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Things Are Happening – November 9, 2021


A. FIG Elections

In gymnastics administration news that’s hard to get worked up about, Watanabe Morinari has been reelected as president of the FIG by a margin of 81-47 over his challenger, president of European Gymnastics Farid Gayibov. By the standard of international sports cabals, this counts as significant because of its tight margin. The ballots at these things usually look more like:


So, how do we feel about this? It’s hard to say. Gayibov’s proposal did feature some worthwhile commentary on improving the format of the FIG’s annual competition series—instead of the largely unwieldy and pointless parade of challenge cups and apparatus cups and world cups that…what do they even mean and what’s the difference?—aiming to give it more of a thesis statement and make it more TV friendly. At the same time, Gayibov is also part of the brain trust behind SmartScoring, the failure that gave us a streaming blackout for European Championships this year. Because who could have predicted increased interest for an Olympic qualifier during an Olympic year?

Watanabe, meanwhile, got in trouble for Japanese embassies lobbying gymnastics federations on his behalf, which is kind of a no-no.

But I largely have a 6th-grade-class-president feeling about the whole thing.

In other election news, Ali Al-Hitmi won his election and replaced Vassiliy Titov as an FIG vice president. Nellie Kim, meanwhile, was reelected as a vice president but had to go to a second ballot for it to happen, so someone’s getting tased in the spleen. Li Li Leung was elected to the executive committee in dominant fashion. The previous US representative on the executive committee was Ron Galimore, so…a step up?

B. Convoluted Swiss Nonsense

The week of Convoluted Swiss Nonsense began with the Arthur Gander Memorial, a some-routines competition dominated on the women’s side by Angelina Melnikova, who elected to compete vault, bars, and floor (wisely assuming that she had long since used up her quota of beam hits for 2021). Melnikova recorded the highest score of the competition on all her events. Tais Boura of France managed a very compelling 13+ score on beam to take the silver, and Ciena Alipio finished third with competitive scores on vault and beam but just an 11.700 on bars, which put her behind Boura. Giorgia Villa competed only bars and beam, instead of the three events everyone else did.

In the men’s division, the Autumn of Moldauer continued. Following his near-medal AA performance from worlds, he competed floor, horse, vault, and pbars at Arthur Gander to take the gold medal, finishing ahead of the likes of Nagornyy, Kovtun, and Onder. The scores were, you know, a little “15s for everyone!” but the placement bodes very well for his increased competitiveness mission in the current quad. The pbars upgrades are working very well for him thus far.

The team of Melnikova/Nagornyy also fully dominated the mixed pairs competition at the Swiss Cup, winning the first round by over 3 points, winning their semifinal over Italy by nearly 2 points, and winning the final over Ukraine by more than 2 points. Nagornyy opened the door for Ukraine in that final with a miss on pbars, giving Kovtun a big lead for the men’s routines, but Hubareva’s 11.250 on bars was easily defeated by Melnikova’s 14.550 to give Russia the win. Alice D’Amato replaced Giorgia Villa on the roster and helped Italy to a bronze medal.

As for the US, Olivia Greaves injured her knee in training and had to withdraw from the competition. Yul Moldauer did still compete a first-round routine, but as there was no women’s score to add to it, the US was immediately eliminated along with another surprise elimination from Team Germany, which had a 9.800 bars disaster from Kim Bui and finished 2nd-to-last.

C. What’s Next?

The cancellation of the Voronin Cup takes one of the larger events off the remaining elite calendar, but there’s still some fun stuff.

Elite Gym Massilia in Marseilles returns to the schedule this weekend, with the Open division beginning at 9am on Friday, the Masters division (the main event) at 4:30pm on Saturday, and event finals at 3:00pm on Sunday. No roster has been released yet, but we do know the event is going to be streamed on the Vogoscope App if you buy a virtual ticket. [Update: Just downloaded the app to check it out, and the virtual ticket for the Masters division alone is $14.99. I was like, “Psssh, I could sleep for free.”]

The Gymnova Cup in Belgium runs Saturday and Sunday, with the junior AA on Saturday at 1:30pm, the senior AA at 5:30pm, and event finals on Sunday at 2:00pm. Clubs from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, and Finland among others are slated to attend. The website does have an alleged link for streaming, it just doesn’t go anywhere yet.

This weekend also brings us the Northern European Championships, where teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden (MAG only), Isle of Man, Faroe Islands, and Jersey will compete in Cardiff. The subdivisions are Saturday at 10:40am and 3:50pm local time, with event finals on Sunday starting a 9.35am. It’s an important competition for those teams that don’t normally get to compete as independent entities but are preparing for next year’s Commonwealth Games. I haven’t seen any information about streaming yet, though.

Starting Monday, the junior US women will be at a national team selection camp for the Junior Pan American Games in Colombia, which has gymnastics running from November 26-29.

In NCAA news, the signing period for athletes joining college teams for the 2023 competition season begins tomorrow, and I’ll put up the usual page to keep track of it all.

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