Category Archives: Stuff and Nonsense

Things Are Happening – May 8, 2018

I’m back with a special Tuesday edition of TAH to catch up on all the action I’ve missed.

A. Alabama

Shortly following nationals this year, Alabama head coach Dana Duckworth fired assistant coach and pants enthusiast Bryan Raschilla. It was initially a fairly surprising development because they seemed to have a good thing going, but the results absolutely have not been there, culminating in missing Super Six this year for the first time since 2007.

In the gymnastics community, the reaction to Dana’s head coach tenure has been quite enthusiastic, but those who are not intimately connected with the sport don’t see the vital importance of Super Six capelets, coaching beam with the chin-elevation of a theatrical grand dame, and saying, “You are beautiful, you are lovely, go out there and enjoy this.”

I mean…

I rest my case.

Anyway, over the past few months, the Alabama pressure on Dana has been mounting for not being able to match the championship pedigree of the Sarah years thus far. Some of that is selective rose-colored memory—Alabama had occasional streaks of 6th-8th finishes under Sarah too, in a less deep national environment—but Sarah also had championships to lean back on, which Dana does not have. Alabama has fallen a step behind Florida and LSU, instead of being on par with them, and is now facing pressure from Georgia again if nationals was any indication. Continue reading Things Are Happening – May 8, 2018

Things Are Happening – April 27, 2018

A. Pac Rims

The Pacific Rim Championships—one of the most geographically tenuous excuses for a gymnastics competition—begin today with the men’s team/AA competition. This is followed by the women’s team/AA competition on Saturday and event finals for all on Sunday. Here’s the full schedule:

Friday, April 27
2:45pm CT – Men’s subdivision 1
6:00pm CT – Men’s subdivision 2 (including USA)

Saturday, April 28
2:30pm CT – Women’s subdivision 1
5:00pm CT – Women’s subdivision 2
7:30pm CT – Women’s subdivision 3 (including USA)

Sunday, April 29
3:30pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr FX & Jr PH; Women’s Sr VT & Jr UB
4:05pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr PH & Jr FX; Women’s Sr UB & Jr VT
5:10pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr SR & Jr VT; Women’s Sr BB & Jr FX
5:45pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr VT & Jr SR; Women’s Sr FX & Jr BB
6:50pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr PB & Junior HB
7:25pm CT – EF – Men’s Sr HB & Junior PB

Flo has the broadcast rights, so I’ll make sure to provide live blogs.

The US women’s team is Hurd, McCallum, Chiles, Lee, DiCello, Bowers. The US men’s team is Mikulak, Kimble, Modi, Chow, Hong, and Lazarus Barnhill (the real name of a non-1950s detective).

Reviewing the competition format: Each country may bring up to six competitors—maximum three seniors, minimum three juniors. The team format is 6-5-4, but the sixth team member may also compete on each event in order to get an AA score (or qualify to EF), even though the score cannot count for the team.

That last part is significant because there will be apparatuses where the US decides that, say, Sunisa Lee has the 6th-best routine on the team overall, but she would still be able to compete on those apparatuses and therefore retain her opportunity for a junior AA medal.

As is typical, the US will enter Pac Rims as the heavy favorite for team and AA medals on both the men’s and women’s side. That’s especially true this year since the likes of China and Japan have elected not to send teams. They never send full-strength teams to this competition, but as we know on the men’s side, a C team from Japan or China would still be pretty good. Continue reading Things Are Happening – April 27, 2018

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.

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

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