The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – December 7, 2020

A. European Championships

The We’re Still Doing This? Championships are still doing this. Yesterday, the big news came that Larisa Iordache has indeed been added to Romania’s team for the European Championships following her performance at the national championships, a showing that clearly reinforced that she’s the best one. Just in life.

Iordache replaces Daniela Trica from the nominative team. I mayyy have previously described it as “obvious” that Romania would bump Maria Holbura to make room for Iordache, and……stand by it? It’s not a huge deal for the actual team prospects—if we’re being honest, Romania should just count Iordache, Sfiringu, and Stanciulescu on every event and could fill out the team with a Ponor leotard and Claudia Presacan’s candle cup—but that’s sort of why I favored keeping Trica. Not only did she earn the spot over Holbura at nationals, but she could use this somewhat low-stakes but still significant opportunity more, especially since Trica is more likely to hang around and be needed next quad when Romania will try to pull itself out of the ditch. At the same time, I understand the desire to keep Holbura at competition readiness given that she’s going to the Olympics.

The men’s competition gets started this week with the juniors kicking things off early on Wednesday. The whole competition for both men and women will be streamed, qualification on SmartScoring’s site and finals as a real broadcast.

If you’re a fan of “fake results they input to test the scoring system,” I highly recommend the current senior men’s standings, where 40-year-old high bar specialist Umit Samiloglu has become European all-around champion. That 5.570 on floor was EPIC.

The event schedule with US time zones is as follows:

Wednesday, December 9
2am ET/11pm PT – MAG Junior Qualification – Sub 1 (TUR, CZE, SLO)
6am ET/3am PT – MAG Junior Qualification – Sub 2 (ISR, AZE, HUN)
10am ET/7am PT – MAG Junior Qualification – Sub 3 (UKR, ROU, BUL)

Thursday, December 10
2am ET/11pm PT – MAG Senior Qual – Sub 1 (TUR, CZE)
6am ET/11pm PT – MAG Senior Qual – Sub 2 (UKR, ROU, ISR, AUT, LTU)
10am ET/7am PT – MAG Senior Qual – Sub 3 (HUN, CRO, AZE, BUL)

Friday, December 11
4am ET/1am PT – MAG Junior All-Around Final

Saturday, December 12
7am ET/4am PT – MAG Senior Team Final

Sunday, December 13
2am ET/11pm PT – MAG Junior Event Finals
7am ET/4am PT – MAG Senior Event Finals

Thursday, December 17
6:45am ET/3:45am P – WAG Senior Qual – Sub 1 (UKR, ROU, HUN, TUR)
8:45am ET/5:45am PT – WAG Senior Qual – Sub 2 (CZE, LUX, LAT, CRO)

Friday, December 18
6am ET/3am PT – WAG Junior Qual – Sub 1 (UKR, ROU, CZE, SLO)
8am ET/5am PT – WAG Junior Qual – Sub 2 (TUR, HUN, CRO, BUL)

Saturday, December 19
7:30am ET/4:30am PT – WAG Senior Team Final

Sunday, December 20
2am ET/11pm PT – WAG Junior Event Finals
7am ET/4am PT – WAG Senior Event Finals

B. Elite news

GAGE held an event over the weekend called “Al Fong’s Secret Santa” (the secret is COVID) at which the GAGE elites showed up to tell everyone about the upgrades they’ve been working on.

Leanne Wong debuted her double double layout bars dismount and double double tuck on floor, Kara Eaker performed a back 3.5 to front tuck on floor, and both showed their new floor routines. (We think. They might be the same routines as before. There’s no way of knowing.)


Shane Wiskus appeared on 60 Minutes to talk about the cutting of Minnesota’s men’s gymnastics team, but college athletics was too busy being like wheeeeeeeeeee


The Brazilian women held a competition on Saturday, though it was without both Flavia Saraiva and Rebeca Andrade because they tested positive for COVID. Or, as Google Translate put it, “Unfortunately Rebeca and Flávia are with the covid-19. And we ran out of them right now.” Ugh, I hate when I run out of Flavia.

Jade Barbosa and Daniele Hypolito both did attend and competed bars and beam respectively, without dismounts, and Lorrane Oliveira looks ready to put up a fight at Pan Ams, whenever that may be.

C. NCAA news

Missouri’s Helen Hu (of being the best one on bars and beam fame) injured her ACL on vault at a team intrasquad and will be out for the season. Not great news.

Meanwhile, the fact that so many teams are still ostensibly planning to have seasons and yet have not released competition schedules is really stressing me out. Don’t you people need to plan for these things?

D. What else?

The Great and Powerful Olympics has released the initial quota place breakdown for Paris 2024, which will see men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics both lose 2 spots (they each have 98 for Tokyo and 96 for Paris), though avoiding any more drastic changes than that in the quest for full overall gender parity.

The qualification procedure to get to those 96 places will, of course, be totally different than the unqualified disaster that was the Tokyo system.

E. GymCastic

Our latest episode is the first edition of Gym Nerd School, where I try to do things like explain how to tell the difference between a switch full and a split full on floor, or the difference between an Ono and a Healy and a Ling. If you’re into that sort of thing. I recommend watching with video because of the visual aids.

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