In the News
Dalaloyan drama. Gonna start this thing out with something that I found hilarious, which was Artur Dalaloyan making a whole ass Instagram post that sounded a lot like he was retiring, only to later delete the post and tell the Russian media that his words were “misinterpreted” and that he just wanted to take a couple of weeks off to see his kids, but was frustrated being stuck at Round Lake due to lockdown requirements. It truly sucks that he hasn’t been able to get home but he could not have gone about it more dramatically and I love him for it. Please enjoy this entire thread to see how this unfolded, and if you’re still worried that he’s done, don’t be – he’s literally competing this weekend at Serie A.
Flo no mo. Despite signing a five-year contract for exclusive streaming rights, USA Gymnastics and FloSports have decided to mutually part ways just a year into their relationship. FloSports streamed essentially everything NBC or Peacock didn’t, so this leaves a pretty large gap in coverage for many events, especially those that feature the men and junior women, including for the upcoming Winter Cup, though USA Gymnastics said they’ll have streaming info for this meet shortly.
Peggy Liddick sanctioned (TW: abuse). Peggy Liddick, who ran the WAG program in Australia from 1997 to 2016, was officially sanctioned after a number of her former national team gymnasts came forward about abuse. The sanctions are directly related to her treatment of two-time Olympian Georgia Bonora, who officially reported Liddick to the Australian Human Rights Commission for misconduct, bullying and abuse that occurred between 2006 and 2012. Liddick, who was coaching individual gymnasts through 2020, was given a four-month ban and made to apologize to Bonora.
Thierry Pellerin pleading guilty (TW: sexual abuse). 2017 Canadian worlds team member Thierry Pellerin has announced he would plead guilty to a number of sexual offenses involving minors while he was working as a coach. Pellerin was charged with using a computer to lure a minor for sexual contact, production of child sexual abuse materials, and transmitting sexually explicit material to a minor. The two complainants in the matter were both between age 10-12.
You Are the Miracle. Okay, now let’s end this on a good note. Olympians and other national team gymnasts from China took some time out of training to sing a song welcoming athletes to the Winter Olympics in Beijing, and it’s the purest magic in the world. The song isn’t…GREAT, but the gymnasts do a beautiful job, especially having to sing it in English. Who else is ready for Guan Chenchen and Lin Chaopan to multitask gymnastics with being international pop stars?
Three juniors qualify elite. U.S. elite qualifiers were held in Washington and Ohio over the past couple of weeks, and a total of three juniors have earned their optionals scores and will be eligible to compete at the Winter Cup, American Classic, and U.S. Classic, including Simone Rose and Myli Lew at the All American Invitational and Michelle Pineda at the Buckeye Classic. Four gymnasts also qualified to the Hopes 11-12 division at these meets, but overall, scoring has been super tight this year, and most who have attempted qualifying have been unsuccessful. Check out our complete list of qualified elites to see everyone who has made it so far. [All American Results] [Buckeye Results]
World cup rosters. The FIG has released the nominative rosters for the Cottbus world cup, to be held beginning February 24, and the Doha world cup, which begins March 2. Not only are these the first two international FIG meets of the 2024 quad, but both of these will serve as qualifiers for specialists hoping to earn spots at this year’s world championships. I love that the FIG saw how complicated the 2020 Olympic qualifying process was and was like “let’s do this every single year.”
Coming up. The fourth U.S. elite qualifier is happening this weekend at GAGE’s Dragon Invitational, Italy is hosting its first Serie A league meet of the season on Saturday where Giorgia Villa will make her return after missing the Olympic Games due to an injury, and in Texas, we’ll see both the WOGA Classic and the Liukin Invitational, which aren’t as international as they used to be thanks to COVID, but we should see a good number of U.S.-based elites participating.
WGYM rankings. Between weeks four and five, Denver and Cal dropped out of the top 10 to make room for the SEC’s Missouri and Kentucky, both of which had statement-making weeks, including Missouri breaking its program record with a 197.650. Michigan continues to be untouchable, as do the rest of the teams in the top four.
1. Michigan 198.035
2. Oklahoma 197.640
3. Utah 197.540
4. Florida 197.535
5. LSU 197.258 (+3)
6. Minnesota 197.225 (-1)
7. Auburn 197.185 (-1)
8. Alabama 197.090 (+1)
9. Missouri 196.994 (+2)
10. Kentucky (+2)
Perfect Olympians. All four U.S. gymnasts who competed at the 2020 Olympic Games and are currently on NCAA teams earned Perfect 10s last weekend, including Jordan Chiles on floor, and Grace McCallum, Suni Lee, and Jade Carey all on bars. Lee also shattered Auburn’s all-around record with a 39.825, and she and Carey currently share the top all-around ranking in the country with 39.763 averages.
Perfect Michiganders. Not only did Michigan put up four perfect 10s last week, but three happened in a row on vault! Reyna Guggino, Natalie Wojcik, and Abby Heiskell all came up with no deductions to help the team to a 198.525, the highest team score of the season among any team thus far. The fourth and final 10 was from Gabby Wilson on floor.
More Achilles tears. In the fourth week of competition, we unfortunately had to see two Achilles injuries. Rachael Lukacs of Georgia tore hers on floor as the team hosted LSU, forcing the senior into medical retirement, while Lynnzee Brown of Denver started off her meet at Oklahoma with a near-perfect 9.975 on vault, but then unfortunately, floor got her as well. Brown didn’t say anything about retiring, but as a grad student in her fifth year of competition, it’s likely we won’t see her back.
We love a comeback story. After putting together a grassroots campaign to earn enough funds to keep the gymnastics program up and running for a temporary reinstatement in the 2021 season – a season that was canceled due to COVID – Alaska is getting closer to being fully reinstated if it can raise another $100-150K of its $880K goal by June of this year. The Seawolves – made up of 11 freshmen, one sophomore, one junior, and one senior – will also be hosting its first home meet in nearly two years this weekend when they host Centenary.
So good she passed out. It was absolutely terrifying to see Utah’s Cammy Hall pass out whilst celebrating her vault a few weeks ago. Hall was checked by doctors as a precaution after the incident, and thankfully, everything’s fine, but doctors told her to keep her celebrations a bit more chill and remember that breathing is just as important as sticking in the future.
MGYM rankings. Stanford continues to hold strong in its position ahead of Oklahoma, expanding its lead to five points after first taking down the Sooners at the Stanford Open in week four, and then getting a huge win at a quad meet last week. But even more exciting was Nebraska creeping up to sit just about two points behind OU after the Sooners took last weekend off. OU is back this weekend, and the team will be working hard to put up a big number in Illinois.
1. Stanford 409.967
2. Oklahoma 404.883
3. Nebraska 403.683
4. Michigan 397.883
5. Illinois 394.650 (+1)
6. Ohio State 393.783 (-1)
7. Navy 390.788
8. Penn State 389.190 (+1)
9. California 387.350 (-1)
10. Army 377.813
Silly Sam. If you missed the Stanford Open in week four, super commentator Sam Mikulak shares his highlights from the meet in an entertaining recap that made me laugh. It seems like sharing gymnastics with the masses could be a great potential career for Mikulak, who will be on hand at the Winter Cup as an in-arena host along with fellow 2020 Olympian MyKayla Skinner.
Shilese Jones. She didn’t make it to Florida this year, but it seems like Shilese Jones still has her sights set on elite, and recently shared a video of her training a double front half bars dismount, which looks phenomenal already!
Cintia Rodriguez. After suffering a knee injury with just a short time to go before she surely would have been a lock for Spain’s Olympic team last year, Cintia Rodriguez is on her way back, jumping on bars last week to get her swing on. 2024 please?!
Anna Leigh. Randi alert! West Virginia freshman Anna Leigh competed a front 2½ on floor, something pretty rare in WAG elite, let alone in college gym!
Ella Chemotti. We loved this beam set from Eastern Michigan freshman Ella Chemotti, who earned a 9.95 to tie for the school record on this event!
Hallie Copperwheat. Pittsburgh freshman and former British junior elite standout Hallie Copperwheat stunned with a gorgeous double spin on beam at a quad meet the team hosted last week.
Sandra Elsadek. So the gymnast in the routine is Ball State sophomore Victoria Henry, but the shoutout here goes to her junior teammate Sandra Elsadek for her Academy Award winning sideline choreo. I laughed, I cried.
Article by Lauren Hopkins