You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

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It’s time for the 163rd 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.

Say a gymnast submits a skill but instead performs a higher-rated skill. Does she get credited with the higher skill?

I’m assuming you mean for vault only because you don’t really ‘submit’ skills on other events. On vault, the gymnast has to flash an “intended” vault number, but if a gymnast enters the number for one vault but accidentally competes another, there’s no penalty whether she does a downgrade or an upgrade. I mean, obviously if she downgrades (pikes what is supposed to be a layout, for example) she loses the D, but there’s no actual penalty for not competing the intended vault so I don’t believe there’s a penalty if there’s an accidental upgrade (like an extra half twist from a DTY to an Amanar) either.

Did McKayla Maroney go pro?

Yes, she went pro after worlds in 2011.

Could you get around the NCAA rule that the leotard must touch the apparatus if you wore a unitard with feet?


Has anyone ever performed a piked double Arabian?

Yes, several gymnasts have, including Aly Raisman, Ellie Downie, Kennedy Baker, and Megan Roberts recently. The skill is called a Dos Santos, named for its originator, Daiane Dos Santos of Brazil.

What kind of acrobatics is the Moors element on floor?

It’s a tumbling skill, a double layout with two twists, rated an I element which is the highest element value on floor, worth 0.9 points.

If a gymnast connected something unexpected on beam and hadn’t previously submitted that connection, can she be credited for it?

Gymnasts don’t have to submit connections. It actually happens all the time, where gymnasts will miss connections — like the 180 degree leap connection requirement — and will make up for it with a backup connection later in the routine. If the missed connection is super noticeable — say the gymnast does a front aerial, then squats in position to prepare for a split jump and stays in that position for a couple of seconds before jumping — she won’t get credited for the connection and will probably lose execution tenths for lack of control or rhythm break or something. But if she’s supposed to do an aerial to split jump and then mid aerial, decides not to go for the jump because she feels off, she can just do the aerial, and then maybe later go for a side somi to straddle jump or something she may have trained as a back-up but wasn’t planning on competing until she made the mistake.

Let’s say someone did a double turn en dehors on beam/floor with her leg at 180. Would that be eligible to be a new named skill?

No. Skills would be the same whether en dehors or en dedans.

Has anyone ever done a front tuck full on beam? How much would it be worth?

No, I haven’t seen this ever. A back tuck is a C and a back full is an F, so since a front tuck is a D we can surmise that a front tuck full would be a G…though I could see it also going up to H.

How many points do you lose for falling in NCAA?

It’s half a point for a fall in NCAA, compared to a full point in elite.

Can you be deducted for a routine being too short even if it has all of the required elements?

You don’t get deducted, but you do get a penalty (in the ND column on a results sheet). A routine must have 7-8 skills to not get a penalty. Even if a gymnast gets all requirements met with fewer skills, without reaching at least 7 skills, she would be penalized. A gymnast who does 5-6 elements gets 4 points off in penalties, 3-4 elements gets 6 points off in penalties, and 1-2 elements gets 8 points off in penalties.

How did Catalina Ponor miss the front tumbling element at European Championships? Was it a mistake?

I saw her training a triple to punch front and a 2.5 to punch front. In the competition, she just did a 2.5 but it was a little rough and she didn’t land it super well so my guess is that she just missed the connection to the punch front and wasn’t able to improvise another place to throw it. So yes, it was a mistake…and she made a similar mistake at one of the world cups, and the judges also didn’t notice it there. She also said she was dealing with an ankle injury and decided beforehand not to compete it, but I’m surprised she wouldn’t have a backup pass ready knowing going in that she wasn’t going to be punching out of something. Had she downgraded her double pike to a front full or Rudi or something, she would’ve lost one or two tenths in difficulty, but wouldn’t have lost the 0.5 CR, and she would’ve made the floor final. I just don’t get why, if the lack of punch front was planned, she didn’t have some sort of plan worked out going in. Aliya Mustafina would’ve had like 17 various backup scenarios, hahaha. GET ON HER LEVEL.

With the new code, would the Danusia Francis dismount have any connection bonus? Would it be worth doing?

No it wouldn’t have any connection value, mainly because a back full isn’t worth much at all. In NCAA, back fulls are also worth almost nothing off beam, but gymnasts who connect simple dismounts like that from an acro skill get a bonus that allows it to fulfill the dismount requirement. In elite, there are a few ways to add CV from dismounts, but those are all about easy acro into difficult dismounts, whereas the NCAA way — and Danusia’s connection — are the opposite. The dismount CVs in elite are B (acro) + E (dismount) = 0.1 CV, B (acro) + F (or more, dismount) = 0.2 CV, and B + B + C (dismount) = 0.1 SB.

How much do NCAA team leos cost compared to national team leos?

I’m not sure…they’re probably a similar amount. They’re all hella expensive, like in the hundreds on average, and some that lose their minds with crystals get closer to $1000.

Student assistant coaches, managers, etc…is this in return for a scholarship or a partial scholarship? If Jordyn Wieber wasn’t pro, would she get a scholarship in exchange for her role?

Most of these positions are volunteer positions. Some assistant positions do get paid, which can probably even be part of work study jobs or something depending on the school (I have a friend who does something similar for work study) but no one gets a scholarship for doing this kind of work. Some gymnasts who have scholarships but medically retire and still have their scholarships covering their tuition will technically get scholarships to do this kind of work, but the scholarship will be for their athletics, not for this.

How do you get to travel so much to cover events? I love your live blogs and coverage!

Thank you! I have a full-time job and get four weeks of vacation each year. I try to plan most of my vacations around meets…so with Euros, I was able to take about two weeks out of work, and could travel for fun/actual vacation for a little more than half of that time, and then do Euros coverage the rest of the time. Also, if a meet is on the weekend and I don’t have to travel far, I might just make a weekend trip out of it, like I did with Gymnix and like I normally do with American Cup (for the past two years I’ve been #blessed to only have to travel across the Hudson River to beautiful Newark).

Could you provide some examples of a coach helping a gymnast break a fall off bars? I never see spotters actually save gymnasts from falls. Is it more of a peace-of-mind thing?

The best save is Sara Berardinelli of Italy on bars at Gymnix in 2015. The video went kind of viral because that’s how amazing the save is…the coach could see how screwed up her Tkachev was and was able to instinctively grab her and help her from getting injured. Also, timely, but Shang Chunsong’s coach really saved her ass on bars in the all-around final at Chinese Championships this weekend. Like, not a perfect save but she could’ve hit the mat SO much harder had he not been there to break her fall a bit.

For the most part, I think falls often happen too quickly or something, like human instinct just isn’t quick enough to make a clean catch when it takes less than a second for a gymnast to go from safe on the bar to splat on the mat. It could definitely be a peace-of-mind thing, like with the bail on uneven bars being so heavily spotted in NCAA, but as with Shang’s fall, even having someone there to kind of break the fall a little even if they can’t perfectly catch you, that helps a lot with keeping injuries at bay. Coaches are definitely trained how to spot each specific skill, and they know the problems their athletes tend to have on certain skills, which is why Sara’s coach in that example above was so attuned to her…can you imagine how many times falls like that had happened in the gym? At some point, if a gymnast has that many problems and needs to be spotted like crazy on skills, she probably shouldn’t be doing the skill…but there will always be fluke moments and you can only hope that the coach there can at least be somewhat proactive at easing the fall if not exactly fully stopping it from happening.

Has Giulia Steingruber retired?

No. She went to Australia shortly after the Olympics to take a vacation, and then returned to Switzerland to have surgery. Her goal was to be back in competition shape for worlds this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she took a little more time off. She’s also dealing with the recent loss of her older sister, who passed away in February, so she’s definitely going through a lot and it might be for the best if she just takes it easy for a little while.

Will all four team members have to do all apparatuses in 2020? Or will only three of them do each apparatus?

In qualifications, it’s four-up three-count, meaning all four gymnasts will have to compete all four events (they could go three-up three-count if they wanted to bring a specialist in, but that’s putting them at risk that other teams with four-up three-count won’t have to take, putting them at a huge disadvantage). In team finals, it’s three-up three-count so it will be three of the four gymnasts competing each event.

It seemed Madison Kocian was going to blow the competition out of the water in NCAA, but that didn’t really happen. Why wasn’t she dominant this season?

She had a shoulder injury that limited her training, especially on bars. Also, it’s much harder to be dominant in NCAA than in elite. In elite, you’re competing against maybe a dozen girls who are close to your level and you can keep separating yourself from the rest of the pack by adding difficulty and competing it well. In NCAA, there are about 800 gymnasts competing at any given time, and without any way to differentiate between difficulty, it means the girls doing perfect basic routines could outscore a former elite doing not-as-perfect but more complicated routines, which is why level 10s like Chayse Capps and Ashleigh Gnat can score just as well as (or better than) Olympians like Madison. Madison had a very strong season, and still came out ranked very high up there on pretty much everything, but my guess is that her injury made it more difficult for her to consistently get the absolute top scores on every event.

How many U.S. gymnasts (and gymnasts from other major teams like China and Russia) will have spots to compete at worlds this year?

Every country, no matter if they’re a ‘major team’ or a smaller program, has four individual spots at worlds this year. Some will use all four while other federations may only send one or two, depending on how many athletes they have in top competition shape.

Do you think Larisa Iordache or Catalina Ponor will compete in the all-around at worlds this year or just try for event finals?

Catalina likely won’t compete all-around, but I could see Larisa getting vault and floor back in the next few months to try to challenge for an all-around medal. Since the field is a bit weaker this year, she definitely has a shot at medaling…based on her bars and beam scores, she’d need to average 13.8 on her other two events to be within the higher end of the top all-around range so far this year, which is definitely doable for her. If she got her DTY back and got a 14.4 or so, she’d only need around a 13.2 on floor to get in the 56 AA range, which she could do with a more basic routine than she’s used to competing on floor. It could definitely happen.

Why can’t the U.S. create bars workers like the Russians or Chinese? Is bars not a priority?

The U.S. had the best-scoring bars team last quad so I’m not sure what you mean. Not everyone in the U.S. is a strong bar worker, but the strongest bar workers in the U.S. over the past few years have rivaled the Russians and Chinese and are among the best bar workers in the world. The top U.S. bar workers have literally the same exact routines (and same scoring potential) as the top Russian bar workers, and the Chinese have always had a different style. In team final events, the U.S. women were first on bars in 2014 and in 2016, and second on bars to the Chinese in 2015. I don’t get where this whole “the U.S. is bad at bars!!!” thing comes from…like, yeah, in 2010-2012, they didn’t have the best bar workers, but things have changed and something that was true five years ago doesn’t mean it’s still the case now.

Why does the post-Olympic tour only use Americans now when it used to be international back in the day?

I think it has something to do with money. The Americans who do the tour now are earning a crap ton of money, and I know of a couple of people last year who were interested in doing the tour — both from the U.S. and international gymnasts — who were turned down because I think they’d rather pay the ‘stars’ a ton of money to do it and have a smaller cast than pay less money to the ‘stars’ (which would make some of them not want to do it) so they can have a larger cast. I know in 2004, even the biggest names weren’t making that much money (still a considerable amount, like $40,000 even for the top people, IIRC, give or take a few thousand) so they were able to have more people perform, but a few of the athletes on this past year’s tour got upwards of $500,000 because otherwise they’d just take other lucrative opportunities that don’t involve traveling around on a bus for three months.

If a gymnast performs two vaults in qualifications, which is counted toward the team/all-around score?

It’s always the first vault, which is why most gymnasts will do their stronger or higher difficulty vault first. Here’s an interesting and kind of sad story — last summer, Canada was only 0.168 away from making the team final. Had the team had Brittany Rogers compete her second vault first, they would’ve qualified into the team final over the Netherlands by 0.066. I mean, the benefit of hindsight, but that second vault had consistently out-scored her first vault several times last year, so it’s too bad no one thought “let’s put it up first just in case we’re in a close-call situation.”

What is going on with Maggie Nichols?

She had knee surgery at the end of the NCAA season but should be back in action well before she has to start competing again next year.

In the code of points, deductions are 0.1, 0.3, or 0.5, so how do gymnasts end up with scores like 9.866 that go all the way into the hundredth or thousandths?

With five judges on an E panel, the high and low scores are dropped with the remaining three averaged. If the three counting E scores are 9.1, 9.1, and 8.9, for example, these average to 9.033. That’s why you see scores go into the thousandths.

Has Laurie Hernandez retired?

Not officially, no. But I’ve heard from several people that she no longer has any connection to her gym, and that she’s taking other contract opportunities that wouldn’t work out if she also continued in gymnastics. Maybe we will see her make a run for another Olympics, but honestly, based on what I’ve heard and on the fact that physically, she was lucky to make it through 2016, I don’t think we’ll see her back in the sport. You know how Maggie Nichols was kind of at her elite peak around 2015 worlds and even then, she was really pushing her body to get through? Laurie was in the same situation in 2016. Her timing was just a bit luckier than Maggie’s. If she does come back, I can’t see it happening on more than one or two events.

Why do some countries hold national championships so early in the year? What’s the point of having the competition this ahead of worlds?

Worlds is obviously a goal for many countries, but other non-U.S. countries are also looking to pull in medals at meets they see as equally important…like European Championships or the Chinese National Games. Many countries that hold nationals this early also generally hold other domestic or internal verification meets leading up to worlds. Like, Russia generally holds nationals in March and that competition helps decide the Euros team, but then they have the Russian Cup in August or September to help them see where gymnasts stand going into worlds. The majority of countries have nationals between April and August, and all of those that hold them on the earlier side tend to have other selection measures for worlds in place besides nationals on their own.

What competitions are the apparatus world cup qualifiers for the Olympics?

The apparatus world cups held beginning with Cottbus in 2018 and going through the end of the world cup series in spring 2020. At the end of the two-season series (2018-2019 and 2019-2020) the gymnasts who have accumulated the most overall rankings-based points on each event will get berths to the Olympic Games for that event only.

I just saw a video of Ashleigh Gnat training an Amanar. Is there any chance she would go elite?

No. First of all, the Amanar was done on a mat over a lowered pit, meaning it’s nowhere near competition-ready. Secondly, she explicitly said in the caption for that video “now I can retire.” Her throwing the Amanar was more a goal of hers to tackle that skill before finishing her career than it was an attempt at going elite.

Is there less of a discrepancy difficulty-wise between men’s NCAA and men’s elite than there is with the women?

Yes, mainly because the path the women take is generally J.O. to NCAA to retirement or J.O. to elite to NCAA to retirement, but the path most men take is generally J.O. to NCAA to elite. Many men competing NCAA are simultaneously competing at the elite level, because men reach physical maturity at a later age than women and tend to be at the right age for their top difficulty while they’re in college or beyond. Some women obviously will compete elite beyond college age, but for men, almost all seniors are 18 or older, which is also why the men’s scoring system is the elite system at all levels rather than perfect 10 in J.O. and NCAA and then open-ended in elite.

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. We do not answer questions about team predictions nor questions that say “what do you think of [insert gymnast here].”

Article by Lauren Hopkins


52 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

  1. Okay, so this — “Aliya Mustafina would’ve had like 17 various backup scenarios, hahaha. GET ON HER LEVEL” — reminded me of something I’ve been wondering about since the Olympics: why why WHY did Aliya not have a backup flight series on beam? Missing her planned series screwed her twice at the Olympics, and I can’t imagine it had never happened in training, so why didn’t she have a backup plan to make sure she got the CR?


    • The thing was, she had like 18,000 different flight series that she trained so I have NO CLUE WHY she kept her eyes on that stupid front series that NEVER worked out?! Last quad she competed a different flight series practically in every routine hahaha. I mean, exaggeration, but still. Between her beam and floor I think she did a different routine every time we saw her compete. And yet she stuck with the worst possible option for the Olympics. I mean, I guess it was worth a lot if she hit it? So maybe she thought it was worth the risk? But it clearly was’t, and hadn’t ever been worth the risk because she consistently screwed it up!


    • yeah i was thinking the same, nobody has 17 backup scenarios, is not like they can train so many combinations, they will be dead before even competing. I love this website, is far the best, updates and lots of info, however i don’t agree with the guy opinion about Ponor, he docent like her but seem to like other gymnasts that don’t even medal or don’t have any Olympic medals.


  2. In regards to Madison Kocian, I’m still so impressed she did so well throughout the season with a shoulder injury (that she apparently had since the summer?!) and lasted the whole season! When it came out that she had an injury in January I really thought she was going to struggle and not make it to nationals, can’t wait to see her healthy next year in NCAA!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yup, like, she wasn’t a Maggie or a MyKayla but it was still a fabulous season and literally everyone has off days or makes mistakes. She still did a phenomenal job given the fact that she was dealing with injury!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Apparently if she did come back, she wouldn’t go back to her old gym. I heard that from a few reputable NJ coaches. Maybe that could change but as of now that’s the case.


        • May I ask what happened? Like you don’t have to say it in details but has it something to do with her jumping on the celebrity train instead maybe promoting gym in her area etc.?


        • thanks for explaining Lauren!
          True, we never know all of the things but to be honest I think her “celebrity status has gotten a little too much into her head”.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not surprised to hear this. It’s quick and easy to assume the successful person lets it “go to their head” and leaves everyone in the dust. I’m not sure what a coach expects post-Olympics of an athlete who pursues opportunities, even lucrative ones. Maggie’s and Laurie’s relationship is private, but something tells me Maggie expected something different of Laurie because she sacrificed a great deal for her Olympic success. Then makes a petty comment on social media that says her athlete’s current lifestyle has gone to her head. Didn’t see Chow doing that with Shawn in 2008 when she spread her wings. Gotta do better than that as a coach!


      • Ohh really, wow. Then my apologies to what I’ve said before. I just kinda assumed as she doesn’t seem soo close to her ex-gym-pals anymore but oh well maybe assumptions are not the best haha 🙂


        • I’m a coach (compulsory) in New Jersey and none of the coaches like Maggie. There was a JO meet at Rutgers and Maggie’s compulsory gymnasts were there. Then we found out Laurie was handing out awards. Maggie had to ask Laurie’s agent if it was okay that her girls still competed there because she’s not supposed to be near Laurie or something. I don’t know what happened exactly but one of my old teammates, who competes in NJ still, said Maggie was aggressively texting Laurie and said something along the lines of “I made you.” Laurie is 16 and Maggie is what, a 40 year old woman? She was Laurie’s coach, not her bff. No wonder Laurie’s parents were pissed. Especially because this was around the time all of the stuff with Nassar was happening, and basically every gym went through a whole coach-athlete relationship protocol to make sure coaches have boundaries. It seemed like Maggie considered Laurie more one of her friends than a child she was hired to coach. Lots of coaches have healthy relationships with gymnasts, especially older gymnasts, that are more personal and friendly, but that kind of texting was way out of line.


        • Yikes, this sounds like a bad situation. I can understand coaches being upset when an athlete leaves to pursue other offers/passions, but they also need to realize that the gymnast already achieved her dreams. Not everybody wants to put themselves through a second Olympic cycle, particularly when other offers are abundant. I also agree that Laurie was fortunate to have made it through the Olympic process reasonably healthy. She’s had many issues in the past. Even without the gym/coach drama, I didn’t expect to Laurie back. But hey, you never know. She could surprise us.


        • Yeah, I’ve always thought the, “She just loves the attention too much!” line was ridiculous. She’s 16 years old and making a career in performing arts. Of course she loves attention. There is nothing abnormal happening here.


      • Is it bad that I’m not shocked that the adult acted in bad taste? I was a bit put off on her following her press comments when Laurie wasn’t put in the all around acting like she just realized it was a possiblity the day it was announced. Like there is no way she didn’t know the was gonna happen during the camp leading up too it especially with the bars incosistency. (She also said something to the effect that Laurie had “been ahead of (aly) her all season”. I would have understood an emotional response from the teenager i.e. Laurie, not from her coach who has been in the sport for years. Anyway, not surprised…


        • Yeah there was that whole thing where she said she “cried for days” about Laurie not being able to do the all-around. It seemed a bit childish to me.

          Also, from the other perspective, from the interviews I read it really seemed like Maggie was more like her mom. It seemed like Laurie’s parents really didn’t care about her gymnastics and Maggie was the one who would drive her to practice every day, etc. So I can see why she felt like she was being left behind and why she felt like she “made” her, but also Laurie is a teenager and she’s a grown woman. Just seemed like a relationship that didn’t have good boundaries.


  3. I read a link on my google feed that she auditioned for Disney, and that if she gets the job she would make the decision in August her future in gymnastics. Sounds 100 percent Laurie is done.


  4. It’s interesting how US Bar workers never get the same adulation as international bar workers, especially as compared to Russia or the Chinese. Personally, I think it comes down to the type of bars you like. While I love all the US, I do feel like we always look like we’re working on bars. Even with Madison, Ashton, Gabby, and Maggie being great on bars as of late ; the Russians have similar routines but seem to float through them; while the Chinese have always had stylistic flair, (even with all of those muscled up kips).


  5. IMO I think the US gets the reputation for being weak on Bars because our top all arounders tend not to “excel” on Bars, emphasis on excel, because these girls often have pretty decent routines, and make a Final occasionally. Simone, Aly, Jordan, Laurie, Shawn – if you watch a broadcast, these are the girls getting screen time, which influences a lot of the reputation, Tim Daggett is always quick to point out: “bars is her weakest event” “Simone wants to take a chainsaw to the bars” “Jordan always has a mistake during her bars” “Alicia is scared of the Bars” “Aly wants to be reliable on bars” ETC. With two of our top bars workers from the past quad both being specialists, sometimes they become the after thought when it comes to our reputation. Meanwhile in Russia and China, top all arounders like Mustafina, Komova + Chunsong are also the top bars workers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Lauren,
    Thank you for all the time you spend answering these questions on ‘you asked, the gymternet answered’. I always feel like I learn a lot! Looking forward to the next one.
    Regarding what you were saying about Larisa Iordache, I am certainly hoping she will be able to compete in the AA at worlds! Her beam in the ef at Cluj was excellent (aside from the dismount, but that will come hopefully!). It was great to see her manage to get on the podium.

    I know it’s early days to be discussing such things, but what are your thoughts on the new code? Are there things you would like to see FIG change for the next one? One thing I’ve been enjoying since the introduction of the new code is the increased number of ‘real’ beam mounts, the layout stepout mount and the like. It will be great to see more innovation in this area, maybe someone will perform a Priakhina/Zamo mount, or a Garrison-Steves, which would be great! Is there anything you’re hoping the code will encourage, or discourage?


  7. You didn’t really answer the bars question. The US IS weak on bars both when compared to Russia/China and when compared to the US on other events. The US often has high bar averages during team competitions due to their consistency; not because they produce the best bar workers. Since 2006 Russia has won 11 medals on bars (8 gold), China 10 (6 gold), and the US 6 (1 gold). Clearly the US is not, and never has, produced bar workers like Russia or China. So what are your thoughts as to why? Although there is a strong body type argument that allows Russians and Chinese to excel on bars, seeing as how 3 of the 4 Americans who’ve won medals were coached by Russians, I wonder if it has something to do with coaching style or emphasis on that apparatus.


    • The US is not weak on bars compared to Russia/China though. Look at the scores from Rio (Team final total scores) on bars or example:
      #1: Russa (46.649)
      #2: USA: (46.632)
      #4: China (45.166)
      Less than a tenth separating Russia and USA and more than a point separating China and USA.
      Also bars was the second highest total team score for USA after vault. Both FX and BB were lower total scores.


      • hmm. you sure you got the right score on the right meet? US was first on all 4 during TF. Including UB.

        If Spiri didn’t somehow downgraded her routine, Russia couldve got the number 1 total for UB but i guess we ll never know.

        The top US bar workers might have slightly lower D score than Russia or China but E score and consistency does obviously also count. You can be like the Chinese and try to be propped up by your possible D scores but that has not been working as well.

        I do think however, that there is probably some sort of program emphasis or stylistic and coaching philosophy difference between the Former big 4 (including romania and their ub weakness)…

        But i don’t think UB can be say a weak US event anymore just because their highest D might not be the world highest. There are many metrics aside from just raw D score.


        • I just checked my source again and I think I may have finals and qualifications mixed up! I’m sorry.
          I agree with the training aspect- and obviously it is working well for the USA.


    • “Not the best bars country” =/= “weak on bars.”

      Two countries in the world may have them beat but that does not make bars a weakness. And as I said in the post, we’re looking at the U.S. in its current state. How on earth does it make sense going back a decade to see their current state? By that logic you could also say the U.S. is lagging behind China as a team, lmao. Like, you don’t use the 2005-2008 quad to determine where they stand as a team at the moment, and you don’t use 2006-2012 to determine where they stand on bars. I looked at one quad, saying that in the 2009-2012 quad, yes, bars was a major weakness and they could barely put up a single routine above a 15. Last quad, though, the U.S. had FAR more bars depth than Russia OR China, even though Russia and China still managed to pull in medals and have a good number of strong bar workers concentrated at the top.

      Going into the Olympics, the U.S. had three bars gymnasts who I’d consider world class, with the ability to score 15.5+. They also had around EIGHT other gymnasts who could reach a 14.8+. Going into Rio, Russia had two world-class seniors in Mustafina and Spiridonova, but those two aside, they had two or three who could go 14.8+ and China had lost its top bar workers with Fan Yilin and Shang Chunsong close to world class on the event, but not really. If you only want to look at gymnasts who earn medals, yes, the U.S. was behind Russia and China. But if you want to look at bars depth? The U.S. was miles ahead of both of these countries on bars last quad, and now? Russia and China have basically no one on the event after the post-2016 breaks (Russia could barely get a gymnast on the podium at the weakest Euros in years lmao) while the U.S. also had hiatuses and retirements and yet continues to bolster its bars depth.

      Yes, in 2006-2012, the bars depth was weak in the U.S. But that changed last quad, where the medal totals were China-
      5, Russia- 4, and USA- 3, putting the U.S. much closer than they had been in previous quads, and now the country has the deepest bars bench in the world. Even though their bars medals haven’t compared closely in the past 11 years, things have changed over the past 4 years, and are continuing to trend toward the U.S. taking over on bars, just as they’ve taken over everything else. Does that mean every U.S. bars set is amazing and that they’re always aesthetically the best? No (although tbh Russia and China are also not exactly aesthetically pleasing at the moment either). But the health of their bars program right now is miles ahead of Russia and China at this current moment in time when looking at the current generations of gymnasts who turned senior in the past four years. We’re talking about the health of a bars program overall, not one or two gymnasts who can medal every year, and then the bars program plummets when they take time off (ahem, Russia). If you want to use your logic to say “the U.S. hasn’t had as many top bar workers in the world” then yes, you’d be right. But top bars workers are an anomaly and don’t decide the health of the program. Without their top bar workers, Russia and China are weak on bars. Without the U.S.’s top bar workers, the U.S. bars program is still hella freaking strong. So no. The U.S. is NOT weak on bars. On the contrary, they have the strongest overall program in the world, which is why Valentina is peeing her pants waiting for Aliya to come back so she can pretend her program is healthy once again based on the success of one gymnast, lmao.


      • Yeah, I guess without Musty, Russia is fairly weak, although they still have Spiri, and now Elena Eremina. However, China still has Fan and Shang! The US is stacked with Locklear, Mccusker, plus a pack of gymnasts that could be great, depending on their condition, like Key, Flatley, and a bunch of junior talent. so yes, our bars program is quite healthy…


        • Without Musty Russia’s best bar worker is definitely Kapitonova (sick during euros so lackluster performance), Eremina, and illiankova. Then Spiridonova, Skrypnik, Paseka, and Perebinosova who are all either dealing with injuries or coming back from breaks, but are all incredibly talented. Russia has serious problems with injuries and conditioning aka Valentina has got to go today!!! Musty should definitely take over after she has Baby Musty!!


      • The post said why “can’t” the US produce strong bar workers rather than why “isn’t” the US currently producing good bar workers so if the post was referring only to the current state of American gymnastics, that was not effectively conveyed.

        I am not really sure how depth is relevant to the topic of whether the US is weak on bars. Having loads of depth that consistently can’t win medals suggests that the US is weak on bars, not the contrary. If they weren’t weak on bars, they would be able to turn all that depth into good bar workers!

        But in the interest of answering the question asked, I’ll humor you. The US’s ability to produce medal winning bar workers, is weak. Happy?

        As you mentioned, going into Rio, the US had several girls who could only reach 14.8+ when the top routines were at 15.8ish. And as you mentioned the Russians can not only win medals, but take a break and then win some more medals. And both Russian and China were able to win more medals than the US this past quad, including
        3 times as many golds. So can you answer the question as to why the US cannot produce bar workers like Russia or China?

        Lastly, which euros were you referring to as being the weakest one with no Russians on the podium? Because Russia put two girls on the podium this year (Eremina/Melnikova; albeit not very impressive) and I can’t remember the last year Russia wasn’t on a euros podium?!


        • The answer to the question is within the context. If the question is “why can’t the US produce good bar workers,” clearly my answer is that they CAN produce good bar workers because while they’re not producing 50,000 Aliyas, they are producing the greatest concentrated number of strong bar workers leading to the most impressive level of bars depth in the world at the moment.


        • And re: Euros, I said “Russia could barely get on the podium.” We’re talking about BARS, so obviously I meant BARS, not floor. Eremina got lucky, winning silver in a final where every other stronger contender (Seitz, Becky Downie, Kovacs) made mistakes. Her bars have awesome skills, but they’re not exactly what I’d call “good bars” lol.


        • Okay. I’m going to try this one more time because you’re either not understanding the question or just refusing to answer it for whatever reason. I would still like to know why the US cannot produce bar workers like Russia and China. I did not ask if the US can produce good bar workers (having a billion girls who can decently work bars but can’t win medals is NOT good). What I am asking, is why the US historically and currently, cannot produce bar workers who can not only actually win medals, the majority of which are gold, but can last more than a year or two at the top of the field and are actually amazing bar workers rather than average/win when others fall.

          If you don’t want to answer the question feel free to just say so rather than trying to argue that the US is good on bars which they statistically just aren’t (of course I respect your personal opinion), I would just like you’re opinion as to why the US has never been able to be as successful on bars As Russia and China.


        • Literally every country has its own style and way of coaching certain events. Asking “why aren’t the U.S. bar workers produced to be like Russian and Chinese bar workers” is like asking “why doesn’t Russia produce vaulters like the U.S.?” “Why doesn’t China produce tumblers like the U.S.?” “Why doesn’t Australia produce beam workers like China?” “Why doesn’t Great Britain produce dancers like the Netherlands?” I don’t see how a comparison like that makes sense when no country produces gymnasts on a certain event like another country does on the same event. Of course the U.S. isn’t going to produce bar workers akin to Chinese and Russian bar workers, just like they’re not going to produce beam or floor workers like the Russian or Chinese. The U.S. coaches clearly have styles and abilities that differ from the Russian and Chinese coaches. Comparison questions like this are ridiculous, tbh, which is why I don’t really care to answer it just like I don’t answer most questions that are silly and aren’t really asking anything that can be answered by something more than “uh, because they’re different?”

          This was the question: “Why can’t the U.S. create bars workers like the Russians or Chinese? Is bars not a priority?” Bars are clearly a priority if it’s been the second-best event for the Americans in the past quad. “Not a priority” for the Americans has nothing to do with comparisons to the Russians and the Chinese. Every event is a “priority” for the Americans. Some years they have gymnasts and coaches with a strong preference toward bars and other years they don’t. With no centralized system, there’s no one singular style in the way there is in Russia or China, so it’s better to look at individual gyms/coaches as opposed to the U.S. as a whole for bars and for any event. But if you ARE going to generalize, clearly whoever is asking “is bars not a priority?” has no understanding of what “priority” means. It’s not a “priority” to look like the Russians and the Chinese, no. It’s a priority for the U.S. to create a deep bench of strong gymnasts on every event, so that they can show up at worlds or the Olympics and put a B team girl up if necessary and have her hit almost as well as an A team gymnast would. THAT’S a bars priority in the U.S. and it’s why the team is so successful, because they’re not relying on one or two gymnasts at the top to lead them for a decade. Maybe it doesn’t lead to as many individual medals on bars, but if we’re talking about the U.S. bars program overall and not just individual medal winners, then clearly bars has been a priority due to the superb depth on the event and due to the vast improvements that have been made there in the past five years.

          The question is essentially asking two things. Stylistically, why isn’t the U.S. making carbon copies of Russia and China? And is bars not a priority? These questions have literally nothing to do with each other. I was mostly focusing on the second because the first part of the question is, frankly, ridiculous and self-explanatory.


        • Thanks for the answer! Now the next question would be why on earth would the US prioritizes having 20 mediocre bar workers rather than 3 world class bar workers?!

          Jk! I won’t torture you anymore! Thanks for the answer 😀


        • So their bars lineup isn’t screwed when one of those three gymnasts inevitably gets injured? The USA’s entire system centers on building depth over developing a tiny crop of stars, and I think it’s been a LITTLE successful for them. And the US bars score has been in the top 3 in every World/Olympic qualification or TF round this quad, and the 2014 qualification score was the only one outside the top 2, so I think it’s worked for bars too.


  8. Wow when I saw “no connection to her gym” I just figured that meant that she was no longer going to train at MG Elite if she came back because she’s heading to Florida in 2018 for college. I had no idea that it was Maggie acting psychotic over the fact that Laurie took advantage of post Olympic success, and not in a bad way. From what it looks like, I doubt Lauries coming back, which is bitter sweet because she’s so young and I felt she had more to offer in the elite world, but at the same time she looks happier than I’ve seen her now that’s she’s not training. I think that if she auditions and makes it (which she probably will, considering Disney is actually excited that she’s auditioning) she’ll quit gymnastics officially and if she auditions and gets rejected she’ll at least consider coming back, though it’ll be difficult considering that she’d have to try and train elite at Florida.


        • No she’s not? She doesn’t have a scholarship anymore and I don’t see anything that means she’ll still go to college there, if at all. She committed to the gymnastics program, not the school. Aly also de committee from Florida when she went pro and she never went there (and went to a college in Boston part-time for one semester).


    • Not gonna lie, I am not a big fan of Maggie Haney and even before I knew anything about MG elite and Laurie, I wasn’t a fan. I watched a lot of videos of her in the background when her young gymnasts competed at things like elite qualifiers and she always seemed so MEAN to them when they fell off bars, beam etc. You can’t hear the comments she makes to them but the angry look on her face always said enough. I guess you have to be perfectionistic to an extent to make such talented gymnasts but please tone it the heck down and wipe the scrowl off your face. It’s not as though the gymnasts enjoy failing.


  9. UGH. I got major bad vibes from Maggie haney from the flogymnastics series on MG Gymnastics. She seemed so obsessed and was obviously favoring Laurie over Jasmine (saying she doesn`t know what she will do when Laurie Leaves, that she doesn`t ever want her to leave?).Then when she cried for days when LAURIE didn`t get an AA spot, I was over her. I felt like she was being completely unreasonable and hated that she tried to convey her feelings over twitter like a teenager ( i cried for days, so unfair, wasn`t that what she wrote? it was ridiculous.
    So I am not surprised at all that she is going stalker mode on Laurie.


  10. Thanks for the color on Maggie and Laurie. I had no idea, but now see that Laurie isn’t even following Maggie on Twitter anymore, and Maggie hasn’t commented on Laurie on Twitter since October 2016, all consistent with the discussion in this page. This kind of information is invaluable for those of us who are pretty serious gym fans–I for one have really been hoping to see Laurie back in competition (although I agree with all the reasoning why that’s unlikely), and I’d just assumed if it happened, it’d be at MG Elite. Interesting and useful to know that’s not the case.

    As for Maggie’s alleged behavior, I have definitely thought that she seems to have sometimes strong and not carefully measured reactions to situations. Even in the BTR series, I was surprised by what she chose to share – e.g., asserting that her gymnasts had failed to meet certain expectations she had (why would it be constructive to publicize it in that way?) and talking in a particularly strong way about how she didn’t know how she was going to cope when Laurie left. When the AA drama happened last summer, it was striking that Laurie had the calm, poker-faced, and team-minded attitude, while Maggie had the “cannot cope” dynamic and ran to the media about having cried for days. While I respect what Maggie did to cultivate Laurie as a gymnast, I do feel like she could learn more about putting on a measured public face (and maybe a measured private face, too, if there was room for improvement in the behind-the-scenes behavior). Aimee Boormann seems to have developed the measured public face pretty well (can’t speak to how she is in private), and since they seem to be socially friendly, perhaps that’d be a good role model for Maggie.


  11. If Maggie Nichols had been healthy and made the 2016 team, which of the Final Five do you think would have been bumped to make room for her? My guess would have been Gabby but then they would have lost an opportunity for a bars medal while not gaining any potential for other ones (since between Simone, Aly, and Laurie, floor, beam and AA were all but guaranteed 1-2 finishes)


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