Category Archives: Stuff and Nonsense

Things Are Happening – April 13, 2018

A. Say Yes to Jesolo

The Trofeo Citta di Jesolo—or as it is known in the US, “[Pause] Italy meet”—is upon us once more with many of the best countries in the world converging on Jesolo, lured by its format of having barely any rules about roster size. A one-stop shop for international experience!

With the individual US gyms stepping up to send gymnasts (in absence of USAG sending an official team), the assembled roster is shaping up much like in other years with the US group a mix of top seniors (Smith, Malabuyo) and newbies at their first rodeo. Meanwhile, Russia has sent a pretty solid senior and junior squad this year led by Melnikova, Brazil is getting Saraiva and Barbosa back out there, Romania is sending a full team to show it still has a program kind of, and Italy is bringing the typical large army of everyone.

Schedule
Junior Team/AA – Saturday April 14, 4:00am ET, 1:00am PT
Senior Team/AA – Saturday April 14, 10:00am ET, 7:00am PT
Event Finals – Sunday April 15, 8:30am ET, 5:30am PT

Only on FLO for us Americans.

On the US side, it will be fascinating to see how the scores put up by Smith and Malabuyo compare to what we’ve seen this year from Hurd as we start to clarify the picture of who the most significant contenders will be this summer/fall among a group that remains rather indistinct. Continue reading Things Are Happening – April 13, 2018

Advertisements

Things Are Happening – April 6, 2018

A. For the common wealth

Team competition has concluded at the Commonwealth Games for both the women and men, with a fuller strength Canadian women’s team edging out England for gold. The result is mostly as expected since Canada sent its A team (except for Moors, so like A- team) while all of England is currently in full-body casts.

England did well to keep Canada’s margin of victory to just four tenths and at times seriously challenged for gold. The late English replacements James and Stanhope had some errors each but did the job on their important events, James qualifying first into the floor final and Stanhope getting the team’s high score on vault. Vault nonetheless proved the difference between the two nations, with Canada bringing much bigger and better vaults to outscore England by quite a margin there.

We also got to enjoy a real race for bronze between Australia and Wales. Wales put the pressure on Australia with its performance in the third subdivision, looking fantastically composed on beam and recording solid scores on vault and floor as well. It was just bars that made the difference. Wales doesn’t have the routines there, while bars is Australia’s most impressive event, even though Mizzen missed. Australia developed enough of a margin because of bars to end up on top despite underscoring Wales on both beam and floor. So close. Wales nearly pulled off the medal upset for a second consecutive games.

Despite a miss on bars, Ellie Black was strong enough on beam and floor to qualify first into the all-around final because Ellie Black. She’ll be the major favorite for gold in the final, with the other medal contenders comprising the other gymnasts from Canada, England, Australia, and Wales (Onyshko, Simm, Kinsella, Godwin, Brown, Methuen, and Bevan).

Sadly for the sake of interest, that was the story in event final qualification as well: two from Canada, two from England, two from Australia, two from Wales. Vault provided the only respite with Archer and Kennedy from Scotland and Nayak from India making the eight. Nicole Burns from the Isle of Man just missed out on the beam final, ending up first reserve. Drat.

Burns did, however, make the AA final along with Bonita Shurmer of Jersey, so that’s fun. Continue reading Things Are Happening – April 6, 2018

Things Are Happening – March 30, 2018

A. Yuck, Geddert

CNN has helpfully investigated and compiled a bunch of horrific things John Geddert did to his gymnasts all in one place for easy reference. Just in case you were thinking, “How many people has he thrown against the low bar and told to commit suicide?” Oh, the answer is some? Good to know.

Geddert is not the only Geddert in the coaching world. Far from it. Hopefully this is just the beginning of the process of weeding out the monsters.

MORE FUN: USAG was informed about Geddert in specific detail in a letter of December 2013, following a police report of “assault and battery of a juvenile” (you know, like you do) in October 2013, and USAG reacted by commissioning a private investigation (because that always goes so well) that corroborated the claims. And what did USAG do after finding that FAMOUS OLYMPIC COACH John Geddert was unfit even to speak to the gymnasts he was coaching? Why, Steve Penny had a little chat with Geddert where he pwomised weal hawd that he would be better this time.

Mmmmm. Mmmhmmm.

Because that’s how USAG dealt with problems. In secret, always protecting “their” people, always protecting themselves from a negative story, always exposing the “expendable” people (a.k.a., gymnasts, families) to abuse because who cares about them? There are 50 more where they came from, but an abusive narcissist coach with an ugly back tattoo? That’s forever.

Any person or organization that would know these things about Geddert and think a sufficient reaction was to have a little “warning chat” with him and then let him return to coaching is just as evil as Geddert.

Oh, and another thing. Time and again in this story we hear how Geddert held gymnasts hostage with manipulations about getting them college scholarships. Real talk: If you have an abusive coach,  it’s more likely to hurt your college scholarship chances than help them because the college coaches know what a trash person your coach is and don’t want to have to deal with that asshole either. Chances are, they hate your coach as much as you do and will avoid your gym like the plague unless there’s a gymnast they truly can’t resist.

And if a college coach likes your abusive club coach, what does that tell you about the college environment you’re about to enter?

RUN.

EVEN MORE FUN: That Guy’s boss has been arrested for sexual misconduct. We’re all SO SURPRISED. No one is ever allowed to pretend to be all shocked when saying, “I can’t believe he got away with it for so long [innocent outrage face]” ever again. I can believe it. We all can believe it. This is how.

Also how: those two athletic trainers still work at MSU.

B. Martha and Bela

CNN also got hold of the May 2017 depositions of Martha and Bela, which were a fascinating display in which we learn that Martha has never heard of anyone and didn’t ever do anything or talk to anyone ever. Continue reading Things Are Happening – March 30, 2018

2018 Regionals Draw

The NCAA made a solid choice with this year’s entirely unnecessary selection show by prerecording it instead of doing it live. And by solid choice, I mean terrible choice, as we were denied all of the “Lymeenis Hall” and “Jillian Wistingly” mispronunciation goodies of past seasons. What’s even the point then?

On the other hand, we did get this definitely complete “sentence” because of the words and the putting them together.

And a five-year-old picture of Macko. BECAUSE RECENT.

So that makes it a little better.

Here’s what we know…

Rotation order is as follows:
Team #1 – begin on floor, end on bye
Team #2 – begin on beam, end on bars
Team #3 – begin on bye, end on beam
Team #4 – begin on bye, end on vault
Team #5 – begin on bars, end on bye
Team #6 – begin on vault, end on floor

SEMIFINAL #2:

MINNESOTA Regional – 4:00 CT

[1] Oklahoma
[12] Kentucky
[13] Denver
Minnesota
Iowa State
Iowa Continue reading 2018 Regionals Draw

Things Are Happening – March 23, 2018

A few updates on what you might have missed in the world of elite competitions this week as we all try to brace ourselves for NCAA conference championships tomorrow. And by we, I mean me.

A. Birmingham

In what was either the miracle of all miracles or an aggressive signaling of the end of days, Angelina Melnikova hit an entire all-around competition—including her layout on beam—to win the Birmingham World Cup title.

Guys.

No one knows what to do with this information because it might all be just a hallucination Valentina had after taking “mama’s special pills,” but Russia absolutely needs Melnikova to be a real person on all four events this year following the injury to Best Child Elena Eremina. That’s a ridiculous proposition obviously, but the group of healthy Russians is pretty specialist-heavy right now, so someone who can realistically do all the events while definitely contributing TF vault and floor is essential.

A solid, hit competition put Marz Frazier into second. She did not have the D score to match Melnikova, so she was probably going to need Gelya to Gelya in order to win, but some execution issues on bars and beam (as well as an uncharacteristically short landing on her DTY) made Frazier unable to capitalize on Melnikova’s own execution problems and near-falls on bars and beam.

Everyone else had varying levels of disasters on at least one event, except for Alice Kinsella, who hit a full all-around competition for bronze, a result she should be very pleased with. The fact that both Kinsella and Simm appear to be rounding into AA form is essential for England’s CWG hopes because…

B. The England Broke

Amy Tinkler had to withdraw from Birmingham during warmups because of an injury to her ankle ligaments, an injury that will also force her to pull out of the Commonwealth Games. Every week a new one goes down. Remember when we thought the team was going to be Tinkler, Fragapane, Downie, Downie, Fenton?

Anyway, now it’s Fenton, Simm, Kinsella, Stanhope, and TBD. At this point, the maybe-unretired-maybe Charlie Fellows looks like the next best choice for the team because she can fill a number of roles in a team scenario and was the strongest of the remaining options at the British Championship, though Taeja James made a very good argument for herself with her qualification floor performance in Doha, placing first with a 5.4 D. She also attempted enough difficulty on beam that she got away with a mid-12 even though it didn’t come off. At this point, England would kind of take a mid-12 on beam. Continue reading Things Are Happening – March 23, 2018

Things Are Happening – March 15, 2018

A. BUT THEY HAD YOGURT

So here we go. Aly Gonna Getcha, Part 715.

In a Washington Post article, Aly Raisman expanded upon the issues she related in her book about the conditions at that Victorian Slum House known as the ranch. It was dirty, gross, poorly maintained, the food was bad, there was no nutritional assistance or even the smallest hint of appropriate medical facilities, and gymnasts were afraid to question any of it, all of which is corroborated by Melanie Seaman, an athletic trainer with the program during some critical years—and someone from whom I’d like to hear a lot more.

To anyone who read Aly’s book, this is mostly review (like studying for the final—and it will be on the test), but it does serve to reinforce the picture of a wildly antiquated environment with no safety/ behavioral standards or oversight and a training facility woefully inadequate for the medical and nutritional needs of a modern high-level athlete heading toward the Olympics. Continue reading Things Are Happening – March 15, 2018

Things Are Happening – March 9, 2018

A. Gymnix

The world cup circuit takes a short break this weekend before resuming next Thursday with Baku, Stuttgart, Birmingham, and Doha all in a brief bim-bam-boom run of about nine days. And I’m sure someone from USAG will be arrested for double homicide at the same time, so no one will know where to look. Because that’s just how things go.

But for now…Gymnix.

The annual Canadian international thingamajig that brings Canadian elites together with French-speaking Europeans and Americans who don’t want to travel that far is upon us once again. This year, the competition will be conducted in two divisions: The Challenge, and the Junior International Cup—followed by apparatus finals.

In the challenge division, gymnasts may compete for their clubs, so while USAG isn’t sending an official team because everything’s on fire and there’s no money, it ends up that more US gymnasts will be competing at Gymnix this year than ever before, sent by their clubs—WOGA, Hill’s, Cincinnati, Everest, Buckeye, etc.

A number of the Canadians will also compete (duh), and I’ll be paying particular attention to Isabela Onyshko since she was named to the Commonwealth Games team. We haven’t seen top-level, healthy gymnastics from Onyshko in quite a while, so this competition is fairly critical in terms of gauging her progress.

The challenge competition is split up into three subdivisions, but the majority of the top Canadian seniors and all the US gymnasts (featuring Davis, Alexeeva, McClain, DiCello, Lippeatt) will be competing in the first flight: Friday at 6:45 ET on FLO. Event finals follow at 1:25 ET on Sunday.

In the junior cup, the competitors are grouped as national teams (of four) and will go at 6:30 ET on Saturday, where the big-four Italian juniors will hope to fend off a Russian team made up of the best of the babies (three 2004s and a 2005), as well as the Canadians and Japanese. The Italian juniors (Villa and the D’Amatos) just destroyed the Italian seniors (Mori, Meheghini, Grisetti, Carolfiglio) in the all-around standings at Serie A last weekend, providing more evidence that it’s going to be a complete national team refresh in 2019. Just get through 2018 first.

Giorgia Villa did an internet in training this week by connecting all the skills ever invented on bars.

Scores will be here. Just be sure to select the right seance.

B. British

You may know it as the British Championship, but us cool kids just call it British. Women’s and men’s senior all-around competitions will be held this Saturday, followed by event finals on Sunday. You can stream it here.

On the women’s side, the story is who won’t be there: Fragapane with her Achilles and now both Downies, Ellie and Becky each needing more time to get back from their injuries. That opens things up for Tinkler to be the clear all-around favorite, followed by Fenton, Kinsella, and Simm looking to snatch those podium finishes. Kinsella just received the musical-chairs place at the Birmingham World Cup to join Tinkler (remember when it was supposed to be Downie and Fragapane?), so she’ll be looking for a second-place finish here to prove that she’s really a top-2 AAer right now. Continue reading Things Are Happening – March 9, 2018