US Classic Session 2 – Live Blog

Let’s do this thing. Welcome to The Simone Vault Show: featuring some other girl, probably named Lisa or something.

The first session was a little…roughety rough, which is to be expected at Classic, but we’ll see whether that continues for the second session, which is a bit deeper with top athletes than the first group was.

In the first rotation, the Skinner/DiCello group is on vault, the Lee/Hurd/Lee group is on bars, the Simone/Chiles group is on beam, and the GAGE/Arizona group is on floor.

Hurd is scratching bars we hear, so she wouldn’t compete in the first rotation, but Sunisa’s bars and the status of McCusker’s floor will be key routines there. NEVER MIND Riley is off the list for floor.

Confirmed that Jade will not do vault/floor, which was reflected on the original start list draft even though she did spend some time on all four in PT.

Updates: Sunisa Lee will not do VT/FX.

The only new person to get her qualifying score from the first session was Ava Siegfeldt. McCallum and Blakely also got the score but were already qualified.

OK here we go.

We’re going to start by talking about Ciena Alipio.

Just kidding it’s Simone’s vault.

Rotation 1

Skinner – VT – opens with Cheng – really solid, medium hop back, chest was pretty high up, piking, twisting form, not too bad.


Skinner – VT 2 – goes with Amanar – hits it, gets it around – larger lunge forward, slightly cross over.

Wong – UB – L turn double, around for credit – pulls around her double double but hops OOB with both feet – popa is pretty – whip to 3/1, small hop back, chest slightly forward – L hop full, I like that she actually does that one like you’re supposed to, with the leg clearly above horizontal – switch ring – 2.5 to front full, good control, takes it right into the corner but no OOB – double pike, deep, hop back. Got through it. First pass deductions will hurt.

Sorry had to GIF that shot of Simone yawning, obviously.

Anyway, we’ve seen two whole routines!!!111!!

13.550 for Wong on floor.

S Lee – UB – Nabieva to Bhardwaj – tries to connect it to the Maloney this time but falls, peels off and improvises a freont tuck. Oh well. Nabieva had a bit of a clear straddle this time as well. Resumes with Maloney to Gienger, lovely – 1/2 turn to piked jaeger to pak to VL, super clean – giant full – FTDT, hop to the side. Very pretty once she resumed after the fall.

For Suni, falling here isn’t super significant.

Biles – BB – wolf triple, very nice – sounds like rat loudly died in the background – aerial to split to straddle – ight on split, short of position but very secure – bhs loso loso right on – switch to switch 1/2 to back, very well connected – side aerial, solid – straddle 1/2 from side to split 1/2 from side, a little slow in combination – FTDT dismount with a large lunge back. Very good.

Aleah Finnegan went 13.300 for a floor we didn’t see. DiCello 14.350 for her DTY.

SIMONE TAPE JOB CLOSEUP. Didn’t want to see DiCello’s vault or Eaker’s floor so that’s fine.

13.500 for Suni on bars.


14.850 for Simone’s beam.

Chiles – BB – side aerial to loso to loso, very solid, some foot form – aerial, small hestiation before straddle to bhs, so possible no connection – side somi, little wobble – switch to switch 1/2, secure – straddle 1/2 from side, good height – sissone, back leg low into wolf jump – does the full in dismount and lands it, chest well down and lunge forward but a successful hit.

Maybe seeing Simone’s tape instead of Kara’s floor was for the best. 12.550 for Eaker on floor.

Chiles went 14.050 on beam, second-best score on beam of the day.

Just a 12.450 for German’s beam.

Simone interview, prerecorded so there’s not another “let’s just casually ask her about assault” moment. Discussing that she has a platform and can tear USAG a new one as needed.

Suni’s score lowered to 13.500 from 13.900. Original D score was 6.4, lowered to 6.0. I’ll have to go back and see what happened there.

Rotation 2

Riley moved to Arizona. Nothing prompted it! It was normal things! This is fine!

McCusker – VT – weird old landing on her DTY, looks like she hurt herself, which sucks because it looked really nice in the air. Now she’s mid-cry. Did a weird like “I burned my foot” jump up with her left foot. Now getting it looked at.

Still gets 14.400 because she successfully Strugged it.

Finnegan – VT – nice Y1.5 – very clean, medium hop forward, good distance. 9.850 away, 9.900 at home.

Hurd – BB – tuck full, holds it, little hesitation – side aerial to loso, tentative, large leg-up break – aerial to split jump to split ring jump, pretty positions – switch to straddle, again hits positions crisply – switch ring, leg-up wobble – double pike, a bit deep, hop back. Some big breaks, a nervy routine, but through it.

Biles – FX – triple double to start, hops back and one foot goes OOB, too comfortable for her – Biles I to stag, hit, better than PT – swithc full to choreographed little fall-to-earth butt slam – doubel wolf is fine – front full through to full in, nailed landing. switch to split leap 1.5, around – double double is wayyy short and falls.

Tim pretending like this has never happened before. It happens sometimes at the first meet of the series.

Hurd 13.200 on beam with a 7.6 E score. Followed a 13.700 for Emily Lee, which we didn’t see but was kind of a significant routine for her. She wanted a bigger number.

S Lee – BB – attempts triple wolf and can’t bring it around and falls – aerial to split to bhs, nice – switch ring, hesitation into pretty split leap – switch to switch 1/2 to split ring jump, nice ring position there – of course the individual skills are gorgeous – side aerial to loso to loso is no problem – bhs bhs and adds back a dismount, 2/1.

So…not a great day for Suni.

14.250 for Simone floor, top score on floor by a ton.

Chiles – FX – wolf triple attempt, I would credit double though, not quite around – follows with wolf double – DLO 1/1, very good, small slide back – DLO, also well under control, very small movement – switch to split leap 1.5, looks like she just did wrench it around – front 2/1 to front full, solid, just a little short – split leap full, flexed feet – doubel pike, hop back. Great tumbling, We’ll see about some dance credit.

Update that McCusker has withdrawn from the rest of the meet.

Looks like Leanne Wong hit a DTY for 14.200. She was struggling in p[odium training.

Big 14.600 for DiCello on bars that we didn’t see.

13.950 on floor for Chiles, #2 score of the day on that event as well.

DiCello is in 2nd, Chiles 3rd among the people in this session.

We’ve entered the MyKayla Skinner’s Shock Therapy portion of the broadcast.

18 floor routines have happened while we’re watching MyKayla do the jiggles.


DiCello – UB – stalder full to stalder shaposh to tkatchev, a bit ragged but hit – piked jaeger, nice – shortish cst hs – Church, good height – pak to van leeuwen, keeps legs together well – FTDT, hop forward.

Skinner – UB – Weiler 1/2 to maloney to tkatchev, looked like she hit her foot on tkatchev but kept going – Ricna to Pak, hit – van leeuwen with crazy legs, hit – clear hip full is very late with a large straddle – does pull out the Fabrichnova and it’s solid.

So I mean it was Skinner’s bars. She got through it. Has the difficulty, ragged form, all of this “She’s really improved her bars form” isn’t really…true? At least for elite. Her college routine got a lot cleaner, but not the elite difficulty elements.

13.400 is REALLY HIGH for that.

So two rotations are done I guess? Skinner moves ahead of Chiles for 2nd among the session 2 people.

Rotation 3

Simone’s vault warmup time. Probably her best landing of the five we’ve seen so far.

OK now the competition version of the Simone vault. Hits it, probably the weakest landing of the six she’s done so far, which is probably predictable, but obviously very strong. Bounce back and another extra rebound.

Tim and Nastia are using a lot of “everybody was doubting” straw men that…didn’t really exist?

6.6/9.500 for 16.100. The 9.500 is too high of course because she incurred more than that just with landing deductions. But you know.

Chiles – VT – elects not to do the 2.5, DTY is fabbb. 2.5 didn’t look ready in PT, so that makes sense.

Hurd – FX – Is doing FX today, we weren’t sure – DLO, pretty nice, small hop back – full in, nailed landing, chest just a bit down – double y spin, around – switch 1/2 – front lay to front full, a little more ragged, hop forward – switch ring, lovely – split leap full, solidly around – split jump full – double pike, feeeeelling it on that one but does pull it around, a little deep.

That’s a better progress point for her than I anticipated on floor here, though gets just 12.900.

14.950 for Chiles DTY. Great day for her so far.

Eaker – UB – Church is hit, no connection – pak, clean – shap1 /2 – short hs into clear hip – clear ghip full – 1/2 turn to piked jaeger, nice – DLO, hit, hop back. Clean individual elements so a solid showing for her on bars, but very few connections. 13.750 is strong for her, though bars scoring has been quite loose today.

Carey – UB – see, explaining Jade’s spot wasn’t so hard! – Chruch, hit – short cast hs – 1/2 turn to Yezhova, pretty clean – maloney to bhardwaj, quite clean on the bhardwaj – van leeuwen – clear hip to giant full, verrry late there – FTDT, hop to the side. Good for her. The handstands are tight, but she really has improved a lot here. 13.800

DiCello – BB – candle mount, nice – wolf triple, very shaky and has to grab the beam, which will not be deducted as much as it should because ugh – side aerial to switch to split, nice – aerial, small check before straddle jump – bhs loso loso, right to the end of the beam but secure – switch 1/2, well short of split but solidly landed – straddle 1/2 from side, solid position but a check – bhs bhs double tuck, chest down, hop forward. Will probably still score pretty well. 13.300 and 7.5 E score.

Wong – UB – stalder to toe full, pretty into maloney to pak, small leg break into toe on – stalder Shap 1/2, legs apart there – stalder 1/2 to jaeger, takes it too far and falls – was pretty at teh beginning but started to get off on her toe on after her Pak – finishes with a clean DLO and a stick-salute.

Her score is two “hmms” and an “oh boy”

Skinner – BB – candle mount, a little past vertical but holds it – bhs tuck full and off the beam, off line out of the bhs – side aerial, small check before split and straddle – switch to switch 1/2 to back tuck, pretty quick in connection – straddle 1/2 from side was tight but hit – straight jump 1/1 from side went well – L turn, pause wobble, doesn’t connect to full turn – double tuck is strong.

Meanwhile Emily Lee went 13.800 on floor that we didn’t see. I guess she wasn’t in TIM’S TWELVE.

Just 11.900 for Wong on bars.

Chiles comfortably ahead of DiCello now in the race for second from this session. Slash the whole thing.

Boy this meet has felt long. Probably because we’ve seen about six routines. NBC can even take a meet where Simone debuts a Yurchenko double pike and make it feel like a slog.

Rotation 4

Chiles – UB – piked jaeger, hit – toe full is verrrry late, broken combo – tkatchev, hit – piked tkatchev to pak, great height and clean – maloney to gienger, nice – FTDT, hop back. A broken connection early but solid individual skills except that wacky toe full.

Eaker – BB – switch mount, pretty, small pause befroe switch side, well done – y spin, good – aerial to split ring jump, check – side aerial to a single loso, hits it, check – sissone to split leap to side somi is strong, good rhythm – switch to switch 1/2, good positions, breaks combo before Korbut – switch ring at the end now, risking no credit – round off bhs 2.5, small hop. 14.100 with an 8.2 E score. That 8.2 E score is the same panel that went 6.2 for Memmel. That panel hasn’t showed for everyone.

Didn’t get several of her connections but good work overall.

14.150 on bars for Chiles. Anotehr 57 day for Chiles.

DiCello – FX – double double, landed comfortably, bounce back – DLO, again secure, small slide, just some chest down – wolf triple, around – wolf double, overturns by about a quarter turn – 1.5 to front full, small hop, some knees – switch ring to split leap full – double tuck, chest down, hop forward. 13.850

Tim still thinks grabbing the beam on a wolf turn is a point off. NOPE.

Carey – BB – full turn, tightlish but fine – aerial to split to straddle, comfortable – bhs loso loso, larger leg-up break but much improved extension there – switch to switch 1/2 with a check – split leap, back leg low – side aerial, secure – switch side, check – split jump 1/2 from side, still some feet – double tuck, lunge back. Good. 12.750

DiCello done with 56.1

Skinner – split leap 1.5, around? goes for the Moors and hits it but looks like both feet OOB on it – double double tuck, secure – wolf double, pulled around, credit – full in, very comfortable – L hop full, better leg up position – front tuck through to 2.5, doesn’t quite get the 2.5 around and has to take a bit lunge to the side.

Wong – BB – switch to straddle, gorgeous – side aerial to loso, secure – L turn, very good horizontal – switch ring, hit but credit risk as to whether the back leg was to shoulder height – aerial, smooth to split ring jump, same – wolf jump full with a wobble – split leap to side somi to jump 1/2 from side, loverly – tries the 3/1, does pull it around, just a littel under and soem crucnhed position.

It’s a shame that she’s not really peaking right now because her strengths would fit the Olympic team well.

The idea of Leanne Wong is so appearing for the Olympic team, but she’s not there right now.

12.900 for Skinner on floor. 7.300 E score. Her scores have been all over the place today in terms of whether they look high or low.

Biles – UB – Weiler 1/2 to maloney, leg break into tkatchev, hit – toe full goes super crazy and she’s off. A two fall day for Simone. toe full repeatrs into piked tkatchev to pak, hit – Shap 1/2, some legs, hit – doubel double tuck dismount is very strong, hop back.

Two falls and it doesn’t matter at all.

Wong went 14.450 on beam. Good one for her, better than Eaker, #2 beam score on the day.

Simone still goes 13.200 on bars (bars scores loose all day).

Finishes 58.400 with two falls.

Biles – 58.400
Chiles – 57.100
DiCello – 56.100

Big deal that Chiles went 57 for the second time this year. DiCello also looked strong. Good progress point for McCallum in the first session. They’re the ones who will be happy with today.

Aleah Finnegan ended up in 5th with a 54.150, which is a solid deal for her.

Wong had some probblemmms but also a really nice beam result. GAGE, what are we going to do about you.

Lee did not have a strong day, but I don’t think that matter too much for her, yet. Hurd’s scores weren’t too high, but based on podium training and injury, she exceed expectations on floor.

The Rily McCusker injury is a real problem.

If you’re asking me today, Biles, Chiles, DiCello, Lee. Ask me again tomorrow.

GymCastic cocktail hour for members coming up in 30-45 after media is finished.

281 thoughts on “US Classic Session 2 – Live Blog”

    1. It really does. Why Spencer puts up with Jessica is beyond the wit of mortal man. $$$$$$$$ presumably.

      1. He’s not making any money on this blog so he needs to put up with Jessica to make a living. You just know he can’t stand her.

      2. I always assumed Spencer was a trust fund baby or like, was injured as a child and won an eight-figure settlement or something. None of our business, obviously, but Southern California has a high cost of living and the blog/podcast can’t be that lucrative. Even Jessica has (had?) a day job and a second income in the household. I doubt he’s relying on Jessica/the podcast to survive. I think it’s more that Spencer is a major introvert and pairing up with an extrovert like Jessica opens doors for coverage and analysis he finds appealing.

      3. Hahaha, that is so funny. I thought I was the only one who rolls my eyes at nearly everything she says. hmm… maybe we can encourage him to create his own podcast!

      4. Describing Spencer as a ‘major introvert’ (on absolutely even less evidence than your trust-fund/settlement scenarios) and Jessica as an ‘extrovert’ is so bizarrely incorrect that it can hardly be contemplated without permanent brain damage.

      5. I hope that Spencer doesn’t read these comments. This is honestly disgusting. How would you like if someone came up to YOU, at your workplace, degrading your friendship or work relationship, calling YOUR friend annoying, asking YOU how on earth do you make money and speculating on YOUR financial status????

        There is snarkiness (Spencer’s tone) and there is insulting (which is what you are doing). Grow up and stop being obsessed with other people’s life’s and relationships. Or at least do not comment on it on a blog about SPORT.

      6. Spencer’s literally said on the pod that he’s grateful Jessica enjoys socializing at competitions because he very much doesn’t, but go off I guess.

      7. Jessica’s ‘socializing’ is being louder and more obnoxious than the people she’s talking over. The idea that Spencer is an ‘introvert’ because he doesn’t enjoy being rude in public is completel nonsense, but whatEVER!

      8. Do we know Spencer doesn’t have a day job? I always assumed he had some data job outside of the gymnastics stuff.

      9. A year or two ago they did an “about us” podcast where they talked about the making of the podcast, etc. Jessica talked about her day job and Spencer said that he didn’t have one. Obviously things could have changed for one or both of them since then.

    2. To 12:46 PM Anonymous: Spencer has said himself more than once that he stopped reading comments years ago. If you look at his responses to comments the last ones are 2016 or so. Very few of these comments insult Spencer, who is a boon to the gymternet (ugh hate that coined word), and Jessica brings it all on herself and then some. 😀

  1. Jordan is solid but wouldn‘t ever get those scores internationally. And Tom (why don’t our gymnasts get all the artistry points ?!?!) has been warned about it. Chelsie….great to see her back but her gymnastics is horrific. Judge to judge,

    1. NO, Memmel’s gymnastics is not ‘horrific.’ Only thing you got right was Chiles’ U-G-L-Y form, which will be killed internationally.

    2. Memmel’s gymnastics is far from horrific. When she hits, she actually looks pretty good, give or take some slightly loose knees in her back handsprings and LOSOs. She normally hits her beam mount and the Arabian just fine. I’m not sure what happened here. Her injury, I suppose.

      Either way, I’m excited to have her back and hope she will continue to do well in the next few months.

    3. My only concern about overscoring is on her DTY. Even the best DTYs never go above 9.2 internationally. They will not go 9.4 or 9.5 for a DTY even with perfect legs and a stick.

      1. Andrade has gone 14.8 internationally on the DTY multiple times without sticking, and Melnikova hit 14.7 on the DTY at Euros. I think Chiles and Jones could definitely get 14.8 too if they stick

  2. USAG on YT already posted all the routines. NBC sports broadcast was terrible.

    Also, the scoring today was outrageous.

    Jordan really stood out here. Kayla is looking like a serious Tokyo contender now. The rest are probably embarrassed.

    1. I don’t even watch the broadcasts anymore. I just wait for Youtube and go through all routines ad-free and commentary-free. By far the best way to watch.

  3. The US isn’t….looking great. lol. I know other countries have had longer to compete but yikes.

  4. Great work on vault and floor. Abysmal beam.. I’m so hoping that some of the shorter rhythmic gymnasts like Kramarenko and Simakova decide to get on the beam and show the world how leaps and turns should look like. You thought Komova was flexible?! Compared to the Russian rhythmic girls, she’s a Skinner at best. Just watch Kramarenko’s backscale flexion and ten panche turns..

    1. I mean, insane flexibility is kind of rhythmic’s whole thing. It’s just a fact of life that the flexibility needed for artistic and rhythmic are on two different levels.

      Elizabet Vasileva from Hungary (or Bulgaria?) switched from rhythmic to artistic for a minute a few years back. (I was actually just thinking about her today!) She had some cool tricks in her bag, I’m sad there wasn’t the world cup option for getting skills named last quad.

      1. She certainly did and she looked wonderful in all choreography, which is unheard of in artistic LOL!

      2. Agreed. Rhythmic girls spend hours and hours on the ballet bar every day so there’s no comparison with the stiff artistic girls. Especially when it comes to toe point. But at the same time I can’t with gymnasts like Kara going for leaps that require insane flexibility and making a complete mockery out of them.

      3. @ Anonymous 7:51 you got THAT right. Eaker ain’t no Chinese gymnast. LOL. They can actually do impossible split positions/leaps.

    2. I don’t miss rhythmic level dance on beam (if I wanted to watch flexible people I’d just watch that sport instead). But it would be nice to see more confident movement and less awkward busted wrists „choreo.“

  5. I am so impressed by Jordan Chiles. Didn’t realize she was this tough. Get it girl!! Just needs to clean up those dance elements on floor

    As for the others, only Kayla DiCello looked ready. We’ll know more after nationals.

  6. Unpopular opinion. But I’m pulling for Skinner. I thought she was hammered on E scores compared to others.

    1. Ha! Skinner’s bars E score was so generous. But think what you want.

    2. Let’s hope not. Being hammered on E score is fully deserved and then some.

    3. Her floor was judged a bit too harshly but she did give a ton away on her Moors and dismount. The middle of the routine and leaps were actually very clean. Wish she’d just do a double layout instead of the Moors.

      Bars was scored I think a bit too leniently. She hit the bar on her Tkatchev and had a 0.5 angle deduction on her free hip full. She also had plenty of bent legs and a wild Shap 1/2 to the high bar. Those are major deductions.

      Her Cheng would have scored 0.5 higher internationally. That was an inexcusably low score for that vault. That was better than Carey’s Winter Cup vault which scored a 9.1. Don’t know what happened there.

      I think beam was right where it should be been. High 7s E without a fall is exactly what I’d have her for that routine. She can easily get in the low 8s without the bobbles and wobbles she had.

      One thing about Skinner is that she will arrive at the Olympic trials at her absolute peak. She did that in 2016 and again in 2019. Whether it will be enough is doubtful but she is in the conversation. Her execution improved throughout the 2019 fall season and I think once she settles more with her routines, she’ll clean things up.

    4. Don’t you know better than to ever post anything on this comment section that isn’t attempting to trash Skinner into the ground? Look at the troll responses you got 🙂

      1. Well, there’s a reason Marta hated Skinner and never picked her up for any major comps apart from 2014 Worlds.

      2. Oh honey, Marta hated so many people. It had nothing to do with her questionable taste and everything to do with her penchant for shitty vendettas.

      3. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make them a troll. The only anti-Skinner troll here was the one claiming she was fat and obviously anyone with eyes can see that Skinner is and has always been one of the fittest gymnasts. Other people just dislike her gymnastics and think she deserves low E scores.

      4. Yeah, Skinner has a ton of athletic and personal flaws, but I wouldn’t list “hated by Marta” as one of them. If Marta Karolyi hated me, I’d wear that as a badge of honor.

      5. @Anonymous 3:42 AM No. Combative responses with nothing but tendentious opinions which end in attempted dismissals like ‘think what you want’ are trolling. Sorry to ruin your daily Skinner Two Minute Hate, but you don’t get to have it both ways 😀

    5. Yeah, she brings it to competition and has had upward trajectories the last two seasons she competed, which are qualities I’m appreciating when so much of the field already seems done

    6. Ok so I don’t think she was hammered on e scores, she kinda had a bleh day apart from vault. BUT I agree and am pulling for skinner. She has been regularly doing the full in beam dismount, and is connecting her clear hip full to the double double, and is working to change her PAOK to a bhardwaj. Anyhoo more difficulty comes with less execution but I think she might do it

  7. Ok, so this wasn’t the greatest day for Mykayla. Based on her youtube videos she can do much much cleaner bars, legs together, handstands pretty much vertical, all that jazz. Except for clear hip full which if she can’t start getting around soon will need to be taken out. Mistakes kind of make sense here since she only started training full routines like two, three weeks ago.
    Hopefully she doesn’t get discouraged and shows up with a killer routine at nationals and trials.
    In my opinion her weakest event is beam. Just nothing much about it and the illusion she tried to put in just is not Myk type of element.

    1. Her form isn’t great on beam but has the potential to score extremely high if she avoids wobbles. Her full difficulty with the back handspring full and her full-in dismount is huge. I would say bars is her weakest. Again, good difficulty, but execution is worse than beam.

      1. Her beam has geat difficulty, but it’s a bit risky. Full in dismount should come around just in time, but bhs full needs to get more consistent for her to use in a competitive routine. It’s not bad, but she needs to get better hit ratio. Other than that, I hope they give up on illusion and focus on hitting bhs full and connecting turns. Leaps & jumps are as good as she is ever gonna do, given issues with flexibility. And honestly even the switch half isn’t that bad, pretty much on par with most power type gymnasts.

  8. It’s a weird experience reading the comments on this blog.
    I don’t get it, is it an american thing to call one another and the gymnasts “trash”, “delusional”, “worthless”, “stupid”, “talentless” etc?
    Or is it an american gymnastics fans thing? Or aren’t most of you even americans?

    I’m a bit lost and worried…

    1. It’s just an internet thing. If this is your first time encountering nastiness of this sort online, you’re lucky. (And honestly, I think the snarky identity of this site has encouraged that sort of thing in the comments, which is annoying, because Spencer’s commentary is generally good and engaging.)

    2. I believe the nasty comments are all posted by one stupendous troll who is clearly very unhappy in his/her life and takes it out on all of us. I wish he/she were banned from his site, but alas, Spencer doesn’t seem to monitor his comments section.

      1. There’s two trolls, and both get political occasionally, but on very different ends of the spectrum. I think one is trolling on purpose and the other is a very sincere nutjob.

        I liked it better before they were here, but it’s the internet so everyone gets to go off!

      2. They’re basically cosplaying as two other historical and high-profile gymternet trolls I won’t name. Most of the people here make thoughtful comments and are pretty well-adjusted.

      3. I think it’s considerably more than one or two trolls. Five or six anyway. One of them is not occasionally but constantly rightwingnut; one is similarly preoccupied but very left; one specializes in trashing gymnasts’ appearance; one hates Simone Biles, probably because of racism. They all write differently, and those are just the ones off the top of my head.

  9. Does Sunisa’s fall get credited as a tucked Jaeger? It should, right?

    1. She didn’t touch the bar so it wouldn’t be credited as anything. But fun idea.

  10. A team of Chile’s. Biles and Di Cello is literally the US showing they have never heard of toe point, or actual choreography. But I blame the code.

    You need Hurd/Wong in there just to show that you guys can do gymnastics with style.

    Di Cello and Chile’s get way too much on beam considering there’s never a high toe, never smooth connections. Good solid workers though.

    Any other team in the world would kill to have Finnegan.

    1. I can’t imagine anyone from the Finnegan family existing outside of America.

      1. Ha! You know, sometimes with all the trolls on here, I wonder why I read the comments here. And then a pithy, perfect comment like that makes it all worthwhile.

    2. The strong bars/beam contingent of Suni Lee, McCusker and Hurd being injured is making the team you mention seem pretty likely. The fourth will probably be McCallum.

      I adore Suni and want her to make the team but I’m worried for her at this point.

  11. Think I’m done watching the training videos. During the pandemic they were the only hope for future gymnastics we had. Sadly, with a few exceptions, they have turned out to be a complete misrepresentation of reality.

    These girls have 2 incredibly intense competitions coming up soooon. Really hoping the national camp(s) begin to reflect that. I say this because the level of unpreparedness here was quite shocking for a few.

    Many are coming back from injuries or just had surgery I get it. But, why so many when there have been no competitions for so long. Are their bodies just breaking down? There’s been no pressure until recently, it all seems so suspicious to me. A few were never injured, but seem utterly incapable of reaching their pre-Covid level of ability. Wth is going on?

    1. Well obviously training videos – short clips chosen from among many many takes taped in low pressure environments – are going to be better than competition. They’re not supposed to be a representation of „reality.“

      I agree with you on the rest – the timeline is shorter this year so the „whatever it’s Classics“ excuse doesn’t hold up so well.

    2. I disagree on the lack of pressure. I think the Tokyo format, combined with the presence of Simone and Tom’s selection methodology, is creating an unhealthy pressure cooker. Say what you will about Marta, but at this point in the cycle she would have pre-selected most of the team, you’d have a handful of athletes with the potential to disrupt things who knew what they needed to do to get a spot (usually involved focus on 1-2 events), and everyone else would be “just happy to be there.” This time around, you have everyone going balls to the wall on every event in the hopes of being one of the top four non-Simone AAers, and more people than usual think they have a shot. Obviously things are 110% better without the Karolyis, but this time around the pressure is just as bad (maybe worse!) just in a different way.

      1. Yeah, I kind of agree. The pressure is super high. Also because no one knows what to expect from Tom just yet. Four people on a team is just too tight.
        And I don’t think that competitions are main pressure makers and injury givers. It’s true that gymnasts have to get full routines earlier if the season is longer. But when there are no competitions they probably focus more on training upgrades. So, some o them have upgrades but just not getting clean through full routines since full routines were not the focus till now. Others opted to just show up with something basic as they are still figuring out what they can risk and what not.
        But yeah, the clock is ticking.

      2. I wouldn’t blame the anxiety on Tom. Making these teams smaller and smaller means there is a lot less certainty. Add in the rampant injuries, pushing the game back two years, and the fact that a lot of these kids are two eventers and it would be a pressure cooker regardless. Pretty much every team under Marta had a couple of surprise selections- no one predicted Humphrey & both vaulters for 4-6 in 2004, Sloan 2008 was a surprise, and 2016 had its share of drama outside the top two with final spots being decided for bars only. 2012 was the only ear where there was a definite pecking order that held. It was also the year that there were no Olympic year injuries that shuffled the deck.

    3. What 5:37 said about everyone balls to the wall. THIS. Everyone has been trying semi-insane (and sometimes completely insane) upgrades for months and no one knows what to expect from Forster (except the worst, lol.) This is where a lot of the injuries are coming from , IMO.

    4. I agree about the timing of these injuries. There must seem to be so many that it has to be more than bad luck. Maybe Covid shutdowns caused many if the gymnasts to get way behind in training and they’re trying to push too hard now?

      1. Honestly, I think you’re right. Why go all out and train for Tokyo if it may never even happen? Now they’re all realizing it will, things are getting back to normal and they’re scrambling, training hard, and putting pressure on their bodies.

        There are gymnasts who probably trained a little too hard last year, strained their bodies then and are just now able to be in the mix health wise. Screws in the wrist? Damn. But then we have a whole list of promising other gymnasts who just kind of faded away at this competition. Maybe it’s a mix of both issues for them.

    1. Nothing.


      She qualified to Nationals already and decided to skip this meet.

  12. I love Leanne, but that beam score?? At worlds or olympics it would barely get into the 13s , those rings…. just no.

  13. In 2019, my team pick would have been Simone, Suni, Mykala (for vault/floor + I really just want her to get to the olympics) & Riley (for bars/beam and I’d have picked her out of the Hurd, McCallum, Wong, Eaker mix).

    But I’m with Spencer at the moment: Simone, Jordan, Kayla & Suni.
    Definitely likely to change based on Nationals + Trials

    Simone: Would go up on all four events anyway
    Jordan: If she’s consistent and has the 2nd highest all-around score behind Simone from nationals & trials, qualifies anyway. (So there might be no need to debate her place here, but early days currently). I hear the argument that she might score lower when judged internationally. Well Suni got the same criticism in 2019, after scoring 58+ at Worlds Trials. She got the same scores at Worlds qualifiers, save beam where she struggled. So, I’m not really sure.
    Kayla: Honestly, if she’s consistent, I’d go with her. (Obviously, would still need to see how the rest of the Hurd, McCallum, Wong, ?McCusker mix perform)
    Suni: I’m on the fence based on today. But we’ll see in 2 weeks. If not team spot, I’d probably give her the individual and hope she kills it on bars.

    Really hope Riley is okay and that Hurd, Skinner & McCallum come back from injuries/covid and are able to bring it at Nationals.
    I honestly don’t want Nationals to be a shit-show. I want good, solid routines and healthy gymnasts.

  14. Morgan: very worried about her chances
    Riley: gonna kill myself if she is not ok
    Grace: still a bit worried about her
    Suni: worried but I’m actually ok if she doesn’t make the team, her gymnastics is nothing special to me (UB aside) and the only reason I would want her in Tokyo is to beat Nina

    Chiles, DiCello and Carey look amazing , but a team with them plus Simone would be just awkward, add in Skinner and the US would have the most boring and ugliest floor rotation ever, they don’t even try to be artistic. Tokyo stage was made for Riley, Morgan and Grace, at least one of them need to go.

  15. Are there published rules about how the remaining non Jade individual spot will be decided? Because at this point I honestly think giving it to Skinner would make a lot of sense since she has a legitimate chance to medal on vault and it’s less iffy than Eaker on beam.

    The only caveat would be if Suni is not healthy enough to get floor and vault back by trials, in which case she should get the individual spot for bars and beam since she could easily medal on both.

    1. no way. Even USAG isn’t that dumb to send Carey, Skinner and Biles to Tokyo. Skinner getting that spot would be a total waste

      1. Yeah, this is really unfortunate for Mykayla, because I think in any other time she’d have a chance… If the team was 6 or 5 members, or we didn’t have the Simone/Jade combo. If the second individual spot was not assigned I’m not sure if I’d pick Jade over Mykayla.

      2. Yep, Skinner is neck with neck with Carey on vault but Carey already stamped her ticket. Skinner’s only chance is with her all-around. She needs to accompany a high all-around performance with a top 3 floor which will be hard for her to do.

        It would be exciting to see a hyper-overpowered vault lineup with a Cheng, double Yurchenko piked, and Amanar from Skinner, Biles, and Chiles in the team final but I really don’t think that will happen due to gaps elsewhere.

        A lot of the team selection is riding on Sunisa’s ability on the non-bars events, especially floor and vault. Sunisa went from having a must-have floor to “does she even have a floor routine?” This isn’t to say that she doesn’t or even that it isn’t as good as it was in 2019, but her injuries and the fact that she hasn’t shown one yet does worry me.

        This is where Kayla DiCello is so appealing. She has that ability to put a string score anywhere. That was Grace’s position the last two worlds and still could be hers but right now I’d want Kayla as the solid all arounder who can fill in anywhere.

  16. Is there a way to actually contact NBC or whomever is in charge of the broadcast to complain about the footage, the ankle taping, not showing other gymnasts, instead of on here where it dies out.

  17. If you told me a couple months ago that Suni wasn’t a lock for the team, I would not believe it. But right now she looks more on the second individual trajectory. If she doesn’t get healthier I suppose they would take her for the team only if they were really pressed for bars.

    Gutted for Riley. Hopefully this is not a serious injury and they took her off just to not push it. But yikes. She is up there with the most unlucky gymnasts.

    1. Riley has been working so hard and looking better and better. I hope this didn’t happen because she was trying very difficult tumbling (that’s been mentioned by other people). I think Jade’s father is awful and probably a bad coach as well, so I wonder. Also, speaking of most unlucky, think good thoughts for Grace and that horrible freak hand injury. 🙁

      1. What have you heard about Jade’s father? I haven’t seen anything about that. Hope poor Riley is OK. :'(

      2. I dont know if he is awful. I just dont think he has experience with many elite gymnasts beyond his daugher who is the opposite of Jade. More fragile, and coming from bad training experiences and sickness. He should have gone the execution route with easier tumbles. But again, he isnt a very good exection wise coach. We can see that in Jades weaknesses.

      3. His sleazy exploitation of a legal loophole the idiots at USGF left open is awful, for starters. Daughter Dearest should have had to go through the same nightmare process all the other American gymnasts do. Beyond that, he’s not only not a good coach, he clearly sucks at it. Jade Carey still has all her ugly form, unpointed toes, leg separations, etc, etc, etc, and the only reasons she’s in her current position are natural talent, a certain dumb luck in not getting injured more often, and the rather incredible lack of truly/competitive strong vaulters/tumblers this entire quad except for Biles.

  18. This is my problem with a COP that focuses only on difficulty, you shouldn’t be able to win with two falls.

    1. People bring this up all the time, but the ONLY gymnast who can win with two falls is Simone. She’s an unusual outlier. It’s not a problem with the COP – it’s just this one gymnast.

      I agree it’s a little disappointing how much of a buffer Simone has in terms of making competition exciting, but I can’t imagine how you would change the COP to take that buffer away, unless you want to over-value falls and seriously discourage risk taking. That’s totally an option but I think most people wouldn’t prefer it.

  19. I hope Riley is not that injured and can come back at Nationals. Morgan didn’t make top 8 in any event so I think her chances of making it to the Olympics is not very good plus her elbow injuries make doing bars and vault very iffy. My favs for the Olympics right now are Simone, Jordan, DiCello, Sunisa, McCallum, Wong, Eaker. Unfortunately I don’t see Konnor McClain or Skye Blakely making the team. But the dark horse for me is Aleah Finnegan. She placed top 8 in vault, beam and floor. She would make an excellent alternate.

    1. Finnegan in 2019 would have made an excellent alternate but she has downgraded a lot. Eaker has also downgraded everywhere except those risky floor upgrades which I don’t understand, such a waste of her potential. I agree the team seems to be between Simone, Jordan, Kayla, Grace, Sunisa, and Leanne, although I still think Riley has a great chance if she is not injured now.

  20. Bear with me here. Why do we worry about a second all-around medalist on the team? Put the second all arounder in the individual spot. For team: Simone does the all around. Vault adds in Chiles AND Skinner to build an incredibly high vault rotation score and potentially make up for a weaker bars score. Bars: McCusker and Chiles, Beam: McCusker and either Chlies or Skinner (whomever is looking better). Floor: Chiles and whichever McCusker/Skinner looked better in qualification. Give the individual spot to McCallum, Maybe Suni, Wong, or DiCello, Everyone gets a chance to try for EF spots in qualification .

    1. At this years olympics all athletes can do the AA Because the team is 4 up 3 count and the individuals can compete whatever they choose. AA or otherwise. I see what you’re saying like the second best aa doesn’t have to be necessarily on the team but In Qualifications there’s not the whole “if this person just had the chance to compete bars they could have out scored xyz “ that’s why I like this olympics despite how conuluted the process was
      To get to it.

  21. I wish spencer would do a Classic postmortem writeup. I don’t want to listen to gymcastic.

  22. My team at the moment is Biles, Chiles, Suni, and Skinner. Yes, Skinner. Why not put a massive gap between you and the rest of the world after vault and play catch me if you can the rest of the meet?! Maximize what you’re good at, the rest can be average. Under the current code, vault and floor are the money makers. I mean, Melnikova won a silver AA medal at Euros with falls on bars and beam and stronger vault and floor… Realistically, all the other options for the fourth US gymnast will be two per country’ed out of any finals so what’s the point?

    1. Not a bad strategy. Vault is America’s biggest weapon. No surprise vault D scores are getting devalued across the board in the next COP. Why not take advantage one last time?… Russia will probably have three DTYs or at best one Cheng from Melnikova and two DTYs. China – one mediocre Rudi and two DTYs. Huge gap potential there.

      I would also go with a beamer for the specialist spot – Eaker or Wong make the most sense right now. If Suni or Simone falls in qualifications, there will be another American to make the final.

    2. Besides, monetizing America’s D score advantage on vault is a much safer bet than on any other event. We rarely see falls on vault. A few extra tenths on beam and bars are a far riskier proposition.

    3. That is silly. Skinner is useless everywhere else and her Cheng isn’t scoring that much more than a DTY from McCallum and doesn’t score better than a hit DTY from Chiles. She will get 2 per’d from vault finals anyway. Kudos to her for fixing the pre-flight and block, but her Cheng is filthy as hell with an automatic deduction for height, distance, knees, and hop back.
      Skinner would have had a better chance at the team had she looked to clean up her gymnastics. Instead she packed in the difficulty at the expense of her E score. Skinner finishing 10th at US Classic was a wake up call. While She was slightly underscored on vault, she was correctly marked on UB, BB, FX. Skinner might not make Olympic Trials at that rate.
      Chiles has been showing increased consistency, but I would prefer not to use her on UB and BB in TF if possible. So the 4th needs to be able to do UB/BB in team finals. Looking like DiCello, Wong, McCallum, Skye Blakely at this rate.

    4. At the end of the day, a core team of Biles, Chiles and Suni is winning the gold medal. The fourth gymnast is kind of .. irrelevant? Skinner can do the job surely but does come with a few risks. DiCello looks more consistent at the moment, let’s see how she does at nationals. The strategy for the fourth spot should be who’s more likely to make event finals or fill up any gaps in case of injury. Floor and vault seem too crowded with Biles, Jade, and Skinner. I would probably go with Riley, Wong, or Eaker for the remaining team/specialist spots. McCallum/DiCello as alternates.

      Without any directional issues, Myk’s Cheng is getting a 9+ E score internationally. Don’t know how on earth they came up with that 8.7.

    5. It would be a big mistake to rely on either Skinner or Suni for floor at the current time. Skinner’s only advantage is 2-3 tenths over the clean DTYs from DiCello or McCallum. She is behind them on every other event including floor. And if Riley is hopefully not injured she would have a better chance at a bars medal as our #2 then Simone or Grace would

  23. Rewatching the meet .. Not impressed with Suni nor with any of the GAGE athletes. Let’s see how they do at the next meets.

    Suni is so talented but she needs to drop a few pounds. I know I know, any mention of body issues here will trigger a barrage of how-can-you-ever-say-this comments but so be it. Not saying she needs to look like Khorkina ca. 2004 but a 5lbs weight loss can really help her bars. She’s not as muscular as Simone or Jordan (who are perfect for the skills they excel at). On bars, however, a couple of extra pounds can really hinder your core stability. Don’t think she would have peeled off the high bar that easily back in 2019.

    1. TBH I thought she looked a little heavier. I mean in regular everyday weight she is perfectly fine, amazing figure. But she is doing superhero things. She did look a little out of shape. As did Morgan. Who is coming back out of injury. Not overweight in the least. Just out of gymnastics shape a little.

    2. The weight is not the problem. It’s the conditioning and strength. She seemed heavier on bars because she didn’t have her usual power and lightness on her releases and transitions.

      The same thing happened with Chiles in 2018. No issues whatsoever with weight unlike what people were claiming. It was all a matter of fitness and endurance and strength. And look at Chiles now with her added strength and endurance. She’s unstoppable!!

      Suni will get it back soon enough. And that won’t be from weight loss. It will be from training and building her endurance and strength back.

    3. Agreed. It’s not just about absolute weight, it’s more about weight to strength ratio. For good or bad, modern gymnastics requires an insane amount of strength relative to body weight. Optimizing both weight and fitness level can yield improvements. But I think Suni is perfectly aware of what her optimal form should be and will work to achieve it in the coming weeks. Rooting for her to show us her best gymnastics!

  24. Does Jordan train tkatchev + piked tkatchev + pak all in combination?
    It would be amazing if she does and I think she is very capable of it.

    1. She trains toe full + tkatchev + giant full + piked tkatchev + pak

      1. Really cool combination that gets 0.5 in bonus. I just hate how the giant full breaks the connection into the piked Tkatchev. I don’t know why the COP doesn’t reward C+D or higher.

  25. Ugh, the ugly wolf turns! Can we please make it stop? The killer for me is watching them double down on the fugly with the triples then 2.5 turns… my eyes!

    1. It will be slightly better in the next quad (no credit for multiples) but I agree–they are hideous eyesores. Fugliest turns ever in gymnastics.

  26. Came across your blog for the first time and it made my day. Your writing is so entertaining and I love the Tim references. Will definetly come back next meet.

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