National Championships Round-up – CAN, AUS, FRA, BEL

All the countries of the world (all of them) have suddenly decided to start national championshiping like it’s going out of style, so here’s a quick rundown of what happened this weekend, what we learned, and what this tells us about possible teams for world championships.

It may seem like worlds are still a long way off, but…well, yes, that’s kind of true. And yet, four months isn’t that long, and most countries won’t get the whole gang together again until then. This is already our last, best chance to prognosticate wildly, and if you think I’m not going to take that chance…

Lauren has compiled all the results for the meets I’m about to talk about so that no one else has to do it.

Canadian Championships

Unsurprisingly, the big winner at the Canadian champs was Ellie Black. She dominated the qualification day, placing first by multiple points, though things got much more real for her in the all-around final after a fall on bars nearly saw her drop behind Rose Woo. That would have been a serious upset. Black’s ultimate margin of victory was just three tenths, but with full difficulty and a hit meet, it would have been a lot, lot more.

Isabela Onyshko did not have an ideal championship, one that will probably be remembered for that E-score in the 2s on bars in qualification more than anything else (because if you think I’m going to stop talking about that…). Onyshko did “recover” on bars in the AA final for a one-fall 12.734, which was enough to get her a 4th-place finish, but she would have been expected to run second to Black here, all things being normal. Still, Onyshko did perform well enough on beam to take that title and hasn’t given away her status as Canada’s #2 senior AAer just because of this meet.

Shallon Olsen won the vault title because of course she did. She finished only 6th in the AA since…she’s an event specialist and isn’t here to make friends. And by make friends, I mean do bars or beam.

Olsen did not bring back the Amanar at this meet (going DTY along with the 1/2 on tucked 1.5), but if she does get the 2.5 back during the summer, she’ll be a favorite for worlds selection because, well, anyone with a vaulting program more difficult than DTY/Lopez will have at least a vague look at a medal this year. Even though her form can get funky, she’d be among Canada’s most likely finals contenders. Continue reading National Championships Round-up – CAN, AUS, FRA, BEL

Things Are Happening – May 26, 2017

A. NCAA moves and shakes
We’ve had a few roster developments in NCAA this week, beginning with the news that 2012 French Olympian Anne Kuhm is leaving elite and will be joining NCAA for this coming season. In the original interview, she did not state which team she’s joining (YOU IMPENETRABLE SPHINX), but it’s an open secret that it’s Arizona State. Which ASU confirmed today, also disclosing that she’ll have two years of eligibility upon transferring from her university in France.

It’s a big fat get for Arizona State. (And pretty unexpected. France-to-Arizona State, that well-worn track.) Here’s a routine refresher for Kuhm, her sets from the 2016 Test Event:


We’ll have to wait and see what her routines look like now, but you know, GET IN THE ALL-AROUND.

Arizona State also announced today that Kaitlyn Szafranski is coming to join her sister, transferring from LSU where she never competed. (How very Oregon State of you.) The third addition to next year’s team is Maya Williams, Toni-Ann’s sister. You might remember Maya from being on the 2015 Jamaican worlds team with Toni-Ann. Everything’s coming up ASU, it seems.

In other state-of-Arizona developments, Skyler Sheppard has been removed from U of Arizona’s roster for 2018. Sheppard was competing VT, BB, and FX pretty regularly before a vault injury mid-season.

In coaching news, Paul Stoklos is retiring after 33 seasons at Alaska. They say they’re going to search for a new head coach, so let’s hope. Alaska has recently cut sports like skiing and track, and gymnastics was among those on the chopping block. It has survived so far, but I worried that the retirement of the coach was a sign that the whole program was being shuttered.

The Kupets staff is also starting to take shape, with Charlie Tamayo joining as an assistant.

B. NCAA postseason

So, this is where we currently are with the proposed changes to the NCAA postseason. It’s pretty much what we knew before, but with the addition of the play-in round to retain 36 teams making the postseason. I knew the coaches weren’t going to stand for limiting it to 32. It’s still not my ideal system, but it’s so much better, and it makes sense. Continue reading Things Are Happening – May 26, 2017

Great Moments in Beam Falls

If there’s one thing we can say about the first half of 2017, it has really put the “HA” back in “harrowing disaster.”

And for that, we owe it a great deal. It has saved us, returning us to our roots and reminding us that to take the mundane and modern view of a beam fall simply as “a mistake” or “a deduction” or “a miserable storm of hate-diarrhea that has ruined everything” is to obscure the original purpose of falling on beam: comedy.

When Toulouse-Shelgunova called us to her side and said, “I’ll just pick up this flyer for free piano lessons and…NO IT’S A TRAP…”

When Flavia Magritte tried to teach Double Dutch to that clan of militant gibbons…

…they joined a pantheon as old as time itself. One that truly understands them.

Because sometimes, you just have to droop down and…succumb to the pox once and for all?

“Who wants to bring Nana a barf bag?”

And sometimes you would resume your routine after a fall, but the beam just doesn’t deserve it.

“You know what? No. Not for you today.”

Continue reading Great Moments in Beam Falls

2017-2018 NCAA Freshman Playlist

I’ve added a new feature to the site, a compilation of links to the latest routine videos of next year’s NCAA freshmen so that they’re all in one place for when you inevitably need to evaluate what next season’s classes will look like and how tragic they’re going to be. This way, you don’t have to go painstakingly scouring YouTube for them and end up running into this old problem.

No. I certainly did not.


These are the latest extant videos, so for some they’re from a couple of weeks ago, and for some they’re from 2014 because no one has seen you do a beam routine since then. Wherever possible, I tried to use YT videos from USAG, R5 Insider, or the gymnast’s parents so that everyone can watch, but when necessary I went to Flo Pro because…that’s where the videos are.

Once we get rosters for the 2018 season, we’ll know more about the other walk-ons to be added (i.e., who they are, if they actually showed up, and what their names happen to be).

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama