We’ve still over a month away from the start of the season, but like, SIGH. So, here’s what has been happening in training over the last couple days.
Oklahoma’s latest update reminds us that Jade Degouveia on bars is in the running to be Oklahoma’s “LOL I DO THIS EVENT NOW SUCKAAAAS” routine of the season.
We also see Allie Stern working her 1.5 on vault that didn’t make the final lineup last season but will be more important in 2020 without Dowell and Lehrmann. Also there’s someone else doing something interesting on vault, but the camera work is too…artistic?…for me to tell what it was. Blond one, Yurchenko tucked 1.5? Something?
Big news on the USAG-being-terrible front: a WSJ article from Louise Radnofsky specifically delves into how information about the investigation of That Guy was withheld from Simone—and how information that Simone was a likely victim was in turn withheld from the FBI.
At the heart of all of this is Steve Penny’s (and by extension USAG’s) obsession with stage managing and manipulating everything the athletes did, using them as pawns for the benefit of himself and USAG. We see it as a pattern of behavior permeating everything, from Penny’s using Simone for his own gain by bringing her to that daughter’s party, to the truly horrendous idea that he would act as Simone’s agent to ensure he could exploit her to make as much money as possible off of her success.
So then of course he would stage manage the investigation of That Guy in exactly the same way. Because if you view athletes as tangible assets rather than autonomous human beings, you’re not going to see the problem in withholding information about an investigation that directly affects them, or not reporting their abuse to authorities. You sell off that asset, you protect this asset, you hide this asset in a secret account. Whatever suits your aims. They’re just objects, after all.
It’s truly depressing how beholden the athletes were made to feel to Penny, part of a wider infection of “you would be nothing without me” manipulation that is so rife in gymnastics, from the micro level—coach-to-athlete in gyms—to the macro level with Steve Penny.
Qualification is now complete at Cottbus, and finals will begin tomorrow. (8am ET/5am PT.) Here’s what went down on day 2 of the Olympic qualifier.
I’d classify men’s vault as the most wide-open of all 10 events in the race for the Olympic spot, and with every single one of the likely qualification suspects in the Cottbus field advancing to the final, we…still don’t know a ton.
The top qualifier and favorite for the title, Igor Radivilov, is ineligible for the Olympic spot by virtue of qualifying with a team at worlds, so his points should be redistributed to the rest of the group regardless of how he does. Tying for second with an average of 14.549 were Yahor Sharamkou and Colin Van Wicklen. Heading into this competition, both athletes were sort of pecking around the outside of the group of likely Olympic contenders but could bring themselves into the top tier with 30 points at this meet.