You Asked, The Gymternet Answered


Elizabeth Price

It’s time for the 257th edition of You Asked, The Gymternet Answered!

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What are the D scores for Elizabeth Price’s 2018 NCAA routines?

Vault – DTY – 5.4 D

Bars – Glide kip mount (A), kip cast to handstand (A), Maloney (D) + clear hip (C) + Church (E) + bail (D) + Ray (B), giant swing (B), double layout (D) – CR 1.0, element value 2.5, CV 0.4 – 3.9 D

Beam – Squat through mount (A), front aerial (D), back handspring (B) + layout (E), full turn (A), switch leap (C) + split jump (B), roundoff (B) + double pike (E) – CR 2.0, element value 2.4, CV 0.1 – 4.5 D

Floor – Double layout (F), front tuck (A) through to double tuck (D), stag jump (A), Johnson half (D) + straddle half (B), double pike (D) – CR 1.5, element value 2.2, CV 0.1 – 3.8 D

Elizabeth loses 1.0 in CR on bars for missing a 360 pirouette and forward elements, and she loses 0.5 in CR on floor for not having a 360 twist in any of her salto passes, but quick fixes could easily get her bars to a 4.9+ and her floor to a 4.3+ or somewhere in that neighborhood.

Do you know when tickets will go on sale for the 2021 World Championships in Copenhagen? How far in advance do they usually go on sale?

It depends on the host country…Stuttgart and Montreal both had tickets available something like a year in advance, but Doha and Nanning didn’t release ticket information until just a couple of months in advance. I think Copenhagen will be one of the “far in advance” host cities, so I’d start looking in the fall of 2020!

Does gymnastics stunt growth or do gymnasts just happen to be short?

I think most gymnasts are short because the sport favors a smaller, more muscular body type, and so the majority of people who have the most success tend to be shorter on average, whereas taller gymnasts still exist, but find it more difficult to do the same kind of difficulty a shorter gymnast can do simply thanks to physics. I’m five feet tall, and when I go to competitions either in the U.S. or internationally, the majority of senior elite gymnasts are taller than me by a few inches at least, so it’s not like the 80s or 90s when everyone was working to delay puberty so they could stay 4’8 and 80 pounds. Basically, they’d try to stunt growth and in that sense you could say that the sport stunted growth, but now that this isn’t as much of an issue, you see a lot of gymnasts that look more average-sized than not.

Do you think Italy’s new seniors are going to be the best choices for worlds, or do you think they might benefit from older seniors with stronger floor?

I think it’s going to be Giorgia Villa, Elisa Iorio, Alice D’Amato, Asia D’Amato, and Lara Mori on the team. I think the four first-year seniors have been basically training to attend worlds alongside one another for the past two years, which is why every major junior team had these four (unless someone was injured and they had to sub another gymnast in). They train together, live together, and it’s almost like their whole lives have been engineered to go to worlds and then the Olympics together, so I think the game plan is to send all four to Stuttgart, but I also think since beam and floor are a weakness for them, it would make sense for someone like Lara to join them and kind of balance them out. Vanessa Ferrari and Carlotta Ferlito would also be good choices, but Vanessa has already said she’s attempting to qualify to the Olympics as a specialist through the world cups and doesn’t want to go to worlds, while Carlotta – who did very well at the Serie A meets this year – isn’t taken super seriously by the national team staff anymore so I’m not sure she’d really be in consideration.

I heard there was a vote on adding two extra scholarships per school in the PAC 12. Is this true?

I haven’t heard anything official, but I’m sure this is something many schools and conferences would love to float around as a change. I’d think that if the PAC 12 allowed two more scholarships per program, other conferences would have to do it as well, though, right? So it might need to be more an NCAA-wide decision rather than just PAC 12.

If an elite gymnast flexes her feet on the uneven bars to avoid hitting the low bar, does she still get a flexed foot deduction?

Adjusting the body line to avoid the low bar through flexing feet or piking the hips shouldn’t be deducted, because it’s more a necessary evil than an actual fault of the gymnast’s.

Mihai Brestyan had a gymnast on each of the last three Olympic teams. Is this a record?

For the U.S. obviously we don’t have all of the club information and details from the early years of the sport, but the Karolyis had gymnasts on teams from 1984 through 1996 making it four consecutive Olympics…but three in a row is pretty great, too, matched also by Kelli Hill going to the Olympics with Dominique Dawes in 1992, 1996, and 2000…actually I just realized Kelli went four times in a row with Courtney Kupets going in 2004, so she wins alongside the Karolyis!

Who started the wolf turn trend on floor and beam?

Terin Humphrey was the first to kind of normalize them, I’d say, and then Lauren Mitchell began making them really popular back around 2009 or so.

What would be the toughest event (men’s or women’s) to do while drunk?

Beam and pommels for sure. Now I really want to see drunk pommels. Though I guess it’d just kinda look like Doha 2018 pommels. 🙂

What do you think about Laney Madsen at Euros? Can she get an NCAA scholarship?

I thought she did a fantastic job for her first real non-qualifier elite meet in almost two years and for her international debut! She had some cleanup areas on all of her events, but I think she looked really strong overall and could definitely get a scholarship, especially if she shows recruiters that her skills are cleaner when she’s not doing as much difficulty.

As the world silver medalist on vault, why didn’t Shallon Olsen have a more successful freshman season? Why didn’t she qualify to nationals as an individual?

I think she had a solid season, but Alabama as a whole wasn’t really super on point this year and that kind of affects everyone on the team in terms of scores not being huge compared to other schools. Shallon had some excellent DTYs that only scored in the 9.8 range, which was a shame because I saw several weaker DTYs at a rival SEC school consistently get high 9.9-range scores. The saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” can also apply to college gymnastics if you just make it more like “it’s not what you do, but how your team is viewed” and this season, Alabama was just not as favorably viewed as others. Shallon was also pretty heavily hit by deductions on beam and floor for things like leaps and landings, which weren’t as tight as some others, but she was also focusing on doing some really hard skills as she’s still simultaneously training elite while competing in NCAA, so that kind of affected her execution as well.

In NCAA is there a way to look up online whether gymnasts are on scholarship vs walk-ons?

Nope. Most schools don’t make it public, though it can become pretty obvious if you look at a gymnast’s background compared to the gymnastics backgrounds of the scholarship gymnasts on the team, and often if a gymnast’s home state is the same as their college, it’s likely they’re a walk-on paying in-state tuition (most of the California residents at UCLA are walk-ons, though of course you have a few California-based scholarship kids as well, like Kyla Ross and Felicia Hano).

What do you think Rebecca Bross’ chance of making the 2012 team would have been had she not been injured?

I think she would’ve had a great shot at the bars/beam spot that ultimately went to Kyla Ross. I think she still would’ve been a bit behind the top three all-arounders with her vault and floor not quite as up to par, but she was so good on the other two. Kyla still would’ve been a big challenge, but I do think Rebecca could’ve made things far more interesting, especially as she had quite a bit more difficulty on beam, and I think had she stayed healthy, her consistency on both would’ve been much stronger.

Who has the most 10s in NCAA (including retired gymnasts)?

I believe it’s Jamie Dantzscher with 28, according to the UCLA media guide. For current gymnasts, I believe it’s Maggie Nichols with 17, and she’d be somewhere around 5th place on the all-time list.

What would a double layout on beam be rated?

As a dismount, I’d say an H.

Can you take a scholarship away from an athlete if they’re not performing well?

Technically no, but there are ways to take a scholarship away for disciplinary reasons, and sometimes a gymnast who isn’t performing well might be considered a disciplinary problem because her weak performance could be a result of not being a good team player, being disruptive in the gym, and so on. A few gymnasts have had scholarship issues for “disciplinary reasons” but they claim there were no disciplinary problems and that they just weren’t living up to expectations.

Where would you recommend for someone to sit to have the best view of everything at a meet?

Honestly, I love sitting on the sides of the arena because then you can see all four events in front of you at once. At most meets, you have the beam on one side, the bars on the other, floor in the middle, and the vault runway starts on the bars end with the table on the beam end. I love sitting on the bars or beam end, because even though the event I’m not directly in front of ends up being further away, you can just look straight out and see everything at once. Most people like to sit on the long ends of the arena with floor directly in front of them, but then you have to turn your head one way to see beam and then the other way to see bars, so you end up missing a lot. I’ve been in a few media situations where seating has been that way and it’s kind of hellish because there’s no way to see everything that’s happening! But people like that spot because it’s more equidistant to all of the events so you’re not super close to one and then really far from another. Really depends on your preference, but I am 100% beam side.

Could an elite gymnast compete for her high school gymnastics team if she wanted to?

I don’t think she’d have time, really, which is also why many level 10 gymnasts choose not to do high school gymnastics as well…but I think it could be okay depending on the coach? Claire Hammen competed high school and J.O. at the same time and it was a huge deal because it’s generally pretty rare to see someone of her level in high school gymnastics. Since it’s not J.O. competition, there’s nothing against it in the elite rules so you wouldn’t have to drop down to do it…but I’d guess most coaches would consider it too much of a distraction, and even though it’s not technically against the rules, I’d think the national team program would also probably be like yeah, you should rethink that.

How did people find out about Maggie O’Hara’s torn ACL? Can she redshirt?

I don’t know? I’m sure it was posted on social media at some point. Yes, she only competed in three regular season meets in 2019 so she would be allowed to redshirt.

Are mill circles meant to teach hand positioning for front giants?

I guess you could say yes…a VERY early way to start getting the hand positioning, and there are definitely more intermediate progressions between the two, but the grip and forward motion around the bar is similar so why not?

What do you think about Craig Heap’s commentary for the BBC?

I don’t think I’ve heard him…actually, I thought the one guy who had regularly commented the world cups last year was Craig Heap and I was like wow, for a former top gymnast he knows shockingly nothing about gymnastics?! But thankfully I eventually found out that this was NOT Craig, hahaha. But yeah, I honestly don’t recall ever hearing him doing anything so I can’t really say!

Were you surprised with how well Amelie Morgan competed at European Championships? Do you think she’ll be a good addition to the senior team in the coming years?

I think she competed well…I think some people expected her to be a big blowout star at this meet, but I think she performed very well and just doesn’t have the kind of super difficulty on most of her events that would make her a major finals contender. That being said, I think she’s exactly the kind of consistent gymnast – especially on beam – that the program would want to see in a team competition, and I think she’ll definitely be on the worlds team if she continues looking as good as she does.

Elena Eremina speaks English, wears Team USA apparel, and has talked about wanting to study in the U.S. someday. Could she return prize money she’s accepted to be eligible for NCAA?

No, it’s not really possible at this point…it would be great to see a Russian early on start to plan on doing NCAA and make sure their eligibility doesn’t get compromised, though! Hopefully Elena will still come to the U.S. at some point so she can visit some of her American friends and maybe train with them at one of their gyms or something. I’m sure the Rodionenkos would be like “YEAH RIGHT” if she ever brought it up but it would honestly be so cool, and I’m sure she’d have a blast.

What is a realistic solution to make both difficulty and execution more equal across all four apparatuses?

It’s honestly just hard because vault lasts mere seconds and floor lasts a full minute and a half, so there are naturally going to be way more deductions on floor than vault. I think the only solution would be doubling the deductions on vault or something…I’m not so mad about bars E scores often being disproportionately higher than beam or floor because generally those who are pulling in the 8.5-9.0 E scores on bars are truly close to perfect, whereas those with really weak routines tend to score similarly to their beam and floor scores. It has slightly higher E scores on average, but it’s not as insanely off-balance as the vault deductions tend to be, so I think that should be the main priority and then we can go from there.

What are some good old competitions for watching on a rainy day?

The 1992 Olympic all-around final is a really fun one, and I also love all of 2003 world championships, which used to be my go-to whenever I wanted to watch something…what else? Honestly the men’s team final at 2018 worlds was one of my favorite things ever; even though I was gutted for the Russian men, I feel like I’ve never been as involved in a meet as I was with that. I also really love the 2016 men’s all-around final even though again the one I wanted to win ended up a hair behind and it killed me, but ugh, good to the final second.

One NCAA team this year received a 0.1 deduction from the overall team score. What could have caused that deduction?

It’s hard to say without knowing which team or what happened…usually a penalty that affects the entire team has something to do with a ‘behavioral’ issue, like a coach talking to the judges when they’re not allowed to, a mat-mover standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, or something along those lines.

What is Alice D’Amato’s deduction for her funny bar walking in her routine?

Shockingly, it’s not a deduction! Several gymnasts who do a ton of the front pirouettes in a row end up getting way off center because that’s how these pirouettes finish, and they have to walk their hands back over to the center to continue the routine, but that’s not an issue with routine construction or form/technical error so much as it is just a necessary evil with those kinds of skills. I think even though it looks funky, Alice and some others who have to do the hand walk generally flow super quickly from ending up on the side of the bar into their next skill (usually giants), so it doesn’t bother me too much and isn’t too distracting from the overall fluidity and aesthetic of the routine.

What is Laurie Hernandez’s plan?

I believe she’s hoping to return this summer (at classics perhaps?) on an event or two, but I’m not totally sure. She’s looked good in training, and I can see her getting a full high-difficulty beam back pretty well by this summer. We’ll see where she goes from there; I think everyone knows it’s getting to be late in the game for an Olympic bid, but you never know what she’ll pull out in the next year. I think at this point it’s still realistic to say she can put up a fight even if she might not be a top all-arounder.

What does a week-to-week NCAA training schedule look like? How do they arrange their practice timings? Do they meet every single weekday? How hard would it be for them to actually get their work done or socialize?

It depends on the program, but most meet every weekday except one (I believe Sundays are usually the day off), and many will have practice first thing in the morning or in the afternoon so their day isn’t super disrupted and they can still attend classes without much of an issue. Most will have put in about 3-4 hours a day of training, and then in competition season, they have travel and competition on top of it, but honestly it’s not that much more of a time commitment than someone in school working a job…and most D1 programs have an entire department dedicated to helping athletes with tutoring, time management, and so on. Also, most athletes are used to having to sacrifice on time having done J.O. and/or elite in high school while managing a full schedule, so they kind of train for that the same way they train as an athlete. And don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to socialize…especially when it’s not meet season.

Why did Gabby Douglas always make mistakes in event finals that she didn’t make in the all-around?

It’s really hard to stay at a hundred percent the entire time during a lengthy competition like the Olympics or worlds. I think it’s a combination of just succumbing to exhaustion and the pressure getting to her at this stage in the competition, which was unfortunate, but at least she always gave her best to the team competitions, and she was pretty badass in the all-around, too. I’d say the majority of gymnasts are so drained by event finals, it’s why an amazing beam field will end up seeing half of the competitors fall, unless of course someone is a specialist and/or not competing in a team final, in which case the event finals end up being fine for them because they haven’t competed every other day for a week straight.

Between the TTY and the Yurchenko double back, which is more likely and which would you assign the greater difficulty? Are there any current elites you think are most likely to get it named? Had Martha Karolyi not stopped McKayla Maroney, would she have submitted it and gotten it in the code?

I think the TTY is far more likely than the Yurchenko double back (considering it’s already been attempted in competition and because it’s much easier), and the double back would get the higher difficulty rating…a TTY would be a 6.2, and I think a double back would be closer to a 6.6. I don’t think it would’ve ever been realistic to see McKayla get a double back, and I think Simone Biles probably has the power to get one around, but is too smart to risk breaking her neck to get it named.

Do you think the recycling of floor music should be allowed?

Yeah, it’s honestly not a big deal. It’s weird to see a high-profile elite use the same music as another recent high-profile elite, but I like seeing different interpretations of a certain piece of music.

What is the difference between an empty swing and a giant?

A giant is a skill that starts in a handstand position and swings around the bar back to handstand, or is connected into a subsequent skill. An empty swing is when a gymnast swings out of an element and doesn’t connect it to anything. It’s not a full giant around the bar, but rather a swing forward or backward out of an element and then usually followed up with a kip cast to handstand. When a gymnast catches a Tkachev, for example, she usually either connects it to something else or directly kip casts back into handstand, but if a gymnast catches a Tkachev, swings forward and then back out of it, and then kip casts into handstand, that would be an empty swing.

Since Simona Amanar, Maria Olaru, and Xuan Liu all said that Andreea Raducan was the rightful 2000 Olympic champion, do you know if they ended up swapping medals?

No, they didn’t swap medals, but it’s great that they all recognize her as the rightful champion!

Why did He Kexin perform a clear hip circle in her 2012 bars routine when it didn’t add to her difficulty score or fulfill requirements?

I’m not sure…sometimes gymnasts will include intermediate elements that they don’t count because they’re a bit easier and it helps them kind of catch their breath for a second. It might not be worth anything in terms of element or connection value, but if a gymnast is doing a huge series of back and forth elements, rather than doing all big value elements like a release into a transition into another transition into another release, doing a clear hip in the middle of some of these keeps the flow of the series going, but also gives them a bit of a break.

If a gymnast qualifies to the Olympics through the apparatus world cup on one event, can they attempt to try to make finals on the other events?

Nope, a gymnast can only qualify on one event, but can compete all four events at the Olympic Games. So, if Jade Carey qualifies on vault, she can’t also qualify on floor, but she can compete the all-around in qualifications in Tokyo.

Can a country have alternates for the individual non-nominative spots?

A country will likely have a certain number of alternates and then if they need to replace someone (whether it’s a member of the team or the non-nominative individual athlete), they can pull from their alternates. Most won’t have a specific alternate for each spot…the U.S. had three alternates in 2016, for example, and while they probably would’ve pulled in MyKayla Skinner if Aly Raisman got injured or Ashton Locklear if Madison Kocian got injured, this wasn’t set in stone and they could’ve brought in any alternate they wanted for any spot…and it’ll be the same with the team vs non-nominative individual spots in 2020.

How hard is it for a gymnast who was homeschooled to adapt to college studies?

It depends on the gymnast. For some, it’s easy, and for others it’s really hard. I’d say a gymnast or other high-level athlete has an easier time adjusting than someone who was homeschooled without any other outside commitments like that, because they’re used to being scheduled and managing their day. For someone to go from a more lenient homeschool situation into a super scheduled college situation, it can be insanely difficult to adjust, but I think having a busy athletic career and moving into a situation that’s just as scheduled and organized – especially being on a team where much of your time is managed by others – makes it a bit easier to handle the transition.

What are your thoughts on Valeri Liukin and Brazil? How would he help the team?

I think it’s an excellent situation, and he’s doing a tremendous job with the program. They love him there and have extended his time working with them, and I think even though he’s only been with the team for a relatively short amount of time, the effect he’s having is already super clear in terms of how he’s pulling them together as a team. They had the talent and the skills already, but he’s making them more of a cohesive unit, and even though they had a few struggles on bars last year at worlds, I think this year they could be a legitimate contender for a medal, as they’ve already looked even more together this year than they did in Doha.

Why would a gymnast wear socks while doing bars? Doesn’t it get them more deductions for leg separations or unpointed toes?

It definitely breaks up the line and makes issues with the legs and feet more clear because they’re drawing attention to their feet…not sure why they’d choose to wear them, honestly, but most don’t wear socks on bars (though some do wear a kind of heel padding or heavy tape to protect ankles/heels on the dismount).

If a gymnast under-rotates a triple full, for example, and it gets downgraded, does she get execution deductions for under-rotating?

No, if it’s downgraded to a 2½, she wouldn’t get deductions for it being under-rotated because she’s not credited with the triple and therefore it technically isn’t under-rotated. She might get execution deductions for other issues related to the triple being under-rotated, like lack of control on the landing and awkward form in the air, but she’s safe from a deduction for under-rotation.

The U.S. used to add SO many people to the national team. Now they add half as many. Why did this change?

They’ve gone through periods of adding a ton of people and then only adding a few, but I think the years where they went crazy adding everyone, it was not the norm. Now, they like to name only those who will be considered most likely to make whatever big teams are coming up, but because so many gymnasts often end up super close at nationals, they’ll tend to stick with just the top six and a few specialists there, and then when they get to camp and can weed out those who are injured, those who don’t look as good as they did a few months earlier, and so on, they have a better idea of who they want to add and will just make those additions at camp. I think they kind of learned from the years where they named a ton of people to the team and then realized half of them wouldn’t end up working out, so they end up paying out stipends to gymnasts who aren’t going to be productive potential team members, so the way that tends to be more common now works out better because they’re putting the resources into those who are most likely to get the job done.

I’m having a problem with the whip to double tuck pass. Is this worth the same as an F on floor?

A single whip directly into a double tuck is worth 0.1 in CV, so yes, you could consider it worth an F (0.6) because it would be A (0.1) + D (0.4) = 0.5 + 0.1 CV = 0.6.

Do you think there could ever be a team event with men and women on the same team? Which countries would be the strongest at this?

I think it would be awesome to see co-ed gymnastics. We do see this at some of the more fun events following worlds, like the Swiss Cup, where men and women will pair together and compete as a mixed pairs team…but because the men’s routines are generally scored higher than women’s routines, the mixed pairs teams with the strongest men almost always end up being the teams that win. Given this fact, the Japanese, Chinese, and Russian teams would all be in an excellent place to be successful at a mixed team event, but I think the U.S. women are strong enough to also make the U.S. super competitive because even though the men are a bit behind the three top MAG programs, the women are so far ahead of the women’s teams from the top MAG countries, it’d balance out.

Why do all the gymnasts do stretched vaults?

They’re more difficult and therefore worth more than a tucked or piked vault. It’s also a bit easier to twist in the stretched position, so it’s easier to add multiple twists and therefore increase difficulty when you’re doing a layout compared to a tuck or a pike. Tucks and pikes look good with, like, a full max when coming off of vault, and then any twists beyond that tend to look awkward and messy.

Who pays for the world cup cash prizes?

The host organization pays the prize money for world cup competitions.

Do gymnasts who always fall on certain elements in competitions nail them in practice?

I think most gymnasts who show up at a competition with a certain skill have done it well enough in practice on a regular basis to make it a skill they want to add into a competitive routine, so yes. But of course, it’s much easier to hit skills in the gym under zero pressure than it is to hit them in a competition setting, so a skill that becomes a piece of cake in the gym might end up being shaky in competition, especially if it’s new to a routine, and then if there’s a fall or two early on in the history of that skill, a gymnast might develop a mental block with that skill and become almost unable to do it at a meet.

Is Irina Alexeeva still NCAA eligible? How does Russian national team funding work?

Yes she is. Russian national team funding works like a salary, which is different from getting an endorsement, and she has made sure to be careful and accept only the salary portions of her funding (and not any prize money) so she can maintain her eligibility for NCAA.

If Simone Biles started competing for Belize, could she and the top three gymnasts currently competing for Belize beat a team of top U.S. girls in a team final?

There are no active elite gymnasts who currently compete for Belize, so they wouldn’t be able to compete in a team event.

What’s the spray some gymnasts put on their arms before putting on their grips for uneven bars?

It might be a cold spray kind of thing which some gymnasts might like for their wrists/hands when doing bars…I sometimes use a Biofreeze spray for joints and muscles, and it can be super helpful. I see gymnasts using these a lot when they’re putting on leg wraps, so it might also be something some will use under their grips.

What are the chances that Sarah Finnegan goes home with the hopes of making the 2020 Olympic team? She was one of the best gymnasts in NCAA and her body seems to be healthy.

I’d say zero percent. Being a top collegiate gymnast has very little to do with being able to compete in elite at a high level, and she hasn’t done elite difficulty in seven years at this point. Most gymnasts in NCAA who go back to elite have to be consistently training elite difficulty (and staying in elite shape) basically the entire time they’re in college, otherwise they really don’t have a chance of getting that fitness and skill level back in such a short amount of time.

Who are your favorite Canadian juniors, and who do you think will go to junior worlds?

I love a ton of the juniors! I think the worlds team will definitely include Zoé Allaire-Bourgie, and I think we’ll also see Rébéka Groulx and Clara Raposo on the team. All three of these are definitely favorites of mine, and I also love the new Dynamo elite Alexa Tucker, though she’s too young to make the worlds team…Kyra Cato is also fab, and Rachael Riley has some very strong qualities when she hits, though she’s been a little inconsistent in recent years.

Which U.S. seniors will compete at classics this year?

Any senior who’s healthy will likely be there! We won’t get the list until about two weeks before, though.

Do you think Belgium has a chance at qualifying to the Olympics?

Yes, they have an absolutely fantastic team! But if they don’t have even just one or two gymnasts at worlds due to injury, it’s going to be super tough for them, because they don’t have enough depth to replace those injured gymnasts with equally strong competitors. The situation is better now than it was last year, and if everyone is healthy and hitting in Stuttgart, they actually have the potential to make the team final! A team with Nina Derwael, Axelle Klinckaert, Fien Enghels, Maellyse Brassart, and then either Jade Vansteenkiste, Senna Deriks, or Margaux Daveloose in the last spot could be truly excellent, but Margaux and Axelle are both injured right now and Senna hasn’t been at a hundred percent recently (and I think is also still dealing with injuries), so light the prayer candles and cross your fingers!

How do you think the British girls will fare at worlds? Does Alice Kinsella have a shot at a beam medal? What about other individuals like Claudia Fragapane on floor or Georgia-Mae Fenton on bars?

I think with a healthy team, they have the potential to make the top five, but the same can be said for many other teams that now score similarly to Great Britain, like Brazil, Japan, Italy, France, Germany…it’s going to be a tough battle. I think all three of those individuals have potential to make the final. With beam, you never know, I didn’t think Alice was going to win a beam medal at Euros but then she was excellent and everyone else struggled, so you never know! The same thing could happen at worlds. Claudia should likely make the final on floor, but the bars field will be pretty deep this year and as good as Georgia-Mae is, she’ll have to beat out a ton of other talented ladies for a finals spot.

Because there is a scheduled junior worlds trial during the first few days of the national team camp in June, do you think it’ll be streamed like senior trials were?

It’s possible! It’ll depend on if they’re able to get a media person down to camp…with a more depleted staff, if there are bigger competitions going on (meaning for other disciplines), the media team could be tied up in other higher-priority responsibilities. It’ll depend on a few things like these, so we’ll see, but I hope so!

Now that we know where and when Olympic trials will be held, do we know when we’ll find out about 2020 nationals?

I’m not sure! Sometimes we know two years in advance where a U.S. meet will be but lately it’s been more like 4-6 months. Hopefully we’ll know by the end of the summer but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s another long wait.

Is a giant hop full a release or a pirouette?

It’s a pirouette.

Can NCAA gymnasts coach gymnastics at their home gym and get paid?

Yup! It’s a job, which is different from accepting endorsements or sponsorship deals or money for being an athlete. Something like coaching at a gym would be similar to working at a restaurant or as a tutor, and it wouldn’t count against an athlete’s eligibility. The only time it would be kind of murky is if a gym pays an appearance fee for an athlete to come and visit a gym to do a special training camp or something…this is more like a promotion of the gymnast and not a legit coaching job, but actually coaching regularly is fine.

I was reading the story about Elena Mukhina, who tragically got injured before the Olympics. Do you know any others who were supposed to go to the Olympics but didn’t because of injuries or other crazy reasons?

Unfortunately this is pretty common…not in the sense of an injury with the severity of Elena’s, but every Olympic cycle you’ll see dozens of talented gymnasts who seem primed and ready to take on the Olympic Games, but then an injury ends up ruining their dreams. Last quad, I think the worst was Axelle Klinckaert injuring her knee just a few weeks before Rio when she was supposed to be one of the stars of the Belgian team, but really for every Olympics there are almost more sad “I almost made it” stories than there are happy “I made it” ones.

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

43 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

  1. Back in the 2012 code, gymnasts were required to do two different grips AND a close bar element as part of their composition requirements. That’s why He Kexin had to add the clear hip circle. Starting from 2013, that requirement was changed to just two different grips.


    • Wow, I’m really behind. I had no idea they took out the close-bar element requirement. I guess now that the full-turning ones are so valuable for connection and the 1/1 turn is still required, everyone pretty much still has one and I just never realized.


  2. Amelie Morgan was not invited to be part of the GB senior squad prior to the Europeans so it was very unfair she was selected, even if she performed well.


    • She was. GB for some reason keep the new seniors on the junior lust, but they train with seniors and she attended trials.


  3. What do you think of Li Shijia and her performance at the Zhaoqing Challenge Cup? Should the current beam specialists be paying attention?


  4. 1. Kyla has 19 tens, the most in the NCAA right now. If she matches what she did this season she’ll beat Dantzscher’s record by four I think? But it’ll still be hard for anyone to do.
    2. I think there was a rumor that Amanar gave (or tried to give) Raducan the gold medal once they returned to Romania, but I don’t know if this is true.
    3. My dream for olympics/worlds is that they drop the team event from men and women’s and replace it with a mixed team event. It would be hard to do because of time and it’s not going to happen, but i can dream.
    4. Although Shallon got lowballed overall all season, her beam did score really well towards the end of the season, getting 9.9s and peaking at a 9.95 before she had those nervous mistakes at Michigan.


  5. The german gymnast Ronny Ziesmer was already selected for the olympic team back in 2004. In July he had a really bad accident on floor and broke the cervical spine at the level of the 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae and since then he is paraplegic.
    And there is Sang Lan from China who got injured on vault during warmups at the 1998 Goodwill Games and since then she is paralysed from the mid-chest down.
    And Elisa Chirino also from Germany, had a really bad accident on bars in March 2014, when she was only 16, she is also paraplegic now.
    Both of them were also hoping for the Olympic Games… really sad stories 😦
    That always reminds me how dangerous this sport is.


  6. I really don’t like Craig Heap’s commentary. It’s not very informative, sometimes wrong and he speaks as if he was commenting on a football game in Brazil. Not sure I want to hear a 45 year old man scream in the middleof a floor routine. And I can’t stand his voice. I really miss Mitch Fenner and his charming voice. He sadly passed away 2 years ago. I like Christine Still, she’s always positive, enthusiastic and finds redeeming qualities in all athletes.


  7. I’d say Gabby probably gets more emotionally exhausted than physically tired because she performed solidly in the 2015 uneven bars final but in 2012 and 2016 she was heavily attacked on social media, in 2012 for her hair and 2016 for allegedly being unpatriotic, and both occurred before event finals.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Question about Elena Mukhina only because I read her story all the time. Do you know if she actually still had a chance to make the Russian Team or by that point was the team lineup already settled? I know coaches can be crazy but if she had no shot at that point to make the Moscow Olympic team why would the coaches keep making her do that skill when she wasnt going to the Olympics?


    • I think what happened is that she was injured in 1979 and because of the recovery process and maybe a growth spurt she was on the B team by 1980. The olympics were almost there so her coach pushed her into doing the skill, thinking that if she did it successfully then it would give her that push to make the team over one of the “on the cusp” A team gymnasts. You know the rest of the story.


      • Wasn’t it the Soviet national coach as opposed to her personal coach? That’s what they said on Gymnastics Greatest Stars.


  9. I honestly don’t understand how Irina’s salary from Russia doesn’t compromise her NCAA eligibility. Nothing at all against Irina herself, of course, but she’s literally getting paid for being a gymnast – I mean presumably a baseball player couldn’t get paid to, say, pitch for the Red Sox and then go on to play NCAA. How is this different? Or am I looking at it all wrong?


    • The US team members receive stipends as well, and they don’t compromise their eligibility. Here are the rules from the NCAA: “Prospective student-athletes may accept funding or training expenses from an outside source (e.g., team, neighbor, business), provided the money is tied directly to competition or for practice in
      preparation for the specific competition. However, the funds may not exceed your costs to attend
      and train for the competition. Prospective student-athletes may also accept funds for training or actual and necessary expenses (e.g., coaching, apparel, transportation, lodging) from their national governing body, Olympic Committee or a governmental entity. A professional sports agent or a representative of an institution’s athletics interest (booster) may not provide training expenses, funding or benefits of any kind to a prospective student-athlete.”

      Here are some of the FAQ info sheets:

      Liked by 1 person

      • So it looks like you can be paid to cover training and expenses and stuff, but you can’t earn a living from your sport.


        • Sort of. The stipends that prospective NCAA athletes can get from their governments or national governing bodies (which is what applies in this case) can cover food, housing, health insurance and expenses, apparel and supplies, transportation, and “other reasonable expenses” in addition to training and equipment and other direct costs related to their sport. So it depends how you define earning a living. They can certainly provide elite gymnasts enough to live off of. They can’t give them money to put in the bank or buy things that couldn’t be defended as reasonable expenses.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. The training for many of the sports at the Olympic level does slow down puberty and menstruation due to lack of body fat, which can stunt growth, but not necessarily permanently. Look at how many gymnasts grow several inches and gain hips/boobs once they scale back from elite levels to NCAA, or grow during a period of time when they are injured and can’t train as much.

    Also, I read an interview with Raducan that said that in addition to the Romanian jeweler who recreated the medal for her that Amanar gave it to her and Olaru gave the silver medal to Amanar.


    • Yeah I think it’s that “permanent” part that people worry about! Non-elite level gymnasts definitely don’t have to be as concerned, and as you said, once you stop elite-level training, your body will catch up.

      Interesting about Raducan! I haven’t seen anything about that but that would be terribly sweet of her teammates.


    • Raducan was interviewed on the Gymcastic podcast and they asked her about Amanar giving the medal to her and she laughed and said that didn’t happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah! Well good to know! If I remember correctly where I read it (and this was ages ago) it wasn’t a very reputable source. It still bothers me that they haven’t rectified it.


    • Since Classics, Pan American Games, and Championships are all back to back, do you think they will let those chosen for the Pan Ams team skip Classics so they aren’t competing in 3 competitions within weeks of each other?


    • While there is a major genetic component, height is also significantly influenced by nutrition. E.g. British army officers during World War II tended to be noticeably shorter than American officers because of the severity of food shortages during the Depression and wartime rationing (sorry, history grad student…) and the oft-cited fact that North Korean citizens tend to be a few inches shorter than their South Korean counterparts. I imagine the pressures elite gymnastics put on the body and until recently the serious lack of education about nutrition make it very difficult for elite gymnasts to be properly nourished, and that probably contributes to the height discrepancy.


  11. Question about next year’s Olympics: I was looking at the schedule and it’s very odd for the event finals. There are three days of event finals; on day 1 there’s WAG Vault & Bars, on day 2 it’s WAG Floor, then on day 3 it’s WAG Beam! I find it very odd that Beam finals will be after Floor finals. Anyone else find this strange? Any explanation for it?? I think a few quads back, 2008 for sure, and maybe others before that, they did beam last, but that’s not been the case in 2012 or 2016, so I was wondering why they changed it for 2020.


  12. Speaking of high profile elites using other high profile elites’ music. I swear, Madison Kocian is the QUEEN of using other high profile gymnasts’ music. In 2014 and 2015 she used Svetlana Khorkina’s iconic 2000 floor music which won Svetlana a silver medal in EF. It’s one thing to use another high profile gymnast’s music, but it’s a WHOLE other thing to recycle someone’s music who medaled at the Olympics with that music. In 2016 she recycled another major gymnast’s music but I can’t put my finger on who.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All of Maddie’s elite floor music (as far as I know) was Svetlana Khorkina’s at some point. In 2016 she used Khorkina’s music from the 1996 Olympics, which may have also been a stealth tribute because her coach Cécile Canqueteau also competed at the 1996 Olympics, and she used a few little dance touches in her routine that Cécile had also performed (according to a Gymcastic interview with Cécile). Maddie drew a lot of inspiration from Khorkina as a gymnast, and I think she consciously made these choices to kind of emulate one of her inspirations. She also was very careful to make the choreography her own in every case. I agree that it’s a little weird, and I personally would have wanted to use music that was uniquely mine. But I also think Maddie had the right reasons to do it.


        • No, for Stanford you have to wait until you’re academically accepted before you can commit to the athletics programs within the university, which doesn’t happen until your senior year. They still start the recruiting process early, but while every other gymnast is verbally committing at 13 or 14, Stanford hopefuls can’t commit until after they’re academically accepted in the late fall of their senior year!


  13. Pingback: Around the Gymternet: Cowabunga | The Gymternet

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