The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – May 21, 2021

A. Classic Podium Training

Someone showed up to Classic podium training and did a lil ol’ Yurchenko double pike.

So, this is like…too good. It’s not supposed to be this good. She did a second one after this and fully ran backward out of it.

Simone didn’t have to show up looking the most prepared of anyone at Classic podium training, but she kind of did.

Now, to the most important question: What’s it going to be valued? Timmy the Dags said on twitter that is has been given a 6.6 for this meet. And keep in mind that this would be a provisional US rating and can change once the women’s technical committee gets hold of it at the Olympics (like when the beam dismount got an I nationals but then an H at worlds).

A 6.6 is little low for me, though not quite as disastrous as it might have been (and again, we’ll see what the WTC does). I had it at 6.8 based on precedent. In the men’s code, the Yurchenko double pike is a 5.6 vault, so we can compare that to vaults that exist in both codes like the handspring double front, which is 5.2 in the men’s code and 6.4 in the women’s code. So keeping the same 0.4 progression that the codes lovvveeee, that would have put the Yurchenko double pike at 6.8. Which is where I came up with the number.

Comparing the men’s and women’s codes in this case does have its limits, however, because the Yurchenko layout 2.5 is a 5.2 in the men’s code compared to the Yurchenko double pike at 5.6. Using that logic, the women’s Yurchenko double pike would be only 6.2, which would be comically low compared to the recent 6.4-valued inventions like the Biles I.

(Meanwhile, if the double pike is 6.6, does that mean the tuck version would be 6.2? Because that’s also comically low in comparison to other vaults. Though they are redoing all the vault values for 2022, so they have a chance to address the prospective difficulty discrepancies. Ha ha ha, I do like to kid.)

A few notes on some of the other people who were there and did some things.

Chellsie Memmel – The Memmeling is happening. She participated in all four warmup rotations but showed actual full routines on two—a Yurchenko full on vault, as well as her beam with the same content as in the mock meet from her last video. She looked understandably tentative, but beam and vault should bring competitive scores. Memmel is not competing bars here, though she actually showed more content than I expected in podium training, including her double front dismount. On floor, she didn’t do any tumbling but did give us a very important dance through.

File this under “me”: Twitter very much enjoyed Grace’s loving gasp reaction in the background of this GIF, meanwhile I thought she was yawning.

Memmel mentioned to the media that she’s potentially trying to add more for nationals, which would have to happen by petition if she’s only trying for a qualifying score on two events here.

Morgan Hurd – We could see the evidence of a slower return after her elbow surgery for Hurd. It doesn’t look like she’s going to compete bars tomorrow—she showed a hot second of Maloney to Stalder Shap to piked Tkatchev today, but was struggling with it and didn’t show a full routine. I also believe we saw only a Yurchenko full on vault, though the content was there on beam so I would anticipate that as her most competitive score tomorrow.

Jordan Chiles – Because Simone had just done a Yurchenko double pike, it didn’t get much attention that Chiles attempted an Amanar immediately after. She did a couple of them and…didn’t really fall? But both landings were close to falls, so we’ll have to see if that vault ends up manifesting this summer. The DTYs she showed were easy peasy.

Laurie Hernandez – I’m interested to see what (if?) happens with bars and trying to get an AA score for Laurie because she only showed separate parts of a bars routine sprinkled here and there, and I didn’t see a dismount. Though, Laurie did compete bars at the March camp for a score, so there has been a routine at some point recently.

Grace McCallum – In some respects we saw full difficulty from Grace returning from injury—she was working double double tucks on floor—but in other cases not, as I only saw fulls from her in the vault warmup.

Skye Blakely – Looks like Blakely is trying to step back up to the DTY, which she showed in podium training, though with a short landing.

Riley McCusker – She’s using “Satisfied” from Hamilton as her music, once again reinforcing that if your floor music isn’t from a musical, I’m not going to be able to identify it. Also there was one time on beam where I thought I was watching Riley and it turned out to be Jade. I know. The tentative, early word was that Jade wouldn’t do VT/FX here, but she showed up on all four in PT, so we shall see.

GAGE – Once again like American Classic, the GAGE athletes had some rouuugggh times in podium training featuring some vault falls. We’ll see if they can step it up in competition again this time.

Absences – No sign of Faith Torrez or Lyden Saltness.

Juniors – Friday, 6:40pm ET (FLO)
Seniors Session 1 – Saturday, 1:00pm ET (Peacock)
Seniors Session 2 – Saturday, 7:00pm ET (NBCSN)

I’ll be live blogging both senior sessions on Saturday, and for GymCastic members, we’re having live video reaction sessions after each one.

B. Oceania Qualifiers

In a secret ocean lab that cannot be penetrated by video technology, the continental championships for Oceania were held today. For the women, Emily Whitehead of Australia took first place to earn herself a spot at the Olympics alongside Georgia Godwin (who qualified at worlds in 2019). Whitehead finished just a smidge ahead of Georgia-Rose Brown for the Olympic spot and in second place overall—Godwin is in first by a large margin.

For the men, New Zealand’s Misha Koudinov earned himself an Olympic spot, finishing a half point ahead of Mitchell Morgans, who won the all-around among Australians, ahead of Jesse Moore in second and our beloved prince Heath Thorpe in the bronze position. I expect to see at least one high bar crazy from Koudinov at the Olympics. Otherwise what’s the point.

C. Japanese Olympic Team

I never rounded up last weekend’s NHK Cup and the naming of Japan’s women’s team for the Olympics. So, let’s do that. At the end of the NHK Cup, Murakami Mai, Hatakeda Hitomi, and Hiraiwa Yuna finished in the top three positions, earning automatic spots on Japan’s Olympic team. Sugihara Aiko, the 4th-place finisher, was subsequently named as the fourth member of the team.

Left out was Teramoto Asuka, who finished 5th and made a valiant effort to come back from injury to try for a spot but came up just short. Given the selection criteria and the automatic spots awarded, the chosen team makes the most sense, although going by peak scores across the two days of All-Japans plus the NHK Cup, the highest-scoring team would have been Murakami, Hatakeda, Sugihara, and Teramoto. So, there existed a solid argument for that combination as well had Hiraiwa not earned herself an automatic spot.

The men’s selection is conducted differently, with only the first two Olympians decided after the NHK Cup—those spots going to Hashimoto Daiki and Kaya Kazuma—and the other spots (as well as the non-nominative +1 spot) to be decided later on.

D. Canadian Championships

The first day of judging at the virtual Canadian Championships came on Tuesday, with Ellie Black taking first place, new senior Ava Stewart using her superior bars difficulty to place second, and Brooklyn Moors returning to all-around competition to sit third. The second day of judging will be Sunday.

The primary hierarchy-smashing development this year has been the emergence of Stewart as the #2 all-arounder, right behind Black at pretty much every competition this year, coupled with previously presumed team member Ana Padurariu still being out of competition. Rose Woo has also enjoyed some nice results earlier this year to keep herself in the mix. Woo did just two events here, but recorded the #2 beam score behind Black.

Shallon Olsen competed and recorded the top score on vault but did not have high numbers on the other events and sits all the way down in 16th overall.

After the second day, I’ll do some team number crunching.

E. GymCastic

WATCH HERE Club Gym Nerd members can watch the podcast being recorded and see some of the gymnastics we discuss, plus get access to all of our exclusive interviews and Behind The Scenes episodes.  Please login to your Club Gym Nerd account to listen and/or watch this episode. Not a member? Join here. GYMKATA This week, the episode Jessica and Spencer have been training in the woods for their whole lives: Gymkata. In 1985's action film spectacular, the dear departed Kurt Thomas must travel to the very real and geographically consistent nation of Parmistan to try to survive THE GAME, a totally unnecessary obstacle course where people kill you at the very beginning. We discuss: For a closed central Asian nation, everyone sure is American and can come and go as needed Very 3-dimensional female characters with clear goals and lines (JKKKKKKK) MULLETS Men holding giant birds for no reason Cool technological weapons, like a…little axe? That thing where you find a dead body and hear a BOIYOINGGGGG sound The most accurate depiction of US military presence in Asia ever committed to film A horse just decking some dude An actual character named Thorg How Kurt Thomas is fully, unironically good at action movie The "Village of the Crazies" and how it gets DARK A guy in a white robe with the butt cut out (!) And of course, the iconic town square pommel horse fight: featuring RANDOM GOAT JOIN CLUB GYM NERD Join Club Gym Nerd (or give it as a gift!) for access to Behind the Scenes episodes. Buy our awesome clothing and gifts here. We have a Ukraine Fundraiser design, all proceeds go to the CARE Ukraine Crisis fund. RELATED EPISODES & RESOURCES Donate grips and tape for Ukrainian gymnasts Donate to family of Alabama volunteer assistant coach in Ukraine To follow the effects of the Russian invasion to Ukraine on gymnastics, go to Gymnovosti The Leotard Episode: Part Deux NCAA Championships 2022 Winter Cup Recap Spitfire: The Movie (Commissioned) Nadia: The Movie (Commissioned)
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