You Asked, The Gymternet Answered


It’s time for the 41st edition of You Asked, The Gymternet Answered! We apologize if we haven’t gotten to your question yet, but we try to answer in the order in which they were received. Something you want to know? Ask us anonymously by going through the contact form at the bottom of the page.

We all know there are many first year seniors to debut at the 2015 World Championships, eg. Laura Jurca, Andreea Iridon, Wang Yan, Maria Bondareva, Seda Tutkhalyan and many more from the USA. If you could choose the gymnasts for the big 4 to compete in 2015 WC team event, who is in and who is out (from 2014)? Lastly, why?

I don’t necessarily think all of these girls will make their World Championship teams (well, namely Bondareva, and possibly Tutkhalyan) and nor will probably a majority of the new U.S. seniors, Bailie Key aside at this point. I think Jurca and Iridon could easily replace several of Romania’s 2014 team members (like Tudorache, Stanila, or Ocolisan). For China, Wang Yan would probably replace Tan Jiaxin, and Bailie Key would replace Madison Kocian. Of course, this is assuming these gymnasts being replaced are still at last year’s ability level…we haven’t seen much from Tan or anything from Kocian…and things have been pretty quiet from the Romanians while Jurca has had some issues all season. It’s hard to just insert new seniors into last year’s team formats without taking the entire team picture into account, but I think these make some sort of sense.

Will we ever see Nica Hults in an international competition?  Status on Peyton Ernst?

It’s hard to say for either. Peyton did go back to camp in April I believe, but I just heard she is having too many injury issues (I forgot whether it was a shoulder or elbow…whatever kept her out last year when she had surgery!) and is just going to put elite to bed and prepare to leave for Florida. I know Nica Hults was also dealing with injuries and hasn’t attended any of the camps all year and isn’t going to Classics though it’s unclear whether she’ll be back next year or is also just going to focus on preparing for UCLA.

Is Nica Hults going to give elite another try? She showed so much promise as a junior but is not even on a national team. Same goes with Polina Shchennikova…any news on her?

Including this question because it’s related to the one above. It’s possible we’ll see Nica again, as I know she’s expressed her interest in continuing elite. She was actually on the national team as a junior in her final year, but then was injured last year and only competed two events at nationals so was not renamed to the team as a senior and didn’t attend any of the camps in the 2014-2015 season so she was unable to get a spot back the way Rachel Gowey and other injured gymnasts did. Polina returned to camp this year after being out with a back injury last year that kept her from doing even basic skills like kips. Because she was out for so long, it’s unclear how she’d look in competition at this point (and she wasn’t named to the Pan Ams training squad back in June despite reportedly hoping for a spot) so we’ll just have to wait and see how she does at Classics in two weeks!

Peyton Ernst already signed her letter of intent for Florida in 2014 – does this mean she’ll start at Florida in the fall of 2015 taking her out of the picture for Rio?

Right now based on what I’ve heard from someone close to the situation, she is definitely not going to defer her admission and will instead attend Florida beginning this fall for the 2015-2016 season, meaning she is finished with elite and therefore out of the picture for Rio unless she decides to pull a Brenna Dowell and train elite on the sly while at school and then come back next summer when she’s not as injured to give it one last shot.

Why did Simone leave Bannon’s? Did something happen, or did they just want to start their own gym? Did any other coaches than Aimee leave?

I don’t think anyone knows any public reasoning for this, though it doesn’t seem like it was a bad breakup (at least there was no backlash the way there was with Gabby Douglas leaving Excalibur). It’s possible that with Simone’s success in 2013 and the fact that they had the ability to do things their own way with their own gym, it just made sense for it to happen. Aimee was really the driving force behind Simone’s coaching, but wasn’t a Bannon’s owner or director, so that may have been an issue if others at the gym were trying to ‘get involved’ or something. Like, why mess with success? If that was the case, a move was likely for the best, so Aimee and Simone could continue what was clearly a strong partnership without anyone else ‘in charge’ trying to take the reins. That’s my guess if I had to speculate, but as far as I know it was an amicable split. I don’t think any other coaches left.

Will Kim or Chris travel with Kaylee Cole when she competes for Bolivia? Or will Bolivia’s national team coach travel with her?

So many Texas Dreams questions in this bunch! I believe another coach from Texas Dreams went with her though I’m not 100% sure. If anyone knows and wants to weigh in, let us know in the comments below!

I’ve always thought Nastia missed her Gienger on purpose at Olympic Trials so that she could rest and then actually get her dismount to her feet…because we never saw a full routine with a dismount that whole summer from her. What do you think?

I don’t think she missed it on purpose…if anything, to me it looked like she was aggressively trying to hit it and the rest of that whole routine. I do think not being able to compete a full routine was frustrating to her, but think it’s more likely that she would’ve just taken the Gienger or another skill or two out to make the routine shorter and easier rather than falling on purpose. I was also about 20 feet away when it happened and could pretty much feel her frustration in that moment. It definitely wasn’t planned, although you’re right in that it did allow her to rechalk and regroup before having to hit her dismount.

Who among American elite seniors has a second vault besides Simone and Mykayla? Do any of the Rio-eligible U.S. juniors have a second family vault, or were they all just getting vault rankings with a DTY and an FTY and will not be vaulters at the senior level?

All juniors who competed two vaults in Jesolo were competing same family vaults, though that’s not to say none of them are working on a second vault from a different family. I heard rumors that Aly was training a handspring vault at one point, though I’m not sure how legit this was, and as we all know, Simone and Mykayla are the only ones who have competed two vaults in the past year. It’s possible someone else is training a second, but I haven’t seen anything really that would indicate this is the case. I’d love to see Emily Schild bust out a second vault! She is quite good with her DTY and has a lot of power. She could definitely contend for a medal at Pan Ams if she has even a relatively ‘simple’ second vault.

Thanks a lot for this section and all the work you put into it! Do you happen to know when Ruby Harrold from GB starts at LSU? She visited the U.S. again at the start of this year. Will she continue her elite career?
As far as I know, Ruby was originally slated to begin at LSU in the 2014-2015 season but deferred to continue elite with the goal of the 2016 Olympic Games in mind. She is not on any committed lists for any classes on College Gym Fans, but this could be because she was unsure of her commitment class and just had a general verbal commitment with the university.

Have a question? Ask below! Remember that the form directly below this line is for questions; to comment, keep scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Article by Lauren Hopkins


5 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

  1. I think China will need Tan Jiaxin this year if she’s at a similar level to last year. Since Yao Jinnan is already out with injury, I see Wang Yan replacing her. Obviously not so much on UB, but as an AA athlete and taking Yao’s spots for vault and floor in TF.


  2. Thanks for the great article as always, Lauren.

    I’m a bit surprised that you think Wang Yan would replace Tan Jiaxin though. Jiaxin actually did very well at the Chinese nationals this year. She had a reliable DTY and she qualified second into the UB final. With Yao Jinnan out for her shoulder, China has an opening for all four events. If anyone, Bai Yawen might be the one getting replace, since China is strong on BB and she can’t contribute anywhere else.


  3. back when she was with chow, gabby said she would learn a second vault b/c it would make her more useful thus more competitive for Rio. Not sure if Buckeyes decided to scrap it or if building the AA is their goal this year then figuring out the individual ef potential for next year.


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