You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

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Rebeca Andrade

It’s time for the 258th 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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With Rebeca Andrade injured again and not going to worlds, she’ll keep 30 points for her world cup win, meaning Jade Carey will remain in second place on that, right? Do you think that will hurt Jade’s chances?

Jade actually has the highest number of points on vault at the world cups (85) while Rebeca is currently seventh place with 30 points. Rebeca had the highest number of points after the first world cup thanks to one win, but gymnasts have to compete at least three times with a perfect score being a 90 if they want to qualify to the Olympics.

Rebeca would have to compete and win two more times to beat Jade…and Jade is expected to compete at least once more in the next season, so she can very well reach a perfect 90 with or without Rebeca forfeiting her points.

Even if someone does come in ahead of Jade on vault, Jade is also leading on floor, so she’ll have two pretty strong chances to get an Olympic spot on one event if not the other.

Rebeca could conceivably come back to the world cups next year, win vault twice, and get two more 30s to reach a perfect 90 and qualify to Tokyo on vault, but given the severity of her knee injury and the fact that this has happened to her something like three times in the past five years, my guess is that if they want her in Tokyo, they’re going to bubble-wrap her until next August, not send her to contend for vault titles at multiple world cups.

What happens if Jade Carey qualifies via the world cups but is ultimately chosen for the U.S. Olympic team? Does her spot go to the next qualifier? And if the U.S. would have qualified non-nominative spots through either Pan Ams or the all-around world cups, do they get the second spot back?

If Jade gets a nominative spot, she’ll basically take herself out of team contention for the U.S. (though she’ll probably still compete at trials). However, if she magically becomes a top all-arounder in the U.S. and they really need her for the team, she would give up her nominative spot, which would go to the next-highest qualifier at the world cups, and the U.S. would only have the one non-nominative spot they earned (meaning they wouldn’t get to go and take back the second non-nominative spot they could have earned if they didn’t have Jade winning a nominative spot).

What is going on with Randy Lane at UCLA?

Unfortunately, not much is known about this situation. He’s no longer on the coaching staff, but it’s unclear whether it was his decision to leave, or if Chris Waller opted to not give him a role going forward. I know a few people who have contacted UCLA about this, but no one is being given an answer aside from “he’s no longer with us” so it’s apparently hard to find out the reasoning or who made the decision.

Do you know why Ondine Achampong isn’t on the roster for junior worlds? Is she injured?

Great Britain seems to be opting to send more of a B team to junior worlds while holding onto the A team for EYOF. I think this makes sense, as EYOF is only European juniors, so the British juniors have a better chance at winning individual and team medals there than they do at junior worlds, where they’ll have to go up against really tough competition from the United States and China on top of all of the strong European teams like Russia and Romania. It makes sense to send the stronger girls to challenge for medals at the “easier” meet, and then send a younger/slightly weaker team to junior worlds where they’ll get great experience but won’t be expected to medal.

Is Elena Eremina schedule to compete this year? Will she have a chance at 2020?

Elena competed at nationals this year, and while her difficulty level was a bit lower, she did really well and she recently earned a spot at the upcoming Korea Cup, which will be held next week.

I saw that Pan Am Games will be held July 26-August 11, and U.S. Championships are August 8-11. Is that right that they overlap? Would that mean top gymnasts would miss out on championships for Pan Ams? Will Simone Biles and Morgan Hurd not be at nationals?

Pan Am Games are not a priority competition for the U.S. and they often overlap with other obligations (world championships in 2011, U.S. Classics in 2015), so the U.S. will generally opt to send a team with gymnasts hovering between “A team” and “B team” aka gymnasts who aren’t the top options for major priority teams (like worlds), but might have potential to make the team and are right on the bubble.

Artistic gymnastics at Pan Ams this year will be held July 27-31, so technically there’s no overlap for the gymnasts, but I’d imagine the gymnasts who go to Lima will not also be expected to compete at nationals just a week and a half later. My guess is that the team this year will be mostly B team, with maybe one or two gymnasts who are potential contenders for worlds and want to use this meet to prove their readiness.

Gymnasts like Simone and Morgan are not likely to be contending for spots on the Pan Ams team, but I’d say younger seniors like Sunisa Lee and Emma Malabuyo might want to be in contention to continue to prove why they should be on the worlds team. MyKayla Skinner would also make sense to me as someone with a shot at making a major team but hasn’t competed at a major international meet since 2016, and then some question mark gymnasts who could go either way.

If Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos invented a skill and got it named after her, would it be the full De Jesus Dos Santos or just Dos Santos? How would they clarify it was different from Daiane Dos Santos’ skills?

It would be called the De Jesus Dos Santos! Usually if two gymnasts with the same last name have skills named for them, they’d likely have their full names included, or the first initial with the last name (so if Brooklyn Moors gets a skill named on floor, you can refer to them as the V. Moors and the B. Moors).

Honestly, it can get confusing even when a single gymnast has multiple skills on the same event because sometimes in context you can figure it out, but sometimes when people say a “Ray” on bars it can be hard to figure it out, so I’ll often just say “Ray release” or “Ray to high” or “Ray dismount” to differentiate, and I’m sure the same thing would happen if we start seeing two gymnasts with the same last name getting skills named on the same event…like “Moors opening pass” or “Moors turn,” for example (yeah, I’m really pushing for Brooklyn to get that triple attitude this year).

What are the requirements for an athlete looking to take Terin Humphrey’s position now that she’s been let go? Would they want someone with coaching experience and business experience, or could they pick someone like Aly Raisman for good PR?

They don’t need someone with coaching or business experience. The requirements are mostly related to having recently competed for the U.S. team and being free of SafeSport or other disciplinary sanctions. Aly Raisman would be eligible with these requirements, but unfortunately as she’s in several legal battles with USA Gymnastics, I don’t think the circumstances would allow her to also take on a role within the organization.

I personally would be into someone like Elizabeth Price, Brenna Dowell, Rebecca Bross, and maybe Bridget Sloan? I feel like these are all gymnasts with high-level experience who have demonstrated strong convictions and a great sense of responsibility as young women. Obviously some of them have other commitments, like Ebee going to Harvard, but these are the kinds of gymnasts I’d want to see take over the role.

Do you think Simone Biles’ triple double will be an I or a J? Could she submit the Biles to front layout connection for extra connection bonus, as a G + B seems a lot harder than an E + B…

My hope is that they’ll give it a J rating…I think it’s considerably more difficult than a laid-out double double, and also think it makes sense incrementally, as a full-in is an E and a double double is an H, so a triple double should be at least a J (or in a perfect world, a K, though I don’t think they’d skip a value) so that it’s not only one letter value higher than the double double.

Will gymnasts be able to get skills named for them at junior worlds?

Yup! They are eligible to submit skills in Györ this year.

Liu Tingting mentioned that Chow’s conditioning has helped her floor become cleaner and more consistent. Why has the difficulty for her and others on the national team remained the same, however?

I don’t think it’s wise to change everything at once. To get higher difficulty, you have to be able to handle it, and the issue with China is that they couldn’t handle high difficulty at their previous fitness levels. The conditioning the girls have been doing over the past year or so has really helped them become tighter on floor, but that’s the first step in the process. They’ll want to continue to work that aspect and get more comfortable with it, and then they can take the next step of increasing difficulty to become more competitive.

Loads of gymnasts have started using the candle mount on beam. Is it dangerous? Are they deducted if they roll straight over the beam rather than holding the candle position?

It’s not really dangerous…I’ve seen some funny training accidents in a couple gyms, but they’re not going high-speed into the beam when they back handspring into the chest stand so it’s never done in a way that makes you fear for them getting a head injury or anything.

As for the second part of the skill, the mount is supposed to be done to chest stand and so they do have to hold it in that position for a brief amount of time. I don’t think it says specifically how many seconds or anything, but when you watch a bunch one after another, it’s clear which ones are really held and which ones struggle through holding it, seeing them either not holding a straight up and down angle or just rolling right through it without pausing in the chest stand.

Who do you think will be on the Canadian Olympic team?

Ellie Black, Ana Padurariu, Brooklyn Moors, and Shallon Olsen are the most likely.

Can we say that Ashton Locklear is the cleanest gymnast in the world?

She was probably one of them when she was at her best…I think her bars were pretty clean in the majority of her skills, but her beam wasn’t quite there in the same way.

Any idea when Olympic Trials tickets go on sale and how much they go for?

I’m not sure…it changes all the time so it’s impossible to predict, unfortunately. For 2012 they went on sale three years in advance for some tickets. To go to all sessions and to have a relatively good seat, I’d say prepare to spend about $300-500 for one set of tickets, give or take.

Can you comment on current gymnasts from South Korea? How is their level of difficulty? Do you know anything about the training there?

They currently have a pretty solid group! Yeo Seo-jeong is the big one to watch, as she has some pretty difficult vaults and she can also put together a strong all-around performance. She’s been competing a Rudi in recent meets, but has competed a handspring front double full in the past, and she made the vault final at worlds last year in addition to winning the Asian Games title last year and the Melbourne World Cup title this year.

The rest aren’t quite at that level on any event, but 2016 Olympian Lee Eun-ju is still quite strong as an all-arounder, Kim Ju-ry and veteran Yun Na-rae are also pretty solid, and they have two first-year seniors this year, Lee Yun-seo and Eom Do-hyun, who both have a ton of potential. Lee Yun-seo is especially excellent on bars.

I’m not super familiar with the training there, how centralized it is, and so on. When they compete at national team events, they generally represent their high school or university unless they belong to an athletic association, so I believe they train separately from one another and then come together every now and then for national training? But I’m not a hundred percent sure about how that works.

What was the drama with Chellsie Memmel being ‘forced’ to retire in 2012? Would she have been in contention for the London team if she was healthy?

She basically went to the U.S. Classic expecting to get a free pass to nationals, and so she only did one routine, beam, which was quite rough and she only got an 11.950. She apparently was under the impression that if she simply showed up to the U.S. Classic, she’d get a berth to nationals, and she said had she known that she needed some sort of required score, she would’ve done more than one event to get her score. Instead, she had one rough event, didn’t qualify to nationals, and her petition was not accepted based on her lack of preparedness at classics.

There is no one-event score to qualify to nationals, with two events the minimum to qualify, so technically USA Gymnastics was right in that respect, and it wouldn’t have been fair to give her different rules than they gave everyone else…except Nastia Liukin also showed up at classics with only one event, beam, and she got a pass to nationals.

The reasoning is that Nastia got a 14.900, and since the two-event score was a 28.000, they decided that a 14.000 would be the one-event score, and so Nastia passed with flying colors whereas Chellsie missed it by more than two points. I think if Chellsie had hit her routine, she probably would’ve been allowed to go to nationals, but because she didn’t look prepared on her one routine, they said she didn’t meet the standard for nationals competitors, where everyone else would’ve been at a higher competitive level. Again…they’re kinda right, but they also should’ve made the criteria clear before she got there. I saw her training other events in podium training, so she was clearly just holding off on competing them until nationals and probably would’ve changed her game plan if she knew she needed to do more to make it.

I think the issue also had something to do with the fact that Chellsie (a) turned down her Pan Am Games spot in 2011 when she didn’t make worlds (she said it was due to injury, but also had said she would have competed at worlds either way had she made the team), and then (b) chose not to go to national team camps, which was hella ballsy, especially in the Martha Karolyi years. She did what she thought was best for herself and her body, which she had every right to do, but unfortunately for her, Martha held a grudge because of it.

Martha commented that if Chellsie went to camps, they’d have a better idea of her total preparedness on other events – as they did with Nastia, who started going to camps early in 2012, so they knew what her bars looked like at that point but didn’t know how Chellsie looked aside from her rough beam in that one meet. I think this was a total power move on Martha’s part, like, oh, so you don’t wanna follow the rules? Cute, let’s see how that works out for you, and good luck getting any special favors.

Personally, I’m glad Chellsie held her ground and did what was best for her even if it meant being blackballed by the national program. In a perfect world she would’ve said “eff camp,” shown up at classics and gotten a 16 on beam, and then went to nationals and won everything and made the Olympic team…but unfortunately she just wasn’t super healthy and didn’t have enough time to get in a place to be all that competitive for 2012. I think even if she hadn’t been injured in 2011, she likely wouldn’t have made the team…she would’ve been another interesting addition for that bars/beam spot, but I still don’t think they would’ve taken her.

Why did McKayla Maroney get a tenth deducted from her floor at 2013 worlds?

It wasn’t a deduction, it was a neutral penalty, and she got it because her music was too long (or more specifically, she started moving a split second earlier than she should have, which made her routine too long by a split second). It was something that should’ve been timed and fixed at domestic meets or camps, but for some reason, it just didn’t stand out as an issue at any of those meets.

I noticed at Koper that they changed songs during Rhys McClenaghan’s pommels routine. Could changing the music upset the gymnast’s rhythm?

Gymnasts generally perform things like pommels or beam to their own rhythm that they’ve practiced so they’d have the ability to compete it in any arena with any different types of background noise. On beam, gymnasts might internalize music and end up performing to the music in a way, but on pommels it’s a bit different since the rhythm has to be pretty exact and they’re not really going to any music, even subconsciously.

You mentioned it would be difficult getting back to elite shape from level 10. Why do gymnasts change so much after they stop elite? Do they train less or do they eat differently?

I don’t mean the literal shape of their bodies due to lack of training or different eating habits. J.O. and NCAA gymnasts put in about half the training time compared to elite gymnasts, and while this doesn’t necessarily affect literal body shape for many, it definitely affects many physical attributes like endurance. A J.O. or NCAA routine has sometimes half the skills an elite routine will have, so if you’re used to competing a 10-15 second bars set, an elite routine that’s closer to 30-40 seconds will probably kill you if you haven’t been consistently training for the endurance to compete an elite routine. I think MyKayla Skinner is in the best physical shape of her life, probably even better than when she was an elite, but after three years of competing NCAA routines, she’s still gonna have to work to bring back elite-level difficulty…and she’s already starting out at a great place having done so much difficulty in her college routines.

Why is the lowest competitive level in J.O. called level 4, not level 1?

There actually is a level 1 in gymnastics! Levels 1-3 are considered developmental, where the goals are more achievement-oriented than they are about competing. Many gyms will use these levels for pre-team programs or as intros to the competitive program, though many gyms also have competitive teams at levels 1-3. These levels don’t have any pre-reqs or requirements to advance, so as long as gymnasts are the right age (4-5 for levels 1-2, and 6 for level 3), they’re able to train/compete at these lower levels right away.

Level 4 is the lowest compulsory level, and it’s also the level that doesn’t require any prior competitive experience (meaning you don’t need to get a certain score in level 3 to advance to level 4), so most super talented young gymnasts who want to compete will just start out at level 4 in the year they turn seven rather than doing the earlier levels (or they’ll do the earlier levels for development and then begin competing level 4).

Are all the “normal” bars dismounts (that leave the bar facing away from the low bar and do a back salto) essentially gainers? They initiate with forward momentum into a backward skill.

The regular swing on bars where they’re facing forward is actually a backward swing with backward momentum! A front giant (which confusingly has the gymnast facing backward) is a forward swing with forward momentum. So a regular giant into a double back wouldn’t be anything like a gainer, but there are some dismounts that start with a regular swing into a front dismount, and that’s kind of gainer-y…like the toe-front half dismounts done by many of the Canadians (like Ellie Black and Brooklyn Moors), which start from a regular backwards momentum swing and then the gymnast does a front flip out of it.

Why do you think Ashton Locklear ultimately retired? She said she had too many injuries, but that’s a surprise considering she came back in the winter and seemed to be on the right track.

Honestly, it’s probably related to injuries, but also knowing that there’s basically only a year left until Tokyo and there’s a TON of depth in the U.S. program right now. She had to know she wasn’t going to make the team as a two-event gymnast when all four gymnasts on the team are going to have to be all-arounders, and as she didn’t fit the requirements to attend the world cups as a specialist, she really had no way to make it to the Olympics next year no matter how much she upgraded. Her one hope was for the non-nominative spot, assuming the U.S. gets it through the all-around world cups, but that’s likely to be another all-arounder with a couple of standout events (like MyKayla Skinner in 2016), so she really was out of luck and I think at some point, she had to figure that out and realize that for her, it wasn’t worth it to keep pushing through injuries knowing it wasn’t going to pan out.

Why do you think smaller programs are doing so much better under the open-ended code now than they were before?

I think they’re learning how to work the code better, especially with certain gymnasts who happen to be super talented and great at adding difficulty that works for them. In most smaller programs, it’s usually just one or two gymnasts who end up being at a really high level while the rest are still a bit behind, but even having just those one or two gymnasts advancing and becoming competitive with some of the top countries in the world is huge given the fact that there used to be such a crazy divide between the best and the rest. That, and coaches are learning from other coaches around the world how to adjust to this code, and they’re taking techniques and methods home that help their gymnasts handle higher difficulty.

What are the usual rules in event finals if a gymnast places ninth in qualifications but is two-per-country’ed out of being the first reserve and then someone from her country drops from the final?

She’d move back into the first reserve role because if there are no longer two from her country in the final, the two per country now includes her. So she’d then move into the final and take the spot of the person who was injured and dropped out.

Who are the Rudi and Valdez named after?

Rudi comes from the world of acrobatics and tumbling, and was carried over into artistic gymnastics. It’s named after the 1920s acrobat Dave Roudolph, and gymnasts in other disciplines also refer to a front 1½ as a rudi, just like they also refer to a front ½ as a barani and a front 2½ as a randi. A valdez is similar in that it comes from the world of acrobatics and it just happens to be what we call the skill now.

Which Russians have competed an Amanar? Did Anna Pavlova?

Yes, Anna Pavlova had an Amanar! I believe she debuted it in 2008, and she was the first Russian to compete it since Elena Zamolodchikova. Other Russians who competed it were Aliya Mustafina, Tatiana Nabieva, Viktoria Komova, and Maria Paseka in the 2012 quad (obviously Paseka continues to compete hers to this day), and then Ksenia Afanasyeva got an Amanar in 2013.

Any update on how Laurie Hernandez is qualifying to classics? Was she invited to camp, or will we see her at an upcoming qualifier?

I’m not sure how she’s qualifying…since she’s not going to the final camp before the meet, and since she’s not on the list for the American Classic in Salt Lake City, my guess is that she’ll be petitioning via videos sent to the national team program.

Why hasn’t Madison Kocian had the same level of success Kyla Ross has had in college?

The first answer is injuries, and the second answer is execution. It’s possible her injuries are affecting her training time, which affects how well she can compete skills and routines, but she’s just not as clean as you’d want to see a collegiate gymnast compete, with lots of form issues on both bars and beam that keep her scores lower than she’d like (though she sometimes does get a sympathetic 10 when she’s really on fire because we know judges love ignoring form issues when they see a “hit”). I think her lack of consistency on beam – also possibly a product of a lack of training time – also plays into why she’s not having the same level of success others like Kyla have.

Did anyone ever find out what vault Yeo Seo-jeong did that received 6.2 in difficulty?

Yup! It was a handspring front double full.

How hard would it be for USA Gymnastics to incorporate ballet training into camps?

They have the same amount of ballet training as most other programs. Ballet and gymnastics are nowhere near the same sport, and I can think of maybe one gymnast in the past decade from every program in the world who showed even a basic understanding of ballet…and that’s okay, because gymnastics is not ballet…and ballet is not artistry.

Do you think Larisa Iordache spontaneously upgrading her floor dismount to a full-in during the 2014 all-around final was wise? Why would she do the easier pass second, and the harder one last?

My only guess is that she maybe didn’t have the endurance immediately after her first pass to do a difficult second pass, and so she used the time between passes to kind of catch her breath and dance a bit before finishing with the full-in? Like, she probably was overall more exhausted at the end of a full routine, but after using everything she had for her first pass, she possibly needed a bit of a break for the second pass.

I’m confused about the recruitment process for Stanford compared to other schools. Say a gymnast’s top choice is Stanford. Can she express interest in multiple schools so she has a backup in case Stanford falls through, and then wait to see if she gets academically accepted to Stanford and then make her decision?

Yeah, most do express interest in other programs besides Stanford, and though more and more scholarship spots get taken up at those programs as it gets closer to that recruitment year, most programs aren’t fully booked up and unable to take on kids who have given a soft verbal agreement. The Stanford hopefuls know about their acceptance by the time it comes to sign the NLIs, so no one in their recruitment classes have actually committed to a school yet…at that point it’s still all verbals, and lots can change during that time, so I’ve never seen it be an issue where a Stanford hopeful didn’t get into Stanford and then had zero backup options.

Also, most who apply to Stanford know pretty much when they apply if they have the grades to get in. If they’re a top athletic recruit and meet the GPA and standardized testing requirements, they’ll get in, and if they don’t meet those academic requirements, they pretty much don’t bother applying because they know they won’t get in despite their athletic achievements, even if the gymnastics program would kill to have her talent on the team.

I’ve only seen it happen once where a gymnast was a little shy of the requirements academically but applied anyway because her athletic achievements were so great. She hoped they might overlook the one little black mark in her high school career…but when they didn’t and refused to accept her, she had no problem getting her “backup” choice. Basically, no one with a 3.0 GPA is applying to Stanford and crossing her fingers while worrying about a backup option in case she doesn’t get in. She’ll know from the outset what Stanford expects, and she won’t apply if she knows she doesn’t meet it.

I’ve seen different sources saying it was either Kyla Ross or Katelyn Ohashi who last beat Simone Biles in international competition. Which is true?

Kyla was the last to beat Simone at the Chemnitz friendly meet in March 2013, getting a 59.300 to Simone’s 58.000 (and Peyton Ernst actually tied Simone there with the same score). Katelyn was the second-to-last gymnast to beat Simone, getting a 59.199 to Simone’s 57.666 at the American Cup 28 days prior to the Chemnitz meet.

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

45 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

  1. I heard Victoria Nguyen wanted to go to Stanford, but now it seems she’s not committed anywhere despite graduating this year. Do you know what happened there?


    • I think despite graduating this year, she’s always planned to start college in the 2020-2021 season because of the Olympics (she made this decision back when she was more of a legit contender), so she’d hear about her academic acceptance this fall and would sign her NLI either in the fall or next spring.


  2. at this point, it’s almost a given that jade got her olympic spot. i would say….

    given that she’s going to compete in at least one more cup, given her current form, unless you are simone biles it’s unlikely anyone else will score higher than her in fx. and if she get her amanar out to go with her cheng, she probably will be unbeatable even for paseka….


  3. On the “Is Ashton the cleanest in the world” question – I think it’s hard to compare a specialist to an all arounder unless you’re willing to look at one or two events for an AA to see if their best events match the E of Ashton’s best event. Really it seems like unless she falls, Simone is the cleanest in the world.


    • Not if artistry deductions were appropriately applied. In acrobatic gymnastics there is an entire score separate for artistry — no wonder they have the most viewed videos on youtube!


    • Yeah, I would say Simone is one of the cleanest, and then Nina Derwael, Pauline Schäfer, and Emma Nedov are some of my favorites right now in terms of gymnasts who do the majority of their skills textbook on at least three out of four events. Maybe Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos as well.


        • Actually if you watch her on vault, beam, and floor, she’s one of the gymnasts with the most textbook execution on skills. I think her bars execution is actually her weakest of her four, but it’s (obvs) because she’s doing a higher level of difficulty.


        • Just watched her vault. Flexes feet on a simple Yurchenko full, not the normal weak Nina toe point but legit flex, and pikes down. Not my def of a clean yurchenko. Not horrid. But… On beam pretty clean. Floor for such easy tumbling I dont see the super clean…and with two passes not a lot to judge from. 😉


        • If you saw her up close and not in a video you’d see the difference between how her basics look compared to many others. There’s quite a difference sitting and seeing skills from a few meters away compared to in a video. Not everything is *literally perfect* but she is textbook on much of what she performs.


        • I would say that Derwael’s execution is about on par with Mykayla Skinner’s. She’s not “textbook” by any stretch. Her bars are phenomenal and she deserves every medal she gets on them. But she’s not “one of the gymnasts with the most textbook execution”


        • Skinner’s? Really? lol. Watching Nina’s beam from 10 feet away and having seen MyKayla from a similar distance on multiple events, Nina’s execution is almost flawless on most elements. I think her bars execution is actually the weakest in her arsenal, even though it’s her best event, but if she were doing simpler routines as she does on beam and floor, her execution there would also be better. My friend used to say Nina’s leaps were horrendous and she never hit 180 and her feet weren’t pointed and then I sent her a photo album of Nina’s leaps on beam and floor from my photographer who was standing very close and my friend instantly changed her tune, so maybe it’s something you miss on video/streams and can only recognize up close, but there’s no way in a million years Nina’s is anything similar to MyKayla’s, lol. Honestly I didn’t think Pauline Schäfer was anything super special on beam until I saw her from about 10 feet away and my mouth dropped…when you have this POV you can really see every single detail and trust me, if you’ve only seen video of Nina on either floor or beam, you’re missing out.


        • So unless we’re 10 feet away we just aint gon see it? *scratches head as the slow motion replays* 🙂


        • I mean, the judges are the ones judging, so…but it’s not just with Nina, there are many gymnasts who look passable on video but then stunning in person. If you’re only watching video, you’re missing a lot. *shrug*


        • Well in order to prove your hypothesis true, I would more than be willing to accept a free ticket to Ninas next competition, so we can sit side by side, for SCIENCE to see if what you speak of is true 🙂 hehe I wish I could see them perform in person 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • It’s honestly astonishing what a difference it is for so many gymnasts…though others go the opposite way and end up looking more flawed up close!


  4. Do you think that the NCAA should fix women’s college scoring, possibly by allowing judges to score to at least the .025? Half a tenth seems too broad, and while it wouldn’t fix the many things wrong with college scoring, I feel like it would still separate the athletes a little more than they do now.


    • I honestly think they should just take more half tenth deductions. A really good routine would get around a 9.8-10, an okay routine would get a 9.6-9.8, and a weak routine would get below a 9.6. Now an “okay” routine gets a 9.9 at bigger schools because the judges take almost no deductions that actually exist. If they applied actual form deductions instead of just “mistake” deductions, it would really start to separate gymnasts so much more. Like Madison Kocian has at least three 0.5 form deductions on bars that are never taken, so when she has a routine with no mistakes, no short handstands, and no movement on the landing, they give her a 10 when in reality she should never have more than a 9.85. It’s insane to me that judges do this, especially when there ARE those routines that do have pretty perfect form throughout (like Kyla’s usually) and these actually perfect routines score the same as perfectly hit routines with multiple form errors.


      • Yes! I totally agree! I feel like if they started allowing 0.025 deductions, the only change that would bring about is athletes from top 10 schools would expect to score 9.95 for a hit instead of 9.9. If the judging climate were changed and they started taking more deductions for clear form problems, coaches, athletes, and fans would probably be mad for a little while, but eventually people would come to accept that 9.7 is a strong score, and we’d see more separation of routines that had different levels of form and execution.


  5. Is there any information available about the general standards for what a gymnast must show in training videos to get her petition accepted? I know they don’t have really specific standards, but is there even a guide? I know some cases are pretty obvious. From the training videos we saw from Simone last year before her petition was formally accepted, it was obvious it would be because she was training and landing some of the hardest skills in the world on multiple events. It was likely a similar situation for Skinner. But what if someone like Laurie Hernandez submits videos that are similar to what she’s posted on social media (i.e. several level 10 skills executed in isolation, but no full routines, and no skills that are clearly above the level of a strong JO athlete)? Would the petition be accepted in a situation like that because she was a former Olympian? Or is it just up to the whims of the folks at USAG?


    • i think it’s mostly at the discretion of usag. i don’t think there’s a hard guideline. then again most of the time it’s fairly obvious anyway….

      And i think it’s obvious that given what hernandez shows in public so far, it’s probably not enough, unless she submitted something better to usag that we haven’t seen.


    • As you said, Skinner is a different story because if USAG wants to see where her gymnastics is at, they just have to…. pull up any of the 16+ meets Utah competed last year, lol. That plus a few videos of her doing elite bars and beam would probably have been more than enough for them. But folks like Hernandez who haven’t competed *at all* in years would probably need to show more.


    • I don’t know if there’s a guide but I think it’s a case-by-case basis. Like if someone sends a video showing routines that look comparable to the work everyone is doing regularly in camps, then they’ll probably allow her to petition through, but if she’s just showing a few random skills and doesn’t have full routines, they probably want to hold off until she shows more readiness. Readiness is definitely subjective, but I think since it’s their job to know who’s ready and who isn’t, they can pretty easily tell if someone is at the same standard as the rest of the national team by watching video of her progress, especially if they’re familiar with the gymnast.


      • I figured they would be able to tell whether or not an athlete is ready, but I was just wondering how much room there is for making what should be a performance assessment into a political battle. I was wondering if there’s much leeway for USAG to be significantly more willing to accept petitions from athletes who are in their good graces for one reason or another than athletes who have done something to get on the crap list. I know they have cut down significantly on that kind of garbage since Martha left, but I can’t help but still be a bit worried that this kind of thing might happen.


        • even the power of martha as well as 2016 olympics won’t get hernandez through the door if she’s not quite ready ……i mean she was good in 2016 but from what we know of publicly at this point, i think it’s fairly clear cut regarding hers and skinner readiness..


        • I’d like to point out that Nastia got through the door in 2012 when she CLEARLY wasn’t ready. I’m pretty sure she did a couple giants on UB and got invited. She wasn’t even CLOSE to being ready by the Olympic Trials, which you can just pull up the videos just to see.


        • Nastia did her bars routine in pieces at camps, and I saw her train her routine several times at classics and thought WOW. The issue was that everyone kept seeing it ONLY in pieces and thinking omg, she’s going to be AMAZING. And she was truly great when she did it in pieces, but I don’t think anyone realized how hard it would be for her to put those pieces together endurance-wise. At classics, I saw her do her Healy/Ono work over and over again and it was glorious. I was sitting with Evan Heiter in the press zone and we both were like WHY ISN’T SHE COMPETING THIS YET?! And then at nationals when she first brought out her double front half dismount in podium training, everyone in the press zone basically screamed. I remember Scott Bregman running back yelling I GOT IT ON VIDEO, I GOT IT ON VIDEO hahahaha. Everyone from media to national team staff was watching her bars throughout training and basically drooling over how amazing she looked. And then she did the routine with the layout dismount and we were all like “wut.” That was the first time it was really clear to anyone that she wasn’t ready endurance-wise, no matter how good the pieces looked. So I do believe based on what she showed in pieces at camps and at classics, the thought/hope was that by nationals she’d have it all together. That, and her beam was also fantastic in every training session and she hit one of the best routines at classics. I don’t think she was “clearly not ready.” I think she showed that she was ready on beam, and also kind of “fooled” people into thinking she was just as ready on bars. I was fooled, everyone else in media was fooled…and I think she herself even believed she was going to make it happen. It’s too bad it didn’t end up working out, but based on what she was showing in camps and at classics (both in training as well as in competition), I think they had a very good reason to be excited about her as a legit prospect for London.


  6. I think the skill Brooklyn Moors might be more/as likely to be named after her would be the piked Markelov on bars. Which I would kind of love because she does a Moors dismount, so then she would have a B. Moors and a V. Moors in the same routine.


    • That skill has already been in the code and has been competed internationally so I’m not sure if it’s eligible…that, and so far Brooklyn is struggling to keep the pike shape throughout so I’m not sure if they’ll credit it at worlds, but hopefully she’ll get it! The triple attitude is definitely happening, though!


  7. Hi I think this needs to be repeated:

    “gymnastics is not ballet…and ballet is not artistry”

    Because even people who claim to have a more open view of artistry seem to gravitate towards balletic performers, even if they don’t realize it. The people who get praised most for their artistry—your Eythoras, your Brooklyns, your Aliyas—have almost certainly trained ballet for some substantial amount of time.

    I personally think ballet is a great foundation for gymnastics, in terms of building strength and learning control over every part of your body from head to toe. Aesthetics aside, it’s a logical match.

    Problem is, aesthetics matter, too, and as long as the gold standard of gymnastics execution is so thoroughly intertwined with ballet, artistry based in other forms of dance will have a tough time being equally embraced.

    The only place where non-classical (ahem European) dance seems to be appreciated on par with ballet is NCAA, but a lot of those routines get called “fun” instead of “beautiful” and we should all be honest about the bias behind that difference.

    (Necessary caveats: there are exceptions out there to my generalizations, and stage presence/personality is of course also a big part of the equation, though I am pretty confident that a coldly performed, personality-less routine based in ballet is more likely to be considered “artistic” than a plain but competent routine of another style.)


  8. Wow, you are one frustrated human being. I feel very sorry for you and hope you find a way to deal with whatever has happened to you.


  9. Also, in regard to Larisa’s last pass being a piked full in in 2014, the full twisting double pike is easier than a full twisting double tuck in that the pike allows you to rotate faster than the tuck, which is good if you are running out of steam at the end of the routine and just need to get your body over. The bad side is, it’s harder to control the landing for piked saltos because the faster you rotate, the harder it is to spot the floor. This is why you see stuck double layouts ALL the time, but it’s much rarer to see stuck piked full ins.


    • Piking doesn’t allow for faster rotations than tucking. You are right when comparing layouts and pikes but tucking definitely makes rotating faster than piking.


      • Yeah, I think the thing some gymnasts prefer about pikes is that it can be easier to open up for landing in terms of the leg positioning, but tucking rotation is def faster than pike.


        • A case can be made if a gymnast does the skill by first doing a layout twist and then piking since twisting in layout position is faster than in tuck position


        • I don’t see your point here. The twist is expected to be in a layout position in a piked full-in, never in a tucked position


  10. Pingback: Around the Gymternet: What, like it’s hard? | The Gymternet

  11. I find the Laney Madsen trajectory really inspiring. She apparently is bound to ucla and I think she will do really well in ncaa. How did she started gymnastics only after the olympics 2012 and was able to get an invitation for a national camp after only 2 years ( as per her IG)?


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