You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

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It’s time for the 288th 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).

Something you want to know? Ask us anonymously by going through the contact form at the bottom of the page.

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Please note that I am offline for the month of June, and am posting a backlog of questions and answers in the meantime. If you submit a question, it will not be answered until at least July!

Thank you, and stay safe!

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Which current members of the U.S. junior team become seniors in 2021?

In terms of those who have been at the highest levels, Sydney Barros, Love Birt, Skye Blakely, Konnor McClain Zoe Miller, Sienna Robinson, Katelyn Rosen, and Mya Witte all turn 16 next year. 

Here’s a list of other juniors who have competed in 2019 or 2020 who were also born in 2005: Olivia Ahern, Alyssa Arana, Love Birt, Hadley Bretschneider, Samantha Brogden, Elizabeth Cairns, Sophie Derr, Natalie DiLandri, Amy Doyle, Skylar Draser, Sydnee Evans, Maria Ferguson, Reagan Forkey, Georgia Gilmore, Cadence Goldberg, Emily Golden, Elle Hadrick, Julianne Huff, Sydney Jelen, Sierra Kaplan, Julia Krzywanski, Temple Landry, Rayna Light, Amber Lowe, Jordyn Lyden, Courtney McCann, Sydney McCord, Annalise Newman-Achee, Sophie Parenti, Lauren Pearce, Madison Perkins, Cecily Rizo, Camryn Rueda, Jenna Rusk, Jamison Sears, Chavala Shepard, Ui Soma, Kaia Tanskanen, Monica Todorov, Lindsay Van Eyk, Eva Volpe, Clara Wallace, Jaelah Warner, Madelyn Warren, Mahleea Werline, Paige Wills, Cami Winger, Jamie Wright, and Lexi Zeiss.

I heard Chloe Widner is no longer at Stanford. Is there any information on this or her status?

Well, officially she’s still there, and it looks like she also still has it listed on her social media, so I don’t think she’s no longer there and haven’t seen anything about the rumor that she isn’t.

Why doesn’t Morgan Hurd do more turns in her floor routine? I assume it’s just not her thing.

Yeah, I’ve always assumed she just prefers to build difficulty elsewhere because she feels like her strengths are more along the lines of leaps and acro…but without being at the gym during COVID-19, she’s been posting some skills on social media, including a double L turn from what I can remember, so maybe she’ll be adding a turn or two in the future?

Is Tonya Paulsson free from injuries now? Is she going to be a future star for Sweden when Jonna Adlerteg retires and Jessica Castles goes to college? How can she upgrade her difficulty to be a medal contender?

As of the end of last year, she seemed to have been doing much better, and I know she’s also been training based on social media, so we can hope she’s relatively injury-free! I definitely think she has the talent to take over as Sweden’s top gymnast in the future, and think her best way to increase her potential as an all-arounder is to continue focusing on bars (she’s gorgeous there and has the potential for bigger difficulty!) and then also work on getting a consistently solid FTY. If she can be a 13.5+ on vault and a 13.8+ on bars, and then have hit routines in the mid 12s on beam and floor, then her all-around potential could be around the 52+ range, which would be strong enough to make the all-around final at Euros, and to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Is the maximum number of women a country can send to the 2020 Olympics six? What happens if a country qualifies two all-around spots, a full team, and four nominative spots? Who decides which athletes can go?

Yes, it’s six, period. A country can’t qualify two all-around spots, a full team, and four nominative spots. Once a country qualifies a full team, they have two individual spots they can qualify, and the spots they qualify are determined by the competitions they attend in the order that they happen. Since the all-around world cups were scheduled to conclude first, a country who wins a spot this way would secure one spot via this option, and then with the apparatus world cups concluding next, a country who has already earned a team and all-around world cup spot could then earn one nominative spot at the world cups, and then that would be it. They could still go to the continental championships, but they would no longer be eligible to earn additional spots at that point because they already earned all of the spots that are available to them.

Do you think Olivia Greaves will be consistent going into 2021, and have a shot at going to Tokyo  because her upgrades are incredible, especially on bars?

I hope so! I love Olivia a ton. She had a wrench thrown into her training with her coaches getting suspended, but she also benefits from having the Olympics being pushed back by a year, because she now has time to figure out a new training situation. I feel like if she can figure out a consistent training situation in the next year, she definitely has a strong chance at getting in the mix for Tokyo.

How will the two-per-country rule affect gymnasts with individual spots at the Olympics? For example, if two U.S. team gymnasts qualify for floor, and then an individual also qualifies, would all three compete in the floor final as the individual is only representing herself, not the team?

All athletes are representing the same country, regardless of whether they’re “on the team” or competing as an individual. Two per country literally means two per country. If a U.S. gymnast on the team qualifies first on floor, an individual competitor qualifies second, and another U.S. team gymnast qualifies in third, then only the first two would make the final even though one is a team gymnast and the other is an individual.

Russia hasn’t competed at the American Cup since 2011, but is that because they decline invitations or do they not receive invitations anymore? 

They still receive invitations…every country that places a team in the top eight at worlds earns world cup invitations (and for the 2020 world cups, it expanded so that every country that placed a team in the top 12 earned them). Russia generally turned their invitations down, officially because they conflicted with Russian Championships, but also because there was definitely some bitterness related to Aliya Mustafina not winning in 2011. This year, they did accept their American Cup invitations for both MAG and WAG, and were planning on sending Nikita Nagornyy and Lilia Akhaimova, but with COVID-19 they ended up deciding to keep their gymnasts at home.

What do people mean when they say someone Zamarripa-ed something on bars? 

I’ve never heard the term “Zamarripa-ed” for bars…in the past, like when she was competing, when someone was getting “Zamarripa-ed” it meant they were getting a 10 for a routine that wasn’t actually perfect, haha…I think that came from when she once had a vault with her chest fully down and was still given a 10 or something. On bars she was known for having basically perfect handstands, so maybe if you’ve heard that recently, it’s just someone complimenting someone’s handstands by comparing them to Vanessa’s?

If two-per-country wasn’t a thing, could Madison Kocian have made the all-around podium in Rio?

I don’t think she would’ve made the all-around podium over Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and Gabby Douglas if all three of them were also competing in the final, and if Laurie Hernandez was thrown into the mix, then Madison would be fifth out of the five Americans, assuming all were at their best. But if it was a three-per-country thing and Madison was one of the three in the final with, say, Simone and Aly, then yes, she would’ve had a good chance at making the podium in 2016. She scored similarly to Aliya on bars at the Olympics, and then the two actually would’ve scored pretty similarly on the other three. Madison maybe would’ve had the edge on floor, but I think it could have come pretty close between the two overall for the bronze.

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

20 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

  1. My favorite part of this olympics is actually that the whole “what if this person competed in qualifications” is no longer a thing. Everyone can compete the all around if they choose and whoever has the best day gets into finals. I may or may not love the convoluted process leading up to qualifying but, I feel that qualifications will be the most exciting it’s ever been with a lot of opportunity to mix things up a bit. I’m also super curious how the broadcast for qualifications will go if athlete 5 and Jade Carey are in super random qualification groups.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never thought about that aspect. However, the ‘perk’ of this situation is the downside of 1 less person being on that medal winning team.

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      • That’s true the other downside is countries who ONLY end up qualifying 4 athletes are going to have to decide what’s more important: individuals or all arounders. Like Let’s say Russia doesn’t qualify anyone else, do they take Maria I’d shes up to form since she failed to qualify individually, or Mustafina, or go with 4 all arounders to balance the team in hopes of a medal? Hmm

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    • Absolutely agree here. This is actually why I PREFER the 4 person team, it benefits nations with less depth and gives opportunities to qualify on every apparatus.

      It’s going to be fun to watch especially if unexpected gymnasts end up in events. Many events there are girls that could qualify for an event final even with an error, but will get 2 per’d out by teammates now.

      I doubt that’ll change Tom’s stance on the selection process, but consistency seems especially important if the goal is total medal count. Without naming athletes, if an athlete only hits 1/3 to 1/2 of the time but soars when they do … chances are they won’t make the final or will falter when they do. Seems risky to give them a spot even if they do happen to hit at Olympic Trials.

      There is a legitimate scenario here where the US doesn’t bring home half as many medals as it could due to the format and the way the US selection committee operates.

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      • yeah i agree with you on the individual medal count for the US. The great thing about the US is its consistency in the all around as a team. The downside is, without considering gymnasts outside the all around, in some ways the US could jeopardize their individual medals- especially beam which to me has become US weakest event. I wish they’d move on from the “US is weak on bars” discussion because in the last quad the US has scored either 1st or 2nd as a team at every competition here so I don’t see that narrative being relevant anymore. Where I do see some focus needing visiting is on beam, and if the selection committee uses the 5th spot the right way, they could capitalize on a beam specialist because even Simone has shown she’s been up and down this quad on beam and its concerning to think the US could only qualify one beam worker. Other countries dont pick their teams the same way the US does, focusing on medal count and hoping that group can put together things when it counts for the team. This is why to me Jade is so impressive, and other than Simone has been so important this quad. From a consistency standpoint, im not sure what other US athlete besides Simone would have qualified a spot as an individual over so many qualifying events.

        But i agree with you above that the US may be in an even better place in the team final because they’re so consistent as a group of 4, and some countries will struggle with balancing the team the right way. I could see the team final in 2021 being very different than this past year’s worlds because of this. Thoughts?

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        • Also I was bored since I’m still not working from quarantine, and I made a spreadsheet from 2019 Worlds and took out 1 athlete per team who contributed the least/lowest score/1 event specialist to see how the teams would have qualified scoring wise with only 4 members on the team (i removed Jade from USA). If everyone scored exactly as they did and no one was added or subtracted from the team for Tokyo this would have been the qualification ranking so I’m really curious how next year will go when we see very different athletes for some teams. Yes i was bored, but i think this stuff is super fun to look at throughout the year!

          Qualifications
          USA 173.037
          CHINA 167.828
          FRANCE 165.914
          RUSSIA 165.43
          CANADA 162.588
          ITALY 161.664
          GREAT BRITAIN 161.663
          GERMANY 161.63
          JAPAN 161
          BELGIUM 160.638
          NETHERLANDS 160.162
          SPAIN 159.021

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        • I will be surprised if many of the top athletes resemble what they were performing at ’19 Worlds by the time Tokyo arrives, if it arrives at all.

          At Gage, for example, they’re known for putting in their biggest floor/vault upgrades in the Olympic year — so I see Kara and Leanne improving significantly in AA and they were already in consideration. I see people like Laurie and MyKayla actually having enough time to get into their best shape possible. Who even knows how much the time will affect Simone and the rest of the national team, new seniors. It’s likely many are already past their peak or will get injured pushing themselves in the run up.

          I agree about beam though. Simone, Kara, Riley are all hit or miss; although Simone is still the most consistent. I’d say beam is unpredictable internationally though too, half our national team could medal if China flubs. But I would say uneven bars is worse for USA, really only Suni has a solid chance at a medal on a typical day – Riley, Morgan and Simone could if unusual circumstances presented themselves.

          I just see athletes all pushing their hardest in qualifications in Tokyo to get in top 2 and that yielding strange results that won’t end well. Regardless of who ends up on the team, they’ll probably have a solid four point cushion against other teams. Tom has pushed them so hard on AA it seems unfair to advocate for team selection to be based on event final routines, although that’s the smartest move if the focus is total medal count.

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    • Yup! It’s a real name. If you are laughing now, imagine her as an adult with that name at job interviews. Poor kid. She’s Morgan Hurd’s teammate at first state.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: You Asked, The Gymternet Answered – SportUpdates

    • I hope they do but make it something less crazy to follow over such a long period of time. I do enjoy that it gives teams more flexibility this way and non team countries can still qualify up to 3 gymnasts if they have the depth. Like theoretically Brazil could bring Flavia through 2019 worlds, Rebecca by earning an AA World Cup spot and an additional gymnast through The Pan Am Games.

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    • She actually had a fairly decent DTY (see 2015 Nationals), but because she was never going to the Olympics for AA or even VT in the team final, she downgraded for Olympic year to focus on bars.

      It would’ve been closer, with Madison gaining back what she loses from VT on FX. Her FX at Trials was so clean! BB was a wildcard for both of them, so it might’ve come down to that!

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    • No once a country qualifies 4 as a team and two individuals that’s it. It’s whatever 2 they qualify first so they cannot qualify a 7th spot

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    • WP, you are correct. Technically as long as a country did not qualify a team, they had the farfetched ability to send 7 individuals, but it has now passed. This would have been one AAer from 2019 Worlds quals, three from the 2019 Worlds event finals, one from the apparatus world cup series, one from the country placing top 3 in the AA world cup series, and one from an AAer at the Continental championships. This can no longer happen because no country qualified three event specialists from worlds event finals, but this was specifically explained and allowed by the FIG!

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      • There are so many pieces that need to align in order for this to happen that it’s virtually unlikely. For example the AA World Cup is only open to Top 12 teams from 2019 Worlds, so the country would need to make Top 12 at 2019 Worlds without earning a team spot. This would only happen if a Top 3 team from 2018 Worlds has a Romania/Brazil-level catastrophe and finish off the Top 12 in 2019. Also, if a country can qualify 6 or 7 individual spots with different gymnasts then at that point they are certainly strong enough to qualify as a team.

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