Dude Week 2018: US Men’s Nationals

In just over one week’s time, you might find yourself watching the men compete at US nationals, simultaneously developing the sudden need to have extreme, loud, and uncompromising opinions about who should go to worlds based on the exactly three routines you just watched.

It’s an important part of the gymnerd experience.

To supplement these extreme opinions, here’s a little refresher on the major players and what their whole deals are right now.

We’ll start with Sam Mikulak (you know him!), who will be returning to his traditional status as all-around favorite at nationals this year. Last year, Mikulak was attempting to come back from his Achilles tendon transforming into the tentacles of a sadistic octopus and therefore competed only two events at nationals, horse and high bar. He was nonetheless named to the worlds team to compete high bar, but not without a little Simone-Morgan about whether he had truly earned a spot on the team with his performances in the lead-up to worlds.

This year, there should be no such controversy. Mikulak is back to competing the all-around and reminding everyone that the reason he gets named to every team every year is that he’s better than the other choices, especially on key events to the US team.

There’s always the worry about inconsistency, because Sam will fall sometimes, but his all-around scoring potential and strengths are far too valuable to the US team to be compromised by falls here and there. Mikulak went 86 at both days of Winter Cup to win the competition in a breeze, and would have recorded another 86 at the national qualifier had he chosen to compete vault. An 86 is the score this quad (all necessary caveats about domestic scoring included).

Best placed to challenge Mikulak will be exemplar of all that is good and right in men’s gymnastics, Yul Moldauer. Moldauer put himself directly in the mix with his American Cup score of 85.964, and seeing him win his second straight national championship would not be a surprise at all. The playbook on Moldauer is the same as it has been. He doesn’t have the huge, event-final type D scores, but it doesn’t matter so much because of his execution. Continue reading Dude Week 2018: US Men’s Nationals


Dude Week 2018: Previewing European Championships

Prepare yourself—it’s dude week here on the BBS.

For the next…somewhere in the vicinity of seven days, it’s going to be all men’s gymnastics, all the time. Let me be your guide on this journey. I plan on getting you obsessed. And by obsessed, I mean drunk. On abs. Also liquor.

To begin, a preview of this weekend’s European Championships.

European Championships

Mimicking the outlook for the women’s competition, Russia will arrive as the favorite to win the team title, with the caveat of…how Russian are you going to be in the mind area? Can you keep it together? The Russian women exceeded expectations in that regard in their team final. Now, can the guys do the same?

The team of Belyavskiy, Nagornyy, Dalaloyan, Kuksenkov, and Lankin is well-balanced, as much as you can get on a five-person team that’s expected to deliver 18 international-class routines. Belyavskiy and Nagornyy can provide routines on any event they’re asked to do, Lankin and Dalaloyan will bring the GRRR POWER STUFF routines, and Kuksenkov will hopefully keep everything in order to support Belyavskiy on the potential stumbling blocks, pommel horse and high bar. The team members should each be able to play to their strengths, and this group shouldn’t have many weaknesses, except for that one…

High bar. We haven’t yet recovered from Belyavskiy’s and Nagornyy’s Pompeii recreations in the Montreal AA final, and at this meet, both will be expected to hit multiple HB routines for Russia, which will need to get through that event without a meltdown. If you sleep through the beginning of the men’s team final, I won’t blame you, but be sure to wake up at the end to watch Russia on high bar. And bring a couch to hide behind. Continue reading Dude Week 2018: Previewing European Championships

European Championships Team Final – Live Blog

Let’s go!

As discussed yesterday, Italy is in for Belgium in the team final.

Unfortunately, they’ve placed Italy into Belgium’s slot rather than reseeding, which means we still have major medal contenders in three rotation groups instead of two, which in turn means we’re going to miss more vital routines. It happened more than 24 hours before the final. There was time to reseed. Continue reading European Championships Team Final – Live Blog

Things Are Happening – August 3, 2018

A. European Championships – Belgium Drama

Following yesterday‘s intense (and apparently secret…) team qualification day, the big news has become Belgium.

Belgium performed splendidly on Thursday, securing qualification in third place ahead of Great Britain and the Netherlands (as well as the favored-but-suddenly-disastrous Germans in 10th). But today, Belgium announced that it is pulling out of the team final in order to focus on event finals and remaining healthy for worlds.

The wha…?

This turn of events is a useful reminder that Belgium is still a tiny gymnastics nation, one that has been punching above its level recently because of a small, extremely talented generation but is not as established as any of the other countries its competing against. Belgium is in Glasgow with only four gymnasts, not as some sort of cool political statement, but because there aren’t really any other available options.

On this team of four, Senna Deriks is currently not able to compete floor and Nina Derwael’s ankles are hurting, and…well…the ability to comfortably put up three athletes on each event in a team final dissipates pretty quickly. Belgium is clearly already worried about getting more injured and not having enough people to go to worlds in a few months.

The other factor here is less tangible. Because of not having a huge pool to choose from historically, Belgium hasn’t secured a ton of team accomplishments over the years and has therefore not developed that rabid THE TEAM IS ALL culture that’s so strong around gymnastics programs like the US. (For reference if you’re not an insane American: At the 2008 Olympics, US gymnasts won AA and BB gold, and those Olympics were viewed as “just OK” because of the team silver.) Continue reading Things Are Happening – August 3, 2018

European Championships Qualification – What You’re Missing


Group 2 CZECH

We’re sans broadcast thus far because the French LIED TO US and Flo LIED TO US. Anyway, here’s what has been happening…

The first subdivision started off slowly with none of the major teams yet competing, though it did nearly bring our first surprise of the competition. After three events, Slovenia was leading the favored Czech Republic by more than a point on the strength of the expected high vault scores and a surprisingly proficient bars rotation that successfully carried out a strategy of low difficulty but not-terrible execution. THE CONCEPT.

Things fell apart for Slovenia on beam, having to count an 8.900 from Hribar, which opened the door for the Czech Republic to pass with a hit floor, which it got, led by a 12.833 from Holasova. The Czech Republic had to count a 10 on both bars and beam and suddenly found itself without expected AAer Lucie Jirikova (who was able to compete only bars), but while it was far from an ideal performance or situation, the Czech Republic still did enough to take a temporary lead. Continue reading European Championships Qualification – What You’re Missing

National Team Rankings – August 2018

How It Works
Taking into account all scores recorded at competitions in the last six months, each nation is given a team total based on how its best-scoring group of five senior gymnasts would do in a hypothetical 3-up, 3-count team final.

Each individual’s best scores may come from any official competition (they need not all be from the same meet), and whichever group of five gymnasts would produce the highest score is the one selected.

Countries that have not shown enough senior routines in the last six months to fill a 3-up, 3-count team on each event are not included.

Rankings will be updated on the first of each month, and scores will expire after six months in order to provide the most up-to-date snapshot of where nations are at the current moment. The current rankings include only scores from February 2018–July 2018.

Rejoining the rankings this month were Ukraine, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Costa Rica, and Dominican Republic. No nations dropped off.

Last month’s ranking is in parentheses. Continue reading National Team Rankings – August 2018

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama