It’s time for the 75th 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 (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.
Why do you think USA Gymnastics doesn’t invite gymnasts at a higher level to the American Cup? Everyone says this competition is “prestigious” but how can it be when the field is not really the “best in the world”?
They invite exactly who they’re supposed to invite as part of the world cup circuit, which is the top eight team finishers at the previous world championships this year, so the United States, China, Great Britain, Russia, Japan, Canada, Italy, and the Netherlands all received invitations.
For the 2016 American Cup, among these, the United States (naturally), Great Britain, Japan, Canada, Italy, and the Netherlands accepted, meaning there were three spots left to fill. At this point, the teams ranked 9th to 12th in qualifications get invitations, which included Brazil (accepted), France (did not accept), Belgium (did not accept), and Germany (accepted). One wild card gymnast from the host country is also allowed to attend, which is why the U.S. had two spots.
If the host nation still doesn’t have eight gymnasts between the top 12 teams and the wild card, however, then they look at the all-around rankings, going to gymnasts in the all-around final that weren’t represented by a team in the team final rankings. This wasn’t necessary for the American Cup, but if they needed to go beyond the team and wild card rules, Larisa Iordache of Romania would’ve been the first eligible gymnast from the all-around rankings.
So to answer your question, the U.S. follows the rules exactly when it comes to world cup invitations. It’s not that they’re inviting lower-ranked athletes, but that the invitations have to be somewhat evenly distributed and the top-ranked programs aren’t responding for whatever reason – injury, prior engagements, not wanting to travel halfway around the world at an awkward point in the season, etc.
As a side note, this year, there was also the issue of the Glasgow World Cup and the Stuttgart World Cup happening in the weeks directly following the American Cup. Since all three of these meets follow the same invite rules, that’s why you see most federations sending a different gymnast to each, so several gymnasts can get international experience opportunities leading up to the Olympic Games.
When was the last perfect 10 awarded at the Olympic Games?
The last perfect 10 went to Lavinia Milosovici of Romania at the 1992 Olympic Games. Milosovici earned a 10 for her performance on floor in event finals.
Now, it wasn’t literally perfect, and probably wouldn’t have even earned a perfect 10 in NCAA today, but it was still pretty stellar and is one of our favorites to go back and watch! 🙂 I love “Boogy Woogy Bugle Boy” so much.
I love your book Finding Our Balance so much, words can’t describe. I don’t typically read a lot but something about your book was so special I couldn’t put it down. As you must know by now, you are a very gifted author. When does the next book in your series come out?
Thank you so much! The next book comes out in April 2016.
If gymnasts do leaps and punch fronts/layouts/pikes, why don’t they do them out of vaults?
I think because one of the main scoring aspects of vault is the landing, since there’s not much else to it…just pre-flight, flight, and landing. Because punch-out skills and dance elements are often used to cover up bad landings on floor in addition to adding bonus, it would make it too easy for gymnasts to have perfect landings on vault. It’s a lot easier to stick a simple punch front out of a pass than it is to stick the pass itself, because the initial pass comes from a ton of power and momentum and the landing can be difficult to control, whereas a skill coming out of the pass is rebounded and therefore has less power, so it’s easier to control.
Taking this over to vault, a powerful block and the flight itself mean the gymnast has to be really talented at stopping this momentum with a controlled landing, and most gymnasts don’t stick big vaults, which is why it’s so awesome when you can see things like stuck Amanars or Rudis or other huge stuck vaults. Throwing on a leap or a front tuck or layout at the end would mean gymnasts would be able to cheat awkward landings by punching out and sticking the subsequent skill, which kind of defeats the purpose of vault since the landing is one of the main points of the event, whereas on floor you have a bunch of other different things going on.
It would be cool to see skills out of vault, like…I’d kind of love to see a DTY to loso or something. But yeah, vault is a high-scoring event as it is because there’s so little to deduct from, and connections would really make it way too easy for gymnasts to boost their execution even more by creating more opportunities to stick landings.
I think the closest we’ll see to this is when gymnasts throw punch-out skills out of timers…like Alicia Sacramone used to always do front handsprings out of her handspring timers, which I loved. Here’s a video I took of her front handspring front pike timer in 2012…Alicia comes in at the 36 second mark.
You can see even in this that she has so much power coming in on the front pike, there’s no way in heck she would’ve stuck that even if she tried. But doing a front handspring out of it added the illusion of control, turning a big landing deduction into no big deal.
Why is there so much hate for Shayla Worley?
I think people just like drama and so they take some of her personality quirks and past behaviors and turn them into sagas. Like, usually people say they don’t like her because she crowd-funded her trip to the Beijing Olympics in 2008, or because she apparently ‘partied’ on the post-Olympic tour, or because she talked highly about herself calling herself the next Kupets as she moved on to Georgia but then didn’t walk the walk and consistently made mistakes in her NCAA career. I think it’s hard to judge her without actually knowing her, so who knows…a lot of things about her are definitely unconfirmed stories and not things she actually did to people who have corroborated them, but yeah, I think at this point, her original haters are barely around and most people hate her based on stories they’ve heard from earlier generations, haha. It’s like the hate gets passed on and will never die.
What’s the deal with U.S. gymnasts going to international competitions and not taking any days off for weeks and weeks? It seems like since they usually take a day off each week, it’s a bit nuts to have them go as many days in a row as they seem to (and the gymnasts/coaches don’t seem thrilled about it). Does Martha Karolyi stick with this because it’s working? Is there any reason to believe they’d be worse off with a day off here and there?
I think it’s a little more lenient now, but I believe Martha’s idea was that they’re not in the gym as much when they’re at the ranch or away competing, so they go in every day instead of going in eight hours a day six days a week. I think Nastia Liukin once said that when you’re with Martha, you train nowhere near as much as you train when you’re home, but you train harder…but because the hours are so few, you’re expected to go in every day. And when you’re traveling with the team, I think the purpose is just staying in the zone for competition by getting into the training hall at least once a day. You’re also not bogged down by school or anything else but focusing on gym. I think the structure isn’t hurting anyone, so why change it? If anything it’s how hard they go in training, not how many times they’re there. Of course, a day off is refreshing and I think Martha does occasionally concede to this, but the U.S. women are consistent world champions so clearly her model is working.
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Article by Lauren Hopkins