All posts by balancebeamsituation

2001 World Team Final: Obviously Inadequate Hamstrings

The beginning-of-the-quad recap project continues today with a trip back to a far-off land called 2001, the last year in which a team final was held in the season immediately after the Olympics.

If you’re wondering why we don’t do that anymore, allow me to…

Yeah. That. It’s pretty much that.

My favorite part is how she has a balance check after the fall.

That GIF said, having a full-team worlds the year after the Olympics does give us a chance to see some highly unexpected people—who will obviously never be allowed to see the light of day ever again after disgracing their nations with their very existences.

We also get some highly unexpected final team placements (because of reasons like China fundamentally not being able to even…), which is exciting and interesting in its own way. It’s why I wish we had team finals every year. “It would be a catastrophic mess” is a reason for it, not a reason against it.

Embrace the mess. Khorkina clearly has.

The year 2001 also takes us back to the good old days when worlds were on ESPN—starring Bart—and were kind of, sort of, almost treated like a real sport. Or something. What a concept.

Sadly, that also means we’re barely reaching the requisite amount of vaguely inappropriate jabbering commentator stew (except for Bart’s “Postcard from Ghent,” and we’ll get there I promise). Which will never do.

That’s why it’s exceptionally important that Eurosport swooped in with Monica “YOU get an eating disorder, and YOU get an eating disorder” Phelps for the final two rotations. So…we’re more than set.

Such a savage buzzard. So unnecessarily blunt. I know we shouldn’t be encouraging her. I know. But…come on. This actually is one of her better-behaved broadcasts. She doesn’t even call anyone “chunky.” Someone got some notes?

Anyway, we begin on ESPN with Bart telling us that the Russians have been inconsistent so far in the competition.

MY WORD THIS CANNOT BE. The Russians?!?! Inconsistent?!?! Continue reading 2001 World Team Final: Obviously Inadequate Hamstrings

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Things Are Happening – June 23, 2017

A. All the NCAAness

So much. Suddenly, so much has happened.

First item: Samantha Durante confirmed that she’s off to LSU for the upcoming season, which is a sort of hilarious F-U to Georgia for firing her mom. “Oh really? Because I went and found a better team.”

I was wondering what LSU would do with that Kaitlin Szafranski scholarship after she left for Arizona State (though do we ever really know what the scholarship situation is at any school?)

The Freshman Playlist has been updated to reflect this and a couple other late developments for the upcoming season, including Gabriela Bouza-Lazo signing with Boise State.

We’ve also learned that Ashley Hiller, who just left Florida, is joining Oklahoma for next season. So, it wasn’t about finding a place where she could get a scholarship or compete more, then. But you know, maybe she’ll Nicole Turner.

In coaching news, a bunch of assistant coaching positions were filled this week, with Elise Ray initiating her quest to form a New Michigan Empire by selecting Ralph Rosso as her new assistant. His qualifications include seeming nice for the 11 seconds I talked to him at nationals (really all that matters).

Sarah Brown also announced her new assistants at Penn State as Dallas Becerra, who was her assistant at EMU, and Rob Drass, who was her coach at Missouri. With Sarah Brown and Kupets, that makes two coaches this year whose former head coaches now work for them. (Technically.) (Suzie work for none y’all.)

Utah State (head coach), along with Illinois, Denver, and Arkansas (assistant coach) have posted their openings with the NCAA. Still no word from Michigan State or Alaska.

B. Child labor

I typically don’t post about fetus verbals because it’s my super-effective form of silent protest (you don’t get your verbal acknowledged until you’re a senior gymnast), but we did have some higher-profile junior verbals this week, with Emma Malabuyo saying she’s going to UCLA and Maile O’Keefe saying she’s going to Utah.

They’re both on the Olympic track and years away from college, so whatever, but just…this is what’s happening for the moment.

UCLA might be passing Alabama as Texas Dreams’ new Florida. If that sentence makes any sense. Which it doesn’t.

C. Larisa the tease

We also have a new video of Larisa Iordache teasing everyone by training some massive upgrades, including a double double tucked bars dismount, a 3.5 on floor, and a Shaposh + Hindorff combo on bars. The majority of these upgrades actually look pretty realistic, but I’d also say, you know, hold your horses. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 23, 2017

The Missing Bars Skill

We have a transition problem.

At this point, the formula for an internationally competitive D-score on bars is abundantly clear. It took a while—a little too long—for everyone to figure it out, but we’re all finally on the same page. Bars is all about alternating E and D flight elements for as many 0.2 CV combinations as possible.

Since those who connect same-bar releases to each other are a rare breed, alternating E and D flight elements means a cloud of E+D+E and D+E+D transition-element sandwiches in order to get the most out of the code.

0.4 CV in the bag. Thank you and goodnight.

The options for creating these combinations, however, are quite limited. That’s a result of a very small number of transition elements overall (and an even smaller number of CV-useful transition elements) with minimal D-valued flight options originating on the low bar. You have Shaposh-style skills, and…that’s it.

That renders the Pak an insanely useful skill to create these 0.4 transition-element sandwiches (see the above combo), but once you’ve used up your Pak, you’ve also used up most of the possible opportunities to rack up those huge CV totals and will be stuck with (shudder) a bunch of pirouette combos for 0.1 in an attempt to drive up the D-score. Continue reading The Missing Bars Skill

Things Are Happening – June 16, 2017

A. NCAA coaches

Several more pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place in the past week, most significantly that Nadalie Walsh from Utah State has been chosen out of the claw machine to take the Illinois job.

Utah State made its biggest splash this past season, spending most of the year ranked in the rarefied and unexpected 22-25 range until a disappointing regionals dropped the team to 32nd. In Walsh’s four years, Utah State’s final placements were 32, 30, 30, and 36—compared to 54, 47, 47, 54 in the four years immediately before she arrived. It’s an accomplishment that clearly didn’t go unnoticed.

At Pittsburgh, the new head coach will be Samantha Snider. You’ll remember her as Samantha Cortez from some of those inaugural Arkansas teams, when they were like, “We’re good already suckassss” and knocked UCLA out at regionals in 2006—or more recently as the one who talks to them before beam and shows really nice Dana-Duckworth-beam-coaching-chin. [Yes, I did write Stephanie originally. No, I don’t know why.]

In a little Penn State/Eastern Michigan trade, Josh Nilson—who took over as Penn State’s interim co-head after Jeff Thompson was thrown out the moon door—will now be taking the role of Eastern Michigan head coach, after Sarah Shi…Brown (I’m getting better!) left Eastern Michigan to take the Penn State job. SWAPSIES!

And before Penn State, John Nilson was Nadalie Walsh’s assistant at Utah State. It’s just a mangled little web, isn’t it?

So by the transitive property of gymnastics coaching, that means that Utah State now has to hire…Rachelle Thompson? That can’t be right…

Team Outgoing coach Reason Incoming coach
Penn State Jeff Thompson Everything Sarah Brown
Michigan State Kathie Klages Larry Nassar
NC State Mark Stevenson Retired Kim Landrus
Georgia Danna Durante Fired Courtney Kupets
EMU Sarah Brown To Penn State Josh Nilson
Illinois Kim Landrus To NC State Nadalie Walsh
Pittsburgh Debbie Yohman Retired Stephanie Snider
Ohio State Carey Fagan Promoted Meredith Paulicivic
Alaska Paul Stoklos Retired
Utah State Nadalie Walsh To Illinois

We’re still waiting on Michigan State to notice that they have a head coach vacancy.

B. Training! START IMMEDIATELY!

In the latest addenda to the Aliya-Baby timeline, we’ve learned that Aliya has named her baby Alisa.

And if you originally read that as “Aliya has named her baby Aliya,” you’re not alone. OH HOW I WISH. Aliya 2. We’ll always have that second I thought that was your name. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 16, 2017

Aliya’s Baby 2036

Breaking news. We have just learned that, earlier this week, Aliya Mustafina gave birth to a daughter.

Well, according to Valentina this happened. So that probably means Valentina cut open the innards of a bat, added some powdered broken dreams, and the arrangement of the goop foretold the birth of an Olympic champion.

Meanwhile, Aliya ate a mango and sneezed and was like, “She said my uterus did what?”

It’s currently unclear whether the baby will be winning Olympic gold in the all-around or just the uneven bars, but the latest training videos indicate that baby Svetlana Mostepanova Omelianchik Zaitseva’s dismount work is coming along quite nicely.

UPDATE (10:21pm Moscow Time): Russian media is now reporting that Mustafina managed to connect the birth out of an Onodi for two tenths, though Nellie Kim still has to rule as to whether that truly fulfills the acro series requirement.

It’s a tough one because, if the baby displays rebounding action, does Aliya get credit by proxy? Or does only the baby get the composition requirement?

Here is Aliya training the Onodi + birth series as long ago as 2014.

UPDATE (12:17am Moscow Time): Valentina just appeared in a cloud of smoke behind a lectern to announce that she has stolen the baby, pointing to a contract signed by Aliya in 2009 while singing a lullaby to a rabbit in a meadow in which Aliya promised all children in perpetuity to Valentina should she make Aliya “the most confident and glorious of all queens.”

Continue reading Aliya’s Baby 2036

Claudia Fragapane on Beam: A GIF Tribute

It’s going to kill us. That’s just a given at this point.

A new study suggests that Claudia Fragapane beam-panic-induced coronary embolisms are currently the third-most common reason for hospitalization among Britons under 30.

But like most unhealthy acts, it’s so worth it.

She’s not exactly afraid of some risk, this little chickadee. If it gets more than five tenths, Frags has already married it. She’ll curl herself into a ball like a little armadillo, pop into the air, and just see where she lands. Same country: optional. No one misses on beam quite like our Frags.

Girl’s not just going to wobble. She’s not going to pitifully bend and lean and hop off like it’s some Russian podium training session. No no. If Frags is going to fall, she’s going to fall.

Commitment. A good, proper, money’s-worth beam fall. That’s how you do it.

But flailing to the ground in a swirl of limbs can only get you so far in this world. (Meaning: nowhere except my heart.) Frags is more than that.

You see, with hilarious falls also come ridiculous—equally hilarious—saves. And in that world, Frags is a true master. She has bestowed upon us so many expressive works over the years. A new Picasso. Millions of viewers from all around the world have glimpsed her installations and said, “Just…how even?” Continue reading Claudia Fragapane on Beam: A GIF Tribute

Things Are Happening – June 9, 2017

A. Ladanyi and Landi

The simple joy I get from people with similar last names being in coaching news during the same week, I can barely describe.

Item 1, Utah announced that it has lured Robert Ladanyi away from Denver to fill the assistant coach role vacated by Meredith Paulicivic when she went to Ohio State. This will be Ladanyi’s third team in four years—we know him most of all from his time in Rhonda’s Romanian Retinue at Florida, though his departure did finally help us all learn which one was Robert and which one was Adrian (kind of). A public service.  Robert is one of the star assistant coaches in NCAA gym, so his going to Utah is kind of a big deal.

Item 2, social media also informed us this week that Cecile and Laurent Landi are leaving the protective nest of WOGA to strike out into the wild blue yonder and make it on their own. Aside from Irina Alexeeva, who still seems to be in citizenship limbo, WOGA doesn’t have a crop of top, top elites pushing for major assignments right this second, so there’s perhaps not an urgent rush to see which member of Valeri’s stable of approved coaches becomes the new Captain WOGA.

Plus, I imagine there will be a group eager to follow Laurent wherever he goes. I mean a group of gymnasts. Not just you. That was already implied.

B. German Nationals

Elisabeth Seitz was the big winner at German Nationals last weekend, taking the AA, bars, and (surprisingly) beam titles. Seitz had the smallest D of anyone in the beam final but was by far the most precise. Meanwhile, Pauline Schaefer took floor, and Pauline Tratz won vault. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 9, 2017

US National Team Camp – Who Are These People?

We have finally emerged from the cave. Now that we are graced with rosters from the monthly national camps—like the one that concluded today—this has given birth to a new phenomenon wherein one looks at the roster, recognizes 90% of the people, but then also says, “……Her? What is a…that?”

So, let this be a place to keep track of which characters made a cameo in which of the monthly episodes; what international assignments resulted from those camps; applicable placements in senior (S), junior (J), and physical abilities (PA) standings; junior/senior status; results dossiers; most recent D-scores; and anything else important to know about these friends both familiar and foreign. Continue reading US National Team Camp – Who Are These People?

2005 World All-Around Final — Gymnastics + Math = F-

The theme of this summer’s recapping project will be the first year of the quad. This being, you know, the first year of the quad.

Up first, the ever-controversial 2005 all-around final, the meet that taught us several important lessons regarding how basic counting of numbers works and how Tsarina Liukina just generally doesn’t have room for your shit.

Let’s meet the stars of the year 2005!

Nastia Liukin!

Some Kristal Uzelac frontal lobe!…?

I want to say…Cleo?

Oh, did I say this was 2005? Sorry, I meant 1841, apparently. Australian John Tesh christens the competition by informing us that “every girl dreams of being a princess” but tonight only “one wish will be granted.”

Oh. Oh good. We’re still doing that.

At least it’s not just a US thing…?

We’ll begin the meet on floor.

BOOP.

You guys, I know Chellsie is solid on Dress Transformation Sparkles, and I’m sure she’ll score well on Dreaming Only of Husbands, but I’m kind of worried about how competitive she’ll be on Bird Friendship.

It’s like, “Honey, stop doing those sit-ups and go to cotillion,” am I right? I mean, the whole point of this is to marry rich and wear tiaras…priorities, lady! Continue reading 2005 World All-Around Final — Gymnastics + Math = F-

Things Are Happening – June 2, 2017

A. NCAA news

The head-coaching picture continues to fill itself in as Utah assistant Meredith Paulicivic has been named the new head at Ohio State, replacing Carey Fagan.

Team Outgoing coach Reason Incoming coach
Penn State Jeff Thompson Everything Sarah Brown
Michigan State Kathie Klages Larry Nassar
NC State Mark Stevenson Retired Kim Landrus
Georgia Danna Durante Fired Courtney Kupets
EMU Sarah Brown Fancier job
Illinois Kim Landrus …different job?
Pittsburgh Debbie Yohman Retired
Ohio State Carey Fagan Promoted Meredith Paulicivic
Alaska Paul Stoklos Retired

So it’s four down and five to go, with a significant assistant position now open at Utah as well. Tick-tock, people. June’s transparent recruiting cattle calls (I mean “summer camps”…for the kids…and the community) aren’t going to snatch all the best children provide a fun, exciting, and educational summer environment all by themselves.

You guys. This year, Georgia literally changed the name of its camp from “Gymdog Camp” to “Courtney Kupets Camp.”

Milk. That. Name recognition.

It’s like Space Camp, but instead of learning about the planets, you look at Courtney Kupets. If those kids aren’t forced to make mini Courtney Kupetses out of popsicle sticks every day, refund please.

Speaking of Courtney Kupets Camp, when are we going? Also, in actual things, Courtney announced the completion of her royal court, adding assistant coaches Charlie Tamayo and Josh Overton to her staff to do, like, the gymnastics parts or whatever. You remember Charlie Tamayo from being super good and having the layout double Arabian named after him. More recently, he was an assistant coach at Navy for the men’s team. Josh Overton has been at Chow’s and was brought on because of…Chow’s is good at bars and winning?

Oh, also this is already happening.

I’ll get the teapot.

B. National team camp

This weekend is quite a bit sparser than the last few have been in terms of actual competitions, but there’s still a bit going on.

The US women are heading back to the ranch for…national team Pride weekend? I think that’s what it is. There’s still one more pre-comp national team pool party after this one (the big July camp that also has the American Classic and the final elite qualifier), so no one’s really expected to be that good yet. Martha would want them to be at exactly 63% at this camp. And then Aly would be at 66%, and it’s like, “UGH OFF THE TEAM.”

You know it’s still not a super important camp because McCusker, Hurd, and Paulson are not in attendance.

Though we are informed that “2016 Olympic team replacement athletes Ragan Smith and Ashton Locklear are participating in the camp [so calm down you stupid goblins and don’t lose your shit on twitter, you’re fine].”

Without those words, but basically with those words.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 2, 2017