Things Are Happening – June 1, 2018

A. June 5th is the day

On June 5th at 3:00 ET, we will finally see Steve Penny, Lou Anna Simon, and Rhonda Faehn testify in front of the Senate, where…spoiler alert…they might even be forced to answer questions about their actions.

We have a few.

I’m particularly interested to see Bad Penny try to account for why he told everyone they had to shut up about the investigation—and whether he actually has any receipts to show that he was instructed by the FBI to keep everything secret, as USAG has always claimed.

Also please ask him whether there are any other secret NDAs that “don’t exist wink wink.” And a lot about Fran. And though it may not be the focus of the subcommittee, while you have him here, if you want to ask him about his involvement in the Olympic team selection in 2016, that would be cool too. Grill him like a porterhouse.

Sadly, this particular subcommittee is comprised of some of our nation’s more insufferable senators, who may or may not just be sentient melted thumbs in suits. So while we can dream that it will be less nauseating than the House hearing, don’t hold your breath. Still, since all three who are testifying are no longer in their positions, hopefully there will be less BSing about “moving forward we plan at some point to look into blah blah blah.”

Unfortunately, you’ll notice that Martha will not be testifying despite originally being on the list and refusing to appear, just like Steve Penny. While the Senate subpoenaed Penny and Lou Anna Simon to appear, it has agreed to accept written answers to questions from Martha, denying us the opportunity to see Martha try to Karolyi-Method the Senate. A real shame. We’ll need to get her under oath at some point, certainly. We have 40 years of questions built up. Let’s begin with Emilia Eberle…

I think the senators might be scared of Martha, and rightfully so. It would take Martha exactly one second to zero in on all that jealousy and resentment and pit them against each other through shame and eating disorders and inferiority complexes. By the end of the hearing, she would have organized a presidential selection camp for 2020 at the ranch and had them all fighting to be asked to attend.

So let’s make this a monthly thing. Next month can be Martha, Ron Galimore and Fran.

Now, Rhonda. Unlike Penny and Simon, Rhonda agreed to attend and did not have to be subpoenaed. Depending on how the hearing goes, Rhonda’s presence may be overshadowed by Penny and Simon, since they’re both so aggressively terrible that they each need several weeks of individual hearings to even begin scratching the surface, but I’m fascinated to hear Rhonda answer questions about her role in this, starting with “So…like…what are you all about?” What was the deal with you? Rhonda has a lot of timeline and responsibility questions to answer, and now that she’s out at USAG, we’ll see what she has to say. Sitting right next to Steve Penny.

B. Osijek and Koper

It’s that time of year again, when all the event specialists from mid-range countries gather in European cities you pretend you’ve heard of to compete in the World Challenge Cups (event-only world cups).

Osijek

Last weekend, we were re-introduced to the Diana Varinska Show. Varinska arrived in Osijek to perform in a way that was…not even a little Ukrainian at all. She won three gold medals, you guys! Bars was the most expected of Varinska’s three titles because she had a massive D advantage over the rest of the field, but staying solid enough on beam to win and showing a very respectable 5.4 D on floor were perhaps even more significant feats. Those wins show Varinska to be internationally competitive as an all-around gymnast in a way we haven’t seen from a Ukrainian in almost a decade. Continue reading Things Are Happening – June 1, 2018

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BBS Globetrotting: Australia, Canada, South America, and more

Amid all the congressional hearings and revelations that one of those radioactive waste barrels from the 90s was coaching bars at the ranch (probably?), it’s sometimes important to take a deep breath and remember that Australia exists.

Outside the US, spring is national/continental championship season, which provides a wonderful opportunity embark on a grand international tour of the results and the general state of affairs in some of our larger and lesser gymnastics powers that have hosted major competitions in the last week.


AUSTRALIA

A significant unforeseen development of 2018: the Georgia Godwin Fire Emoji Show. Godwin enjoyed a breakout performance at the Commonwealth Games this year and has now followed that up by romping through the Australian Championship with a combined 5.600 all-around advantage over two days of competition, recording 56.325 the first day and 55.900 the second day.

Warning: Australia had a mysterious internal D bonus in place because of how much that completely thrills me (for instance, DTYs were given 5.6 instead of 5.4), so don’t totally freak out or assume that Australia has fully transformed into Mihai-merica when you look at the D scores in the results. Some of that is a fantasy. It’s nonetheless a significant statement for Godwin who seems to be finally thriving this quad and has emerged as the undisputed leader of an Australian team that hasn’t had an AA star in too long.

The influence of Mihaimerica in this meet was felt right down to the competition format that suddenly got rid of the usual event finals to mimic the format of US nationals, with two days of all-around competition.

O Mihaimerica, Land of the Quadriceps, Home of the Vacuum.

Mihai has made no secret of his goal to turn the Australian system directly into the US system, and here and there this year we’re seeing tangible evidence of a national team that’s coming back to life following some lean years. But remember back when we were young and stupid and would have seen Australia adopting the trappings of the US system as a cause for a parade or something? Now it’s like “Errrr…but not the whole thing, right?” Good job Australians, now go take a day off, eat a piece of pizza, see a Star War, and say nice things about yourself in the mirror.

Beyond Godwin, the Australian team picture for 2018 remains a little fuzzy. Neither Georgia Rose Brown nor Alexandra Eade competed here, which did not help resolve anything, thank you very much. Brown remains among the top AAers in the country and can provide three usable events in a team scenario, including one of the strongest bars options. Australia still needs her at full strength to live its best life. Eade will be an interesting factor when it comes down to team selection this fall because she has a top-3 (occasionally top-1) floor routine for Australia but probably doesn’t have the other pieces, which can be difficult for 5-person team selection. Watch that dynamic as we go.  Continue reading BBS Globetrotting: Australia, Canada, South America, and more

Things Are Happening – May 24, 2018

A. KP Duty

Blehhhh. Where do I start? Kerry Perry and other associated NGB heads and USOC and SafeSport leaders went in front of the House E&C Committee this week to do……nothing? Basically?

If you hate yourself, you can watch the entirety of the hearing here.

KP’s performance (no Oscars here…) was particularly irritating in that her opening statement was largely cribbed from her previous apology video—you didn’t view this hearing as important enough to take the time to construct new sentences?—and in her cynical and disingenuous “INSERT EMPATHY HERE” moments intended to portray herself as an emotionally connected figure while distracting from the fact that she was providing no information and avoiding questions entirely.

It was all “I wake up every morning and am sickened…” No. Don’t care. Answer the question. Were you asked about your morning routine, or were you asked about something relevant? Oh, it was something relevant? Then talk about that.

“I think about this every day…” Oh, did you want a standing ovation? I think about this every day too. Doesn’t make me a qualified CEO. Do better.

Someone gave KP the terrible advice that it was most important for her to seem empathetic and bleehhhhhhh (while she has been criticized for not showing that she cares, caring is shown through specific personal actions, not disconnected, empty words in front of Congress). Hers was the wrong approach. To regain our trust that she might actually do something useful, KP needed to cut the figure of an angry, urgent, specific leader—not a mushy, desultory, paper-pushing apologist.

When it came to future actions or progress, all we heard were the most basic, glossed-over, shallow promises. Like this “Athlete Task Force.” What even is that? Who’s on it? How were these people chosen? What are they empowered (AHHHHHHHH) to do? Has it happened yet? When is it happening? You can’t just put words together and count them as accomplishments; you have to explain what they are. Also, that task force sounds like nothing. If that’s the kind of thing you’re hanging your hat on, I’m not optimistic.

KP was also quite ready to claim credit for proactively closing the ranch because she cares so much. Which took a tweet from Simone and public outcry to force her into doing. Continue reading Things Are Happening – May 24, 2018

2018-2019 NCAA Freshman Playlist

Because it’s never too early.

The freshman playlist for the 2018-2019 NCAA season has been added to the essential links section in the menu at the top. Or, you can just look at it here:

2018-2019 FRESHMAN PLAYLIST

It contains links to the latest routine videos that exist for next season’s incoming NCAA freshmen (at DI, full-scholarship schools) so that they’re all in one place for when you need to start preparing likely lineups and doing your freshman research. As you do.

Whenever possible, I try to use YouTube videos (as uploaded by USAG, R5 Insider, or the gymnasts/parents) so that everyone can watch, but when necessary, the links will lead to Flo Pro videos because that’s where the videos are.

As the summer progresses, I’ll continue adding (or subtracting as necessary) walk-ons as we begin to learn who is actually joining these teams beyond the scholarship signers.

For your lineup-panic reference, here are the final 2018 lineups for some key teams, noting which routines are coming back and which are not.

UCLA

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Dennis Dennis G Glenn Kocian
A Glenn Honest Kocian Kramer
Ross A Glenn Nguyen Ross
Tratz Kocian Ohashi Tratz
Hano Lee Ross Hano
Hall Ross Lee Ohashi

OKLAHOMA

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Lehrmann Webb Catour Showers
Showers Showers Showers Schoepfer
Dowell Catour Lehrmann Dowell
Jackson Dowell Brown Jackson
DeGouveia Lehrmann Webb Webb
Nichols Nichols Nichols Nichols

FLORIDA

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Hundley Boren Hundley Hundley
Skaggs Skaggs Skaggs Gowey
Foberg Hundley Boren McMurtry
Boren Gowey Gowey Slocum
Slocum Foberg Baumann Boren
McMurtry McMurtry McMurtry Baumann

LSU

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Finnegan Durante Macadaeg Kirby
Edwards Hambrick Hambrick Desiderio
Harrold Harrold Edney Priessman
Cannamela Edney Desiderio Edney
Hambrick Priessman Campbell Finnegan
Edney Finnegan Finnegan Hambrick

UTAH

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Reinstadtler Lewis Stover Lewis
Lee Merrell-Giles Merrell-Giles Lee
Lewis Reinstadtler Soloski Reinstadtler
Tessen Lee Lee Soloski
Merrell-Giles Tessen Reinstadtler Merrell-Giles
Skinner Skinner Skinner Skinner

NEBRASKA

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Williams Breen Roby Epperson
Roby Roby Crouse Roby
Epperson Schweihofer Schweihofer Orel
Schweihofer Epperson Houchin Williams
Crouse Houchin Breen Crouse
Houchin Crouse Williams Schweihofer

GEORGIA

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Oakley Pedersen Snead Arnold
Arnold Schild Dickson Pedersen
Vega Vaculik Schild Babalis
Dickson Snead Oakley Dickson
Snead Oakley Babalis Snead
Schild Dickson Vega Vega

ALABAMA

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Armbrecht Guerra Armbrecht Armbrecht
Mahoney Graber Childers Guerra
Guerra Dickson Ernst Desch
Graber Winston Graber Graber
Guerrero Childers Winston Winston
Desch Mahoney Guerrero Guerrero

CAL

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Keelen Sternberg Shu So Seilnacht
Gallarzo Williams George Robinson
Sy Seilnacht Watterson Keelen George
George Schank Gallarzo Sy Seilnacht
Robinson George Williams Gallarzo
Williams So Seilnacht So Seilnacht Williams

ARKANSAS

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Yamzon Yamzon Yamzon Bargiacchi
Garner Shaffer Garner Wellick
Wellick Laird Wellick Yamzon
Shaffer Wellick Carter Burton
Speed Speed Laird Schaffer
Burton Garner Burton Carter

WASHINGTON

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Riley Nelson Rose Nelson
Hoffa Goings Schaefer Roberson
Copiak Roberson Copiak Schaefer
Goings Burleson Goings Hoffa
Roberson Copiak Roberson Washington
Burleson Riley Burleson Burleson

KENTUCKY

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Dukes Carlisle Stuart Poland
Kwan Warren Rechenmacher Warren
Davis Stuart Poland Rechenmacher
Rosa Coca Korth Hyland
Hyland Hyland Dukes Dukes
Korth Korth Hyland Korth

MICHIGAN

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Shchennikova Townsend Funk Townsend
Funk Funk Zaziski Funk
Brown Farley Brown Marinez
Townsend Shchennikova Shchennikova Brown
Zaziski Zaziski Farley Zaziski
McLean Brown Marinez McLean

AUBURN

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Becker Moss Riddle Smith
Phillips Krippner Watson Cerio
Krippner Watson Sylvia Watson
Watson Day Slappey Slappey
Day Cerio Milliet Day
Glenn Milliet Krippner Milliet

DENVER

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Chesnok Kern Addison Sundstrom
Sundstrom Sundstrom Glynn Kern
Schou Chesnok Brown Schou
Addison Glynn Sundstrom Karr
Brown Brown Karr Addison
Karr Karr Schou Brown

BOISE STATE

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Collantes Collantes Collantes McGregor
Remme Muhlenhaupt McGregor Bir
McGregor Stockwell Esmerian Webb
Bir McGregor Means Stockwell
Stockwell Remme Remme Remme
Means Means Amado Collantes

MISSOURI

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Miller Tucker Bower Bower
Harris Kelly Allbritten Turner
Huber Allbritten Porter Porter
Tucker Miller Tucker Huber
Ward Porter Kelly Tucker
Porter Huber Ward Harris

MINNESOTA

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Montgomery Ung Montgomery Cutler
Quaglia Quaglia Lu Ung
Hitchcock Montgomery Korlin-Downs Hitchcock
DeMuse Hitchcock Gardner Garnder
Ramler Ramler Ung Ramler
Williams Lu Ramler Williams

OREGON STATE

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Singley Khamedoost Singley Jacobsen
Yanish ColussiPelaez Minyard Gill
Davis Singley Yanish Davis
Greene Jacobsen Lazaro Singley
Jacobsen Briscoe Gill Lowery
Gill Dessaints Davis Yanish

STANFORD

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Cole Lawson Cole Cole
Fitzgerald Navarro Flam Navarro
Navarro Flam Price Flam
Flam Bryant Navarro Lawson
Bryant Price Bryant Bryant
Price Rogers Fitzgerald Price

 

Things Are Happening – May 18, 2018

A. Rhonda

Root-dee-doo. Another ho-hum day in USAG land. Nothing to report here.

Or, except, no, it’s all on fire again. Last night, word came on Marz Frazier’s twitter (you know, where information comes from in an organization where everything’s going fine and the lines of communication are A-OK…) that Kerry Perry asked Rhonda Faehn to resign from her position as senior vice president. Today, Kerry Perry announced that Rhonda is out (not that Rhonda resigned as requested), while saying super transparent things like, “This is a personnel matter that we will not discuss in detail.”

And she only used empowered twice. Per sentence.

So a couple things with that. Maybe more than a couple.

1) Whether or not you agree with the public majority of current national team members who say they want Rhonda to stay (honestly both camps have valid arguments here), it’s seriously a problem when those inside the national team feel so ignored, misunderstood, and shut off from the seats of power that they have to turn to social media to get the organization’s attention. While it’s great if gymnasts actually feel they can express personal thoughts on social media and scream them from the rooftops nowadays, they shouldn’t have to.

It’s not a sign of good leadership. Decisions made, no matter how unpopular, need to be communicated, explained, and justified to those in the organization whom they affect the most. If people are running to social media in search of public justice, you aren’t doing your job and are responsible for any ensuing controversy. You made this happen.

And now we’ve learned this.

“WE WANT YOU TO HAVE A VOICE BUT YOUR VOICE IS WRONG GET RID OF IT.”

The good guys team doesn’t have to be a completely united front with one opinion. And conflicting goals (“I WANT TO COMPETE,” “I WANT JUSTICE”), even within the good guys team, are going to cause friction and upset and misplaced blame all around. That’s natural and, while certainly not ideal, fairly inevitable. It doesn’t mean thoughts need to be immediately removed if not part of “WHAT WE THINK.” Continue reading Things Are Happening – May 18, 2018

Gymnastics First Pitches — A GIFstory

We have one hallowed tradition in American gymnastics, valued above all others. It goes as so: When you achieve some degree of success, you are rewarded for this accomplishment by being carted off to a local baseball establishment so that you may embarrass yourself for all eternity by revealing to the world that your willowy gymnastics bird arms have never actually done a ball-throwings even once before.

It’s never remotely close, and we all enjoy the crap out of it. At which point, some four-year writes a video headline like “FLIPPING OUT: Gymnast does AMAZING cartwheel first pitch,” but it was actually an aerial walkover, and it was only OK, so we have no choice but to frame them for murder.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Anyway, the latest run of first pitches has come from our new national champion UCLA team, which went to Dodger Stadium and made the smart choice of deferring first-pitch duties to Fish Hano, who received this honor because of important qualities like having seen a baseball before.

Not bad. Good use of one-armed walkover. Ideally, we’re bringing that pitch down into the strike zone, but given the state of affairs historically, I’ll take it.

Now Katelyn, we need to talk…

Exactly sideways.

See me after class. Continue reading Gymnastics First Pitches — A GIFstory

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama