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Things Are Happening – July 19, 2021


A. Everything Is Fine

The US gymnastics community was thrown into a tizzy early this morning stateside (a 4:16am wake-up text to be exact, which I would like noted for the court record) with news that Olympic alternate Kara Eaker tested positive for COVID. Well, originally it was just an “unnamed teenage gymnast,” which was professional-sounding code for “we can’t say who it is yet but we need you to know immediately that it’s not Simone.”

So, Eaker—vaccinated and symptom free—now has to staycation at Hotel for Alternates, along with Leanne Wong for close contact reasons, instead of flying home with the other members of the shadow team.

As things stand, this doesn’t materially affect the US squad because the alternates were going to have to skedaddle soon anyway and we don’t yet know of any positive tests among the six actual team members. We’ll hope that holds up. No guarantees. This does bring up some questions and concerns for the powers that be should it…not hold up. For instance, why were the alternates training in the same building at the same time as the team members if the entire point of having this many alternates was for them to be able to step in should there be a COVID outbreak? Wouldn’t you want them to…not have any risk of the same exposure? Tweets that Simone’s tumbling acts as a “double vaccine” for the already vaccinated turned out to be a hoax, anyway.

Also, the latest Grave digging is that Eaker was also the one who had the alleged “false positive” this weekend. So sounds like that was maybe more of a false negative, with everyone very quick to claim “false positive” despite not having conclusive knowledge of that. Excellent work, all around. I’m so very glad you had her training with everyone else. Good, good.

And now back to pretending this is a normal Olympics and everything is fine and that it’s totally OK to be doing this right now. La la la la la.

B. Roster Updates

We’re still not 100 percent sure what Russia is up to, because Russia, but indications are that Abliazin will be on the men’s team instead of Kartsev because of…primarily death wishes, I think. With this team, either The Dusty Skeleton or The One-Footed Prince is going to have to produce a counting score on floor, so it won’t be boring.

Meanwhile, the current scuttlebutt is that Akhaimova may have been placed on Russia’s main team instead of Gerasimova. That’s probably the solid choice as Akhaimova’s rudi could get them some actual tenths, and her floor cooooould be an option as needed depending on whose feet are falling off that day. Gerasimova’s scoring contribution to the team was the assumption that Melnikova would fall on beam, which is probably not a great place to start.

I’d love, maybe, like, some kind of official entry list that tells us who is on teams and who is competing as an individual, but sadly that technology does not exist.

In non-Russia things, Abigail Magistrati has now been confirmed as Argentina’s replacement for Martina Dominici following Dominici’s positive test for a banned substance that will keep her out of the games.

Magistrati had originally been one-per-country-ed out of the Olympics when she finished 36th in the all-around at 2019 worlds, four tenths behind Dominici in 30th. Magistrati was one of the top-ranking individuals to be per-country-ed out from those world qualification standings, just one spot below Anastasia Bachynska.

The competitor page is once again fully up to date. For now.

C. Streaming news

It’s happening. Ready or not.

NBC has updated its schedule to include streaming of the US podium training subdivisions, with the men going Wednesday at 6:30am ET/3:30am PT, and the women going the “next day,” at 2:10am ET/11:10pm PT.

For reference, the way this has gone in the past at least, the coverage is there specifically for the US, and when the US isn’t going, they’ll show you replays of the US going. So don’t necessarily expect to get a lot of Netherlands, is what I’m saying. They did show one Hambuechen routine during men’s podium training one time.

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