Things Are Happening – April 9, 2021

A. European Championships

Against all odds, the European Championships appear to be happening. And kind of soon!

This is the final opportunity for European athletes to secure Olympic spots, and in keeping with the theme, something strange is happening! Those Olympic spots (2 each for MAG and WAG) will be awarded based on the AA standings from qualification, rather than from the all-around final. OK great?

The FIG lovvvessss basing very important things on qualification, and it’s so counterintuitive. Isn’t the final supposed to be…like…the final?

I was against this at first because it’s just so weird, but I do kind of get it. Kind of. The idea here is to make sure everyone has a chance to get the spot. So, for example, Italy has a nominative team of Villa, Alice D’Amato, Maggio, and Ferrari. Villa and D’Amato competed as part of the Italian squad that qualified a team to the Olympics and are therefore ineligible to earn an additional Olympic spot for Italy at this competition. If Villa and D’Amato were to make the all-around final, then Italy wouldn’t have anyone eligible to get an Olympic spot. By basing things on qualification, Maggio could theoretically get in there and get a spot for Italy even if she places behind ineligible countrywomen like Villa and D’Amato. (With no temptation to fake-injury-scratch someone from the AA final.)

On the other hand, this does bring the eternal conundrum of score-rising through the qualification day into effect. At this meet, athletes from a single country don’t all compete in the same subdivision, and with different countries being assigned different subdivisions through the draw (Russia and Romania WAG have spots in the final subdivision, Great Britain and Italy do not), you haven’t necessarily created the most even playing field possible.

Regardless, the favorites to get the two spots on the women’s side at this point would be one of the Russians (limit one per country, and Listunova, Urazova, and Gerasimova are all in the hunt) and Larisa Iordache. But it’s going to take a hit meet. So it should be an exciting lengthy-qualification-day.

If a Russian were to earn a spot, that spot would go to the country to be assigned at Valentina’s whim, whereas if Iordache were to get a spot, that spot would be hers and hers alone (no one can just give it to Ponor) because Romania did not qualify a team to the Olympics.

Here’s the schedule with US time zones.

Wednesday, April 21
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – WAG Subdivision 1
7:30am ET/4:30am PT – WAG Subdivision 2
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – WAG Subdivision 3
12:30pm ET/9:30am PT – WAG Subdivision 4

Thursday, April 22
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – MAG Subdivision 1
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – MAG Subdivision 2
11:00am ET/8:00am PT – MAG Subdivision 3

Friday, April 23
7:30am ET/4:30am PT – Women’s All-Around
11:00am ET/8:00am PT – Men’s All-Around

Saturday, April 24
7:30am ET/4:30am PT – Event Finals Day 1

Sunday, April 25
7:00am ET/4:00am PT – Event Finals Day 2

Of note, the American Classic (it’s like the US Classic, but less!) is also supposed to take place on Saturday, April 24, but we’ve received no info about that so far. At least it does still appear on FLO’s broadcast schedule of US events, not like the women’s camps that were promised in the announcement and then quietly removed from the schedule.

Info we did receive, however, is that when the senior women’s national team is named at championships, it will include the top 6 AA guaranteed, and the rest of the spots will be discretionary. That’s a change from the 2021 elite qualification chart, which originally said the top 10 AA would automatically make national team. Sounds like someone wants a little more freedom in selecting the national team, which is a departure for this regime.

B. Olympic Qualification Disasters

Meanwhile, the Asian Championships are expected to be formally called off, and though the Pan American Championships are still scheduled to go forward the first weekend of June in Brazil, it’s…Brazil are you OK? Because I think you’re not?

While it’s probably logistically unfeasible, the US should seriously explore getting those hosting rights back and holding some sort of Pan Am Olympic qualification in conjunction with nationals because, the way things are trending, that may be the only way the US men would have a shot at getting any +1 Olympic spot.

There’s some disagreement over what will happen when continental qualifiers are canceled (surprise!), but here is the provision in the rules. As usual, it’s very clearly written and precise.

I read that to mean they would continue where they left off awarding spots from the AA standings in 2019 and that any country that already has a single individual qualified through those world AA standings is out of luck.

That would be extremely terrible as qualification at the continental championships was supposed to be available to athletes from countries that had already qualified a team but could still win more spots (like the US men or Japanese women) or countries that already had a single individual but could qualify more individuals (like the Brazilian women). So those athletes/countries shouldn’t be excluded from any spot redistribution should those events be canceled.


In other qualified-Olympic-athlete news, North Korea won’t participate in the Olympics this year, which means Kim Su Jong will have to give up her Olympic spot. Next in line is Megan Ryan of Ireland, who outscored teammate Emma Slevin by a single tenth that day. Both athletes are on the list for Euros.

Qualifier Julie Erichsen of Norway has also just recently injured her Achilles, so if she is unable to go, the next in line after Ryan would be Maria Kharenkova, who ALSO just recently injured her Achilles (this sport is fine, we’re all fine). So after her, the next people in line are Argyro Afrati of Greece, then Maia Fishwick of New Zealand.

Also gymnast injury-reveal videos are becoming my favorite thing.

C. Simone Media Summit

Simone dropped in to the Olympic media summit to tell everyone that she does plan to debut the Yurchenko double pike in competition at some point before the Olympics, that she’s planning to do the all-around at US Classic now that the Tokyo World Cup was canceled, and that she continues thinking it’s dumb (because it is) that there’s no touch warmup in event finals, which will inhibit her from feeling comfortable doing the YDP there.

It looks like we’re gearing up for “no one touch in event finals” to be a major story at the Olympics that everyone picks up because of Simone Things, and I’m here for it because it makes no sense and needs to change.

In other Simone-adjacent news, Aimee Boorman has been announced as one of the Dutch team coaches for the push to Tokyo. I think that orange jacket is really going to work for her. Although she did kind of pick the wrong Olympics to work with the Dutch team because there won’t be a Heineken House this year.

Anyway, I fully expect gymnastics to reach the point in coming years where literally every coach except Aimee Boorman is suspended and she has to coach every national team simultaneously.

D. USAG Championships

On the list of very helpfully named American gymnastics competitions that are so easy to differentiate, the USAG Championships (collegiate version) is upon us this weekend.

This is the national championship for teams without the full complement of scholarship positions that the famous schools have. Competing this year are Southeast Missouri, Centenary, Air Force, Lindenwood, and Texas Woman’s.

Team competition is Saturday at 3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT on ESPN+, followed by event finals the next day at 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT.

E. GymCastic

In which we discuss all the weirdest things that happened at regionals.

Tokyo Olympics: WAG Podium Training GymCastic: The Gymnastics Podcast

Olympic gymnast, Luciana Alvarado from Costa Rica kneels for Black Lives Matter during the choreography for her floor routine. This it the first known Black Lives Matter artistic expression ever used in an elite gymnastics routine. Simone Biles lands the yurchenko double pike at the Olympics for the first time in podium training. China, Japan, Nina vs. Suni, Brooklyn Moors, Eythora and more. To listen to BTS login here
  1. Tokyo Olympics: WAG Podium Training
  2. Tokyo 2020: MAG Podium Training
  3. Olympic Preview Part 2; Justice for Bower and Juda
  4. Tokyo Olympics Women's Gymnastics Team Preview
  5. Olympic Trials Party and Postmortem

F. Roxana Popa’s Nabieva

The end.

46 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – April 9, 2021”

      1. The trouble with Great Britain at the moment is our COVID laws are strict with regards to training facilities. Gymnasts who train in Wales (quite a few elites are in Cardiff) had it even harder. Elites from about age 14 downwards haven’t trained in their gym for the best part of a year apart from a few weeks here and there when clubs could open. Close contact spotting is only coming back now. The effect on this will be a big shakeup in who the top gymnasts are, based on who managed to get the best out of their lockdown training, and an overall big slump in GB’s worldwide ranking, especially when you add in the current turmoil with the governing body. The outcome of the review is due any day, and it doesn’t look too good at all.
        There’s a lot of injuries at the moment, mainly because of everyone frantically trying to get their form back before the Olympics. Fragapane’s concussion on floor – that’s an odd one for sure. A diligent governing body should be investigating the circumstances on an accident like that, but this is BG so…

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    1. Of the Brits, if (Jennifer) Gadirova has a semi-workable bars routine, she could also be in with a shot. Or Jessica- haven’t seen her as a senior yet.

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      1. Gadirova’s bar routine really isn’t *that* bad. She has enormous physical talent , a bit like Maroney, and if one or two things about the routine were changed/fixed she would be a SERIOUS AA contender. She is terrific, so this really needs to happen.

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      2. I don’t see her as a serious contender at all even though I agree she is an insane natural talent.

        Her vault is at best equal the DTYs from Murakami, MDJDS, Villa, Andrade, Chiles etc, though I think her form is worse than theirs. She would need a stable Amanar to get a real advantage on vault and even then within her own country she won’t outscore Ellie’s Cheng.

        Bars unfortunately really is that bad. There are other AAers with bars as the weak event (Murakami, Chiles, Saraiva, Ou Yushan) but they are still a lot better here. If Jennifer was at least consistent with her low-scoring set it would be one thing but she also falls a lot.

        Beam and floor SHOULD be in the very top routines of the world with her ability and talent level but as of American Cup 2020 her routine composition is just not there. I mean, 5.8 beam with a full-in dismount and 5.3 floor with a Silivas is just plain unfortunate and kills her scoring ability. Riley has the same D-score on floor with just a full-In for the first tumble. Even Chiles who is not a natural Beamer got up to a 6.2 at Winter Cup.

        Overall I think Jennifer is very similar in scoring potential to Qi Qi (maybe a bit better on beam) who would not be considered a top AAer. Within Great Britain, while Jennifer has a great chance of making the team due to her compatibility with Becky Downie I’d still say the top AAers are definitely Ellie, Amelie, and Alice.

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      3. @Great Britain Disagree with every word you said. Her vault is no worse than the other DTYs mentioned; very few competitors beside Biles and Carey will have an Amanar AT ALL, much less a ‘stable’ one (I don’t really call Carey’s frequent triple leaps after her Amanars ‘stable,’ either.) In case you haven’t noticed, Amanars don’t grow on trees any more, even on the American team.

        Bars–NOPE. What she needs is the right coaching. Maroney never had decent bars coaching either because Marta was obsessed with those vault golds and never treated her as a potential all-arounder. Seen this movie many times before, starting with Atler.

        Gadirova’s beam and floor composition could easily be tweaked to improve her base score; she has the skills and the delivery in spades. That’s not rocket science. Morgan–are you fucking kidding me? Mediocre *and* inferior to Gadirova in virtually every way. Don’t even try to pretend that E Downie is what she once was (neither Downie is, sadly); Kinsella is quite uneven in results. Chiles is abominable on beam (the opposite of a beamer) and got that score with badly done difficult tricks, which is her normal procedure. Qi Qi is several levels lower than Gadirova on every event other than bars. You have a hilarious, if ignorant, habit of ignoring the flaws with every other gymnast you mention and magnifying those of Gadirova.

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      4. Your reply sounds a lot more ignorant about a whole bunch of gymnasts than Great Britain’s was about Gadirova but go off…

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    2. Morgan is nowhere close to Iordache at Iordache’s best. Neither are Maggio or Ferrari.

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      1. I mean, sure, but no one knows if Iordache is going to turn up even close to her “best” (also is this pre-2018 best, or recent best…?). Hence why Morgan, Maggio, or Ferrari COULD beat Iordache.

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  1. Putting a service academy in the realm of no scholarship teams is a bit off since the entire college will be on scholarship as part of their appointment.

    And I’m fine with Simone being the tipping point for making people aware how stupid no touch warm up is.

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  2. In Gymcastic this week, Jessica kept mentioning tweets that Jay Clark has made that are controversial which is part of the reason why LSU has been the “villain” this season. Does anyone know what these tweets are or have more info? I’m relatively new here and curious!

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    1. Take everything with a grain of salt giggles of Gymcastic says. She is a white guilt self loathing Marxist socialist moronic progressive “ally” who reads White Fragility daily with a highlighter pen to join the woke orthodoxy…

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      1. Lol I cannot believe you (above)held yourself back from throwing in something about “cancel culture”… what self restraint you showed! Haha 🙄 — you sound real smart & fun.

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      2. @jlvgymnerd The MAGAtrash post aside, it’s quite true that Jessica is ridiculously overbearing, absurdly opinionated, and incredibly ignorant about actual gymnastics technique compared to Spencer or even someone like Lauren.

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      3. I don’t think they did hold up Lauren as an example – it’s phrased as “even worse than Lauren.”

        I also don’t really care for Jessica’s so-called politics. Not because the politics themselves are mockable like the dumbass above is attempting, but because Jessica herself seems to think that she’s some kind of mouthpiece despite (a) barely understanding the issues she speaks about and (b) being completely incapable of self-reflection. Sometimes it’s better to talk less and listen more, and Jessica pontificating on Gymcastic – about anything, but especially about social justice topics – is 100% one of those situations.

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      4. @jlvgymnerd
        I don’t see anything wrong with expressing concern about cancel culture. It’s a real thing with real consequences. I personally have never met anyone in my real life who is genuinely supportive of it. So I’m not sure what you’re going on about.
        Or do you really think that people having their mistakes cherry-picked, blasted on social media, attacked and threatened by digital mobs declaring themselves judge and jury, and then losing their career and privacy is actually a productive thing in modern society?
        You sound like a lot of fun at parties or anywhere else.

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      5. Lerm,
        There is no such thing as “cancel culture”.

        It is just a term coined by the overly sensitive right-wingers who whine and complain about something changing that really does not effect them in the slightest but feel the need to feel the need to become upset because they feel “oppressed” and need to speak out about it.

        But based on your post, you fit this description to a T.

        Still LOLing at the Trump culters shouting, “CANCEL CULTURE” when Twittler himself was firing people left and right and cancelling many things himself.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Jessica is very clearly not a Marxist, she often bashes the USSR and communist Romania. Shes just the typical upper-middle class liberal who is a bit too obssessed with identity poltics and sometimes doesnt really understand the real problems most people have to deal with because she had a privileged upbringing. I think she is really entertaining and a nice counter point to Spencer who is the more serious, bitchy, analytical host. That balance makes the show really funny in my opinion, I dont think it would work as well if it was only one of them hosting the show.

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    2. Leaving Jessica aside (she has her faults, but let’s not distract from Jay Clark), Jay is your typical white, southern, evangelical conservative male with many of the shitty opinions that tend to go with that. When he was head coach at Georgia it was one prayer circle after another and he tended to attract athletes to the program who shared his right-wing politics (remember Grace Taylor’s leaked Facebook page?). Now it’s the same thing at LSU, so you have to look at the common denominator.

      Men like Jay Clark are dime-a-dozen in this country but I think he stands out for a couple of reasons. First, advocates of women’s sports are generally pretty pro-women’s empowerment so the views of someone like Clark seem more jarring in what people expect to be a feminist space. Lots of men’s football coaches think the same way but empowering women isn’t part of their job description. Second, and more relevant, I think, gymnastics is a weird sport in that its fans generally are WAY more progressive than its participants. There are a ton of gay men, for example, who love the sport and until pretty recently 99 percent of athletes/coaches/other gymnastics insiders were either silent on gay rights or openly opposed to them. Anyone who proudly flies a socially conservative flag is going to be out of step with most of the online gymnastics fandom so them becoming “the villain” is a pretty natural progression.

      I don’t read Jay Clark’s tweets so I don’t know what specifically he has been tweeting but…dude has a track record, and people remember.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Everyone knows this, though, right? It’s not new. Clark’s been an assistant or head coach of high-profile teams for years and years and he’s had twitter and dumb opinions for a lot of that. I question whether Jessica is right that *this* is why LSU is a “villain” this year (I think it’s because they’re the recipient of the most egregious regular season overscoring, though Bama gave them a run for their money). I think probably Jessica just wants to talk about Jessica’s Opinions more and this is a way to shoehorn it in there.

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      2. If they’re the villain every year, they’re the villain this year.

        There’s also the whole flouting Covid thing, at a time when many teams weren’t even holding practice.

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      3. And I agree with you that Jessica is all about Her Opinions and shoehorns them in at stupid times, but also: fuck Jay Clark 🙂

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      4. Well, I guess the one difference as to why LSU would be the villain this year is that Jay is the head coach not the assistant coach, not the co-head coach. I think D-D was very popular, although after seeing her not wearing her mask at some meet (SECs?), I’m ready to throw her out too.

        I think the Gymnastics 101 meet was the first time we saw a team flouting the Covid rules and it was the first time we saw any gymnastics in a long time so it got a lot of attention. As other teams did it, it got less attention because they weren’t the first.

        But for me, it’s just the sloppy gymnastics. I mean yes, fuck Jay Clark and yes, I am annoyed at the lack of Covid protocol, but when Haleigh Bryant does a gorgeous vault and sticks it, I don’t care about any of that, give her a 10. And if they had a team of Haleigh Bryants and Kiya Johnsons doing hit routines, I would probably keep my mouth shut about Jay Clark and just focus on the beautiful gymnastics. But when the rest of the team is getting 9.95s for flexed feet and legs apart and piked down dismounts and wobbles, and bent knees, etc. Well, then I get a little crabby about them.

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    3. Not to disappoint everyone but for the last year Clark has really toned down his tenor on SM. I think the Floyd travesty either impacted him or someone close. He also called out people celebrating RGBs demise, said politics should not ruin friendships, and totally disapproved of Jan 6. So if someone was looking for full time MAGA or SJW, you’ll both come up short.

      I think LSU has been criticized because they ate still pulling scores in the Corridor, Finnegan, Hambrick, Gnat range for routines that are not in that class at all. It’s insane to see some of the early routines in the 9.9s in comparison to other teams and even their own better gymnasts such as Johnson, Bryant, and even Durante. And their choreo is just where it was in the mid 2010s.

      Also, Jessica is a true idiot. I would rather hear Bridget Sloan commentary than her pontificating.

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  3. They aren’t flouting Covid – (other than gym 101, which I’ll grant you, as a fan, wasn’t a good look, but it was also one of the first times anyone dealt with it in a competition setting and certainly the first time the team did). Since that time, they have been as compliant as most other teams (no need to talk about the ones you view as superior, we all know who they are). So please stop perpetuating that myth.

    Also, as to Clark, assuming that because he is an evangelical Christian (not even sure if he would define himself as evangelical, but we’ll leave that aside), you have no idea or basis to say he is not, himself, a feminist. People are not just solely ideas – he could be an evangelical Christian who also cares deeply about feminist ideas and making the sport the best it can be for women. If we don’t stop equating religion with extreme conservatism (in that people can be religious but also other things that are deemed “good”), the divide in this country will continue to grow.

    Also, the number of people on this and other boards who have wished ill health or ill will on the LSU girls should reflect on that behavior.

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    1. Jay Clark’s Twitter makes it super clear that he’s not a feminist. There is ample evidence and basis to say this. This doesn’t mean he hates women – I’m sure he treats his team with respect and they seem to like him very much, but he definitely doesn’t believe that women need political and economic equality. It’s not about judging evangelical Christians unfairly (though if you look at the doctrine mainstream evangelical Christianity espouses, it’s not a stretch to assume they wouldn’t be feminist, either).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So…I went and checked out Jay Clark’s Twitter for the first time today. It didn’t seem that bad to me. I looked back as far as 2018 and while there were a couple of things I found mildly questionable, there was nothing that was blatantly offensive and even a few things that were better than I was expecting.

        And, for the record, I’m an atheist, feminist, would vote Democrat if I were American, so that might give you the idea of the types of stuff I would find offensive. I’m also not really a fan of LSU this season, but clearly it has nothing to do with Jay and his tweets. So either any awful tweets are farther back than 2018 (and I’m too lazy to go back looking any further), or he has had the sense to delete whatever was awful, or Jessica is talking out of her ass. Or maybe some combination of the three.

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  4. Trump loving MAGAs are literally the kings and queens (yes I am disgusted by these racist white WOMEN) of cancel culture. Speak out against trump – cancelled. Tell the truth about illegal activities with Ukraine – cancel. If you are an IG and you do your job and turn in a report – cancelled, fired. Are you Nike or Coke or MLB and you take a stand, get boycotted by the right. Are you a governor or mayor who cares about your citizens so you implemented a mask mandate – cancelled by the right. I could go on and on. It ts the far right MAGAs who go about life cancelling people all the time. Then they whine about people taking a stand against their pathetic white supremacist views and sexist, ant-gay, and trans-hating. The make up a term called cancel culture and accuse progressives of that. Its kind of like Trump trying with all his might to cheat in the election for the whole 18 months leading up to it. then getting his ass beat and pretending it was the Dems who cheated.

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    1. BINGO!

      Plus don’t forget all the MAGA culters that shout “PRO-LIFE” at the top of their lungs and call Pro-Choice supporters “Baby Killers”. Meanwhile they scream and pout at having to wear a mask in a public area and boo-hoo cry “MY BODY MY CHOICE”. Along with putting on a mask may I suggest a diaper as well???

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    2. Cue the same MAGA trash bitching and moaning about Dr. Seuss being “cancelled”. We all know they don’t read anyway. It’s all about complaining because their miserable lives are nothing but complaining about everything and everyone.

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      1. Definitely not a Trump supporter, but in my opinion, continually bashing on Republicans is not proving or helping anything? Like some things said about Trump supporters are simply too far (see the post right before). Disagreeing with their political views, totally understand and agree with, but saying they have miserable lives and can’t even read, it’s childish.

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      2. Do you have a reading comprehension issue?

        Where was anyone “bashing Republicans”? I don’t see anything mentioned about Republicans anywhere.

        MAGA[s] and Trump supporters were mentioned, not Republicans.

        Also where in the other post does it say Trump supporters “can’t even read”, it doesn’t say that. Says they “don’t read” which is fairly accurate given my own MAGA family members haven’t picked up a book or newspaper in decades. They won’t read articles or websites sent to them. Instead they rely on Fox News, ONN, and other social media propaganda. They are given their information by other by word of mouth.

        As far as the miserable lives comment, that one is a stretch I will give you that. But the OP was correct in that all they do is complain and bitch and moan. That is a fairly accurate description of being miserable.
        Tomi Lahren, Tucker Carlson, Alex Jones, Ben Shapiro. Everything out of their mouths is nothing but negativity, complaining, bitching, and blaming.

        But nice attempt at being snarky though!

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  5. Real question here: do we know how to watch Euros? Did I miss the where? Olympic Channel stream? Youtube? Whatever?
    Thanks!

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  6. 2021 has granted us some good meets (or at least the potential for some good competitions). Despite the crazy scores, NCAA has already been so much better because of the parity between the top teams and the top AAers. Euros looks like it’ll be similar, even if the overall level of gymnastics in Europe isn’t what it used to be. And while the 2020 qualifying procedure was convoluted and dumb, having the Olympic spots on the line at Euros make it extra exciting.

    I hope the Russians don’t grab the extra spot – like someone said above, their team members will be their medal threats anyway, so it’s kind of a wasted spot.

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    1. Agreed.

      I want one spot for GBR and hoping Iordache can grab spot #2.

      Italy already has Mori going for FX and it looks like Ferrari is fit enough to be on the main team in the BB/FX role.

      If it is not GBR or Iordache, I would like to see Motak from UKR in the hunt.

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  7. My faith in humanity is hanging by a thread. If Iordache doesn’t make it to the Olympics, I just can’t…

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