You Asked, The Gymternet Answered


It’s time for the 253rd 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).

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What are your thoughts on how the Olympic qualification process is going now that we’re halfway done with apparatus world cups? Anyone surprise you? Any predictions for the remaining four?

It seems to be going more or less as I expected, with top countries leading on all four events in the women’s field. I was hoping more specialists from smaller programs that don’t otherwise have a shot to qualify because they’re not really all-arounders would benefit from the new means of qualification (someone like Tjasa Kysselef of Slovenia on vault or Jonna Adlerteg of Sweden on bars for example) but it’s not surprising that the strongest team programs are going to be able to send the strongest specialists as well. To see Jade Carey leading two events while China leads bars isn’t that much of a surprise, and beam was always going to be kind of a crapshoot depending on who hit, but Marine Boyer with the lead right now also makes sense…though I absolutely LOVE Emma Nedov really stepping it up this year! I think she could legitimately make the beam final at worlds and potentially even qualify that way if she keeps it up.

I think the remaining four events will more or less see the same gymnasts we’ve been seeing so far, unless of course there are injuries. The rankings will shake up a bit after worlds because gymnasts who are currently ranked will have their points taken away if they help qualify a team or if they qualify as all-arounders this year, so someone like Nina Derwael having her points on bars and beam redistributed will definitely create some change…but really I think those who are already in the mix and in the top five or so on each event are the ones to watch for the overall series title and aside from beam, I don’t see too much changing.

What happens if someone earns qualification points at a world cup and then helps to qualify the team to the Olympics later this year? What happens to their points?

They’re basically deleted from the list of qualifiers and the list looks as if they never even competed at the world cup.

Using Cottbus vault from last year for an example, Rebeca Andrade (who won the event) is likely to help Brazil qualify this year, Lilia Akhaimova (who placed sixth) helped Russia qualify last year, Jade Barbosa (seventh) will probably also help Brazil this year, and to be a really sweet human, let’s say Denisa Golgota (ninth) helps Romania qualify this year. Instead of the top 12 looking like this…

1. Rebeca Andrade 30 points
2. Jade Carey 25 points
3. Dipa Karmakar 20 points
4. Alexa Moreno 18 points
5. Oksana Chusovitina 16 points
6. Lilia Akhaimova 14 points
7. Jade Barbosa 12 points
8. Teja Belak 10 points
9. Denisa Golgota 8 points
10. Tjasa Kysselef 7 points
11. Michelle Timm 6 points
12. Gabriela Janik 5 points

…the list will instead look as follows with Lilia already helping Russia and then assuming Rebeca, Jade, and Denisa help their teams…

1. Jade Carey 30 points
2. Dipa Karmakar 25 points
3. Alexa Moreno 20 points
4. Oksana Chusovitina 18 points
5. Teja Belak 16 points
6. Tjasa Kysselef 14 points
7. Michelle Timm 12 points
8. Gabriela Janik 10 points
9. Angelina Radivilova 8 points
10. Wiktoria Lopuszanska 7 points
11. Agnes Suto-Tuuha 6 points
12. Aruna Budda Reddy 5 points

The first ranking still counts for end-of-season prize money and things like that, so Rebeca would still get those 30 points to count toward her season win in that sense, and obviously Rebeca is still the gold medalist on the event and they don’t swap medals around or anything, but strictly for Olympic qualification, she and any others currently on the list would be removed and the list redone as if they never competed at the event.

Fun to note, but since Jade Carey currently has two wins on vault and 60 points from those two wins in addition to another 25 points from her second-place finish behind Rebeca, if Rebeca ends up helping Brazil this year and Jade “takes over” her 30 points, Jade will have a “perfect 90” without having to attend another world cup meet!

Is Jade Carey on track to qualify for Tokyo in a nominative spot?

Yup! She currently has 85 points on vault, and as I was just discussing above, if Rebeca Andrade helps Brazil qualify a full team at worlds this year, her 30 points from Cottbus will be redistributed to Jade, so as of November, Jade could have a perfect 90, and anyone wanting to catch up to her would have to win three titles next year with scores higher than Jade’s to both (a) tie her 90 points, and (b) beat her in the tie-break.

Jade also leads floor with 76 points at the moment, but if Flavia Saraiva and Jade Barbosa help Brazil qualify, Marta Pihan-Kulesza would be bumped up to Flavia’s 30 points, Lara Mori would get Jade’s 25 points, and Jade would get Marta’s 20 points, so her score would change from a 76 to an 80, which would again give her a pretty solid lead over Lara with her new total (which would be 75).

On floor, if Jade doesn’t attend any more world cups due to the U.S. rule of only funding three, I could see Lara (or Vanessa Ferrari, if Lara ends up going to worlds) end up winning to surpass Jade there, but I think Jade will figure out a way to self-fund to ensure that she has the maximum number of points possible in order to ensure her qualification. 

If Jade Carey gets her Olympic spot via the world cups can she still get two-per-country’ed out of an event final?

Yes. Even though she wouldn’t be competing in the team events, she’d still be on the U.S. team and only two gymnasts from each country are allowed to qualify into finals.

Do you know where the U.S. Classic will be held in 2019?

They announced a couple of weeks ago that it will be held in Louisville, Kentucky!

Why does Israel compete in European Championships and not Asian Championships?

It’s more of a geopolitical thing than a geographic thing. There are a few countries that could go either way but I think with Israel especially, because they’re an associated state of the European Union, they’re geopolitically considered to be “part of Europe” even though they’re not actually physically located in Europe.

On floor would a Dos Santos II essentially be the same thing as a Biles? If the placement of the twist in a full-in vs a full-out doesn’t matter, why does it matter for a half twist here?

No, a Dos Santos II and a Biles aren’t the same. A full-in and full-out both have a full twist that doesn’t change the direction of the flip…in both, they start out backwards, a full twist is completed at some point during the flips, and the flips go backward the entire time. In a flip that begins going backward and then changes to forward, or vice versa, it’s a bit different because of the directional change. A Dos Santos II starts out backward, and then there’s a half twist going into the first flip, which changes the direction of the tumbling to completely forward so the gymnast is basically doing two front flips. A Biles also starts out backward, but the first flip is done completely backward, and then the half twist changes the direction of the second flip to forward.

I read that Maile O’Keefe dropped down to level 10. Is that true?

Yes, sadly for elite fans but happy for her! I think she had issues with getting her difficulty at a high level after dealing with a simultaneous injury and growth spurt. That’s really hard to come back from, because basically re-learning your skills while growing is hard enough, but then to have to also pause your training during this period of time to rehab an injury makes it almost impossible to return. It’s what happened to Bailie Key and many other top juniors over the years who have been injured mid-growth spurt, so it’s unfortunate, but at least Maile is able to return to level 10 and she’s already doing really well! I really look forward to seeing her be a star for the Utah program next year.

Alexandra Greenwald, a gymnast at Iowa, was just in the news because she spoke publicly for the first time about the death of her friend Nick Dworet, who was killed at the Stoneman Douglas shooting last year. Can you fill in any details about her gymnastics? Is she competing at Iowa as a freshman? What are Iowa’s prospects? I want to root for her and her team after hearing her story.

She competed all season on vault this year, minus a few weeks, and she also competed on floor a few times! She wasn’t one of the top scorers for the team, but she had a good start as a freshman and hopefully will become an even bigger contributor on her top events in the future! As a team, Iowa really surprised to win the Big Five title in their session over teams that had been much stronger than them this season, and after coming in as one of the lowest-ranked teams at regionals, they ended up beating Arizona in the play-in to reach the second round, though they didn’t make it to the final regionals round. Overall Iowa had some struggles this season, but they were also one of the most goooorgeous teams out there, especially on floor! I watched them compete many times and they’re always one of the standouts in terms of artistry.

Can you give an example of a good vault/floor worker who can also swing bars very well?

There are many, but my favorite two in recent years have been Elizabeth Price and Brenna Dowell, and I love that pretty much all of the new Italian seniors from the Brixia Brescia program have DTYs and a really natural ability on bars…some of them have form issues and struggle with the more difficult skills and connections they do, but they all swing bars pretty well despite their issues! 

Did they tie-break Ellie Black and Mai Murakami at the American Cup?

According to USA Gymnastics both on the results sheet and in the medal ceremony, they didn’t tie break and both placed third, but according to the FIG rankings, Ellie won the tie-break in terms of getting points for Canada (she got 55 points whereas Mai got 50). I think in terms of the all-around competition standings it was fine to not tie-break them, but because it’s an FIG competition and the FIG tie-breaks all-around competitors especially in terms of series rankings, they had to officially break the tie.

According to the junior worlds website, it says “federations with a junior athlete qualified to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be qualified to send a team.” Does this mean the U.S. won’t be able to send a full team?

Nope! The U.S. qualified a gymnast to the Youth Olympic Games…they just opted not to attend. Last year, a few coaches who were at Junior Pan Ams said that a couple of U.S. coaches told them the only reason the U.S. attended Junior Pan Ams was to qualify that junior worlds team spot, and they never had any plans to attend YOGs. At the time, it was just a rumor that the YOG qualifiers would also serve as the team qualifiers for junior worlds, but you’d think they should have set something like this in stone beforehand because some countries didn’t send gymnasts to the YOG qualifiers at all, like the Netherlands and Belgium, meaning neither of these teams is eligible to send a team at junior worlds this year.

Is Madison Kocian injured or just not making the floor lineups?

I believe she’s still dealing with injuries, but I also think the floor roster is stacked this year (like, girls with the potential to earn a 10 might not make the nationals lineup), so it probably also would’ve been tough for her to make it even if healthy!

Does Ashton Locklear have any more chances to qualify for classics this year? What is her path if she doesn’t qualify?

There are a few more elite qualifiers coming up with the Parkettes and Auburn qualifiers in June, but if she doesn’t attend either or doesn’t qualify at either, it’s possible she could have her coach send videos to the national team staff to petition back to camp and potentially qualify there through verification. This has happened with many national team gymnasts returning from injury in the past, but that was very much a Martha Karolyi thing so we’ll see if Tom Forster allows it! I was surprised she had to go the qualifier route, to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I saw a national team gymnast have to return to qualifiers after just a year away due to injury…but it definitely makes things fair.

Do some gymnasts skip world cups because they don’t think they’ll win or place highly against current gymnasts on the roster? Is that why Ellie Black isn’t going to Stuttgart, because she knows Simone Biles and Aliya Mustafina will be there?

Not really! Ellie probably would’ve easily beaten Aliya, to be honest, and I don’t think she ever goes into a competition thinking “I’m gonna skip this one because I might not win”…otherwise she probably would have also skipped many other world cups, including this year’s American Cup. I think they wanted to give Ana Padurariu a shot at one of the world cups to test her as an all-arounder in a major international field before worlds, and she did fantastic, and then Ellie still got to do two as well.

How are individual event rankings calculated in NCAA gym? Do they use an average throughout the season or do they drop the highest and lowest like RQS with the team scores?

It’s done like the team RQS with the highest six (including three away scores) taken into consideration with the highest score dropped. This is how Katelyn Ohashi ended her season with a perfect 10 average! She had enough 10s throughout the season so that all of her dropped scores meant she was only counting 10s into her RQS.

Based on the international assignments USA Gymnastics had this year with Simone Biles, Morgan Hurd, and Riley McCusker at the world cups, do you believe they’re sending these gymnasts to secure a nominative spot for the Olympics? Does the strategy make sense? Do you think the U.S. should send its top talent or could they qualify a nominative spot with talent that still needs to be vetted and proven? I’m a fan of resting the top girls until worlds.

Well, first off, this year wasn’t an Olympic qualification year for the all-around world cups, and secondly, the all-around world cups aren’t nominative. Any athlete from a federation who qualifies to the all-around world cups can be sent to compete, and the federation with the highest ranking at the end of the series receives one non-nominative spot. The U.S. could send Simone Biles to all four world cup meets next year or they could send four random all-arounders, and the result would be the same at the end – if the overall ranking at the end of the series is in the top three, they get one non-nominative spot.

Also “resting the top girls until worlds” isn’t really a strategy. Gymnasts need regular competitive experience in order to stay at the top. I think part of Simone Biles not looking her best at worlds last year is because she was out of practice, having not competed internationally in over two years. Experience is important, and generally national team coaches want to give that experience to the gymnasts who are most likely to be the top athletes on a team, not to gymnasts who don’t have a chance at making it.

That said, there are many very good all-arounders in the U.S. right now and the U.S. program gave pretty much every healthy senior a shot to compete internationally so far in 2019, with Simone, Morgan, Riley, Leanne Wong, and Grace McCallum competing at world cups, Shilese Jones, Sunisa Lee, Emma Malabuyo, and Gabby Perea competing at Jesolo, and Sloane Blakely, Kara Eaker, Aleah Finnegan, and Alyona Shchennikova competing at Gymnix, in addition to Jade Carey competing at the apparatus world cups. That’s 14 gymnasts – everyone on the national team except Ragan Smith (injured), Trinity Thomas (in NCAA), and Jordan Chiles (not sure what’s up with her) – competing internationally this season, almost all of whom competed in the all-around. I’d say this is a pretty fair system, with no one getting overworked, but also with no one really missing out. The priority meets fairly went to the top gymnasts based on camp and other international performances, and the rest of the assignments trickled on down the line until pretty much everyone got the chance to compete.

What do people mean when they talk about NCAA lineups and say they are going to “Bridgey” a girl and have her anchor?

When Bridgette “Bridgey” Caquatto was competing for Florida, she was a good but not great floor worker, though she could often put together really clean routines despite her lower difficulty. Her routines probably would’ve been a solid 9.8 at the start of the lineup, but the coaches opted to put her at the end of the lineup so she might benefit from higher scoring, which she often did. Someone like Kennedy Baker might go up on floor and get a 9.975 in the five-spot, and then Bridgey going sixth had a chance to get a 10, which she did on occasion, despite having a routine that normally wouldn’t really be considered a 10 routine. Some teams do this now with putting an average but clean gymnast after a top gymnast goes to increase her chances of scoring well, which ultimately boosts the team score.

Why does Ashton Locklear have to re-qualify for elite? Can you explain the process? Would Laurie Hernandez have to re-qualify elite in the same way?

I talked about this a little before, but basically gymnasts have to re-qualify elite every year. Most do this by hitting the qualifying score at the previous year’s national championships, which pretty much all of the national team girls do, so usually none of the girls on the national team have to worry about re-qualifying…and if they miss nationals due to injury, they can usually just show up at the next camp and “re-qualify” that way.

For gymnasts who don’t qualify at the previous year’s nationals and who don’t go to national team camp, however, they have to attend elite qualifiers to get their scores to qualify elite (and then they attend the classic meets to get their qualifying scores to nationals). I actually can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a national team gymnast have to re-qualify elite by going to a qualifier, however…in the past, gymnasts with injuries that have taken them out of competition for a year or more will generally just petition back to camp through videos sent by their coaches, and if they’ve proved readiness, they will re-qualify at camp.

It could be a Tom Forster rule to make Ashton re-qualify through actual qualifiers because in this way he’s not showing favoritism by simply accepting her back despite seeing nothing from her since 2017, which I think is the most fair way to go about welcoming gymnasts back to elite. It’ll be interesting to see if he’ll have the same standards for Laurie, though. As a returning Olympic medalist, she could have some leeway, like many of the girls from the 2008 and 2012 quads did when they returned (as if Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson, Gabby Douglas, or Aly Raisman had to attend elite qualifiers!!!). But we’ll see! I’m sure Laurie has been in touch with Tom and knows what’s required of her in terms of returning.

Why doesn’t Nia Dennis do bars for UCLA?

She does bars on occasion, and has been a mainstay for the team on the event later in the season this year, especially going into postseason. I think they just have so much depth, they like to test out various options on bars, and Nia is one of those options, but they don’t always have to rely on her and so they like giving other girls a chance.

For each of the top conferences (SEC, Pac 12, ACC, Big 12, Big 10), what’s one school in each conference that doesn’t currently have a women’s gymnastics program you think could add one and be successful?

SEC – I had a few in mind here but think with the number of club gymnasts in Texas, it’s straight-up crazy that Texas A&M doesn’t have a program.

Pac 12 – I’d go either with Oregon or USC. I think USC would attract a lot of gymnasts who want to be in Southern California, and it could be like a second UCLA in terms of attracting some top talent, and it’s also a fantastic academic program like UCLA, Stanford, and Cal. I think it’d do very well. But I know a ton of people who love Oregon for its love of sports, and they have Nike nearby so lots of internships available…I think it’d also be attractive to many athletes.

ACC – The only ACC schools with a gymnastics program are NC State, UNC, and Pittsburgh, so without very much inter-conference competition, these programs got together with gymnastics programs from other conferences to create the EAGL conference, which is gymnastics-specific and combines the ACC, CAA, America East, and Atlantic 10. I think if a few more schools added programs, however, the ACC could welcome gymnastics back into the conference…Miami would probably be able to bring in some gymnasts, and I’d also like to see programs at Duke and Virginia…and Syracuse and Boston College. Definitely a lot here that can open up and do well!

Big 12 – Oklahoma State would be fun because then OU would have an in-state rivalry…but the big one would obviously be UT Austin, which would have thousands of nearby club gymnasts to choose from. Also, they have a couple of affiliate programs specific to a single sport (like Denver, which only competes within the conference for gymnastics)…Tennessee is an affiliate for rowing so I think it’d be cool to see them add gymnastics and join the Big 12 for that sport too.

Big Ten – Most of the Big Ten schools have gymnastics programs, but I’ve always wanted to see Indiana add gymnastics! They have some great level 10 clubs and could probably start out with a solid base of walk-ons.

Is Brittany Rogers planning on competing in 2019 or 2020? Could she make it to Tokyo?

I’m not sure what her plans are. I’m surprised she didn’t try for worlds in 2018, especially after her success at the Commonwealth Games, because they really needed a vault and bars gymnast to round out the team last year and she could have added to an already incredible finish for Canada! But she’s gone back and forth about her retirement after not making worlds in 2017, and I don’t think she’s training at the moment. I’m thinking she might know that while she’d be the perfect addition on a worlds team again this year, she might be a long shot for the Olympic team, which will basically require four all-arounders for Canada. I’m not sure if that’s playing into her thinking about retirement, or if she’s just ready to be done with it, but I’d love to see her give it another shot, especially alongside Ellie Black after the two have gone through the ringer together over the past couple of quads.

Does Florida have a chance at the NCAA title this year?

I’m like, honestly really sad to be answering this a week and a half after they failed to qualify for nationals. Two weeks ago, I would have said yes, because even though their vault lineup was pretty rough-going, they still got solid scores there and they were SO good on their other events, if they hit in the final and if teams like UCLA or Oklahoma had mistakes, then they’d be right up there. They had such a great and surprising finish in 2018 after a kind of okay-but-not-amazing season, and I thought maybe we could see them pull off something similar this year, but then beam happened at regionals and although they fought like hell to get back in the mix, they just happened to have one of their weakest performances of the season on the day they needed to hit.

When a college gymnast redshirts due to injury, do they still receive their scholarship that year and for any extra years spent on the team?

They get the scholarship for that year covered, but the fifth year depends. I think most of the top athletes who redshirt, the program will go out of their way to make sure they’re funded for the rest of their career. But many gymnasts in smaller programs, especially those who aren’t the star gymnast, end up having to pay for a fifth year if they decide to take one (so most will just not take one if they can’t work it out). The problem for many is that programs will already have incoming classes set for the next few years, so a gymnast who redshirts as a senior could be in a bind if they already have nine on the team the next season with three incoming freshmen, for example, as only 12 scholarship spots are available.

Can you explain why some elements in the code are credited to two gymnasts but at other times when two gymnasts submit at the same competition, it’s credited to no one?

The rules change often within the FIG. In some quads, the rule has been that if two gymnasts submit a skill, no one gets it named (which was the case last quad when Kelly Simm and Sophie Scheder both submitted the inbar piked Tkachev on bars). In other quads, the rule is that every gymnast who successfully competes it gets it named (as with Nina Derwael and Georgia-Mae Fenton this quad). In older quads, the skill was named for the first gymnast who competed it at that specific meet (so even though the DTY was competed by several gymnasts at the same competition, Svetlana Baitova got it named because she happened to be the first to do it that very day).

Why does Madison Kocian compete a Maloney instead of a Chow? Is it due to her shoulder? Do you think she’ll come back to elite?

I’m not sure if it’s related to her shoulder but I think a Maloney is a bit easier than a Chow, and maybe also not deducted as harshly!

Is the two-per-country rule in 2020 subject to those on the team even for individual events? Or are individuals also considered? If Simone Biles and Morgan Hurd qualify to floor and Jade Carey does as well, do all three compete or just two?

Only two compete. Per country means per country, regardless of whether a gymnast is on a team or competing as an individual.

Do you know why Jessica Hutchinson hasn’t represented Bulgaria as a senior?

I was surprised that she hasn’t yet! I was expecting to see her at least attempt it at the senior level in 2017, but thought maybe she was just holding off since that was kind of an off year for everyone, and then I believe she was injured for part of last year. This year she has competed somewhat regularly in level 10, so maybe we’ll see her back for worlds, but it’s been almost three years now since she’s competed elite so it’s possible she just decided not to do it anymore, especially as she’s now committed to Florida and might just want to focus on that.

This year’s NCAA semifinals and finals are on the first and second nights of Passover. Did the NCAA factor that in at all when they set the date? Are teams going to do anything so that any of their Jewish teammates can balance their competitions with observing the holiday?

I’m guessing they didn’t really think about it or plan it…it’s the same weekend the competition is held every year, so they just followed the normal schedule of the season that they follow every year, and this year it just happened to coincide with Passover, which changes every year. I don’t think it’s a huge deal, NCAA competition has fallen on Easter in the past, and international meets often fall on various holidays celebrated by gymnasts of different faiths, so it’s just one of those things that you get used to dealing with as an athlete, and as someone who used to work in theater and often had to perform on Christmas away from my family, it’s really not a huge deal unless you’re like, really observant (in which case you’d be used to making sacrifices of faith for your sport). If there’s someone on the team who is really religious and has special traditions, perhaps she’ll ask her coach and teammates to help her celebrate, or to allow her space to celebrate/be with her family assuming they’re traveling there. There honestly aren’t very many Jewish gymnasts, weirdly, let alone highly observant ones, so I doubt it’s even an issue but if it is, I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to celebrate, perhaps in a postponed kind of way if they can’t do it on the day itself.

How likely is it that Kyla Ross will get a perfect 10 on floor and complete a Gym Slam?

Before it happened I would have said “9 billion percent likely” and now that it has happened, hey, look, I’m basically an evil space wizard who can predict the future! Just kidding, we all knew it was coming. I mean, she got a 9.5 with a fall from one judge on bars.

Why do people think touching the beam is a 0.5 deduction? Ashton Locklear scored a 12.550 at the WOGA Classic with touching the beam her main fault.

Grabbing the beam is a half point deduction. Falling onto the beam is a full point. Ashton’s routine had more wrong with it than just touching the beam…she had wobbles on multiple skills, didn’t reach correct positions on many elements (I believe all of which were deducted rather than downgraded), and she had lots of other little mistakes that added up as well.

Any idea where they’ll place the bars and beam for the American Cup? Trying to buy the right tickets!

At most major international competitions, the bars and beam are placed at opposite ends of the arena, with the floor in the center and the vault running from one end to the other (usually with the table on the side of the arena where the beam is located). Most people prefer sitting somewhere in the middle, directly in front of floor, so they’re equidistant between bars and beam, but I prefer sitting at one side of the arena (usually directly in front of bars) so I can see everything out before me, even though it means beam usually ends up being far away. When I sit in the center, as someone who watches all four events, I often have to turn my head back and forth to catch both bars and beam, whereas if I’m sitting on the long end of the arena, I can see everything at the same time, so that’s preferable to me.

If Ava Harper never gets an FIG license to represent the United States and directly gets a license with Romania, would she be required to demonstrate residency in Romania?

I believe she would just have to show citizenship, not residency, since she wouldn’t be requesting a “change of nation.” Anyone registering with the FIG for the first time, regardless of where they live and who they’re planning on competing for, wouldn’t need to do a “change of nation” request because they’re not changing anything. So Kylie Dickson’s first and only nation with the FIG was Belarus, Laney Madsen’s first and only nation is Bulgaria, and if Ava Harper opts to compete for Romania right off the bat, her first and only nation will be Romania. Changing a nation has more strict requirements to prevent the flip-flopping that has been happening across the sport recently, but if it’s your first time registering, the residency requirement isn’t as intense.

How did Kaylen Morgan get the Gymnix assignment? She competed at the Nastia Liukin Cup last year so must have been a level 10. Can you get invited to camp and added to the national team without qualifying elite?

Some gymnasts with a history coming up in the elite program can have their coaches petition them to camp without any other history of attending national team camp. Jade Carey got invites to camp before ever competing in an elite qualifier because Valeri Liukin saw her level 10 vaults and thought having her around would be a great way to boost vault depth, and camp was where he first tested her out to see what she could do which is how she qualified elite, and several other gymnasts have similar stories where they got invites to camp before ever even attending a qualifier, some of whom worked out but others who just went to one camp and then never attempted elite afterwards.

Kaylen had been part of the Hopes program, had previously attended camps, and she attempted to qualify elite in both 2018 and 2019, but mistakes kept her short on earning her score. Despite not qualifying elite through the Buckeye qualifier earlier this year, she clearly had a great day at camp to qualify not only to elite but to the national team through verification, which is how she got the international assignment.

What is the status of Olivia Dunne? Is she still injured?

She was still injured earlier in the year, which is why she didn’t go to camp, but she’s planning on continuing to compete elite this year!

What do you think Jordyn Wieber feels when coaching Kyla Ross, who used to be her teammate? What do you think Kyla feels?

I mean, I can’t really say what they feel, not being them, but based on what I’ve heard them say, Jordyn seems super proud to be coaching her Olympic teammate, and Kyla seems to love having Jordyn around as the two were close when they were young and are probably even closer now that they’re adults spending time together in this different capacity.

I just read that sporteverywhere is shutting down their channel because YouTube keeps demonetizing their videos. How do you think this will impact fans of the sport and the development of the sport?

I don’t think it will really impact the sport’s development at all…it sucks for fans who liked learning through the videos but it doesn’t really have any affect on the sport itself, unless coaches from smaller programs with no resources were using the videos to help build ideas for routines or something (but there are similar programs out there that help coaches and national programs with this, so not all hope is lost).

What countries do you think have the more realistic shots at qualifying the one or two extra spots to Tokyo next year?

The United States will almost certainly qualify two spots, Russia and China will qualify at least one if not two, and I think we’ll also see France, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, Germany, and Japan with a great shot at also qualifying at least one additional gymnast. These countries have the best chances based on current depth but you never know who else could step up!

Do you know if Chellsie Memmel ever looked into NCAA? Is there a program you would’ve wanted to see her at?

I’m sure she considered it at one point but don’t know how far she got in terms of figuring out which schools she would have considered. As a top gymnast, I’d think she probably would’ve checked out the best schools at the time, which were UCLA, Utah, Georgia, and Alabama. I can see her having gone to Alabama or Georgia, most likely…for some reason Alabama is jumping out as the most likely to me but I can’t put my finger on why that is!

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

52 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

    • She didn’t go to qualify, just to get some practice in before camps/the elite season started. She had already qualified elite through nationals the previous year.


  1. Regarding 2019 Junior Worlds, considering that the qualification rules were never properly published before too late, the FIG introduced Continental Team Wild Cards, once the rules were finally published in the end of January 2019. One per continent and per discipline. The WAG Team Wild Cards went to Belgium, Kazakhstan and Panama, the MAG ones to Australia, Spain, Mongolia and Mexico. I guess New Zealand could have got the WAG Wild Card, had they applied for one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On an episode of Bruin Banter Nia mentioned she’s had a torn labrum that makes it painful for her to compete bars. So UCLA only uses her when they really need to

    Liked by 1 person

  3. US will prob send their top gymnasts again to AA world cup next yr to ensure they do get that extra spot…

    If you want to make it more interesting, can change the rule to exclude anyone who helps a team qualified from the AA cups. That way the US would be forced to send their “B” AAers to AA cups.. But they probably would still have a good chance of winning the series anyway since their “B” AAers are still better than most other big 4 “B” AAers and lesser nations’ “A” AAers… But maybe then the competition would be closer?


    • The drop down from the US top AAers to the US next-best AAers is way less severe than the drop from the other countries’ top to second-best, though. The US is leaving girls off the worlds team who can realistically get a 55-56 AA, whereas most other teams are lucky to have 4+ girls in the country who can score close to that. The U.S. would be sending girls like Sunisa Lee and Leanne Wong, who are competitive with all of the girls who competed at worlds to help qualify the team in 2018. It actually might even widen the gap because the B-team AAers from other countries would be so weak in comparison, just due to an overall lack of depth.


  4. 3 countries qualify a spot from AA world cups, right? I’m assuming that USA will take one. Who else is in the mix? Realistically, depending on who they send to the meets I think it could be any of China/Russia/France/GB/Brazil/Japan/Canada, so it will be exciting to watch next spring!


    • Yup! This year it would have been Canada and Japan, but it could honestly go to anyone next year depending on (a) who takes it seriously and sends top gymnasts and (b) who hits. I can see China just going for the non-nominative AA spot from Asian Championships since that competition will be pretty weak and they usually get the top AA spots there with lower A team and even B team girls (mostly because Japan usually sends a C team lol), so if they get a continental spot and an apparatus spot, they won’t need the AA world cup, where it’ll be harder for them to challenge since they don’t generally get close to some of the non-Asian countries in the AA. But we’ll see what each country decides to do next year! I think Russia and France will be right up there with Canada and Japan as most likely to qualify the AA spots behind the USA.


        • If they want the spot, which I am sure they do, they’ll have to. Otherwise they can have maximum 180 World Cup points, if they win the rest 3 competitions. This will lose to 1-2-2-2, 2-3-3-3 and even to 3-4-4-4, which would still give 185 points.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, it would be nice to the RU back again at AC.. i think they might even send mustafina again 😉

          I was thinking they should also have the AA cups in countries that are non Big 4 or also limit everyone to 1 gymnast. that way it would be a little more fair since it doesnt any good to have US with two chances of getting a placement at AC while everyone else only has one chances


    • Next year evryone will take these AA cups and continental championship a lot more seriously than thi yr…its good to finally see some serious comp. But the hope for more different countries in WAG is limited as lauren said the big 4 has most of the big specialists and AAers anyway.. Only once a while you get someone like nina dewaael or hong ung jong…


  5. Going along with israel and eu question….

    Most of russia is actually asia.. Can you imagine how things would be like if russia competes as an asian nation instead of euro? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, but Russia has actually an European Portion. Israel NO. And the European Russia population is bigger(by far) than the Asian Russia. I think the competition in Asian Championship should be amazing too because China and Japan are really strong teams(If Japan just send its A team for Asian Championships and Asian Games, lol…)


  6. YAY! It’s BBAAAAAAACKKK! I have missed this post soooo much! Am I wrong, or was this the 1st “You Asked” this year? it’s my favorite part of the site!


  7. IIRC, Chellsie was interested in UCLA and had an official visit before she went pro. I also vaguely remember some gossip about her dad making an ass out of himself on the trip/not wanting her to do NCAA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Outside of gossip/rumors she would have been perfect for NCAA! She was always a very reserved gymnast, Miss Val definitely would’ve pulled her out of her shell had she gone to UCLA, and Alabama always had an even mix of extroverts and introverts and could’ve fit in there too.


      • I actually had to google “OCD knee”:
        Osteochondritis dissecans of the knee, or OCD knee, is a condition that is caused by a reduction of blood flow to the end of a bone within the knee joint. … OCD of the knee is a painful joint condition in which a piece of cartilage, along with a portion of the bone under it, may come loose from the end of a bone.


  8. What’s interesting is if Jade Carey qualifies and the U.S. gets a non-nominative spot through AA world cups, that leaves the Pan-Ams wide open, meaning countries like Canada and Brazil have a better chance of getting two spots than those in Euros or Asia. And to the question about giving less-experienced gymnasts a chance to compete, the U.S. could send Simone, Morgan, etc to world cups and then once-qualified, send a less-experienced team to Pan-Ams where nothing is on the line; and don’t forget Pac Rim.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There is def room for at least one international experience for everyone on the national team. i do like how they distribute it out to give everyone some experience.

    Yeah, i think jade has a very high likelihood of getting her spot through the cup series. I do like to see her do at least one more for the experience and maybe two and place first just to lock up it but then again she is the only one right now leading in 2 events.

    Would be great to see jade having both amanar and cheng. then she would probably lock up the vt silver medal unless paseka going to really start on getting that cheng fixed…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I stand corrected. I should have said… since the first of the year. There were several in January but only one since then (based on the archives). I missed and enjoy them so much. I always get lots of answers to many of my own questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If Jade Carey leads World Cup quals on both vault and floor, does that mean that no one else qualifies for the Olympics on these events? Or does the FIG or Jade choose which spot that they will take, and the next best gymnast on either vault or floor is eligible?


    • There will always be 4 quota places for WAG with the restriction 1 per country. If more than one gymnast from the same country will lead the ranking in the end of the series in different events or if one gymnast in more than one event, there will be no choice, but a tie-breaking procedure. The tie-break will go as follows: 1) the highest average World Cup points from all competitions attended (not just those three that count for total); 2) the highest average rank in qualifications.


      • Thank you. I still don’t really understand how this would work for Jade, but i thank you for your reply.
        So would they take the apparatus that she has the highest average on, then?


        • Yes :). It would not mean anything for Jade, but would mean everything for the gymnasts who are next after her on VT and FX. If Jade by tie-break gets her spot on VT, the next on FX gets the FX spot. If Jade gets the FX spot, the next on VT gets the VT spot.


        • Thank you so much! So if I am understanding it correctly, if Jade has the highest average on vault between her two events, then Chuso could miss out on an individual spot? If she has the highest average on floor, then Ferrari could miss out on a spot?


        • Your last comment has no reply link any more, so sorry if the posts will be in wrong order. Yes, Chuso, Ferrari or whoever will be the next after her. P.S. I believe Chuso has better chance to qualify at 2019 Worlds, whereas Paseka can only get her spot through VT World Cup. Or if Russia will get nameless spot through AA World Cup and give it to Paseka.


      • yes, so going with the highest points right now for jade would be vt with a potential 90 points. she will probably get also potentially 80 for fx. This is assuming she doesn’t to to any more competitions and everyone else from the other countries do their expected parts to qualify their team and also no one else got any point high enough to tie her and beat her.

        given who we know about the competitors in vt and fx, i would say fx is actually a more scattered field (meaning less chance of one person being likely winner for all the next 3 therefore favoring jade) as far as winners for the next 3 comps if jade doesn’t show up….

        for vt, given how paseka seems to score so well even with her atrocious cheng, i could definitely see paseka winning the next 3 if she doesn’t fall. Given that jade didn’t score as well in her first outing at cottbus, and the fact that she doesn’t have as high starting D score as paseka, it’s not inconceivable that paseka could beat her with tie breaker if jade doesn’t show up for at least 1 or 2 more cups.

        I would say that either way, even if she stops going to anymore world cup right now, she still have a very good chance of getting a spot either way (much better than 50%). but having said that i am sure she will go out of her way to go to at least 1 or 2 more to make it a virtual certainty!

        and yes, whoever ranks below her on both vt and fx are crossing their fingers….



    so of the 32 spots, there would be 20 AA spots from AA qualification and 12 spots (3/event) from event final.

    i assume these are only if federation did not qualify a team can they get these spots? So anyone from the 12 teams qualified are not eligible for these spots even if they win a medal i guess

    Given that biles, carey, and paseka likely winning vt, chuso would have to be in top 20 AA to make it to another olympics? how likely is that she would be the top 20 AA? it seems like this is now actually harder for the specialists as before this they can qualify with lower AA score but now they have to be top 20 AA to make it…


    • Well, top 20 outside of gymnasts already on qualified teams (12 teams, so many in the top 24 will not be eligible). You’d probably have to go pretty far down the list to find 20 individuals, and then you can add more if not enough people qualify through event finals.
      Example, using Doha vault EF:
      World Champion Biles is to eligible as USA has qualified a full team.
      Olsen also not eligible as Canada expected to finish top 12.
      Alexa Moreno gets a nominative spot.
      Chuso does too, even though she didn’t medal and finished fourth.
      Fifth placed Yeo Seo-jeong gets the third spot.

      If we use floor, all the medalists (Biles, Hurd and Murakami) are out as their countries have, or are expected to have qualified teams. 4th placed Melnikova is out as Russia has qualified a team. Assuming Brazil qualify a team, Saraiva also doesn’t get a place. Sixth place (MDJDS), 7th place (Akhaimova) and eight place (Moors) are all in teams that have/are expected to qualify teams. So those three spots go back into the AA pot.


      • So even if you don’t officially win a medal by placing in the top 3 at EF in 2019 worlds, you could still get a spot via 2019 worlds EF if the winners of the gold silver and bronze for the EF is from one of the qualified 12 teams?

        i guess that’s the case since the wikipedia link does say at the footnote that athletes from NOC with qualified team are not eligible for any of the 32 olympics spots from 2019 worlds. so i guess chuso might actually be in the top 3 place in vt ef at 2019 worlds after we take out biles, carey, paseka, olsen, andrade,

        The problem is that vt ef is on the last day of competition so to ensure of better chance, she might consider doing AA in qualification anyway to give her another additional chance of being in top 20 AAers (after taking out all the qualified NOC gymnasts)?


        • Yes, the terms used are not top 20 or top 3, but 20 (3) highest placed eligible athletes. If we take the AA-list and consider that gymnasts from 12 qualified teams are ineligible, then this will take out about 24 all-arounders. Considering further, that among those 20 places there is further restriction 1 athlete per NOC, this may additionally take out around 10 or more athletes. Now, on WAG side, based on previous experience, it is unlikely that 12 gymnasts out of 12 qualified teams will even qualify to the EFs. 6 is more likely. The rest 6 spots will return to the AA pool and instead of 20 spots we’ll have about 26, with further 1 per NOC restriction. Altogether we may well end up in the situation where about 60th all-arounder in CI still gets the spot.


        • Yup! In 2015 the cutoff for the test event went down to somewhere around 100th place for the 40ish individual test event spots available at that time, so we could go down to about 60th-80th in AA qualifications in Stuttgart this year before we get to the end of our list of Olympic qualifiers.


  13. RE: Passover, from a Jewish gym fan 🙂 If you’re quite observant, NCAA might be a non-starter in general because most meets fall on Shabbat – Friday evening through Saturday sundown. With the major Jewish holidays, you also can’t celebrate earlier or later – you have to observe on the day. Passover is one where you may have more flexibility though, depending on your level of observance.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I swear to the gods, if one more person repeats the “do injured/redshirt/medically retired athletes get to keep their scholarships” question; I am going to lose my shit. It’s like…on every one of these. Lauren’s patience is almost saintly.


    • LOL. Between that and “if two gymnasts on the US team qualify for the vault final ahead of Jade Carey as the specialist in Tokyo is it still two per country” I’m ready to set myself on fire.


  15. Pingback: Around the Gymternet: We’re gonna make it after all | The Gymternet

  16. NCAA Gymnastics had programs at Oklahoma State (9th at the 1982 NCAAs)
    and Indiana also had a team which was dropped after the 1985 season. Also from the Big Ten was Wisconsin which was dropped after 1991, which had a Big Ten AA champion in 1990. Pac 12 had Washington State University who hosted Pac 10 in 1987, the year the program was dropped.


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