You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

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It’s time for the 113rd 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.

What do you think of Aly Raisman’s chance of returning? Do you think she will or was that just post-Rio excitement? Do you think she will train all-around or as a specialist? I hope she’ll train a second vault.

I think for most of them, it was the post-Rio excitement talking, but I basically have no doubt in my mind that Raisman will be back, probably at some point around early 2019. She had one of the most incredible comebacks in U.S. gymnastics history, if not the most, and with her level of dedication to her training, she could absolutely do it again. Once she sets her mind to a goal like that, there’s no stopping her. I’d love to see her return as a specialist, but I think Raisman is so much about the team, she’d definitely want to be part of that four-person group rather than one of the two going without the team. My gut tells me she’ll come back as an all-arounder and probably as one of the best in the country/world yet again.

What do you think the impact of Aliya Mustafina’s presence as a team leader had on the Russian team?

Immense. They aren’t a team without Mustafina, it’s that simple. That’s not necessarily a good thing…you don’t want the team to have to come down to one gymnast because then it hurts when she’s not around. Like, if team captain Aly Raisman got injured this summer and the U.S. had to compete without her, they still would’ve easily gotten gold because they wouldn’t have fallen apart without her guidance. Their score maybe would end up a little lower, sure, but their cohesion as a team doesn’t ride on one person. What Mustafina contributes as the mama bear to that team is just as important as her scores, and it’s no surprise that they fell apart in team finals in Glasgow. Even watching her in Rio, when her teammates were down and out — Angelina Melnikova after her bad day in qualifications and Seda Tutkhalyan after her bad day in the all-around — she is the first one there to comfort them and help them get over it. She’s such a strong, positive figure for the rest of the girls on the team, which is great for them, though I really hope they can figure out how to compete without someone like that guiding them, because she won’t always be there to do it.

Do you have a preference for LA or Paris 2024?

I’d love to see it back in Los Angeles, just because it’s been a long time since the Summer Olympics were in the U.S. (well, I guess 20 years, but it’ll be closer to 30 by the time 2024 comes around whereas Europe has hosted three Summer Games in the past 30 years, so really, it’s time). I wish a NEW U.S. city got to host rather than the same one twice but in general I think Los Angeles works really well for a Games of this size because with all of the colleges and universities in the area, they wouldn’t have to build basically ANYTHING. There are so many arenas and as a plus for LA, hopefully it would mean a better transportation system would head their way…their public transit is awful so this could be the incentive to push them into the 21st century in that respect. That said, I have nothing against Paris hosting.

Did Jade Barbosa recover from her injury? What about Catherine Lyons?

Yes, I think Barbosa’s injury from the Games ended up being nothing more than a sprained ankle, which was a bummer at that moment in time but thankfully won’t cause her much harm going forward. I’m not sure what’s going on with Lyons or if she’s still training at a level that will see her back in competition soon…she hasn’t competed in 18 months and I haven’t seen any photos or videos of her training recently so I’m not sure what’s going on, though I do know she had an MRI a couple of weeks ago.

Was Aly Raisman’s floor music in Rio the same as Angelina Melnikova’s? They seem similar but different.

Yup! Kind of. They both perform to Ivan Larionov’s “Kalinka,” with Melnikova doing more of a complete version while Raisman just uses a piece from this, with her music then shifting to a cut of the “Russian Sailor’s Dance” from the ballet The Red Poppy. I love both!

If Maggie Nichols had been back in her 2015 all-around shape, how would the 2016 team have changed? What if Simone Biles was injured and couldn’t compete?

Nichols would’ve been a stronger contender and probably would’ve been up against Gabby Douglas or Laurie Hernandez for a spot…leading up to nationals and trials I would’ve had her over Hernandez, but after seeing how Douglas looked at both meets, I think she would’ve made it over Douglas, and probably would’ve competed vault and floor over Hernandez in the team final.

If Simone Biles was injured and couldn’t compete this summer, I probably would’ve put MyKayla Skinner on the team for her vault and floor, and then would’ve used Douglas on beam and Hernandez on bars in the team final. Basically, no matter what happened, the U.S. team would’ve come out far ahead.

I’m confused about the number of times the same element can be performed and counted. Sloane Blakely does two connected back tucks…do they both count or does only one count and she still gets the CV? Another question about Sanne Wevers’ routine…does the fact that her first bhs full comes from a roundoff and is part of her mount mean she can do another one later?

I always forget the code rules but I’m pretty sure in a situation like this only one counts and she still gets the CV. The back handspring + layout stepout + layout stepout series is a common one on beam because it brings the series bonus along with it, but only one of those layout stepouts gets credited as a skill and the other is just there to get the bonus, so with Blakely, it’s similar, because she’s getting the 0.3 value for the back tuck, but then also an extra tenth for connecting two C acro skills. For Wevers, it’s a bit different. A bhs full as a mount is different from a bhs full as a skill on the beam, so even though it’s technically the same skill, in the code they’re in different categories so they’re not really the same skill, if that makes sense.

Where is Roxana Popa? I know she has been dealing with injuries but not seeing her compete in 2016 was disappointing. Any news?

Yes, actually! She just had an ACL reconstruction a few weeks ago after re-injuring her knee at an internal competition leading up to the Olympic Test Event earlier this year. She won’t be able to return to competition until next summer at the earliest, but the surgery seems to have gone well and hopefully she’ll be back and get to do even bigger things than she’s already made happen for Spain!

Do you think Aliya Mustafina’s injury caused her twisting form to deteriorate? Her form wasn’t perfect in 2010, but it was nowhere near as bad as it later was.

Maybe…indirectly, but it’s possible. I don’t think the injury itself caused her to have bad twisting form, but with so much else going on and no real strong twisting foundations to begin with, it could just be that her focus went elsewhere and she decided to phone in the twisting because she was more set on trying to land skills or whatever. Twisting took a backseat to everything else, you could say. Which makes sense…no one is perfect at every element of gymnastics, and so while some people go on and on about Mustafina’s twisting form or Aly Raisman’s feet on bars or MyKayla Skinner’s flexibility, they’re failing to see the bigger picture, which is that all three of these women and everyone else at that level are the best freaking gymnasts on the planet.

Why do the Chinese inbar Giengers look weirder than the Japanese?

Weirder? I’ve never noticed them looking weirder but generally if skills look different from country to country or even from gym to gym, it’s because of how they’re taught…every coach teaches skills differently and so that’s what it probably boils down to here.

Now that the D dismount requirement is a thing of the past, do you think that gymnasts will do easier beam and bars dismounts to go for the stick? Do you think it will get kind of boring, like for the beam mounts?

Gymnasts will still need to count the dismount as part of their routine elements, and so doing a lower-level dismount will hurt more than help. Some gymnasts will definitely stick with C dismounts, and others who were already doing C dismounts and not getting the full CR this quad may even move down to B dismounts. But gymnasts who have strong dismounts will absolutely stick to them. Like, someone like Aly Raisman could do a back tuck dismount off beam and wouldn’t get any sort of CR penalty for it, but that would mean having to count an A skill instead of counting her usual G, so even though she wouldn’t get those five tenths scrapped the way she would have this quad, she’d actually end up losing six tenths because she’d only be counting 0.1 instead of the 0.7 she gets for the Patterson. The few gymnasts already comfortably doing D+ dismounts will stick with them for the value alone. Those who struggle with dismounts of that magnitude will now get to drop to C dismounts and not have to worry about losing a chunk of their CR. It’s the best of both worlds.

How are the overall world cup winners calculated? Who won this year for the women?

Basically, it all comes down to repeat performances in event finals. Each of your rankings in event finals is assigned a certain number of points: first place is assigned 30 points, second gets 25, third gets 20, fourth gets 18, fifth gets 16, sixth gets 14, seventh gets 12, and eighth gets 10. The best of four scores gets you a point total, and whoever has the highest total at the end of the season is the overall winner. Basically, someone who places eighth at four world cups would outrank someone who wins one gold and never returns to another world cup all season.

This year for the challenge cup season, for example, Adela Sajn of Slovenia made four of the six beam finals she attempted, won silver in one (25 points), and placed fifth (16 points), eighth (10 points), and eighth (10 points) at the others, but with all of these combined, she had the best record of the season over someone like Flavia Saraiva of Brazil, who entered two challenge cups and won golds on beam at both. For her two golds each worth 30 points, Saraiva got a total of 60 points for just two appearances, but Sajn’s total for four appearances ended up being 61 points, so she just managed to edge out Saraiva.

In 2016, the world challenge cup overall winners were Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan and Tjasa Kysselef of Slovenia on vault with matching scores of 90 (Chusovitina had three golds while Kysselef counted two silvers and two bronzes), Xie Yufen of China on bars with a total of 55 for her gold in Szombathely and silver in Anadia, Sajn on beam, and Dorina Boczogo of Hungary on floor with 82 points for her one gold and one bronze in addition to fourth and sixth place finishes.

The all-around works the same way, except the points go to the country rather than to the gymnast, since so few countries send gymnasts to all three all-around world cups. For these competitions, it’s the best out of all three, with the gold medal worth 50 points, silver worth 45, bronze worth 40, fourth worth 35, fifth worth 30, sixth worth 25, seventh worth 20, and eighth worth 15. In 2016, the U.S. had two gold medalists in Gabby Douglas and MyKayla Skinner while Amelia Hundley won bronze, so they won the overall all-around title with 140 points, while Germany was second with 115 points for gold, silver, and seventh place, and Canada was third with 110 points for silver, bronze, and sixth place.

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. Keep in mind, we sometimes get about 50 questions a day and can only answer usually around 30 or so a week, so don’t be discouraged if we don’t get to you right away. We do not answer questions about team predictions nor questions that say “what do you think of [insert gymnast here].”

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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7 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

  1. Going to the Nichols question, is one of your reason why you’d have her on the team because of the Amanar, the skill that caused her the injury?

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    • Well, given that she was doing an Amanar last year at worlds and the question was about her abilities then on this year’s Olympic team, that plays into it because she adds a higher score there than Laurie would with her DTY…but my biggest reasoning for her would be her floor. HOWEVER, then you lose out on beam, which I didn’t really think too much about when answering the question, so it’s a toss-up. Do you want the higher scores on VT/FX, or a beam medal? It could’ve gone either way.

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  2. Regarding the “If Simone Biles was injured” question: You said you “would’ve used Douglas on beam and Hernandez on bars in the team final”. Isn’t that the other way round, like Douglas on bars and Hernandez on beam? (I thought that was what I learned from you this year: That beam was Hernandez’ ticket to Rio while her bars were nice but a bit unstable.) And Gabby was going for bars anyway, no?

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    • Simone did all-around during the team final, I believe Lauren is saying she would have had Laurie fill in for Simone on Bars, Gabby fill in for Simone on Beam, and Mykayla fill on FX/Vault – if Simone was hypothetically injured and unable to compete those events. Laurie and Gabby would still compete the other events they were taken to Rio for..

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      • Yup, exactly! Laurie was always gonna do beam and Gabby was always gonna do bars, but without Simone you can just throw Laurie on bars and Gabby on beam in TFs to replace her, but they’re still doing their other events.

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  3. Totally agreed about Raisman’s comeback. I could be wrong, but I think we’ll see over the next few years that that kind of comeback is not the new normal. She’s also just one of those gymnasts who has had an incredible ability for avoiding injuries while doing very difficult skills – even Alicia, with Mihai and his famous Brestyan legs, didn’t have that. If she wants to be on that 2020 team I think she’ll get herself there.

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