Around the Gymternet: Guess who won

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“Simone.” – A boy’s response when the nationals emcee asked him to name a women’s gymnastics event. Out of the mouths of babes.

U.S. Nationals

The ladies competed. Simone Biles won the all-around, every apparatus title, and, incredibly, the Nobel Prize for Physics at the U.S. Championships. She also set a new record for all-around scores this quad despite having gone out of bounds three times on floor. 

Morgan Hurd came in second and Riley McCusker took the bronze, both hitting eight for eight. Here are your live updates from days one and two, your recap from day one (day two is coming, hold you’re horses, today is for napping), your national team, and your Pan Ams team.

Leanne Wong took the junior title, Kayla DiCello took second and Sunisa Lee earned the bronze. Here are your live updates from days one and two, and here is your national team.

So did the dudes. Sam Mikulak took his fifth senior title, winning by over four points; Yul Moldauer took second despite competing with a back injury; and Allan Bower came in third, rotating with Moldauer and the rest of basically the whole Oklahoma team. Here are your national, Pan Ams, and world (squad) teams.

Brandon Briones won the 17-18 junior division title; he’ll represent Team USA at the Youth Olympic Games.

Plans changed. Maile O’Keefe got injured, Asher Hong was too li’l to compete, and Emma Malabuyo pulled out. Jordan Bowers competed on day one but scratched day two due to injury.

Some other shit went down. McCusker scared the shit out of us on her day one beam dismount; Ragan Smith scared the shit out of us on every event, both days; and UCLA and Florida were both represented.

Speaking of Marz, this leo; and speaking of superwomen, Jordan Chiles wore this one, but unfortunately couldn’t revive the wolfkino. NBC showed a clip of Riley’s scary American Cup fall again, and Nastia made her feelings known.

Some news

Kyla and Maddie said “us, too.” Kyla Ross and Madison Kocian came forward as survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse on Thursday, speaking on CBS This Morning with Miss Val. They said they have not been contacted by USA Gymnastics, and Kocian’s parents said her accomplishments were “not worth it.”

Everest gymnasts spoke up. Four more gymnasts have come forward accusing Coach Qi Han of Everest Gymnastics of physical and verbal abuse. Ashton Locklear came forward with similar allegations last month.

Nationals was not without scandal. Simone Biles—who wore teal on day two of nationals—implied that USAG president Kerry Perry should speak up. Perry spoke to the press two days later, but didn’t say too much. She probably hasn’t said too much to Simone’s parents, either.

Aly Raisman said she was snubbed for an invite to nationals, though USAG said “not true.” Raisman also is appearing in ads for former USAG sponsor P&G. As part of their partnership, she’ll walk at New York Fashion Week with no makeup.

Aquilina’s not going anywhere. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina will keep Larry Nassar’s case, a judge ruled on Tuesday. Nassar’s lawyers had filed a motion asking that she be removed from considering his appeal to his sentence.

Meanwhile, Nassar has been moved to a holding facility, likely due to his alleged assault in federal prison. And with a September 10 deadline looming, over 50 more women have filed lawsuits against Nassar and Michigan State University.

We lost a legend. Yelena Shushunova—the 1988 Olympic all-around champion from Soviet Russia—passed away at 49 of pneumonia.

  • Word on the street is that Valeri Liukin is the new head coach of Brazil’s national team, but Nastia told the press yesterday that he’s actually just helping them out through the end of the year.
  • Sae Miyakawa’s coach was supposedly fired for physical abuse.
  • Twistars plans to host an invitational in January, and some are shocked that it looks like USAG sanctioned the meet.

Required reading

  • Lots of U.S. gymnasts were interviewed or profiled for nationals.
    • Simone Biles went over the process of coming back to gymnastics. Also, definitely read Dvora Meyers’ profile of her (The Guardian, Deadspin).
    • Margzetta Frazier talked about almost retiring and how she came to compete for UCLA (Inside Gymnastics).
    • Morgan Hurd’s mama remembers the process of adopting Morgi (NBC Sports).
    • Nastia Liukin talked about adapting to post-gym life and her relationship with Shawn Johnson (Team USA, Olympic Channel).
    • Riley McCusker went over her goals for the future (Olympic Channel).
    • Ragan Smith took us through a day in her life and talked through her injuries (Dallas News, The Boston Globe).
    • Jordyn Wieber is at nationals coaching Margzetta Frazier (Sports Illustrated).
  • USA Gymnastics CEO needs to realize buzzwords won’t fix crisis sparked by Larry Nassar (USA Today).
  • Aly Raisman makes her voice loud and clear (Boston Herald).
  • Male gymnasts say ‘it’s an honor‘ to stand with women who endured sex abuse (The Indianapolis Star).
  • Dvora Meyers got coated in chalk at National Championships (Deadspin).
  • Amid turmoil, USA Gymnastics takes small steps forward with Tom Forster (The Associated Press).

Star status

Comebacks. Laurie Hernandez was at nationals to talk about her Barbie and dipping her feet into the comeback waters.

Meanwhile, Aliya Mustafina is recovering and hopes to compete on bars and beam at worlds.

Injuries. Lorette Charpy of France quite literally broke her face. She had to have surgery. Get well soon, Lorette!

Staying social

Han toe shot first. Both Han Solo and Darth Vader competed during podium training at nationals.

Bod man, body fantasies. I, too, have thought about what it would be like to be held by Laurent [Step 1: Learn gymnastics, Step 2: Rise through the ranks, Step 3: Move to Texas…]

Patterson’s prego. Carly Patterson is pregnant with baby number two. Congratulations, Carly!

This IS my bikini bod. Ruby Harrold says she resembles a marshmallow, as if that’s a bad thing.

Aimee was nervous. Yup, Aimee Boorman; watching is hard. And of course Simone won every event. Also, welcome to the wolf turns light side of the force.

Gymtroverts, unite. Twitter user Starsky wonders how gymnerds have friends, to which I reply, how do we not have more? We’re delightful.

Need to know

Our leo experts ranked the ones from the U.S. Classic from one to 62, and idk you guys, I kind of liked 41?

Gymfession

So I went into this interview with Sam Mikulak thinking “these dudes are just tattoos and hair why am I even” but after watching it I’m actually kind of in love?

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29 thoughts on “Around the Gymternet: Guess who won

  1. I hope Tom Forster reaches out to Ragan directly after this competition. Her story is heartbreaking. She needs to hear that taking time off to heal is the best thing for her, and that it won’t hurt her future chances of making teams if she can come back healthy.

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    • Yes, yes, so much support for this. But I am concerned. In an interview last night, you can watch it on Flo’s YouTube channel, Forster said that he thought Ragan could be back at full strength by selection camp. It was a missed opportunity to voice support for healing and indicate a culture change, in my opinion.

      I’m reserving judgment on Forster; I’ve seen mostly positives from the guy but it’s still VERY early.

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      • I completely agree. I am a huge Ragan fan, but I don’t think they should invite her to camp and they should explain that it’s because they want her healthy for 2020… and that they’re not going to forget she exists if she takes some time to get well.

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        • I understand where you’re coming from but it’s really Ragan’s and her coaches’ decision to have the surgery or not. If Forster thinks Ragan deserves to be invited to camp, he does it because he sees potential in her. What circumstances she is in to have reached that potential (or not) is up to her and is, frankly, none of USAG’s business (unless she excelled because of taking banned substances or so, of course). He can’t punish her for not making a certain decision that is completely up to her in the first place. Of course, it’s not a good idea to ignore the injury and hope it’ll just go away and USAG may strongly advise her to consider surgery but they are not in a place to actually punish someone for not taking their advice which concerns someone else’s body. Their only task is to determine whether an athlete is good enough or not for camp.

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        • I didn’t say she needs to have surgery, I agree that it’s her call. I disagree though that the health of an athlete is none of USAG’s business… isn’t athlete safety supposed to be their top priority? So isn’t inviting a clearly injured athlete to camp a poor decision? I think athletes should have to go through some sort of medical clearance to compete, honestly. I get that you’re saying medical decisions like whether or not to have a surgery should not be USAGs to make, I agree… but I do think health should be a factor when deciding which athletes compete (or come to a camp).

          Liked by 1 person

  2. So the Pan Am’s team is Jade, Kara, Shilese, Grace and Trinity. I wonder if Jade did not want to be on this year’s World’s team because of her wanting to try to qualify for an individual Olympic spot and the weird rules about that.

    So now who is your world’s team? Simone, Morgan, Riley….Ragan if her foot stays in one piece. After this weekend I was not thinking Jordan Chiles had a chance but maybe now they take her for the Amanar?

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    • I believe they’re sending the 4th-8th place finishers to test them out before they finalize the World’s team. If anything, it means they’re going to narrow down the two open spots on the World’s team from gymnasts they’re sending to Pan Ams.

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      • realistically, i think there is no way carey won’t bring back the amanar. so with that and her fx, she’s probably good for worlds. as for the 5th spot, that’s up in the air, most likely someone better than jade in bars and beam who can at least do a decent vt and fx if really needed….

        Even this B team shouldn’t have much problem winning PanAm team title. Depend on who’s there and how everyone will do, they should have a good chance but not guaranteed of getting the AA and at least a few event finals.

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        • I”m pretty sure Jade is a lock since she’s bringing back her amanar but Tom probably wants her to get some international AA experience before World’s. I think they also really want to test Kara’s beam internationally and depending on how that scores it could really increase the likelihood of them taking her. Otherwise I think it’ll probably go to Trinity since she can put up solid scores and they won’t need a vault if Biles/Hurd/McCusker do AA and Carey gets the vault spot.

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      • Agree. Though I think Jade is probably a lock for her FX alone. She’s promised to bring the Amanar/Cheng combo back, which would be GREAT for her and the Worlds team, but even without it she’s probably still in.

        I think they will be looking most closely at Grace McCallum, Trinity Thomas, and Kara Eaker for the fifth spot. Pan Ams will give them another opportunity to show how they stack up against each other as all arounders, and in Kara’s case to see how her beam fares internationally. Shilese Jones is GREAT and I can’t wait to see her progress, but I don’t think she has the difficulty across the board at the moment to contend for the fifth spot.

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        • Which begs the question, if Jade is a lock for worlds and still recovering her full difficulty after injury, why take her to Pan Ams? It seems like a distraction from a two month trajectory to getting her vaults into peak shape? :: Trying to know the mind of Forester without NBC honing in on his watchful eyes every two minutes ::

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        • It’s a good question. I agree that it would make more sense for Jade to stay behind and work on her vaults at her own pace (although there is almost a month before PanAms, so maybe that’s enough time for her?). But perhaps Forster didn’t want to name anyone else to the National Team just yet – so in order to field a full Pan Ams team they had to choose one of the expected Worlds team members. Jade didn’t finish at Nationals as a top-three AAer, so if you’re just going by the numbers (as they seem to have done) it would make more sense to send her rather than Simone, Morgan or Riley.

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  3. I like how jordan chiles dressed up as wonder woman…. like celine van garner was the cat… nothing to do with the performance but definitely creative!

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  4. I think Ragan Smith competing on her injured ankle was the craziest thing I saw this week. Even with an “anything to win” mentality I don’t think it makes sense for her to do what she’s doing, because she’s not winning anyway. I know elite gymnasts compete on injuries for the sake of winning medals all the time, but her ankle seems to be interfering with her performance enough that she’s not winning medals anyway, so she might as well give it a rest (literally). What does she think she’s accomplishing? Perhaps she’s afraid she’ll never be the same after surgery, but she’s not the same as is. I wonder what her long-term goals are, and if she’s planning to try for Tokyo 2020? The longer she delays surgery, the less time she’ll have to recover before then. I saw a quote from her where she said she wasn’t going to see a doctor until after worlds, but does she really think she’s going to go to worlds competing on the exact same injury that knocked her out of last year’s worlds? If the worlds selection committee only cares about winning and not about people’s health, it still doesn’t make sense to take Ragan when there are so many other athletes who are doing better than she is. Maybe she’ll drastically improve in the next couple of months, or maybe she’s already been doing better and nerves got to her at nationals, but I’m not optimistic.

    It’ll be interesting to hear what Ragan says about this situation 5-10 years from now. As far as I can tell this is self-motivated and not something she’s being pushed into by a coach, but I suspect when she’s an adult she’ll look back on this and think she was pretty crazy.

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    • Watching this I was also wondering how long the recovery would have expected to be. She had rather a long window if she got surgery right after Worlds.

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