Category Archives: Stuff and Nonsense

Things Are Happening – August 11, 2017

A. Jake Dalton retires

Jake Dalton Toe Point has pointed its last toe. Pour out a comically large bicep. Or something. I don’t know how this works.

The bam-bam-grrr events tended to be his things, but I was always partial to parallel bars.

Year in and year out, Dalton made teams to compete the power events during an era in which he had plenty of competition for those spots. Vault/floor gymnasts like Legendre, Ruggeri, and more recently Whittenburg probably can’t count how many teams they didn’t make because their strengths overlapped too much with Dalton’s and Dalton was already a lock for the team. His execution and relative consistency allowed him to rise above the rest.

B. P&G Championship rosters

I was going to do a post about the women’s roster for nationals upon release, but it was boring so I didn’t.

The senior women’s field will be comprised of everyone who competed at Classic except Laney Madsen, who did not get her qualifying score. Victoria Nguyen is also slated to compete after pulling out of Classic with injury, and Sydney Johnson-Scharpf will appear at nationals after having her petition approved. (She was sick at Classic and also technically got the necessary qualifying score at Cracky-Scoring Iceland Meet. It just wasn’t a national team assignment and therefore didn’t count for her qualification needs.)

Several gymnasts also managed to achieve only two- or three-event qualifying scores at the classic meets, so while they were allowed to compete the AA at US Classic, they can compete only on those specific events at nationals. Here are the event scratches in spreadsheet format because of course I did.

On the junior side, the field is much smaller than it was at classic because of the somewhat harsh qualifying standard (only harsh in that scores from elite qualifiers cannot be used to qualify to nationals—the qualifying score must come from the ranch, an assignment, or a classic meet). It’s a necessary harshness, though, because otherwise the nationals field would just be too large. We still have 31 juniors making it in as is.

Sadly, Madelyn Williams—the winner of the Faux-gines Prize for Elegance from US Classic that I just awarded—is not among them as she has pulled out of nationals. Continue reading Things Are Happening – August 11, 2017


Things Are Happening – August 4, 2017

A. Zero Downies

The summer of 2017 is not a great time in Downie Land—and therefore not a great time for any of us—as Ellie suddenly revealed that she has been gravely injured since March and competed at Euros even though her ankle was attached by only a single strand of floss, which seems like it would have been hard.

So, now she’s having surgery, which means we’ll have exactly zero Downies at worlds this year what with Becky’s elbow injury from Euros as well.


But, it also means there are some open spots to be won by gymnasts who might not previously have seemed likely to make the British worlds team, a team that looked like an inevitable Ellie, Becky, Tinks, Frags quartet only a couple months ago. Tinks and Frags are probably the top two AAers if they have their lives together, but now Georgia-Mae Fenton has a real shot at a bars spot if she can work out how not to get injured right on the eve of competitions, and then there’s room for one more. Gabby Jupp can come back and do beam, right? Right. Good idea, me.

B. Man Championships

BREAKING NEWS: When the women compete at P&G Championships two weeks from now (I’m not ready), there’s also some kind of men’s competition going on at the same time. Like a man championship. Huh. Learn something new every day.

(This year, you know the man days will be when everyone goes to Disneyland…)

USAG has the roster for us, so now we know that the men’s senior field will be as follows: Continue reading Things Are Happening – August 4, 2017

Things Are Happening – July 26, 2017

It’s a special Wednesday edition of Things Are Happening because later this week we’ll have, you know, Classic.

Hopes – July 28, 2:30 p.m. CT – ScoresWatch
Juniors – July 29, 1:00 p.m. CT – ScoresWatch
Seniors – July 29, 6:30 p.m. CT – ScoresWatch

Speaking of…

A. Classic roster changes

The big development of the last few days is that Victoria Nguyen has withdrawn from Classic with a suddenly acute case of Chow’s.

It is a slight breach of etiquette because typically with a Chow’s withdrawal you’re supposed to compete at Classic, be perfect, and then get injured and withdraw from nationals (GOWEYMEMORIES). For the moment, though, it looks like Nguyen is still planning to compete at nationals.

Her spot in the senior start list has been taken by Gabby Perea (because junior national team members are competing with the seniors this year), who originally did not enter the event because of an ankle injury but now has popped up and plans to compete bars.


Here is the set she’s currently working on (with a cut in the video).

Inbar 1/1 (E) + Toe-on Shap (D) + Stalder Tkatchev (E) + Pak (D) + Stalder Shap 1/2 (E) = 0.7 CV
Inbar 1/2 (D) + Jaeger piked (E) = 0.1 CV
Double layout (D)
Composition requirements = 2.0
CV = 0.8
D-SCORE = 6.4

If she puts that all together in the same competition routine, it’s pretty much the ideal bars composition for the current code, alternating E and D flight elements to squeeze out as much CV as possible while limiting the number of handstand positions that need hitting to as few as possible.


The women’s European Youth Olympic Festival, or EEEEEYYYYOOOOFFFFF, which rolls right off the tongue, got underway today with a bit of an upset in the team competition. An under-strength Russian team managed to defend its title over the favored Italians because the Italians went all “you get a 12, and YOU get a 12, EVERYBODY GETS A 12” on beam and floor. Vanessa Ferrari’s like, “Welp, looks like another quad for me…” Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 26, 2017

Things Are Happening – July 14, 2017

A. The Cimpian affair

Romania, I can’t even begin. At least you’re spicing up the slow-news season. That’s something.

Because of internet and Nicolae Forminte being on Faceplace, we’ve recently learned that Romania’s Olivia Cimpian—of “she’s one of their gymnasts now” fame—has left Deva for Hungary with the intention of competing for Hungary in the future. I’m sure that will go fine and there won’t be any drama. Everyone just wants what’s best for the gymnasts, he said choking.

For now, Cimpian is in limbo, not competing for Romania but not yet eligible to represent Hungary.

In terms of future team prospects, Cimpian was not necessarily lined up to be the big, big star for Romania this quad, but she does have a useful DTY and her departure is another blow to Romania’s already extra-limited depth. Theoretically, if Romania has Ponor, Iordache, Jurca, Crisan, Golgota, and…uh….Ocolisan? Angela Lansbury? going this quad, they can put together a reasonable team on three events, but not having Cimpian puts them one step closer to a 2015-2016 situation where everyone has to be healthy at the right moment otherwise the tower tumbles. And quickly.

If Cimpian’s nationality change actually works out at some point, she’d certainly be in line to make teams for a Hungary squad that has Kovacs, Devai on vault, and Makra (we hope) but gets into the lower 12s pretty quickly on most events. Cimpian would provide a more competitive core of routines. In fact, if you go into the national team rankings and take Cimpian away from Romania and give her to Hungary, Hungary would be less than a point behind Romania.

B. MAG national qualifier

The US men are gathering at the training center tomorrow to compete in a national qualifier (much like the US women did last weekend), the last chance to qualify to nationals for those who did not make the national team after Winter Cup or qualify to nationals based on NCAA finishes. So, people like Whittenburg, Penev, and (of note) Mikulak are competing but don’t actually need the results because they’re already qualified to nationals. It is a much more important competition for someone like Marvin Kimble, who didn’t so much with the good at Winter Cup, isn’t on the current national team, and might just be living in the woods now? Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 14, 2017

Things Are Happening – June 30, 2017

A. The week’s coaching news

We’ve now received confirmation that the Eastern Michigan head coaching position is just the Defense Against the Dark Arts job, with Josh Nilson setting a record by resigning 19 days after he was hired, citing family reasons. (Side note: it’s a shame asshole politicians have ruined “family reasons” for people who actually have family reasons.)

Just as a reminder, 13 months ago, Jay Santos was still the head coach at Eastern Michigan. So that will be Jay Santos, Sarah Brown, Josh Nilson, and New Coach all in a little over a year.

This week, Michigan State also happened to remember that gymnastics is about more than just ignoring sexual assault complaints. It’s also a sport, and Michigan State’s is a program that kind of needs to try to move on from the “make a card for Larry Nassar” era. So, last year’s interim head coach Mike Rowe has officially been named the permanent head coach, resolving one of still-open positions.

Team Outgoing coach Reason Incoming coach
Penn State Jeff Thompson Everything Sarah Brown
Michigan State Kathie Klages Larry Nassar Mike Rowe
NC State Mark Stevenson Retired Kim Landrus
Georgia Danna Durante Fired Courtney Kupets
EMU Sarah Brown To Penn State Josh Nilson
Illinois Kim Landrus To NC State Nadalie Walsh
Pittsburgh Debbie Yohman Retired Samantha Snider
Ohio State Carey Fagan Promoted Meredith Paulicivic
Alaska Paul Stoklos Retired
Utah State Nadalie Walsh To Illinois
EMU Josh Nilson Family reasons

B. NCAA postseason changes

A couple follow-up notes to yesterday’s committee announcement.

One of the complaints about the new and improved format is that it will lead to fewer opportunities (this is the same argument that formed the foundation of SEC resistance and stalled the move for years and years…and years and years). Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 30, 2017

Things Are Happening – June 23, 2017

A. All the NCAAness

So much. Suddenly, so much has happened.

First item: Samantha Durante confirmed that she’s off to LSU for the upcoming season, which is a sort of hilarious F-U to Georgia for firing her mom. “Oh really? Because I went and found a better team.”

I was wondering what LSU would do with that Kaitlin Szafranski scholarship after she left for Arizona State (though do we ever really know what the scholarship situation is at any school?)

The Freshman Playlist has been updated to reflect this and a couple other late developments for the upcoming season, including Gabriela Bouza-Lazo signing with Boise State.

We’ve also learned that Ashley Hiller, who just left Florida, is joining Oklahoma for next season. So, it wasn’t about finding a place where she could get a scholarship or compete more, then. But you know, maybe she’ll Nicole Turner.

In coaching news, a bunch of assistant coaching positions were filled this week, with Elise Ray initiating her quest to form a New Michigan Empire by selecting Ralph Rosso as her new assistant. His qualifications include seeming nice for the 11 seconds I talked to him at nationals (really all that matters).

Sarah Brown also announced her new assistants at Penn State as Dallas Becerra, who was her assistant at EMU, and Rob Drass, who was her coach at Missouri. With Sarah Brown and Kupets, that makes two coaches this year whose former head coaches now work for them. (Technically.) (Suzie work for none y’all.)

Utah State (head coach), along with Illinois, Denver, and Arkansas (assistant coach) have posted their openings with the NCAA. Still no word from Michigan State or Alaska.

B. Child labor

I typically don’t post about fetus verbals because it’s my super-effective form of silent protest (you don’t get your verbal acknowledged until you’re a senior gymnast), but we did have some higher-profile junior verbals this week, with Emma Malabuyo saying she’s going to UCLA and Maile O’Keefe saying she’s going to Utah.

They’re both on the Olympic track and years away from college, so whatever, but just…this is what’s happening for the moment.

UCLA might be passing Alabama as Texas Dreams’ new Florida. If that sentence makes any sense. Which it doesn’t.

C. Larisa the tease

We also have a new video of Larisa Iordache teasing everyone by training some massive upgrades, including a double double tucked bars dismount, a 3.5 on floor, and a Shaposh + Hindorff combo on bars. The majority of these upgrades actually look pretty realistic, but I’d also say, you know, hold your horses. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 23, 2017

The Missing Bars Skill

We have a transition problem.

At this point, the formula for an internationally competitive D-score on bars is abundantly clear. It took a while—a little too long—for everyone to figure it out, but we’re all finally on the same page. Bars is all about alternating E and D flight elements for as many 0.2 CV combinations as possible.

Since those who connect same-bar releases to each other are a rare breed, alternating E and D flight elements means a cloud of E+D+E and D+E+D transition-element sandwiches in order to get the most out of the code.

0.4 CV in the bag. Thank you and goodnight.

The options for creating these combinations, however, are quite limited. That’s a result of a very small number of transition elements overall (and an even smaller number of CV-useful transition elements) with minimal D-valued flight options originating on the low bar. You have Shaposh-style skills, and…that’s it.

That renders the Pak an insanely useful skill to create these 0.4 transition-element sandwiches (see the above combo), but once you’ve used up your Pak, you’ve also used up most of the possible opportunities to rack up those huge CV totals and will be stuck with (shudder) a bunch of pirouette combos for 0.1 in an attempt to drive up the D-score. Continue reading The Missing Bars Skill

Things Are Happening – June 16, 2017

A. NCAA coaches

Several more pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place in the past week, most significantly that Nadalie Walsh from Utah State has been chosen out of the claw machine to take the Illinois job.

Utah State made its biggest splash this past season, spending most of the year ranked in the rarefied and unexpected 22-25 range until a disappointing regionals dropped the team to 32nd. In Walsh’s four years, Utah State’s final placements were 32, 30, 30, and 36—compared to 54, 47, 47, 54 in the four years immediately before she arrived. It’s an accomplishment that clearly didn’t go unnoticed.

At Pittsburgh, the new head coach will be Samantha Snider. You’ll remember her as Samantha Cortez from some of those inaugural Arkansas teams, when they were like, “We’re good already suckassss” and knocked UCLA out at regionals in 2006—or more recently as the one who talks to them before beam and shows really nice Dana-Duckworth-beam-coaching-chin. [Yes, I did write Stephanie originally. No, I don’t know why.]

In a little Penn State/Eastern Michigan trade, Josh Nilson—who took over as Penn State’s interim co-head after Jeff Thompson was thrown out the moon door—will now be taking the role of Eastern Michigan head coach, after Sarah Shi…Brown (I’m getting better!) left Eastern Michigan to take the Penn State job. SWAPSIES!

And before Penn State, John Nilson was Nadalie Walsh’s assistant at Utah State. It’s just a mangled little web, isn’t it?

So by the transitive property of gymnastics coaching, that means that Utah State now has to hire…Rachelle Thompson? That can’t be right…

Team Outgoing coach Reason Incoming coach
Penn State Jeff Thompson Everything Sarah Brown
Michigan State Kathie Klages Larry Nassar
NC State Mark Stevenson Retired Kim Landrus
Georgia Danna Durante Fired Courtney Kupets
EMU Sarah Brown To Penn State Josh Nilson
Illinois Kim Landrus To NC State Nadalie Walsh
Pittsburgh Debbie Yohman Retired Stephanie Snider
Ohio State Carey Fagan Promoted Meredith Paulicivic
Alaska Paul Stoklos Retired
Utah State Nadalie Walsh To Illinois

We’re still waiting on Michigan State to notice that they have a head coach vacancy.


In the latest addenda to the Aliya-Baby timeline, we’ve learned that Aliya has named her baby Alisa.

And if you originally read that as “Aliya has named her baby Aliya,” you’re not alone. OH HOW I WISH. Aliya 2. We’ll always have that second I thought that was your name. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 16, 2017

Things Are Happening – June 9, 2017

A. Ladanyi and Landi

The simple joy I get from people with similar last names being in coaching news during the same week, I can barely describe.

Item 1, Utah announced that it has lured Robert Ladanyi away from Denver to fill the assistant coach role vacated by Meredith Paulicivic when she went to Ohio State. This will be Ladanyi’s third team in four years—we know him most of all from his time in Rhonda’s Romanian Retinue at Florida, though his departure did finally help us all learn which one was Robert and which one was Adrian (kind of). A public service.  Robert is one of the star assistant coaches in NCAA gym, so his going to Utah is kind of a big deal.

Item 2, social media also informed us this week that Cecile and Laurent Landi are leaving the protective nest of WOGA to strike out into the wild blue yonder and make it on their own. Aside from Irina Alexeeva, who still seems to be in citizenship limbo, WOGA doesn’t have a crop of top, top elites pushing for major assignments right this second, so there’s perhaps not an urgent rush to see which member of Valeri’s stable of approved coaches becomes the new Captain WOGA.

Plus, I imagine there will be a group eager to follow Laurent wherever he goes. I mean a group of gymnasts. Not just you. That was already implied.

B. German Nationals

Elisabeth Seitz was the big winner at German Nationals last weekend, taking the AA, bars, and (surprisingly) beam titles. Seitz had the smallest D of anyone in the beam final but was by far the most precise. Meanwhile, Pauline Schaefer took floor, and Pauline Tratz won vault. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 9, 2017

Things Are Happening – June 2, 2017

A. NCAA news

The head-coaching picture continues to fill itself in as Utah assistant Meredith Paulicivic has been named the new head at Ohio State, replacing Carey Fagan.

Team Outgoing coach Reason Incoming coach
Penn State Jeff Thompson Everything Sarah Brown
Michigan State Kathie Klages Larry Nassar
NC State Mark Stevenson Retired Kim Landrus
Georgia Danna Durante Fired Courtney Kupets
EMU Sarah Brown Fancier job
Illinois Kim Landrus …different job?
Pittsburgh Debbie Yohman Retired
Ohio State Carey Fagan Promoted Meredith Paulicivic
Alaska Paul Stoklos Retired

So it’s four down and five to go, with a significant assistant position now open at Utah as well. Tick-tock, people. June’s transparent recruiting cattle calls (I mean “summer camps”…for the kids…and the community) aren’t going to snatch all the best children provide a fun, exciting, and educational summer environment all by themselves.

You guys. This year, Georgia literally changed the name of its camp from “Gymdog Camp” to “Courtney Kupets Camp.”

Milk. That. Name recognition.

It’s like Space Camp, but instead of learning about the planets, you look at Courtney Kupets. If those kids aren’t forced to make mini Courtney Kupetses out of popsicle sticks every day, refund please.

Speaking of Courtney Kupets Camp, when are we going? Also, in actual things, Courtney announced the completion of her royal court, adding assistant coaches Charlie Tamayo and Josh Overton to her staff to do, like, the gymnastics parts or whatever. You remember Charlie Tamayo from being super good and having the layout double Arabian named after him. More recently, he was an assistant coach at Navy for the men’s team. Josh Overton has been at Chow’s and was brought on because of…Chow’s is good at bars and winning?

Oh, also this is already happening.

I’ll get the teapot.

B. National team camp

This weekend is quite a bit sparser than the last few have been in terms of actual competitions, but there’s still a bit going on.

The US women are heading back to the ranch for…national team Pride weekend? I think that’s what it is. There’s still one more pre-comp national team pool party after this one (the big July camp that also has the American Classic and the final elite qualifier), so no one’s really expected to be that good yet. Martha would want them to be at exactly 63% at this camp. And then Aly would be at 66%, and it’s like, “UGH OFF THE TEAM.”

You know it’s still not a super important camp because McCusker, Hurd, and Paulson are not in attendance.

Though we are informed that “2016 Olympic team replacement athletes Ragan Smith and Ashton Locklear are participating in the camp [so calm down you stupid goblins and don’t lose your shit on twitter, you’re fine].”

Without those words, but basically with those words.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 2, 2017