A. European Championships…still a go?
Despite a flurry of withdrawals, the nominative rosters have been released for December’s European Championships in Turkey. That’s still, we guess, going to be a thing.
Of note, exactly 8 women’s teams have entered a sufficient number senior athletes to get a team score, meaning all of them would advance to the WAG team final. That’s Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Turkey, Czech Republic, Latvia, Croatia, and Luxembourg. Yes, Luxembourg has entered 3 seniors. It’s the only thing keeping me going. This seems like a wildly ill-advised and preposterous championship that I am growing more excited about by the minute.
|BULGARIA||Yoana Yankova||Valentina Georgieva|
|Nika Kukuljan Frelta|
|CZECH REPUBLIC||Natalie Brabcova|
|MALTA||Tara Vella Clark|
Tia Pavlin Zakovsek
Goksu Uctas Sanli
The juniors will have an all-around but no team competition this year, and since there are only 20 athletes eligible for the AA final (after 2-per-country), those countries sending full teams will just have an intrasquad in qualification to see who gets Wiebered, and those with two or fewer will be automatically in.
On the senior men’s side, there are 11 senior teams with at least three athletes: Turkey, Ukraine, Israel, Hungary, Romania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, and Lithuania. Though, some of these teams like Lithuania and Croatia are only maybes in terms of being able to cobble together three routines on each event. I hope Croatia tries again. My sole dream on the men’s side is for Croatia to default into the team final and have everyone vault handspring timers like at 2018 worlds. There’s definitely something wrong with me!
B. Gymnast alliance
Today, we learned that Riley McCusker is suing Maggie Haney for all of the…all of it—bullying, body shaming, unhealthy diet, period prevention, and strenuous training on injuries including 2019’s exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis.
The litany of injuries is really quite the read. Wrist in April 2017, hamstring in summer 2017, fractured pelvis in fall 2017, foot fractures in January 2018, shoulder in early 2019, rhabdo in summer 2019…all of which she says were exacerbated by being made to train on them by Haney and Victoria Levine.
Coaches can’t do anything these days amiright?!?!?! I mean, you force an athlete to train with a life-threatening illness while making her life miserable for years and years and suddenly YOU’RE the bad guy?!?!?! How about a simple, “thank you for my rhabdo” is that too much to ask?
C. College news
The list of signings for the 2022 college season is quickly filling up—with one of the fun surprises being the announcement that Latvian elite Elina Vihrova (and future European team champion the way things are going at this point…) will be going to Penn State. We also got confirmation of Sunisa Lee’s commitment to Auburn, Grace McCallum and Kara Eaker to Utah, and Aleah Finnegan to LSU, among many others.
In other developments, Jade Carey confirmed that she will not be competing in the upcoming NCAA season and is planning to start gymnastics at Oregon State in 2022. She is currently listed on the roster because she has started academically while continuing to train for the Olympics. The article also included this from Brian Carey about Olympic qualification.
Here’s what’s really happening. No one can catch Jade on either vault or floor. On floor, Jade is at 90 points, and no one else can get there. On vault, Jade is at 90 points, and Yu Linmin is also capable of getting to 90 points, but even if she did, Yu would lose the tiebreak to Jade. (YLM would have to win Doha with an impossible score to pass Jade.) Jade is going to win both the vault and floor apparatus qualification series. The tiebreak to see which spot she gets is the better average points over all events attended, which she has on vault. So, we do already know that she’s getting the spot for vault, not floor. Go ahead and put that in pen.
Our latest episodes concern Russian Nationals, where Tatiana Nabieva won the national vault title and there’s nothing else nearly as important as that, except for this image.
Also Italian Nationals, where Giorgia Villa and Asia D’Amato tied for the AA title.
And the Friendship and Solidarity competition, won by Team Solidarity in non-dramatic fashion, and that result is very very important.
So there’s a flurry of talking to listen to.
Winter Cup Preview: NOW with women – GymCastic: The Gymnastics Podcast
Basically, things are looking quite positive for Italy even with the injuries to Carofiglio and Iorio, with Villa, the D’Amatos, and Maggio excelling right now. Maggio upgraded bars and won beam, while the D’Amatos are picking thing up on floor, and Villa remains Villa.
No one who competed at Russian Nationals is going to be in the running for the Olympic team (with the possible exception of Iliankova), but Melnikova did look in stellar form at Friendship and Solidarity, the highlight of an overall rusty competition.