Russia Upsets United States to Qualify in First

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The “impossible” became possible in women’s team qualifications at the Olympic Games on Sunday, when the Russian women put up a show-stopping performance to defeat the dominant U.S. team, which struggled with mistakes and lower-than-expected scores and ended up more than a point back to finish in second.

This is the first time the U.S. women have been outscored in major international competition since the team final at world championships in 2010, and the first time they’ve been beaten in qualifications since 2008. As the reigning world champions who had a decisive five-point win in Stuttgart, the women showed here that they are no longer infallible thanks to the strength of the incredibly talented Russian all-around trio, who proved themselves as legitimate threats to the team that has been “guaranteed gold” all these years.

Of course, gold is never a guarantee, but when a team’s margin is typically multiple points ahead of the rest of the competition with room for multiple falls, it’s easy to get cocky, and that’s exactly what happened here. High performance director Tom Forster told the media at the Olympic trials that taking the highest-scoring team “didn’t matter” because “it wasn’t going to come down to tenths,” which may have been true in 2019 and in previous years, but in 2021, it is a clear dismissal of what Russia (and China with a full-strength team, which they do not have here) is currently capable of, and as the strategist for the team, Forster should know this and should have better prepared his team to go into the meet.

I saw a comment on Twitter that said “Russia played to win, and the United States played to not lose.” The gymnasts on the U.S. team obviously gave it what they could, and had to deal with mistakes that they’re simply not used to making internationally, so I don’t fault them for this. Instead, there is a clear lack of leadership at the highest levels, and of course Forster’s “we’ll win no matter what so it doesn’t matter” attitude affects how they approach competitions. If you have the mindset that you’re “guaranteed gold,” you do not approach the competition with the same mindset that you would as an underdog.

Despite being so dominant in previous quads, the U.S. still came to every meet like they had something to prove, and this is something they’ve lost since Forster took over. Even in the mixed zone after the competition, Forster essentially said that he didn’t care how things went, because they’re not here just for medals, but while there are some teams here without that prospect, the U.S. is not one of them. The U.S. is here for the team gold, and for a number of individual golds as well. To pretend differently is asinine, and frankly, an insult to the gymnasts who are at a level far beyond “just here to enjoy the ride.”

Simone Biles said in a recent interview that while she clearly did not support the abusive culture Marta Karolyi created, she did think that the current situation is too lax, and that it creates a passive environment that isn’t conducive to winning. It’s not so much that the quality of gymnastics has gone down in recent years, but rather something missing from the leadership that helped the team be more competitive and goal-oriented at the highest levels. At the end of the day, this is elite gymnastics, not elementary school, and while Karolyi’s fear-based method of “hit your routines or you’re finished” is not it, there is a middle ground between that and what the U.S. team currently has in place. There can often be a fine line between disciplined and abusive coaching, but that balance does exist and the U.S. needs to find it, fast.

Every team and every athlete makes mistakes in sports, but to see a team this skilled and experienced make so many in qualifications at the Olympic Games is unexpected, to say the least. Pound for pound, the U.S. team is stronger than the current Russian team, and has a lot to make up for in the team final whereas Russia’s qualification score is close to maxed out. But if the U.S. can fall to Russia in a four-up three-count prelim, a final where all scores count is going to be that much trickier, especially when most of the mistakes in qualifications came from those who were expected to contribute key routines in the final.

As for the Russians, I have nothing but awe for how they performed yesterday. I had high expectations for the team coming into the Games, just based on the sheer level of talent they have in addition to what they were able to accomplish at European Championships this year. I did worry that some of the team’s less experienced gymnasts might struggle, but everyone approached the competition with such a fight that is so often missing from the Russian team, I almost forgot who I was watching.

This was also not a “they have the lead because the U.S. wasn’t good” situation. They have the lead because they made sure that they wouldn’t lose out on an opportunity to take advantage of U.S. mistakes, and they fought to the end for every tenth on every event to make that happen. Led by Angelina Melnikova, the baby of the 2016 Olympic team who has spent the last five years transforming into a world class contender in the all-around and on every apparatus, Russia beat the United States on every event but vault here, where they were only tenths behind.

It’ll be difficult to replicate the incredible performance they showed on Sunday in the team final this week, especially on beam, and even if they are close to perfect, Biles alone could add back nearly three points for the U.S. team. But whether Russia ends up defeating the U.S. again or not, the point is that the U.S. learned the hard way that the potential this Russian team has is not to be ignored.

And maybe that’s exactly what the U.S. needs – to discover that they’re not a lock, no matter how good they are, and that they can’t rest on what they know about the international field based on two-year-old information. There’s already a lot of talk about how it was “just qualifications” and they’ll be “fine” for team finals, but without someone motivating them and raising them up and helping them find that edge that was so badly absent on Sunday, I’m not so sure that’s true.

Outside of the top two, China finished third about four points back from the United States, looking strong on bars and beam, but not being able to overcome a massive deficit on vault and floor, especially with the team putting up only three competitors on the latter. At full strength, I think China should be at least able to challenge the top teams even if they’re not the strongest outright, but even despite everything they lacked here, it was still a strong competition with no major mistakes, which is exactly what they needed to do.

The team will need to keep that focus going into the team final, where they could once again be at a risk for a medal if they have any falls, just like when they missed out on bronze in 2019. France was within about two points from the Chinese team, with lots of room for improvement, and there are several other teams in the mix that could also increase their potential going into the final, so hitting is a must.

The French team ended up in fourth with a 164.561, missing out on a few potentially higher scores, but surviving thanks to one of the best vault rotations in the competition, with a few excellent bars and beam routines also helping them out. I’m hoping to see them clean up floor for the final, and think they could possibly win back a full point there If everyone can make just a few adjustments, but overall they seemed thrilled with the finish, especially after not making the team final five years ago.

Belgium finishing in fifth with a 163.895 absolutely crushed its previous record, which was 11th place at the Games in 1948, the country’s first Olympic appearance for women’s artistic gymnastics. This achievement completely surpasses every expectation I had for the team, but they performed incredibly across all four events, and it’s not just thanks to Nina Derwael‘s strong scores – behind Derwael was a team of young gymnasts who all became seniors this quad, with Maellyse Brassart very experienced at this point having made her world championships debut in 2017, though Lisa Vaelen is just 16 while Jutta Verkest is only 15, though both performed like they’ve been around forever. In a sport where most teams could not survive without veterans, the Belgians are consistently bringing up very talented young competitors every quad, and I think this is still just the beginning of what they’ll be capable of in the years to come.

The other teams to reach the final were Great Britain (163.396), Italy (163.330), and Japan (162.662), with both the Brits and the host team dealing with multiple falls, while Italy was lacking in execution on every event. All three are so close both with one another and when compared to France and Belgium, though, and I think the rankings in the team final could wind up wildly different, so I’m excited to see who will thrive and who will fall under the pressure of three-up three-count.

Germany missed out on a few key scores it was counting on, and ended up ninth more than a point back from the final with a 161.162, while Canada dealt with a number of uncharacteristic mistakes to finish 10th with a 160.964, likely a result of getting virtually no competitive experience this year, as they didn’t send gymnasts to compete internationally and domestic meets were competed within each athlete’s club gym, with scores decided via video review. It’s unfortunate that one of the quad’s strongest teams couldn’t make it through, but given the situation the Canadians have been in this year – which was unlike any other team’s here – I think they can still be very proud of what they accomplished.

Rounding out the competition were the Netherlands in 11th with a 160.263 and Spain in 12th with a 157.128. The Dutch team dealt with a number of mistakes, while Spain – which is missing two of its top all-arounders due to injuries – just didn’t have the difficulty to contend, though both teams put up beautiful and artistic performances on floor, while the Netherlands also stood out on beam and Spain had several excellent bars sets.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

42 thoughts on “Russia Upsets United States to Qualify in First

  1. Everything is aligning perfect for RU. With their core of Listy, Urazova, Gelya, they will definitely give US a real challenge for at least the next quad if not longer given Listy and Uraz is only 16 with Biles and Suni retiring…
    Also team is now back to 5…..
    I can’t wait for Tom to finally have to do some real work instead of just doing his BS AA rank selection….lol.
    Maybe Valentina does have a point….lol…
    Not saying we are bringing marta back. but just saying that like Biles said we need to have the program revamped with some seriousness added back in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Considering Tom’s post quals attitude of “whatever, we’re fine” before storming off like petty toddler because he couldn’t handle legitimate questions, I’m not so sure he got the message. He needs to go. On top of that, let’s not forget that he has shown an inability to communicate what he needs to see from each gymnast at every step, as shown by Riley, who felt blindsided after being completely snubbed, Shilese, who would have been the +1 alternate based on the method Forster used to pick the team and Morgan, who tweeted “news to me” when someone mentioned that on “Golden” Tom said she needed to finish 3-4 on one of her two events to advance to trials. If he doesn’t fix his mindset going forward, the US isn’t going to win for much longer regardless of what they bring back from Tokyo and his current attitude doesn’t reflect someone who recognizes the mistakes he’s made.

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    • I dont find this very logical at all. Resting your hopes on solely 3 women to somehow dominate the next quad, as if burnout, injury, maintaining the same level are just a given because they killed it in qualifications not even the final yet? Yes Listy and Urazova are only 16, and have a great future but resting solely on them only? I dont know how Russian juniors are looking who will become seniors, maybe they have 3 or 4 more Listys and Urazovas in the wings, I dunno. Melni will be going into her third quad if she sticks around, to maintain that level will be a challenge for anyone.

      I think the real challenge for the US team will be its leadership, revamping etc as I agree with everything Lauren wrote.

      I doubt Simone will retire. She will probably take a year off and come back. Im willing to bet on it. Having her final Olympics be during a pandemic, no audience, and it being in her coaches country, I think the writings are on the wall she will come back in some capacity.

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      • I’ve heard that Aliya Mustafina has taken over the junior national program as head coach.
        Historically the Russian program has had problems with burning out. Aliya herself became known as the master of pacing so she will probably benefit the upcoming seniors.

        Urazova and Listunova seem to be pacing relatively well. They both have fairly good consistency too. Gelya is getting better and better + doesn’t seem to be struggling that much health wise.

        They seem set up for a bright future to me

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    • I agree but think that a major factor is Russia’s depth (or lack thereof). Perhaps I am wrong and they have tons waiting in the wings. But to rely on three gymnasts for a quad is probably a mistake. Anything can happen to them unfortunately.

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  2. Thank you Lauren for the analysis. I agree with you on all counts. I would add that the effects of the Nassar affair should not be underestimated: it has destabilized and discredited the entire American training system. There were also a lot of problems with coaches and pathetic cases like Riley McCusker or Connor McClain. All this can only have aftershocks, consequences on the spirit of the sport. I think that the extraordinary power of Simone Biles has hidden all this, but there are signs for several years. Not least of which is the fact that, since the Nassar affair, American juniors are no longer the best in the world: in 2019, the Russians and the Chinese have largely overscored Kayla Di Cello and the other US girls. If we consider the girls born in 2004 and 2005, the American gymnasts are, in may opinion, not nearly as interesting as the Russians or the British (Listunova, Urazova, Gadirova twins).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think what bothered me most about this was the ongoing controversy of the last spot for the US team. I think Grace is great, but she was basically another Jordan, same strengths, not ‘amazing’ at anything, but just a lot less consistent. I would have been happy with MyKayla, Leanne, Kayla or even Riley, because there was zero chance we wouldn’t qualify to team finals, but we’d know who would be going up when it was 3 up, 3 count. Now? We have no idea. Not only was the 4th spot wasted, but our 5th spot was too, and it’s just disgusting for the athletes and for the US in general considering the depth of talent to choose from.

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  4. As Lauren said, the fact is that “the world IS really also getting better”. Back in 2012, you have Musty and Komova being the hitters. Then after that, it was just Musty for a while by herself while Gelya was coming up. Then it was Musty and Gelya together but now Gelya has actually gotten better and are joined by Listy and Uraz which were better than the early Gelya. So RU really does have a great depth in 3 core gymnasts that can be around for a while. They are in better shape right now at the top than arguably even 2012.
    China has also gained some strength esp in beam even if their bars has gone a little sideway. but overall, i think they do have also improvements in their program depth since before

    The US should really really consider and plan for a team with no simone, suni, carey, etc as they move forward, If they don’t, they will only have to look at romania…..

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    • 3 gymnasts isnt depth. Its great. But putting everything on their shoulders because of qualifications in one competition, then transcending that out into hypotheticals in the future? So many variables in gymnastics. Better shape right now, doesnt mean better shape in the future. People are creating soooo many narratives based on 1 day of competitions.

      Laurens article I stand by. But so many others I have read it’s a bit much

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      • The thing with Russia is that right now, outside of Melnikova, Urazova, and Listunova, there is NO ONE in the pipeline. All of their current juniors can barely break a 50 AA at home, aside from one who would probably be getting ~52 internationally (Diana Kustova)…I just think they happened to get lucky with Urazova and Listunova back to back, but if either one of them or Melnikova got injured Russia would be screwed, whereas the U.S. has 10 other gymnasts who could all step onto this team and be fine. Russia has really incredible top-level athletes right now but depth is definitely something they need to keep working on so they can reach the level of dominance the U.S. had over the past 10 years!

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        • 100% agree. People saying that if the USA doesn’t change or pay attention, then they gon end up like Romania, lol is a reach. The world is getting better for sure, but the USA is a machine and continues to evolve as well. They just need a better coordinator. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • This Russian junior, Diana Kustova (born in 2008) regularly breaks 55 AA :

          She looks so much like Aliya !

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        • Yeah, she breaks 55 at home but I’d say she’d be about a 52-53 internationally, Russian junior scores at home are wild. Her bars are incredible though!

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        • I’m not sure about Russia, if I’m not mistaken they have Kustova, an 07 baby who is already getting near/around a 15 on bars and a couple of promising 08 babies beyond her. The thing with Russia is that they have a very rocky track record of junior to senior transition. For every Melnikova and Mustafina theres a Skrypnik and Klimenko. Plus, even those that did make it as a senior didn’t last very long. Both Tutkhalyan and Komova fell apart after two years, let alone a full quad and there’s no guarantee that Listunova or Urazova won’t fall victim to that. However, China has Chow at the helm who has revamped the way they condition and though they’ve had unfortunate last minute injuries to top athletes that have hindered them here, I think that they can also get themselves closer and closer to the top in the next couple of years.

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        • I read some anger, pain and dispapointment in your post Lauren ! I’d probably be in the same mood if I were not from Europe ! My bet is that you will feel more relieved tomorrow night, unless MacCallum or Chiles contibute to russian’s effort.

          “All of their current juniors can barely break a 50 AA at home”
          FYI Russia had 3 juniors at 54+ and 8 at 50+ at the recent Spartakiades. Probably some ovescoring though … just like in the US, China and actually everywhere
          https://www.gymperium.eu/Competition/2956/?mode=View

          Russia is “lucky” to have Urazova + Listunova just like USA is “lucky” to have Biles and GB is lucky to have the Gadirovas (and France Mélanie, Belgium Nina etc.etc.)

          It’s a fact (so no emotions here) that 1 out of the 10 top Sr US versus 5 out of the 10 top Sr russians are from 2004/2005 (I included Minaeva in whom I strongly believe and Vorona) when here and there we were explained two years ago – after the Junior Worlds – the USA had so much talent and depth to choose from among this generation …. compared to Russia ….
          The whole thing is not how good you are as a junior. It’s how you turn senior and how you stay healthy and focussed. Remember the 2017 Jesolo US dream team ? (luckily Malabuyo made a great come back this year …. otherwise it would have been 0 out of 4 four years later)

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        • No pain or anger here…did you watch Russian junior championships? Because I did. It was not great. I have no horses in this race and cheer for everyone to be at their best, which is why I’m so excited about how Russia looks here. But objectively, the U.S. juniors are stronger than the Russian juniors as a whole. Russia has one junior, Kustova, who I mentioned in my comment, but she is not a 55+ athlete internationally despite what her domestic scores say. I know this from watching her with my eyes. Of course what juniors are doing right now doesn’t matter for the future, but knowing that Russia’s most successful seniors are always the ones who are pushed to do the most as juniors, it’s worrisome that they don’t really have any 2006-2007 gymnasts in the pipeline who will feed in well to the senior national team. This is a fact. The U.S. juniors also aren’t all that strong right now, but pound for pound the U.S. women’s program still has much greater B, C, and D-team depth at both the senior and junior levels than Russia does. I’m hoping Aliya Mustafina will be able to help with that in her new role, but the truth of the matter is that if Russia lost either Melnikova, Listunova, or Urazova right now, they do not have the talent to back them up with a gymnast of the same level (56+ AA), whereas the U.S. has six gymnasts not on the team who traveled to Japan and can all perform as good as, or better than, everyone currently on the U.S. team outside of Simone. It’s great that Russia has some of the best athletes in the world right now and could very well win this team final, but it’s also worrisome that they have no back-up plan and that’s one thing the U.S. always has going for it at every level, even if the program as a whole is a mess right now.

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        • Convenient for you to forget about Diana Kustova, who is basically the reincarnation of Mustafina. I mean just look at her.

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        • I did watch the young russians ! Actually found a group with potential. Not so much yet on more powerfull events but for 2007/2008 that was expected. We probably did not expect the same things from these yougnsters.
          There is absolutely no possible debate about USA B team > Russia B team (then put C, D , … Z) – and I actually MUCH prefer USA’s B team for a lot of reasons – but who cares ? Olympic competition is not about depth. Russian’s MAG depth is WELL behind chinese’s and japanese’s ….
          Gymnastics is sometimes beautiful for its variety of styles and body languages or technics …. same goes with opinions. There is not one truth. Enjoy your day !

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        • It becomes about depth when one gymnast is injured and they can’t replace her. Just look at Russia’s team situation in 2014 and 2015…they lost a couple of athletes to injury and couldn’t beat a weaker China, even with Aliya Mustafina on the team. It’s incredible that everything is working out for them here, but if they had to replace an injured Listunvoa with Gerasimova here, their score would have been a 169.996 in QFs, 1.6 points lower. If the United States had to replace McCallum with Skinner, their team score would RISE a few tenths. That’s why depth is important. Again, Russia’s current top senior group is incredible, but not having backup for when one of those top three women can’t compete is the difference between medal colors/not medaling at all. Romania without Larisa Iordache at the 2016 test event couldn’t qualify for the Olympics because her replacement was points behind. I’m thrilled that the Russians are all healthy and strong here and they looked incredible in qualifications and I’m really hoping they can repeat that tonight, but you have to be prepared for the chance that something could go wrong going into these big competitions. Having alternates who are just as strong as the team makes a big difference!

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        • I would watch the Youth Spartakiade before jumping to that conclusion. There definitely 4-5 juniors who can score 52-54 on a good day. Kustova isn’t even the strongest junior anymore, nor did she win that competition with hit results. Vasileva, Kustova, Kalmykova, Roschina, Us etc all have incredibly strong programs for juniors and have been bringing the upgrades! I think Junior Pan Ams showed that the US juniors are also benefitting from domestic scoring in the same breath and that was a VERY loosely scored competition

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        • I can’t disagree that depth is important in case of a last minute inuries and it’s better to have the choice before trials/selection. I actually had the Romanian example in my mind but didn’t take the time to develop. They never had much depth. Some years – at their prime I mean – I wonder if they even had 8 seniors ….. In 2004 they probably had half or less of the depth of the (talented and deep) USA team … yet they dominated for many years the sport (at least 1994-2004, with the exceptions of 1996 and 2003). They won the 1987 worlds with basically 7 gymnasts all year long. USA has depth ? sure and good for them . But they first need a strategy (that selection process was a mess, I won’t developp further), develop more the collective spirit, improve the judging on home soil so that it makes sense [since when a gymnast has scored a 15 on VT with a DTY ???] … and – as the leading country – (re)consider artistry …. (basically why my heart was for a US team with McCusker or Wong [such a delight] or Eaker or Hurd or Malabuyo or even Jones/DiCelio….. ). And the US medias (NBC first) should stop their arrogant “two US teams would easily be on that olympic podium” and “Biles has no opponents except herself”. A bit of humility is kind of a vertu.
          ETA: wasn’t Akhaimova on the pipeline btw ? (haven’t added their hit routines but I had in mind she was on the same level as USA’s N°3 and 4 …)

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    • She had quite a rough day with only a FTY, a very mediocre to messy bars rotation, and a beam set missing most of her connections. (Judges were actually quit lenient on her IMO). She’s going to do vault and bars in TF, which were actually her comparatively weaker events.

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      • Her E score compared to all of China’s other E scores was SO BAFFLING. I was expecting nothing above a 7.0, so I was shocked to see hers come in so high!

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      • Retrospectively you have to wonder why she was in this team . We all expected gold material from her on BB and China’s top score on FX. A total mess from China no other country can challenge (but GB)

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  5. I would think a good motivator for team USA would be able to not let the Karoyli’s think they need them to win, and that it can be done without their crazy tactics.

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  6. Great Britain and Japan actually have probably the most room for improvement in TF. But they have to hit, so we’ll see. (and to be clear, no I’m not expecting either to sneak a medal, but they should be able to climb up the rankings)

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  7. The situation here after qualifying is much more reminiscent of 2012 than 2016: the number 1 qualifier
    has 3 AA scores in the top 6, while the number 2 qualifier has just 2, and the scores are closer together
    than 2016. And despite her relative weakness on bars, Raisman in 2016 ended up further ahead of
    Andrade than she was behind Biles in the AA final, an indication of how strong she was in the other
    three events. (I sometimes think of Raisman as the Sham to Biles’ Secretariat,
    which I mean with great respect to both gymnasts and both racehorses–a competitor that except for
    having the “bad luck” to compete against a phenomenal GOAT, would be remembered as more of a
    star her/himself.)

    The unexpected wild card here is Chiles. If it was just one night of jitters, the US should be OK.
    Otherwise, who knows? My guess is that Biles will make the corrections she needs to, but it’s
    also true that the US has a lot less room for error than it did before.

    I certainly don’t see signs that the Russians are going to give away points on floor as they did
    in 2012 and 2016, on top of the US not having the huge vault advantage it did in the last two Olympics.

    OTOH, I can see Forster just shrugging off any need to make changes after this year,
    and thinking all the problems will go away when the team size goes back to 5 (the situation would certainly look rosier here if either Carey or Skinner were also on the team heading into 5-3-3).

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  8. I am American , however the behavior of many of our athletes. I say GO TEAM RUSSIA ! You ladies are classy and amazing. I wish you team gold.

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  9. I’m so excited that we will actually have a team competition for gold.
    I feel gutted for Skinner that she missed out in 2019 when Tom went with the highest scoring team and now when she is part of the highest scoring team she gets overlooked. Its Tom’s job to pay attention to what other teams are capable of scoring. It’s also arrogant that he started that a couple of tenths won’t make a difference.
    Thank you Lauren!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • With all of their talk about fairness, this was SO UNFAIR, that they’ve been all about ranking, ranking, ranking, but changed it the one time it didn’t work in their favor. I don’t know what Grace did to make her the darling of the U.S. program who gets to be on every team she wants regardless of how she performs, but Tom seems to be bending over backwards for her with his every decision.

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      • IDK about Grace, but an article on another site (linked at the bottom of this comment) raised the possibility that Forester’s obsession with “fairness” may be due to his own disappointment from 1996, when one of the gymnasts he coached came in sixth but didn’t make the team, and OMG, it suddenly makes so much sense. (It also suggests he should not be the one making those decisions, if he’s going to let a decision that was made before most of these gymnasts were even born hold that much sway over his current decision-making.)

        Just thought I’d post this here in the event that anyone is still reading this thread, the more recent one is getting too heated for my tastes and this comment would likely get lost in the mix anyway.

        Article Link: https://www.vox.com/22596910/simone-biles-withdrawal-olympic-gymnastics-team-finals-results (about halfway down the page; word-searching the page for “Theresa” will also take you to the right spot)

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  10. I agree about the middle ground. Obviously the previous situation wasn’t a good one, but that doesn’t mean they need to swing back too far in the opposite direction. We’ve seen individual coaches who seem, from the outside at least, able to strike that balance between pushing their gymnasts and being supportive, so it clearly is possible; the challenge now is to find a program leader who can do this.

    I do also think the 4-person team contributed to the issue, in the sense that they had to look at everyone for AA potential rather than having a specialist or two who can add tenths on one or two events, but you can’t just assume everything snaps back into place once that’s resolved. (In this case it probably would have been, because either Jade or Mykayla would likely have had the fifth spot and either of them could’ve gotten this team past Russia if they performed like they did here, but if they had used someone like Kayla or Leanne…)

    I still think the team gold is Team USA’s to lose here, just because they have a higher ceiling as far as where they can be if everything goes perfectly, but this proves that it’s not impossible for them to lose it.

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  11. I agree 100%. Idk why Simone thought all of her 1 full point flubs were ‘laughable’, unless she was trying not to let them ‘see her sweat’. She is talked about during 99% of US WAG coverage because she brings an insane amount of points, and thus, results. She too is allowed to be human, but Michael Jordan is considered the goat because he showed up, focused and got the job done. She can’t still be just randomly bouncing off the floor/mats like she’s a springy young ingenue w lots of ‘potential’.

    I’d let Grace go AA, and use Jordan for fx n vault. Speaking of, does anyone know the US TF lineups?

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  12. Good for Russia but I’m willing to bet US still wins gold . Let’s hope mustafina is going to manage their juniors better than the Rods.
    Why is no one talking about Jordan’s mom going to prison the day of the competition. That’s why she is performing the way she is . I feel bad for her

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    • Because it’s not our business, not Jordan’s load to carry and is pretty irrelevant. You and we have no possible way of knowing is that is affecting her or not.

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