It’s time for the 182nd 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.
Why is the draw for qualifications announced prior to a competition? Shouldn’t teams be prepared to start on any event? Why can’t the draw be announced the day of?
Well, the most logical response is that without a draw, it would be utter chaos with training halls and podium training. All of this is scheduled in advance so that teams will have some sort of clue as to where they’ll need to be over the week or so leading up to qualifications. With close to 400 gymnasts between MAG and WAG, without a draw in advance, the training and podium training sessions would be a literal disaster. Also, there’s an element of fairness to it. By publicly doing the draw in advance of the competition, the FIG is showing that they’re not just cherry-picking certain teams into certain subdivisions.
Why doesn’t the U.S. send anyone to apparatus world cups?
They’re not very competitive at all, and it’s not really worth sending gymnasts who easily win world and Olympic medals to competitions where their biggest competitors would earn like three points lower than them on various events. Federations have budgets and can’t just send people to every single competition that exists, so the U.S. women’s program selects competitions they find the most valuable, which usually ends up being a meet with some kind of team competition like Jesolo, Pan Ams, or Pac Rims. They value team experience more than they value getting random individual medals at a meet where they’re getting like a 14.5 on bars against girls from like, Egypt or Slovenia getting scores in the 12s. That’s not really a ‘competition’ to them, and since the majority of their gymnasts can’t accept the monetary prizes at these meets — which is a big reason why other top programs send individuals — there’s really no way to justify attending them over other competitions that they find more valuable.
How does an NCAA gymnast get to be All-American?
There are a few different categories of All-American. The first is regular season All-American. This is determined once the regular season RQS rankings are in, with the top eight in each individual category (all-around, vault, bars, beam, and floor) making first team All-American and those ranked 9th through 16th making second-team All-American.
Then you have postseason All-American. Here, the top four in each individual category from both preliminary sessions get first team honors, while those who place fifth through eighth in each of the two sessions get second team (so again, you have a total of eight first team and eight second team, but this is a one-shot deal kinda thing where the only performance that matters is that one prelims performance).
Finally, there’s Academic All-American, which is based purely on academic performance. Schools nominate their best candidates, which is partly based on a minimum GPA, but at the same time you also want high levels of athletic achievement. Then SIDs vote on the candidates, first regionally (these are the Academic All-District teams) and then the first team Academic All-District picks those who advance to the national ballot. A student-athlete can be first, second, or third team Academic All-American.
There’s also the Scholastic All-American team, which is awarded by the collegiate coaches association, based purely on a minimum GPA. At the Division III level, only seniors are named Academic All-Americans, and it’s based on GPA.
You wanna know how I found this out? I googled “all-american” gymternet and saw literally five other posts I’ve written with this info! #LetMeGoogleThatForYou
Is there a series bonus on bars for connecting three or more elements like on beam?
There are no series bonuses on bars.
What have Huang Qiushuang, Deng Linlin, and Sui Lu been up to?
I believe Qiushuang graduated from Beijing Sport University and also sells skincare products online from what I last heard. Apparently she wants nothing to do with gymnastics anymore. Deng Linlin graduated from PKU with an International Relations degree…and I think she was planning on studying abroad from what I last heard? And Sui Lu studied Human Resources at Shanghai Communications University, and was learning English so she could maybe work overseas.
Could a U.S. gymnast with enough funding decide to go to an international meet on her own without her federation?
Yes, but it depends on the meet. She couldn’t go to worlds or a world cup without her federation sending her, for example, and the same would apply to other meets where federations receive invitations. Gymnix is a good example because they have two international divisions, one that’s invitation-only for federations (at both the junior and senior levels) and another where clubs can send kids regardless of invitation (the challenge division). So at this year’s Gymnix, the U.S. women’s program sent a team to compete in the junior field, and a couple of U.S. gyms sent kids to compete in the challenge division, including Sydney Johnson-Scharpf’s gym (though she didn’t end up competing) and Hill’s, which sent three gymnasts who had qualified elite but weren’t really at the national level. These kind of meets are great for experience. There are a ton of these meets open to non-federation gymnasts each year so I’m always surprised when clubs don’t take advantage of them for gymnasts who want to become elite. But some clubs do go through the process, and that’s always cool to see.
Do you think Dipa Karmakar is crazy for saying she wants to bring the Dragulescu to WAG when she can’t even land a Produnova properly?
No, there are plenty of gymnasts who want to do big skills or dream skills, no matter how likely or unlikely they end up being. Also, Dipa has dropped the Produnova for now and is instead going to focus on her tsuk double and a Rudi, but as the only gymnast in the past decade or more who could at least somewhat do the Proudnova, it’s not totally unrealistic that she’d want to upgrade, even if she would be physically incapable of doing it.
Why doesn’t Brazil send juniors to international competitions?
They do. I’ve seen them at quite a few. In 2016, for example, they went to the South American Championships, Pan American Championships, and Gymnasiade, which is a pretty good amount for juniors.
Are there any direct combinations that are 0.3 CV on floor?
No, 0.2 is the highest possible CV on floor, though I guess if someone connected a G+H or something crazy, she could submit a connection of that level of difficulty for evaluation so it would be worth more.
Where did your interest in gymnastics come from? Did you compete when you were younger?
I mostly did recreational gym because my ballet studio in Rhode Island had a gym attached to it, so from about age three to age nine I did basic rec stuff for fun once a week. I still remember the first time I stood on a beam and did dip walks across with my coach holding my hand, and that same day I stood on the low bar and jumped to catch the high bar with my coach’s hands around my waist. This is literally one of my earliest memories!
When I was a bit older I started competing for a different gym in Massachusetts but I only did level 4, was terrible, and didn’t last very long. But I still loved watching it, and actually even as a gymnast, I was always better at analyzing skills than physically performing them. The best gymnasts just do skills without thinking about them or overthinking them but even now when I take a trampoline class and have to twist through swivel hips or something I’m like yo my brain can’t figure out how to twist around that fast, so therefore my body can’t either, haha.
So gym has always been a very mental sport for me and after the 2008 quad I realized I wanted to start writing about it, because I spent most of my summer during Beijing trying to explain things to people watching for the first time.
Out of the five most recent gymnasts from the U.S. to medal at the Olympics in the bars final (Amy Chow, Terin Humphrey, Courtney Kupets, Nastia Liukin, and Madison Kocian), who would you say is the best?
Hmmm…tough one, but probably Nastia? That might just be more my preference of bars, though, because I like the style routine she did the most, but I think if everyone was competing at the same time under the same code at their maximum potential, she could probably outdo everyone in terms of D score and also perform it best.
On bars, does the number of giant swings before the dismount get a deduction?
Yes. They can only do a total of two giant swings before swinging into the dismount. If more than two are performed, it’s a 0.1 composition deduction.
What causes a gymnast to hit their feet on the low bar?
It’s usually because she’s tall enough for her feet to reach the low bar, but didn’t properly straddle her legs or pike her hips on her swing down. Tall gymnasts know how to swing without hitting their feet, but sometimes it just happens that they don’t swing exactly right.
Why would gymnasts risk a triple combination series on beam when the deductions outweigh the value?
Every single skill or series has a chance of being deducted whether it’s simple or difficult. If a gymnast performs a bhs + loso + loso with form issues on her loso, she’s probably also going to have form issues on her loso in the simpler bhs + loso combo. In that sense, she might as well go for the more difficult series so she can get the series bonus and the C+C bonus. That’s two tenths on top of the bhs + loso, and so if the loso itself gets 0.1 in deductions, she’s going to lose a tenth on a no-value combo for a bhs + loso, whereas in a bhs + loso + loso, she might lose 0.1 in deductions on each loso, but she also gains 0.2 for the series and CV. The first bhs + loso technically has -0.1 value, but the bhs + loso + loso comes in even at 0.
Ever since I saw Sui Lu compete a piked Grigoras, I’ve wondered what it would be worth. Would a G rating be too high?
No, I think a G would make sense for a piked Grigoras as a natural progression, but then again a Produnova is an F as the piked version of the Maaranen, which is also an F, so I could see the FIG just valuing it as an F.
Is Romania’s problem not a bars coach but that the girls don’t work hard enough?
The girls definitely work hard enough in Romania, especially at the junior level. The problem is that the Romanian coaches are limited in what they can do, and have no idea how to take talented juniors and transition them to the senior level with more difficult skills and better performance ability.
Was Madison Kocian close to winning gold with her bars routine? Rewatching it, she had small ankle form breaks and her feet were apart on her dismount.
Yeah, she was. It could’ve gone either way, and while she had tiny deductions here and there, so did Aliya Mustafina. When routines are that close, the judges end up ranking them based on who they think is better on that day, and that ended up being Aliya. I agree with the decision, and was actually surprised to see Madison outscore her elsewhere during the Games, but seeing the routines side by side, I think it was easy for the judges to select Aliya. Her routine definitely was stronger overall in terms of total quality.
Why are Onodis a D skill on beam? They don’t look very difficult.
They are difficult! No, it’s not the most difficult acro skill out there, but like a front aerial, it has a blind landing which makes it much more difficult than it might physically look. A full-twisting back handspring is physically more difficult, but many gymnasts find it easier than an Onodi because of the way it’s landed. Incrementally, a back handspring would be a B, an Onodi a C, and a Kochetkova a D, but even though the Onodi is half a twist less than the Kochetkova, it’s still considered as difficult because of the blind landing.
What happened with Catalina Ponor’s third pass on floor in qualifications in London? How did she still score fairly well?
She basically ended up doing a weird tuck full instead of her triple full, but even though it was a mistake, all she really lost was three tenths in difficulty (from an E down to B, I’m pretty sure) and wasn’t really otherwise affected. In fact, she probably got far fewer deductions on that simple tuck full than she would’ve on her messy layout triple full (which always looked super tucked with messy legs), so even though it was a big mistake and a major downgrade, it wasn’t a devastating mistake because she didn’t fall or make it look like something had gone horribly wrong.
Where do you see Catalina Ponor’s place in the next Olympics?
I could see her helping Romania qualify a team, especially if she and Larisa Iordache are working together in 2018 to help make that happen, and then once they get a full team there, I could see her contributing on three events in team competitions while also possibly contending for individual medals on beam and floor. Considering outside of these two, Romania has literally no one at the moment, she’d pretty easily make the team.
What would the value of this connection — L turn + switch leap + gainer loso + loso + loso — be on beam?
The opening dance connection would get 0.1, the switch leap to gainer loso wouldn’t be worth anything, both loso connections would be worth 0.1 each for a total of 0.2, the L turn + switch leap + gainer loso series would get a mixed bonus of 0.1, and then the triple acro series would get a 0.1 bonus, so this series would receive 0.5 in CV.
Online there is a list that has all past and present national team members and it said Emily Schild went to Twin City Twisters. When did she go there?
It was probably a typo. She was at Everest from the time she was a level 5 until finishing her career in J.O./elite to go to college at the University of Georgia.
Do you know why Great Britain didn’t send Phoebe Turner or Latalia Bevan to Osijek?
No. Could’ve just been that neither was competition-ready. They’ve both competed recently, Phoebe at the Dutch Invitational and Latalia at a world cup, so it’s possible that since Osijek was earlier in the season neither was prepared enough to perform at an acceptable standard.
Has there been any official talk about the Nastia/Valeri Liukin conflict of interest?
Nothing official that I’ve seen, but I think the problem became even more clear at nationals when Nastia was asked a question on air and couldn’t give a straight/honest answer.
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Article by Lauren Hopkins
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