Welcome to the live blog for the first meet watch in our 12 Days of Gymnastics series, featuring three American Cups, from 1976, 1984, and 1988!
Please refresh your browser every few minutes to see the most recent updates, which will appear at the top of the page.
6:41 pm. Well, thanks for joining me for the first of these live watches! Tomorrow we’re doing the 1994 world championships all-around and event finals at 4 pm ET, so I hope you can join me for that!
6:40 pm. Omg an 80s commercial! For joining the army! FUN.
Now they’re talking about basketball. The 80s were so brown. Literally everything in this news studio is brown…the walls, the desk, and the graphic on the screen.
Oh, that was it. IT’S OVER!!!
Phoebe Mills wins it.
6:37 pm. Chelle Stack FX: “Mama Carrol” in the audience like “can’t wait to write a book about this someday.” Ew, a PIP (picture in picture lol the 90s) of Bela’s face in the corner of the screen during this routine. Piked full-in I think to start. Cool jumps into a salto down to the floor for her choreo. AWESOME whip full through to double tuck. Bela’s grunting and screaming again. Double back to finish was a bit short.
9.925 which I think clinches the bronze?
6:36 pm. Dan Hayden HB: Kovacs!! Blind change to stoop through to Endo half to stalder, lovely. Does an over the bar dismount. 9.9! Deserved it. That was great.
6:34 pm. Beata Storczer FX: She’s doing Rite of Spring! Full-in is super cowboyed. Her choreo isn’t as true to Nijinsky as Olga Strazheva’s was. Back layout in pike out. Double tuck also pretty cowboyed but good enough.
6:33 pm. KEVIN DAVIS is back at it with a one-arm giant to a one-arm into his Tkachev which is BADASS but ugly af! You go Kevin Davis. Double layout dismount came in really low with a big lunge out.
6:32 pm. Phoebe just clinched gold. #USA #USA
Igor omg I missed his last name again, but it’s the Soviet dude. HUGE Def. Hop change to front giant to front giant full, piked Jaeger, AND A TRIPLE BACK!!!!!!!! DAMN SON. Oh, it’s Igor Korobchinskyi!
6:30 pm. Phoebe Mills FX: Addams Family!! RAGAN SMITH IS THAT YOU? Actually Ragan’s little movements reminded me of 80s gymnasts, just the little mannerisms. I need time to be altered so Ragan can be born a couple decades earlier and compete in 1988. Piked full-in. Okay, her music changes to like, Red River Valley or something, it’s vaguely familiar, and it’s terrible. 1.5 through to double full is brilliant. Double full with a hop. Queen.
Bela cam for Phoebe’s second pass I think and he’s like crawling around on his knees and screaming, can he not?
6:29 pm. Moving onto part three now! Here!
6:28 pm. Marius Toba HB: Daddy is back with a one-arm giant, a Tkachev, a blind change to front giants, and a tucked double double, legs a mess but I guess for THE TIME it was kinda great.
6:26 pm. Svetlana Baitova FX: I don’t think I saw the first pass but she’s fabulous. 1.5 through to double full to front tuck tumbling out of that into a layout and then punches forward I’m SCREAMING. So brilliant. Her choreo after that is basically just walking slowly HAHAHA. She’s like “I literally do not have lungs left.” Triple full is a bit underrotated and buckled but god she’s amazing.
6:25 pm. I honestly can’t breathe after listening to Greg Marsden call everyone out for their bullshit for five full minutes.
6:20 pm. “The US Gymnastics Federation officially named Don Peters as coach for the women’s team in Seoul.” BLECH. VOMIT. GTFO.
“He replaced Greg Marsden.” EVEN WORSE.
There’s an interview with Greg Marsden and he’s AMAZING OMG. He’s like, and I’m paraphrasing, “I thought as coach I’d have control over what I’m doing, give me what I need and back tf off, and when I found out that it was the USGF running the show with me as a puppet I was like uhhhhh BYE!!!!!!” GREG!!!! This interview was FLAWLESS.
“Marsden also questions the motives of private coaches like Bela Karolyi.” “Unfortunately Bela is much more concerned about Bela and who he’s coaching than he is about our nation and the national program. My personal opinion is that Bela won the gold and came to the United States for some gold $$ of his own. Unfortunately, money corrupts, and too much money has been spent on the adults, and wining and dining, and limousines.”
I’M. SCREAMING. SHRIEKING. GREG. EFFING. MARSDEN.
6:19 pm. Kevin Davis is back. Handstanding his pants off. He’s like, fine I guess. Oh, Tippelt fell on p-bars, they didn’t show us. I really wanted to see if he did a Tippelt so I could get holier-than-thou about my MAG knowledge.
6:18 pm. “You were a little nervous on this one, buddy” HAHAHAHAHAHA BELA HAHAHAHAHAHA I hate you but this is literally me at every single competition to every gymnast
6:17 pm. Phoebe Mills BB: Bhs loso loso, rock solid. Hers looked a little cleaner than Baitova’s. Good leap series as well. She looks super precise. Planche in a split with gorg toe point then lots of creative low beam choreo, Kathy’s like “a combination of Michelle Dusserre and Pam Bileck in one move” and I’m gonna trust her on that because she is a goddess. Gainer layout stepout is solid. Double tuck was a bit low with a big stumble back but overall solid.
6:16 pm. They’re interviewing Phoebe Mills and are like DO YOU MISS KRISTIE PHILLIPS?!?!?! she’s like shockingly I can train without Kristie!
6:15 pm. A dude on p-bars but I didn’t catch the name. He’s adjusting on everything. Really nice double tuck in the air though. He’s a Soviet, I still don’t have his name.
6:14 pm. Moving onto part two here!
6:12 pm. Svetlana Baitova BB: Circles into a flair!!!! OMG I STAN BAITOVA SO HARD RIGHT NOW. Switch leap to weird stag jump? Bhs loso loso, looked a little underrotated on all of that but solid. Korbut to back walkover up to handstand to bhs to Korbut OH MY GODDDDDDD aklsdf;a;ldfajdsf I’m deceased. I’m gonna cry!!! Switch leap to gainer bhs. Obsessed. 80s beam tho. Triple full a little under and I’M HONESTLY DEAD. 10 10 10 10 10 10 10. They give her a 9.838 which is RUDE.
6:11 pm. Marius Toba on p-bars. Flairs into a planche, get it. Doing saltos in the 80s I feel like is impressive for p-bars? Pretty sweet.
6:09 pm. Chelle Stack BB: Omg a BABY. Why did I think she was around in like the 1984 era? Really cool mount series, then basically goes right into a Korbut and then more low beam choreography, so much low beam flipping, I like it. Random hops and jumps. Literally no one in the 70s or 80s could do a sissone? Bhs bhs loso, bent legs on the loso but solid and that beam sounds like it’s made out of sheet rock. Front toss kinda. Then standing loso kinda. I say kinda because the body position is like “maybe this is what I’m doing” on everything. High double tuck with a couple of steps. Pretty stellar. Again with Bela ruining it. 9.875, this is literally NCAA scoring.
6:08 pm. Phoebe Mills UB: Hecht mount, Tkachev, nice, then a Tkachev to mixed grip basically right down into a tucked Pak kinda thing, short handstand and Bela is grunting in the background for some reason. UN-MIC HIM PLEASE. Nobody wants him here. Hit the rest, including the dismount. Leave your coach!!!
Mills leads over Potorac right now.
Marius Toba and Sven Tippelt lead for the men. Is that Andreas Toba’s daddy?
6:07 pm. Sven Tippelt is back. He vaults a Cuervo as well. Big step back. GOD I hate this old vault so much!!!!!!!!
6:06 pm. They’re showing MAG as well. A guy named Kevin Davis. He did a Cuervo.
Svetlana Baitova UB: They interviewed her and she’s like “I LOVE PIZZA AND MCDONALDS” hahahahahaHAHAHAHA. WE STAN. Omg she fell instantly, on a pirouette I think?! NOOOOOO. Nice stalder work, to Deltchev to shootover kinda, clear hip, double tuck dismount.
Okay it was the mount where she fell, she did a straddle over the low bar into a release with 1.5 twists, not a pirouette.
6:05 pm. Gabriela Potorac UB: Clear hip hecht to high bar, this is more my speed. Blind full to blind 1.5 to I think a Jaeger then drops down to the low bars, YAS. Blind full to double tuck dismount, queen. 9.875
6:04 pm. They’re showing the vault standings – Baitova in the lead – but we haven’t seen it yet. Oh, here it is, and she did the DTY!!! GET IT SIS.
6:03 pm. They’re showing Sven Tippelt on rings, is this MAG too? Hey, TIPPELT! Shoutout to parallel bars! #MAGLife
6:02 pm. The U.S. competitors are Phoebe Mills and Chelle Stack. Svetlana Baitova repping the USSR, aka the originator of the DTY but at a competition where like 50 other girls on her team did one so no one cares.
6:01 pm. We’re not good enough for Madison Square Garden anymore, so we’re at George Mason University instead which is…I mean, no offense to GMU but it’s a downgrade.
Cathy has been replaced as commentator by KATHY JOHNSON!!!!! aka Kathy Johnson Clarke, aka our mother.
6:00 pm. Nadia fluff! Mary Lou fluff! WHO’S THE NEW NADIA AND MARY LOU AND OLGA!???????!??!?!?!?! FOR 1988?!?!?!?!?!
IT’S PHOEBE MILLS!!!!!!!!!!!
5:58 pm. Another one down! Gonna hit play on 1988 at 6 pm. The video is here! Note that this is part one…parts two and three should come up automatically under “up next” on the top right of YouTube but I’ll also post the links when we get there.
5:56 pm. So Mary Lou Retton wins, and she’s “pleased.” Laura Cutina doesn’t get interviewed because #AmericaOnly. Julianne McNamara also rocking some blush from teeth to ears over here and she’s like “who cares, I fell, shut up.”
5:54 pm. Laura Cutina FX: Full-in, chest down and a stumble but not bad. A little stumble in her dance as well. Casual beat jump. Omg the cutest choreo before her second pass. Triple full is excellent. Who did the first triple in WAG? It had to be relatively new at this point, right? Layout full “side pass” kinda. Cathy’s judging her for a lack of relevé and I’m like same girl. Double tuck basically stuck though.
In the replay of her last pass, Laura’s roundoff looked like the way they do it in MAG today with the super wide arms that terrify me.
9.9 for Cutina puts her in second place!
5:51 pm. Julianne McNamara FX: Can’t wait for this. High double tuck into a controlled lunge. Actual balletic music. Wouldn’t expect anything less for my new artistry fave. Triple full!!!!!!!! Well, she overdoes it and lands it OOB but ugh I love it. Double full to finish. If I was watching this in 1984 she would be my fave and I’d be like “yeah MLR’s the queen or whatever but Julianne is SO underrated.”
5:49 pm. “This lady is tough. She’s awesome.” Love Cathy being a positive queen.
Mary Lou Retton FX: Double layout and it’s effing GORGEOUS. God I don’t believe she would’ve been Olympic champion in a fully attended Olympics but she really really was great and so ahead of her time. Hands down on her full-in though. UH OHHHHH!!!!!!! Roundoff to side aerial. She’s actually decently expressive…not like a Soviet but not terrible. Huge double tuck to finish. The power!
9.75 will clinch the title, with her hands down??? Was hands down like 0.1 lmao?
5:48 pm. MLR interview. Talking about her injury during worlds but is like that’s not gonna affect me at the Olympics, byeeee.
5:45 pm. Laura Cutina BB: Back handspring mount, perfect. Split leap, little bobble. Bhs loso. WOLF TURN HAHAHA. Front aerial. I honestly feel like I’m watching an NCAA routine in 2020. Sissone is like 45 degrees, why?! Double tuck with a step.
9.65 which isn’t enough to overtake McNamara in the all-around standings, I don’t understand how this routine was only like 0.3 higher than McNamara’s beam when McNamara had a fall but go off I guess.
5:43 pm. Julianne McNamara BB: God I would have STANNED HER SO HARD in 1984. Her mount is gorgeous, a handstand hold that goes to one arm. Moves so fluidly. Gainer layout, legs are bent and she has a big wobble. Little hoppy dance elements, then an okay flight series. So creative into her low choreo, which she does into a planche omg and then into a hip circle!!! A STAR. Transverse straddle jump, is she competing TODAY? Trend setter. Falls on that, though. Bummer. Layout full dismount is nice. The true U.S. queen of 1984.
5:41 pm. For some reason we’re watching Mary Lou pacing back and forth. Her blush is out of control.
Interview with Bela. He says it’s “obvious” the Americans are going to medal at the Olympics even against the Soviets and Germans. “Mary Lou beat all the world champions in Japan last year so it’s conclusive that she’s going to win.”
5:39 pm. Mary Lou Retton BB: GOD this moves so fast. Has a handstand hold that she kinda tick-tocks into a back salto. A mess tho. Leaps were fine I guess. Punch front is awesome. Back tuck. There are people in the crowd who look like they’re sitting roughly two feet from beam. BACK UP. Random little hops and body waves hahaha. Double tuck with a hop, that was better than most double tucks today honestly. You powerful gal. 9.8
5:38 pm. Laura Cutina UB: Tkachev is really low, back release down to catch the low bar, really low release after that, Deltchev according to Cathy but I thought it was a Jaeger. Double back! DAMN LAURA. She had some little things throughout with her form but was super ahead of her time with multiple releases and a double salto dismount.
Retton leads, then McNamara, then Laura Cutina.
5:36 pm. Julianne McNamara UB: Mixed grip “shoot” to a handstand mount. LOVELY Tkachev, omg. She’s gorgeous on this event. Half twist release down to the low bar. Great stalder work, then a front half dismount. Her swing is truly fab. 10.0! DESERVED IT if Mary Lou got a 9.95 lmao. Actually deserved a 15 in comparison.
5:35 pm. Mary Lou Retton UB: Tkachev! Bent legs. Cool transition from the low to the high right into a release, and her dismount was kinda cool. I love that 1984 was like the true transitional year between old bars and new bars. They’re GETTING THERE. I still don’t really know what’s going on, but more so than in 1976. Also had a Zuchold I think. 9.95
5:34 pm. Mary Lou Retton VT: Idk what this even was, a tsuk full? I wasn’t paying attention. I’m still thinking about telegrams. 10.0! omg
Silvia Topalova UB: Ugh, the bars are still close together in this era. More releases over the bar than eight years earlier though. Toe front half with a hop. She’s Bulgarian. I think she had two releases, both hechts IIRC.
5:33 pm. Cathy Rigby is back to commentate again, explaining the two-per-country to us because this is the 80s. We’re dumb!
“We’re sorry to announce the last-minute defection of the East German and Soviet Union teams.” They SENT TELEGRAMS to let the U.S. federation know they’re not coming HAHAHA. GOD is this 1984 or 1884?
5:32 pm. Mary Lou apparently got a 10 on floor in prelims, wearing basically a German national team leo. There’s an ad for something in the background called COMPUTERLAND. Take me there!
5:31 pm. The fluff is like “the American Cup is literally what made Nadia who she is, and now it’s going to make Mary Lou Retton a star, and GET READY FOR IT…THEY’RE BOTH COACHED BY BELA OMGGGGGGG!”
5:30 pm. Here we go. Gonna start this one out with some fluff instead of deadass in the middle of a routine like they did in 1976. I couldn’t find the 1980 American Cup, btw. Was there one? Or were were all super bitter about no U.S. team at the Olympics that year?
5:27 pm. Okay, I’m gonna click play on 1984 at 5:30 pm so we can have a little breathing room. The video link is here!
5:26 pm. The American crowd is booing Grecu’s score because they thought he won even though Bart won. So America is still the same as always! Tbt to the American Cup in Newark in 2017 when people ignored the competition and cheered for Laurie Hernandez who was just there walking around.
BART WINS! NADIA WINS! LOVE IS REAL!
5:25 pm. Dan Grecu HB: Stalder to blind change to front giant to pike vault, then German giants into a little back vault over the bar, which they called a “cutaway.” Hecht dismount where you just swing over the bar, release, and land, kind of sad difficulty compared to Bart’s ground-breaking double salto. 9.3
5:23 pm. Bart Conner HB: Bart basically got kicked out of high school sports because he competed at Pan Ams hahaha. Bless. No like, super crazy releases here but he does like, a pike vault over the bar, and his dismount was a layout full-in back tuck out, which was cool. 9.6
5:22 pm. Back to the men! They kinda exist.
Bart Conner VT: He also did a tsuk back pike!!! Just like Nadia!!! GET MARRIED ALREADY!!!
After five events, Dan Grecu leads, followed by Vladimir Markelov and then Bart Conner.
5:21 pm. Ooh they also just showed Olga flipping on beam, she had a cool back acro skill into a front dismount off the side of the beam, I liked that.
Now they’re showing Nadia on beam. Literally they’re doing more of this Olga/Nadia comparison than showing actual routines from the American Cup lol. Omg Nadia is only 13 here?! Love her back walkover into the two back handsprings. “That four-inch beam looks like a sidewalk the way she’s working it.” Commentary basically the same as now.
5:19 pm. Olga on bars with her banned Korbut flip. Olga was a BAMF but her bars are so disjointed and not really fluid whereas Nadia looks like she’s doing one single skill throughout the entire routine because it’s all back to back to back.
On floor they’re like “Olga barely does ANYTHING but she can dance!” and then they’re like “nobody can beat her as a tumbler” so Nadia will also win this one.
“Olga was the new upcoming pixie and now Nadia is the underdog.” What does this even mean lol. Bye old lady Olga! You’re DONE. And we’re gonna treat little loveable Nadia like this in four years because we hate women. 🙂
5:18 pm. They’re doing a Nadia vs Olga comparison for some reason, as if there isn’t an actual competition going on. Olga does like, a full-on non-salto vault and they’re like “it sucks!” But Nadia with the tsuk back pike is a queen. “She does it better than the man who invented it.” Don’t we all? Nadia wins this one!
5:17 pm. Nadia wins it, Kathy Howard comes second, and lil Elena Davydova is third.
Here’s a random picture of Olga Korbut hahahaha. They don’t even cut to graphics…the announcer is literally standing on the floor with a giant print-out photo of Olga.
5:15 pm. Nadia Comaneci FX: Double tuck like a BALLER QUEEN. On bricks!! Her dance is super cute. Pike half through to a back straddle flip, let’s bring those back. Double full into a lunge, tbh her double full was better than the Polish dude who did one earlier. So adorable. GOD NADIA. 10.0!!! I mean if we wanna be picky I’d take off for some of those landings but I guess if you’re doing a double back and a double full on bricks you get bonus.
5:14 pm. Nadia Comaneci BB: They just showed a side aerial to back handspring which for this time I feel like was kind of epic.
5:12 pm. Kathy Howard FX: Omg these little scissor kicks are epic. Whip to pike half ;lfkjas;df the 70s. BLESS. She’s gorgeous though. She’s a last-minute substitute. Her second pass I wasn’t really paying attention but it was like a layout kinda deal. Cartwheel to back handspring. Front aerial. One BILLION leaps. Cartwheel to layout stepout. Layout pass into a wonky sissone to finish. Get it Kathy. 9.85
God the floor was SO HARD. I’m over here judging her for doing a pike half but she’s also tumbling on a pile of bricks.
5:11 pm. They interviewed Nadia in English and she’s like “haha I want five gold medals at the Olympics :)” and “I’m not Olga Korbut, I’m Nadia Comaneci” EPIC.
5:10 pm. Okay, this rotation is almost over? This is the speediest meet ever.
Now there’s some Nadia fluff. “She’s basically your daughter” they say as she rides a boat around the NYC harbor with Bela. Gross. Bela and Nadia just casually walking around the Statue of Liberty like “we have better things to do.”
5:08 pm. Dan Grecu SR: L sit through to a “kip roll” up to handstand. “I did that when I was competing!” “Back in 1900?!” “Haha, he’s so gosh darn strong.” I’m crying. I want to be a commentator in the 70s. Does an iron cross and the crowd is like WELL I NEVER?! Double tuck dismount. 9.85
5:07 pm. Vladimir Markelov SR: His swing up to an L sit was referred to as a “whippet” I think, which makes me giggle. Aren’t whippets like, drugs that preteens do? Idk. I don’t know about drugs. Half-in half-out dismount was good. Rings also looks basically the same to me. 9.65
5:06 pm. Nadia Comaneci is winning omg. Now time to see a man.
Andrzej Szajna FX: “Doing a double full twister for a dismount” hahaha. Beautiful.
Bart Conner PH: “A most pleasant surprise” to see Bart win. I love that pommels 40 years ago basically looks exactly the same to me as it does now because I literally don’t know what’s going on.
Szajna is winning for the men.
5:04 pm. Elena Davydova UB: ELENA!!!!! Omg she’s such a wee one here. Fell on a release between the bars, honestly I didn’t really see what it was, looked like a Jaeger? Had a stalder from dismount. Oh, here comes a replay. So she does a belly beat straight into a Jaeger, with a connection like that, it looks like you can’t get the height for the flip AT ALL. It’s okay, “little Olga Korbut,” you’ll be an Olympic champion someday. 8.7
5:04 pm. Nadia Comaneci VT: Tsuk back pike, simple but lovely. Now this is like a compulsory vault for pre-elites.
Nadia Comaneci UB: Literally don’t know what any of these skills are, aside from her release of course. I’m like skills? She’s literally just tossing herself between the bars. Belly beet, and then a toe half dismount, lovely? Idk what more the judges could want. 9.9!
Go away young Bela.
5:03 pm. They’re showing us a glimpse of the actual cup and tbh it looks the same now I think. Cathy Rigby is commentating with some dudes, Gordon Maddox maybe? And then a rando. Why did people talk with weird accents in the 70s?
5:02 pm. Play has been PRESSED for the 1976 American Cup! Again, the link is here.
5:00 pm. Two minutes until it’s time to turn off America’s Next Top Model and switch over to Nadia! Please feel free to comment here so I can include you guys in the conversation during this watch. I tried getting a live blog platform to embed but everything I found was awful, so comments are the next best thing.
4:58 pm. Hi everyone! I’m so excited to spend the next couple of weeks watching old meets with you. Here are the links you’ll need to follow the competitions today:
- 1976 American Cup
- 1984 American Cup
- 1988 American Cup – Part 1
- 1988 American Cup – Part 2
- 1988 American Cup – Part 3
The first two are about 25 minutes each, and the third is about 40 minutes split into three parts. I’m going to hit “play” on the first one at 5:02 pm (ET, all times are in ET because that’s where I am). When the first video ends, just go right to the second, because that’s what I’ll be doing! Same goes for the multiple parts for 1988…they should come up automatically on YouTube as “next up” or whatever, so you can click right through from there, so I’m just going to continue from one to the next as if it was all one video rather than pausing and being like “is everybody ready?!” because that sounds like madness.
Anyway, I haven’t seen a lot of 70s and 80s gymnastics because I’m generally just so consumed with what’s happening NOW. I’m covering the sport, and that’s hard enough to follow, and I never go back and watch older meets whether I’ve seen them already or not.
I HAVE seen the 1976 American Cup. The video came up randomly on YouTube once and I kinda half-watched it. I think they show like two routines, hahaha. Like, all of Nadia Comaneci and then almost nothing else. But I haven’t seen either of the other two I included here, and I’m excited about it. Literally don’t know who competed, who won, and so on, and I’m not going to open up the results so I can be surprised, but I’ll share all of the results at the end.
Thanks for tuning in, and I hope you enjoy!