Category Archives: Stuff and Nonsense

Things Are Happening (Pre-Olympic Edition) — August 2, 2016

A. Qualification Schedules

Olympic qualification is sort of like the NCAA regionals of our time, so as I do annually for regionals, I have put together rotation-by-rotation schedules for the various subdivisions throughout the day. NBC will have apparatus-specific live streams, and we know the kind of trouble that can cause. We’ll need to be prepared with which feeds to focus on at which times. I’m worried for the non-NCAA fans. I fear they are wholly unprepared for handling the rigors of 6-screen gymnastics.



B. Hong Un TTY

At every international competition dating back to the 2008 Olympics, Hong has submitted the TTY for valuation to get everyone excited before proceeding not to compete it. She seems to be a step closer this time around, though, as we actually have video evidence of an attempt.

Well, we have video evidence of her executing a pairs figure skating throw masquerading as a TTY, at least. We’ll see how this translates when she doesn’t have a coach hurling her into the air. But still…

C. Russia, Keeping It Interesting

You might see “four days before the Olympics,” but Russia sees a “four days before the Olympics”-pportunity. Continue reading Things Are Happening (Pre-Olympic Edition) — August 2, 2016


Things Are Happening – July 22, 2016

A. Afan Farewell

In spite of Russia’s desperate attempts to make Afanasyeva happen, this week Ksenia announced, “I’m not going to happen.” She explained that her kidneys are falling off and that she’s dying in the hospital and has no way to make it to Rio, forcing Valentina to go, “SIGH, FINE” and settle on Tutkhalyan once and for all.

Simultaneously, a bunch of chatter went around (because of Valentina) that Afan had “retired,” though it remains to be seen what level of Russian retirement this is. We don’t know whether she’s at “actually retired,” “Komova retired” (injured), or “Nabieva retired” (categorically not retired). Obviously, we’re all hoping that she’s Nabieva retired. We need those two clanking around Russian Cup for decades to come.

If the Russian team is allowed to be a team, it is now officially Melnikova, Mustafina, Paseka, Spiridonova, and Tutkhalyan, which is still quite a medal-looking squad. Floor will probably be a nightmarish hellscape, but the rest of the events look relatively viable. The fourth beam and floor routines in qualification should be a unique adventure.

This also means that Valentina officially went 2-for-4 on her 2015 Olympic team announcement of Mustafina, Komova, Afanasyeva, and Paseka. Honestly, it’s better than I thought she would do.

Jekyll and Shelgunova will replace Afansyeva as the alternate, so that would either be fine or disastrous, depending on the day.

B. Peyton Ernst

Interestingly, Florida has released Peyton Ernst. HMMMMMMM.

Jenny Rowland gave Ernst the option of either staying at Florida and doing a medical retirement or taking her beam elsewhere. The fact that Ernst is talking to other schools tells me that she’s not completely broken into shards in spite of her million shoulder injuries and still has some gymnastics in her (perhaps some more hands-free beam routines or something?) but that Florida’s not willing to bet on her to recover enough to be a major or multi-event contributor in the future. Florida has enough elites pounding down the doors to get in there that keeping a broken, perpetually injured elite on scholarship would seem like a waste of one of the 12 spots. Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 22, 2016

(Terrible) Things Are Happening – July 15, 2016

A. John Orozco


John Orozco suffered his 118th ACL tear and is out of the Olympics, to be replaced by Danell Leyva. Orozco’s injury is a lesson that as long as you work hard and are kind and generous, shitty things will keep happening to you forever because life is garbage. Get ready for all the emotionally exploitative narrative fluff at the Olympics!

Leyva is the natural replacement for Orozco on PBars and HBar (as long as he has his high bar together………) though this does mean that Leyva will also have to go on pommel horse in the team final. Orozco’s scoring potential on horse is higher than Leyva’s, but it’s also horse and America, so scoring potential isn’t always that meaningful. Someone was going to get a 13 anyway. Might as well be Leyva. Leyva and Orozco are similar enough that this probably shouldn’t change expectations for what the US will accomplish in Rio all that dramatically.

Leyva finished very well in the all-around at trials and thought he should have been named to the team based on that, but he also handled it like an adult person and is now going back to the Olympics. Just throwing that out there.

B. Team GB Women

Great Britain announced its Olympic teams this week, with the relatively non-dramatic women’s team being Downie 1, Downie 2, Fragapane, Tinkler, and Harrold. This is the expected team,  a decision far less wrought than GB’s 2012 team selection. Jupp and Simm would have been right in the running, but they’re both very 6th-person-on-the-team and fall victim to the limited size of the Olympic squads. Also, #CatherineLyons2020

In fact, this is the exact team that performed in the 2015 team final (since Simm competed only in qualification). It’s a well-rounded group that brings critical DTYs and can realistically aim to finish second to the US on floor in the team final. Bars will feature the Downies and Harrold and can be brilliant or terrifying, or both at the same time. Beam is, of course, the scariest because of Great Britain. At their best the Downies and Fragapane can put up competitive scores, but everyone is a fall risk. I’m already nervous about it.

C. Team GB Men

The men’s selection was far more dramatic, as it seems to be for most countries these days, marked by the shocking exclusion of Dan Purvis in favor of Brinn Bevan, who is joined by Whitlock, Wilson, Thomas, and Smith. I didn’t even really consider that possibility (because when is Purvis not on the British team?), and I remain emotionally devastated at the idea that My Purvy will not be at the Olympics. I’m seriously considering photoshopping him into a photo of the team in place of Louis Smith. Too soon? Continue reading (Terrible) Things Are Happening – July 15, 2016

Things Are Happening – July 1, 2016

A. The Greatest Uneven Bars Routine You Will Ever See

Step aside, Nabz. There’s a new sheriff in town.

I love Russian Cup soooooooo much. It’s difficult to quantify the amount Mustafina is over this routine. I would say she’s having none of it, but she’s actually having negative numbers of it. She gets about halfway through and is like, “Mission complete! Bye bye now.”

This is a COMPETITION routine.

I would rather watch this than a gold medal routine any day. I basically haven’t stopped laughing. Praise be to Aliya.

B. Russian Cup

Did other routines happen? Because it doesn’t even matter at this point. I’m set.

Afanasyeva did not participate because of her case of chronic Russia, but she is theoretically still in the running for Rio. They’re pretty much just planning to cover her in healing spells and wheel her out on a gurney for qualification, hoping for the best. I figured it would be Mustafina who would have to be carried around the Rio competition floor by four strapping German nurses, but it looks like it will be Afan instead. #cantpredictgymnastics. Continue reading Things Are Happening – July 1, 2016

Things Are Happening – June 17, 2016

1. None for Komova

Gorgeous apocalypse Viktoria Komova heaved up the pile of cinders that used to be her skeleton this week to declare that her everything hurts and that she has been forced to stop training for Rio. Obviously. This is why we can’t have nice things.

It’s really good that Valentina named her to the Olympic team 88 months ago then. That was a productive exercise. Now, with Komova out and Afanasyeva being the usual amount of Germany, the Russian senior squad is basically Aliya Mustafina standing astride a tower of human bones. Or as she calls it, Thursday.

As for the Olympic team, this should get interesting now. Komova’s absence could increase Spiridonova’s chances, but without Komova, the most gaping chasm becomes a beam lineup that would feature Mustafina, Melnikova and literally no other person. Theoretically, Tutkhalyan would be the obvious replacement here, but I can’t imagine that her zero hit beam routines from Euros helped her case in any way. Is Kharenkova getting resurrected? Gutsu? Who’s doing floor again? Dear dear.

I suppose right now Russia is looking at relying on Mustafina and Melnikova to do as much heavy lifting as possible, including AA in the team final for either or both. Paseka would vault and be a usable third option on bars (Spiridonova would score higher and be an EF threat, but the remaining team spots may need to be used to plug holes on other events). If Afanasyeva can come back enough to give them a floor routine, that would be ideal, leaving Russia basically looking for a fifth member to deliver a relatively non-horrifying beam routine (AHAHAHAHA) rather than both beam and floor.

2. P&G Championships rosters Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 17, 2016

Things Are Happening – June 10, 2016

To be honest, not that many things are happening. Like maybe 3. Something about calm and storms. Thirteen days until men’s trials and women’s nationals. Twenty-eight days until women’s trials. Fifty-seven days until the Olympics. You can make it. I know it. Just keep swimming.

1. Samantha Partyka retires

Samantha Partyka announced this week that she’s retiring with a chronic case of Lifetime of Gymnastics. It’s a somewhat unexpected development because she seemed to have just recovered and was back on track in April doing the all-around.

For Utah, barely anything could have been worse. This increases the number of lost routines from last year’s postseason lineups to 13 out of 24. A.k.a., more than half. No fun.

The Utes will have Kari Lee returning from her Achilles trauma, ideally on four events, and will be adding Skinner, Reinstadtler, and Tessen, all of whom should be expected to make lineups on multiple events. Theoretically, 13 replacement routines is doable for this group, but each and every one of them will have to deliver as promised, along with increased contribution from sophomores like Schwab, Merrell, and the MIA Shannon McNatt. We’ll get into all this in detail during the preseason, but if you’re like me, you have Obsessive NCAA-Lineup-Creation Disorder and have already decided what Utah’s lineups should be next year. FACT AND DONE.

Utah also now has an unforeseen open scholarship spot, so…any Canadians/Australians/Brits out there eager for a last-minute change of plans? Anyone want to graduate high school early?

2. Florida lineups v. Alabama lineups

In other fascinating NCAA news, Emily Gaskins is switching from Florida to Alabama and had some telling comments about the move, particularly the implication that it’s very hard to make lineups at Florida (extremely true) but will be much easier at Alabama because she’ll be one of the top gymnasts (well…). It’s still Alabama. Making lineups at Alabama is no picnic. Just ask the 2016 freshman class. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 10, 2016

(A Few) Things Are Happening – June 1, 2016

1. Schedule, schedule. 

First things first. We have a beautifully bloated and gigantic weekend of gymnastics in front of us (weekends begin on Thursday, right?) so if you’re wondering what your life is, it’s this and nothing else.


4:00am ET/1:00am PT – European WAG Qualification Sub 1
6:10am ET/3:10am PT – European WAG Qualification Sub 2
9:20am ET/6:20am PT – European WAG Qualification Sub 3
11:30am ET/8:30am PT – European WAG Qualification Sub 4 (all the big teams except France)


1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – European Junior AA Final
2:30pm ET/11:30am PT – Secret Classic Hopes Championship
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – Men’s P&G Championship Day 1


11:00am ET/8:00am PT – European Senior Team Final
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Secret Classic Junior Session
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – Secret Classic Senior Session


5:00am ET/2:00am PT – European Senior Event Finals
8:30am ET/5:30am PT – European Junior Event Finals
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Men’s P&G Championship Day 2
9:30pm ET/6:30pm PT – Secret Classic Senior TV Broadcast (NBCSN)

Will I be live blogging Secret Classic on Saturday? Of course I will. I’m disappointed that you even had to ask.

2. European juniors Continue reading (A Few) Things Are Happening – June 1, 2016