You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

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Rebeca Andrade

It’s time for the 240th 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.

Patreon here! Thanks so much for all of your hard work and patience answering tons of questions. If the results for other apparatus world cups are similar to those from Cottbus, it seems that many of the top finishers will be from countries that qualify full teams to Tokyo. It also seems likely that athletes who top the standings will make their country’s 2019 worlds teams (and eventually Olympic teams) and want a team spot instead of an individual spot. Do you think there’s hope for athletes a little further down in the standings if the top two or three finishers all end up declining individual spots?

Thank you for your support!! Yes, it seems like the majority of the girls who finish top three at world cups are going to be from countries that end up sending full teams in 2020.

If we assume that the same 12 countries that sent full teams in 2016 also end up being the 12 sending full teams in 2020, if we pretend that the rankings at Cottbus were the ultimate final standings for the apparatus world cup, and if we assume that girls here like Rebeca Andrade, Flavia Saraiva, and Nina Derwael will be part of their countries qualifying full teams in 2019, then none of the girls who placed first at Cottbus would qualify the individual spot, opening up room for girls ranked lower to move up and get those spots.

On vault, assuming Rebeca is on Brazil’s qualifying team in 2019, we move down one spot to Jade Carey, who would get the spot as she wasn’t part of the United States’ effort in qualifying a full team. On bars, first-place Nina and second-place Rebeca are both out, and third-place Lyu Jiaqi of China gets the spot since like Jade, she wasn’t part of the team qualifying at worlds this year. On beam, both Rebeca and Flavia are out assuming both are on Brazil’s qualifying team in 2019, and third-place Diana Varinska of Ukraine gets that spot, and on floor, again assuming Flavia and Jade are on Brazil’s team at 2019 worlds, it goes to third-place Marta Pihan-Kulesza of Poland.

So rather than being the true first-place gymnast getting the individual qualification to Tokyo, it ends up being the second-place athlete on vault and the third-place athlete on the other three events, and it’s likely that it could go even further down the rankings if more gymnasts who qualified their teams to the Olympics continue competing at world cups.

The good thing about this system is that we won’t have to wait for countries to accept or decline these apparatus spots. The apparatus qualifiers won’t be determined until March 2020, and since the remaining nine teams as well as nearly all of the individual all-arounders will all qualify to the Olympics at 2019 worlds, we’ll know for sure at the conclusion of the apparatus world cup series who will be eligible and who won’t be.

For example, if Nina goes to worlds in 2019 and helps Belgium qualify a team or qualifies individually with a bars medal or an all-around placement, she can continue attending the remaining world cups in 2019-2020 if she wants, but we’ll know for certain that she won’t be eligible to achieve a spot since she’ll already have one. There won’t be any waiting or wondering about who will be eligible, so once we get to that final apparatus world cup, it should all be crystal clear!

What do you think about bars being shown from the front rather than from the side angle for TV coverage? Does it have any advantage for the viewer?

I mean, the viewers aren’t judging, so it’s not like they need a side view to watch routines, but it’s always nice to see why the judges are taking heavy deductions. I had a back view of bars and could only see short handstands if they were extremely short…if it was just a 0.1 deduction kind of handstand, I couldn’t tell at all, which was annoying as someone doing live commentary on my site, but overall I still had an idea of the quality of the routine so it wasn’t a huge deal.

Because Ragan Smith didn’t compete at worlds but is technically still a world medalist, would she be eligible to qualify for an individual event world cup spot?

I believe the rule is that the gymnast must have contributed a score to qualify the team in order to not be eligible for an apparatus world cup qualification, so in that case, Ragan would still be eligible to attend the apparatus world cups (though I don’t believe that’s in her plans).

Since Daria Spiridonova won silver as an alternate, she can no longer compete for an individual spot, right?

Going off of the above answer, in which you have to actually contribute a score to the team total to be ineligible for an individual qualification spot at the apparatus world cup, Daria *will* be allowed to contend for an individual spot, as she didn’t contribute any scores to the Russian team’s silver medal and therefore didn’t help them qualify a team to Tokyo.

Why didn’t the FIG worlds stream not show more of the Canadian routines in the team final considering they were fourth in qualifications? Also, why didn’t they show Ellie Black more? She was the 2017 silver medalist and rotating in the top group.

Your guess is as good as mine, man. The stream for worlds came from the “international feed” so I’m not sure who is responsible for deciding who gets shown but they were probably told something like “the United States, Russia, and China are priorities, and then get anyone else if you can but don’t stress about them.” In situations like these, they’ll pick out a routine that does especially well and show it at the end of the rotation even if that routine happened earlier on, but yeah, I’d imagine the marching orders were those top three countries in team finals.

I’m not sure why Ellie wasn’t made into a bigger deal in the all-around final, however. Maybe after her bars fall the crew realized she wouldn’t be in the mix at all and were told to focus elsewhere? Generally for the all-around, they stick with the top three and then try to pick up those who have a fighting chance as the competition continues, so like, had Chen Yile ended up being a contender after beam or something, they probably would’ve started showing her rather than Ellie, knowing she had a fall and wouldn’t fit into the puzzle.

Thank you so much for all of your work, I live for this blog! I just wanted to get your opinion on the state of Irish gymnastics at the moment? Do you feel they are getting stronger with Emma Slevin’s amazing performance at the Youth Olympic Games this year or are we still a long way off compared to other countries?

Thank you! What Emma did at the Youth Olympics was incredible. I saw her at nationals this year and then at the YOG qualifier in Baku and again at Euros, and I was like, she’s good, but didn’t expect her to be that strong in a major international field. But she blew me away with her tidy routines and strong consistency! I think she could end up being one of Ireland’s best in the coming years, but the rest of the team would have to get closer to her level to make the country look a bit stronger on the world stage. Meaghan Smith is doing big things to help Ireland, and I hope Meg Ryan gets healthy again soon because she’s also super talented and I want to see her succeed…but if it doesn’t happen overnight for them, they seem to have a really strong system coming into place now, and hopefully it’ll just keep getting better to make them into one of the bigger programs worldwide!

Did Irina Alexeeva have a problem gaining U.S. citizenship? Do you know about this? Did her parents get citizenship? Are they in Russia with her or in the U.S.?

I believe the issue was that she and her family have green cards, but not full citizenship, and to represent the United States on a national team, you have to be a full citizen. Her parents still live (and work, I assume) in the United States while she’s at Round Lake. The U.S. is basically still her home, and she came home a couple of times this summer, but to compete on the Russian team she has to stay at Round Lake for a good part of the year, especially to contend for the bigger international teams.

Why was Courtney Tulloch not at worlds? Who is the strongest all-arounder for Great Britain? Do you think Dominick Cunningham could be a threat on vault?

I think they wanted more well-rounded athletes for worlds because Max Whitlock was definitely making the team, and since he only does two events, they needed the other four guys to cover a ton of ground. Courtney really only does rings and vault, save for the occasional weak floor routine, but they wouldn’t use him there with Max on the team…so even though he’s a top guy on his two best events, they just didn’t have space for him.

When the team was first named, I saw it that Nile Wilson and James Hall were locks as all-arounders while Max was a lock for floor and pommels, and then they needed guys like Joe Fraser and Dominick Cunningham to make up for the events Max wasn’t doing. I figured Dominick was going either way, so Courtney perhaps could’ve been considered for the role Joe filled, but then they’d be short on p-bars and high bar in qualifications, which would’ve been a risk, and so Joe ultimately made more sense. That’s what sucks about a five-guy team with six events to cover, so when you can really only afford one specialist and you have Max practically guaranteed that spot, it’s going to be incredibly hard for you to make teams. At Euros, they made it work because it was only three-up in qualifications rather than four-up so they didn’t need someone to cover the events Max doesn’t do, and Courtney was fab there, but then they got Nile back (and later, his replacement, Brinn Bevan) and they opted for his more well-rounded program than Courtney’s big scores on rings and vault.

I think Dominick should have medaled at worlds this year, to be honest. His difficulty was just a bit too low, however, so hopefully he can add to that in the coming years. His Yurchenko triple is looking pretty great, so I think he’ll need to figure out his second vault…he’s currently doing the Biles (tee hee!) but it’s only a 5.4 in MAG and you really need two 5.6+ vaults if you want to be considered for a medal at a major international event like worlds so he’ll either have to start training a Dragulescu or something, or try to upgrade the Yurchenko half-on front double full to a 2½ perhaps. He also just posted an Instagram video where he was training a tucked tsuk DOUBLE DOUBLE which is out of this world and I hope he (or someone) can eventually land it but I don’t know how realistic that’ll be. But still, with the lowest combined difficulty among the top four in the final, he was only 0.009 away from a medal which is amazing and I truly think he should’ve gotten at least the bronze.

What impact do you think the possible decertification will have on NCAA-bound athletes? Will we see a rush of athletes wanting to join NCAA teams earlier than they would have otherwise? Could we see a trend of underperforming NCAA upperclassmen having scholarships pulled to accommodate early entrants?

I don’t think this will be an effect of the decertification at all…and NCAA programs would get in a TON of trouble if they did start accepting younger athletes in droves and canceling upperclassmen scholarships to make it happen. Just not gonna be a thing. The J.O. clubs and overall program can be managed for the time being without a big national governing body that has to deal with international guidelines, so if the USOC takes over the elite programs until a new NGB is formed, and if the USOC wants to deal only with the high-level national teams and not the club programs, then an interim body for the J.O. programs will probably pop up.

I personally don’t think these programs will see too much change on the day-to-day, especially because clubs can still run without being NGB member clubs (there are tons of club gyms across the U.S. that have nothing to do with USAG, either because they’re independent or they compete under other national or even regional guidelines, like AAU or JOGA). It’ll be messy for a little while, but nothing in the J.O. programs needs to completely shut down during this process, and I feel like the transition could be pretty seamless, not really affecting an athlete’s experience at all, but rather just being a pain in the ass for club owners.

Thanks for the great coverage of worlds! With the depth of the U.S. team, we are starting to see girls competing for other countries. Do you think we’ll see more of this heading to Tokyo? Could someone like Emma Malabuyo switch to the Philippines or is it too late?

I think a few others with connections to other countries might attempt to compete for other national programs but I don’t think Emma will end up being one of them. She’s competitive enough to contend for the U.S. team and I think that’s the route she’ll end up trying to take. I think most who begin representing other countries know they couldn’t/won’t make the U.S. team and so they begin seeking out other opportunities early enough so that they could be in contention for the Olympics, and because most are never registered with the FIG as U.S. gymnasts, they don’t have to go through a change-of-nation request…they simply are registered with their adopted country from the start (like the ‘Belarusian’ gymnasts in 2015 were never actually U.S. gymnasts with the FIG so they didn’t have to change from the U.S. to Belarus, they simply started out registered with Belarus, and that made the process much simpler). For someone who is on a country’s national team and is registered with the FIG, the process is more complicated, so Emma would have to go through the change-of-nation and then also have the U.S. team release her…which could take a year or more. If she started the process right now she’d have enough time to make it happen by Tokyo, but I don’t see that happening.

Does Sydney Johnson-Scharpf do the choreo for her own routines? Could she make it as a gymnastics choreographer?

I believe she has said that yes, she does her own choreography…which is so cool. I think part of her success as a performer on floor is that SHE is a performer, meaning she knows how to perform to the music, so it’s less about the movements and more about what she personally does with them. I think her choreo is strong and she could definitely have a future in choreographing routines, but how those routines look on other gymnasts who aren’t as strong at performing could make people blame the choreography when that’s not really what’s going on (like how people say “[insert choreographer’s name] choreo isn’t good” but that’s not really always the case, it usually comes down to girls not being super strong at performing it well).

Aliya Mustafina’s tumbling seems so much cleaner than her dance elements, yet her new floor has quite a few spins compared to other gymnasts. Is she relying on them to up her difficulty? Are judges less severe in devaluing them?

Yeah, because her tumbling isn’t very strong, she’s using dance elements to build her difficulty a bit more than someone with really strong tumbling difficulty might. Dance elements are devalued pretty heavily I think, but with turns, as long as your heel stays up for the number of spins you’re doing, it’s not going to get devalued really. Like, if you do a Memmel turn, if your heel’s up for the two rotations and you hold your leg in a split, even if you look messy or wobbly or out of control, you’ll get deducted for those issues but you won’t get devalued.

Natalia Laschenova started her 1989 floor routine lying on the floor, which you don’t often see in artistic gymnastics. Is there a specific reason why they opt not to start on the floor? Have any others started routines this way?

Hmm…I feel like a few people start out lying on the floor but I could just be imagining things. I don’t think it’s all that odd or anything? If it is uncommon, it’s probably because most gymnasts start their routines with tumbling right off the bat, so they’d probably prefer to be standing or in a position to go right into elements as opposed to having to do choreo on the floor first and then stand up out of it and begin tumbling. It’s a requirement to do choreography low to the floor, so most will do it in the interior of their routines (usually after the first two tumbling passes when they have a music change and do more choreo and dance elements) but I think I’ve seen a few start out in a position on the floor so I don’t know, I don’t think it’s that odd!

What would the D score be for Gabi Potorac’s beam routine from the 1988 Olympics?

I believe it would be 5.2. However, she had a skill there that I don’t believe is currently in the code of points…when she goes into a stag handstand and does a double turn in handstand, which I’d give at least a C in today’s code? I did the calculations for her routine without including that skill, but in my calculation she’s counting one B element and if that handstand gets a C or D, it could increase the start value by one or two tenths.

Have time limits always been part of the code? Is there a time limit for bars?

I don’t know when they were introduced for beam and floor, but as far back as I can remember (so like…the mid 90s) there have been limits. On bars, you don’t really need a limit because everything is essentially connected so since you’re shooting for just eight elements, every routine is going to fall within about 30 seconds or less. The only time limit for bars is related to falls and how much time you have to get back up and remount. But whether your eight elements last 15 seconds or 45 seconds, it doesn’t matter.

Have a mother and daughter or father and son ever competed at the same time? What about a set of twins being on the same team?

I can’t think of any parent/child combo in gymnastics but there have been a few sets of twins on teams throughout history. The most obvious in recent years are the D’Amato twins in Italy, with both Asia and Alice on several teams together over the past couple of years…and if they continue as they’ve been going, we might just see both of them on the worlds team or possibly even the Olympic team together in the next couple of years. Oh, and the Wevers twins, DUH. Sanne and Lieke have been on many top international teams together, including Rio 2016!

Why don’t women do p-bars?

They used to! But as the sport began changing in the 40s and 50s, they decided to raise one of the bars on a p-bars set so women could have a new apparatus, which is why they’re sometimes still referred to as “uneven parallel bars.” For a decade or two, most uneven bars were actually just p-bars with one raised bar, but eventually equipment manufacturers began making adjustments so the apparatus could exist as its own thing, especially as releases became more popular and the bars began to be set further apart.

Do U.S. gymnasts train more than other countries?

It depends. Some countries have similar training times to U.S. gymnasts, especially other top programs, but many smaller programs limit training to about 20 hours per week, especially in programs where gymnasts are doing the sport while also attending university or doing jobs outside of their sport. In the U.S. and many other top programs, the sport pretty much comes first for most gymnasts, so U.S. gymnasts can train 35-40 hours a week and then everything else in their life is worked around their gymnastics schedule…adult gymnasts in the U.S. or Russia or China don’t have ‘real jobs’ outside of the sport and teenage gymnasts will often be homeschooled or work with their school on a modified schedule. But in many other countries where this sport isn’t a priority and doesn’t have a high internal budget or a lot of wealthy parents paying for things, gymnasts have to do a better job of balancing the sport with ‘real life’ things, so it’s not unusual for a top-level adult elite gymnast to be a coach and work at a coffee shop while also training, meaning training hours are limited.

Was Grace McCallum the only U.S. gymnast to hit beam in the Pac Rim team competition?

I believe so…

I know that the culture at the ranch was very bad. However, do you think the inability of the gymnasts to hit at Pac Rims was because they didn’t have to compete under the high-pressure setting of verification at camp? Why do you think no one hit four-for-four?

No, I think it was because it was early in the season and no one is ever on their game at that point in the year. Pac Rims was held six months before worlds and for most gymnasts, it’s the first meet of the season and they’ve only been to one or two camps at that point. Most of the top gymnasts won’t be in their peak form, and generally don’t even try to be at 75% peak form until the domestic meets in the summer, so while they obviously want to do well, they’re not going to kill themselves to be at 100% for a meet that (a) doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things as it doesn’t decide future teams and (b) they could still win with mistakes (even with multiple beam falls the U.S. won the team competition by 15 points). If you go back and watch literally any Jesolo, Pac Rims, U.S. Classic, or even U.S. Championships meet in the past ten years, it’s rare to see a top gymnast hitting at the best of her ability, though this is often a time where gymnasts hoping to make future teams will shine. Grace McCallum came into this meet as someone with a lot to prove and she absolutely made a case for herself here. I think even with the crap going down this year with no regular camps and all of the other drama going on, the girls performed more than admirably and they fought through all of these things they can’t control with so much grace and poise.

Would a piked double front half be a possible skill in WAG? Do you know if anyone’s training it? It would be worth a G, right?

Yeah, it’s definitely possible! I know of one person who’s training it but can’t say who. Hopefully it ends up working out because I’d love to see it, and yes, I believe it would be worth a G.

What makes a mistake become an upgrade compared to just a mistake? For example, Jordan Bowers doing a 1½ on the low bar when she arched over or Jordan Chiles with the wolfkino…can the judges choose to consider these an upgraded skill but deduct on the E score?

Yeah, that’s generally what happens…if there are even deductions to take. Like, if someone is going for a Yurchenko full and accidentally does a double and it looks incredible and the landing is stuck, there wouldn’t be any deductions for mistakenly doing the wrong vault. It would simply get the upgrade and whatever deductions exist would be taken but there wouldn’t be anything more than that. For something like Jordan Bowers arching over on a full and doing an additional half turn, she’d get the upgrade, but would be deducted for the arch…and for Jordan Chiles and her wolfkino, really the only deduction they’d take from that would be the wobble at the end because while it was clearly a disaster gone totally wrong, she ended up showing a solid amount of control to keep it going and to hold it on the beam, so there wasn’t even much they could take from it even though it was a WILDLY crazy mistake.

Do you think Angelina Melnikova, Mai Murakami, or Morgan Hurd will upgrade their DTY to an Amanar for the Olympics?

I know Mai is working on one and has debuted it domestically so it’s definitely possible she’ll get it to a comfortable enough place for the future so she could compete it in Tokyo. I don’t know about Angelina…I know she’s trained it but I worry enough about her double for the most part. She’d really need a lot of work to even consider moving up. I think Morgan has also trained it on and off, but I don’t know how seriously…though her double used to be a bit weak and now it’s pretty fabulous most of the time so I could see an upgrade in her future.

If juniors only compete a single vault at competitions then at what point do they start training a second vault?

Most will start playing around with second vault families when they’re still juniors and while most won’t compete them, they will still work on landing them in the gym, especially if they’re strong vaulters. Asia D’Amato, for example, was training a Lopez for a couple of years and even though she didn’t need a second family vault as a junior, she began competing it to get used to it before getting to the senior level. I believe Qi Qi of China also competed two different family vaults this year.

What happened to Li Qi?

She was injured at the start of the year, and even though she wasn’t fully recovered, the coaches put her on the Asian Games team, but when training on vault in Jakarta, she suffered another injury and had to withdraw from the competition. A shame, her debut was one of those I was most looking forward to this year and she never got to compete even once, so hopefully they take care of her throughout her current recovery and get her back on the road to wellness so she can make a big impression in 2019.

Can you explain why the NCAA is letting Arike Ogunbowale compete on DWTS and accept money while keeping her eligibility and yet doesn’t allow gymnasts and others to do the same?

I really can’t. I don’t understand why NCAA has all of these rules that they just end up making exceptions to all the time. If anyone deserves exceptions to rules, it’s gymnasts, who have to make the choice between college and going pro at an age when most student athletes haven’t even thought about applying to college.

If you could make a dream team of underrated gymnasts in the U.S., who would be on that squad?

I’m gonna stick to the last five years to make this easier because otherwise my team would have 500 people on it. Brenna Dowell for sure, Amelia Hundley, Christina Desiderio, Alyssa Baumann, and MyKayla Skinner. Even just looking at the last five years I can come up with another 15 who would fit this team so this is very much personal faves in addition to girls who would excel internationally. Basically anyone who was on the national team in the last five years, tbh. And then more girls on top of that. The depth in the U.S. is unbelievable.

Any idea why Ashton Locklear made a second Instagram?

Literally no idea. I didn’t even know she had a second one slash I don’t follow her on her actual Instagram lol. I don’t really follow the social lives of people I don’t know so I’m the last person to ask about this.

Why don’t we see more cheerleading-style passes on floor? If a gymnast throws a whip to double full to whip to double full, would it get CV? Several cheerleaders can do this pass. Why can’t gymnasts?

No, it wouldn’t get CV because the skills aren’t difficult enough. Gymnasts could easily do these combo passes but they’re worthless in the elite code of points. A whip to double full to whip to double full is an A+C+A+C and the minimum requirement for a direct combo on floor is an A+D.

How does the men’s junior elite system work? Is there a minimum age? Before elite, do the men have levels like the women?

Men’s junior elite is weird, especially because each country has its own rules for how they separate different junior elite levels. In the FIG rules, men can be age 16-19 to be considered juniors, but there is some overlap here with the senior ages, so it becomes more about when a gymnast is physically able to meet the requirements of senior international competition than it is about being an exact age. Often you’ll see gymnasts start a year at the junior level when they’re 18, and then halfway through the year, they’ll switch to senior competition. This year, for example, Daniel Ponizil turned 18 in January and competed at European Championships as a junior, but then he was bumped up to the senior team right after Euros ended, and he then competed at World Championships two months later. Some countries split the MAG juniors up into different age groups (one for 14-15, one for 16+) because younger teenage boys will be at a vastly lower level than older teenage boys who are getting ready to transition to senior competition, but I’d say for the most part the gymnasts we see competing at the highest levels for junior competition are 17-18 with a few 16-year-olds thrown in. And yes, most countries have levels systems for men similar to women’s…in the U.S. they have a J.O. program for MAG, but they use elite scoring instead of the 10 system.

Do you know why Maile O’Keefe was the only gymnast not to post a We Stand Together picture on Instagram?

Not a clue. I know she wasn’t at that camp so she probably didn’t really know what they were doing…she’s not super active on social media anyway, I feel like she doesn’t update like crazy like many of the others do though she’s clearly great friends with everyone and I’m sure was there in spirit.

Are you required to do a forward element as part of the CR for bars? What forward element does Nina Derwael perform in her 2017 worlds routine?

You have to do an element that has a different grip from the majority of your elements (so if you do all backward swings and skills, a simple blind change to front giant half back to regular grip suffices). Nina catches her Derwael-Fenton in mixed grip which makes her swing into her Ezhova a front swing, so that counts as her grip change/forward element to fulfill that requirement.

What do you think of the firing of Bryan Raschilla?

So I’ve heard a lot of gossip and rumors about that whole thing related to things he said that affected the environment/culture at Bama. I don’t want to get into what because like I said, it’s rumors, and while I trust the people telling me (who were close to the situation), it’s not my place to share them. If they are true, however, I think it was a decision made for the best interests of the team.

What happens if a gymnast on scholarship takes a medical retirement? Can she keep her scholarship? Does she still count among the 12 on the team?

If she takes a medical retirement, she still receives her scholarship for the remainder of her college career, but she doesn’t count as one of the 12 on the team.

Are there commonalities among good bar workers? Like, good upper body strength or something?

Good upper body strength is definitely an important factor, as is having flexible shoulders. Beyond that, there’s a natural swing that some gymnasts have that others don’t, and while someone could be a perfectly capable bars gymnast who does things technically well, lacking that natural swing/movement/fluidity can make them not look like a good bars gymnast.

As an example, Simone Biles gets a lot of heat for bars, but her technique is pretty flawless…she just doesn’t have that natural ease that some other top bar workers have so she gets critiqued more than someone who flows through a routine better; even though the girl who’s magically flowing through her routine is less accurate from a technical perspective, her routine aesthetically looks better than someone who is technically there but not as natural. Does that make sense? Someone like Aliya Mustafina could be late on every handstand and have sickled feet and incur a full point of deductions just for these little technical errors, and Simone could hit every handstand perfectly and have her legs glued and feet pointed, but Aliya would still look better aesthetically as a bars worker because her swing is so naturally perfect. I think people assume Simone’s technique isn’t good because her swing isn’t that of a traditional bar worker’s and I get that she’s not everyone’s cup of tea on bars because most people watch for the overall aesthetic of a routine, but she scores well for a reason!

For individual awards in NCAA, if there is a tie does only one of the winners get the trophy? How do they decide who gets it?

They will have additional trophies to hand out to the multiple ties. They usually order more trophies/medals than they need for a given event just for situations like these (like at worlds in 2015 when four girls won golds on bars, they just had extra gold medals to accommodate for this kind of situation). At NCAAs, I don’t think they bring out every additional trophy to the stage but they are available to the athlete and the athlete receives them at some point. The same goes for the team trophies, which I believe are sent out at a later date to everyone who played a part in the team’s performance, from athletes to coaches and support staff.

How does competition day in NCAA work for athletes who aren’t competing? Does everyone hang out on the floor and travel if they aren’t in the lineup?

It depends…they’re technically limited to a certain number of people on the floor but at a lot of regular season meets these rules are totally ignored. Those who are on the floor but aren’t competing are usually helping with moving mats and carrying stuff. For away meets, depending on the school, sometimes everyone will travel regardless of whether they’re competing or not even getting into a leo because they’re injured, and other times, only the core team will travel (I think budget often plays into this which is why a team like UCLA can fly across the country with 50 people while other teams only bring the competitors, alternates, and coaches).

What is the logic behind some highly rated elements not being eligible for CV? I get the reasoning behind non-rebounding acro on beam, but I don’t understand why a turn series can get CV on floor but a leap series can’t.

I’m always wondering why there are no leap connections on floor, so I’m not sure how to answer that. I know most prefer to do their “connected” leaps with running steps between the two which wouldn’t count as a connection, but if someone wants to do a switch to switch half or something directly connected like they can do on beam, I think it should be eligible for CV if turns are. Like yes, it’s much easier to connect a switch to switch half on floor compared to beam so that specific connection doesn’t make sense to give bonus to, but if someone can directly connect a D+D leap pass or something, I don’t see why they can’t throw an extra tenth their way.

Why weren’t Cerasela Patrascu and Daniela Druncea on the 2008 Olympic team for Romania?

Cerasela injured her knee at Euros in 2008 and though she got knee surgery and made it back just in time for nationals on bars and beam, but she was still pretty injured, so there was basically no way she was going to get back in top shape in time for Beijing. She made a comeback in 2009-2010, but she wasn’t able to get back to her previous level and ultimately retired. Daniela had a good nationals but wasn’t top three all-around, finishing fourth. They took the top three all-arounders plus Sandra Izbasa, Anamaria Tamarjan, and Gabriela Dragoi for what they could do on other events and as far as I could remember, Daniela wouldn’t have been top three on any event so wouldn’t have been much of a threat for a spot in team finals lineups and she was made alternate instead.

Since Stella Savvidou will redshirt next season, and Macy Toronjo too, would that make Katelyn Ohashi the only senior at UCLA? Are there others who would be seniors but not competing?

Yes, they would both technically be redshirt seniors, so still in their third year of competitive eligibility, making Katelyn the only senior among those three…though I think Brielle Nguyen is also a senior this year who will be in Katelyn’s class.

With the U.S. typically putting up the best at the end of a lineup, why did Aly Raisman go after Simone Biles in floor qualifications for Rio?

They don’t always put the best at the end of the lineup in qualifications. I believe for Rio, the reasoning was that Simone needed more time to recover between floor and vault since she had two vaults and Aly only had one, so they put Aly last so Simone could be ready to go on vault. That’s what I’m remembering, anyway, I don’t know how accurate that was but it made sense as an explanation. Also in qualifications, sometimes when they know someone will get a rockstar score, they’ll put her second-to-last and then put up someone capable of a big score, but even MORE capable of one if they go at the end of the lineup since scores tend to build. They knew Simone would easily make the floor final with a huge score, but if they wanted to make sure Aly would get her highest possible score, putting her up last would make sense, as judges tend to be a bit more lenient at the end of the lineup. But that’s just a scenario many teams use at times…I think in this specific case, it was more related to Simone having to do two vaults.

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



21 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

  1. Morgan Hurd said I believe after the last classics in an interview, she hasn’t done an amanar since she was 13, when she only did it once in the pit for fun. But has no plans on upgrading. But who knows… things can change in the future. 🙂


  2. Kayla DiCello, Jordan Chiles, and Sunisa Lee all hit beam in the team/aa competition at pac rims. Sunisa probably got about a point’s worth of deductions for that huge wobble on her layout series, but she stayed on.


  3. I think WAG gymnastics in Ireland, while on the up, is a long way off the mark in terms of being competitive on a world scene. Meaghan Smith is mediocre and there are no other seniors. There is one club at the moment producing all the good gymnasts so hopefully that’s the start of things to come but their (Gymnastic Ireland’s) problem lies at management level. The judges are not allowed to give input (except at club level) and there’s no national coach travelling to clubs to check on progress. However it’s great to see the massive increase in the number of kids who want to do gymnastics and who compete. I’m sure if they can sort out their management problems then there will be more to come

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Probably the most decorated twins in history are the Chinese duo Li Xiaoshuang and Li Dashuang. Fun Fact: their names mean ‘little one of the Li pair’ and ‘big one of the Li pair’ so it’s easy to remember which one is older and younger!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I thought Hong Un-jong and Hong Su-jong were really identical twins? I know there were several birth dates given for Hong Su-jong, but they certainly look very much alike.


  6. Pingback: Around the Gymternet: Luminous beings are we | The Gymternet

  7. As far as the Arike Ogunbowale on DWTS thing, I was also interested in that issue at the time when it first happened, so I read some articles. The reason the NCAA gave for allowing her to accept DWTS prize money was that she was being paid for her dancing ability, not her basketball ability or her public notoriety. While it is technically true that the exact quantity of money that DWTS contestants are paid is based on how long they are able to stay on the show (so, indirectly, their dancing ability), this completely ignores the really obvious logical flaw in their argument: she wouldn’t have even been invited to be on DWTS if she hadn’t become famous for winning basketball games. I think the NCAA willfully ignored this clear logical error so they could capitalize off of the increased national attention that women’s basketball was receiving. They did stipulate, though, that she couldn’t be in any promotional appearances/materials for DWTS, and she couldn’t take any money aside from the actual DWTS prize money.

    This could affect future gymnasts because it forces the NCAA to offer the same deal to future college athletes. I don’t think it will matter much to future gymnasts, though, because any gymnast who has achieved the level of notoriety that would get her an invitation to be on DWTS would undoubtedly have many other lucrative offers on the table (book deals, athletic gear lines, appearances in commercials, etc.), and I’d guess most of them wouldn’t be content to accept only the DWTS prize money and turn down all the other deals that could easily add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.


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