Women’s Olympic Team Final

Well, this is going to be more interesting than it was supposed to be! The US women’s flat performance in qualification resulting in a one-point deficit to Russia has added layers upon layers to this one.

The US women should still be considered the favorites in this final because they performed so far below their potential level in qualification, compared to a Russian team that nailed the meet, and have much more than a point they can gain on that showing with even an average meet today. Also Russia has to hit beam again. But this is certainly not the foregone conclusion it should have been based on the everything. And there will be plenty of time to talk about why.

The big start list news was the inclusion of Grace McCallum in the all-around for the team final. It’s a bold move, though I have learned better than to try to read actual strategy into any decision beyond that she got higher scores than Chiles on bars and beam in qualification. Resolving the beam start value issue will be essential. Have they bothered? We’ll find out. McCallum has looked pretty steady thus far across PT and qualification so there’s every reason to feel confident you’re getting hits out of her, though Chiles has been a rock all year on bars and beam, with higher scores than McCallum on bars, and tossing her aside after a single bad day is a big choice. We’ll see if it ends up being an act of self-sabotage.

The other controversial move is the dumping of Ou Yushan on beam, who had a wobbly day in qualification but could have China’s best score on a good day. Throughout the year, she has been China’s least consistent beamer among the options, but I still would have gone for broke if I were China because they need to make a BIG move to get close to 1-2—yet don’t necessarily even need to hit all that well to get third. I think fear of having a mess and dropping to 4th like at worlds in 2019 has informed that decision. Which, I mean, it’s a legitimate fear.

GB dropping Jessica Gadirova on beam is also a thing, and Belgium does not appear to be going for it here as they’re not using Nina on vault. Presumably, this is to give Nina some rest for finals, but it’s a drop in score for the team total.

Expect the US and Russia to be well ahead of the field after the first rotation because vault. China will need to keep it close while on bars, a deficit of tenths rather than points. In qualification, the US had an edge on vault of just .367. It will need to be larger today if the US is to reverse course, all of which would have to come from Simone improving her score because McCallum and Chiles vaulted at their top level in qualification. With a more controlled landing, Biles could expect to gain 5 tenths on her qualification vault score. Or, counterpoint, will she pull out the double pike?

Was it exciting, John? It sounds like it’s exciting? Will it be exciting?

Laurent is eyeing that vault with a “you better not pull a Sydney” intensity.

Intros happening now.

Melnikova looks like she’s about to nerve-barf. Same.

The problem for the US in qualification wasn’t “those little tenths.” More like those big tenths.

US leo is much better today. They’re 2 for 3 in that department. Should have just used that reject art project from qualification for PT. Oh, it’s worse up close. Let’s just pretend we only see this one from afar. A total Monet.

Rotation 1

Derwael is getting started on beam while vault and bars continue warming up – good loso mount – bhs loso, secure – switch to split ring leap, good switch position – aerial to split, some back foot – side somi, larger break, arm wave and leg up. Finishes gainer pike full, small hop.

Simone warming up Amanars.

Melnikova – VT – pretty solid DTY, medium scoot back, some leg crossing, I’ll take it.

14.600 is an improvement on qualification.

McCallum – VT – not her strongest DTY, step to the side and out of the area, shouldn’t score as well as Q

Ou Yushan with a dead hang after her gienger in combination on bars – good high piked jaeger – some rather short handstand positions – FTDT, hop in place

14.3000 for McCallum, she’s down .233 on qualification. Advantage Russia.

Urazova – VT – high DTY, does have to take a larger bounce back though, a little bit of leg crossing, fine

14.466 for Urazova is down on qualification.

Ou Yushan just 13.233. Lots of large handstand finishing position deductions there. Oh Ou.

Chiles – VT – solid DTY landing, didn’t quittteee ger her normal block but it ended up working out because she was right down the center with only small movement. 14.666 though, still down a bit on qualification.

Akhaimova – VT – Akhaimova hits her rudi, but a larger bounce back this time – large leg break on block, gets it together sort of in the air.

14.733 for her, gets nearly the same score as qualification. US will need Biles to come through with a big one now.

Biles – VT – Nooooo what happened?!?!?!?! She bailed out of that vault, just like she did in warmup, she only did a Y 1.5, landed deep, lunge forward. Disaster.

Tang – UB – Maloney to pak, good – toe short 1/2, solid – healy to ling to front giant full to piked jaeger, much better vertical positions on handstand – DLO, stuck landing – awesome routine.

13.766 for Simone on a Yurchenko 1.5. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED THERE????

United States loses a point and a half on its vault score from qualification.

On the topic of things you didn’t see coming…

14.500 from Tang to get them back on track after Ou’s low score.

Heduit has some moments on bars, a little crooked on a stalder full, a low and close piked jaeger, but she gets through it. Deep dismount.

Brassart falls on her beam mount.

Asia D’Amato – FX – DLO, nice height, hop back

Lu – UB – tkatchev to gienger, solid – some legs in healy and ling but OK – piked jaeger and fallllllsss.

D’Amato through floor with a shit, but was quite low on final double tuck.

Jennifer Gadirova – BB – switch to switch 1/2, small check to back tuck – check on choreography – bhs loso loso, hit with a little lean – aerial to straddle to split jump, low back leg – hop on dismount

Murakami attempts triple y spin on floor, will get double – double double tuck, bounce back – DLO, bounce back – 2.5 to front full, hop – double L turn – switch ring – kind of hoppy but fine

DJDS – UB – Nabieva, just a tad close – pak, good – shaposh to bhardwaj, nice, really pretty – large hesitation in inbar though with an elbow break – DLO 1/1, a little short, hop.

France will score ahead of China on bars —a big deal.

After 1
Russia 43.799
USA 42.732
France 41.399
China 41.066
Italy 40.366
Japan 40.066
GB 38.866
Belgium 36.999

Uneventful and normal!

Word is that Simone has left the floor. The other three are rotating to bars.

Chiles is up there warming up bars. What we still don’t know is whether Simone is scratching the whole meet or just bars.

Simone is back out there but taking off her bars grips.

Rotation 2

McCallum – UB – small hesitation on first hs – stalder full to maloney to pak to stalder shap 1/2, good – piked jaeger – Ricna, hit, very late 1/2 turn, FTDT, good landing. 13.700. 4 tenths down on qualification.

Asia D’Amto hits a DTY, a little underrotated, hops back

Zhang – BB – candle mount – switch ring to split ring jump – bhs layout to 2 feet, large break, bend at the hips, lean correction – aerial to split jump to straddle – switch, check, breaks connection – bhs bhs 2/1, stuck.

News that Biles is out of the whole team competition. Wow.

Urazova was a little close on her piked jaeger, FTDT, step back. Goes 14.866, strong number.

Chiles – UB – piked jaerg good – toe full to tkatchev – piked tkatchev to pak, hit well this time – maloney to gienger, FTDT, nailed it. Really nice to see her come back and hit that routine.

Boyer – BB – round off 2 foot layout, another huge break there, bend over a step and a turn to save it

Zhang was at 13.900 on beam before her.

14.166 for Chiles, .466 strong than McCallum, who was in the lineup ahead of her to begin with.

Melnikova – UB – inbar full, nice to komova to pak to van leeuwen, excellent – inbar 1/2 to piked jaeger, a littel close but fine – 1/2 turn, short – toe full, very late into FTDT, holds the landing. Good, but also not quittteee as good as qualification.

Just 12.066 on beam for Boyer.

Derwael hits double tuck on floor, step back

Tang – BB – loso mount is excellent – round off layout, very solid, confident – switch ring, check, breaks combination to split ring to korbut – switch to split ring, pause befroe bhs – aerial to split to straddle – 2/1, nearly has the stick but ends up taking a large lunge. Good one overall, in the individual elements, but did break several connections.

14.933 for Melnikova is high for me.

Lee – UB – nabiev to bhardwaj to malooney to gienger, gets her combination piked jaeger to pak to van leeuwen, hit – giant full – FTDT, stuck landing. It was a bit more of a struggle to get all of her difficulty in there, but she did so.

Meanwhile 13.733 for Tang on beam is a bit tight there.

DJDS – BB – front pike mount, very good – punch front pike, also solid – bhs layout 2 feet, strong – split to wolf jump – split jump 1/2 from side, excellent – switch 1/2, a little short but secure – aerial to split to bhs – switch ring, small check – double tuck, bounce back

Jessica Gadirova – FX – double double tuckish – step back and OOB – DLO, great height, bounce back –

Lee gets a 15.400 on bars. A big deal score.

Listunova – UB – Komova to Ricna, good – inbar full to pak to stalder shaposh 1/2, strong – inbar 1/2 to jaeger – late 1/2 turn on high Fabrichnova, step back, crazy legs. Valentina in the stands having kittens.

Apparently Gadirova didn’t go OOB? 13.833.

14.900 for Listunova. Russia expanding its already large lead to 2.5 now.

Lu – BB – switch ring to split ring, hit – round off layout, small step forward – aerial to split to straddle, check – side aerial, holds it – swtich to split ring, pause correction – she’s showing nice elements but like Tang is having too many pauses – 2/1 dismount, deep but keeps the stick.

John tells us that Simone’s withdrawal was not a physical injury. Mentally related.

After 2
Russia 88.498
USA 85.998
Italy 83.031
China 82.665
Japan 82.415
France 79.864
GB 79.199
Belgium 76.331

Italy is like, “REMEMBERRRRR.” China not really taking advantage as it needed to on its good events. Just 13.966 for Lu Yufei. No 14s for China on beam. Beam score down 8 tenths on qualification. US bars down 6 tenths on qualification. Russia improves bars from qualification.

Where am I, subheading: what is this life?

Rotation 3

Urazova – BB – loso mount, good – bhs loso loso, huge break and falls, oh Russia – aerial, check – man she’s break all the connections – wolf triple is solid – wolf double, good – side aerial, strong – sissone – just checking all around – 2.5, hop forward.

Maggio finishes bars with double pike, multiple hops back.

12.866 floor for Tang.

LOL John is going to get roasted for saying Urazova has the best ever wolf turns.

Kinsella hits a DTY, chest a bit down, lunge back

12.633 for Urazova.

McCallum – BB – candle mount, good – wolf triple and wolf double, good – stradlde 1/2 from side, large break, bend forward at the waist, keeps it on the beam – split leap to side aerial to loso, hits, small step – aerial, pause – split to sissone, does a leap series, low back leg but has her .5 CR – double pike, step back. Got through it.

Good high Gadirova DTY, 0.3 lunge back

Maggio 13.433 on bars, Sugihara 13.333

Alice D’Amato – UB – maloney to tkatchev, good – stalder tkatchev piked to pak to shap 1/2, good – lots of movement across the bar as always – giant full front, double front, larggeeee bound forward.

13.666 for McCallum. She’ll take it.

Melnikova on beam, bhs loso and falllllsss Russsssssia. Huge break, I thought she had it saved but then she leaned back the other way and could never save it – wolf double is good – side somi, arm wave – split ring jump, hit – double pike, chest down a bit, hop.

Nooo, Mai tries her piked taktchev and catches with only one arm, manages not to come off the bars but witll be the equivalent of a fall.

Just 12.566 for Melnikova on beam. Another opportunity for the US to gain at least a point.

S Lee – bb – wolf triple to wolf double, good – aerial, check, leg up – break combination to split bhs – switch ring to split leap, pretty – switch to switch 1/2 to split ring jump – side aerial to loso loso, strong work – bhs bhs 2/1, pretty large bounce back. Not her strongest beam but will be a good score.

Lu – FX – quad turn, gets it around well – full in, solid landing – 2.5 to front pike, small slide – double y turn – 2/1, fine – doubel tuck, bounce back. But fine work. They needed that.

Lee went 14.133, a little surprised it went that high compared to Q.

Listunova – BB – candle mount, good – wolf triple, solid – wolf double, small hesitation at the end – front hs front tuck, hits, step – split jump to wolf, lovely – switch to split ring, leg-up check – aerial to split ring to bhs, much more comfortable routine than the first two – double tuck, lunge back. Saves Russia.

DJDS – FX – DLO 1/1, great position in the air, small hop – full in, bounce back – switch ring to split leap full, trying for 1.5, not sure she got it – wolf double turn is a little crazy – front loso to double tuck, good control, small step – double pike is deep and short with a lunge forward

14.333 for Listunova is gigantic. Another higher beam score than you would have expected based on Q.

Chiles – BB – side aerial to loso, hit – aertial to straddle, looked like seh was going to have a check, does well to hold it into bhs – full turn – side somi, strong – switch to switch 1/2 – stradle jump 1/2 from side, solid – sissone, short back leg into wolf jump – just does the double pike, smart, small step.

As well as could have been expected. Nice bars and beam routines today. 13.433, a lower score but got a hit.

Russia will lead the US by 8 tenths going to floor, where Russia beat the US by 5 tenths in qualification, and that was with Simone.

After 3
Russia 128.030
USA 127.230
Italy 124.530
Japan 122.548
GB 122.331
China 121.830
France 119.664
Belgium 118.063

Italy in third but going to beam. China in 6th but going to vault. So don’t count China out yet. They should gain ground. Will Ou pull out the DTY to try to make it happen?

Rotation 4

At this point, Russia just basically has to not pull a Grishina 2012.

McCallum – FX – double double, nearly the same mistake as qualification but keeps it in this time – but then front 2/1 in combination and she steps OOB – hits her wolf turns – full in, pretty solid – double tuck, OK, hop back. Fine but not ideal. On replay that was a 0.3 OOB. We’ll see if they caught it.

Heduit with a large bound back on her DTY.

Japan got a beam hit from Hatakeda for 13.333

Asia D;Amato with a large break on her loso mount, large leg-up break – switch to split leap, broken connection but nice elements – another bend at the hits on switch 1/2 – double pike, hop back.Through it but gave some away.

Tang – VT – nooooo hands down on her DTY.

Long wait for McCallum’s score but she ends up with 13.500. She had a pretty OK day all things considered and how this was impossible, though lower than Skinner’s and Carey’s AA scores from qualification, for reference on how things might have shaken out.

Urazova – FX – double Y turn – pike full in, hit step back – 2.5 to front tuck, good control – split leap – split leap full, around – just does squeak around her triple wolf – double is no trouble – double tuck, stuck – 2/1, small slide. 1 down, 2 to go.

Jesus Ou did got for the DTY and also fell. China what are you doing.

Murakami finishes beam with a solid double pike.

Friess hits a rudi, bounce back.

Urazova 13.366, surprised at just a 5.1 D. Thought that would be higher.

Chiles – FX – pulls around her wolf triple – DLO 1/1 was really flat for her this time, she goes OOB – DLO, also a little lower for her but controls it, small slide – split leap 1.5 – nooopppeee falls on her combination 3rd pass – and now balks on her dance series like she got lost – double pike, bounce back. The first real miss from the remaining US gymnasts today.

14.166 on bars for Kinsella. GB needs just a lowish 13 from Morgan to stay ahead of France

Maggio – good mount series, nice splits – bhs loso series witha check – switch ring, good – side aerial, secure – aerial, another arm dance – switch – 1.5, hop forward. She’s through it.

Chiles just 11.7 on floor.

Listunova – FX – DLO, chest down, small hop – falls out of double y a little but looks like she got it around – 3/1, chest down, hop forward – double L turn, hit – triple wolf finish is a bit borderline – 2.5 to front tuck, good

Morgan – UB – piked jaeger, good – Ricna to pak, some legs, OK, broken nexxection into maloney bhardwaj but hits – van leeuwen – giant full to toe tuck 1/2, bounce back. Through it.

Hiraiwa – BB – pulls around wolf truple – layout to 2 feet, large break –

Wow 14.033 for Morgan. Italy would need a huge break from D’Amato now.

Very checky beam for Hiraiwa.

Listunova 14.166.

Alice D’Amato would neede 13.6000 now

Lee – FX – double double tuck, solid, boiunce back – DLO, slide back – switch ring – split leap full – double L turn – 1.5 to front full, solid – borderline finish on her wolf triple – wolf double is good – double tuck, bounce back

Great Britain in good shape for bronze now, which is CRAZY.

Alice D’Amato – BB – front tuck mount, check, punch front, check – bhs loso, smoothly done – switch to split leap to split leap, very pretty – wolf double, around, a little teetering – switch ring, check – aerial, smooth – split jump 1/2 from side, lean forward – 3/1, very short, lunge forward, don’t see that doing it.

Melnikova – DLO, bounce back – almost pulsl around triple L, I think her heel dropped just a little too early – DLO, bounce back – switch to split ring 1/2, nice – front full to beat jump – wolf double – double y turn – dobule pike, shuffle back –

so It’s going to be Russia in 1st, USA 2nd, and Great Britain (!) for bronze.

Lots to unpack here on a day that…well I’m thinking this isn’t going to be one you’ll want to go back and watch a ton. But Russia won by 3.5 points!

As for the US, it was a valiant effort in impossible circumstances. Given how this competition had gone, they were never beating Russia without Simone’s routines.

Great Britain finished third, which is awesome and no one saw coming but in this mess of a meet, they had the least mess. Unfortunately, this will also give GB cover for not selecting Downie, but it doesn’t make that any less of an incorrect decision because her scores this year would have increased the team total as well as provided an individual medal.

But huge deal for them. No one thought they were going to win bronze, but they ranked 5th on scores coming in, China had an epic stinker today, and Japan hadmultiple issues from Mai, so Morgan’s beam fall didn’t end up ruining their lives. Italy almost got there, but just a fantastic job by that team to finish 4th. Imagine if they had all been healthy.

As for China, what a disaster on most of the events.

This is going to take some TIME to unpack.

104 thoughts on “Women’s Olympic Team Final”

  1. Also, what’s the bright line between faulting a head coach/personal coach for their athlete’s injuries/mistakes and attributing the athlete’s successes to the head coach/personal coach?

  2. Ou was one of my favorites, so of course she’s a heart breaker.

    1. Lauren Hopkins says her right foot is wrapped, so maybe she was injured by the vault landing? She’s now listed as reserve on the team sheet.

  3. Post team finals press conference Tom: “Not taking Skinner was still the right decision, because even with her best vault score we still would have been second after vault.”

  4. Hard to feel bad for Simone about the pressure when she’s wearing goats on her leos, texting during meets, “simone vs herself” etc etc. etc. She really played into it and that only made it harder for herself.

    1. Says someone who has never felt an ounce of the pressure she feels carrying our expectations and USAG’s failures. A mental health issue at 1 meet doesn’t erase her accomplishments. A mental health crisis is just as serious as a physical injury. Second, she may rely on the texts as encouragement from her family and friends…maybe that helps her. She’s freaking human! Let her be. People like you are why she’s struggling.

      1. Who can say for sure why she’s struggling DIsneyland? I’d say an insurmountable amount of pressure is caused by American media, especially NBC, who simply worships her and blatantly spends such a ridiculous amount of time on her compared to other athletes. 5 minute tv spot interviewing teammates on what they think of Simone. 5 minute tv spot on Simone and her past struggles. Interviews everyday, it goes on and on.
        She is a human being. That’s exactly the point, which is why she shouldn’t be put too high on a pedestal. … which is why it is incredibly presumptuous to be wearing goat leo’s and buying into the hype that surrounds her. No disrepect for what she’s done in the sport, but to be greatest of “all time”…. I’m not into silly titles like that, they are too temporal and meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
        I don’t fault her for dropping out, but I can’t help but have a little bit of grim satisfaction that the media’s infallible hero of gymnastics world had a human moment of weakness and now that she has been humbled and brought down to real life, we can move on. Maybe we can go back to enjoy watching Simone and the rest of the gymnastics world for what it is rather than having our faces rubbed in a million talking heads saying how great she is.

    2. I thought the Goat on the leo was a little bit OTT. It’s very hard to compare different eras of gymnastics so it’s a moot point to me, but Chuso is actually my GOAT. She might not have the quantity of titles, but I very much doubt we will ever see her like again.

    3. I think it’s fairly typical for someone who’s been so good for so long. Simone lacks experience with having to come back.

      I understand but am still disappointed in her for giving up and think she’s will regret it in years to come.

      John now says that the issue is medical. If that’s the case, some of what I said holds. The team is supposed to be the “most important” medal.

      1. This is a dangerous sport, and no competitor should not have to risk injury (mental or physical) because a medal (of all things) is considered “important”. There isn’t a gold medal in the world that is worth someone getting hurt.

      2. She didn’t give up. If she felt she couldn’t safely compete and outscore huge 4th teammate, she needed to scratch.

        Psychological issues ARE medical issues. Brains are part of our bodies.

      3. Really. So if Biles was having serious mental/emotional difficulties, such as might jeopardize her physical safety, she just needed to suck it up and endanger herself anyway because your imbecilic pop-psychology view of life thinks she’s a quitter?
        The level of stupidity you display is exceeded only by your level of total soullessness.

    4. I have no trouble whatsoever feeling compassion for her. Being the best is its own kind of pressure, can affect composure and confidence and very few of us will ever know what that’s like. And even if you’re one of those rare people, you’re still not in her head, and can have no idea how the pressure affects her as a person. It’s not like she’s had a completely unproblematic life, is it? If she were anyone else in another walk of life who had had a similar background, would you be really surprised if she struggled with confidence issues? If that indeed that is what this is – this is all speculation. Let’s just hope that she’s OK.

    5. This 100%. I’ve been a fan since she started and have been up early watching all the meets. It’s easy to compete and win when you and the team have a 2+ point advantage. I hope she feels better, but I can’t support what she just did to her teammates.

    6. Trust me, your comment was nothing compared to the atrocity posted by GymFan777.

  5. Maybe too early to speculate on whether Forster is going to lose his job, but is Forster going to lose his job? There’s got to be an area between an abusive leader and no leadership at all and that lack of leadership is showing now.

      1. Fortunately, there will be no more of the Karolyis no matter what; I’m sure they would never leave Paraguay or whatever hellhole-which-bars- extradition they’ve settled in now. However, yes, the last thing we need is screams that Marta Dearest won gold medals and that’s all that matters.

    1. He should resign, really. Especially after those “it won’t come down to a few tenths” comments. Unbelievable.

  6. In Tom’s defense it’s really nice to have an all arounder right now! 🙂

      1. You don’t have to be for one or the other. They get on, you know, and you can hear Skinner shouting in the stands for her team. Grace has a great job today. You can appreciate that, and you can also appreciate what Skinner brings to the team.

      2. Grace KILLED it. So proud of her. I hate that we have to pit athletes against one another. Myk would have been amazing as well, but Grace delivered today.

      3. Grace stepped up to a level that no one could have predicted just a couple days ago. She did an absolutely amazing job given the circumstances. Like I’ve said many times, gymnastics doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. You can simultaneously feel bad for MyKayla and be supported and thrilled with what Grace pulled together. It’s fair and safe to say that both MyKayla and Grace would have done a fantastic job in that spot.

  7. Well this is unfortunate. I planned my life around watching gymnastics this week, especially Simone. Hopefully she’s ok, but… something tells me she’ll pull out of some of the finals.

  8. I wonder if Jessica/Spencer will EVER admit that it was a good decision to pick Grace over Skinner. Doubt it

    1. It wasn’t. Spencer just pointed out that Skinner’s qualifying AA score was higher than McCallum’s today. The best that can be said is that Tom was correct in saying that it wasn’t just a couple of tenths of a point, because even if it had been Skinner today the US would still have lost. Er, won the silver.

    2. It wasn’t a good decision to pick Grace. She scored lower, always had the lowest scoring potential, and no other upsides (ie – Mykayla is also a vault medal alternate, Leanne Wong could have been a floor medal alternate with her wonderful routine). The simplistic and incorrect rhetoric of “she’s great AA backup just in case” never made sense. She lost the AA on individual days at both Nationals and Trials to both Mykayla and Leanne, and now also failed to beat Mykayla’s Olympic AA showing when giving two chances!

      There was no special amount of “save the day” quality that Grace ever had. The person more likely to do so was Mykayla, as she has the most experience and track record; for her the most nerve wracking thing was just getting on the team. She went to the Olympics with the added pressure of needing to do her best ever in order to get a medal (whereas the people on the Team were essentially guaranteed a medal) and STILL did better than Grace.

      1. Thank you. Grace made mistakes on every single event. The job of the leadoff is to have solid routines. Everyone kept saying that she would get more consistent with time, but she didn’t. Mykayla had her dream crushed during qualifications and still went out and hit bars and beam.

      2. Definitely not wrong with your logic, but clearly, the possibility of losing Simone was never really considered. Grace is a viable replacement for either of the other 2 gymnasts on the team if you have Simone. It’s exactly what the plan was going into team finals. As we all know, Grace was slated for the all around, replacing Chiles & Suni on events that they didn’t do well on in qualifications. They just didn’t plan to have to replace Simone, and to be fair, there really isn’t a replacement for her anyway. It’s a tough break. Just how the cookie crumbles.

  9. Guess no one predicted this to happen! So much for USA winning by 5+ points and Great Britain’s terrible team choice! USA got 2nd even with Simone in Qualifications where they got to drop scores.

    I hope Simone is okay. I am still waiting for USAG to get decertified so the survivors can get closure, hopefully there will be consequences for all those that were complicit in the atrocities. Positive changes have been made, but the lack of transparency and toxic environment is still there as clearly showcased in the run up and including the Olympic Trials.

    The story you get from Peacock’s ‘Golden’ is gut wrenching and does not in any way resemble USAGs storyline for garbage happening still in 2021, which is shocking that it was allowed to even get broadcast considering the power of the USOC.

    Gratulations to Russia, well deserved win! And good job Team USA, you did your best. <3

    1. Absolutely!! There is no conflict between being absolutely thrilled for the athletes involved while still being upset about the team selection. As long as frustration is directed at the processes and decision makers and NOT the athletes, then discussions about team selection are fair game.

  10. Should Team USA tear their silver medal off their neck and look disgusted ala 1996 and 2000? KIDDING! Remember when a certain someone said that, without Biles, the US team was beatable? It’s true we gain so much from Simone’s amazingness individually. At the end of the day, I for one have been so spoiled the last decade, I forgot what it felt like to watch the American team WIN the silver. It is a competition after all and today it was Russia’s. Simone is dealing with a medical issue of some sort and I feel sorry for her. Nobody wants that to happen to their Olympics dreams (yes, even the second Olympics is a dream). I’m so grateful she revolutionized this sport with her giggly, outgoing personality on the sidelines that brought camaraderie between gymnasts from all countries. I hope to see her in the finals, but health is wealth and it’s not worth it to mess up your body for the rest of your life. HUUUUUUUUGE congrats to Team GB too!! Like Spencer said, not exactly the competition you watch on repeat for years and years, but I’ll have to go back and check out GB!

    1. To be fair, if Russia had lost Melnikova after the first rotation, they wouldn’t have won either. Teams are built around your top athletes. If Simone didn’t exist, this team would’ve looked different. That’s the travesty of these 4 person teams. There’s no room to cover for an injury.

      1. I absolutely agree. The “if you removed your star athlete” result is the same for most teams. It’s just more drastic with Simone because of how high her scores are. The US has some of the best gymnasts in the world regardless, but it is certainly a more competitive scenario when Simone is out.

  11. I’m proud of the American athletes. That was a terrible situation they found themselves in and they handled it well. I don’t think they had much of a chance without Biles, but they fought hard and almost managed to dig themselves out of the vault hole they were in. It sucks that Chiles went out with a fall, but even a hit routine wasn’t going to put them in first place. In the end, McCallum was the better choice given what happened. Its the choice I would’ve made at trials, I just would’ve explained my reasoning for doing so better than Forrester. Congrats to all the medalists!

  12. First Uchimura, now Simone. Not the way you want to see two legends finish up. Remember when many USA gym fans said USA could win gold with its second team? Oof. Lot of arrogance we’ve had recently. I still remember the times we couldn’t win team medals. We’re in a much better place than we were before, but there’s still a lot that needs to change at the top.

    1. I can see why they would say that though as a second team wouldn’t be designed around Biles and therefore would have different strengths and weaknesses. This team not winning without Biles isn’t surprising since it was designed around her strengths and weaknesses and with only 4 people, we had the right combo to win with Biles included, but not to win with her out of the line up. Is saying we could still win gold with a second team arrogant? Yep. Is it wrong? Not necessarily. The rest of the world is catching up though and that’s a good thing.

  13. First, congratulations to the U.S. team for WINNING silver. What a tough day and they did it. Huge well done to the ROC and GB as well. Does anyone think there’s a possibility that Simone will withdraw from vault finals? What a spin if Mykayla is in….. (I don’t want this to happen to be clear, but would be really happy for Mykayla if she gets her shot.)

    1. It depends on what the actual issue is. The info coming out has been all over the place so who knows what’s actually wrong. I could see her pulling out of bars and beam before floor and vault though.

  14. Simone Biles says she is “OK” and has been “dealing with things internally that will get fixed in the next few days.”

    When asked if she would be back on Thursday, she said “yes”

    1. ‘ “Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” she told Hoda Kotb exclusively on TODAY after her withdrawal. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”

  15. I know my opinion won’t be popular here, but what Simone did was not right. When you are selected to compete on a team, you have an obligation to compete and fight to the bitter end no matter how bad your start is. This isn’t an individual competition where you and you alone are affected by scratching. This is a group effort where everyone is expected to do their part.

    While no one can be in Simone’s shoes and feel the pressure and emotions she’s feeling, there is the very simple fact that Simone herself made the decision to push for the 2020 Olympics and was selected to compete on the TEAM. If you aren’t injured, then it is your responsibility to fight and push through regardless of whatever internal demons you are fighting.

    No matter which way I’ve looked at this situation, without an injury, there was nothing justifying Simone’s actions tonight. Her quitting the competition was far more disappointing than a second place finish.

    1. I might agree with you for another sport, but I think you’re completely wrong here. The thing is, this isn’t like swimming or track where you take one for the team and stick it out even if you compete poorly. In gymnastics if you’re having a majorly off day, performing badly can literally kill you. Simone is lucky she wasn’t seriously injured with her vault mid-air bail.

    2. Though I may not agree 100% I respect a differing opinion that was written respectfully and not trying to rip Simone down to the marrow. I respect and appreciate that. The protectiveness over feelings can be suffocating at times, and it seems that suffocation gives way to just an overt level of aggression and hate finally released towards the topic at hand. Like air popping from a balloon. So I respect your giving a different opinion respectfully.

      What I read Simone say, was that her headspace wasn’t right, and that she was scared of hurting herself and becoming injured. She did the same thing on vault in warmup that she did in the final. Lost in the air, and only doing a full and a half.

      On one end you can say what she did wasn’t fair to the team. I can see that. But also on the other end you can say what she did was for the team. What if in her mental state, she had another disaster on bars, and then beam, and then floor. Or she may not even have gotten that far, injuring herself.

      So for Simone for her, her threat of being injured, being in her mental state, getting lost on her vault, with so much more hard gymnastics from her to come. Though I dont like it I can understand from what little I know at this stage, that I agree with her decision. But Im not triggered by your opinion either. I can see that as well.

      1. And I appreciate your thoughtful post as well. Unlike some posters here, I don’t feel any animosity towards any of the fellow commenters here nor any of the gymnasts. I may not agree with a comment or a decisions but I respect them all.

        One of the things that I really struggle with regarding this whole situation is the theme of “Simone had all this pressure on her.” Part of that pressure came unnecessarily from Tom Forester who more or less said team selection doesn’t matter because we have a Simone-sized buffer for the team final. You can extrapolate those comments to imply that Simone was expected to carry the team to gold regardless of the other athletes. That is NOT what a single athlete should ever be expected to do for a team competition. Every member on a team should equally share the pressure. Simone was only going to be 1/3 of the counting scores. There were 3 other athletes that had the same pressure on them to deliver. So when it comes that that kind of pressure, I think that was unfairly placed on her.

        I really hope people hear my heart when I share this next part because this is not meant to vilify or blame Simone at all. But I have to make the statement that Simone brought an undue level of pressure on herself that she had the ability to mitigate, at least partially. I was concerned when the whole GOAT stuff came out not at all because it was inaccurate or inappropriate or boastful, but because of the inability of the media to properly process it. When she debuted it in very public fashion, it created a narrative from sportswriters and fans that she couldn’t be beaten and was guaranteed to win everything for the rest of her competing career. We then read countless versions of the narratives that Simone is so good she’s only competing against herself, that no one was close to her, that she made up new skills because everything was too easy for her, etc.

        Simone made the decision to take a very public-facing path on the journey to Tokyo with no shortage of interviews, social media posts, commercials, sponsorships, etc. Those were all her choice. Nothing could ever remove the pressure being reigning all-around champion brings to the table, but she piled on the pressure year after year starting in 2018 and has arrived at Tokyo so weighed down by expectations and pressure and attention that she seized up and couldn’t finish one of her main tasks in Tokyo.

    3. She wasn’t in the right head space to compete after vault. What happens if she does continue on bars and ends up falling and landing on her head in the middle her routine? She could end up seriously injured and then the USA doesn’t finish on the podium at all. Why wait for an injury and be forced out of the competition? Simone had all the pressure in the world on her and she did what was best for her own safety and what was best for the team. She stayed the whole competition on the sidelines supporting her teammates AND her competitors and I think that ultimately shows her true character.

    4. So Biles should have risked serious injury (or even death) because your pissy, laughable absolutist, pretentiously pontificating, tiny little snowflake self would be WOUNDED by a US loss of the gold?
      You’re nauseating!

      1. Gee, Mattypoo, flattered but fraid not. Don’t you want to spend your limited troll capacities defending GymFan777 and trashing Biles instead of bothering little old me?

    5. I think it was the right decision by Simone. Would the team have even won the silver medal if she competed? She wasn’t capable of performing on her best event. How would she have handled bars and beam? I’m glad she felt comfortable enough to make the decision that was in the best interest of her and the team without any of the ugly repercussions that would have resulted just 4 years ago. The one thing I would like to see her do however, is acknowledge her own actions in all of this. She’s been a willing participant on this hype train to the point of putting rhinestone goats on her clothing. Perhaps, in hindsight, these actions weren’t the best ones for her mental health. I think she could teach young gymnasts coming up behind her a really good lesson about not buying into your own hype and spending more time taking care of your mental health than trying to capitalize on fame. I don’t think she’s completely to blame for what happened here, but she certainly didn’t make it easier on herself and that’s advice and guidance she can give to the juniors so they don’t make the same mistakes.

    6. Not to mention its 3 up 3 count so if she produced 2 or 3 more head cased routines, US would be out of the medal podium completely….

      The situation was not ideal, but it could be even worse scenarios.
      It is what it is. She will remember what happened today for the rest of her life. I don’t think we need to torture her.

    7. In a situation where there isn’t another decent option for the team you might be right – do what you can for your teammates. But in a 3 up 3 count situation when the other teammates are strong all-arounders, healthy, and ready to compete, Simone choosing to “stick it out” also prevents the other teammates from stepping in. One could argue that it would also be selfish and insulting to your teammates to refuse to relinquish that lineup spot if you don’t think you’ll outscore the teammate waiting in the wings. Consider if Simone had tapped out before the session started… Suni’s DTY could certainly have outscored Simone’s vault today. I’m not blaming her for waiting too long, but there’s a cost to the team when an athlete can’t recognize when they’re not the best person for the job that day.

      In a related note, I think your argument has an underlying assumption that she *could* have done it if she just really tried. That’s a big assumption, and I think it’s invalidating to the impact psychological issues can have. Would you say the same if she had a concussion? Or a broken wrist? Just because it’s psychological doesn’t mean it’s less debilitating.

      Simone does put an insane amount of pressure on herself. It’s part of what makes her so damn good – she keeps pushing herself relentlessly even when she’s on top and she expects herself to lead the team every single day they take the floor. But doesn’t knowing that suggest that she would never have pulled out today if she could have just sucked it up?

  16. I totally understand that Simone has to do what she has to do, but I’m thinking Jade probably wants to know if she’s competing AA on Thursday… there is plenty of time to take a step back and think for the other apparatus finals.

    1. If Simone is so shaken up that she can’t finish a team performance, then she might need to consider sitting out the rest of the competition. There’s not going to be any less pressure moving forward and if she felt that unsafe and unprepared tonight I don’t know how you recover from that in less than 2 days.

      I hope she can give Carey and Skinner enough of a heads up for them to prepare the AA and vault if it does come down to that. It might be wise for them to do some light training now just in case.

      1. @anon224 You got that right. And of course it’s also an idiotic McCallum stan that says her mediocre performance in TF ‘killed it.’ 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  17. Don’t know the time frame for her to decide – but not sure it should even be her decision alone – If there is any chance at all she won’t go full bore- then Tom needs to pull her from vault and AA where an American steps in with a chance to medal – I don’t care about events where the next person up isn’t an American.

  18. At the very least I think Simone should ditch bars final. Unless at least five of the field fall, she has nothing to gain there. Indeed, she has nothing more to prove if she ditches the rest of this Olympics entirely, but that’s unlikely. I think Steingruber is first reserve for vault final, so I’d rather like to see her there as well.

    1. Skinner was 4th on vault and got 2-perred so if Biles pulls out, Skinner is in on vault, to my understanding. I wouldn’t mind see MJDS in on bars though.

  19. If Simone had stayed in the competition after vault and we use her scores from qualifications on the other 3 events and assume Grace does all 4 events, Jordan does floor, and Suni does bars and beam, the US scores 167.596 which is still 2nd place behind Russia at 169.528.

    1. How about a theoretical team of Carey or Skinner in place of biles with scores from qualification?

      1. I don’t know what the numbers would be, but you’d still be counting Jordan’s floor score which I don’t think could be overcome with either Jade’s or Skinner’s score.

      2. If Skinner was on the team, as she should have been, I think there’s a pretty high chance Simone wouldn’t have made her mistake. With nobody else doing a “difficult” vault, and being over a point behind in qualification, Simone probably felt like USA was dependent on her hitting the Yurchenko Double Pike if they wanted to win Gold. It seems she warmed it up but then shifted last minute to the Amanar.

  20. So let me see if I understand.
    Gymnastics superstar – who is insanely talented – goes through the 2020-2021 training and advertising cycle, posting her spectacular training performances, starring in multiple top dollar ads, and – the most egregious in my mind – promoting that she is the GOAT with her sequin goats on her Leo’s and shoes and Twitter emojis….
    And knows that 2 amazing all around gymnasts were NOT chosen for team USA and instead the specialist roles…
    And knows that the US does have weakenesses on the team that she absolutely fills with her difficulty scores…
    And she is can’t wait til AFTER the team final to need a mental break????
    I cannot tell you how much respect I lost for her for scratching this meet. She is 24. She’s established much of the pressure on her through her own self-promotion. You do that? You BUCK UP and make yourself right for the team so you can get those teammates the gold medal that the you’ve promised you can deliver through your promotion.
    That’s part of the mental toughness of elite gymnastics???!!!!!! Every single Olympian is stressed. Look at Kim Z. Shannon M. Dominique. Shawn, Nastia, Aly. JORDAN. All had their own unique external pressures. And they sucked it up for 90 minutes and did their jobs.
    I can’t begin to understand why people don’t see Simone’s actions today as selfish. If she wants to really prove how committed she is to being a GOAT, she better not compete in any more events this Olympics. Give her spots to the hungry American gymnasts who’ve been subordinated to queen Simone for 4 years!!!!

  21. I’m just glad the US won a silver in the team final. It could have been much worse. Kudos to Suni for stepping up her game. I honestly believe that everyone relied on Simone being “the team” too much on top of being the best individual. Sure, past Olympians had similar stress, but none of them (i.e. Zmeskal, Miller, etc) were in the same position as Biles at these games when it came to the team competition. Past Olympic teams had athletes right behind them that could post similar scores. Here, it felt like Tom and the rest of the time had the luxury of saying “well, if someone’s not at their best, it’s okay because we have Simone.” That isn’t healthy for anyone, especially Simone. When Simone interviewed the other day and said she felt the world on her shoulders, I took that as her saying she had the team’s gold medal hopes pinned to her shoulders. It’s one thing to have to defend your crown and individual titles, it’s another thing to be relied upon to make up significant deficits in scoring because everyone else besides you isn’t up to par with Russia. I hope that Simone comes back. I do think competing in an empty arena has an affect on her too because she is the type of athlete (unlike others) who feeds of the crowd. She can still do a lot more and likely will. I also think she added too much pressure on herself because she made these games all about the yurchenko double pike, the biles beam dismount, and defying the FIG, which in turn affected her doing easier elements like full-ins with too much power like we saw the other night. Her Cheng entry in team finals was also a new mistake we never see. Regardless, the woman needs a break. Better for her to recognize it and say it out loud now. That alone takes strength. The US still can come out of these games with some heavy medals. On a side note, I am very happy for Angelina Melnikova and the Russians. What a classy athlete to say “we will have to struggle and fight” to win. They did not have to too much today, but they were more mentally prepared. It’s nice that Melnikova gets to have her moment as team leader.

    1. They all feel the lack of an audience. Not just Simone – the excuses need to stop. A true GOAT puts their big girl pants on and steps up. If she truly felt that she can’t compete for team and country then don’t compete for yourself. That is just self serving and classless. No mental issue clears up in 48 hours. Lost all respect. I look at Jade and Mykayla – overcoming injury, covid, pneumonia, and a great deal or negative press and pushing through and even in a huge dissapointment (myk) being there and supporting the “team”. I’m sure that Mykayla is mentally stresses and devastated but is still here and supportive.

      1. Trying to make sense of what happened isn’t making excuses. A self-serving gymnast would have stayed in the competition and not trusted her teammates, believing she alone could deliver gold. You’re also not qualified to diagnose a mental health condition to determine when someone is fit to perform; the only person able to do that is the one treating an individual for the condition. Otherwise, comments like yours add to the stigma of treating mental health.

      2. Anxiety can be as debilitating as a physical injury – the baulked vault looked downright dangerous. The assumption that an athlete could overcome something like this if she just put the effort in shows how far we still have to go when it comes to respecting the impact of mental health issues.

      3. @anniej55 You are the acme of self-serving, classless, ugly, ignorant, and what’s wrong with this country.

  22. Total lack of leadership, especially emotional leadership.

    That’s what I attribute this loss too. It was visible throughout the qual and TF. There was NO ONE on the sideline to manage the emotional energy of the team, to get them pumped up, to take control of consoling after mistakes, or organize support for those on the podium. The US seemed to lack the fire, focus, and motivation we’ve come to expect from the biggest moment in the sport. Meanwhile, the Russians (despite their mistakes) seemed to have their head in the game. They wanted it more.

    In addition to improving the team’s performance and energy throughout the competition, I also believe that better leadership, both on the ground and in general, would have better helped Simone manage her situation, focus her energy on her performance, reduce the psychological burden in all the ways already mentioned by others here, etc.

    The failure to manage her psychological situation is a coaching failure. Athletes at ANY age, but particularly younger ones like these, need strong guidance to help ensure maximum performance at the right moments. I didn’t see this happening anywhere at any time. Not at Nationals, not at Trials, not in quals, and not in TF.

    1. This can’t have come out of nowhere. I’m sure its been building for awhile. Where were the coaches, psychologists, parents, siblings, significant others, friends, USAG officials, etc., to tell Simone it might be time to take the goats off her leos, shut down the social media accounts, turn down the documentaries and special appearances, and stop the hype train? None of that was helping her mental state. She was obviously not able to see the increased pressure this was putting on her. They had the entire lockdown to stop the insanity and dial it down a bit. The fact that no one did and no one convinced her to do it for herself is sad. And maybe no one knew how. Maybe national camps should include training for both coaches and athletes on how to handle these types of situations. To know when its time to back off. To know when its time to stop. Maybe USAG needs to hire individuals who can manage media appearances and can keep athletes sane. Maybe USAG needs to have psychologists who don’t just teach athletes how to handle competition, but how to also handle ridiculous expectations and how to recognize when they are starting down this slippery slope before they are at the point of having mental breakdowns at the Olympics. Simone isn’t the first U.S. gymnast this has happened to, but she should definitely be the last.

      1. Agreed that this is the result of years of decay within USAG. In the wake of the abuse scandals, we lost direction, we lost sight of lessons that took decades to learn. For better or worse, Simone’s success distracted and obfuscated that fact. We thought things were good because she carried us. But now that Simone’s on her way out, and USAG’s coveted team gold has been lost, it’s become clear that the whole program is rudderless, and has been for a while.

  23. 12+ hours later, I feel like people everywhere should move on. She had an off day or a health situation; it happens. Mental health is physical health. We shouldn’t speculate about what her issue is, whether transient or stemming from a condition, or what caused it. We can wait for her to tell us herself if she chooses to and, if she doesn’t, then we accept that we don’t have an answer or understanding of what happened today. And that’s fine. The misunderstanding of mental health includes the common tendency to make assumptions about, and belittle, someone else’s situation in the absence of visible injury. I’ve seen some nasty comments about Simone across the internet today along with loving ones. It shouldn’t be like this. The GOAT had an off day. It happens to GOATs of all sports. Onto the next gymnastics competition.

    HUGE thanks to Spencer if you read these comments. This is the first time I’ve watched the Olympics on one screen with a knowledgeable commentary on another screen, and that is magnificent. You’re great at your craft.

  24. I totally disagree on your take re: Team GB and Becky. I think what today showed us is that you absolutely need 4 all-arounders on a 4-person team. 5-person team gives you enough buffer for an event specialist like Becky, but can you imagine if one of the Brits got injured and they had to put Becky in the all-around? She’s an amazing gymnast, and I would have loved to see her in Tokyo, but this is yet another flaw in the 4-person team model.

    1. You could not possibly be more wrong, or stupider. Brit Gym’s vendetta against B. Downie had nothing to do with planning OR with what was best for the team. It had to do with the Downies exposing the ABUSE on the team and by Brit Gym coaches and functionaries, for years on end (rather like USA gym.) The facts that Brit Gym was *insanely lucky* to have China have a total meltdown (normally there would have been no question whatsoever of China not being in third place), to have one of the Italian stars have a catastrophic injury at their olympic trials, and to have Japan’s star Murakami have her worst day in years, have no bearing on the insanely hateful and vindictive decision they made to snub B. Downie in favor of Kinsella, who made the team because of NEPOTISM. Kinsella did not suck, which is amazing considering her track record, but she should have according to her recent history. Italy could have and would have won had they had slightly better bar and beam rotations even on this fucked-up and completely miserable day.

  25. She didn’t give up, she gave in…for herself. Pressure – more now than her first Olympics/Rio/2016; now because can the reigning Olympic all-around champion do it again? And at her age? She’s had pressure her whole life and in competitions. She has fallen before and she kept going. GOAT – media gave her the name of “greatest of all time” and it became her slap back to USAG and judges. Forster – articles quote him stating “it will” and “it won’t” re: come down to tenths in team final. Right now, she needs to be left alone to gather her thoughts and get into the right mindset for herself. We all need to give her support, time, and prayers.

    1. @gymfan83 WHAT YOU SAID!!!!!!!!!
      PARTICULARLY “GOAT – media gave her the name of “greatest of all time” and it became her slap back to USAG and judges.” Her irony in wearing the GOAT leotard went whooooooooooooooosh right over the heads of most of the world.

      1. What I said is just an opinion and observation. But yes it went over their heads, agreed.

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