A. Aunt Flo
You know that thing where you’re watching the YouTube stream of junior Classic and think, “I wish this were expensive and worse.”
Well, USAG is here for you, signing a five-year deal with FLO to broadcast its non-NBC events in the US—and all the events internationally. Moving major gymnastics events from free YouTube streams to a service that charges $150/year, just so FLO can lob a buffering potato at your computer screen and then blame it on your internet speed, all while filing copyright claims over someone’s unrelated 15-year-old video of Shantessa Pama’s beam warmup, is going over super great. We’re so very happy. Access achieved!
The first elite event on the FLO slate will be Winter Cup, where the big sessions are already scheduled for NBC Networks but broadcast of the junior competitions and senior men’s event finals was previously undetermined. Presumably that will go to FLO, and per USAG they’ll be showing podium training as well. National team selection camps are also currently on the FLO schedule. It’s good content! But our collective history with FLO, the historical quality of its broadcasts, its expense, and the McKayla Maroney incident—to name a few—precludes any excitement there.
B. No One Saw It Coming
Turns out, trying to hold a college gymnastics season amidst COVID isn’t going fully awesome!
Yesterday, LSU had to withdraw from this weekend’s meet against Auburn because of “the contact tracing” and “the protocols.” Whatever that means. Jay professed that they haven’t had a major outbreak on the team, though I imagine they’ll have to wait for further test results to know where this falls on the nothing or something spectrum. If the tests are clear, they’re hoping to reschedule the meet for the following weekend, which would have been the SEC midseason break.
Other things that make you go huh: “’The girls wear these monitors that measure the amount of time they have been around each other in a 24-hour period,’ Clark said.” Uh oh, who let Jay read 1984 again…
Us: Can you guys please wear masks more?
LSU: OK, now if you spend too much time around Bridget Dean you explode.
Michigan’s athletic department, meanwhile, has shuttered competition and training for two weeks, meaning Michigan’s upcoming meets against Ohio State this weekend and Illinois next weekend have been postponed. As per the current schedule, Michigan’s next meet would be February 15.
Ohio State will join Michigan State’s meet on Saturday, as Michigan State is now ready to get started after scrapping its previous meet over lack of preparation. Cal, George Washington, and Illinois State are also expected to start their seasons this weekend, while SEMO is slated to resume competition after canceling last Sunday’s meet, and Bowling Green will continue competing and hoping for fuller lineups than last week.
C. Who’s Canceling Me Now
The FIG’s latest cancellation belongs to the Baku Apparatus World Cup, previously scheduled for March. This event was not going to count for Olympic qualification since the FIG decided to count the half-results from last year’s competition that was canceled midway through (not over it). We’re seeing that the FIG has been very willing to cancel the events that have no Olympic implications (Baku, Cottbus) but is still clinging to other pipe dreams, like the idea that the Stuttgart qualifier can be moved to a different city in Germany and held as planned.
The Pan American Championships, another Olympic qualifier, have mutated again, and the new plan is to hold the event in Brazil in June. Qualifiers have until June 29th to be completed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot more qualifiers “move to late June” in the hope that they can squeeze themselves in.
In the latest episode, we discuss whether the Olympics are secretly canceled and the gympocalypse that was week 3 in college gymnastics.
Jessica Bendinger Interview – GymCastic: The Gymnastics Podcast