It’s time for the 175th 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.
Is Gabby Douglas coming back?
Maybe. I personally don’t think she will, but lots of things can motivate her to come back, so even if she seemed like she was done after 2016, you never know what will get her back into the gym and pushing for a third Games.
The floor finals at 2010 worlds have always bothered me. Are the E scores and final rankings really as messed up as they seem to me? It felt like the two cleanest routines were Vanessa Ferrari and Aly Raisman, neither of whom ended up on the podium.
Yeah, the three who medaled did it on that extra tenth or two of difficulty compared to Aly, though Aly’s routine was far superior. Lauren, Aliya, and Diana all had at least one pass with a bad landing, whereas Aly showed the greatest level of control by far, and the E scores definitely didn’t reflect that. There’s a lot more that goes into a routine than landings on tumbling, and all three who ended up on the podium did have some very nice things going on, but I still think since it’s the judges’ job to rank routines on top of scoring them, if it’s THAT close, like within a tenth or less, they should rank by the overall quality of the routine, and Aly’s was the best overall.
As for Vanessa, I thought she also showed tremendous control in her tumbling, and that routine probably could’ve gone, like, 9.5+ in E score if she didn’t have so many tiny built-in deductions. But her difficulty was even further behind Aly’s, so it was a little more understandable that she didn’t get on the podium considering she had a 0.3-0.4 deficit whereas Aly’s deficit was only 0.1-0.2.
Anyway, even though Diana and Aliya had a tenth or two higher in difficulty, Aly should’ve been at least a couple of tenths higher in E and should’ve passed them by. I probably still would’ve given the gold to Lauren, but would’ve maybe had Aly in second and the other two tied for bronze with Vanessa right behind them. Rankings being off and all, though, that was SUCH an exciting final. Everyone in the top six being within about two tenths?! And it’s crazy that had Sandra Izbasa not gone OOB on literally everything, she probably would’ve medaled. So many contenders and I can see why it would’ve been difficult to rank them all appropriately and it’s easy to look back and be like here’s what I would’ve done, but not putting Aly on that podium was like…dude, what?
I wasn’t really an Aly fan until that moment and she just blew me away. Until that point I was kind of like, oh, cute, mini Alicia doing a recycled Alicia routine, but if it comes down to the two of them in 2012, it’s going to be Alicia, obvs. But that routine was the first time I was like ummm Alicia needs to watch out…and now Aly is the second most decorated U.S. Olympic gymnast of all time. Just bananas.
Who would’ve won, Viktoria Komova circa 2011-2012, or Aliya Mustafina circa 2010?
Tough one. They legitimately could’ve gone back and forth depending on the day. Ugh, that would’ve been amazing, to see them both at full strength at the same big international meet.
Could you design a team from this quad’s Olympics with an athlete from the U.S., China, Russia, and two wildcards from other countries?
Based on who’s competing at this moment, I would go with…Ragan Smith, Elena Eremina, Liu Tingting, Flavia Saraiva, and Nina Derwael. More just personal favorites, I guess, than any strategy on my part but they’d be a fun team I think. And great on beam with Ragan, Tingting, and Flavia!
How do gymnasts get accepted as walk-ons on NCAA teams?
They basically look into going to the school like anyone else would, but when they don’t receive a scholarship offer, they can talk to the coaching staff and make it known that they’d be willing to compete without a scholarship so if the coach decides to bring any walk-ons in to fill out the team’s depth, they’ll be on their mind. Often, coaches know pretty early on who’d be willing to be a walk-on. Like, at schools like Oklahoma or Florida, there are girls from those areas who grow up going to meets and while most of them probably don’t make it past the JO compulsory levels, those who do make it to level 10 make it known pretty early on where they want to compete. A top three school can’t really justify giving a scholarship to someone who won’t make lineups, so while that girl might get scholarships at lower-ranked schools and not at her top choice, it’s worth it for her to be a walk-on instead because it’s her dream school (and usually the girls who do this are in-state so they don’t have to worry too much about tuition). There’s always a way for them to make it known to the coaching staff that they’re interested, and more often than not coaches love having walk-ons to add to the program depth, so it’s usually a win-win.
Do you think Valentina Rodionenko was flat-out lying when she said Aliya Mustafina was training a triple Yurchenko in 2014?
Yes hahaha. There is no way in hell. Not after what happened with her injury in 2011. Also, in 2014 she wasn’t training anywhere close to her top level on her best events, so there’s absolutely no way she was giving 50% on bars and then 100000% on vault just casually trying for a triple. Aliya is amazing, but I think Valentina saw the whole conversation with people wanting McKayla to debut the first TTY and so she had to jump in and be like “how do we make this about me?”
I noticed Simone Biles sometimes steps on the Yurchenko mat around the little trampoline when she does the Amanar. Why? Would it make it harder to get power?
Maybe it’s accidental? I’ve never noticed it…usually when I have noticed gymnasts stepping on the vault collar it’s because it’s just a miscalculation and they don’t mean to do it, which is actually why the collar is required for Yurchenkos! If they’re off even a little bit in their roundoff, they can miss the board which can result in super serious injury. The collar gives them some wiggle room so if they miss the board, they’ll still have that bit of mat around it as like an extended springboard, albeit not springy. Actually, now that I’m talking about it, I vaguely remember Aimee Boorman responding to someone on Twitter or something, saying “I wish she wouldn’t do that, it freaks me out!” or something along those lines about Simone hitting the collar so I’m assuming it’s just a habit of hers to always be slightly off, haha. And yet she’s one of the best vaulters in the world.
During the NBC broadcast of the all-around final, Tim Daggett said something about the Chinese coaches being given bonuses after Beijing and London but later being required to pay those bonuses back. Why is that?
I hadn’t heard that…I knew they and the athletes got bonuses but I hadn’t heard anything about them being required to pay them back, so if anyone can enlighten me, please do!
Do you know if Lexy Ramler ever got credited for her van Leeuwen to Comaneci connection?
Yup! Pretty sure she got credit every time she competed it…bars isn’t like beam where a connection can really be slow or shaky and not get connection value. If a gymnast links two skills on bars, unless she falls or takes an intermediate swing between them, they’re connected. She competed the connection a couple of times that I can remember, so she definitely got credit when she hit it, but she also tended to struggle with it at times.
Do you need to stop the turn exactly on what the code says on floor, or do you get credit if it is 90 or 180 more than the code? What if the vertical axis is off in parts of the turn? Do you still get credit?
If they overrotate the turn, they’d still get credit for whatever they were shooting for. If they were doing a full and ended up doing a full and a quarter, or a full and a half, they’d still get credit for the full. If they overrotated a full 360 degrees, they’d basically ‘accidentally’ do a double turn and would get credit for the double assuming they hit it correctly, even though it was an accident. Deviating off of the vertical axis would cause them to fall out of the turn or fall out of relevé, so if they magically held onto it despite being off in the axis, they’d receive credit.
Using her 2016 routines, what is Simone Biles’ difficulty using the new code of points? How much will she need to upgrade if she comes back?
Vault: 5.8 and 6.0 (11.8 combined D)
Basically she wouldn’t need to upgrade at all, aside from adding front tumbling on floor (literally just a punch front tuck or something out of one of her passes, and she’s back up to a 6.4 or 6.5 depending on the connection once she gets that credit requirement back). That vault combination would be the highest in the world, the floor with real front tumbling would also be the highest in the world, and her beam difficulty would be second-highest in the world. She could keep her routines from last quad and be totally fine, again, aside from that one missing requirement on floor, though knowing her, she probably would upgrade at least on beam, where she’d have more opportunities to create a higher D through taking advantage of a wider variety of connections.
During a score inquiry, do you know if video reviews are in slow motion or regular time?
They’re in regular time.
Do you know what happened with Gabby Douglas and her GK leo line? What is she doing in general?
I don’t know specifics but it was probably something to do with her contract being up and either party not wanting to renew. As a two-time Olympian with Nike deals, I could see her value being more than what GK could give her, and while others with equal status stay with GK, it’s possible Gabby just didn’t want to agree to continue the relationship, or that they didn’t want to continue the relationship with her, since they also had Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, and Aly Raisman on their payroll. I know Gabby’s family was heavily involved with her career and leo lines, so just speculating, but it’s also possible GK didn’t want to have to deal with a whole team of people when creating lines? That can get complicated and frustrating for a company trying to create and market a product.
What will the competition format be for Pan Am Championships this year? Will there be a team competition? Will the bigger countries send their best gymnasts?
Ooh, SO close to coming across this question in time to get it up before! GRRR! Anyway, this year was event finals only, no team or all-around competition which is why many countries didn’t end up attending (and why pretty much all of those that did attend didn’t send their absolute top gymnasts).
If there are only four Olympic team members in 2020, does this mean all four have the opportunity to qualify for the all-around final?
Yes, it will still be four-up three-count in qualifications, meaning literally everyone on the team will be competing all four events in most cases, unless certain teams lacking depth opt to just put three up per each event and hope they don’t have to count a bad routine they could’ve dropped if they had four going. For more answers to questions about the 2020 Olympic format I’ve already answered a million times before, check out Clearing Up the 2020 Confusion!
Any idea when we’ll know if MyKayla Skinner is going for worlds?
She’s not. Right after NCAA national championships, she got all of her elite skills back, and the national team staff reportedly started sending her invites to the national team camps, but MyKayla decided not to go to any of them, and even though she knew she had a pretty good shot at a worlds spot (and probably a medal), she didn’t want to deal with the pressure and intense training that comes with being elite. I think she was also a little concerned that she might not get a worlds team spot and would do all that training and preparing and missing her fall semester for nothing if it didn’t work out. Twice in her career she ended up getting alternate when she put in the work and showed the results needed to stand out among others who got spots on teams over her, so I can fully understand why she feels this way and why she doesn’t really trust the process.
What is the biggest hit-or-miss event lineup where all three gymnasts could score huge or disastrously low?
Beam, absolutely. Pretty much any gymnast who is amazing on beam can come into the competition just slightly rattled and go from a gold medal contender to someone barely scoring double digits. Emelie Petz, the best German junior right now, got a 14.0 on beam at German Championships for a beautiful performance…and then a month later got a 10.05 at a friendly meet. #JustBeamThings I mean, Russia literally lost a medal because of beam in 2015, so yeah. It’s a rough one.
In 2013, it was pretty clear who was going to worlds for the U.S. but this year I feel it could be anyone. What do you think will happen? Will Valeri Liukin stick with just all-arounders or go with all-arounders and specialists? Do you have a personal favorite/hopeful?
In 2013, the top all-arounders in the U.S. were ALSO the best chances at individual event medals, so they didn’t really have any specialists to send who would outscore the all-arounders on each event, so they opted to do three all-arounders to see what would happen and the results were fantastic. This year, some of the all-arounders could also be top choices for event medals, but there are some great specialists who could medal as well, so I think we’ll get two all-arounders (whoever’s best at nationals and at the selection camp combined) and two specialists, with Jade Carey pretty much a lock for vault and floor, while Ashton Locklear is probably the best choice for the bars and beam spot if she’s back at a high level on bars.
Do YouTube ads affect NCAA eligibility?
No they don’t, unless a gymnast is already part of an NCAA program
Why is the Olympic order set up the way that it is, starting on vault and ending on floor? Why do the top gymnasts get to go in that order?
It’s something to do with pacing and momentum and building up, with the shortest event going first and then the longest and most taxing event going last. Though for the most part, it doesn’t really matter, and gymnasts have to be prepared to start and end on every event unless they luck into Olympic order in a qualifications draw or earn an Olympic order spot in an all-around or team final.
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Article by Lauren Hopkins
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