The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

US Nationals Men’s Day 1 – Live Commentary

I’ll keep it light on the skill-by-skill and heavy on the “Daggett what are you saying about?”

Competition was listed to begin at 6:30 CT but it will actually begin at 7:00 CT, which is when the Olympic Channel broadcast starts. Olympic Channel is slated to have the whole 2.5 hours.

Some news to dissect from today before we get started: The FIG went all TWIST-town and announced that the Doha World Cup will be going ahead after all, starting June 23. So enjoy your casual 20 days to prepare! That means that the quests for Petrounias and Ferrari, among others, to make the Olympics are still alive.

In competition news, Elisabeth Seitz won the German national AA by a tenth over Pauline Schäfer, with Sarah Voss in 3rd, Kim Bui in 4th, and Emilie Petz in 5th. Some VERY close team-score scenarios using various combinations of those five athletes, so the final trial on June 12th should be interesting.

As for the US men, one of the bigger stories I’ll be watching today is whether NCAA champion Brody Malone is for real in his push to make the US team. It’s an appealing prospect given his particular strengths and the fact that it’s just…something a little different and interesting, but he has not made major teams before and doesn’t have the scoring history of the default four from 2019—Mikulak, Moldauer, Wiskus, and Modi.

And what of Allan Bower? The perennial alternate is often an alternate because of his ability to fill in most places, which is exactly what a four-person team asks for.

Assuming the US men do get a +1 Olympic spot this weekend, the Nedoroscik/Yoder pommel horse battle should also be fun to see who can position himself as a possibility for that spot.

Mostly, root for chaos is going to be the theme.

Drink if “the road to Tokyo runs through Fort Worth Texas.”

INSIDE OF 50 DAYS. “Tonight we begin to find out…”

I don’t understand the 5280 logo. It looks like 520U. This is some Entertainment 720 nonsense. Oh is that like an Oklahoma thing?

Nastia is saving her top looks for broadcast TV. Not wasting a sparkle on you Olympic Channel hos.

Andrea will never again wear a statement necklace.

Rotation 1

Moldauer starts on floor – and it’s quite well done. A casual 4 sticks to start, and then of course doesn’t stick the 2/1. Good opening. Very crisp front 2.5. 14.500. Solid number.

Penev – VT – round off 1/2 on front 2/1—ManBiles—is fine, medium lunge forward, some knees.

Penev VT 2 – Shewfelt – nearly able to find the stick, just a little over, small shuffle to the side – nice one.

They’ve “refined” what the triangles mean. So…I mean…it’s better. But even better would have been just eliminating them. You know.

Neff – VT – goatee and a bun for 14.200

Yoder went 13.600 on PB. Solid.

Wenske gets some camera time following a 13.650 for Suzuki on high bar – actually has a nice finishing vertical position on his tak full – nice twisting position, hop back on dlo 2/1.

Mikulak – VT – lands his Kas 1.5 – a little messier than his typical and a larger bound forward. 14.200

Wiskus – VT – struggles somewhat on his Kas 1.5 – deep landing and a large crossover step. 13.500

Bower on high bar – so this will be a critical survive for his AA score – Hits his Kovacs and Tkatchevs – pretty solid one until a tak 1/2 that he straddled, but overall a useful one for him. 13.250.

Going back now to see Brody Malone’s 14.600 on rings. WAIT WE CAN GO BACK AND SEE ROUTINES? 14.600 is a noteowrthy rings routine as that’s about what Howard was scoring to get on the 2019 worlds team as a rings specialist.

Good hit on rings from Modi as well – small hop on double double tucked. 14.050 for Modi, on track for him.

First rotation…better than expected?

Malone’s 14.600 on rings is the highest for anyone thus far on any event.

Rotation 2

The OTC people move to PBars, starting with Toulouse Lautrec.

Neff – PB – Quite pretty priouetting form, finishing well at vertical – one hesitation toward the end with an arch. Double pike, small hop to the side, some chest down. 13.900. Good one.

“They gave it their all. MOST of these guys.” Lol

Terry asking Nastia whether she ever took a day off. I can hear Valeri cackling from here.

Malone on vault now – excellent stick on his Kas 1.5. Well, he’s bringing it so far. 14.700. Time to sing the “not enough separation on vault” song.

Commercial. Scores. Commercial. Two routines. Commercial. This is more the pacing I was expecting. The way we started I was like, how are we seeing so many routines.

We didn’t see Diab’s rings, but he went 14.950, which is giant. Also didn’t see Dyer on floor. This broadcast is really letting itself down in the second rotation. 14.550 for Dyer.

Bower – FX – opens with a stick on his double front pike and again on his double double – more hoppy on his last several passes, was a tad under rotated on final 3/1 as well.

Tim arguing that swinging your arms on landing shouldn’t be a deduction. So we’ve entered full what-are-you-saying-about territory.

Moldauer just 13.050 on PH.

Mikulak has a major arch and a walk on his hands on PB but pulls it back. Slips off on his front straddle.

Resumes and redoes the straddle, takes it high again but it’s still a little wonky. Double front 1/2, deep but stuck.

13.550 for Mikulak.

Now it’s time for Wiskus to do PB – nearly has a weirdness on his tuck 1/2 but finds his hands – Looking clean here in the second 1/2 – double front, deep but stuck. Better.

Checking back in on Moldauer’s horse miss.

14.550 for Wiskus, that helps him.

Malone will have a comfortable lead after 2 rotations/ Modi is in 3rd, Wiskus in 5th. The story so far is Mikulak having….a no good. 7th place after 2, just ahead of Moldauer in 8th. Make that 9th for Moldauer after DLA does PB.

I mean, I did request chaos.

Rotation 3

Moran’s rings routine getting a moment. Ah, so they can talk about the elimination of Minnesota’s program.

Is their singlet a Pacman eating the Minnesota M?

Terry and Tim discussing this new technology of Google.

I like how “it’s been a rough night” for Yul, even though his floor was excellent.

Moldauer on rings now – quite clean, highlighted with a stuck double double tuck.

Mikulak to high bar now, so this should be an adventure – Cassina is hit, Kolman also fine – layout tkatchev, pretty – tkatchev to tkatchev 1/2 nice – zou li min, good finish position – giant full, stalder – double double layout, hop back. Good work.

14.500 for Moldauer on rings is…huge.

14.750 for Mikulak on high bar.

We did not see Nedoroscik on pommel horse, which is probably fine, he just got 15.100.

Modi goes on PB – has some early formies as to be expected but ends spectacularly, with a stuck FTDT.

14.250 for Bower on horse.

13.800 for Modi on PB with a 6.1 D score. 7.7 E.

Goggle-roscik now on the replay – “on his way to earning an Olympic spot in Baku” is a lot to say – extremely clean work. Good one. Two pairs of glasses on his head at the same time.

Checking back in on Malone’s PB that got him 14.400 and will keep him well ahead. Excellent handstand positions here – slightly short on stutz as aI type that but whatever – double pike, small hop.

Mikulak will use his high bar to move up to 2nd place already, behind Malone. Modi in 5th, Moldauer 6th, Wiskus 7th, Bower 8th.

Walker and Briones doing well to keep themselves up in 3rd and 4th after 3 events. Those are some nice scores.

Rotation 4

Oh gooey gumdrops we get to watch more rings!

Bower gets through rings, some short holds, and if Tim hadn’t told us about the labrum we might not have noticed that he looked like he wanted to cry throughout. DLO 1/1 dismount, stuck.

Moldauer’ Kas 1.5 went 14.200

Mikulak on FX – punch 2.5 with a bounce back – 2/5 to double front is extremely deep, hops back and somehow manages to save it in deep squat – double front pike is also fairly deep – another very short landing, large lunge to the side – this is not going great – 3/1, lunge back.


13.600 on rings for Bower.

Yoder on pommel horse now – really strong legs together position throughout – some sort of war scream

Just 13.350 for Mikulak on floor.

15.000 for Yoder. One tenth shy of Nedoroscik.

Malone on high bar – comfortably swing out of his Cassina and Kolman – layout tkatchev to tkatchev 1/2 is good as well – biggest issue was layout tkatvhev 1/2, caught a little close and some loss of form and rythm – tak full is late – DLO 2/1, stuck landing.

14.000 for Wiskus on floor will move him ahead of Mikulak.

13.500 on high bar doesn’t really help Modi.

Penev – FX – doing a little pee-pee dance before floor – triple double tucked, good, small movement – 1/2 to front 2.5, nice landing – 2.5 to front 1.5, hoppy, some knees – double double tucked, solid – 1.5 to front full to 1/2, small hop – 3/1 small hop. A bit better control there. Smaller hops. I guess the apparatus manufacturer campaign worked.


Walker on HB – nice height on yamawaki but some pike – good layout tkatchev – a bit close on tkatchev – tak 1/2 is late – DLO 1/1, stuck landing, some piking.

14.750 for Penev on floor. Big score for him. 13.350 for Walker puts him in 6th, Modi in 7th.

Briones went 13.850 on HB to stay in 3rd, and we still haven’t heard about him.

LOL Malone with basically a 2-point lead now.

Rotation 5

And now Sam has to do pommel horse.

Andrea brings us the inside story of Akash training at a gym.

Sam isn’t even penguining before his routine.

Well…I mean…he didn’t fall. Though his dismount was a muscle struggle and the handstand position he got to was…diagonal.

“I don’t really know if that’s…a dismount…”

13.000 for Mikulak. Yeeshers.

And now we see what Brandon Wynn is all about. Holds steady and difficult strength positions. Eyes definitely pop out a couple times – one iffy handstand. Attempts double double dismount and all-fours is.

We saw Wiskus in the background on horse int eh replay 13.450.

Modi with a bit of a hop-a-thon on floor – little hops in pretty much every pass. Still gets 13.900, but that’s not…high.

Bower to vault now – the second best Kas 1.5 of the day besides Malone’s. Good stick. Some legs, not as high. 14.350, not enough separation.

Briones lives – double front pike with a hop, high double double, a little chest down, hop – front full to front 2/1, small movement – 2.5 to 1/2, very clean – doesn’t even finish with a 3/1! Some hops as well from him but mostly clean in the air.

14.200 another strong score for Briones that puts him in 2nd for the moment, behind Moldauer (and Malone still to go).

Back to check in on Moldauer’s PB – IT’S NICE TO LOOK AT you guys – Tim trying to get Nastia involved and it didn’t go great. 14.350 for Moldauer and Tim HATES it.

Malone – FX – first struggle of the day for him – front full to double pike and takes a huge lunge forward OOB – good difficulty but a lot of rebounds – Tim is going to have some words with the manager about his not sticking a 2/1 – lots of lunges there.

13.950 for Malone, so now he’s only winning by 1.5.

Malone. Moldauer, Briones, Modi/Bower. You know, like happens. Wiskus in 6th and Mikulak in 7th.

Rotation 6

OMG we can even hear Peng caterwauling on the broadcast now. Per the people in the arena, it has been nightmarish, and all form goodwill is going out the window.

Modi finishes on horse, really good pommel horse for him. No major issues, just crooked on his dismount. Only 13.450 though.

Basically every story Tim tells about Akash is like, “I was telling him how ugly his form is…”

Wiskus on rings – not the most HIM event, but did what he did cleanly and his handstands looked actually vertical on each – double double tucked was short though, lunge

The judges tying Moran’s score to a raven as we wait for Moldauer on HB.

A simple HB set for Moldauer, was going fine until his tak 1/2 that was fully horizontal. DLO 1/1, stuck landing, pretty finish.

Briones went 13.350 on horse, which will see him finish ahead of Wiskus and Modi today.

Bower struggles in his first handstand on PBars – several handstand issues in there and goes over on the side on his Diam – double pike with hop

Malone finishes on horse and stays on very cleanly to seal the major lead after the first day.

14.150 sees him finish on 86.250 on the day, which is a little better than the 84s we’ve been seeing from a lot of the non-Mikulaks for the last year or so.

Moldauer just 12.800 on HB which sees him go in behind Briones, who is in 2nd. SECOND.

So basically we’re just waiting on Mikulak’s rings now to see what fresh hell this will bring.

Brody Malone has truly arrived because we got an extended shot of him folding his pants.

Waiting for Mikulak on rings now, Tim casually writing his obituary.

Mikulak…survives? Waiting on the score to see where he finished. It’s too bad he’s dead now, according to this commentary.

13.600 for Mikulak puts him 7th overall.

Looks like a score change puts Moldauer and Briones at a tie for second. Imagine if this were the second day of Trials.

1. Malone
2. Briones
2. Moldauer
4. Wiskus
5. Modi
6. Bower
7. Mikulak

Shall we do some number crunching?

And the thing is, even with today’s scores, Mikulak would still be on your highest scoring team of 4 because of high bar. The Malone, Moldauer, Mikulak, Wiskus team would be .05 ahead of teams with Briones or Bower there in place of Mikulak.

So I’m not really going to jump in the “no Mikulak” cart just yet because he can have the worst day ever and still be useful because his HB score was so much higher than everyone else.

It sort of feels like after all that mess, things didn’t change—except for the fact that Malone confirmed his here-ness.

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