All posts by balancebeamsituation

US Nationals Men’s Day 1 – Live Commentary

I’ll keep it light on the skill-by-skill and heavy on the “Daggett what are you saying about?”

Competition was listed to begin at 6:30 CT but it will actually begin at 7:00 CT, which is when the Olympic Channel broadcast starts. Olympic Channel is slated to have the whole 2.5 hours.

Some news to dissect from today before we get started: The FIG went all TWIST-town and announced that the Doha World Cup will be going ahead after all, starting June 23. So enjoy your casual 20 days to prepare! That means that the quests for Petrounias and Ferrari, among others, to make the Olympics are still alive.

In competition news, Elisabeth Seitz won the German national AA by a tenth over Pauline Schäfer, with Sarah Voss in 3rd, Kim Bui in 4th, and Emilie Petz in 5th. Some VERY close team-score scenarios using various combinations of those five athletes, so the final trial on June 12th should be interesting.


As for the US men, one of the bigger stories I’ll be watching today is whether NCAA champion Brody Malone is for real in his push to make the US team. It’s an appealing prospect given his particular strengths and the fact that it’s just…something a little different and interesting, but he has not made major teams before and doesn’t have the scoring history of the default four from 2019—Mikulak, Moldauer, Wiskus, and Modi.

Continue reading US Nationals Men’s Day 1 – Live Commentary

US Nationals – Schedule, Links, PT Notes

Programming note: The first day of senior men was originally scheduled to be on NBCSN, but it got bumped for hockey. Now it will be live on the Olympic Channel and delayed on NBCSN later.

Thursday, June 3
Scores Stream
2:30pm ET/11:30am PT – Junior Men Day 1 LINK Flo
8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT – Senior Men Day 1 LINK OLY
Friday, June 4
Scores Stream
2:30pm ET/11:30am PT – Junior Women Day 1 LINK Flo
8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT – Senior Women Day 1 LINK NBCSN
Saturday, June 5
Scores Stream
2:30pm ET/11:30am PT – Junior Men Day 2 LINK Flo
8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT – Senior Men Day 2 LINK NBCSN
Sunday, June 6
Scores Stream
1:30pm ET/10:30am PT – Junior Women Day 2 LINK Flo
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – Senior Women Day 2 LINK NBC

The senior women had a second podium training session today after their first yesterday, and here’s what happened:

Jade Carey, the end. At the end of the floor warmup, Carey pulled out a layout triple double, landing it successfully on both attempts (stronger landing on the first than the second). So that’s a big new deal.

Continue reading US Nationals – Schedule, Links, PT Notes

Simone Biles Got a Negative Zero at Gumnerstics. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The starting gun fires, and a kaleidoscope of sparkles shoots across Rat-Breath Arena as an army of little robot-babies, each clad in her own shiny leopardtard, marches onto the gymnastic court.

On this day, when the U.S. Olympic Team of Gymnastic Girls would be named at the U.S. Classical, one sparkle seemed to shine brighter than the rest: the sparkle coming off the left hoof of a shiny goat emblazoned on the lower back of the Greatest Of All Time. That’s right. Simone Biles was back in the building.

At 24, Biles is the oldest person ever to have tried a gymnastics. Her teammates, most of them 6 or 11, affectionately call her, “Nana” and “That old hag-witch.” But while most gymnasts would have long since been required to hang up their gymnastics gloves and start popping out babies, Biles’ accomplishments earn her special consideration.

The star of the Rio Olympics, who bounced into houses all across America in the summer of 2016 because her bouncing, is widely considered the best to have ever done flips, having won world championships (it’s impossible to know how many) and long since eclipsing the records set by Soviet star Svetlana Khokrina or some Chinese girl probably.

Continue reading Simone Biles Got a Negative Zero at Gumnerstics. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.

US Scores, Post-Classic

It’s time for a little score check-in. Now that we have a few more numbers for everyone, it’s a little easier to see where we are now and what people need to do at nationals in a week’s time (!) to save their team-selection narratives.

These scores take into account every meet so far in 2021 for those who have qualified to nationals, along with the associated/presumed petition people. (I think. We’ll know whenever USAG announces the roster.)

I’ll start with what happens when taking everyone’s best score on each event from any competition in 2021.

Best Score All-Around

So, no surprise that Simone is on top with two falls. The thing I didn’t expect before hitting “sort” was Leanne Wong up there tied with DiCello in third place. That’s largely thanks to her vault and floor scores from the March camp, which were quite a bit higher than we saw from her at the Classic meets on those events. Whether that’s a realistic representation of what we might see at nationals/trials, who can say, but it’s worth keeping in mind that her apparent peak is right up there for now.

Continue reading US Scores, Post-Classic

Things Are Happening – May 26, 2021

A. Who’s Going to the Olympics?

The women’s competition at the African Championships finished up earlier today, giving us two brand new Olympians to add to the pile. In an upset, Zeina Ibrahim Sharaf of Egypt won the competition to get an Olympic spot over her countrywoman Farah Hussein, who ended up in second. Both had some strong moments early in the day with Ibrahim looking very poised on beam, and Hussein having to wait 784 hours for her own beam routine before pulling out a confident set without major error. Going into the final rotation on vault, Ibrahim led Hussein by just 0.3, so it could have gone either way, but Hussein crashed her Yfull while Ibrahim landed hers, giving the competition to Ibrahim.

Because it’s just one per country, Farah Hussein will not get an Olympic spot, nor will Egypt’s Jana Mahmoud, who finished in 3rd place. The second Olympic spot on offer from the African Championships instead goes to Naveen Daries of South Africa, who fell on all four routines she attempted to finish 4th in the all-around but nonetheless gets an Olympic spot because no one (who wasn’t from Egypt) did better than her.

For fans of negative scores, we did have some at this competition, but it looks like they just showed up as zeroes on the final standings.

Ibrahim and Daries will be the second Olympians from their countries as Mandy Mohamed of Egypt and Caitlin Rooskrantz of South Africa already qualified at 2019 worlds.

The men’s competition is tomorrow.


This week also brought the announcement of four more Olympians on the men’s side, with Great Britain naming its team of James Hall, Joe Fraser, Giarnni Regini-Moran, and Max Whitlock.

The only member of the 2019 worlds team who did not make this squad was Dom Cunningham, who is understandably having his moment about it, but his results from the various trials this year really weren’t putting him in the highest-scoring team permutations, where Regini-Moran has passed him as the most useful FX/VT contributor, to join their typical top AAer James Hall, PB world champion Fraser, and Whitlock’s pommel horse.

Becky Downie also competed in her individual trial redo. I watch that first bars routine and say, “That’s all I needed. Put her on that team.”

Continue reading Things Are Happening – May 26, 2021

Simone’s Vault Value – Does It Make Sense?

On Saturday at Classic—well, on Friday at podium training—Simone debuted her long-awaited Yurchenko double pike, forcing Sports-Balls across the nation to try to learn what gymnastics words are and say things like, “To put this in perspective, it’s like if a basketball ran the 100 meters without an interception.”

Thankfully, we can move a little bit beyond “gymnastics, boy, I don’t know” and talk about what really matters, that 6.6 D-Score decision. According to Tom Forster, this value came directly from the FIG, so even though it’s technically provisional until the Olympics, it’s pretty likely to stay the same because…the exact same all-powerful TECHNICAL WOMEN will be deciding its value 2 months from now.

As for the value itself, I’ve thought more about it, and here’s where I am in a little bit more detail: It’s low for me. I’ve mentally had this at 6.8 since we heard about it, and I still agree with me. But honestly it’s not as low as I thought they were going to go, and not as egregious a case of undervaluing as the beam dismount from 2019.

The problem with Simone’s double double beam dismount in 2019 being given an H value is that it did not adhere to any kind of recognizable precedent or logic established by previous values of other beam dismounts. On beam, a double tuck dismount is a D. Adding a full twist to that bumps it up three tenths to a G. And then adding another full twist bumps it up…1 tenth? To an H? Any logical progression falls apart pretty quickly, and the FIG’s post hoc explanation of the value as an effort to preserve the safety of gymnasts was fully laughable coming from an organization that, for example, doesn’t allow a touch warmup for event finals or has a checkered history with the various equipment manufacturers selected for various world championships.

Continue reading Simone’s Vault Value – Does It Make Sense?