Around the Gymternet: Cowabunga


“Laurie Hernandez called me yesterday and goes ‘happy birthday grandma. You’re literally halfway to 50, you’re so old.’” -Our nap queen hit the big 2-5.

Comp news

Zhaoqing finished up. China’s women swept the golds at the Zhaoqing Challenge Cup, with Li Shijia taking titles on bars and beam and Yu Linmin and Liu Jingxing finishing first on vault and floor, respectively. Oksana Chusovitina took second on vault and showed off her nails in an interview.

Osijek happened. Angelina Radivilova of the Ukraine did very well at the Osijek World Challenge Cup, leaving the comp with three medals, including beam gold. Ana Derek took the floor gold, Teja Belak of Slovenia won vault, and Anastasia Agafonova took the bars title with errors. Meanwhile, the Romanians did suspiciously well on beam; they (or their imposters) won silver and bronze.

Canadian Champs happened. Ellie Black took her sixth national title, edging out Ana Padurariu, who won day one. Brooklyn Moors came in third with a brand new floor routine. Rébéka Groulx won the junior title with a 52.700. Live blog: Day 1, Day 2

Australian Champs happened. Georgia Godwin took the all-around title with a 53.200 on day 2, followed by Georgia-Rose Brown. Ethan Dick took the men’s title. Full results.

Rosters. The nominative roster for the European Games has been released. We also have China’s Asian Games roster, plus the U.S. men’s Pan American Games team and the U.S. men’s junior worlds team were announced after a selection camp.

Worlds news. The FIG proudly announced that a record number of nations have entered the 2019 world championships, which didn’t they just proudly announce that they’re going to start limiting the worlds rosters in the next quad? My mind wanders.

Developmental camp. Gym blogger Chalk Warrior was invited to the most recent developmental camp and was impressed, noting a “positive environment” under Tom Forster’s leadership.

Wut happened

Bye, Terin. Terin Humphrey was let go as the women’s athlete representative in response to her recent Facebook comments, USA Gymnastics announced on Tuesday. Humphrey started on as the athlete rep in 2014. Luba helpfully put together a history of Terin’s problematic moments as the athlete rep.

Rhonda spotted down under. Rhonda Faehn apparently moved to Australia to coach at a private club. She’s also accredited at Australian nationals as a “future international team coach.” Gymnastics Australia has defended the choice, and says she was recommended by Mihai Brestyan.

Indy detective cleared. That Indianapolis detective who worked with former USAG CEO Steve Penny to squash the Nassar scandal as it was developing has been cleared of wrongdoing after an internal investigation. Lynn Raisman is mad; Rachael Denhollander tweeted, “Badly done, IMPD.”

USOC to gov: We don’t need you. The U.S. Olympic Committee’s newish CEO Sarah Hirshland said the org doesn’t need congressional input to make the necessary changes to help prevent abuse on Wednesday. Hirshland also wants SafeSport to get federal funding, saying that current funding situation is inadequate.

Texas bill goes to governor. A Texas bill that would extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuse survivors to sue abusers and institutions passed in the legislature. Former and current gymnasts like Alyssa Baumann advocated for re-adding the provision in the bill that says survivors can sue institutions. The bill heads to the governor’s desk next.

  • FIG president Morinari Watanabe is chair of a Tokyo 2020 boxing task force for reasons unclear.
  • A new Michigan State University president will be named on Tuesday. 

Required reading

  • Former elite gymnast Kristal Bodenschatz returns to sport at age 32 (WBUR)
  • The victims of Larry Nassar who dared to come forward first (The New Yorker)

Star status

Chiles update. Jordan Chiles met up with Inside Gymnastics for an interview before promptly deflecting gunfire off her metal bracelets and flying off. She says she’ll defer enrollment to UCLA until 2020, and is still working on her front triple full.

Comebacks. Dipa Karmakar won’t compete at Asian Championships, and her coach says she won’t rush to competition as she’s still in recovery from her knee injury, which started by Sonic the Hedgehog-ing and was made worse in Baku.

Meanwhile, Laurie Hernandez showed off her training progress in a new video.

NCAA corner

New hire. UCLA alum Kristina Comforte was chosen as a new associate coach there. Speaking of the Broos, Nia Dennis has a new trick up her sleeve.

Rule changes. The NCAA gym powers that be made some rule changes, making the base score for all events 9.4 but also raising the value of some skills. Meanwhile, NCAA athletes in California will now be able to earn compensation from the use of their likenesses, providing a sliver of hope in an otherwise bonkers system.

Everybody hurts. Turns out the injury rate before entering college is 30% higher for gymnastics than that of any other sport. Who’d have thunk it.

Staying social

More of God’s work. There are a lot of skills named after Nellie Kim. But should there be? Here, Spencer analyzes which of Nellie’s children should be taken from her.

Watch out. A quintuple wolf turn is on the loose. We gotta rein that shit in before it eats all our cats.

Awkward af. USAG wished Aly Raisman a happy birthday, the institutional equivalent of your ex-boyfriend congratulating you on your wedding. Uh, thanks Steve? 

Because you asked…

Lauren answered all your burning hypothetical, impossible-to-answer questions.

Last words

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17 thoughts on “Around the Gymternet: Cowabunga

  1. I’m really interested to hear more from Kristal Bodenschatz. On one hand, I know the standard is that most people have one quad where they can peak briefly, and outside of that the wear and tear is too much. On the other hand, I wonder if she might be different – she’s not training under threat of puberty and college, so both her body and her life path are far more settled than for a teenager. (Yes, motherhood and work are demanding, but at least you kind of have established your routine by then, and she’s clearly folded training into that routine already, and she’s not staring down a major change in body shape.) And, you could make a case that 32 is not that different from 36, so if she doesn’t make the elite grade in this quad, why not keep going if her body holds up?

    Her comeback is so cool for her, and it’s such a journey into the unknown for older people learning or relearning skills. I’m SUPER curious to find out whether having the time to take skill acquisition more slowly than teenagers can could turn up some performance benefits.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That training footage from Laurie is quite promising. Jesus, the next couple years are going to be SUPER suspenseful for the American women going into the Olympics! Also, I’m really interested to know more about Kristal Bodenshcatz. I think it’s awesome that the age standards for gymnasts are going away and people are realizing that they can shine at any age!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Eh, I don’t think that’s much reason to cast her aside just yet. She’s still got over a year until Olympic Trials. Personally, I’m pleasantly surprised with her training videos so far. So many people said she had no prayer of getting her old skills back because she took too much time off, her body had changed, etc. From her training videos, she’s gotten nearly of her skills back on two events and has some meaningful skills on a third. And all of this is after not all that much time of resuming training seriously. Time will tell if she’ll be one of the final contenders for a spot on the team or as a specialist, but she looks like she’s progressing well so far.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I really can’t envision her ever competing again. She looks like she’s having fun playing around with old skills but she also looks too far gone from ever getting back to competition shape again. She needs to be conditioning a lot more.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I LOVED Laurie in Rio, her attitude, her sass, her skills, she was just amazing. I’m SO proud of her for achieving that at 16.
          I still can’t help but feel this comeback is a bit lukewarm. She hasn’t been back to competing at all and we’re about a year out from Olympic trials.
          On their own, her skills are really impressive, and much respect to her for getting them back. But if you consider how incredibly deep the US field is, I just have serious doubts about her prospects. I mean, the US could easily field two full teams right now, and would still leave some incredible gymnasts at home. So I’m a bit stuped by the whole “yas qweeen” chorus whenever Laurie posts anything. Personally, I just think she has too much competition to be a serious contender for Tokyo.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t see Kristal or Laurie making it to Tokyo. Both are competing great skills and connections independently, but it’s one thing to do a pretty double layout/Arabian,etc. onto a soft surface in comparison to that and a lot more on a hard surface. Kristal seems outdated in her connections and skills, they don’t carry the same value that they once did. On top of that the overall difficulty and execution just isn’t there and it’s not going to magically appear over one year. I think it’s great that she’s training and she looks really good, just not for an Olympic spot. For Laurie, she probably came back too late. What I will say is that she’s gotten back her skills on beam and floor much faster than i anticipated, so while I wouldn’t be shocked to see her in contention come 2020, I just wouldn’t expect her to do so. For one, floor and beam are the two events where she’s closest to approaching the level she was at in Rio. If that holds up, her best chance would be the second individual spot, and when you take into consideration people like Riley, Kara and Alyona who have a better chance of medaling on bars or beam than Laurie (I’m not going into floor because of Carey and Biles), that’s not the route that’s going to get her to Tokyo. Her best chance would’ve been to try and get one of the four main spots as an all-arounder and I don’t think she gave herself enough time on vault and bars to do so. Her vault technique was barely getting that DTY around and that was before her body completely changed. I don’t foresee her being able to fully restore vault. On bars she would need to do a completely new routine and relearn root skills. Bars is the hardest event to get back after your body changes, and on top of that her 2016 routine isn’t compatible with the new code of points because her routine consisted almost entirely of stalders.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I think the videos are a bit difficult to know where she really is at. It’s nice she’s doing a lot of the skills she used to do but we know that gymnastics now is all about connections. We’ve seen nothing showing she’s actually got connections or full routines back or even the endurance to do so. Laurie’s comeback to me still feels a lot more like Nastia and a lot less like Aly/Gabby.

          Liked by 1 person

      • She does look better than I thought she would. I am pleasantly surprised. Of course, all we are seeing is snatches of training, not full routines, so it’s not clear how far along she really is. However, her presentation on BB continues to be freaking gorgeous. I mean, wow.

        I’ve been very skeptical of “the comeback” for the same reasons as everyone else, but I will look forward to seeing her in competition again, even if she doesn’t make it to Tokyo. She is allowed to come back to the sport, enjoy herself, and entertain her fans without making another Olympic team.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I highly doubt she is. This is prime season for NCAA gymnasts chucking random skills and combos just for fun because season is over half a year away and they have time to have some fun. I’d be shocked to see her seriously training that combo in December.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a question, that I hope you can answer soon, how would a new country that just formed a gymnastics federation go about entering a new competition, and what do you think is the best competitions for these new teams?

    Liked by 1 person

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