All posts by balancebeamsituation

Retirements, Transfers, and Commitments

Despite there being soooo much nothing going on, the gymnastics news hasn’t fully stopped, and a number of gymnasts have let us in on their career decisions made during the apocalypse. A rundown:

New Zealand and Boise State gymnast and overall gem Courtney McGregor announced her retirement this week. As you’ll recall, Courtney set the tone for 2020 when her Achilles exploded in the very first meet of the season, and then the entire world went, “So…same I guess” and we’re all currently working under the theory that she is an oracle.

She did have the option to return for a fifth NCAA season in 2021, but as she explains in her post, given the uncertainty surrounding the season and the fact that she has already completed her academics, returning to BSU for a maybe-season was not the right call for her.

Right now, I’m thinking about that time at worlds last year when I went into the training hall and her coach immediately yelled, “ONLY NICE COMMENTS” at me. As if there would be any other. Happy retirement, Courtney.

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Covid Coping: 2012 Secret Classic

Today—this very evening—would have been the 2020 US Classic and the unofficial kickoff of the Olympic qualification season.

So, to pretend like I’m OK with that not happening and OK with having nothing to talk about for the next…I don’t know…year, I watched the 2012 Secret Classic as a replacement.


The 2012 edition marked the very first Secret Classic, right after CoverGirl wisely catapulted itself off that sinking ship. (Easy, breezy, the ranch is out of toilet paper. CoverGirl.)

So starting in 2012, it’s now brought to you by deodorant.

Deodorant. For when your coach tells you she’ll slam you against a cement wall if you don’t do a bars routine. Deodorant.

Please keep in mind that the 2012 Classic was still one of those broke Universal Sports broadcasts that looks like it was shot with a 1995 Dodge Neon.


We begin with a closeup of Nastia pulling her leo up to make sure her full ilium is exposed—and then fixing the inevitable wedgie. Fitting.

Good mise en scene.

Continue reading Covid Coping: 2012 Secret Classic

Things Are Happening – May 12, 2020

A. USA is canceled

USAG announced today that the 2020 editions of Classic and Nationals are officially off and that we all just have to reset for the 2021 editions instead. Sigh. Previously, the party line had been that these events were postponed and that USAG would reassess possibilities for holding them in late summer or fall, but that always seemed like a pipe dream. You can’t really set a date (or venue) for nationals if you can’t set a date for athletes to return to their gyms first.

In a statement, USAG said, “Listen up, pee heads, we have literally no reason to try to organize these meets without crowds because then we can’t charge 8 million gold bars per ticket—or, I mean, after consulting with public health experts and in an effort to protect of our community and the wider world, we will not hold nationals this year.”

Continue reading Things Are Happening – May 12, 2020

Olympic Beam Finals: A History, Part 2 (1976-1996)

Part 1

Montreal 1976

1.Nadia ComaneciROU19.950
2.Olga KorbutSOV19.725
3.Teodora UngureanuROU19.700
4.Ludmila TourischevaSOV19.475
5.Angelika HellmannGDR19.450
6.Gitta EscherGDR19.275

Nadia Nadia Nadia. Much Nadia. With an extra dash of Nadia. The Olympics of Nadia—in which Comaneci came away with three of the five individual gold medals—also produced perhaps the least controversial Olympic beam champion of all time. I mean…uh doooyyy.

Comaneci’s beam routine in 1976 raised the difficulty stakes well beyond the “OMG an acrobatic element” world of the 1972 Olympic by incorporating a front aerial, a side aerial connected to back handspring, a series of back handsprings, and a cartwheel into a layout double full dismount in an event-final routine that easily outpaced the rest of the competition in both difficulty and execution.

Awarding a 10.000 to her event-final routine really prickles the old anxiety muscles given her not-close-to-stuck dismount, but the superiority of Comaneci’s routine compared to the rest of the field is indisputable.

The race for gold may have been ultimately uneventful (Comaneci ended up needing only 9.800 in the final to win, and home girl wasn’t getting some 9.8 on beam like a common farmhand), but the race for silver proved dramatic, coming down to the beam queen of the previous Olympics—Olga Korbut—against The One Who Wasn’t Nadia—Teodora Ungureanu.

In 1976, Korbut was still a strong gymnast and not the “why is she so old and gross now?” bucket of bolts of popular conception whom the New York Times evaluated as follows: “At times her hair was messy and her smile a hollow grin. She was an also‐ran.” Great.

Continue reading Olympic Beam Finals: A History, Part 2 (1976-1996)

Things Are Happening – April 30, 2020

A. Bad Maggie

Oof. I’m out of practice with this, it’s been so long. How does one…say…the things…that are happening?

A week on from when USAG told those involved that it would be announcing a verdict in the Maggie Haney affair (CALENDARS ARE HARD, Y’ALL—what with the days and the boxes), we learned today that Haney has been suspended for eight years for ruining the life of national treasure Laurie Hernandez. Haney can apply to be reinstated after those eight years and would then be on probation for a further two, but eight years is a loooong time…

Laurie discussed the mental toll of training with The Haney in an instagram post today, and everyone went, “You could tell by that leg pose.” Burned into my brain.

In the most recent information about this case, we also learned that Riley McCusker was among the athletes who affirmed to the hearing panel that Maggie sucks, which had not been confirmed during the initial hearing. Remember when we were playing the “but Riley could stay with Maggie because she’s 18” game? Ye…no.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – April 30, 2020