Around the Gymternet: We’re gonna make it after all


“I’m so excited to not be able to walk by the time I’m 30 years old.” -Heath Thorpe’s feeling the force of gravity. Thirty is the new 90, yo.

NCAA nationals

OK took it away. Oklahoma won their fourth national championship on Saturday, mostly hitting to win by over half a point in a leotard specially designed to mimic a skin condition. LSU surprised for the bridesmaid finish with a great day, and you’ll pry their billboard from their cold, dead and horribly calloused fingers. UCLA succumbed to errors to finish in third. Denver took fourth in their first-ever finals, by far the best finish in their program’s history.

Other things. There were sad senior moments. Brenna Dowell ended her career with the stuck vault heard around the world for a 9.9875. Katelyn Ohashi did her thing for the last time. Miss Val said goodbye. OK did it for Dave. DD’s dress didn’t disappoint.

Nichols kept her crown. Maggie Nichols won the all-around at Friday’s semifinals in her first all-around appearance since January, becoming the first to repeat the title since Courtney Kupets. Kyla Ross took second, tying with Lexy Ramler; Ross ended her 10 streak but shared national titles on vault and floor, and has now won all four events. Sarah Finnegan (your new AAI Award winner) took fourth and the bars title.

As is customary with event titles, there were plenty of ties (because since when has sport been about finding out who’s the best? Oh wait, that’s the actual point? Oh). Alicia Boren shared the four-way floor title, and Natalie Wojcik stood alone atop the beam podium.

Semifinals were tense. Semifinal 1 was close. UCLA edged out LSU by just over a tenth; they once again had a leotard disaster on day one and then leotard redemption on day two. Michigan had a good day despite a last-minute injury for third, and the Utes didn’t make it, coming in fourth. MyKayla Skinner scored a 39.550 for fourth, and says she’ll announce her future plans soon. And speaking of Utah, head coach Megan Marsden has announced her retirement after 35 years.

Oklahoma was on fire in semifinal two, winning by over eight tenths. Denver barely edged out Oregon State by just over a tenth to make the final (even though fun fact Michigan outscored them), and Georgia had some errors to finish fourth.

The dudes. The men had their day, except they didn’t because they competed on the same day as the women. Right. Stanford upset 12-time champion Oklahoma. Brody Malone won the all-around, upsetting Yul Moldauer, who had a less-than-stellar day but also just won the Nissen-Emery Award, so. He’ll be fine.

DII. Lindenwood took the USAG National Championship, with UIC taking second in what was sadly their last-ever competition.

Some news

Trouble in Michigan. Former MSU president Lou Anna Simon’s preliminary hearing continued last week. She stands accused of lying to prosecutors about how much she knew about Larry Nassar’s abuse. Meanwhile, there’s significant pressure on former interim president John Engler to finally meet with Michigan’s Attorney General.

  • The deadline to file a sexual abuse claim against USA Gymnastics is April 29.
  • Central Michigan University coach Jerry Reighard was fired in part for telling an athlete to lie about concussion symptoms.
  • The trailer for HBO’s new documentary, “At the heart of gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics scandal” is here.
  • Wutever this is.

Required reading

  • The most hated gymnast in the NCAA (Slate)
  • Miss Val’s storied career comes to an end (ESPNW)
  • UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi looks to make final statement on floor (The Associated Press), Katelyn Ohashi takes a bow (Marie Claire), Going out with no regrets (Washington Post)
  • From gospel music to hip-hop, women’s gymnastics is anything but routine (The Undefeated)
  • Texas is a US hotbed for gymnastics but doesn’t offer the D-I sport in college. Experts predict championships if that changes (SportsDay)
  • What ESPN’s Kathy Johnson Clarke said about gymnastics future, NCAA championship in town (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
  • NCAA gymnastics changed its postseason, hoping for its own March Madness moments (Washington Post)
  • Back from surgery, gymnast Morgan Hurd has Tokyo 2020 within her bespectacled sight (Team USA)

Star status

Injuries. Dominick Cunningham posted an update on his injury, grade-2 LCL damage. Vanessa Ferrari had surgery on both legs, and turns out Great Britain’s Maisie Methuen missed out on Brit Champs because of a neck fracture. Great sport, you guys.

Upgrades. This week, we saw an attitude into a full turn from Sophia McClelland, a quintuple into a pit from Leanne Wong, and were introduced to Zoe Miller, who even intimidates the GOAT herself.

Lineup news. Italy is skipping the European Games to prep for worlds, and I’m skipping everything to go back to bed.

Mark your turtle shells

The Tokyo schedule is here.

Because you asked…

Lauren is here with her predictions for Olympic qualifications, and your other burning concerns.

Last words

If everyone’s a goat, then no one is.

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5 thoughts on “Around the Gymternet: We’re gonna make it after all

    • Wasn‘t it the same in bejing? I believe the storyline was that shawn won gold on the last piece of gymnastics she did in the games


      • Yeah. Honestly I’m fine with this because at least they end on a climatic event. Assuming Simone stays healthy and doesn’t have a random miss, she’s winning floor.


  1. After reading the Slate article on Skinner, I kinda get what they mean about her attitude, But attitude or not, it’s gymnastics and if you are perfect then you should get a 10, esp if you are doing one of the most difficult NCAA routines and doing it well, and not chucking it.

    I hope she will try again for another run at the olympics. it’s definitely going to be stacked odds against her since she is competing for one of the nonnominative spot on the team since it’s unlikely they will take someone else for a vt and fx medal since Jade is already more or less getting that spot….then again, crazy things like brenna making the 2015 team at camp had happened so i guess you can’t never count anything out.


    • I also read the article, and while I get what they mean about her attitude, it’s not quite right to say “men act like this and people say it’s OK, why can’t MyKayla act like this?” But the answer isn’t to give MyKayla a pass, it’s that we should be holding all athletes, men and women, accountable for their shitty attitudes. I do think male athletes get blowback for their shitty attitudes – I know I judge them for it – but the article is probably correct that MyKayla gets it worse. But I don’t think that happened in a vacuum. I love MyKayla’s NCAA gymnastics, but those tweets after the Olympic trials left a REALLY bad taste in my mouth and I don’t think she’s ever really understood why they were wrong on a very deep level. And even though I try to see past that and just appreciate the difficulty she’s bringing to NCAA’s, I have to admit it can be a struggle. I’d be able to handle her disproportionate anger and smirks if it wasn’t for those tweets.

      Also, the answer to her not getting as many tens as other athletes isn’t to also give MyKayla a ten, it’s for the judges to give fewer tens for problem performances. If all MyKayla is going to do is pout about not getting a ten, it shows that she’s not open to listening to what needs to be improved in order to get a ten, which probably drives her coaches mad.

      I don’t really care whether she goes for Tokyo or not. If she wants to, that’s great. But the judging on form has gotten so much stricter in the last couple years, I can’t see that she’s going to be happy with getting a low 8 (at best) in execution on beam when she can’t even handle getting a 9.95.


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