You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

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Brooklyn Moors

It’s time for the 338th 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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Was Brooklyn Moors the first elite gymnast to not have a ‘real’ back pass in her floor routine (doing a random layout stepout instead)? Why did no other gymnast use this loophole to fulfill the front salto requirement (like doing a random front aerial, for example)?

Editing my entire response because I thought I remembered a back 2½ in Moors’ Olympic routine but nope, that’s just my brain melting apparently! She did in fact have three front tumbling passes, and then a random back layout stepout that counted as her fourth pass and fulfilled the back tumbling requirement. I know she has competed the back 2½ in the past, and I BELIEVE her goal for a four-pass routine would have been the Podkopayeva, double front, front double full to front layout full, and back 2½ to punch front, but since she was dealing with injuries and limited training time due to the pandemic, I think she and her coach knew the four-pass routine would ultimately hurt her execution/risk a fall, and since her front passes were stronger than the back 2½, I believe that’s why she went with what she did best for her three front passes, and then just threw the random layout stepout to count as the fourth.

She’s not the only gymnast to rely on this strategy in the current code, however, and in the previous code, many gymnasts would rely on the opposite by doing a random side aerial or front aerial in their routines to fulfill the ‘front tumbling’ pass. Now, these random A- or B-valued acro elements that are often included as side passes within the choreography would have to count as a tumbling pass if used to fulfill front or back tumbling, so it’s much more rare than it used to be…but it’s still out there, especially for those who struggle to build up difficulty in their routines if they don’t have the stamina or strength to do four more difficult passes.

During the Olympics I saw some people suggesting that Tom Forster’s reasoning for always picking the top all-arounders was because he coached an athlete who missed out on the Olympics despite being at the top of the field and he felt his athlete was cheated. Do you know if there’s any truth to this or if it’s just speculation?

Forster has never said that his reasoning for choosing a team is because of his own experiences in 1996, but it’s widely speculated that there’s still some bitterness there and that’s why he was so personally offended by Gabby Douglas being named to the team in 2016 despite being outside of the top five ranked athletes at trials.

However, in 2017, before Forster was even named as national team coordinator, a coach of a national team gymnast told me that they would be selecting athletes based on rank order going forward because so many coaches were mad about what they saw as Steve Penny “favoring” Douglas in 2016. They apparently voted on it, and the first time they used ranked selection was at worlds trials in 2017. 

This obviously continued when Forster took over, and I think as he continued to select teams based on all-around ranking, the rumor about him doing this because of 1996 grew stronger, especially with the Olympic selection last year. It makes sense, and I imagine even though it IS speculation he likely believed strongly in this being the “fair” way to do things even though it’s not actually all that fair, especially if some athletes over the years have been judged in a way that is…lenient, to say the least, practically ensuring them spots on teams regardless of how they actually performed. 

I personally think “fair” means giving team spots to athletes who can best contribute to the team whether that’s as an all-arounder or in more of a specialist role. In 2016, there were multiple gymnasts who could have fit onto that team, and whether they went with the straight top five all-arounders or went outside of the all-around to find those who worked best, it was still “fair.” Douglas’ selection to the team was fair, Kocian’s selection was fair, and anyone else who could have worked in one of those five spots also would have been fair. Marta Karolyi had her reasoning for selecting the team she ultimately went with, and her justification was absolutely fair. If anything, it’s unfair to the athletes to be so lazy and afraid of potential conflict that “top-ranked athletes” is the only solution. Is it really “fair” to the team to select athletes who are ranked near the bottom of the top all-arounders, but who won’t realistically contribute anywhere in the team final and won’t be able to earn any individual medals? Individual medals should be part of the equation always, and a team’s success shouldn’t only be tied to the team medal. And add the issue of not judging athletes equitably? That makes it even less fair.

Peaking for the Olympics instead of trials seemed to really work out for Jade Carey. Is there a way to duplicate this for everyone?

The reason it worked out so well for Carey is because she didn’t need to peak for trials, as she already had a spot at the Games. She could show up to trials and use it basically as a practice meet and it wouldn’t have affected her, and the same can also essentially be said for Simone Biles, who was going to the Olympics regardless of how she looked at trials…but pretty much everyone else needed trials as the way to prove themselves, and I think for some of them, it meant going all out at trials and then maybe not being at a hundred percent in Tokyo. 

Jordan Chiles is the best example here as someone who was in the exact opposite position Carey was in. This is an athletes with no major international experience, who only got two small international assignments in 2018, and who going into 2021 wasn’t on anyone’s radar for making the team. But then with her early season performances at the WOGA Classic and Winter Cup, it was like, oh, she is very clearly a legitimate threat for the team…but with so many other options, she still had a lot to prove, and she needed those hit routines at nationals and trials to continue making her case. 

I don’t think going all out at trials is what limited her at the Olympics, as I think without any real international experience, it would be difficult to replicate the nerves she’d feel going into Tokyo…I don’t think her gymnastics declined in Tokyo, but think she was just dealing with a lot of nerves that unfortunately made it difficult for her to focus on being as consistent as she was throughout the entire domestic season, because she truly was THE most consistent U.S. gymnast in the run-up to Tokyo.

In general, I would say that peaking at the Olympics is the goal, and that gymnasts should be at 90-95% at trials but still saving something for the Games…but when you’re trying to make a team, especially one determined solely on all-around rankings, you can’t show up at trials in the way the already-qualified Carey did, with lower difficulty routines and competing only two events on the second day of competition. Had Chiles done that, she would not have made the team, period, within the boundaries of the 2020 selection criteria…but if the criteria wasn’t rankings-based and if the U.S. had a national team coordinator who could see the potential for athletes to do well at the Olympics even if they placed outside the top group, athletes wouldn’t be forced to give everything they had to prove themselves at trials, could be at only 90% but still be recognized as being valuable to the team regardless, and then they wouldn’t be physically and/or mentally fried by the Olympics. 

I think Gabby Douglas is actually a great example of how this works…she would not have made the 2016 team based on the all-around rankings due to her performance at trials, but despite her struggles there and not being at 100%, she WAS at 100% in Rio, coming in as the third-best all-arounder and bars worker in the world in qualifications (as well as being seventh on beam and ninth on floor), she made the bars final, and her contribution on bars in the team final helped give the United States the best bars score in the competition despite not actually having the best bars team. The U.S. now forcing athletes to push to be at their best to make a team definitely has the potential to take away from what they may be able to do at the competition they’re aiming for, and while I do think in some sense think you should have to prove that you’re the best choice for a team, the current “top-ranked” system is not the way to prove that. If anything, it’s limiting.

Can you elaborate on the possible deductions for a Jaeger, Tkachev, shaposh, and shaposh half, assuming they catch and don’t hit the bar? 

For these and basically any releases and transitions on bars, it’s the usual deductions you’d see in most gymnastics skils, like having the correct body position (a straddle, pike, or layout for the releases, or that slightly arched shape a shaposh transition should hit in the air), staying extended throughout the skill (no soft or bent knees, pointed toes, correct hip position for the shape), and no leg separations (obviously unless you’re doing a straddle!), or hesitation before completing an element (on bars, this would be a tenth off for standing in handstand too long before moving on to the next skill). Then you have bars-specific deductions, like amplitude on releases, catching at the correct distance (e.g. not too close but also not so far that the gymnast has to stretch or lean forward to reach the bar), full arm extension in handstands and when catching elements…I think that just about covers everything?

Has Morgan Hurd retired from gymnastics?

No, Hurd is currently a freshman at Florida, though she’s redshirting this year due to a knee injury. I don’t know if she’s planning on returning to elite at any time…at one time a couple of years ago she said she wanted to stay past the 2020 Olympics and try for worlds in 2021, but with the way things worked out with the Olympics being postponed and worlds happening in the same year, obviously it didn’t work out that way just because of timing. But if she IS done with elite, she still has four years of NCAA eligibility coming up!

I’m noticing no one really performed double back flips on floor in the 2008 quad. Is that just a coincidence, or did something change in 2009?

Hmmmm…I’m picturing a lot of double backs? I just went back and watched the floor final to refresh my memory and pretty much everyone did multiple double back saltos. Do you mean double tucks specifically? In the 2008 code, the double tuck was only worth a C while a double pike was worth a D, compared to more recent codes where both are worth a D, so in the 2008 quad many gymnasts could probably easily do both but the double pike was the clear choice just for the value itself. 

Also, in general, the body shape in a double pike makes it a bit easier to land for many gymnasts, especially at the end of a long routine. I think even though the double tuck and double pike are worth the same today, we still see many gymnasts choose the double pike for this reason.

I remember a floor routine I really enjoyed a few years back but can’t figure out who the gymnast was or when it happened. Here’s what I remember…the gymnast was very tiny, she may have had a blonde ponytail, and I assume it was nationals or trials, because it was televised. The music and routine were very upbeat, fun, and super playful. Her dancing/choreography were stronger than her tumbling skills. I don’t think she was ever on an Olympic team, the routine ended with her in a split with her head cupped in her hands, and it was somewhere between 1992 and 2008. Any thoughts?

I have literally no idea but have put out feelers and will let you know what I find! Anyone who may know, please feel free to comment…so far the general consensus is Betty White in an episode of “Golden Girls.” 🙂

Jennie Thompson is also a guess going around…she fits the description perfectly, but I haven’t been able to find a routine that ends in this way. Other suggestions include Lindsay Wing, Katie Teft, Sierra Sapuner, and Karin and Kristi Lichey.

Edit: This is from 1989, so a little out of the time window, but I think it makes the most sense out of anything else mentioned? And you probably wouldn’t have known who Shannon Miller was at the time since it was before she was a huge deal! Thank you to @samrandomnumber on Twitter for the suggestion.

I feel like a lot of NCAA gymnasts lose up to a tenth on the handstand pirouette they do on the low bar after a transition, so it serves like a bulit-in deduction (though I don’t know if it’s taken each time). Couldn’t they kip and stand on the low bar and then jump with a half turn and skip the pirouette, or would that not be allowed?

I think there are a LOT of handstand-related deductions that should be taken in NCAA but aren’t, hahaha, and this is definitely one of them. I’m pretty sure jumping with a half turn to the low bar isn’t allowed to count here, but gymnasts can get away with doing turns within other elements so they don’t have to do a pirouette…for example, a gymnast could do a bail, van Leeuwen, or Bhardwaj and these would all count as fulfilling the turning element requirement. I feel like some gymnasts find pirouettes easier than turning within a flight element, so they’d rather just do the pirouette, and the flight elements come with their own deductions and are a lot riskier, so there are some pros and cons with both. 

What was your favorite gymnastics moment of the 202One quad? It can be a routine or just a moment you really enjoyed.

I had a LOT during the quad but I think the one that really stands out to me is Morgan Hurd winning the worlds all-around title in 2017, because it just wasn’t something that was expected either after nationals, going into worlds after she made the team, or even DURING the final itself! As much as I love Simone Biles, I do think something was missing for me in WAG in the 2016 quad because while it was so exciting watching her absolutely dominate, it also made the all-around like, okay, so Biles is winning this, and it’s not BORING, but it just doesn’t have the same vibe as we got on multiple occasions in the 2012 quad (and of course in pretty much every previous quad, especially before the open-ended scoring system kicked in). This was the first time in five years where it was really like, anything can happen in this final. I loved the nail-biting ending, and as a fan of Hurd’s since she was a level 10, it was also just really gratifying to see her come so far. I’m not a very emotional gymnastics watcher, but I definitely teared up there!

I would say also…Angelina Melnikova’s steady rise throughout the entirety of the quad, from someone who started out really rough and just not believing in herself and always posting sad captions on her Instagram posts to someone who slowly became a leader and who really came into her own as a gymnast to go on and get an all-around medal at the Olympics, lead her team to becoming Olympic champions for the first time post-Soviet Union, and then become world all-around champion?! It was incredible. I was so sad about her start to the quad, especially knowing how strong she was as a junior, and to see her no only overcome that but to just get better and better with age and experience…it was like a dream. She’s a real legend and proof that setbacks don’t have to be an ending.

Basically anything with Russian MAG as well. This quad was a REVIVAL for them, especially thanks to the energy Nikita Nagornyy and Artur Dalaloyan brought in with them. One of the most thrilling – and then devastating – moments in my gymnastics blogging career was the 2018 worlds team final. My heart was RACING at the end there, it was so exciting. I wasn’t in person to see them get the world title in 2019, but I DID thankfully see them make it happen at the Olympics with all of the crying and screaming and general Russian MAG dramatics…I was always a casual MAG fan but these guys truly pulled me in and made me look forward to covering MAG. 

Oh, and of course, Rebeca Andrade making history for Brazil multiple times in 2021 between the Olympics and worlds. Elisabeth Seitz and Becky Downie finally getting bars medals at worlds after trying for a decade. Nina Derwael putting Belgium on the map for the sport and Carlos Yulo doing the same for the Philippines. So many other things…in one way it was such a terrible quad between the post-Nassar fallout, so many allegations of abuse and coming to terms with just how much nearly EVERYONE suffers while trying to make their dreams come true, and then the pandemic on top of all of that, but there were tons of little things throughout that reminded me why I loved the sport so much.

Are Maile O’Keefe and Grace McCallum related?

Not that I know of?! I don’t think they have any connection aside from having done elite and both now going to Utah.

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

29 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

      • I actually LOVE Pauline on FX… really enjoyed the Olympic routine! I’m bad at figuring out D scores… can someone help me out? Also, isn’t a combination pass required? Does that 3rd pass somehow count as a combo? Can’t be, right?


        • Yes it counts as a combo – two acrobatic elements with a flight phase in combination. And as she dos a flic + a layout – thats two elements.
          I think I read somewhere that she had some kind of mental block with backwards element.


  1. Hi!
    Two corrections here:

    Brooklyn Moors didn’t do a back 2 1/2 in Tokyo. She did four tumbling lines though.
    1: Podkopayeva to stag (left out stag in TQ)
    2: front 2/1 to front 1/1
    3: roundoff back layout step out
    4: Rudi immediate split leap.

    The RO back layout step out fulfilled the back requirement and was also considered a tumbling pass (max 4)

    Also, the front requirement rule you mentioned is incorrect.
    A gymnast can still use a front somi, side somi, or solo front salto to fulfill the front requirement.
    However, if a gymnast chooses to do so, they must count that as a tumbling line (out of 4 max)
    No gymnast is going to waste a tumbling line on an A element and will include include in tumbling line (ie Carey and Biles et al).

    Moors only was going to do 3 passes, so she used the 4th to fulfill the back requirement.

    Another example of a gymnast that does something similar is Dorina Boczoego who does a RO, back full as a 3rd pass to fulfill the back requirement.


    • Thanks! I was definitely picturing her doing a back 2.5 but just went back and watched. What was she doing for back tumbling when she had a four-pass routine? Was there a back 2.5 in there?


      • Oh, I just remembered Brooklyn doing the front double full AND the back 2½ in one of her routines and I THINK if I remember correctly from talking to her coach, the goal was to do BOTH of these in addition to the Podkopayeva and the double front…but that just never worked out because of her injuries and the inability to train for so long during the pandemic. So I guess that fully makes sense to focus on partially downgraded front tumbling and then just the random layout stepout to count as her fourth pass!


        • Yup! Moors used to do 2/1 front into 1/1 front as a 2nd pass and then dismounted with a 2 1/2 punch tuck.
          (In 2018 she did front LO, double front, Podkopayeva, 2 1/2 punch tuck)
          However, she often had landing errors on the punch tuck so I bet it was one of these things:

          1. She was a year older in 2021 and her body couldn’t take as much pounding as it had in the past, especially her ankles.

          2. The bonus tenths for D score for that pass were not a worthy reward given all the built in deductions taken as part of the E score, so they removed the pass completely.

          3. As you mentioned, perhaps a lack of training time for that pass given Covid.

          I think it was a combination of 1 and 2 to be honest.


  2. I remember a floor routine I really enjoyed a few years back but can’t figure out who the gymnast was or when it happened. Here’s what I remember…the gymnast was very tiny, she may have had a blonde ponytail, and I assume it was nationals or trials, because it was televised. The music and routine were very upbeat, fun, and super playful. Her dancing/choreography were stronger than her tumbling skills. I don’t think she was ever on an Olympic team, the routine ended with her in a split with her head cupped in her hands, and it was somewhere between 1992 and 2008. Any thoughts?

    What about Morgan White ?!? 😉


  3. A quick question on trials and domestic scoring favouring certain athletes – this reference feels really pointed, but I cannot for the life of me decipher who this could be about because, like with most domestic scores, US domestic scores are so dubious – is there a specific person who’s historically been overscored domestically (or anyone was underscored domestically in the US at trials)?

    Suni’s beam springs to mind as the most wildly inflated to me (I love Suni’s beam but her trials scores were 0.5 above her absolute best at the games) but she did a phenomenal job in the AA and TF, and was always going to be one of the strongest contenders for the team anyway, so I can’t imagine anyone being particularly upset about bias with her scores.


    • I wasn’t really thinking of a specific person but beam in general is like…looking at basically ALL of them, it was pretty clear no one would score similarly at the Olympics. Like Lee was going to make the team for bars and for being the top all-arounder outside of Biles, but McCallum, Chiles, and Skinner needed to fight for spots in a tough field, and their beam scores at home were WILDLY off course for what international judging is. They all went 14.1+ at home between nationals and trials, but there were gymnasts at U.S. meets who did just as good or stronger work on this apparatus who weren’t scored as wildly, so it just looked a little like, okay, these are clearly the top choices for team spots, and for good reason, but if you’re going to give them wild scores, just do it for everyone then?! Like there shouldn’t be two separate judging systems for those who are likely to make the team and those who aren’t in the picture as much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And going off of that, I feel like giving them these ridiculous scores at home just hurts the team internationally because like, yeah, it didn’t matter as much when the U.S. could come in a solid 5+ points ahead of everyone else, but they should have known Russia had a strong team (it’s still laughable that Tom Forster had no clue), and they should have been more realistic. Since they use a “program” to put the teams together, they’re using scores that are so fake and gives them these heightened expectations, and then when they ALL go and score at least half a point lower than they assumed, that takes two full points off the team score which is huge in a sport where team competitions can be won by tenths, hundredths, and thousandths. I feel like every team has wild domestic scoring so I’m usually not THAT up in arms about it, but I also feel like Ukraine knows their gymnasts aren’t going to get a 15+ on beam with a 9.0+ E score at the Olympics, hahaha…the U.S. staff seems to truly believe in the scores their athletes get at home, and they make wild comments like “we’re going to win by a ton so it doesn’t matter who goes” and then coaches complain about their athletes being low-balled internationally and “targeted” by the FIG, like??? Watch ONE SINGLE international meet and you’ll see that your domestic E scores just aren’t going to happen!


  4. I think the other pieces that point to Tom Forster’s rank order bias due to 1996 were that
    1) If Tom has the opportunity to blame someone else for his decision making, he will. He’s had numerous opportunities to blame rank order selection on the coaches but he’s really doubled down on it, even in that podcast interview
    2) His wife’s highly professional /s 🙄 social media posts

    Liked by 2 people

    • My goodness, Lori Forster really boggles my mind… how on earth did she think her posts over the past many years were anything to be celebrated as appropriate?!


      • They got taken down from Facebook but there’s a screenshot of one of them on Reddit. The first post was a letter to her and Tom’s 1996 selves that tossed in how much it sucked that their gymnasts didn’t go to the Olympics because of the rules at the time and that two gymnasts who didn’t compete at trials would make it. The second called people criticizing her husband mentally ill and claimed that there was nothing more fair than rank order


    • Since my knowledge of the rank order came directly from a coach of a national team athlete back in 2017 I know for a fact it definitely wasn’t a Tom decision, BUT I have no doubt that he supports it based on literally all of his comments since then, especially last summer. Many other coaches supported it too, and that’s where it came from, a vote, because they felt it was “more fair” than “arbitrarily” choosing athletes (as if smart decisions that make the most sense for the team are “arbitrary” lol). But I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Tom, who at the time was an apparatus coach for the national team, was one of the louder voices back when this decision was originally made, even if he wasn’t NTC at the time. Because he strongly believes in it, of course he defended the decision to keep it in play after taking on the NTC role and I doubt he’d blame coaches…

      But still, just think it’s important to say that while this became known as being the way Tom chose to do things, it WAS already a thing before he took over, and I would say most, if not all, of the coaches of national team gymnasts were on the side of “rank order for transparency” over picking and choosing based on strengths/weaknesses/team needs. I know directly from both coaches of gymnasts on the 2016 team and those who didn’t make it that the decision to bring Gabby Douglas was not a popular one, and most people blame Steve Penny’s meddling and to this day think there was something shady going on. I’m sure Tom also believed it, maybe even more so due to his experience with his athlete not getting in back in 1996. I won’t get into that, because even if it WAS true, it’s unfair to Gabby who earned her spot pretty legitimately and WAS fairly selected regardless of what people want to believe. But maaaaaany coaches bought into that conspiracy and because of that, they demanded rank order for “fairness and transparency” even if it’s not actually all that fair or transparent.

      So tl;dr the decision for ranked selection was a direct result of how 2016 played out, but for Tom I think his strong support of it comes from his own experience as a coach of an athlete who wasn’t selected.


  5. I’m the one who submitted the Forester question. I thought I had read (probably here, actually) that the top-ranked athletes thing was an institutional decision because of concerns over favoritism, but then people started saying it was something Forester personally favored and I started wondering if the media was just jumping to conclusions or if there might be something to that. (Not that the two are necessarily unrelated; Forester’s personal enthusiasm for a system the higher-ups wanted to implement could have been a point in his favor in the hiring process.)

    The one that was really weird for me this year was picking MyKayla Skinner for the individual spot. This is nothing against MyKayla as a person or an athlete, but when you’re talking about a spot for an athlete who by definition can’t contribute to the team, why then give the spot to a gymnast whose only realistic medal potential was on vault when you already had two people going who were potential medalists on vault, knowing that they couldn’t all three compete in the final? Obviously it worked out in the end, but knowing what they knew at the time, it would have seemed to make more sense to give the individual spot to a gymnast with medal potential beyond what the other five brought to the table, rather than one whose medal potential was essentially redundant.


    • Yeah, that spot should have been Riley’s but when she fell at trials I feel like Forester just refused to put her on the team with the whole “top ranking gymnasts will go because it won’t come down to tenths” or whatever. At the time my mind was blown that they would send MyKayla simply because floor and especially vault were covered (with the assumption Simone would perform as she had the entire quad). He really made some poor decisions but I stand with everyone else who thinks Russia would have won regardless. They had a strong team and as so often is the decider in gymnastics – they had a really good day. Makes me think of Nastia v Shawn when everyone was all SHAWN WILL WIN AS SHE IS PEAKING AT THE EXACT RIGHT TIME and Nastia had the meet of her life and here we are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • More to the point, they gave Skinner the INDIVIDUAL spot. I actually could have understood putting her on the team (even believing Simone would compete) to give them more scoring potential on vault, but bringing her in as an individual with Simone and Jade already strong medal contenders on vault made no sense, as it was always clear that was going to result in a potential medal contender getting two-per-countried while doing nothing to help the team.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I definitely was told by a coach right after the worlds team was selected in 2017 that Valeri went with the straight ranked order based on camp results (for those going for AA spots, not specialists) and that this was due to a coach vote after everyone was pissed about 2016. I absolutely think Tom was one of those pushing for it, though, and even though it wasn’t like “hey I’m taking over as NTC and I was screwed in 1996 so here’s the new rule!” I’m sure he still supported it very enthusiastically even before he took over as NTC.

      I also agree that Skinner for the individual spot with Jade Carey and Simone Biles already on the team didn’t make any sense. It’s great that it worked out and that all three ended up walking away with something, but when the four members of the team walked out into the arena and Skinner wasn’t one of them I was like yeah, she’s not going then…and then when she walked out right after I was like WHAT lol. It’s funny because had this spot existed in 2016, she would have made PERFECT sense for it since Gabby Douglas made more sense for the team…but last quad she made more sense for the team than individual, hahaha. By selecting her along with Carey and Biles, knowing full well they would be the likely qualifiers for vault and floor, they were literally throwing away a potential individual medal, so again, as great as it was that it ended up working out for her in the strangest of circumstances that no one could have predicted, it was a straight-up dumb decision in the moment and they should have taken potential for individual medals into consideration, not rankings. But I was equally as mad about Konnor McClain not being selected to the junior worlds team in 2019 and several other nonsense decisions based on rankings this quad…it’s a nonsense system.


  6. First time comment ever, but I will do it and with something very unpopular and probably have people mobbing on me. Also, just a casual gymnastics fan with no extensive knowledge of whatever in the sport. But I’ve always thought, even before, during, and after trials, that Chiles should not have made the team. Sorry. Nothing against her personally. But I always thought that even if she did great at meets at the last moments, the fact that she did not have any significant international exposure was going to hurt her. Nerves could affect people in very dramatic ways and I kind of saw that happening to Chiles. So when her Tokyo happened, I wasn’t surprised. They should have taken those who were doing well AND with apt international experience. With the four-person team, I thought Simone, Sunisa, Grace, and MyKayla should have been it. And indeed, all of them were in the Top 13 in Tokyo AA. Chiles, on the other hand, was way off, not because of any decline in her gymnastics but because of nerves. And maybe, Chiles could have been given the Worlds assignment a little later.


    • I had mixed feelings about Chiles…having watched her comeback from the WOGA Classic early in the year, I was like ok she’s legit and I think she can be a realistic option to cover vault/floor, because at this time Skinner was getting over COVID and an injury and I honestly didn’t have that much faith about her getting back to her highest difficulty. And then as Chiles continued to kill it at every meet, she proved by the second night of trials that she was THE most consistent gymnast in the U.S. It was basically impossible to turn her down.

      BUT…I feared that no international experience would hurt her, AND I knew there was no way her beam and floor would score similarly to the scores she was getting at home. Granted, neither would Skinner’s, but I trusted Skinner more, and if I was the national team coordinator looking not just at AA rankings the way Tom Forster did but at the entire picture, Skinner would have been on my team over Chiles.

      When the team was named, I wasn’t like “IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SKINNER!” and I also felt like Chiles absolutely earned her spot by one-upping her own performances meet after meet from the WOGA Classic all the way through to trials. I expected Chiles would make the team and felt she was a great fit…and I think 80% of my “yeah, Skinner should have been on the team over her” is from the benefit of hindsight, but I will say the experience/pressure aspect had me questioning how Chiles would do in her first big international competition, and it’s what worried me most about the team going into Tokyo.


      • Very true, I may say. When I posted a comment on a Youtube video after Day 1 of trials when many were torn about whether Grace or MyKayla should make the team, and I said both just might probably go especially because at that time, the info circling around was that only the top 2 AA were assured of the team spot, not the third on, someone (or more people) said Chiles was definitely going because she was quite consistent by that point. So yes, I was not totally surprised when she was chosen and she did strive to get that spot. But like you said, if there were more thought processes put into the decision-making and not just the highest AAers in order, Chiles might not have been an automatic team member. And for sure, picking Skinner over Chiles would have caused another furor anyway. But as most people say, any decision would have caused an issue anyway, with no one decision satisfying everyone. But what everyone wanted was a more rigorous decision-making and proper justification of the choices instead of just going for the AA ranking and being rather blasé about it, saying team composition wouldn’t matter because US would win regardless.

        And yes, everything makes much more sense now in hindsight. That’s our luxury and how things went. If Skinner went and not Chiles and given what happened to Simone, people would be down on Skinner and would say they wish Chiles went instead of her. And because Chiles went, we now know how nerves got her on her first international meet. If she didn’t, people would most likely be saying that things could have been different if she were on the team, e.g., that the US could still have won without Biles. And such a claim could neither be disproven or affirmed, leaving people wondering on another “what if” for years and years to come. Luxury of hindsight.

        On the other hand, I don’t know, but I kind of got the feeling something was going to happen to Biles. Not being grim about it or whatever, but I got that feeling soon after Russia’s coordinator’s statement about the US losing if Simone were not part of the team. It only heightened when I watched this video on YouTube that basically called the coordinator “funny” or “ridiculous” for saying that because Biles is on the team and that Russia will in no way win because even with a B team the US will still dominate. I don’t know, I just had that feeling all that time, even after the announcement after Trials, also when Kara got the virus, etc.


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