

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    1. I’m guessing you’re not really curious, just looking to start a fight, since you didn’t bother to take five seconds to google this yourself. But in case anyone else is reading this in good faith:

      Many U.S. states do not protect gay people against discrimination in housing or employment. You are legally protected from being discriminated against at work or in your access to housing based on your race or your age (though of course, these aren’t easy laws to enforce), but not your sexual orientation. Discrimination in adoption is another issue.

      There! Those rights! “Written in laws”!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So housing and employment? And discrimination in adoption? These are the plight of Gay people in America? This is what UCLA Pride meet was for? Did they choreograph routines, where Gracie Kramer is a gay man, who couldn’t get housing because he was gay? etc. Or was it just a blanket gay rights where none of these issues were spoken about? But what wait California has those LAWS in place, so WTF were they on about? Wake me when its a PRIDE event in Alabama, Arizona, at LSU, etc the 28 states where they DONT have these anti discrimination laws, instead of places where people pat themselves on the back so their already validated beliefs are validated some more. But MENTION IT ALL! In Bethenny voice. Meanwhile gay men and women are actually being killed in other countries, but alas this is America. Our Pride matters here most.

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      2. You’re still being a dickish troll but I agree with your point that it would be more impressive and feel more genuine to see a pride meet in the South.

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  11. Who is deciding Russias World Cup assignments?? I don’t get it at all. I understand that they want to use Urazova and Gerasimonova for euros to qualify an allarounder. But what’s up with Schelkoldina and Simakova. Well now with the travel ban for Chinese athletes Ilyankova has a quite good chance to get the bars spot. But seriously I don’t get these assignments at all.

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  12. Russian (Rodionenko couple) way of thinking: Why do we need to win licenses for those who are not going to win anything at the Olympics, if they cannot even win a spot for themselves through the EF World Cups? They are not worth of Urazova’s or Gerasimova’s efforts.

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  13. There’s a large pic of Ohashi playing in the celebrity game in the Chicago Tribune, February 15, front page of sports section. The photo is contrasting her slight height with A’Ja Wilson and Darius Miles.

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