You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

It’s time for the 166th 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.

Watching the 2012 U.S. Championships, I noticed Kyla Ross’ day two leo looks really similar to the Rio team final leo. Were they designed by the same person/team? Could we see this leo and the qualifications leo again? Who decides which leo is worn at each competition?

Kyla’s leo was designed by GK, which has a hand in the Olympic leotard design. From what I remember, the leo Kyla wore was a special GK leo that summer with like a billion dollars worth of crystals on it. They sold it on their website. I think the Rio leotard was a spin on the 1996 leotard, not on Kyla’s leo in 2012, but I remember when Kyla wore that leo everyone was like “omg 1996!” so clearly that was probably the inspiration for her leo just as it was for the team final leo last year. When Martha Karolyi was in charge, she picked the leos for team events and gave notes on design, but the girls could have a say in terms of what they wore in individual finals. Now, I highly doubt Valeri Liukin is going to be like “yaaaas let’s pick our leos!!!!” so once the design aspect is done, maybe the team will have more of a say in what they get to choose for the team final, for qualifications, and so on.

Do you think the girls will be sent to more apparatus world cups under Valeri Liukin?

Nope. Maybe we’ll see some at apparatus world cups when they become a qualifier for the Olympics, but even that, I doubt, because I think the U.S. will instead use Pan Ams and the all-around world cup to get its additional two spots. Not going to apparatus world cups wasn’t really Martha Karolyi holding them back from going. They have a budget like any other business organization. They can’t send gymnasts to every competition under the sun, so they instead choose what will be most beneficial to them. The apparatus world cups are great, but the level of competition isn’t very high, so aside from easily snagging a bunch of medals, there’s no real motivation to go? I could see if someone like Anna Li was still around and wanted to earn a little extra money, that could be cool, but tbh the travel and everything would end up costing WAY more than they’d get in winnings so USA Gym would be better off just funneling more money into the gymnasts’ monthly stipends than paying to send them to meets with a small bit of prize money. The U.S. women’s program focus is on team first, all-around second, and events last, which is why pretty much every meet they opt to send gymnasts to is going to have a team or all-around focus. It’s not just a Martha thing, but rather the modus operandi of the women’s program as a whole.

Do you think judges should be more strict regarding body shape and rotation on floor? There are a lot of 3½ twists that never make it around, and a few full-twisting double layouts that are essentially open pikes. It would suck to see them downgraded, but it would encourage better form.

I think given that floor generally has the lowest E scores out of all four events, judges are probably doing their jobs. For rotation, I’ve definitely seen some questionable twists get downgraded from a triple to a 2½ or whatever, and in terms of shapes, there’s a line drawn between heavy deductions and downgrades. A pike shape is clearly defined by the degrees of the pike, and so a double layout that ends up looking super piked could still actually not be considered a pike because it’s open just enough to not fit the parameters. Like, the Moors on floor has never been competed fully laid-out, and both Victoria Moors and MyKayla Skinner had pretty much open pikes. But neither was piked down enough to be actually considered a pike, so they would get credit for the layout, but then get a heap of deductions for the skill not being actually laid-out. I wouldn’t say either of them, or those who do full-twisting double layouts, are in true pike positions as defined by the code, so in that case, they don’t need to be downgraded…and so they’re pretty heavily deducted instead.

Why do gymnasts stick to layouts on beam when they were barely credited last quad? Do you think judges will be more lenient this quad?

Hoping for the best? Not realizing that judges started going crazy on layouts and never want to credit them? I’m actually glad they’re strict on layouts because there are some REALLY bad beam layouts out there, and I’m glad they’re at least trying to discourage gymnasts from doing them unless they can do them right. But I honestly have no idea why someone would want to hope for the best fully knowing how rare it is to get that series credited when they can just train something else of equal or greater value. Maybe many coaches and gymnasts truly didn’t know the FIG cracked down? Or maybe they knew, but at domestic meets, national judges were like “oh you’re amazing, this will totally get credited at worlds or the Olympics!!” because they’re not as tough as the FIG’s judges for those meets…that would be my guess. It wouldn’t be the first time a gymnast is rewarded consistently at home or at lower quality international meets and then gets kinda screwed at worlds. Like, I’m pretty sure Aly Raisman got credited for all of her layouts on beam at home…except once, and they fought it, and the judges ended up giving it to her. In 2015 her D scores dropped nearly a point between her domestic meets and worlds! I don’t know why the judges at home aren’t strict because it ends up not being in the best interest of the gymnast. They go to worlds thinking they’ll be medal hopefuls and end up being a reach for finals.

How could Nastia Liukin get such high floor execution scores when she had lots of form errors?

I think she had more noticeable form errors than others, but lots of the little things that you might not notice as a more casual viewer were better than most, so it kind of evened out. Like, she had really good basics and fewer built-in deductions than most, kind of like Riley McCusker now. Riley can have an awful day on beam but still get like an 8.5 E score because the little things are all exactly where they need to be. I haven’t watched Nastia closely in at least five years, but that’s how I always kind of felt about her? Like she always had some really obvious flaws, but she was good about covering many of the smaller things up, I think. For most gymnasts, it’s not big glaring flaws that drag down their E scores…it’s all of the dozens of little problems. If you’re not racking those up, you can get away with a few big flaws and still come out with an okay E.

How do we get USA Gymnastics to fix the J.O. national qualification system where some regions are so small they qualify every gymnast while other regions are so huge that 30-40 girls are competing for seven spots?

Yeah, this has always bugged me…some regions don’t even qualify a full number of gymnasts to nationals in every age division!! They definitely need to rethink how qualifications work, considering the ‘best of the best’ mostly live in Texas or California or something, and so girls with 38.5+ potential in Texas can’t go to nationals but girls who get a 32 AA in Rhode Island or Montana can. It’s insane, especially when that girl with a 32 AA won’t be on the radar for college recruiters, but those recruiters will see that so-and-so with a 38 in Texas didn’t make nationals because she placed 10th at regionals with a fall or a bad day or something, and that’s like a black mark in her file.

It’s like everything that’s wrong with two-per-country. I get wanting to make it ‘fair’ but at least with worlds and the Olympics, countries are there competing as teams of gymnasts all from the same nation, whereas the regional groupings are all just arbitrary. I mean, I guess we can get all philosophical and be like “nations and countries are arbitrary too! BORDERS ARE MANMADE!!!!!” but like let’s chill on that for a second because humans have been dividing land up based on geographical features and war spoils and other nonsense for thousands of years, but this whole regional system in the U.S. is just random random random. There’s no ‘alliance’ between the states in each region aside from the one USA Gymnastics created when it created the system, and it feels far too random for it to have this much of an impact on nationals. I mean, there’s a team aspect with regional groups in J.O., but…why? All of the team stuff all year is club-based. Does there really need to be a team competition for regions when the gymnasts on those ‘teams’ spend about five seconds together in a given year? It seems silly to put the entire basis of nationals on that team aspect when that’s, like, not really a thing that matters. I’d rather see the top gymnasts get spots rather than having a team competition with an equal representation of gymnasts from each region.

The elite system doesn’t do this nonsense because elite gymnastics in the U.S. isn’t about ‘fair.’ If you earn the score you’re required to earn, you get to go to nationals. Period. That means one year, 100 kids will earn the required score, and a couple years later, maybe only 40 will, and once they know how many will be there, they figure out how everyone will fit into the logistics at classics and nationals (e.g. start lists, whether to have one or two sessions, etc).

I definitely think they need something like a required score that they have to meet at regionals, and whoever gets that score gets to go to nationals, regardless of how many from each region make it happen. That would still require them to hit when it counts, and it would ensure that everyone trying to get NCAA attention ends up going to nationals. Either way, something like 600 kids get to go to J.O. nationals. If 500 of them end up being from Texas, California, New Jersey, Florida, and Illinois, who cares? If they’re the best, they should be there.

Is there a place to see all of the Rio competition leotards?

Not that I know of, aside from like, googling them I guess? I don’t know of any site that just has pictures of the leos.

Do you have a list of everyone who has retired from elite who competed last quad?

From the bigger names (international competitors), here is the list I have compiled, including anyone I know to have officially retired or moved on to NCAA, though I may be missing some who didn’t make announcements publicly:

Cagla Akyol, Germany
Antonia Alicke, Germany*
Isabella Amado, Panama*
Camille Bahl, France
Alyssa Baumann, United States*
Kirsten Beckett, South Africa
Jelle Beullens, Belgium
Mira Boumejmajen, France
Marine Brevet, France
Ainhoa Carmona, Spain
Clara Chambellant, France
Maegan Chant, Canada*
Kaylee Cole, Bolivia*
Madison Copiak, Canada*
Manon Cormoreche, France
Julie Croket, Belgium
Tunde Csillag, Hungary
Helody Cyrenne, Canada*
Nia Dennis, United States*
Madison Desch, United States*
Kylie Dickson, Belarus*
Brenna Dowell, United States*
Youna Dufournet, France
Peyton Ernst, United States*
Jazmyn Foberg, United States*
Houry Gebeshian, Armenia
Sabrina Gill, Canada*
Ana Sofia Gomez, Guatemala
Rachel Gowey, United States*
Felicia Hano, United States*
Ruby Harrold, Great Britain*
Thelma Hermannsdottir, Iceland
Nicole Hitz, Switzerland
Amelia Hundley, United States*
Andreea Iridon, Romania
Kim Janas, Germany
Bailie Key, United States*
Madison Kocian, United States*
Anne Kuhm, France*
Alaina Kwan, Belarus*
Sydney Laird, Canada*
Madelaine Leydin, Australia*
Heem Wei Lim, Singapore
McKayla Maroney, United States
Claire Martin, France
Louise McColgan, Great Britain
Courtney McGregor, New Zealand*
Stefanie Merkle, Canada*
Yu Minobe, Japan
Lauren Mitchell, Australia
Victoria Moors, Canada
Maggie Musselman, United States
Gaelle Mys, Belgium
Lauren Navarro, United States*
Maggie Nichols, United States*
Marissa Oakley, United States*
Katelyn Ohashi, United States*
Erika Pakkala, Finland
Anna Pavlova, Azerbaijan
Jordyn Pedersen, Canada*
Kirsten Peterman, Canada*
Phan Thi Ha Thanh, Vietnam
Marta Pihan-Kulesza, Poland
Valentine Pikul, France
Giulianna Pino, Ecuador*
Kristina Pravdina, Azerbaijan
Elizabeth Price, United States*
Amy Regan, Great Britain
Norma Robertsdottir, Iceland
Brittany Robertson, New Zealand
Kyla Ross, United States*
Stella Savvidou, Cyprus*
Kim Singmuang, Sweden
Megan Skaggs, United States*
MyKayla Skinner, United States*
Ekaterina Sokova, Russia
Sydney Soloski, Canada*
Stefania Stanila, Romania
Charlotte Sullivan, New Zealand*
Raer Theaker, Great Britain
Lisa Top, Netherlands
Koko Tsurumi, Japan
Rebecca Tunney, Great Britain
Noel van Klaveren, Netherlands
Eline Vandersteen, Belgium
Lisa Verschueren, Belgium
Lin Versonnen, Belgium
Olivia Vivian, Australia
Hannah Whelan, Great Britain
Emma White, Great Britain
Millie Williamson, New Zealand
Aleeza Yu, Canada*

Asterisk denotes NCAA. Not all currently competing in NCAA have officially retired from elite, however.

Will Leah Griesser and Axelle Klinckaert compete this season?

Yup! Leah has competed domestically all season, though hasn’t been at her best and hasn’t been sent out to compete internationally yet. Axelle was hoping to compete at Jesolo, but wasn’t fully back from her injury, so she saved her comeback for nationals in May where she returned just on bars (and looked great!). I believe Axelle’s goal now is to be fully back in time for worlds.

Do you know where I can watch the Rio gala? It was so hush-hush!

It’s somewhere on NBCOlympics.com if you have a cable login but I haven’t seen it anywhere else.

Has there ever been a gymnast who medaled in all five individual finals at worlds or the Olympics?

Yes to both. At worlds, Helena Rakoczy of Poland got five individual medals in 1950, followed by Soviets Larisa Latynina in 1958 and again in 1962, Natalia Kuchinskaya in 1966, Ludmila Tourischeva and Olga Korbut in 1974, and Elena Shushunova in 1987. Several others have come close, medaling on four out of the five, with Simone Biles of the U.S. being the most recent gymnast to do this in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

As far as the Olympics go, Mariya Gorokhovskaya of the Soviet Union was the first to do it in 1952. She was followed by Larisa Latynina in 1960 and 1964, Vera Caslavska in 1968, and Daniela Silivas in 1988.

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

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12 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

        • Pink is fine as long as it looks good. I thought that the 2014 Worlds Beam and Floor Finals leotards actually looked really cool even though they had pink in them. Unfortunately, if Nastia ends up picking the leotards I’m afraid she’ll go with the horrible bubblegum pink leotards that she wore in the 2008 all- around Final because of her own sentimentality.

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    • I mean, who knows, MAYBE LEOS ARE TOTALLY HIS THING. NO JUDGMENT!!!! But also based on some of what WOGA has worn over the years (the weird bug leo with a collar at 2012 nationals YIKES) I’m gonna say he has no clue what’s going on leo-wise.

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  1. Yesterday I was just reading some infos about various gymnasts and I remembered the question about gymnasts who medaled in all events when I found out Daniela Silivas got a medal on every eventi during 1988 olympics in seoul:
    Gold: floor, bars, beam
    Silver: team, AA
    Bronze: vault

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