It’s time for the 223rd 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.
What is the start value of a DTY in the MAG code? Is it common for male gymnasts who aren’t vault specialists to vault a DTY or a Shewfelt?
It’s worth a 4.8 in MAG, and a Shewfelt is worth a 5.2. Most of the top vaulters will want to be in the 5.6+ range, and then the strongest all-arounders who aren’t necessarily vault specialists tend to be in the 5.2+ range, so the Shewfelt is generally pretty common. You will see several DTYs at meets from gymnasts who aren’t quite at the highest level, but many of them end up looking reaaaally nice, like at the level of an NCAA WAG gymnast doing a near-perfect FTY. The DTY I always think of in MAG that looks really pretty is Marios Georgiou’s…he generally pulls it off very well for someone who isn’t really a power vaulter. I remember seeing Dan Purvis doing a Yurchenko 1½ at the American Cup one year and I had to do a double take because it felt SO easy for MAG…I was like did he do a 2½ and I’m just blind? But nope. It was kind of adorable. You just expect all men to be at a slightly higher level than the women on vault so it’s always a little funny to see a guy from a big program doing something super simple, but if vault’s not your thing, it happens!
There are plenty of freshmen at Florida who haven’t competed in a while, and they seem to be adjusting to college really well. Do you think Florida would’ve done a better job getting Bailie Key ready than Alabama has?
I don’t think it’s a Florida vs Alabama thing, but rather a Bailie thing. I think Bailie is just still in a rough period with her gymnastics and outside of that, she seems to be adjusting really well to everything else…I think with her getting injured and going through a growth spurt pretty much simultaneously, it was really hard for her to come back to a high level, and I’m glad they ended up holding her back this season if she wasn’t physically or mentally ready. I hope she doesn’t end up becoming a medical retirement, because I have a feeling that could end up happening, but I think whether she’s at Bama or UF, the right decision this season would have been holding her out of competition and not pushing her too much.
Spencer of Gymcastic said recently that it may be impossible for USA Gymnastics to continue no matter what they do. How would that affect international competition this quad?
I’ve talked about this in other posts before but basically if USA Gymnastics stopped existing, the USOC would likely take over the day-to-day until a new organization can sprout up as a governing body. It would be a little messy on the level of how the overall system works, but I think the day-to-day for the currently competing gymnasts would be pretty seamless. That’s in large part thanks to the club gyms running the show, and then they’d put an interim staff in place to continue the team selection (likely the current national team staff). I think the USOC would just have to register with the FIG as the new national governing body for the sport until a new organization comes in, and then that new org will take over as the governing body, but that’s really it. The USOC will make it so that athletes will have no problem getting where they need to go even if USAG no longer exists.
Why did the U.S. have four competitors at the 2008 American Cup?
The American Cup didn’t become an official FIG world cup until 2011. Before that, it was kind of a free-for-all in terms of the competition rules, and there were no requirements in terms of how many athletes they could have from each country. If they wanted 20 Americans and five international gymnasts, that was their call.
Could you mention some skills that are aesthetically pleasing but not so great for your body?
Hmmm…I would say anything in L grip for sure. I love L grip giants and pirouettes but like, say goodbye to your shoulders! I’ve also heard Onodis can be really bad for your elbows with the way you have to catch while twisting.
Where is Macy Toronjo this season?
She had a minor injury and decided to sit the season out. She was at a number of the meets on the sidelines, though, and is still very much a part of the UCLA team! Hopefully she’ll be healthy enough to compete next season.
If someone on the national team receives the monthly stipend, does that disqualify them from NCAA?
Nope! Because it’s a stipend and not a legit salary, and because it’s applied directly to their training costs and expenses that go into being a national team gymnast, it’s not considered the same as a salary. They don’t work for USAG and aren’t professional athletes, but rather get a small stipend to defray training costs, which is okay in the NCAA’s eyes.
Do athletes receive scholarship money the year they redshirt? How does this affect incoming recruits?
They get scholarship money in the year they don’t compete, but if they decide to take a fifth year as a redshirt, that year may or may not be covered by scholarship depending on the team situation. In most cases, teams will have room and it won’t be an issue…like if someone is a freshman who ended up missing this season and gets a redshirt year, their fifth year is far enough in the future for this to be decided early enough and figured out. The new recruits for that year probably haven’t been decided, and so they hold a spot for this gymnast to have one of the 12 scholarships that season, especially if she’s a super productive athlete and a vital part of the lineup. More often than not, it ends up working out, though in some cases it’ll happen that an athlete will take a fifth year but the incoming class is set and there’s no wiggle room, so that athlete will still be able to take that fifth year of eligibility, but without any funding. For the most part, coaches are able to figure something out, but there definitely have been situations where an athlete ends up not taking a fifth year because logistically it just won’t work out.
Had Romania hypothetically made team finals at 2015 worlds, what would their lineup have been? If Anamaria Ocolisan wasn’t injured, how would she have contributed?
The hope was to have Anamaria on every event in qualifications, which is why it was such a bummer that she ended up being injured and unable to compete. She was really at her peak that fall both in her ability and in her consistency, and they absolutely would’ve had her go up on every event in qualifications. Instead, they could field only four athletes on vault instead of the allowed five because Andreea Iridon didn’t vault, but they did have Andreea do a relatively weak floor set, and they had Silvia Zarzu go up on bars and beam (yikes). With hit routines from Anamaria in those places, they could’ve counted another 1.5 points on bars, and then another 0.5-1 points between beam and floor.
Those points alone wouldn’t have changed the outcome of Romania making team finals, because they fell apart on bars and still would’ve had to count low scores from Andreea, Laura Jurca, and Larisa Iordache even if Anamaria hit, and they didn’t perform well enough on beam or floor to make up for those bars falls. But just having Anamaria there in the competition as expected probably would’ve helped take some of the pressure off of the gymnasts in qualifications…that was a big part of why they had nerves and weak performances, because they lost her right before the meet and were freaking out a bit mentally. It’s impossible to say that having Anamaria there healthy and solid in qualifications would’ve meant a perfect competition and a team finals spot, but those last-minute changes really messed with their heads and led to so many nervous mistakes and errors so I’m sure having Anamaria in the lineup would’ve kept them confident and a bit more solid than they ended up looking.
Had they made the team final with Anamaria in the mix, I think we would’ve seen Larisa, Laura, and Silvia on vault, Larisa, Laura, and Anamaria on bars, Larisa, Laura, and either Diana or Anamaria on beam, and then Larisa, Laura, and Diana on floor.
Why is there a random family on a couch at some NCAA meets?
Some NCAA programs will do a raffle during the meet where they call out a random ticket number and the family called with those tickets will win the prize of getting to sit on the couch super close to the competition for beam and floor.
For team competitions with the Russians at an Olympics with a ban, like this year’s Winter Games, are the medals awarded to the individuals but not to the country?
Correct. A country doesn’t get to officially count an individual’s medals in their overall medal count if that individual was competing under the Olympic flag for whatever reason. So Alina Zagitova gets to call herself a gold medal-winning Olympian from Russia, but Russia doesn’t get to claim her as ‘their’ Olympian…officially anyway. I’m absolutely certain they still claim her win in every other way aside from the official Olympic tally!
Why did Peyton Ernst switch teams in the middle of the year last season?
She was injured and felt that the way Florida handled it wasn’t to her liking from what I heard? I know she had surgery while there but I think there was something with her having to come back or train earlier than expected, I’m not sure. But both she and Florida agreed the situation wasn’t going to work out to make both of them happy, so they released her without much of a problem. She actually switched teams at the end of her freshman year, and then ended up missing the first half of her sophomore year, I think staying home in Texas to recover, and then she joined Bama in the middle of her sophomore year.
Who do you think are the most promising British and French espoirs at the moment?
Hmmm, lots of the British girls, I really enjoy Alia Leat and Mali Morgan…it’s hard to tell with some because their difficulty isn’t high enough to be able to tell super well but Alia is fab on beam and floor, and her vault looks super strong as well…I also like Sofia Micallef on beam and floor, and Ruby Stacey has done generally well for herself too.
For France, I love Djenna Laroui and Taïs Boura! They’re SO great and fun to watch. I haven’t seen a ton of the French espoirs, but they def stood out to me as having lots of potential, as have Clarisse Passeron and Kaylia Nemour. Oh, and I loved Silane Mielle and Emma Cozzi when I saw them with their club at Gymnix; neither had the best day or the highest difficulty, but both had really good moments in their gymnastics, especially on floor.
Do you think more difficulty and variation in front tumbling should be shown?
Yes! As someone who loves front tumbling, I definitely wish we got to see more than just the occasional front double full or arabian double front, which seem to be the most common front passes (and the arabian isn’t even fully a front pass haha). I get why gymnasts struggle with these passes, as it’s harder to build momentum into them and the blind landings on most make it difficult to land them well, but I hope we can see some more variety in the future. I’m glad we’re finally getting a randi on floor this year, and then there’s Brooklyn Moors crushing it with some originality in her front tumbling work, with the added bonus of a more difficult front beam dismount.
I saw that Jade Carey competed at a level 10 meet this year. Did she quit elite?
No, she is still training elite. She likely just showed up at a level 10 meet because it was with her gym or something, as a more exhibition kind of thing, not to actually compete level 10.
There was an elite a while ago whose music stopped during a routine, and she finished with just the crowd clapping. I can’t find the routine, but it maybe Sam Shapiro or Mattie Larson, and it was a cool moment. Do you have any clue what I’m talking about or what meet it was? I know this isn’t a lot of info but…Nastia Liukin was there.
I don’t know what instance you’re talking about specifically but that actually happens A LOT. I think I saw it at least twice this year just in NCAA; it also happened to a girl at Gymnix, and it kind of infamously happened to Brenna Dowell at worlds. It really sucks for the gymnasts in those situations, but I love that the crowd also gets super supportive and cheers them on even louder than they do for anyone else. Pretty much everyone at that level knows their routine well enough to make it through without a problem, so they can kind of keep the beat with their choreo, and they actually really just hear the music in their head and can make it through without much of an issue, though it’s still super frustrating knowing that you probably would’ve performed it better had the music worked, which is completely out of your control. But yes, the crowd clapping girls through it is always awesome.
I know the Chinese girls have the best layouts overall as a nation, but how does Ioana Crisan’s measure up to theirs? Does anyone else not from China have a good layout?
I think Ioana’s is pretty good for the most part. China definitely stands out as having the best overall across multiple gymnasts but occasionally gymnasts from other programs will just be good at them on their own (which in the U.S., where everyone trains at a different club gym, makes sense). This year I noticed Konnor McClain’s layout as being especially gorgeous at Gymnix, it was sooooo big and floaty.
Do junior and senior divisions have to do with age, or are they based on skill level?
They have to do with age. Internationally, anyone who is 16 or older in a given year is a senior, and anyone 14-15 in a given year is a junior. It goes by birth year, so in 2018 the senior age requirement is anyone born in 2002 or earlier, and the junior requirement is anyone born in 2003-2004, so someone can be 15 right now but turning 16 later in the year and still be considered a senior. Anyone under 14 isn’t eligible to compete in an FIG-regulated competition internationally, but they can compete as juniors nationally, and can also compete internationally at invitational meets (so someone born in 2005 could compete at something like Jesolo this year, but wouldn’t be eligible for the junior division at Euros).
Which of these is the riskiest, Larisa Iordache’s beam from 2014 worlds or Hidetaka Miyachi’s high bar routine from 2017 worlds?
Oh, Hidetaka’s high bar, hands down. It’s hard to cross-compare between different events in what are essentially two different sports, but that high bar routine was ridiculous.
What makes someone good at ‘swinging bars’? What makes a gymnast have a good swing? I heard someone say that you can tell if they are faster on the upswing than going down. Do you agree?
Yeah, the upswing definitely comes into play when judging someone’s swing on bars…some just happen to have that natural rhythm through the tap and back up over, whereas others can do it, but they make the tap look obvious and not as fluid. I always look for fluidity when looking for a good swing…someone who can make it look easy even though we know they’re working insanely hard.
Do most junior elites attend developmental camp or no?
It depends. If it’s a camp where they’re invited on USAG’s dime, then yes, they’ll go, but if it’s one of the camps where they have to pay and aren’t like, expected to attend, some might opt not to go for whatever reason (lack of funding, not ready to try elite, etc). Also, the developmental camps are mostly for very young juniors or pre-elites, not juniors elites…most junior elites will get invites to the national team camps.
Do they change the scores to qualify elite in the U.S. based on changes to the code?
Yup! It can be hard to say exactly how the changes are going to work; for the 2017 code changes, each routine dropped by about 0.5, so USAG dropped the total qualifying score for each division by two points (so a 53 to qualify in 2016 became a 51 to qualify in 2017). Even though the difference between last quad and this one ended up being a little more or less than two points given the specific gymnast (mostly due to the way beam is judged and credited, as well as a few other skill value decreases or increases across all four events), two points overall is a pretty accurate estimate.
Have there been any NCAA gymnasts who have continued to compete after getting married or having a kid?
Yup! Plenty who have gotten married, actually, including like half of the girls who attended Utah colleges over the past couple of seasons. After having a baby is more rare, but Brooklyn Doggette of West Virginia had a baby, took a season off, and came back for her senior year.
I saw Morgan Lane vault a roundoff full-on with a back pike off. Does this vault or that category exist in elite?
The category for a full-on is the same as just the regular Yurchenko category…basically it’s any Yurchenko that results in a back flip off the table, so no twist, full twist, or a double twist if it existed. Any Yurchenko with a half-on increment resulting in a front flip off the table would be considered in the Yurchenko half-on group. I’ve seen a couple of gymnasts vault a full-on in elite…the one who comes to recent memory is Victoria Jurca of Canada, who did the same full-on back pike that Morgan did in NCAA.
Definitely a cool vault, but Victoria always ended up really doing a half-on half-off into a back pike even though she meant to do a full-on. When her hands hit, she was definitely only halfway around, and then she’d do a quick half turn before doing a back pike, whereas when Morgan’s hands hit, she’s almost at a complete 360 (though usually would end up just slightly shy and would still be twisting a little into the back pike). Anything like this could end up being shady in terms of judging because if you’re an elite doing two vaults and one is a Yurchenko half-on and the other is a Yurchenko full-on, but your full-on is sketchy and you don’t twist enough onto the table, it could get credited as a half-on, meaning you’d be doing two of the same family vaults, incurring a two point penalty and effectively placing last in a final. That’s probably why most don’t bother in elite…it’s easier to just get a Yurchenko with all of the more difficult stuff happening when you come OFF the table, though it’s definitely cool to see it in NCAA.
The commentators at the 1998 American Cup were talking about Blaine Wilson starting every event from a 10, making him able to fall and stay ahead. Was he the Simone Biles of men back then?
No. I think at that specific competition, he just happened to be the only one starting from a 10 on every event, but that sampling of eight people wasn’t exactly representative of the entire international community. He was a good all-arounder, but he didn’t finish on the podium at worlds the following year and he was sixth at the Olympics in 2000, so he was good, but not essentially unbeatable in the way Simone was last quad. Nationally, you can probably consider him the Simone of his time…he broke all sorts of domestic records and he was kind of the king of the MAG program in the U.S. until the Hamms came along, but internationally unfortunately he just never managed to be a major player at worlds or the Olympics, though he did win a couple of team medals.
Do you know if any Italian female gymnasts have ever competed an Amanar?
None of them have competed it, but Asia D’Amato is training one and will hopefully compete it either next year or in the Olympic year!
How did you learn about gymnastics? I have a little knowledge so beyond very basic tumbling, I know absolutely nothing. What do you recommend to learn faster?
I knew a little going in, but mostly from the perspective of also just doing very basic skills myself, as well as dancing, so the dance element aspect of gymnastics came easily to me. I always watched gymnastics, but when I wanted to make myself more knowledgeable about it in a way that would make me able to talk about it and sound smart (in about 2006), I would just watch as many YouTube videos as possible and try to pick up on skills when the commentators talked about them. Also, USA Gymnastics used to do quick hits at nationals, so I’d get the quick hits they’d post and then find videos of the same routines and follow along, which was super helpful. I have lots of quick hits posted on my site from U.S. nationals so you could definitely just read through those while following along with the videos and you’d definitely pick things up pretty quickly! You can also flip through the code and see how skills are described. It can definitely be tricky to recognize certain skills, especially when you have to be able to tell things apart (like a double full compared to a triple full on floor if you’re not used to counting twists), but the more you do it, the faster you learn!
Who do you think has been the best Brazilian gymnast besides Daiane dos Santos?
Daniele Hypolito both for her longevity and international results, Jade Barbosa for SURE, one of their best all-arounders ever, Rebeca Andrade and Flavia Saraiva even if they haven’t exactly been fortunate enough to see huge results (yet)…these would be my top!
Is Elena Eremina okay? The Russians were posting on Instagram about the team supporting her.
She injured her back and had surgery. It looks like she’s going to miss worlds this year based on how severe her injury was, but I think she’s just getting back to training so hopefully she does it in a healthy way and we’ll see her back in 2019!
Why didn’t Vanessa Atler stop doing bars?
There weren’t really ‘specialist’ roles in 2000 so dropping an event wasn’t really an option, and even when specialist roles became more common, if you could physically do an event, gymnasts would still continue to train it and compete it even knowing they might never compete it on a team because having a full all-around program is far more valuable than just an event or two (just ask Alicia Sacramone in 2012 or Ashton Locklear in 2016). Generally the only people who choose to drop events do so because they can’t physically do an event, or because they’re at a point where they’re so weak on it their scores are laughable (like someone with a 15 on three events and then like, a 10 on the other). Vanessa’s problems sucked for her, but she needed to be an all-arounder to make that team. Dropping bars wasn’t an option.
Commentators talk about ‘slow connections’ on beam a lot. From a judging standpoint, is there a deduction for a slow connection or is it connected or not connected with nothing in between those two?
They might deduct for a lack of fluidity or a jerky pause in motion or something, but it’s mostly about just not crediting the connections. Someone who means to connect a split leap to a side somi, for example, might do a legitimately perfect switch leap, land it cleanly, and have no problems, and then take a second and do an equally perfect side somi, in which case she wouldn’t get any deductions because she makes it look like the two skills were supposed to be separate. She couldn’t get CV for connecting them, but otherwise she wouldn’t be touched in her E score. But if she does a switch leap, bobbles out of it, and tentatively tries to go into the side somi, taking a second between them, it’s clear that she meant to connect the two but faltered between them, so she’d def get deducted for that lack of fluidity and awkward movement on top of not getting the two credited.
What is the dismount at 32:20?
It’s a double layout with split legs. Split leg skills aren’t in the code anymore, but they were a little bit harder than a regular double layout because it’s harder to rotate with your legs in that position (it slows down your rotation in the air, basically). I think they got canceled from being things as dismounts or as floor passes because it’s like, are you doing a split-leg skill or are you just flailing around in a legit double layout? It’s hard to judge the technical ability and accuracy in a split-leg skill, so the FIG was like ‘bye.’
Can gymnasts do a run and roundoff into a jump to increase height and enable more complex and higher valued dance elements?
Nope, dance skills have to be done without any support skills going into them. Part of the definition of a jump is that a gymnast must launch into it from two feet, and part of the definition of a leap is that a gymnast must take a step when launching into it. It would be cool to see gymnasts get more power going into them, which could mean they could perhaps do a greater number of rotations while in the air, but it’s definitely not allowed in the current code.
How likely do you think it would be to see Aimee Boorman get the national team coordinator position? She only had one elite go to the national/world level. Is it possible a coach with more experience will be considered? How about Rhonda Faehn?
I’m not sure if Aimee is up for the role or would consider it, but either way it wouldn’t matter that she only had one elite at the national level. Other coaches will still be coaching their gymnasts to reach a high level, so the person who takes over will have to be good at strategizing for team selection, managing athletes and their coaches at the national level, and things like that. It’s not so much ‘coaching’ as it is managing and I think Aimee, from what I saw with her when she worked with Simone and other gymnasts at the national level, seemed great at managing people and leading a team.
I would expect an aspect of that role now would be someone who is able to connect with the team on a level beyond just telling them what to do within the sport, someone the gymnasts can communicate with easily and aren’t afraid to go to when things are concerning them. In that sense, Aimee would be a great option. But again, not sure if it’s on her list…she’s just someone people think would be good at that job. Now that there are accusations against Rhonda about her not doing anything in the Larry Nassar situation, I doubt USAG would make her the national team coordinator, though I don’t see her being booted from her current role (unless it’s discovered that she had more to do with the cover-up than she actually did).
Is junior worlds a thing now? When and where will the first edition be held? Will there be a way for gymnasts from smaller countries to qualify for an Olympic spot at junior worlds if they turn senior in 2020?
Yup! It’s in the planning stages for next year in Györ, Hungary. We’ll see if it happens or what they end up using it for in terms of a qualifier for 2020, but I would hope if it becomes a thing, gymnasts from small programs who turn 16 in the Olympic year would have the ability to qualify for the Games, since they’d have almost no other way to do it.
Can you recommend a site that focuses on rhythmic gymnastics news?
I don’t really follow any, since my coverage is focused on artistic and I don’t really have time to go beyond that even as a spectator, but I think there is a pretty active rhythmic fan community on Tumblr! If you know of any popular blogs or news sites that deal with rhythmic, feel free to comment below. 🙂
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Article by Lauren Hopkins
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