You Asked, The Gymternet Answered


Larrissa Miller

It’s time for the 229th 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.

Where is Larrissa Miller?

She retired earlier this year. I was hoping we’d see her go forward for another quad, and she seemed like she was trying to come back and had been in the gym, but I think she had been fighting back through injuries and it probably didn’t seem like her body was going to hold out or something. It’s too bad; even though she got to attend two Olympic Games and didn’t retire until age 25, it still feels like her career was still far too short!

Is there a reason Aly Raisman and Alicia Sacramone both do a sort of jump at the start of their run on vault? Is it a Brestyan’s thing?

Every gymnast has a little quirk when they start their vault run. It could just be that they both do it naturally, or because they saw other older Brestyan’s gymnasts doing it and subconsciously began doing it themselves. A lot of little affectations in gymnasts are learned in that way! I remember being a kid, around four or five, watching the way the J.O. team girls saluted and I’d mock their salutes on my baby gym stuff because it made me feel like I was one of the big kids.

As gymnasts commit to NCAA programs so young, do they have to meet certain academic requirements to get into universities?

Not officially. The verbal commits happen before there’s any look into their academic standings. Most will end up working out, but it’s not until they actually apply to the university in their senior year and then sign the NLI that their academics are checked up on officially. Coaches do look into how academics are going for gymnasts, and for most, they’re up-to-date…but occasionally (like, super rarely) someone will turn out to be not at the appropriate academic level and in that case they’re told what requirements they still have to meet, and if they’re still not met by the time they’re supposed to be coming in as freshmen, they’re usually just able to defer for a year.

With an Amanar only worth 0.4 more than a DTY as opposed to when it was 0.7 more, is it still worth it to focus on upgrading or is it wiser to add difficulty elsewhere?

Well, initially in the 2013-2016 code, the women’s technical committee dropped it two tenths because they didn’t like that some programs — ahem, the Americans — were using vault to help get ahead, even though the Americans would’ve been dominant with DTYs. In the last code, the vault was five tenths ahead, so it was still worth upgrading for most, though not as much of a ‘necessary’ upgrade for U.S. gymnasts if they wanted to make a team. In the 2012 quad, if you didn’t have an Amanar, you basically had to be a bars/beam specialist, otherwise you weren’t going to London, because everyone had an Amanar…but last quad it kind of evened things out, and while the strongest gymnasts still wanted Amanars to make their overall potential greater to the team, it wasn’t absolutely necessary if you had a clean and steady DTY that could score pretty close to what the Amanars were earning.

For this quad, they decided to make the differences in vault start values increase 0.4 for every twist upgrade, so a half is a 4.2, a full is a 4.6, a 1½ is a 5.0, a double is a 5.4, an Amanar is a 5.8, and if someone does a triple, it’ll be a 6.2…and so on. The side benefit to this overarching change was that the Amanar also got devalued once again in comparison to a double, so now it’s like…the best will still do them and go after those extra four tenths in difficulty, but if someone has a great DTY and a terrifying Amanar, it won’t be worth chucking the Amanar when they’re going to lose all that difficulty in E score deductions.

How many skills does a gymnast typically do on bars, beam, and floor? Do they do more than the required eight skills?

On bars, most will stick to eight, unless they need an intermediate swing or directional change or something, and on floor you also see most sticking to around eight skills if you don’t count all of the necessary skills like the roundoffs and back handsprings that come in on top of the skills they’re actually counting as elements. On beam, it depends on the person and how her routine is structured. A gymnast who builds her difficulty on skill value will do just 8-10 skills generally, making most of them as difficult as possible, but keeping a couple just to get requirements out of the way (like an A+A jump series and an A pirouette or something). But then there are gymnasts who want to build their routines based on connection value, and so they’ll have a couple of higher difficulty skills, but the majority of their skills will be at the A, B, or C level, and they just do a ton of combos to get more difficulty that way. Liu Tingting had something like 17 skills in one of her routines last year.

Is Margzetta Frazier training an Amanar?

I heard at one point that she was…but I don’t know how far it got or if it’s ready for competition this summer! Her DTY is strong, and Parkettes was able to get a great Amanar out of Elizabeth Price, so I hope we see one from Marz either this year or next!

Other than Peng Peng Lee, who else has gotten to do a sixth year in NCAA?

Honestly, no one that I can think of…I’m sure SOMEONE has but I’ve been watching NCAA pretty religiously since 2008 or 2009 and I can’t think of anyone who was granted one, at least no one that was really in the spotlight and would’ve had this super publicized or anything. (Edit: Mary Jane Horth of Illinois was granted a sixth year this spring!)

If the countries that sent teams to Rio could only send one gymnast to that same Olympics, who would each one send?

I’m going to put my answers based on what we knew going into the Games, not what we know in hindsight, so you might question some of these responses. Like, for GB going into Rio I would’ve been going for Ellie Downie all the way, but obviously Amy Tinkler ended up being the standout who won a medal which was a bit of a surprise if we remember how crazy strong Ellie looked going into those Games.

United States- Simone Biles
China- Shang Chunsong
Russia- Aliya Mustafina
Great Britain- Ellie Downie
Germany- Elisabeth Seitz
Japan- Mai Murakami
Netherlands- Sanne Wevers
Brazil- Rebeca Andrade
Canada- Ellie Black
Italy- Vanessa Ferrari
France- Marine Brevet
Belgium- Nina Derwael

Was Shawn Johnson the first U.S. female to compete the Amanar and the first U.S. female to compete the Silivas on floor?

She was the first to compete the Amanar in the U.S., but I believe Alexis Brion competed the Silivas before her…Sam Peszek also competed it around the same time as Shawn, if I remember correctly, but I don’t remember who was first!

What happens if one of the individual all-around qualifiers at NCAA regionals also wins an event?

Nothing happens — she qualifies as an all-arounder and just also happened to win that event as well but she doesn’t like…double qualify on that event or anything, haha.

What would Vodenitcharova’s D score from the 1988 Olympic floor final be today? What E score would you have given her? Could she have made the 2017 worlds floor final?

She’s missing some CR without any front saltos in her routine, so she starts out with a 1.5 CR, and though her tumbling is difficult, her dance isn’t at all. They’re all just A or B skills, so she has just a 2.3 in skill value, and she has no connections, making her total D score a 3.8. Execution-wise, based on today’s code, you’d have to take off for the lunges in her tumbling, and on top of that her body line is a bit bumpy in her triple (though the rotation and landing are gorgeous) and then she’s also a bit messy in her full-in, which is supposed to be a pike but she tucks early on and has bent knees throughout and a really low landing in her chest…today’s code would be pretty rough on those second two passes, but I think her dance elements are great and judges would be pretty lenient…I’d probably give it around an 8.6 to 8.8 range? At the higher end of that range, she’d have about a 12.6 total score, making her about a point shy for making last year’s worlds final, but really, that’s pretty much all related to her dance. With more difficult dance elements, doing that level of tumbling, she’d definitely have a fair shot.

What does it mean if someone has good ‘air awareness’?

It basically means they know where they are in the air during skills. Knowing where you are in the air is important because it means you’ll know how to land safely. I think pretty much anyone who is an elite gymnast has great air awareness, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to do gymnastics at that level…it’s like the gymnastics version of being coordinated. If you’re playing softball and someone hits the ball to you and you’re out in left field with your glove up but end up missing it by a mile, you’d probably get ‘lost’ in the air as a gymnast quite a bit (HI, this is about me). Bad coordination is the best way to think about it. When you train in gymnastics, you can actually improve your coordination/air awareness, and drills will help your muscle memory so that if you start out as someone with bad air awareness, you can potentially grow in that area and become able to do more difficult skills. I could never manage to make that happen personally, though, and even now in trampoline class I still misjudge the most basic jumps and either prepare to land way too early or don’t prepare early enough and end up crashing, hahaha…and flipping is even worse.

Are there any American girls right now competing a DTY who could potentially upgrade to an Amanar?

I said this previously but I’d love to see Margzetta Frazier upgrade eventually. I think Leanne Wong could also get there, I’m hoping Morgan Hurd eventually tries one, Jordan Bowers seems promising (though she basically JUST got her DTY so let’s not rush it)…maybe Emma Malabuyo too? Her DTYs have always been fantastic.

It seems like everyone who routinely does inbar skills ends up with back problems. Is it just a by-product that everyone who does them has to deal with eventually? Are there techniques that can limit the risk?

The skill really requires hella low back flexibility. The skill itself may lead to some back issues, but if gymnasts just happen to be dealing with any back issues in general (which most are), doing inbars really exacerbates that pain. I think that’s more the situation than inbars causing the problems, though I’m sure there are a few out there who never had a major back problem until they started doing inbars.

How do gymnasts compete for the Air Force Academy? To be considered you have to have a letter signed by a state senator. Do they recruit? Do the gymnasts want to be in the Air Force and then compete there?

They’re recruited as cadets into the Air Force in addition to going to the school for gymnastics. The gymnastics program does its own recruiting for the sport itself, just as other colleges do, but the gymnasts have to be right for the Air Force Academy in addition to being right for the gymnastics program. They have military training in addition to academics and athletics, so it’s incredibly intense, but they can major in subjects that aren’t directly related to the military, and alongside aeronautical engineering and operations research, they also have English and philosophy majors, and though every graduate of the AFA is guaranteed a job as an officer in the Air Force, not everyone will go from the AFA into a military career.

I just realized you get a deduction if you don’t catch a Pak at a certain angle. What do you think about this?

The skill is supposed to be done at a certain angle (I think it’s like 45 degrees from vertical or something but I forget the actual description) so it would make sense that someone not catching it at that angle (whether they’re too vertical or too horizontal) would get a deduction in the same way skills meant to be caught in vertical, like the bail, get deducted if they’re not caught at that exact angle.

What execution score would judges give Vladislava Urazova for her 2017 Voronin Cup floor routine? Could she get over a 9.0 E score for that?

I just quickly judged it and got 8.6, and would say somewhere in the 8.4-8.7 range would be acceptable depending on how picky judges were being (I wasn’t super picky on her dance elements). It was an excellent and hit routine but she has lots of little technical things that add up, and then tiny execution errors as well. With perfect landings on everything, she could probably get close to a 9, and then with a little bit of form cleanup — like her ankles on twists — she could go above a 9 for sure. Her finals routine at Jesolo was pretty similar, and she scored an 8.567 E there, so a 9 isn’t out of the realm of possibility with a few little tweaks.

How does the recruiting process work for NCAA? What has been the deciding factor for student athletes? How do coaches make their programs look competitive to recruits?

From the coach’s perspective, they’ll go out to J.O. and elite meets in the U.S. and start watching kids at very young ages…if there’s a nine or ten-year-old climbing the J.O. ranks and performing well at level 9 Easterns or Westerns or in level 10 at J.O. Nationals or a TOPs kid who shows tremendous promise, those coaches will spot those kids early and keep an eye on them.

They’ll start by sending info packets about the school to the gym addressed to the athlete, but they can’t reach out and chat with them until July 1st after their junior year of high school, so if a gymnast is really interested in a certain program, she (or her parents, really) have to contact the coaches directly, which they can do when the athlete is still young (which is why it’s not uncommon to see kids commit when they’re 12 or 13 sometimes).

The info packets they send will help kids learn more about the program and will inspire some to reach out, but then kids will also know certain programs from a super young age, so if a kid has dreamed of going to Oklahoma since she first started driving up from Dallas for meets when she was five, she and her parents might call KJ Kindler when she’s 11 or 12 to let them know they’re interested.

Once the athlete is old enough, they can come to the school for an official visit, touring the campus, getting to know the coach and team a bit better, seeing the facilities, and so on. The reason an athlete chooses a school varies from athlete to athlete…some want the location, some want the academics, some love the coach, some have friends on the team, some have wanted to be on the team since they were children, some want to be on a winning team even if it means they won’t get a lineup spot…it really depends on what they prioritize. A coach can do whatever they want to make their program look competitive to recruits, but if the program doesn’t have what the recruit wants, they’ll go to the school that’ll fit their needs the best.

Can you think of a gymnast who has had just a normal, low-ish difficulty routine but then just one big skill? Is that possible?

Some will do that…like on bars, I’ve seen gymnasts before with relatively average routines and then they’ll randomly have a Bhardwaj. It’s definitely not super common, but often someone who might not have big skills will be training them in the gym and will slowly try to upgrade her routine by adding in one big skill at a time.

I’ve realized Abigail Matthews didn’t travel with OU to competitions and hasn’t been at some home competitions. Did she leave the team?

She’s still on the team as far as I know. I didn’t ever hear why she didn’t compete this season, but chances are it’s injury related or something like that.

What is the yellow U around the vault springboard called? What is its purpose? Why is it only used for Yurchenko vaults?

It’s a safety collar. It’s used for Yurchenko vaults because if a roundoff onto the springboard ends up being slightly off, the gymnast’s feet could miss the board completely on the back handspring, which could result in a pretty serious injury if there was no safety collar there.

When Julissa Gomez missed her foot on the springboard while attempting a Yurchenko in 1988, she broke her neck and later died of her injuries. The safety collar was introduced after this so that anyone else who messed up a roundoff and missed her feet would still have something to punch off of rather than missing completely. Simone Biles’ feet actually came close to missing the board at times…she always had like, a toe hanging off onto the collar, not that she was ever in any danger or anything, but it just highlighted why that safety collar is important.

Gymnasts don’t need it for handspring/tsuk vaults because they’re not doing a roundoff onto the board…they run towards the board, and jump onto it. There’s a minuscule risk of them missing their feet on these vaults, but even if they do stumble, they just fall forward onto the table. A gymnast doing a Yurchenko, however, is doing a roundoff and then a back handspring, so if she misses her feet on the back handspring, the momentum is still carrying her backwards head first into the table, which is a broken neck waiting to happen.

Does Jordan Bowers remind you of McKayla Maroney?

Yes, absolutely…she physically looks like her, at least facially, and the way she carries herself and performs is also a bit reminiscent of McKayla. There’s a confidence and sass to her, but also a happiness and joy that we saw when McKayla was competing.

I read Simone Biles is working on an extra half twist for both of her vaults. What would they even be called?

An extra half twist on the Amanar would be a Yurchenko triple, and an extra half twist on the Cheng would be a Yurchenko half-on front layout double full. Neither of these is named for anyone, so if Simone can successfully compete them at worlds, a world cup, or the Olympics, she can get them named for her.

Can an NCAA walk-on gymnast compete for more than four years? Can a graduate student compete without a scholarship?

Yes, a walk-on athlete can redshirt, and can get a fifth year of eligibility, though this is rare in gymnastics. A graduate student can compete as a walk-on athlete if they still have eligibility remaining/haven’t competed all four years in undergrad.

There’s a common 90s bars transition where a gymnast did a kip on the low bar, piked or straddled over the bar, and caught the high bar. It has completely disappeared, but I’ve never seen it on the lists people like to make of banned moves. Do you know what happened?

It’s not banned…it’s just too simple a skill for anyone to include in a routine at this stage, at least in elite competition. If it’s in the code anymore, it’s probably an A…but like squatting onto the low bar and jumping to the high bar, this has kind of disappeared for being too simple a transition.

If I were to make a lot of gymnastics compilations on YouTube, would it be possible to make a profit if they became popular?

I mean, I guess? But if none of the footage is your own and you’re using it to profit, you could probably be sued.

Was McKayla Maroney the youngest person to compete an Amanar?

I think she was what, 13 when she started competing it? I believe Jay Jay Marshall first started competing it when she was 12, and a couple of others started at 12 as well, but McKayla is definitely ONE of the youngest.

How many deductions does Shallon Olsen get for her ‘quarter-on’ Cheng? Is it at risk of being downgraded to a DTY with early twisting?

I don’t think it’s a risk for being downgraded — at least not the majority of the times I’ve seen her do it — but it’s definitely a deduction to start twisting that early (I’d say 0.1 to 0.3 depending on the severity) and if she does it any sooner, it could become a risk.

When a gymnast gets injured does it affect her for the rest of her career?

It might, but it might not. It really depends on the gymnast, the injury, how good she is at mental recovery in the sport, how supportive her environment is in the gym and at home…lots of things. I’ve seen gymnasts tear their Achilles and come back a year later like nothing ever happened, physically or mentally, and I’ve seen gymnasts hit their heads and get nothing more than a bump, but then fear ever tumbling backwards again and quit. Not everyone is going to respond the same way to an injury, though most elites who get injured end up at least trying to come back and are able to fight through the mental side of it pretty well, even if physically they’re not able to get back to an earlier competitive level.

What do you think is the ideal body type for gymnastics?

I don’t think there is one, honestly, aside from being fit enough to endure the physical demands of the sport. If you look at the international competition over the past five years, there have been so many different women with vastly different body types all doing super well…some were tiny and looked like they were still pre-pubescent, some were muscular as hell, some were tall and more ‘womanly’ in terms of having curves and a lack of overt musculature, some were tall and very lean, some looked like ‘regular’ teenagers…

I think some events will favor one body type over another (like it doesn’t hurt to have Simone Biles’ body on vault and floor or to be long and lean on bars), but body type doesn’t win the competition. I wouldn’t consider Aliya Mustafina a ‘long and lean’ gymnast, and yet her lines on bars are better than most and she has tremendous talent there, which is why she wins. Staying healthy by doing strength and endurance training regularly is what’s most important for gymnastics in general.

Why do gymnasts in foreign countries train in a sports bra and shorts?

Most countries or programs don’t have rules for training gear. In the U.S., since most gyms are club gyms with rec kids and lower level J.O. kids, they have rules about leos to keep things uniform in the same way most other sports do (I know when I was in ballet, if you were in the lowest level, you had to wear a light pink leo, the next level up had emerald green, up from that had royal blue, and the highest level had black). Since everyone in the U.S. is still training at club gyms as elites, they still generally abide by the club gym rules for attire, which is a tank leo, hair up, no jewelry, and so on, and then the national program also requires a certain ‘look’ for practices at the camps. But most countries don’t have clubs and don’t have any sort of rules, and also, training leos can get really expensive, so even though they’re the best option because they replicate what you’d be wearing in a competition (minus the sleeves, anyway), it’s cheaper to just put a kid in bike shorts and a ballet leo or something at the lower levels, and then at the upper levels as they get older they’ll do bike shorts and a sports bra. Many college gymnasts will train in shorts and a sports bra, but some continue to prefer tank leos because again, it best replicates the feel of a competition leo.

Say a gymnast did three stalder skills in her bars routine and then did a Pak to stalder to van Leeuwen. Since the stalder wouldn’t get credit, would the series still get CV?

Well, a stalder is only worth a C, so there is no connection bonus for a Pak to stalder or stalder to van Leeuwen. But let’s upgrade that to a Pak to stalder full to van Leeuwen to make this question work, shall we?

I read early on that the connections would still get credit even if an extraneous root skill wasn’t recognized as a skill in the routine, just like how a random back handspring in a triple series on beam would still count toward the triple mixed series bonus even if the back handspring was a repeated skill having been previously done in the routine and wouldn’t be counted toward the D score.

I’m not sure if anything changed in that respect or if that’s not exactly how it will work out…I did see at one point last year that a gymnast who did three stalder skills and then did a stalder full didn’t get the credit requirement for the full pirouette because that stalder full wasn’t recognized after three previous stalders were competed…but since the intermediate stalder full in the Pak to stalder full to van Leeuwen series would be for the purpose of connecting skills, I could see why it would be allowed? But then again, if the skill simply wasn’t recognized for being a repeated root skill beyond the original three, then if it’s not recognized, period, they might not give it credit for a connection.

Honestly, with all of these ambiguous issues that aren’t fully spelled out in the code, it’s best for gymnasts to just stick to the rules and not try to break them. If the code says skills beyond three root skills won’t get credit, just don’t do more than three root skills. I honestly wouldn’t try to push it with that intermediate stalder full in a connection series if there’s a slight chance I wouldn’t get that credit unless I’ve spoken to a judge and confirmed that it was okay. There are a bunch of ambiguous code issues like this and my best advice for anyone looking for loopholes is to just stick to exactly what the code says until you can speak to someone in the women’s technical committee and have them further explain the rule and its exemptions.

Why do a lot of gymnasts do either NCAA or elite, but not both?

It’s almost impossible to train the 20 required hours in college, take on a full academic course load, and then also train an additional 15-20 or so hours that would get you to an elite level of difficulty. If you’re on an NCAA team with a coach who is willing to work with you at the elite level, it’s possible, but it generally won’t work out unless you’re from a country that isn’t the U.S. and the requirements for making a major international team wouldn’t be as intense.

Brittany Rogers was in a great situation in 2016 because she was at an NCAA program that allowed her to not only train her elite routines, but to perform a number of her elite skills in her NCAA routines, which many coaches wouldn’t allow because routines like that tend to get hella deducted in NCAA competition. She was also blessed to compete for Canada, which needed a solid vaulter and bars worker, which is exactly the skill set she could provide. She was able to work on those two events in college, and then she was also able to put together a useable beam set, and she was a perfect fit for the team.

Unfortunately, while it wasn’t EASY for Brittany to make the Canadian team, in the U.S. the depth is so insane that it’s much harder. Basically, you either have to be a top-three all-arounder or a specialist with medal potential to make the team, and it’s hard to get to a place like that if you’re not fully focused on elite. Some have tried, but even MyKayla Skinner right now has managed to keep up pretty close to her elite level of difficulty on her two best events, and I don’t think even she would be a guarantee for a worlds team right now because the depth is so strong.

Also, once a U.S. elite gymnast gets to college, even if she has every intention of returning to elite, she often gets used to college and realizes she never wants to go back. College gym is way less demanding and you can have time for fun and other interests rather than just focusing on gym. For like 99% of gymnasts, it’s nearly impossible to get that push to go back to elite once they’ve experienced the other side of things. Even when they want to do it, they realize they don’t want to go back to that intense training environment, or deal with that pressure. It’s basically really really hard to make that switch from NCAA back to elite, and so those with the greatest intentions of doing both at the same time or taking a year off to train for the Olympics end up just staying in college because they end up valuing that more than they value going to worlds or the Olympics.

What would’ve happened if Madison Kocian redshirted this year but still wanted to graduate on time? Would she be required to compete another year after that?

Well, there’d be no point to redshirting if she was just going to leave after her set four years anyway. She could’ve sat this entire season out due to her injuries and NOT redshirted if that’s what she wanted to do. I think she didn’t sit the entire season out, redshirt or not, because she knew she’d be healthy enough to compete at some point and actually wanted to get out there to compete.

It seems like Kim Zmeskal has a more nurturing approach to coaching than most. Is this appearance accurate based on what you’ve seen?

Yup! For sure. At nationals everything is often pretty tense but I’ve overheard Kim making little jokes with her kids and having a bit of fun with them to kind of keep the pressure down. I know she has a tough side to her, and she’s a very no-nonsense coach, but I think she is good at finding that balance between business and enjoyment, and she truly wants kids to enjoy the sport. When I talked to Deanne Soza last summer, she said she was so stressed out at her old gym, but working with Kim helped her find her love for the sport again and enjoy herself while training and competing. For Kim, I think it’s clear that medals aren’t everything, and while she wants her top girls to get to make those big teams, she doesn’t require all of her gymnasts to work towards the uppermost objectives in the sport. If a gymnast’s goal is to just qualify elite and have a good competition, that’s what they work on…I saw Kim just as happy getting Macy Toronjo through a hit performance at nationals as she was when Ragan Smith got an Olympic alternate spot. I think that’s a super healthy attitude to have in this sport, knowing that not every kid is going to be a number one competitor, and helping them realize their own goals rather than pushing them to something they won’t be likely to achieve, or worse, kicking them to the curb if they’re not ‘worthy’ of elite.

How are elite and level 10 judges able to find so many little deductions with only one chance to see a vault, which lasts about five seconds?

They’re able to just train their eyes for that kind of thing. Even just reporting on the sport not as a judge, while I can’t always see every single thing wrong in that first attempt, especially given the fact that you sometimes have an awkward angle, I can almost always spot which vaults are strongest in comparison to the other vaults in that session. Like, at worlds last year, despite sitting super far from vault at a weird angle, I knew Sae Miyakawa’s Rudi should’ve outscored Maria Paseka’s Cheng considerably in terms of the E score and was so shocked that they scored the same…but I was like, meh, it’s probably just my angle and I must have missed something wrong with Sae. But then I went back and watched both vaults and was like oh, damn, Sae’s actually was vastly superior and the judging was just insane, though a lot of Maria’s faults were stuff you would’ve seen from a front-on angle, and since they are sitting along the side, it would’ve been more difficult to see what was wrong. Angle is more of an issue than anything when judging vault, but again, with the timing, if you’ve been training as a judge for quite some time and have that experience judging day in and day out, it’s not going to be difficult for you to pick out the faults quickly.

What do you think of the way women’s back tumbling is upgraded from one progression to the next?

You mean in terms of the difficulty values? There are always annoying little inconsistencies but I think overall it makes sense. Some skills are due to be downgraded or upgraded at this point, but I don’t think the code and difficulty values will ever be perfect.

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 ask “what do you think of [insert gymnast here]?”


Article by Lauren Hopkins

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29 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

  1. A gymnast in NCAA got granted a 6th year for next season but i forgot who it was or the team she competed before, other than it not being a top D1 school. And if the question means anyone before Peng, then I don’t know.


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  3. Stefania Stanila on beam comes to mind for one big skill. She had a back tuck full combo but other than that not much else with some C level dance and acro and even had a bhs counting in her top 8 skills

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  4. Many college coaches do keep track of academics for commits. You have to send them your transcript at the end of the year that shows classes taken and grades. This begins in 9th grade. I know of 2 athletes who weren’t cutting it academically. The college coach told them what they were missing but eventually they were dropped.

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  5. I. will. forever. be. mad. at. Sae. Miyakawa’s. E. Score. at. Worlds.
    Her Rudi in that competition was vastly superior to Paseka’s Cheng, and I know it “doesn’t matter” because Miyakawa sat her DTY, but it MATTERS SO MUCH.

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    • YUP. My entire vault recap from that meet was just side-by-side comparison screenshots of their vaults. I literally screamed the whole time I was doing it. IT WAS AN ASSAULT ON THE FACE OF GYMNASTICS. I was being nice when saying the judges just had a bad angle but really…no. I could see that mess from a mile away. NO EXCUSES. That vault shouldn’t have gone above like…an 8.2 max.


      • Yeah, even though Pasekas Amanar was actually almost pretty, the Cheng should’ve put her just below. I feel really bad for saying that because she had the highest combination of difficulty with almost a broken back. She said during the competition that she has been in pain practically her entire career, so I can’t help but root for her because it takes so much strength and resilience to push through pain like that for so long and continue to find success.


        • I certainly understand where you’re coming from. Her tenacity to carry on with the sport is amazing and despite chronic pain she’s managed to compete in three quads and become one of the most prolific vaulters in the open ended era but as inspiring as it is, I also incredibly worrisome. Her difficulty has always been what got her on the podium at the expense of her technique, but her poor technique also contributed to her pain and honestly made her vaulting incredibly dangerous. And as great as it is that she’s accomplished so much despite having pain and injuries holding her back, the podium shouldn’t reflect it, it should be based purely on the results, and the end results of her vaults in my opinion haven’t always warranted the accomplishments she’s received (gold in 2017; bronze in 2012.) The greatness of her difficulty should not be outweighing the poorness of her execution the way it does (particularly during her yurchenko half-on entry vaults.)


        • TBH I think its more tragic than inspiring that she has been in pain her entire career. Shows more a lack of ability to move onto to something else or find a way to not be in pain

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        • True, and also bad coaching/management. Her chronic pain is no doubt the result of training and competing when she should have been resting/recovering.

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  6. I was so sad (in a gymnastics sense) to see Larrissa’s IG post about her retiring.

    I’ve always loved her floor, and thought she was great at dancing through the choreography. I always also thought she’d be able to flourish and gain some consistency if she worked under Mihai, cause she’s my favorite of the modern front tumblers.

    She, along with Lauren Mitchell are sorely missed this quad.

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  7. Regarding being an athlete at the US Service Academies:

    Students do get to choose a major, but on top of that must complete other coursework required of all students. For instance, you can be a history major at the Naval Academy, but you must also complete all of the weapons/engineering, math/physics, and navigation/seamanship coursework that all midshipmen complete. On top of this there are required courses in leadership/officership for all students- as well as summer professional training. This is the same at the Air Force Academy and at West Point. There are no athletic scholarships at the Service Academies; instead, tuition, room and board for all students is covered by the US government in exchange for five years of active duty service upon graduation.

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    • Sandra Izbasa is 5’6, I think. Also, I think there was a Czech(?) gymnast who was at least 5’7 and it got mentioned in the 2013 Euros broadcast when they had to raise the bars. But that’s just going on memory so it might not be very accurate.

      In terms of NCAA, Ashley Szafranski at ASU is 5’8, I think.


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