You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

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It’s time for the 171st 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.

It was great seeing different countries each win gold at European Championships, especially those with smaller programs. Do you think these gymnasts will continue to do well throughout this year and we’ll see a lot more diversity this quad?

Yes! I hope so. I think a lot of small programs are on the rise, and many gymnasts are starting to get close to the level of gymnasts from the ‘big four.’ In recent years, the gymnasts from the big teams tend to also be the ones taking all of the individual medals, but now that Russia, Romania, and China especially are struggling more on the individual level with less depth and many recent breaks or retirements, it’s opening the doors for gymnasts from smaller programs to step up. Even the U.S. isn’t quite as stacked this quad, so while they still have a good chance at many individual medals, there are quite a few areas where they’re not going to be as successful as they were in the recent past…and Simone Biles taking a break frees up four individual medals a year just on its own, hahaha.

Is Rebeca Andrade currently injured?

Yes she is…but not terribly. They’re basically saving her so that she can heal and doesn’t get even more injured going into worlds. That’s why she skipped the recent selection meet and why she won’t be going to Pan Ams in August. Hopefully she’ll be back and healthy in time for Montreal because she has a great shot at medals this year!

What happened to Emanuela Parva? She had a really good swing on bars for a Romanian!

She was unfortunately one of many Romanian casualties in the last quad who was a great junior but then never really went anywhere as a senior because that country screwed up literally every junior to senior transition last quad. Her last competition as a junior was her last competition ever, at nationals in 2014, where she looked great on bars and also ranked pretty well in the all-around. I don’t know if she got injured or something and that’s what ended up leading to her not training anymore, but yeah, she never went past the junior level, sadly.

Why were three gymnasts dismissed from Georgia?

All I know is that it was Danna Durante’s decision for something related to attitude or lack of sportsmanship or something, but when Durante was let go and Courtney Kupets Carter came in, the athletes were given their spots on the team back.

The whole world knows Romania is weak on bars. Why has no one stepped up and said “let’s work on bars?” How has such a talented group of gymnasts been so consistently weak on one event?

Many people have stepped up and said that. The federation knows and the federation has tried to do something about it. I don’t know why they can’t get a top bars coach to come in and fix the situation, because they’ve tried, but it could be a salary issue since they’re government-funded, and it could also just be a location thing…plenty of coaches would uproot to the U.S. or Great Britain or something if asked, but I don’t think Romania is as appealing, especially for coaches who have to uproot their entire families.

Why have non-Big Four countries suddenly become frequent medal contenders?

It’s mostly thanks to the decline of countries like Russia, Romania, and China in recent years, as well as the strengthening of once smaller programs like Great Britain and Germany and others that have steadily been rising internationally over the past 10-15 years. If you want to get super into it, I think it’s a perfect example of how old school centralized training systems are being overshadowed by younger programs that have revamped how it’s done. China has noticed this, and they’re trying to emulate more of what the U.S. is doing, so hopefully that will bring them back to a higher level in the coming years, but both Russia and Romania refuse to admit that there’s a problem, so I think it’s likely that we could keep seeing smaller programs continue to grow while they slowly fade in the spotlight unless they change.

Will Catherine Lyons return to elite gymnastics?

At this point it’s been going on two and a half years since she last competed, and she hasn’t been training seriously. I’m going to say at this point it’s not going to happen, sadly. At least not at the same level she was at back in 2015.

I know some gymnasts find piking easier, but why do some athletes do full-in pikes off bars? Tucks go so much higher, and if you’re going to pike, why not just do a layout?

I honestly can’t even think of anyone that has done this dismount in like…the past ten years? I’ve definitely seen way more double layout fulls than piked fulls in watching the sport, with tucked full dismounts one of the most popular dismounts and layout fulls generally the upgrade from tucks.

What in the new code is encouraging the higher-difficulty beam mounts we’re seeing? Is it just a trend?

Pretty much all beam mounts were given a difficulty boost in the new code, so a mount that was a C last year is now a D…this is the case for I think literally every mount. It was a nice incentive to help gymnasts increase difficulty when doing mounts, because now instead of settling for an A mount to get it over with quickly, some might prefer doing a more difficult mount and having that count toward their routine difficulty so they can do fewer acro elements in the interior of their beam routines. A gymnast who did a random split leap beam mount last year will maybe now upgrade to a D mount that’s not super difficult so she can take out a D acro skill from her routine. Last year, all of the D mounts were more difficult and not worth the risk, but now that they’ve been bumped up, there’s a greater number of higher-valued mounts that aren’t as difficult or risky to compete.

Are the Final Five all in Belize together right now?

I need to start putting dates down for questions because I’m sure this was from months ago, but no, I’m pretty sure Simone Biles was in Belize at one point and maybe someone else, but I don’t think they all went together.

Do you know if NBC in their broadcasts ever used the video of Aly Raisman being interviewed by John Macready in the crowd in 2008 Olympic Trials?

Yup! It’s been in a couple of broadcasts…and I believe USA Gymnastics also aired it on the big screen in the arena, maybe during 2012 trials…I remember John Macready interviewing someone in the crowd in 2012 and then saying something like “maybe in 2016 this could be you!” and then they played the video of Aly. I’ve definitely seen it in numerous places.

What should the penalty have been for Elena Eremina practicing a skill on the podium before her beam routine?

I think it could’ve been around 0.3 or 0.5 but I don’t remember off-hand and can’t find it in the code which is weird. I can remember what the rule said but can’t find it anywhere…I believe it was under gymnast behavior on the table of general faults and penalties, but yeah, aside from a few other similar penalties I can’t find this one specifically.

What are the requirements for a beam routine?

To fulfill the credit requirement, a beam routine must have a full turn, two connected dance elements (one that must be a leap or jump reaching a 180 degree split), front and backwards acro skills, and a flight series of two or more connected acro skills. The maximum of skills counted into the D score is eight, and a gymnast must have at least seven skills in her routine to not receive a ‘short routine’ penalty. Among the 7-8 total skills, there must be at least three acro elements and at least three dance elements. Routines must also have a mount and a dismount, and the dismount must count toward the D score.

What’s the rule about elite gymnasts who have competed at the prior year’s elite nationals and then competing at level 10 nationals the following season? Can they compete in elite competitions in the same season? How does the rule get enforced? How does USA Gym know if any elites are competing level 10 while still elite?

You basically either have to be elite or level 10 in the U.S. Once you qualify to the elite level, you can’t compete level 10 anymore, unless you’re just doing a practice routine at your gym’s invitational or something like that. If you want to drop back down to level 10, there’s a petition process, and once you drop back down it means you’re not elite anymore. It’s pretty easy to enforce because at any given time there are at maximum about 100 gymnasts who have qualified elite. One of the lower-end elites who doesn’t qualify to nationals going to a local level 10 invitational won’t get in trouble, but it’s going to be pretty obvious if an elite shows up at states and tries to qualify for regionals and nationals. If that’s what she wants to do, all she has to do is drop back down to level 10 officially.

I noticed Reagan Hemry is a graduating senior for Oklahoma. Why haven’t I seen her in any lineups? Is she injured? Or was the roster too deep?

Reagan was a walk-on and not expected to compete much. Bars was her speciality but Oklahoma had such a stacked bars lineup, it would’ve taken multiple injuries for her to get a spot. She did a few exhibition routines as a freshman and junior, and was actually an alternate on bars in her freshman year, but never actually got to compete. She probably would’ve gotten to do it once or twice as a senior, since that’s when Oklahoma generally gives walk-ons a chance to make lineups, but she ended up medically retiring shortly before the season began. Still, she contributed in other ways as both a teammate and in having a solid academic career, which really helps out the team average. She made Academic All-Big 12 as a senior, which is like an academic achievement for athletes who do well in school. Often walk-ons who don’t end up contributing athletically are girls who can really help out the team’s academic standing, and that was one of several ways Reagan was able to contribute.

Where are the flight series at Euros beam finals? Catalina Ponor did three in a row. Is it no longer required for everyone to do three? Some connected three skills mixed between acro and dance, but not just three acro. Did that change?

Only one flight series is required, and a flight series includes a connection of two or more acro skills. Many gymnasts will connect three acro skills for the bonus connection value, but I can’t remember three connected acro skills ever being a requirement (at least not since I started seriously watching the sport and learning about the code).

Why did Danna Durante, the coach at Georgia, get fired?

I think the overarching reason is because while the team had some success under her leadership, in the five or so years she spent at Georgia, she didn’t really bring them to a competitive enough level. Basically Georgia has been kind of a mess ever since Suzanne Yoculan retired, and obviously coaches get a lot of blame for how a team performs. I guess at the end of this season, which wasn’t even necessarily bad but just wasn’t an outstanding one, Durante was a bit frustrated and ended up kicking several girls off the team for having a bad attitude and poor sportsmanship or something like that. My guess is that she felt the stress with her job probably on the line and saw that as a solution to kick the other girls into shape, but I think putting the blame on those gymnasts hurt her in the end, because I’m sure the administration saw that for what it was — grasping for straws. Kicking those three gymnasts off the team wasn’t going to save Georgia, and if anything, it probably hurt her as the administration attempted to figure out how to move forward. So I’d say it was a combination of her not having much success with the team during her tenure as well as making that bizarre decision at the end of this season, a decision that showed she wasn’t really in control of the team. I thought she seemed like a good coach based on what some gymnasts have said about her, but yeah, that last step of hers was kind of a mess.

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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14 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

  1. KJ Kindler also mentioned at senior night that Reagan Henry had concussion issues in her last year and was unable to even train, which would be another reason why she was not in lineups or even able to exhibition. KJ recognized Reagan for showing up for practice to be a motivator for her teammates even though she couldn’t train herself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know just from some of the girls how much of a contributor Reagan was even without ever competing — sometimes it’s those who do the less on the outside who can be most valuable to a team!

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  2. Wait, didn’t Alyssa Baumann go from level 9 to elite? How did she do that, or did she compete one level 10 meet, or is it more of an unspoken rule to go from level 10 to elite because it’s super hard to go from level 9 to elite…

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    • Yup. You can go from L9 to elite if you have the skills to build the difficulty…it’s not required to do L10. But most go elite a little older, by the time they’re already L10.

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  3. Can someone give an example of a gymnast who did a full-in pike off bars? I would be interested to look that up on youtube.

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    • I’m not Lauren, but it looks like history is just following through. Gymnastics has been around for a while, plenty of countries have slipped off and plenty of countries have come up throghout the years. Czechoslovakia was a country that was pretty strong, and after Caslavska was forced to retire the gymnastics program spit out one medal contender every so often before dying the Velvet Revolution. East Germany was a strong program that came up in the 60s and enjoyed 28 years of a very solid gymnastics system, producing many of the most iconic gymnastics legends until the Soviet Union crumble also did them in. Japan’s crumble was unrelated to politics, they were pretty good in the 50s and 60s and then for some reason just completely stopped after the 1964 Olympics, maybe because the growing emphasis on diffficulty that started when Korbut and Janz turned heads in 1968 as teenagers, and finalized after Korbuts superstardom that resulted from her Munich performances. The most hopeful situation is Russia who were really struggling to get funding under a generally new government system and underwent a period from 2005 until 2009 where they were weren’t producing that many good gymnasts and had 2 years where they didn’t medal at major meets, although their slight decline wasn’t anywhere close to Romanias, since they still had a strong junior pool and a decent enough senior team that at least kept themselves in the fight for bronze. Romania is currently in a crisis with their government going in a downward spiral, which is a huge worry for their sports programs since national sports fedarations are funded by their government. If the government goes downhill so does the funding for the gymnastics program- the same problem that occurred after the reunification of Germany and the split of Czechoslovakia. They also have a similar kind of problem with Japan, where the Romanians right now have extremely talented gymnasts that have routine constructions that just don’t work under the current code. If you want to look at the fact that it’s been over 30 years since Czech gymnasts have graced the podium than you can begin to think that the Romanian gymnastics program is dead. However there’s also Germany and Japan. Germany is back on the rise, and their pools been getting deeper and deeper, with Schafers beam medal from 2015 and Scheders Olympic medal last year are showing that the rebuff of their program is beginning to bear fruit. Japan is another country where after decades of being dormant, they’re beginning to make a resurgence, making a world or Olympic final every year since 2011, and they now have 3 gymnasts (Sae Miyakawa, Mai Murakami, and Asuka Teramoto) that all have potential to make an indiviual podium to varying degrees, with Murakami in particular owning the highest floor score this year. The biggest problem with this argument was that it took Germany 28 years to get to this point, and Japan more than 50, and they’re still not even anywhere close to a superpower status. And that’s to be expected when you consider that they were programs that went from having everything to having nothing in the blink of an eye, and honestly Romania has the exact same problems, both politically and system wise as both Germany and Japan did. Romania needs to build back up from scratch, and that could be a decades long project. So Romania could not be good for a really, really long time, but trying to say never again is too hard to try to predict.

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      • And thecurrent situation Romanian explains also why their bar routines have remained so basic, although this looks like a minor issue compared to the mess Romanian gymnastics is in. There’s not much money and the differences between salaries asked by international coaches and local wages are huge. Romania is one of the poorest countries of the European Union.
        The EC in Cluj may have given some hope but they still depend on 2 veterans, including one who will turn 30 this summer and who tends to practice beam only (I suppose that Catalina can provide very good floor routines and DTY on vault as part of a team but it will get difficult for her to qualify other than beam). I love Catalina and Larisa (especially Catalina) but there’s too much weight on their shoulders. As Zyxcba wrote, the situation is critical and there was so much waste of talent and wars of egos within the Federation and the Ministry of Sport. There’s a really good episode of the podcast GymCastic (ep. 196) about this with a solid analysis of a Romanian native, Bea Gheorghisor Editor in chief of the blog The Couch Gymnast.

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