Category Archives: Stuff and Nonsense

Things Are Happening – June 19, 2021

A. China’s Olympic Test

This week, China conducted its first internal test for selecting the Olympic team, and like most competitions at this point, it pretty much only made the decision cloudier. Thanks a lot.

Zhang Jin took the all-around by the smallest smidge over Tang Xijing in 2nd and national champion Lu Yufei in 3rd. All three were separated by less than a tenth, and since they were already in the first tier of options heading into the competition, they’ll remain so following those performances.

Perhaps the most significant development, however, was the injury to Li Shijia (who led nationals after the first day) when working on her DTY, which forced her to scratch the competition. We don’t yet know the severity of the injury or whether it will preclude her from competing in the second test in a few weeks, but it may be a significant wrench in proceedings because, even if she is able to come back quickly, will she be able to perform a DTY? That’s an important potential piece separating her from some of the other contenders.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 19, 2021

Things Are Happening – June 14, 2021

A. It’s Not Nabs

The Nabieva 1/2 revolution is officially upon us, just in time for the Olympics.

At the Osijek World Cup this weekend, Nina Derwael competed her Nabieva 1/2—now Derwael, because this was a world cup event—showing a 6.7 D score with the new Derwael receiving a predictable H value. Since the Nabieva is a G, adding a 1/2 twist takes it up to an H.

But the performance of this skill was not without controversy in…pretty much every other department. The only one we trust, Tatiana Nabieva, was not having that lack of layout position in her royal court.

I mean…there’s no lie here.

In practice, I’d expect Derwael to get layout credit for this skill and probably a minor execution deduction. But going by the actual pictures in the code, this exact position is supposed to receive a downgrade—at least in elements in which there is no turn. Which brings us to our next point.

…Is this a turning element? Is she actually turning in this toe-on layout Tkatchev 1/2? Derwael’s technique is to perform a regular Nabieva right through to grasping the bar and then use the crossed position of her hands to force the 1/2 turn in the swing through.

In the women’s code, there’s no mechanism to say, “Yeah but you have to turn in the air if it’s a turning skill” since I guess no one could have possibly foreseen this, so once again I fully expect this to get credit as a laid out Tkatchev with 1/2 turn for Derwael at the Olympics. And ultimately with only minor deductions. But you can bet if Sunisa Lee is in that bars final, NBC is going to decide to really care about the specifics of Nabieva 1/2 execution starting at that moment and never again.

Derwael was not the only athlete to debut a 1/2-turning Nabieva this weekend, with Sanne Wevers skipping a grade and going straight past the clear-hip layout Tkatchev to the clear-hip layout Tkatchev 1/2 at Dutch trials on Sunday.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 14, 2021

Things Are Snubbing – June 7, 2021

A. Morgan Hurd’s Trials Omission

Last night, following day 2 of nationals, USAG announced the bevy of 18 athletes who had advanced to this year’s Olympic Trials, comprising the top 17 AA from nationals as well as Riley McCusker.

The most notable among the notable items here was the absence of Morgan Hurd, who competed only beam and floor at nationals, struggling on beam both days with a ton of falls.

USAG has been trying to pretend that the process for petitions is still incomplete, but this would…seem to indicate otherwise?

It’s a tough one because it’s clear that Hurd’s performances at nationals did not merit advancing to trials (even acknowledging that she got hosed in the floor score department), and athletes with equivalent showings—including Chellsie Memmel—were also not advanced to trials.

Continue reading Things Are Snubbing – June 7, 2021

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.

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

Things Are Happening – May 21, 2021

A. Classic Podium Training

Someone showed up to Classic podium training and did a lil ol’ Yurchenko double pike.

So, this is like…too good. It’s not supposed to be this good. She did a second one after this and fully ran backward out of it.

Simone didn’t have to show up looking the most prepared of anyone at Classic podium training, but she kind of did.

Now, to the most important question: What’s it going to be valued? Timmy the Dags said on twitter that is has been given a 6.6 for this meet. And keep in mind that this would be a provisional US rating and can change once the women’s technical committee gets hold of it at the Olympics (like when the beam dismount got an I nationals but then an H at worlds).

A 6.6 is little low for me, though not quite as disastrous as it might have been (and again, we’ll see what the WTC does). I had it at 6.8 based on precedent. In the men’s code, the Yurchenko double pike is a 5.6 vault, so we can compare that to vaults that exist in both codes like the handspring double front, which is 5.2 in the men’s code and 6.4 in the women’s code. So keeping the same 0.4 progression that the codes lovvveeee, that would have put the Yurchenko double pike at 6.8. Which is where I came up with the number.

Comparing the men’s and women’s codes in this case does have its limits, however, because the Yurchenko layout 2.5 is a 5.2 in the men’s code compared to the Yurchenko double pike at 5.6. Using that logic, the women’s Yurchenko double pike would be only 6.2, which would be comically low compared to the recent 6.4-valued inventions like the Biles I.

(Meanwhile, if the double pike is 6.6, does that mean the tuck version would be 6.2? Because that’s also comically low in comparison to other vaults. Though they are redoing all the vault values for 2022, so they have a chance to address the prospective difficulty discrepancies. Ha ha ha, I do like to kid.)

A few notes on some of the other people who were there and did some things.

Chellsie Memmel – The Memmeling is happening. She participated in all four warmup rotations but showed actual full routines on two—a Yurchenko full on vault, as well as her beam with the same content as in the mock meet from her last video. She looked understandably tentative, but beam and vault should bring competitive scores. Memmel is not competing bars here, though she actually showed more content than I expected in podium training, including her double front dismount. On floor, she didn’t do any tumbling but did give us a very important dance through.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – May 21, 2021