Freshman Preview: Michigan


Who Is She?

Michigan introduces another concentrated class of four JO athletes this year, led by one of the top L10 recruits in the country, Carly Bauman. Bauman was a Chow’s gymnast who has been blinking brightly on the radar for several years, ever since she won her junior division at JO Nationals in 2016 and followed that up with the junior title at the Nastia Cup in 2017. Bauman went on to win JO Nationals again in 2018 and placed 2nd on beam and 4th on bars in 2019.

In 2019, only a floor fall kept her from placing among the very top AAer in her age division, a group led by Kiya Johnson that also included Bauman’s new teammate Naomi Morrison, who took 5th overall. Morrison, originally an Oregon State verbal who switched to Michigan last year, posted her best-ever result at that 2019 competition, which featured top-8 showings on vault, bars, and floor.

Bauman and Morrison will be joined in Michigan’s class by Reyna Guggino, previously an Eastern Michigan verbal who switched to Michigan shortly before signing day last year. Guggino has shown competitive results on vault and floor at state competitions over the years, especially lately, but is among those athletes who were never able to qualify to nationals because qualification is based only on AA score.

Rounding out the class is Jenna Mulligan, whose career highlight was a remarkably strong performance at 2018 JO Nationals, her only time qualifying to that meet, where she finished 5th on floor and 8th on beam, and made you say, “Oh hey that…”

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Freshman Preview: Georgia

As previously established, the official platform of this website is to pretend this is a normal season and that everything is normal and LALALALALA can’t hear you. Which means, the normal thing to do about this time of year is freshman previews so that we can start making wild proclamations about who’s going to be better or worse this season. Up first, Georgia. Because I said so.


Who Is She?

Georgia has welcomed a trio of new gymnasts headlined by former junior elite obsession Victoria Nguyen. Nguyen burst onto the scene in 2014 as a Chow’s baby who scored a massive 15.200 on beam the second day of nationals, the highest beam score of the junior competition and third-highest of the entire meet—behind only Simone Biles and Kyla Ross.

The remainder of Nguyen’s elite career was marked by being injured every 30 seconds of her life, but she did return to elite as an Everest athlete in 2019, where the stupid elite qualifying rules meant she could compete only vault and bars at American Classic and we didn’t even get to see beam. But I’m totally over it.

Nguyen is joined in this class by Katie Finnegan (no relation), who arrives at Georgia a year early to save the day. Finnegan is among the group of new 2021 athletes in the odd position of having almost never competed as a senior. She was a junior in 2019, and then the everything happened, and now she’s coming to college a year early. That doesn’t mean anything about anything; it’s just unusual to have your senior division years get…skipped. In the junior F division at 2019 JO Nationals, Finnegan placed 6th all-around with a particularly significant (for Georgia purposes) 3rd place on bars.

Nhyla Bryant makes it three. Bryant qualified to L10 Nationals for the first time in 2019 after a very strong showing at regionals, going on to place 9th on floor in Senior C at nationals. Bryant has consistently scored quite high on both vault and floor throughout her L10 career.

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College Gym: Where Are We on This?

Is there a season? What’s happening? Who is she? Does she go here anymore?

As we stand right now, a majority of the top-conference teams have been able to return to campus and are preparing as if there is going to be a season, albeit potentially a modified one. Typically by this point, the teams would have released their season schedules, but very few have done so thus far because of, um, er, well…all the questions? Such as, is there a season? The deadline for schedule submission was extended to October 29 and likely beyond as everyone tries to figure out what they’re doing, when they can start, what schools can host meets and when, and…

Some of us (won’t say who) are hoping for an official announcement that the entire season will be held without fans because of the social experiment we would get into what happens to scoring when teams that usually have 10,000 people there suddenly don’t have 10,000 people there. Or, I mean, because of the safety. That.

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Things Are Happening – October 14, 2020

A. Friendship and solidarity

More details have emerged regarding the Japan/Russia/USA/China mixed meet in Tokyo on November 8th—first and foremost that it’s definitely actually happening.

It will be known as the Friendship and Solidarity Competition—but we have to watch anyway. Instead of competing for their countries, the athletes will be split up into two teams, Team Friendship and Team Solidarity, competing in a battle royale to find out once and for all which is better, friendship or solidarity. COME ON SOLIDARITY. CRUSH FRIENDSHIP IN ITS STUPID FACE. The routines will be scored in cupcakes, the vault will be a physical unicorn, and a shooting star will escort the athletes from one apparatus to the next.

The US confirmed its six-member team to the Olympic Channel as Yul Moldauer, Shane Wiskus, Paul Juda, Shilese Jones, Sophia Buter, and eMjae Frazier, with selection based on…who exists and wants to do this? I wouldn’t really read anything more into it than that. These are the national team members who are available and feel ready to do competition routines.

The US men’s group is more Olympic-y, and for them in particular, there’s the added bonus of being able to match up directly against the best in the world, as Uchimura, Nagornyy, Dalaloyan, and Kaya are all on the list to compete. So the meet may be stupid…but also really good?

Speaking of the world of meets, the Bundesliga is back and running, with Sarah Voss recording the highest AA score, Kim Bui winning bars, and Dorien Motten winning floor. Meanwhile, Tonya Paulsson won the Swedish Championship by a cool million points, with Jonna Adlerteg scoring highest on bars.

B. Jane Allen retires

British Gymnastics head Jane Allen, who in recent months has revealed herself to be a catastrophe, announced her very coincidental retirement from the position yesterday, one that was totally planned all along and had nothing to do with the Gymnast Alliance. None at all. It’s a coincidence you guys! Get her some retirement presents!!

Continue reading Things Are Happening – October 14, 2020

Things Are Happening – October 8, 2020

A. 2020 European Championships

…are still happening? OK?

On the heels of the actual sane announcement (!) that 2020 Euros would no longer serve as the Olympic qualifier for the European continental places—plus Great Britain’s announcement that it would not be attending and Azerbaijan’s withdrawal as replacement host following Paris’s withdrawal as original host—European Gymnastics decided that the only logical move was to…PUSH ON THROUGH.

One might have thought these would serve as accumulated indicators that the event isn’t logistically possible or necessary right now, but the UEG has instead decided to view them as simply sprinkles of flavoring atop the turd muffin of life.

So, Mersin in Turkey (a city we’ve heard of because of that challenge cup there) will step in to become the third host of this event. Third time’s a charm? No wait, there are no charms, all charms are dead. The dates remain the same as previously rescheduled, with the men’s event running from the 9th to 13th of December, and the women’s event from the 17th to the 20th of December.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – October 8, 2020

Szombathely Finals Live Blog

Yesterday’s technical problems with the Olympic Channel streaming solved, I am now ready to live blog.

The final day of Szombathely will start with the traditional amount of day 2 horror—men’s vault interspersed with beam. Pretend it’s going to be OK.

Watanabe is here modeling mask behavior. We’ll see if anyone pays attention today.

No wave to the crowd from Igor upon introduction. Too cool for it. And then Milad had to do the same because this is what the awesome rad guys do.

Touch warmup underway now. Women terrified on beam. Men practicing death wishes on vault.

Holasova – BB – check on layout stepout mount but holds it well – bhs loso loso, same, small check but fine – aerial with a lean – “kicking these evil spirits that keep haunting my head” low to beam choreo – switch to split to straddle, short of position but secure – Y spin with a bit of surfing – bhs bhs double pike with a step back. Good job. 12.100

Kalny – VT 1 – Kas 1.5 and well done, step sideward, not bad twisting form – nice

Kalny – VT 2 – DTY, easily completed, hop back, good pair of vaults. No attempting to die, very comfortable on both. controlled landings. 14.150

Zelcic – BB – switch to wolf, check, solid position on the switch – switch 1/2, pretty nice as far as switch 1/2s go – bhs loso, small adjustment – aerial, larger adjustment – full turn with a bend at the hips to keep it on the beam – straddle jump from side position – aerial – checks on most things but just the one big one on the full turn – front full, stuck landing. A lot to like there. 11.800

Gawronski – VT 1 – handspring double front, solid height, lands just a hair deep with a lunge back and out of the lines. Some feet and cowboy but nothing appalling.

Gawronski – VT 2 – Kas 1/1, no trouble. Hop sideward. Some feet but fine form overall. 14.025

Pihan-Kulesza – BB – chalk snaps – short aerial, has to pull it back – side somi is good – 1.5 turn, large break at hips – side aerial, another notable check – beautiful tour jete and a split leap full is hit – switch 1/2, huge break, saved it but she’s leaning and stepping all around to keep it on the beam – another large hip break on some 1996 compulsory beam-inspired choreography – hit gainer full. Well, she stayed on, but she had numerous large breaks. Not her strong one. 10.350. Very low D. Think she didn’t have an acro series there and broke a number of other connections.

Sasnal – VT 1 – struggles on his handspring double front, large cowboy, very deep, butt-scraper with a lunge back to avoid sitting it.

Sasnal – VT 2 – Just a Kas second vault – large lunge back –

Varinska – BB – bhs bhs layout, leg-up check, a bit whippy but OK – switch ring, well completed – switch to split, good extension – aerial to split ring combo hit – side somi, secure – split leap to side aerial, large break could not save this one and falls – 2/1 dismount, step back. 11.950. Almost in first place anyway.

Pessese – VT 1 – Kas 1.5 is quite solid – small hop forward – good height and direction –

Pessese – VT 2 – handspring double front directly connected to forward roll – overcooked it, first fall of the men’s vault final. Immediately cut to Watanade to be like, “well the sport is canceled” 13.725

Zwicker – BB – switch mount good, split to aerial, smoothly landed – switch to wolf, hit, secure so far, not the most extended – bhs bhs loso, saves the loso with a step forward and a pose – straddle jump from side – aerial, hit broken connection to back tuck though – bhs back full dismount, small hop. That was…very composed work. No major errors. 12.800 and first place!

Radivilov – VT 1 – piked Dragulescu, hits it – very deep landing with a lunge back but still alive – some form of course in the knees and feet, but you know.

Radivilov – VT 2 – Tsuk double pike right to his face again. Oh Igor. And into first place. LOLOLOLOL.

Vihrova – BB – front pike mount and hits it, medium check – front tuck, solid – bhs loso, also solid, no check there – switch with pause before switch 1/2, short but on the beam with a small check – aerial, pause before switch to split – she’s breaking intended connections here but avoiding major wobbles – side aerial, smooth – split 1/2 from side, check – hop back on dismount but a good one. Won’t get the D she wants but only medium checks. 12.250

Karimi – VT 1 – handpsring double front and sits it down and flops to the side like a beached dolphin. Oh Milad.

Karimi – VT 2 – Kas 1.5 is solid – hop back.

Makra – BB – switch to split leap to straddle, same back leg on those splits – round off layout 2 feet, holds it with a medium check – L turn, hit securely, a tad low – side aerial, attempts to connect it to a straight jump full, no connection and a check, full might have been under rotated, but something we don’t see a lot (maybe for a reason?) side somi, nicely done – split jump 1/2 from side, secure – 2/1, hop back. 11.900. Thought it was better than that.

Dragulescu – VT 1 – and vaults to his hands – round-off 1/2 on 2.5 – good lift but can’t get it all the way around – not a lot of pressure on those hands, but they did contact the mat on his low landing.

The men not remotely bothering with the vault numbers today. Everyone is doing Anastasia Motak’s second vault.

Dragulescu – VT 2 – just does pull around the Dragulescu, large lunge back and a second lunge, out of the area. 13.925

Bacskay – BB – leg-up check on her loso mount – bhs loso, step back – switch to wolf jump, a little slow – side somi, held it – split jump 1/2 from side, lean forward – side aerial – 2/1, a bit under with a hop. Stayed on as well. 12.000 and 4th place.

Pretty remarkable in terms of the dearth of falls in this beam final. Basically the people who were supposed to do well were the only ones to struggle, and the people who were obviously going to fall in this final did pretty well!

Dordevic – VT 1 – Kas 1.5 is a major struggle, lands short with a hand down, quite a bit of form there as well

Dordevic – VT 2 – handspring rudi, large lunges back and off the mat area

1. Christina Zwicker – 12.800
2. Elina Vihrova – 12.250
3. Aneta Holasova – 12.100

Very impressed by the composure of a number of the beam babies in this final.

Men’s Vault
1. Igor Radivilov – 14.150
2. Ondrej Kalny – 14.150
3. Sebastian Gawronski – 14.025

The most Igor possible thing is landing a Tsuk double pike to his face and still winning gold. It’s a faulty system when the tiebreak can go to the athlete who fell on one of his vaults.

Intros now for the PB and women’s FX finals. Most of our women’s finalists are repeats of the beam finalists, but we will see Zimmerman, Szekely, and Radivilova stepping in for this final instead of Bacskay, Zelcic, and Holasova.

Vihrova – FX – full in solidly controlled, step – front tuck through to double back, very short, avoids putting her hand down but a large lunge forward – double Y attempt, lean falls out of it – double pike, very secure landing – switch ring to split leap full – 2/1, step back. 11.550

Gawronski – PB – peach half goes a bit crazy in the legs, but he muscles through it – struggling to get up to handstand in places – tippelt hit – healy with a hesitation – double pike, large stumble-lunge back. 11.700

Makra – FX – triple turn, might have been attempting 4 but got 3 – 2.5 with a lunge forward OOB – popa was good – double pike, some steps back – good held leg double turn there, not as awkward as it looks on most people – front full, step. 12.200

Kardos – PB – peach, front toss, hit – tippelt is smoothly done – stutz just a bit short of handstand position – double fonrt, small hop back. Pretty clean routine. Good. 13.900. Very strong score.

Zwicker – FX – switch 1/2, nice – front tuck through to 2/1, large bounce back and OOB – single Y, won’t get double credit there – double pike, hands down – she’s like, “I already got my beam and I’m OUT” – nice quality of movement throughout though. 10.700

Karimi – PB – healy is nice – peach – front straddle quite strong – tippelt, smoothly up to handstand – diam and stutz, right on – double front 1/2 out, small step. There’s the one. Really strong routine. 14.300

Zimmerman – FX – 2.5 to front tuck, hop, good lift on 2.5 – probably just double turn credit on that triple attempt – double pike, slight stagger – 1.5 to front full, small hop in place – held leg double turn is around – 2/1, very secure. Good work. Comfortable landings on all. 12.800. Well now.

Yudenkov – PB – a bit loose in peach half but gets it – some loosey goosey back movements here – loses his leg form at another point – some walking on his hands – hop back on dismount. Has the D score though. 14.100.

Varinska – FX – 1.5 through to 2/1, a bit hoppy – double L turn, almost gets 2.5 around – 2.5 to front tuck, controls it, a bit low but fine – split leap full is pretty – switch ring to split ring, no trouble there – falls out of Memmel turn – double tuck, some cowboy, step back, just does keep it in bounds. 12.400

Sasnal – PB – routine is one second long – LOL love it – it was like giant, peach, handstand, annnnd ends with a double front with a lunge forward. Was waiting for him to start the real elements and then it was a dismount. 13.100. Big execution score – 8.900.

Szekely – FX – Y turn to full turn – double pike with a bounce back – double tuck, short with a hop but nice tuck position in the air – front full a bit low with some legs – got through it without incident, doesn’t have the content for a huge score. 11.500

Petrov – PB – really nice healy and diam early – he finishes with a double front, deep with a large lunge forward – similar to PH, he had some formies early on with his Makuts, but hit the thing. 13.600

Pihan-Kulesza – FX – did they get rid of the talking at the beginning? – 2.5 to front pike and hops OOB again just like in qualifications – split leap 1.5, around – double Arabian to stag, solidly done – quad turn to illusion, gets it around, good job – front 2/1, short with a shuffle back – some things on the tumbling but should get rewarded for her leaps and also her everything. 12.900 and we’re all thrilled. Even with her 0.3 ND.

Pakhniuk – PB – Makuts is well done – peach 1/2 just a bit short – front straddle to hands, very solid – healy, smooth – diam, some legs, finishes in vertical – small step on dismount and a scream – basically just flings himself off on that dismount and looks like he might explode, but lands it well. 14.950 and winning by a million.

Radivilova – FX – Memmel to illusion turn, got it – 1.5 through to 3/1, does pull it around, hoppy on landing as she came in a little under, possible OOB – double Arabian to stag, good – split jump full, nicely done – double pike, hop back – switch ring is pretty – split ring leap – that should be a medal. 13.200 and first place.

Rakovic – PB – front straddle, good – long pause before healy, some arch but well done – stutz is hit – straddle cut – long pauses before elements here – double tuck, step back. Fine work.

Women’s floor
1. Angelina Radivilova – 13.200
2. Marta Pihan-Kulesza – 12.900
3. Lisa Zimmerman – 12.800

Igor and Angelina win back-to-back events. I assume they’ll go eat some bolts and get some neck tattoos in celebration.

Parallel bars
1. Petro Pakhniuk – 14.950
2. Milad Karimi – 14.300
3. Yevgen Yudenkov – 14.100

Watanabe is handing out the medals and accidentally started to give Karimi the gold medal. I would be like, “yes, fine, that is my medal…”

One more final to go.

Benda – HB – Yam, has height, some piking – huge Kolman, thought he was going to missing it for a sec but no problem – Kovacs strong – layout tkatchev – regular tkatchev – DLO 1/1 is a problem, short landing with a mile-long bunny hop. 13.300

Vecsernyes – HB – raising the height for this giant in the sky (aka 6 feet tall) – Cassina is hit, small leg break – Kolman caught – tkatchev 1/2, some feet – stoop 1/2, pretty well vertical – tkatchev – stuck his dismount. Good job. 14.000. Big score.

Kardos – HB – tak full is crazy legs – tkatchev layout fine but falls on a straddle – finishes with a great stick on his DLO 1/1. 11.650.

Dejanovic – HB – Yam just a bit close but high – layout tkatchev – layout tkatchev 1/2, hit – straddle tkatchev 1/2 – attempts a Tak but couldn’t get up to handstand, lost his position entirely and has to hop off. He also sticks a solid DLO 1/1 following his fall. 11.700

Pakhniuk – HB – german giants, just a little hesitation coming out – straddle tkatchev – and with a 1/2 turn, strong – slightly crazy on tak full but not toooo short of vertical – DLO 1/1 is an issue – lands well short, large lunge forward, lots of piking in the air. 13.300 and goes ahead of Benda on the tiebreak, just like in qualification.

Hryko – HB – Yam, fairly low – very good layout tkatchev – also lovely with a 1/2 turn though does lose a little form swinging through – straddle tkatchev 1/2 – DLO 2/1, with a medium stagger back. Good. 13.450 and deservedly into 2nd.

Srbic – HB – Stalder Rybalko – straddle tkatchev to tkatchev hit – layout tkatchev to tkatchev 1/2 also hit – healy pretty close to vertical – DLO 1/1 was excellent, beautiful stuck landing. 14.650. First place easily.

Def thought that lady in red was Suzanne for a second.

Karimi – HB – good heught on Yamawaki – Cassina is strong – Kovacs also good directly into Kolman, slightly formy, just a little wonky swinging out of it but controlled well – DLO 2/1, step back. Well, he pulled it together on the last two events.

14.150 for Karimi puts him ahead of Vecsernyes. Interesting.

High Bar
1. Tin Srbic – 14.650
2. Milad Karimi – 14.150
3. David Vecsernyes – 14.000