You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

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It’s time for the 117th 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.

I’ve heard rumors that Hannah Whelan of Great Britain has retired? Is there any confirmation of this?

Yes, Hannah retired in February 2015, noting that she was happy to help her team get gold at Commonwealth Games the summer before but after a subpar worlds performance and the incredible depth coming up for the British team, she just felt like it was the right time to go out. She was also 22 and had been through two Olympic quads already, so it’s likely her body wasn’t really in the mood for a third even if her heart was!

On bars, what is the difference between the Brunner dismount and the Moors?

The Moors is a toe-on front layout with a half twist whereas the Brunner is a clear pike circle front layout with a half twist! So basically, the only difference is the entry…with the Moors, the feet contact the bars on the toe-on before the dismount whereas with the Brunner, the feet do not contact the bars in the clear pike circle.

Is there any way to find out results from camp verification?

There are never any official results posted. The only way to find out results is if gymnasts or coaches post them on social media. Simone Biles would usually post results when people asked for them on her ask.fm account, and I know various coaches have posted their own athletes’ results on Facebook before (either on their personal pages or on their gym’s page). Usually people around the gymternet compile everything but this is about as good as it gets.

I noticed that the South Korean men’s team is strong but the women’s…isn’t. It made me realize that other countries put their money and attention toward either MAG or WAG, but often not both. Why do you think this is?

It’s usually just a matter of a thriving program getting more and more funding while the weaker program doesn’t get as much, so the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor, basically. Like, if you’re the president of South Korean Gymnastics and you have $1 million to direct as funding, would you divide it evenly between the men and women, or would you give more to the stronger team more likely to have more immediate success? The women will only get better with more funding and attention, but often programs look at the immediate future rather than at the long road ahead. The U.S. women’s program has a focus on right now, but they also have people thinking about and planning for four years down the line, which is the number one reason they’ve had continuous success over the past 15 or so years. Compare that to the Romanians, who put almost zero focus on junior development and instead end up scrambling to assemble teams for whatever big meet is coming up, which mostly worked for them over the past decade, but when everyone got injured last year, proved to be a really crappy system because they had zero depth. So I personally would take that $1 million and give half to the men to keep them thriving, and half to the women, who may not thrive for another ten years or so, but won’t get to that point without those resources, so if you never give them to them, nothing’s going to come out of it. I think too many programs are short-sighted like this, unfortunately.

Do you think the FIG will devalue wolf turns in the next quad?

The 2½ wolf turn is now a D, down from an E, so only the triple can get you the highest E wolf turn credit. There’s also a rule that limits turns in general…the maximum for turns in passé is now four rotations and for turns in other positions, it’s three. If you decide to go for a quad wolf turn, for example, you’d only get credit for the triple. This is kind of pointless, because turns are already capped, but I guess now if you go for a quad wolf turn or something, it just won’t be recognized as anything more than a triple, so you couldn’t get it named.

Watching Oklahoma’s AJ Jackson’s floor routine where she blows chalk at the beginning made me wonder if there’s any rule against colored chalk? It would be cool to see floor routines in the future filled in a colored haze!

There’s nothing in the code that forbids colored chalk, and gyms can buy colored chalk so I don’t see it being an issue…honestly, I don’t know why it’s not a trend. In NCAA especially gyms go all out with floors and mats matching their school colors, why not add colorful chalk?

Why do you think a federation would not send a gymnast if they only qualified through the universality or tripartite clauses? Are federations responsible for the cost of sending an athlete to the Games in those situations?

This really only applies to South Africa for gymnastics, and in their case, it’s their Olympic Committee against tripartite and universality spots, not the gym federation. It depends on the country…sometimes the NOC is responsible, other times the federation is responsible, and in some cases in really small and practically nonexistent programs, the gymnasts or the clubs pay their own way. I think most federations would be happy to get to the Olympics any way possible, whether it’s by qualifying directly or through some other kind of clause. But if the country’s NOC has the highest level of authority and decides not to fund those athletes, then that becomes a problem for the federation and gymnast. I’m pretty sure the South African gym federation would’ve loved to have Claudia Cummins competing in Rio, but what they wanted wasn’t what the SASCOC wanted.

Had McKayla Maroney been in top shape this year, could she have been in serious contention for a spot as a vault and floor specialist?

Maybe. It’s hard to say with hypotheticals because so much else would change which is why I don’t like hypotheticals, but if every single other thing was the same, I doubt she would’ve been in contention. She definitely wouldn’t have gone for a floor spot based on how she looked in earlier years, since pretty much everyone on this year’s team aside from Madison Kocian would’ve beaten her on that event and they wouldn’t have used her in the team final. On vault, with the team finishing almost ten points ahead of everyone else, it’s not like they would’ve needed her Amanar to add a few tenths more than someone’s DTY, and with Simone Biles locking down the vault gold pretty easily, it would mean the one reason they would bring McKayla Maroney would be for a vault silver and I just don’t see that happening at all, especially since Martha Karolyi’s obsession with having a good bars team and essentially taking two bars specialists means she would’ve valued Madison and Gabby Douglas’ bars scores over McKayla’s vault score.

Who is the Gomez turn named after?

It was named for Elena Gomez of Spain, who got it named for her at worlds in 2002. Elena was a huge talent for Spain, winning many medals in addition to performing this difficult skill. She was the first woman from Spain to win a world title when she won the gold medal on floor in 2002, and she won the world bronze medal on floor a year later before going on to make Spain’s Olympic team in 2004, where she finished eighth all-around.

What happened to Sabrina Vega after 2012? Was she hoping for an elite comeback?

She moved to GAGE shortly after Olympic Trials that year and began training elite again, but dealt with a lot of injuries and recoveries along the way. She finally came back to elite at the U.S. Classic in 2015, but only on two events. With a fall on beam and generally low difficulty, she didn’t have what she needed to qualify to nationals, and she retired from elite shortly after, committing to the University of Georgia. She is currently a freshman and will begin competing in January.

Why didn’t they have NCAA individual event finals on a separate day like past years?

They decided that event finals always felt kind of like an afterthought since the team event was the big deal with everyone on the team involved…everyone would go out Saturday night and celebrate after the Super Six, and then event finals would get kind of ‘meh’ in terms of crowd support and even some of the performances themselves. Sometimes you’d get cool skills in event finals, because without team scores on the line, athletes had more freedom to compete bigger skills and stuff…but since NCAA was never really about the individual, and more of a team experience, they decided it made more sense to have all individual event awards at nationals made part of the team qualifications just as the all-around was decided. I went to event finals the last time they held them, in 2015, and it was kind of a boring day compared to the night before, to be honest, though it was great seeing Sam Peszek nail her last beam routine ever. There are pros and cons to the decision to get rid of event finals, but honestly, I prefer the team focus and leaving all individual honors to the first day of competition.

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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