Category Archives: Meet Preview

Winter Cup Preview

Winter Cup—now with added women for heart health!—has arrived. The men and the Nastia proteges will get things started on Friday, with the elite women competing Saturday and Sunday. Full weekend gymnastics schedule.

If we’re being honest, there’s not a ton riding on the women’s competition when it comes to Olympic prognostication because it’s still so early in Selection Time—especially as national team spots can now be earned here, at March camp, or by petition. Also, most of these people haven’t competed since they were several feet shorter, so I’m going to try to cool it on TEH STAKES. (When has that ever worked.) But there are still some athletes and concepts I’m eager to see play out this weekend.

Laurie Hernandez

A shining treasure and the dove of peace, Laurie Hernandez is finally set to make her return to competition at Winter Cup, 54 months since the last time we saw her get a score. In large part, Hernandez’s participation in this competition is about the fact that she’s there and that’s exciting. She’s a star of the sport who has overcome the Haney of it all to make a return.

As yet, we haven’t seen any D-score-based indications that she’s making a capital-O Olympic push, but we also haven’t seen any actual competition work. This performance, then, will be revealing in terms of what track she’s on and whether the timing looks realistic. Hernandez is preliminarily expected to compete beam and floor here, understandable as the two most likely events on which she would be up to competition level.

Riley McCusker

For MG Elite refugees in general, this competition can be a significant benchmark because the last time we saw McCusker compete, she was being escorted off the floor after bars so that no one could see how rhabdo she was. Time has passed.

Continue reading Winter Cup Preview

Women’s Euros Preview

SCHEDULE (US Times, links to streaming)

Thursday, December 17
6:45am ET/3:45am PT – Senior Qualification 1 (UKR, ROU, HUN, TUR)
8:45am ET/5:45am PT – Senior Qualification 2 (CZE, CRO, LAT, LUX)

Friday, December 18
6:00am ET/3:00am PT – Junior TF/AA 1 (UKR, ROU, CZE, SLO)
8:00am ET/6:00am PT – Junior TF/AA 2 (TUR, HUN, CRO, BUL)

Saturday, December 19
7:30am ET/4:30am PT – Senior Team Final

Sunday, December 20
2:00am ET/11:00pm PT – Junior Event Finals
7:00am ET/4:00am PT – Senior Event Finals


The senior team competition will be a fight between Ukraine and Romania, one will come down exclusively to who has the fewest meltdowns in the team final. Because as we all know, “who do you trust more to hit, Ukraine or Romania?” is a trick question.

On paper, these teams are very close, although that paper is also riddled with domestic scoring and coffee stains. Ukraine’s most compelling avenue to victory is through bars, where the team’s scoring history is much stronger and where, by contrast, the best case scenario for Romania would be having to count only one score in the 11s and no one going to the hospital with a grip stuck in her ear. (That’s not where you put it?)

Ukraine has the ability to pick up multiple points on bars, but establishing that advantage is incumbent on the entire team hitting. Eeesh. If even one of the Ukrainians falls, and Iordache and Sfiringu get the grown-up scores they’re capable of, then bars scoring isn’t even that disparate between the two, and the clear team advantage would go to Romania.

I’d give Romania the slight edge on vault for being more consistent and having the best individual vault from Iordache. On floor, Romania should have the bigger routines, especially if they perform like they did at national event finals, though keep in mind that both Varinska and Radivilova sometimes score secretly well on floor. Romania’s strategy for victory will be to do better on vault and floor and then just be exactly the same amount of disastrous as Ukraine on bars and beam so that Ukraine can’t establish an advantage anywhere.

Of significant note, Romania has made a team change, subbing Daniela Trica back in for Maria Holbura just like I wanted them to and complained about plenty. I’m not saying it was all me, I’m just saying I’m currently in charge of Romanian gymnastics. Please direct all inquiries to Daniela Sofronie.

As for the others, Hungary should advance to the team final comfortably and be in compelling position for bronze, though the Czech Republic and an unproven-but-talented Turkish squad will be thinking, “Hey, why the hell not?”

Continue reading Women’s Euros Preview

American Cup Preview


Women – Saturday, 11:00am CT – NBC
Men – Saturday – 3:30pm CT – NBCSN (TV coverage begins 4pm CT)

Start lists

What’s at stake?


Just kidding. What’s at stake is an Olympic spot. All nations are looking to finish in the top 3 in the all-around rankings at the end of 4 events (American Cup, Stuttgart, Birmingham, Tokyo) and thereby earn an extra +1 Olympic individual spot for their countries.

The winning country in each the men’s and the women’s field at American Cup gets 60 points, 2nd place gets 55 points, 3rd place gets 50 points, and so on down through 12th place.

Unlike in the apparatus series, where only your best 3 finishes count, all events count for the all-around rankings (and count for the country, not the individual), so every result matters.

The wildcard entrants (DiCello for the women, Wiskus for the men) cannot earn Olympic qualification points and are skipped over in the awarding of those points.

Continue reading American Cup Preview

Cottbus Olympic Qualifier Preview

Cottbus 2019—the 5th of 8 events in the Olympic apparatus qualification series—is nearly upon us.

The schedule by US time zones is as follows, with both days of finals streaming on the Olympic Channel for those with access, or on SportDeutschland for those without:

Thursday, November 21
10:30am ET/7:30am PT – Qualification Day 1

Friday, November 22
10:30am ET/7:30am PT – Qualification Day 2

Saturday, November 23
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – Finals Day 1

Sunday, November 24
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – Finals Day 2

Continue reading Cottbus Olympic Qualifier Preview

Pan American Games Preview

Welcome to the most interest you’ve ever had in the Pan American Games! The competition begins tomorrow (Saturday), with the session-by-session schedule found below.

For US viewers, every session will be streamed on ESPN3 in Spanish, so you should be able to watch every moment. There will also be some TV broadcasts (i.e., the US women’s team session on Saturday is slated to be included in the ESPN2 window), though the TV coverage windows are listed as multi-sport, so you might want to have the web coverage on standby just in case. The TV coverage will have Bart and Kathy on the call, and here’s a live shot of me learning about that just yesterday.

July 27
4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT – Women’s Qualification/TF Subdivision 1 –
Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Jamaica, Dom Rep, Cayman Is

6:20pm ET/3:20pm PT – Women’s Qualification/TF Subdivision 2 – Chile, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, Panama

9:30pm ET/6:30pm PT – Women’s Qualification/TF Subdivision 3 –
USA, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Uruguay, Bolivia

July 28
5:30pm ET/2:30pm PT – Men’s Qualification/TF Subdivision 1 – Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Ecuador, Dom Rep, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Bolivia

9:30pm ET/6:30pm PT – Men’s Qualification/TF Subdivision 2 – USA, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Peru, Jamaica, T & T, Costa Rica

July 29
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Women’s All-Around Final
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – Men’s All-Around Final

July 30
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Event Finals Day 1

July 31
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Event Finals Day 2

In the women’s team competition, expect the US to take the gold medal, nothing new there. Canada is sending an exceptionally strong team that could have made a legitimate run at gold if this were one of the years (like, every other time) when the US sent a fully B-squad group to the Pan American competition. But with the near-A-team level of the US squad this year, it’s unlikely that they can be caught by the Canadians, especially a Canadian team that will now be without Ana Padurariu because the world is stupid and I hate everything. Padurariu has been replaced by Isabela Onyshko, who can of course do the job but not with the bars and beam scores we expect of Padurariu.

For reference, if we do a “domestic scoring” comparison between the US Classic and Canadian Nationals (caveat, that was in May), this US group would go 173.300 compared to the Canadian team at 167.665, so the US should have some margin for error. Continue reading Pan American Games Preview

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