All posts by balancebeamsituation

US Classic Preview

Saturday. US Classic. 1:00 ET juniors. 6:30 ET seniors. Be there, or be on Twitter making fun of it. By way of a preview, here are some notes on expectations, necessities, and whatever else comes to mind for each athlete in the senior division.

We’ll go in alphabetical order, like we’re lining up for recess at Otter Bay Elementary School.

Shania Adams

For Adams, US Classic is all about the 52. She did manage to achieve her three-event score at American Classic (VT, UB, BB) with no room to spare, but a lower-than-hoped number on floor meant she didn’t get the required AA total. So most of all, Adams will be looking to use this competition to ensure she can compete all four events at nationals. Of note, she got SVed to pieces in that floor routine at American Classic, intending something well into the 5s and receiving only 4.5.

So look out for completion of turns as she tries to get that floor score up high enough for the all-important 52, which should be very attainable for her with 4 hits.

Simone Biles

End of preview. Simone could walk out and do itsy bitsy spider and it wouldn’t matter. We’ll wait and see how many events she does, but if Simone does elect to compete floor here, it will be our chance to see whether she includes those potential upgrades she posted this summer—the Biles to layout and the triple double. Though…you know…it’s not like she needs them. But she could also do them. And that would be cool.

Sloane Blakely

Blakely did make the shortlist of 8 nominees for the Pan Ams team, so she will be aiming for a stronger competition than is normally necessary at Just Classic so that she might get herself on that team. Typically, you’d think of Blakely as exactly the kind of gymnast who would go to Pan Am Games, but this year it’s such an unusually deep group. Even on Blakely’s most impressive event, beam, which can garner a worlds-TF-level score, she’s faced with Kara Eaker scoring a 28.8 every day just for looking at a beam. It’s hard for anyone to find her niche contribution. And this isn’t even the worlds team.

Blakely will be looking to rank well on beam and outscore some of your traditional top all-arounders there, while also placing in the top 5 AA among the Pan Ams 8 to make her argument.

Jade Carey

The primary goal for Carey this summer will be to reconfirm that she is #2 behind Biles on both vault and floor among the US competitors. If she does that, she’ll have a very compelling argument to be back on the worlds team following her individual wilderness adventure. In that regard, this meet will be somewhat important for Carey in making sure she still ranks above the wildcard factor that is MyKayla Skinner, who is going to try to come in and match Carey difficulty-for-difficulty on vault and floor in a power-gymnast grudge match.

Carey is a very competent beamer and probably underrated there, and we’ve also seen video of her training a Bhardwaj on bars to up that D score. What I mean is, don’t be utterly surprised if she places well in the all-around here, especially if some of the other top athletes don’t do all four events.

Continue reading US Classic Preview

The Scores: Pre-Classic Edition

With US Classic coming up on Saturday (!), I’m taking this opportunity to look at recent scores recorded by US gymnasts to get a sense…somewhat of the hierarchy as it currently stands but mostly of what kind of score it’s going to take this summer to be a thing when it comes to team selection, and who has the chance to achieve that score.

What kind of bars score does it take to be considered a bars gymnast for team selection? (I’m going to say 14.500.) What kind of floor score does it take? (Last year, my answer to that was anything verging on a 14. This year the bar has been raised by a couple of the newer seniors, so it seems like it’s going to take the ability to go a couple tenths over 14.)

Oops. Spoilers? I guess? Anyway, the scores.

First, a chart of the top scores recorded on each event at international assignment/FIG meets in 2019 for those competing at Classic. The top three scores across the field on each apparatus are in bold.

Simone Biles15.40014.30014.20014.90058.800
Sunisa Lee14.20014.70014.15014.33357.383
Emma Malabuyo14.53313.63314.40014.23356.799
Leanne Wong14.66614.10014.06613.93356.765
Grace McCallum14.56614.20013.83313.86656.465
Kara Eaker14.06614.10014.66612.46655.298
Morgan Hurd14.23314.30012.93313.63355.099
Sloane Blakely13.63313.50013.76613.56654.465
Shilese Jones14.70011.60013.03313.80053.133
Riley McCusker13.13314.40012.16613.36653.065
Aleah Finnegan14.40012.86612.53312.86652.665
Gabby Perea13.56712.90012.36713.33352.167
Jade Carey15.0660014.600

Now, let’s bring in international meets from the fall of 2018 as well (so, that now includes worlds and Pan Am Championships)

Continue reading The Scores: Pre-Classic Edition

Things Are Happening – July 12, 2019

A. World Championships

The FIG has released the definitive registration list for worlds—it’s slightly more definitive than the provisional registration, but decidedly less definitive than the nominative registration. It largely went as expected, though it’s worth noting that our two question mark nations, Cuba and North Korea, are both registered to send athletes this time around. Because you never know with them.

The real news is that Poland has not registered a full women’s team despite finishing 22nd last year and qualifying a team of five to 2019. The retirement of KJK has put a strain on the squad to be sure. Theoretically they’d still have Marta Pihan-Kulesza, Gabriela Janik, and Wiktoria Lopuszanska to put together a team score, though we haven’t seen Lopuszanska compete in 2019. Still, Paula Plichta continues kicking around. Ring ring, Alma Kuc, ring ring. There are gymnasts in Poland. Rather, Poland is slated to send just one athlete to worlds, which is an additional problem because both Pihan-Kulesza and Janik really should be there.

This doesn’t end up changing things for any other country because Egypt was the #25 team at worlds last year and theoretically the next country in, but as the top team in Africa, Egypt had already received a wildcard to send a team to worlds this year to fulfill continental representation.

You can tell there’s not a lot I find interesting this week since I’m leading with the politics of Poland’s world championships team selection. It’s my passion.

We also learned this week that Courtney McGregor is returning to worlds competing for New Zealand to try to get that sweet, sweet Olympic spot.

B. University Games

I mean, I did a GIF recap of Nabs’ every move and facial expression in qualification, so I think that competition is fully covered, right? Right.

Anyway, Japan sent a team of ringers and won pretty much all the things. Hitomi Hatakeda was the queen of the parade and will have to do a lot of Japan-saving this autumn because of the Mai situation. And Lilia Akhaimova is going to kill you forever with things like this tremendousness.

End of meet.

C. Men’s National Qualifier

The US men held an ice cream social at the OTC to decide who else got to qualify to nationals, and the answer was some of the people. Of significant note, Donnell Whittenburg just did squeak through in the second-to-last position. Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 12, 2019

The Race to Tokyo – July 2019 Update

Women’s qualification

2018 World
Championships (3)
United States
2019 World
Championships (9)
The top 9 teams in qualifying,
not including the three above
2019 World
Championships (20)
The top 20 all-around
in qualifying (1 per country),
not including athletes on
the 12 qualified teams.
2019 World
Championships (12)
The top 3 from event finals
on each piece, not including
those on qualified teams or
qualified through the AA
2018-2020 Apparatus
World Cup Series (4)
The winners of the series on
each event at its conclusion
(Mar 28, 2020).

In-progress qualifiers:
Jade Carey
Lyu Jiaqi
Marine Boyer
Vanessa Ferrari **
2020 All-Around
World Cup Series (3)
The top 3 countries at the
end of the series (Apr 7, 2020)

receive a spot they can award
to anyone they wish
2020 Continental
Championships (9)
The top 2 in the AA final
at continental championships
(1 for Oceania) earn spots
for themselves, or for their
country if the country already

has a team
Host country (1)Japan’s host-nation spot.
It will be given to an
alternate from the worlds
AA standings once
Japan officially doesn’t need it.
commission (1)
1 spot is reserved for an
athlete from an under-
represented country, TBD

**Jade Carey leads the apparatus qualification standings on both vault and floor, but she takes the vault spot on the tiebreaker (better cumulative results), so the floor spot would go to the #2-ranked athlete.

Team Qualification – How They Match Up

An update of last month’s comparison, ranking the likely contending nations for the remaining 9 team qualification spots based on how each country’s best-scoring group of five senior gymnasts would do in a three-scores-count format using each gymnast’s top score on each apparatus recorded at a major international meet this year. Short version: don’t be remotely surprised if the same 12 teams that made Rio make it to Tokyo as well.

1. FRANCE – 167.032
Melanie DJDS 14.433 14.033 13.733 13.833
Lorette Charpy 13.600 14.100 13.700 13.100
Marine Boyer 0.000 11.966 14.100 13.300
Coline Devillard 15.000 0.000 12.300 12.833
Aline Friess 14.800 12.900 12.200 12.966


44.233 41.033 41.533 40.233
The handspring rudi that Aline Friess debuted at European Games for 14.800 on both days is a potential game changer, but I still have to think France would prefer a bars routine from Bossu to two big vaults from Devillard and Friess.
2. CANADA – 166.013
Ellie Black 14.500 14.266 13.800 13.266
Ana Padurariu 13.533 14.666 14.333 13.600
Denelle Pedrick 14.250 11.700 12.000 12.300
Victoria Woo 13.666 13.433 12.600 12.833
Laurie Denommee 13.566 12.866 13.133 13.100
166.013 42.416 42.365 41.266 39.966
I know Denelle Pedrick is not typically in the elite mix and competed as a L10 at nationals this year is doing all her CMUing, but if Canada ultimately feels like Black, Padurariu, Moors, and Olsen have things covered as best as anyone can manage on the other pieces, it could be worth putting Pedrick in there just for her DTY.
3. ITALY – 165.731
Alice D’Amato 14.633 14.400 12.466 12.700
Asia D’Amato 14.633 14.033 11.967 12.900
Elisa Iorio 13.633 14.300 13.350 12.633
Giorgia Villa 14.300 13.533 13.766 12.666
Lara Mori 13.250 12.700 12.850 13.866
165.731 43.566 42.733 39.966 39.466
This year, expect an Italian team packed with those new seniors to deliver the kind of scores on bars Italy hasn’t enjoyed in quite some time. I’m still a little worried about this group’s scores and consistency on beam and floor (be honest, you wouldn’t be that surprised to see one of the old standbys like Ferrari or Ferlito to swoop to do those two events at worlds, would you?), but Italy is on track for its best team result in a while, and at just the right time.
4. GREAT BRITAIN – 165.297
Alice Kinsella 14.200 13.800 13.566 13.100
Ellie Downie 14.500 14.066 13.333 13.466
Amelie Morgan 14.100 13.900 13.033 12.666
Claudia Fragapane 0.000 0.000 0.000 13.600
Becky Downie 0.000 14.433 0.000 0.000
165.297 42.800 42.399 39.932 40.166
The return of the bars score from Becky Downie at European Games solidified things a little for GB (and Fenton and Morgan’s scores are essentially interchangeable right now, but Morgan delivers about .03 more), but we haven’t seen Frags do a lot of vaulting lately. GB is going to want her vaulting if she’s to be on the same worlds team as Becky Downie.
5. NETHERLANDS – 163.847
Sanna Veerman 14.100 14.133 12.166 11.833
Eythora Thorsdottir 13.600 13.866 13.550 13.666
Tisha Volleman 14.000 13.000 12.366 13.333
Naomi Visser 13.800 14.100 13.433 13.200
Sara van Disseldorp 13.366 12.200 12.666 12.733
163.847 41.900 42.099 39.649 40.199
Netherlands has put up some reassuring performances recently, and if van Gerner gets back and Lieke continues this trajectory in her return as well, this can be a very formidable group.
6. BELGIUM – 163.299
Maellyse Brassart 13.600 13.300 13.166 13.100
Jade Vansteenkiste 13.733 12.866 11.333 13.233
Fien Enghels 0.000 14.200 13.033 12.866
Nina Derwael 13.566 15.233 13.633 13.066
Senna Deriks 13.533 13.533 12.733 12.533
163.229 40.899 42.966 39.965 39.399
We have seen a change this year for Belgium, an introduction of depth. For the last quad+, Belgium has fielded a competitive team, but an exact specific five had to be healthy (and as Mys and Waem left, Kinkcaert and Brassart took their places in that five). If people like Hermans and Klinckaert were out (as we’ve seen recently), Belgium just wouldn’t have a team score. Now, new seniors like Enghels and Vansteenkiste have come in to give Belgium a little more buffer for someone critical being out.
7. JAPAN – 162.774
Asuka Teramoto* 14.600 13.800 13.333 13.600
Hitomi Hatakeda* 14.075 14.000 13.100 13.050
Aiko Sugihara* 14.100 12.866 13.000 13.250
Nagi Kajita* 13.033 11.766 11.366 12.833
Akari Matsumura* 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
162.774 42.775 40.666 39.433 39.900
The * indicates when athletes have officially been named to the 2019 worlds team. Japan showed us at the University Games (for the most part) that the team can still put up successful scores without Mai, especially if Hitomi Hatakeda continues hitting like that. The fifth member of the team has been named as Akari Matsumura by virtue of her having a DTY, but she does not have any international-meet scores to include here.
8. GERMANY – 162.514
Kim Bui 13.800 14.400 12.766 13.233
Elisabeth Seitz 14.500 14.233 12.466 13.200
Pauline Schäfer 13.450 13.266 13.666 0.000
Isabelle Stingl 13.600 11.333 12.566 13.050
Leah Grießer 13.133 13.150 12.800 12.800
162.514 41.900 41.899 39.232 39.483
Germany really should be one of the 9 qualifying teams at worlds this year and is too talented not to make the Olympics as a full squad—Seitz, Schäfer, Bui, Scheder, Voss is still such a formidable-seeming group—but what we’re seeing right now is a German team that’s exceptionally reliant on a select group of veterans all being healthy at the same time. You worry whether that next generation of backup routines/future stars is coming along or not.
9. UKRAINE – 161.630
Valeria Osipova 13.933 12.400 12.266 12.400
Anastasia Bachynska 14.000 13.566 13.533 13.200
Diana Varinska 13.800 13.966 13.100 13.266
Angelina Radivilova 13.900 12.367 13.333 13.033
Yana Fedorova 13.700 12.800 12.000 11.800
161.630 41.833 40.332 39.966 39.499
It was an up-and-down European Games for Ukraine, but one that featured enough good moments like the floor performances from Varinska and Bachynska to remind us that Ukraine must be considered a contender for an Olympic team spot.
10. AUSTRALIA – 160.633
Georgia-Rose Brown 13.700 13.633 12.266 12.400
Emily Whitehead 13.633 13.233 12.833 12.500
Emma Nedov 13.333 13.333 14.100 13.033
Elena Chipizubov 12.866 12.166 13.200 12.766
Georgia Godwin 13.733 13.500 13.266 12.766
160.663 41.066 40.466 40.566 38.565
11. HUNGARY – 159.715
Sara Peter 14.533 0.000 9.450 12.533
Nora Feher 12.966 13.550 12.800 12.466
Dorina Böczögo 13.750 12.650 0.000 13.000
Bianka Schermann 13.550 13.900 11.800 11.733
Zsofia Kovacs 13.933 14.000 13.450 11.333
159.715 42.216 41.450 38.050 37.999
12. BRAZIL – 159.445
Flavia Saraiva 14.600 13.266 13.033 13.666
Thais Fidelis 13.566 12.300 12.933 13.266
Carolyne Pedro 13.733 12.566 12.233 12.933
Jade Barbosa 0.000 13.650 0.000 0.000
X 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
159.445 41.899 39.482 38.166 39.865
Things are not quite as dire as all this, even without Andrade. Brazil went all-in on a very specific group of gymnasts in international meets early in the year, so there’s not a lot of backup scores to use right now. If you were to give the team the scores from Lorrane Oliveira and Jade Barbosa from nationals (high but still), they’re in the mid 162s, which is probably more reflective of where this team is without Andrade. In the 9, but not safely so.
13. ROMANIA – 158.730
Iulia Berar 13.266 12.533 12.950 0.000
Carmen Ghiciuc 13.466 11.933 13.100 10.933
Denisa Golgota 14.500 12.966 13.500 13.866
Ana Maria Puiu 13.600 12.100 13.233 12.900
Maria Holbura 13.233 11.300 12.533 12.966
158.730 41.566 37.599 39.833 39.732
Romania will not arrive at worlds with the expectation of Olympic qualification, but the way things have been going, the fact that it’s not completely out of the question feels like a win.
14. SPAIN – 158.446
Alba Petsico 13.600 12.566 12.033 12.766
Laura Bechdeju 13.400 13.100 12.033 13.250
Ana Perez 13.666 13.733 12.733 13.500
Nora Fernandez 13.766 13.266 11.500 11.600
Cintia Rodriguez 13.333 12.333 13.033 12.733
161.682 41.032 40.099 37.799 39.516
There’s some hearty talent in this generation of Spanish gymnasts, and a few newbies who are showing competitive scores on select pieces. There’s probably not enough depth to get up into the fancy places, but the scores haven’t been too, too far away so far this year.

Individual Qualification – Worlds

For gymnasts in the “but how does little old me make it to the Olympics when I don’t have a big GRRR team qualifying me there???” territory, the best route (and often only route) is going to be through all-around performance in qualification at 2019 worlds.

Olympic qualification for the women is very AA heavy (if you’re, say, a vault specialist at World Challenge Cup level, there’s basically no route for you to get to the Olympics, which succcccckkks). The good news for AAers is that there will be A TON of Olympic spots awarded this way. There’s a baseline of 20 spots and will end up being many more than that (see below).

Here’s a little experiment. I took the results of 2018 worlds, and imposed the assumption that the 12 teams that qualified to the Olympics in 2016 do so again this time. If that happens, here are the 20 athletes who would have advanced to the Olympics with nominative spots by virtue of their worlds AA performance if this were done in 2018:

Denisa Golgota (ROU)
Zsofia Kovacs (HUN)
Ana Perez (ESP)
Yeo Seojeong (KOR)
Frida Esparza (MEX)
Erin Modaro (AUS)
Martina Dominici (ARG)
Diana Varinska (UKR)
Filipa Martins (POR)
Aneta Holasova (CZE)
Kim Su Jong (PRK)
Gabriela Janik (POL)
Jessica Castles (SWE)
Simona Castro (CHI)
Rifda Irfanaluthfi (INA)
Ilaria Käslin (SUI)
Caitlin Rooskrantz (RSA)
Tutya Yilmaz (TUR)
Mandy Mohamed (EGY)
Ting Hua-Tien (TPE)

With one spot available per country, and all the gymnasts on the top-12 teams removed, that takes us all the way down to 66th place (and an all-around score of 48.865) to come up with 20 gymnasts.

Ultimately, we’re going to see many more than 20 gymnasts make it from the 2019 worlds AA standings because when other spots go unused, they are reallocated to the next in line in the worlds AA standings.

That becomes significant especially in terms of the 12 individual apparatus spots that are also available at 2019 worlds. Those 12 spots (3 per apparatus) can be earned only by athletes who advance to the event finals. This part of qualification was obviously written with MAG in mind because you don’t really have a lot of gymnasts outside the top 12 teams who even make event finals on the women’s side. There will probably be a few on vault, but it would be unsurprising if most of those 12 spots go unused and are reallocated to the AA standings.

Let’s continue that 2018 experiment: Alexa Moreno, Oksana Chusovitina, and Pyon Rye Yong would get spots for vault, and Jonna Adlerteg would get a spot for bars, but the remaining 8 positions would go unused and revert back to the AA field, adding these gymnasts to the Olympic qualifying list:

Hanna Traukova (BLR)
Marina Nekrasova (AZE)
Danusia Francis (JAM)
Julie Erichsen (NOR)
Elina Vihrova (LAT)
Jasmin Mader (AUT)
Dayana Ardila (COL)
Tienna Nguyen (VIE)

So that brings us down to 79th place in the all-around standings and an all-around score of 47.399. (And if you add in Japan’s unused host country spot, that would mean that Maija Leinonen (FIN) in 80th would qualify as well.)

Continue reading The Race to Tokyo – July 2019 Update

US Classic Rosters

We are now 11 days away from the US Classic, the…second most interesting domestic American competition of the summer?…not counting selection camp…? Anyway, get excited. Classic is the meet where we get to see the upgrades for the 2019 season, and that’s very important. Classic podium training day should basically be a national holiday.

The rosters are out for the junior and senior events, and while they’re short on surprises, they’re worth breaking down.


Olivia Ahern
Ciena Alipio*
Sydney Barros*
Skye Blakely*
Charlotte Booth
Sophia Butler*
Kailin Chio*
Kayla Di Cello*
Addison Fatta
eMjae Frazier
Elizabeth Gantner
Karis German*
Olivia Greaves*
Mia Heather
Julianne Huff
Levi Jung-Ruivivar
Lauren Little*
Lilly Lippeatt*
Amber Lowe
Nola Matthews*
Konnor McClain*
Zoe Miller*
Kaylen Morgan*
Sydney Morris*
Annalise Newman-Achee
Sophie Parenti
Anya Pilgrim*
Ariel Posen
Joscelyn Roberson
Sienna Robinson*
Katelyn Rosen
Lyden Saltness*
Jamison Sears
Chavala Shepard
Ava Siegfeldt*
Eva Volpe
Jamie Wright
Ella Zirbes Continue reading US Classic Rosters

This Week: University Games and Man Classic

The site (i.e., me) will be taking a short break for the rest of the week, but here’s a look at what to watch follow, if’n you’re so inclined.

The University Games (aka the Universiade) begins Wednesday. It’s a biennial multi-sport competition of…people who have looked at a school before or something. The first two days of competition will be men’s qualification—which also serves as a team final—followed by women’s qualification on Friday—same—then all-around finals on Saturday and event finals on Sunday.

The competition is scheduled to stream on the Olympic Channel, and also at, which has some suspicious “free to subscribe” language that I do not trust.

Wednesday, July 3
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – Men’s Team/Qualification

Thursday, July 4
3:30am ET/12:30am PT – Men’s Team/Qualification

Friday, July 5
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – Women’s Team/Qualification

Saturday, July 6
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – Men’s All-Around
12:30pm ET/9:30am PT – Women’s All-Around

Sunday, July 7
5:00am ET/2:00am PT – Event Finals Part 1
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Event Finals Part 2 Continue reading This Week: University Games and Man Classic