You Asked, The Gymternet Answered


It’s time for the 51st edition of You Asked, The Gymternet Answered! This one is a special Secret U.S. Classic edition, so get excited! We apologize if we haven’t gotten to your question yet, but we try to answer in the order in which they were received (unless they are super relevant and need to be answered in a timely manner). Something you want to know? Ask us anonymously by going through the contact form at the bottom of the page.

At this exact moment, after Classics, who would your 2015 World Championships team be?

Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Maggie Nichols, Bailie Key, and then whoever proves herself the most at nationals. I’ll make an early call on Kyla Ross because Classics is never her best meet and she always manages to pull through for nationals, but let’s be honest – those top five could go up all doing the AA in qualifications and you wouldn’t really need a sixth person.

Remember 2011? Anna Li was there just in case after Alicia Sacramone’s injury but she wasn’t needed, and at this point, I don’t think a sixth person would be needed. Plus, a team of five would be great prep for the Olympics next year. I’d still want to have a 6th person – again, going with Kyla based on her potential in the AA in that she can go up on any event and be just fine in case of emergency and also based on her history of putting up excellent performances at major international meets – but I think I’d be happy using just five.

What are Gabby Douglas, Bailie Key, and Maggie Nichols’ upgrades for nationals?

I believe Gabby is focusing on bars and beam for nationals, adding a little bit here and there though I’m not sure about specifics. Bailie told me the goal is to do her Amanar at nationals…she said it’s had its good and bad days in the gym but is getting closer to being competition-ready and she hopes to be able to debut it there. I believe she also said she’s working on getting her arabian back on beam. Maggie still wants to add her full-in dismount off beam and also wants to upgrade her bars dismount…my guess would be adding the full twist to her double layout. Otherwise, they’re pretty much all focused on cleaning up and doing repetitions before nationals.

Is Aly Raisman still training a second vault?

Definitely not this season…and she didn’t mention it as a potential upgrade for next season (though she actually said all of her upgrades are in Mihai Brestyan’s and Martha Karolyi’s hands and she just does what they tell her to do so maybe it’s in their plans and she doesn’t know!). Last I heard she was just training front handsprings but nothing fancy coming off the table, so I don’t know if she ever got past those initial stages.

Based on Classics, do you think that with upgrades and an Amanar Gabby Douglas could be less than a point behind Simone Biles in the all-around? Or will Simone Biles’ expected upgrades be too big to catch her?

I do think Gabby could get herself somewhat near Simone’s level though don’t think we’ll see it this year. With an Amanar, she’d be up around 61 AA so if Simone fell, it could put Gabby on top, but I still think Simone’s difficulty – and ability to perform it – is still just SO high, no one can really catch her this year. Again, we’ll see what happens as people upgrade for Rio, but just remember that while everyone is upgrading, Simone is too!

Can you explain the difference between a barani and a Grigoras?

A barani is a front flip with a half twist. It doesn’t matter where the twist comes in…it’s just a front half! A Grigoras is a barani, but here, where the twist comes in matters. A Grigoras is more like a front tuck half-out, with the half twist coming after the salto. What Simone was likely credited for this weekend was basically a free aerial with take-off from two feet. Also a barani, but an E as opposed to the Grigoras with the half twist after the salto, which is an F.

Why is the D score of some of the FTYs performed by juniors at the Secret Classic a 4.9 while others have the 5.0? Why are only some being downgraded?

That may have just been a glitch for live scoring…a few also came up with 5.0 d-scores in the arena so it’s possible  If you look at the official results, all of the FTYs are credited with a 4.9 start value s

Do you think Bailie Key is performing full difficulty now? Does she have any room to upgrade to threaten Simone Biles? Does Kim Zmeskal know what she’s doing with her?

Bailie told me she is going to try to bring her Amanar in at nationals and also wants to bring her arabian back on beam. I think she also has more room for upgrades on bars and floor, though not by nationals. Now it’s mostly about cleaning up. For next year, she could make some big changes, however…I’m not sure if she’ll be able to threaten Simone but she should definitely still be in the mix to challenge for Rio. I don’t know if anyone will threaten Simone, honestly! And that wouldn’t be a ‘failure’ of Kim Zmeskal if Bailie couldn’t threaten, because honestly Simone is just so far ahead of everyone else in her natural ability to compete super difficult skills whereas everyone else isn’t as balanced in their difficulty vs execution (Bailie right now is more focused on trying to bring in higher execution with the current skills/routines she has than blowing everyone away with insane skills).

Who knows, maybe she’ll get there eventually, but I’d be very shocked if anyone can threaten Simone. I do think Kim knows what she’s doing with Bailie and I think pushing her out onto the floor with too much difficulty a year before the Olympics would not be the smartest idea…you don’t want to win titles in 2015, you want to win them in 2016. If Bailie hasn’t made progress by next summer, then she’s probably just at a physical peak, but I think Kim knows more about what she needs to do with Bailie than any random gym fan does!

Isn’t Jordan Chiles appearing to be a lot like Jordyn Wieber?

In what way? I think their stories are a little different so far…Jordyn Wieber at about age 12 basically competed like she was already an Olympian whereas Jordan isn’t quite there yet. She has some big skills and is a very exciting young gymnast but is still working on the competition aspect. I don’t think there are many gymnasts like Jordyn because managing a 60+ in the all-around in a senior competition when you’re just 13 is like basically prodigy-level stuff, though I do think Jordan Chiles is mind-blowingly talented and considering she’s not part of the Rio-eligible crew, she’s right up there with the 2000 babies and can easily get on the all-around podium if she hits! Then in the coming years she will continue to improve on her already excellent foundation.

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


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