Category Archives: Stuff and Nonsense

Things Are Happening – April 20, 2021

A. European Championships

The European Championships, which are actually happening, begin tomorrow with Larisa Day Women’s qualification, which will decide which two additional Europeans earn Olympic spots.

One semi-surprise from podium training/start lists was seeing Russia put Vladislava Urazova in the first subdivision with Gerasimova, while putting Melnikova in the final subdivision with Listunova. Melnikova is ineligible to earn an Olympic spot for Russia because she was part of the team that qualified at worlds, so I figured Russia would want to back-load the people most likely to get them an additional Olympic spot in the final group.

So either they’re not super-subscribing to the notion of score building (and Urazova should be able to get a total that holds up from the first subdivision if she does her normal), are supremely confident in Listunova’s ability to shoulder the load from the final subdivision alone, or value getting Melnikova into all the finals over this silly Olympic spot slop.

Regardless, Russia has many nominees who can get their additional +1 from Euros, which would then give them the maximum of 6 Olympians. Wednesday also presents Larisa Iordache’s lone opportunity to get to the 2021 Olympics. She must place in the top 2 among eligible athletes in tomorrow’s competition. Iordache will compete in the final subdivision.

Great Britain is hoping to play spoiler here and get a +1 Olympic spot, though Jennifer Gadirova was forced to pull out for precautionary injury reasons, which hampers their chances to some degree. The onus will now be on Amelie Morgan, Jessica Gadirova, and Phoebe Jakubczyk. Ukraine has Diana Varinska qualified already but could sneak Bachynska or Motak in there, and Italy is putting forward Vanessa Ferrari, who is going to wrench a competitive all-around out of herself in this meet if it kills her, and Martina Maggio.

Italy looks like the one country that really organized its subdivision assignments with the assumption that score building is going to exist, putting the Olympic-qualification-ineligible Giorgia Villa and Asia D’Amato in the first subdivision and the eligible Maggio and Ferrari in the third subdivision.

In men’s podium training news, Nikita Nagornyy did a triple pike on floor. And it was real. Now we know why he kept trying to kill himself during lockdown. It was mental preparation. The Russian men’s team is currently dealing with the news of Artur Dalaloyan’s partial Achilles tear on the eve of the Olympics, which is NOT GREAT.

Reposting the schedule with US time zones for reference. Qualification is all streaming here, and finals are here.

Wednesday, April 21
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – WAG Subdivision 1
7:30am ET/4:30am PT – WAG Subdivision 2
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – WAG Subdivision 3
12:30pm ET/9:30am PT – WAG Subdivision 4

Thursday, April 22
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – MAG Subdivision 1
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – MAG Subdivision 2
11:00am ET/8:00am PT – MAG Subdivision 3

Friday, April 23
7:30am ET/4:30am PT – Women’s All-Around
11:00am ET/8:00am PT – Men’s All-Around

Saturday, April 24
7:30am ET/4:30am PT – Event Finals Day 1

Sunday, April 25
7:00am ET/4:00am PT – Event Finals Day 2

B. Japanese Olympic Team

The process has begun. Always the first to name its Olympic teams, Japan is now the majority of the way there following last weekend’s All-Japan Championships. The two-day competition forms 2/3rds of the selection process, combined with May’s one-day NHK Cup.

The top three athletes in the AA at the end of NHK will be automatically named to the team, and the fourth athlete will be added at the discretion of the selectors from among the top all-around athletes (this is what ruined things for Mai in 2019 because her injury kept her out of NHK, so she wasn’t among those top all-around athletes to choose from).

Thankfully—so far this time—it looks like all the major contenders for the women’s team are among the actual selection pool.

After All-Japan, Murakami Mai currently enjoys a two-point lead over Hatakeda Hitomi, who has a two-point edge of her own over Hiraiwa Yuna in third place. So, Murakami and Hatakeda currently look pretty comfortable to snatch two automatic Olympic spots as long as they are able to compete at NHK.

It’s nervy time for the rest. Hiraiwa has a basically negligible lead over Sugihara Aiko, with Soma Ui, Teramoto Asuka, and Hatakeda Chiaki not all that far behind. Teramoto is the one to be worried about right now, sitting in 6th. She went for her rudi on vault, and it did not go super great, then missed on bars on the second day. She’ll need to have a huge meet at NHK to move into the top 3, or at least show a solid rudi and hits on the remaining events to make a good case for herself for the discretionary spot. Miyakawa Sae, meanwhile, did pretty well on vault and floor but is royally screwed by the emphasis on AA in selection.

On the men’s side, the big news was Daiki Hashimoto, who sat in a very troubling 7th place after the first day but had such an immense performance on the second day for 88.532 that he jumped all the way to first and suddenly looks likely to take his rightful place on the men’s Olympic team, the selection for which is basically just an impossible blender. And that’s not even getting into the issue of one-event Kohei, who recorded a gigantic score on HB, and one-event Minami Kazuki, who recorded a gigantic score on FX. And there ain’t enough individual spots for the both of you.

The one-day NHK Cup will be held in the middle of May. That will come right after we’ll receive our first look at the Chinese selection process at Chinese Nationals, May 4-9. Selecting that Chinese team is going to be monstrous.

C. GymCastic

Lots of final thoughts on Michigan’s NCAA championship win and the entire event. Plus we got a statement from USAG on whether Jade would be considered for the main Olympic team of four despite having an individual spot sewn up.

NCAA Championships Recap and Jaime Santos Esq explains the NCAA case before the Supreme Court GymCastic: The Gymnastics Podcast

BREAKING NEWS We reached out to USAG about Jade Carey's Olympic spot, whether she's going to compete at Trials, and whether she'll be considered for the main team. Their answer was wild. And now we have some additional questions: "Based on our understanding of the current FIG qualification rules, we believe Jade Carey’s performances on the floor exercise in the World Cup Series have mathematically qualified her, by name, to the Tokyo Olympic Games. Barring any rule changes, we anticipate that FIG will award her the spot. We are extremely proud of Jade’s performance on the world stage, which earned her this well-deserved opportunity. This path – to pursue the opportunity for an individual qualification – was open to certain qualified national team athletes. No other eligible athletes opted to pursue this qualification route. We anticipate that Jade will be competing at Trials. Unless she accepts the individual spot beforehand, Jade would be eligible to make the four-person team. At this time, FIG has not announced when they will officially award the spot or whether they will impose a deadline for acceptance. In any event, the choice to accept or reject the qualified spot is hers, and she has the full support of USA Gymnastics in any outcome." Golden is coming. A six-episode docuseries about Laurie Hernandez (produced by Deanna Hong), Morgan Hurd, Suni Lee, Konnor McClain, and MyKayla Skinner in the run-up to Trials. NCAA NATIONALS Michigan becomes the 7th team to win a national title! We gush about their performance, the excitement of nationals, and who's going to be the next team to win a title. Valiant efforts from Oklahoma and Utah, plus we parse just what went wrong for Florida in the final month The Cal COVID scare right before the semifinal That nail-biter second semifinal where Utah advanced by less than a tenth over Alabama and LSU Is 5-up, 5-count the way forward for NCAA gym? JAIME SANTOS Esq. INTERVIEW Ms Santos is a partner in Goodwin Procter’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice. She explains what NCAA vs. Alston case heard by the SCOTUS in March is about and what that outcome could mean for your favorite gymnast or college team. EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS It's coming this week. We run through the schedule, what's at stake in terms of Olympic spots, and the latest news out of training. JOIN CLUB GYM NERD Join Club Gym Nerd or buy a gift membership for access to Behind the Scenes episodes. Behind The Scenes: LIVE after NCAA Finals Live Blog: 2021 NCAA Championship Finals Live Blog: 2021 NCAA Championships Semifinal 2 Live Blog: 2021 NCAA Championships Semifinal 1 Behind The Scenes: Aimee Boorman to the Netherlands Behind The Scenes: Beam Smash Regionals Behind the Scenes: Jade as an alternate? Behind The Scenes: March 19 2021 Behind The Scenes: Megan, Harry, Listunova and Oprah Behind The Scenes: Post-Winter Cup Syndrome Buy our awesome clothing and gifts here. We have masks too! RELATED EPISODES Soviet Gymnastics: Not the Specter of Evil (Commissioned) 2021 NCAA Championship Preview Regionals Got Weird WATCH Club Gym Nerd members can watch the podcast being recorded and see video clips of the gymnastics while we discuss.Please login to your Club Gym Nerd account to listen and/or watch this episode. Not a member? Join here.
  1. NCAA Championships Recap and Jaime Santos Esq explains the NCAA case before the Supreme Court
  2. Soviet Gymnastics: Not the Specter of Evil (Commissioned)
  3. 2021 NCAA Championship Preview
  4. Regionals Got Weird
  5. All About Aly (Commissioned)

What Even Was This Season?

So…it went…better than it might have? All things considered, this COVID season has been effectively muddled through. Well, at least, it happened. And we’re now just two days away from it having finished happening.

No one will pretend it was ideal. We had Michigan State stopping its season, Stanford training under a bridge on a lily pad made of smoke, Auburn and Temple withdrawing from the postseason, and a number of teams not able to start at all. But it’s a win insofar as…no one died yet despite most team’s best efforts in mask usage, and it looks like a champion will be crowned?

Before that happens, some reflections on how things ended up playing out this season. (This was supposed to be a team final preview, and I still say Florida is the favorite if Thomas is able to do all four, with Oklahoma very close, and Michigan a legitimate, believable spoiler, but that’s about the extent of it. We don’t really know anything until after the semifinals, anyway. End of preview.)

My primary reflection on the COVID season: the quality of gymnastics wasn’t worse. This year was supposed to be worse, with abbreviated preseasons and various COVID delays and protocols and health measures and distancing, but you would not have known that based on the routines we saw, which were on par with a normal season. There’s probably a lesson to be learned there about over-training and over-scheduling and the importance of breaks, but when has gymnastics ever been interested in learning that lesson?

Continue reading What Even Was This Season?

Things Are Happening – April 9, 2021

A. European Championships

Against all odds, the European Championships appear to be happening. And kind of soon!

This is the final opportunity for European athletes to secure Olympic spots, and in keeping with the theme, something strange is happening! Those Olympic spots (2 each for MAG and WAG) will be awarded based on the AA standings from qualification, rather than from the all-around final. OK great?

The FIG lovvvessss basing very important things on qualification, and it’s so counterintuitive. Isn’t the final supposed to be…like…the final?

I was against this at first because it’s just so weird, but I do kind of get it. Kind of. The idea here is to make sure everyone has a chance to get the spot. So, for example, Italy has a nominative team of Villa, Alice D’Amato, Maggio, and Ferrari. Villa and D’Amato competed as part of the Italian squad that qualified a team to the Olympics and are therefore ineligible to earn an additional Olympic spot for Italy at this competition. If Villa and D’Amato were to make the all-around final, then Italy wouldn’t have anyone eligible to get an Olympic spot. By basing things on qualification, Maggio could theoretically get in there and get a spot for Italy even if she places behind ineligible countrywomen like Villa and D’Amato. (With no temptation to fake-injury-scratch someone from the AA final.)

On the other hand, this does bring the eternal conundrum of score-rising through the qualification day into effect. At this meet, athletes from a single country don’t all compete in the same subdivision, and with different countries being assigned different subdivisions through the draw (Russia and Romania WAG have spots in the final subdivision, Great Britain and Italy do not), you haven’t necessarily created the most even playing field possible.

Regardless, the favorites to get the two spots on the women’s side at this point would be one of the Russians (limit one per country, and Listunova, Urazova, and Gerasimova are all in the hunt) and Larisa Iordache. But it’s going to take a hit meet. So it should be an exciting lengthy-qualification-day.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – April 9, 2021

Things Are Happening – February 11, 2021

A. Olympic qualification news

Yesterday, the FIG finally proclaimed the inevitable. With Germany and Great Britain unable to host their intended all-around Olympic qualifiers, that series has officially been canceled. (Though Tokyo is still planning to hold its event in May, which also serves as the gymnastics test event.)

Given the cancellation, the Olympic spots that would have gone to the top three teams at the end the all-around series instead have been awarded to the top three teams from qualification at 2019 worlds. For the women, that’s the USA, Russia, and China. For the men, that’s Russia, China, and Japan. Those nations have now all achieved a +1 Olympic spot to be bestowed upon any athlete they choose.

So here’s where we stand now with the women:

WOMEN – Qualified Team
(4 athletes)
Individual
Spot #1
Individual
Spot #2
United States
(Any athlete)

(Jade Carey)*
Russia
(Any athlete)
China
(Any athlete)

(Fan Yilin)*
France
Canada
Netherlands
Great Britain
Italy
(Vanessa Ferrari
OR Lara Mori)*
Germany
Belgium
Japan
(Urara Ashikawa)*
Spain
* – Nominative spots earned from Apparatus world cups should be considered unofficial until the (alleged) conclusion of the series at Doha in March. But this is who has them.

The men’s apparatus world cup spots are still much more up in the air than the women’s—with many more what-ifs and intra-country tiebreak scenarios in play—so I’m going to wait to make that chart until we see what happens in Doha.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – February 11, 2021

Friday Live Blog – January 29, 2021

Friday, January 29
Scores Stream
5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT – [8] Alabama @ [14] Kentucky LINK ESPN2
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – [24] Missouri @ [1] Florida LINK SECN
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – Oregon State @ [15] Arizona State LINK FREE
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – TWU @ SEMO LINK  
8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT – [6] Arkansas @ [10] Georgia LINK SECN
9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT – [20] Boise State @ [17] Southern Utah LINK FREE
9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT – [12] BYU @ [21] Utah State LINK FREE

LSU’s misfortune is Kentucky and Alabama’s gain as they were promoted from streaming-only to live on ESPN2 for this week. It’s actually sort of a well-spaced Friday. Not a lot of 16-meets-at-once happening.

We also got news today that the LSU/Auburn meet has indeed been rescheduled for next Friday at 6 CT. Only four meets that day as the rest of the SEC teams have the week off.

Continue reading Friday Live Blog – January 29, 2021

Things Are Happening – January 27, 2021

A. Aunt Flo

You know that thing where you’re watching the YouTube stream of junior Classic and think, “I wish this were expensive and worse.”

Well, USAG is here for you, signing a five-year deal with FLO to broadcast its non-NBC events in the US—and all the events internationally. Moving major gymnastics events from free YouTube streams to a service that charges $150/year, just so FLO can lob a buffering potato at your computer screen and then blame it on your internet speed, all while filing copyright claims over someone’s unrelated 15-year-old video of Shantessa Pama’s beam warmup, is going over super great. We’re so very happy. Access achieved!

The first elite event on the FLO slate will be Winter Cup, where the big sessions are already scheduled for NBC Networks but broadcast of the junior competitions and senior men’s event finals was previously undetermined. Presumably that will go to FLO, and per USAG they’ll be showing podium training as well. National team selection camps are also currently on the FLO schedule. It’s good content! But our collective history with FLO, the historical quality of its broadcasts, its expense, and the McKayla Maroney incident—to name a few—precludes any excitement there.

B. No One Saw It Coming

Turns out, trying to hold a college gymnastics season amidst COVID isn’t going fully awesome!

Continue reading Things Are Happening – January 27, 2021