The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – September 2, 2020

A. Actual Gymnastics Is Coming

You guys. There might be…real gymnastics…kind of soon?

Japan is planning to hold its senior nationals from September 20-22, with most of the big names in attendance and grouped in the same subdivision—competing on September 22 at 3:00pm local time. Asuka Teramoto is on the list for her return from the ill-timed Achilles injury that had seemed to dash her Olympic hopes, and she’ll be rotating with Mai Murakami, whom we all need to see compete full of spite and greatness after the events of 2019 that shall not be named. Also in their group will be team stalwart Hitomi Hatakeda and the return of erstwhile VT/FX star Sae Miyakawa. I’m eager to see what she’s about at this point.

On the men’s side, current Best Gentleman Kazuma Kaya will be there, competing alongside Kohei and Kenzo, who are trying to make their returns to the fold after an ouchie of a 2019. Kohei recently announced that he’ll be focusing exclusively on high bar for the maybe-Olympics as a +1 individual for Japan. So…um…sorry Miyachi the king has spoken?

China is slated to hold its nationals at a similar time in September, but I haven’t seen a schedule breakdown of what’s happening each specific day of competition yet, so if anyone has that…

Let’s just hope there’s some sort of broadcast and then a pirated stream of that broadcast that someone records from inside their septic tank while their aunt coughs up a lung right into the microphone like usual.

With all this possible-gymnastics happening, the FIG felt a little left out, so…the Szombathely Challenge Cup is a go? It’s now scheduled for October 2-4, and we have an actual nominative roster for it, peopled entirely with Europeans. Zsofia Kovacs and Anastasia Bachynska headline the women’s field, and the men’s field…is actually pretty much exactly what you would have expected from this competition under normal circumstances. We’ve got all the European PH specialists (Tommasone, Seligman, Ude, Bertoncelj, etc), plus people like Artem Dolgopyat, Marian Dragulescu, Loris Frasca, Petro Pakhniuk, and Igor Radivilov.

Basically I’m just surprised Oleg isn’t there, otherwise this is the normal group. Judging by history, Oleg has definitely had COVID at least three times already and competed rings mid-test.

Along with the nominative roster for Szombathely came the FIG’s COVID guidelines for competitions, which I think can be summed up by the fact that the word “scope” is spelled SCPOPE.

Anyway, I plan on treating all of these competitions like they’re worlds. Don’t take that away from me. Expect a think piece on whether Tina Zelcic or Christina Zwicker can make the beam final. It will be INCISIVE.

Meanwhile, Gymnastics New Zealand went, “we think y’all crazy and can’t have your goopies infecting our country” and preemptively canceled the rescheduled 2021 Pac Rims.

In US developments, there’s a tentative US women’s calendar for 2021 out, but I’m basically just downing 8 shakers of salt about it. We’ll see. The note of an American/Winter Cup that serves as women’s selection for Gymnix (so, American Cup as a domestic US women’s selection competition…?) is interesting.

B. Golden Girl

The #AndreeaWasRobbbbbed documentary The Golden Girl is now available on Amazon Prime in the US. It’s…so um we need to talk about this.

The film is ostensibly about Raducan’s futile quest to get her Olympic gold medal from 2000 reinstated, though it also spends quite a bit of time on abusive coaching in the Romanian WAG system. You can see why because the abuse content ends up being the more compelling part, rather than Raducan running up against the predictably bloated, self-important IOC bullshit and realizing that Thomas Bach might be the worst.

Basically, if you’ve ever said, “Well it’s not like coaches are going to record video of their abusive coaching,” then Mariana Bitang is here to say, “not so fassssst.” I’m still having ice cold diarrhea about the scene where she finds the hidden candy in the sauna. AND FILMED IT.

As for Raducan’s quest to get her gold back, we’re presented with sort of a disjointed argument. Are we saying that the doctor accidentally gave her the banned substance, but taking away her medal is unfair because she didn’t knowingly cheat and the substance was removed from the banned list the next year? Or are we trying to say that the sample was tampered with because of incongruous pee amounts? Because those are two very different arguments with very different consequences.

I also have A LOT of questions about this psychiatrist and why he’s so mean.

So…it’s weirdly done. But fascinating material nonetheless. Especially the camo Romanian Spice Girls singing a song about Andreea.

Also, Khorkina appears at one point. She allllllmost manages to say something nice about Andreea before making it about herself. SO CLOSE.

Mostly just Khorkina gonna Khorkina.

C. Gymnast Alliance

This week, I’m highlighting a couple accounts from gymnasts at MLT’s House of Pain.

And recalling how USAG thought she was a good fit for developmental coordinator. Solid vetting. Bang-up job there.


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