It’s time for the 168th 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.
Can a gymnast get deducted for her attire?
There are attire-specific deductions, yes, but not like… “we don’t like your leo so deduct a full point for your trash style!” It’s like, weirdo things like whether the cut is really high and inappropriate, if underwear is showing, things like that. I don’t think judges are too focused on that though? Like, you might see it happen if something is truly distracting, but it’s bound to happen that a gymnast will have undies peek out if a leo shifts mid-performance and judges aren’t gonna be like “SAY BYE TO GOLD, JERK!” because of that.
What would this dream routine of mine have in the code? Layout full mount, bhs + bhs + back tuck full, roundoff + layout full, full spin + triple spin + double spin, switch leap + switch half + loso + loso, front aerial + straddle jump + split leap + side somi + stag ring jump, roundoff + bhs + piked full-in.
Elements- GGGFEEDD – 4.5
The total D score would be about 8.2. A few things could be off with the CV because I always forget random CV but that’s pretty much accurate, just give or take a tenth or two if I’m wrong about anything.
I know it’s still early but do you think the U.S. will dominate this quad?
Yeah. They’re not at the standard they were last year, obviously, but neither is any team, and most other teams are struggling far more than the U.S. is right now. Plus, while some current seniors in the U.S. will go on to continue leading in this quad, the senior picture right now will be incredibly different in a year or two as juniors come up and some of last quad’s gymnasts come back. I think the quality and level will eventually get back to where it was in 2012 and 2016, but even if it doesn’t, with all teams at their best last quad the U.S. had a ten-point margin ahead of everyone else, and no other top countries right now have a junior pool that’s going to rise up and change that. Even if the U.S. DOES go down a little in what they’re capable of achieving score-wise, they’ll still have a pretty hefty lead over the rest of the world. Other countries would really need to step up their games to close that gap and based on what I’ve seen so far from the potential of younger gymnasts, unless something drastic happens, this quad isn’t when that’s going to happen…but that doesn’t mean it never will.
Do you think what happened to Romanian gymnastics will also happen to Russia?
I don’t think they’re in as messy a situation because they have a little more depth. Romania lost its one strong all-arounder last quad, a girl capable of a 60+ AA, and had to replace her with someone who was barely a level 10 earning an AA score nearly ten points lower. If Russia lost Aliya Mustafina last quad, they’d at least be able to replace her with a solid alternate…last year’s Olympic alternates, Natalia Kapitonova and Evgeniya Shelgunova, could still pretty much get the job done and put up some pretty nice scores. It wouldn’t have completely bankrupted the team to lose Aliya the way it did to Romania when they lost Larisa.
Russia has some problems of its own and it’s gonna take a lot for them to get up to the U.S. level of dominance but they at least have some depth which will save them from having the issues Romania had last quad. Russia’s biggest problem I’d say is transitioning talented juniors to the senior level…there are so many girls with promise who you think are going to have awesome senior careers but then they peak at 14 or 15 and we never see them again. They also have a problem with putting together routines that fit individual gymnasts, and then obviously with conditioning and endurance, but they have enough gymnasts at a solid enough level to not need to worry about going into panic mode. There have been some truly worrisome years with lots of top gymnasts out of commission, and yet they still managed to pull off good showings at worlds.
What’s the rule about sponsor logos at world cups?
I think they can have a patch on their leo or something but it has to be a certain size? I don’t know the exact specifications but it’s the same as it is for worlds.
When is the new U.S. national team named?
The U.S. national team is named at the conclusion of nationals every year, so this year it’ll happen in August.
Do you know who the choreographer was for the 1978 Romanian team?
I believe it was Geza Pozsar…I’m pretty sure he was Bela Karolyi’s right-hand dance man straight up until they all defected.
Who is your favorite new U.S. senior?
I looooove Morgan Hurd. Yeah, she’s struggled a bit with consistency, but (a) it was the start of the season and everyone was struggling, and (b) I literally don’t care; consistency aside, she’s perfect. If she starts hitting all four events she’s a total package for me…lovely, powerful, clean, fun to watch, no real weakness…I love her and really hope she ends up having a great rest of the season and makes it to worlds.
How is Elena Arenas doing?
She was just at the national team camp at the beginning of this month and apparently did well there, so hopefully we’ll see her at classics and nationals this summer!
What type of coach is Cory Tomlinson? Is there a rule about how many cheerleaders a team can have on the floor at competitions?
He’s not a coach, he was a team manager, which is basically someone who helps out with whatever the coaches or gymnasts might need and is also there as a kind of moral support. That’s what the UCLA gymnasts ended up loving most about him. According to Miss Val, he brought the energy and ‘serious fun’ in that he was always around boosting the athletes’ spirits and pumping up the athletes in competition. Colleges can’t really have ‘cheerleaders’ aka randos on the floor with them just to be there for support, but they can have members of their staff, which usually includes the head coach, a couple of assistant coaches and/or volunteer coaches, and the team manager(s). During a competition, coaches and their entourage are all about making sure gymnasts are in the right mindset to compete at their best, so having someone like Cory around is super beneficial to their morale. Even if he isn’t actually coaching, his job is “as important as our top all-arounders,” according to Miss Val.
Do NCAA coaches get any real time off? If athletes take courses and train during the summer, who is coaching them on campus?
NCAA coaching is a full-time year-round job like literally most every job on the planet and they get a significant amount of money to do it. It comes with a few weeks of vacation time, which they probably take in the summer or fall during which assistant coaches would be put in charge, but when they’re not coaching in season, they’re recruiting, they’re doing camps, they’re doing admin work…it’s not just about coaching the team.
Why isn’t anyone doing the Mo salto? Did any non-Chinese gymnasts ever do it?
Mostly because it’s super freaking difficult, it rips your shoulders into shreds, it’s hella risky, it’s crazy hard to train…when gymnasts can do other skills of similar difficulty that are actually much easier than the Mo salto, it doesn’t make that skill all that attractive. It’s cool for street cred, but like, it’s only a G when you can get away with a crap ton of Tkachev variations worth an F. Is the extra tenth really worth all that additional work and possibly falling every single time you go for it? Most would say it’s not worth the risk. I don’t know of any non-Chinese gymnasts who have done it, but it’s possibly some have trained it? I’m all for crazier MAG-style skills making it into uneven bars but unfortunately unless they’re worth a ton more than the easier single-bar releases, I don’t think many will want to go for it.
Which elites are going to college in the fall?
Most notable elites include Alyssa Baumann and Jazmyn Foberg to Florida (they’re also getting Megan Skaggs and Vanasia Bradley), Bailie Key and Kylie Dickson to Alabama, Nia Dennis and Pauline Tratz to UCLA, Emily Schild, Marissa Oakley, and Ashley Foss to Georgia, and Stanford is getting an awesome incoming class that includes Taylor Lawson, Lauren Navarro, and Rachael Flam.
Other elites, both international and U.S., include Maya Williams to Arizona State, Kailey Gillings and Sydney Laird to Arkansas, Meredith Sylvia to Auburn, Emily Muhlenhaupt to Boise State, Alma Kuc and Emi Watterson to Cal, Bridget Dean to LSU, Sydney Townsend and Lauren Farley to Michigan, Lexy Ramler to Minnesota, Victoria-Kayen Woo to Ohio State, Abigail Matthews and Anastasia Webb to Oklahoma, Ava Verdeflor to Penn State, Sydney Soloski to Utah, and then Lacey Dagen is transferring to Oregon State. There might be some I’m forgetting but this is a pretty comprehensive list.
What is Larisa Iordache currently able to do on vault and floor?
I’m not sure, I haven’t seen her training either. I’m assuming she can bust out basic routines on both if she’s healthy and from what I’ve heard, we can probably expect her back on all four in time for worlds. As good as she’s looking on bars and beam, she wouldn’t need a tremendous amount of difficulty on either vault or floor to challenge for a medal at worlds this year, if she has a good day of course.
I started gymnastics when I was 14. I learn skills easily and have no trouble with balance on the beam. What is the best and furthest I can go in gymnastics?
It depends…you can definitely join competitive levels like XCEL or Junior Olympic, both of which have an open-ended age group, so if you keep training after you finish high school or whatever, you can still compete if you want, which gives you more time to get to a higher level. It’s rare that you’ll see someone who’s like a 25-year-old level 4 so that might be weird since everyone else doing J.O. at that level would be very young, but in the higher levels you occasionally get older women who compete. I know there was a level 9 who was a mom in her 40s, and Jenny Hansen was 38 I believe when she tried to qualify elite (though she was a L10 gymnast as a teen and competed NCAA). There is also club gymnastics beyond the USAG program, which has adult gymnasts of various levels competing both for collegiate clubs and for private clubs…they operate under NAIGC and have random meets throughout their season, including their own nationals which is super cool! I don’t know how they break down levels, because some gymnasts stick to more basic skills/routines whereas others do legit high-level stuff, but it’s another way to stay involved as an adult without having to put in all the hours it takes to be competitive in J.O. I know NAIGC gymnasts with full time jobs while raising kids who train a couple hours a week, which they can easily squeeze into their time otherwise spent adulting.
Do you know what Elena Produnova is doing right now?
She still lives in Russia and I believe was coaching in a city in southern Russia near the Caucasus but I’m not sure how accurate that information is.
Why do you think UCLA put Kyla Ross in the floor lineup instead of Stella Savvidou?
She probably had the better warm-up that day or training in previous days leading up to that meet. That’s often how lineup decisions are made…sometimes a coach will even have a lineup in mind, but in the touch warmup before that event, one of the gymnasts expected to compete might have a really bad day and so one of the alternates ends up going in. Someone can be a more consistent gymnast on a certain event all season, but if she’s having a bad week in the gym or a bad day in warmups, it makes more sense in that moment to go with someone who might not always be a first choice, but who’s looking good to go.
I started watching Michigan this year and fell in love with their competition style. I feel they are very underestimated and get less attention than teams like Alabama and Georgia, which in the past few years have been similar to or worse than Michigan. What are your thoughts?
It’s not because they’re ‘worse’ than other teams score-wise that they don’t get attention, but rather because they’ve never been a top program (meaning won a team title or have led a season at the top) and don’t have the history. With teams like Georgia and Alabama, they’ve been at the top of the charts for 30+ years and have won multiple championships, so even when they have a bad season or aren’t in the top five or whatever, they’re still going to be a program people know. Also, SEC gym is totally different from almost any other conference. There are rivalries there that bring in over 10,000 people to watch live, but in the Big Ten there’s nothing like that on that scale. Occasionally Michigan will have a great season, but for the most part they’ve never been an ‘it team’ and probably won’t become one until they make a bigger impression on the national scene. It’s kind of the same with LSU…a few years ago they were not a top program, and they didn’t get much hype at all, but as they keep getting stronger and consistently have been a top-five team for several years, they’re growing in the public consciousness beyond their regional audience. Michigan has had some great seasons, and for those seasons they got a little hype, but basically if you’re not either a current top program or a program that has tons of titles, you’re not going to be huge in the public eye outside of their own local crowds.
We’ve seen the Silivas and the Moors, but has anyone in WAG ever done a piked double double? What would it be rated?
Nope, and we probably won’t…it would be super weird. Twisting in a piked position isn’t really a thing, and it would be almost physically impossible for a gymnast to hold a true piked position for the entirety of a double double. For twisting, that body shape just doesn’t work aerodynamically, and even most piked full-ins are basically super open or even laid-out for the twist…and those that aren’t generally have pretty messy pike form.
Edit: I was thinking two flips each with a twist, forgetting that a couple of gymnasts have done a double-in pike out! That’s a way to get by it…it won’t look the same as a legit double double that we’re used to seeing, and the first flip will be pretty laid-out or not a true pike, but there we go.
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Article by Lauren Hopkins