Category Archives: Olympic Trials

2016 Olympic Trials Part 2: Martha’s a Little Teapot

And we’re back. It’s the final night of Olympic Trials, and in just a few short hours, Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Hernandez, and Kocian I mean, five definitely-not-already-decided athletes will learn that they have made the Olympic team.

As is only traditional, the final night of the most significant US gymnastics competition in four years begins with a deferential acknowledgement of the biggest star in all of gymnastics.

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I, of course, am referring to Bela Karolyi. Who is here because of reasons.

He touched Simone on the shoulder. OMG THAT’S HOW SHE DOES IT. BELA HAS ANOTHER ONE.

“Just about everything you’re going to see tonight matters,” Al says. But not everything, he adds, as Maggie Nichols falls through the trap door and into the piranha dungeon. Another one bites the dust.

OK, can we please discuss the HEART OF THE OCEAN that Trautwig is wearing on his finger? Damn, that thing makes Nastia’s rock look like an idiot.


So, Princess Al of Monaco welcomes us to the competition, at which point we learn what an utter shitstorm Gabby Douglas has been, and there are probably other people in the meet too I guess. Anyway, she has to hit 4-for-4 tonight, otherwise she should basically go compete for Belarus and will never make the team ever. Continue reading 2016 Olympic Trials Part 2: Martha’s a Little Teapot

2016 Olympic Trials Part 1: The Night of Uber Important Water Cups

The competition may be over, but NBC’s coverage is forever. Chilling. The hard truths.

As I wallowed in the stands in San Jose, painfully cut off from the sage judgment of Trautwig and his merry band of colored shapes, I felt lost, bereft, confused. Entirely powerless to interpret the events unfolding before me. Was that disaster “ginormous” or “of epic proportions”? Is Laurie Hernandez “hot stuff” or “one fun kid”? I JUST DON’T KNOW. I could only sit and imagine what eloquent turns of phrase were being inflicted upon the audience at that very moment.

Now, through the magic of the internet, I am in the dark no longer. Won’t you join me for day 1? Once more, into the flames.

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Christ the Redeemer Statue: 1, Brenna Dowell: 0

As the broadcast begins, Trautwig the Redeemer transforms back into his human form to welcome us to San Jose, the Jan Brady of California, and introduce the only three gymnasts competing for spots on the five-woman Olympic team. LOCKS!

He presents Simone Biles, who is good, Gabby Douglas, who is literal trash, and Aly Raisman, who failed like a rotten failure in the all-around in 2012. Because that’s her defining career moment. Continue reading 2016 Olympic Trials Part 1: The Night of Uber Important Water Cups

Olympic Trials in Review

Back from Olympic Trials!

If you want all the details on what went down on the floor, in the arena, in the mixed zone, and on various random street corners outside the venue at trials, be sure to listen to our GymCastic recaps of night one and night two, featuring a full breakdown of that time John Macready blindfolded those girls and made them crawl on their hands and knees to find his treats, along with a very heated, very confusing argument about whether Aly Raisman should do the AA at the Olympics.

If you weren’t at the meet, you missed out on……like not that much. You’re fine. Although you were denied a lot of marching, and waving, and hugging, and more marching, and more hugging, and Amelia Hundley, and more Amelia Hundley, and Christina Desiderio almost dying on bars while Bill Strauss was like, “I can’t,” and John Orozco’s falsetto, and Aly Raisman nearly falling backwards off the podium and landing on her head right before beam. Plus, you missed out on your complimentary post-competition trash bag full of cereal, presented by Kellogg’s. Kellogg’s: Here’s a trash bag.

The absolute highlight of the whole competition was seeing thousands of little kids excitedly grab their free bags of mystery swag after the meet only to realize that it was just cereal. It was like watching MyKayla Skinner walk out for the team announcement all over again, but a thousand times in a row.

MyKayla was not happy with her cereal, you guys.

But then again, you got Trautwig instead, so you entire life is a nightmare. I can’t wait to watch and recap the NBC broadcasts. Don’t worry. It’s coming. Continue reading Olympic Trials in Review

A Very Important Trials Preview

The Olympic Trials are just a few short days away, and there are still so, so, so many questions we need answered, like whether Maggie Nichols is going to show up with 2015-style with competitive top-three vault and floor routines to send tremors through the presumptive team of Biles, Raisman, Douglas, Hernandez, and Kocian.

And that’s it.


How’s a person supposed to preview Olympic Trials under these conditions? When we’ve had so many competitions that we already know everything and have talked about it 45 times? I can’t work like this!

But of course I kid. Trials will be much more entertaining and interesting than simply waiting to see whether or not Nichols hits an Amanar and then cryogenically freezing ourselves until the Olympics. I mean, I’ll be at the meet, so it’s already more important and glamorous than anything else that has happened this decade. (Keep an ear out because we’ll be Gymcasticing from trials.) Plus, there are actually several other questions that will need answering in addition to the Nichols equation.

2. Will Madocklearashtocian finally catch on as the official BARS FIGHT nickname?
Only if Locklear beats Kocian by plural tenths. Otherwise, they’ll be back to their original mashup couple name, Kocian.

3. Will Gabby Douglas hammer throw a sack of Japanese kitchen knives labeled “stay pressed” into the crowd after finishing top three on bars on night one?
Will be tough for her, but she finished 4th AA at nationals and needs to do something heroic to make sure she earns one of the AA qualification spots at the Olympics. Continue reading A Very Important Trials Preview

Mikulak, Dalton, Naddour, Brooks, Orozco

Well, we’ve all aged several years.

I actually don’t hate this team, contrary to what Amy Poehler’s face says. It’s been a long night. And Paul Feelings are not easily shaken off by logic or reality.

There will be plenty of time to dissect this in detail in the coming weeks, and then in even more detail after the US finishes fifth in the team final (too soon…?), but the US men’s Olympic team has been named following the harrowing events of the second day of Olympic Trials.

In a tender piece of mercy, Paul Ruggeri obliged us by falling on high bar in the first millisecond of the meet, ensuring that he was not getting selected in this lifetime and sparing our nerves and feelings once the announcement of the team rolled around. Scoring below Naddour on vault also didn’t help.

The big news here was the eviction of Donnell Whittenburg, which is more of a surprise of perception than it is of reality. If you’ve been reading my posts about the men’s team, I kept saying, “I do think Whittenburg will be on the team, BUT…” which is a reflection of his perceived status in the group (making all those worlds teams, being an American Cup choice…) but also the fact that running the team permutations kept spitting back convincing teams that did not include him.

During the broadcast, Tim was talking a lot about “oh…this rings score here, these floor landings there,” but really I think it came down to the fact that he and Jake Dalton cancel each other out. A team with both of them would always have some serious deficiencies on a couple other events. (There was still an argument for a Mikulak, Dalton, Whittenburg, Orozco, Leyva team that didn’t have those deficiencies, but Naddour put an end to that argument with his trials performance. That team wasn’t happening.)

Whittenburg didn’t so much throw his spot away, as we may hear. He just got beat by Jake Dalton. Dalton was better. And the strong performances from Brooks and Orozco at trials suddenly created a Whittenburg-less team option that might actually be able to score…theoretically…OK.

I really did enjoy our narrative switch from night 1 of “WHITTENBURG IS THE #2 LOCK” to night 2 of “WHITTENBURG HAS ONLY VERY LITTLE CHANCE.” Methinks Tim had a little sit down with the selection committee where they explained some things to him in a “Whittenburg is not making this team” kind of way.

Continue reading Mikulak, Dalton, Naddour, Brooks, Orozco

Trials 2016: The Olympic Team Is Nobody

Continuing their mission to make everything complicated and impossible, the men concluded the first day of Summer Winter Cup last night, and it went terribly. At least for me.

If you don’t start behaving, NO ONE’s going to the Olympics. I WILL TURN THIS CAR AROUND.

Sam Mikulak remained a lock for the team but aggressively botched his first two routines, still somehow managing to score 14.975 on PBars even with a fall. This competition successfully confirmed that Sam Mikulak could strip naked, glue tassels to his nipples, and do the macarena and still get a 16, while also doing nothing to deter conspiracy theorists who believe that the Chosen Ones will get the Chosen Scores regardless of performance (see also: Jake Dalton’s floor).

In the most important news and the only topic any right-minded person cares about, things didn’t go great for Paul Ruggeri on high bar for 14.650. It’s not so devastating if you look at the actual results (Paul remains in the top 3 on three events even after last night’s competition), but in the world of gymnastics where narrative is king and evidence is merely the court jester, it’s not a good look.

I said in the preview that selecting a team is way easier when Ruggeri is doing poorly and as such he couldn’t give the selection committee any reason to slap him with the alternate paddle, but that’s just what he did. Let’s all hope he gets saved by the algorithm. Everyone except Chris Brooks has messed up high bar at some point during the process, but Ruggeri did so more recently than some of the others. Continue reading Trials 2016: The Olympic Team Is Nobody