You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

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Australia

It’s time for the 339th 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.

What do you think of the chance of Australia qualifying a team to the 2024 Olympics since they were one spot off from qualifying to the 2016 and 2020 Olympics?

I think it’s really possible. Their team score at the Oceania Championships was right up there with many of the top European and Asian teams, so if they compete like that at worlds in 2023, I think they should have a very strong chance at reaching the top 12. That said, their score dropped considerably at the Commonwealth Games, low enough that they wouldn’t be in a position to qualify assuming all other teams are top strength. So like any other bubble team trying to get in, if they hit, it’s possible, and if they aren’t at full-strength, they probably won’t. 

The other thing to consider is that they have a super strong team when you consider the depth at the top of the program, but if they lose one or two of those athletes to injuries, that will also likely take them out of the running because they don’t have enough overall depth to replace them with equally strong atheltes. But they have a gymnast, Ruby Pass, who once she becomes a senior next year will likely be leading the program along with Georgia Godwin, so it seems like things are building nicely for them and I really hope we can see them all healthy and ready to challenge.

Has any junior athlete gotten a skill named after them? I know Komova did at YOG but was wondering if anyone else has.

I think until recently, juniors could only get skills named at the Youth Olympic Games, but I’m pretty sure that changed in 2018 when the FIG opened it up to all FIG-sponsored competitions, which for junior athletes would be the junior world championships or continental meets.

In addition to Komova at the Youth Olympic Games, an athlete from El Salvador, Gabriela Domingues, got a back tuck with one and a half twists dismount named for her on beam. Since then, I believe the only skill named for a junior was Iulia Berar’s double scorpion turn (where the leg is held at 180 in the back) from the 2018 EYOF qualifying meet…I can’t think of any that were named at junior worlds in 2019 but I could be wrong!

Can you explain Chelsie Memmel’s uneven bars dismount? I actually don’t know what the skills are other than the double front dismount. What would the connection value be in the current CoP? 

Chellsie just did a double front, as far back as I can remember, anyway! Sometimes she would connect out of it…in 2008 she would do a jam to handstand into the dismount instead of just a front giant. A jam to handstand – commonly referred to as a Tak (for Takamoto) or Adler in MAG, and known as the Luo in WAG – is a stoop element, meaning the legs stoop through as the gymnast swings around the bar with a forward swing, and then opens up in handstand once the gymnast completes the circle. In WAG, a jam is worth an E, so connecting it to a double front dismount (worth a D) would bring a tenth in CV under the current code. 

A YouTuber said the current CoP that for flight skills with half turns like the Li Ya the gymnast has to do the half turn mid-air and can’t just catch the skill in mixed grip to generate the 180 degree rotation. Is this true and if so what’s the penalty for doing the half turn while gripping the bar?

This is correct, and is a change that came after last quad when so many were caught basically facing the bar, just with the hand positioning with one hand over the other instead of the normal way, and then they do the turn after catching. Now you have to complete the turn while in flight and actually catch in a legit mixed grip to get credit for the skill. I believe if the gymnast catches incorrectly, they will just be credited for the skill without the turn, so if they’re competing a straddle Tkachev with a half turn to mixed grip, they’ll only get credit for the straddle Tkachev…it’s not a HUGE deal, unless they have a straddle Tkachev without the half turn elsewhere in the routine, in which case it would be a repeated element and they’d lose all credit. But I feel like most are smart enough to not include both, so if they have another Tkachev element with no turn, it’ll have a different entry.

Who are the Brixia Four? Are they all from the same gym was it all a coincidence how did it work out?

The Brixia Four are the junior gymnasts who came up together and often competed together as one of the top junior teams in the world in 2017 and 2018, including Giorgia Villa, Asia D’Amato, Alice D’Amato, and Elisa Iorio. I believe Villa had been at the gym since she was about six years old, and the twins moved there a bit later but they were competing with Brixia as early as 12 so the move was still pretty early for them as well.

Iorio actually trained at Panaro Modena in her hometown through 2016, but was recognized for her talent on bars, and she moved to Brixia in 2017 to get to the next level (this happens often…it’s kind of unofficially the “national team gym” with nearly every talented junior ending up there at some point in their career, since Brixia’s coach, Enrico Casella, is also the national team coach). Iorio, Villa, and the twins made their international debut together at Gymnix in March of that year, and barring injury, they competed on every Italian junior team together as well as on many senior teams together, all winning bronze at world championships in 2019. 

I really thought when I first saw them in 2017 that the four would go to the Olympics together, but Iorio unfortunately had several injuries that held her back as it got closer to 2020-2021, limiting her to just bars and beam, and then Villa was injured after being named to the Olympic team in 2021, forcing her to withdraw. But they were such a fabulous team and all four worked so well together, and it was kind of magical to watch them grow together over the years, along with others – especially Vanessa Ferrari, Martina Maggio, Lara Mori, Desiree Carofiglio, and now Angela Andreoli – who work really well with them.

What is considered a good score in the new quad? Is it still 56-58 AA, or have scores gone down with the new quad?

Under the current code, a 56-57 internationally is achievable for the very best gymnasts, with a 58 maybe slightly out of reach, but I could see a couple get close if they’re at their best (I’m looking at you, Rebeca Andrade). I would say a 54-55 is still considered really strong, though, while a 51-53 is around what we’ll see for gymnasts hoping to qualify on the lower end into a world championships all-around final.

What’s the deal with the aerial round-off on beam? Based on the name, I would expect it to basically be a side aerial to two feet, and that IS what an aerial round-off is on floor, but the skill on beam that’s technically classified as an “aerial round-off” is basically just a front flip half, isn’t it? The chart even describes the skill as “take off from two feet” which is…not a round off?

I’m pretty sure there is a differentiation between an aerial roundoff and a barani (front flip with a half twist) in the code of points, with the aerial roundoff having a typical takeoff with one foot in front of the other, which is worth an E, while any front half salto with a two-foot takeoff is worth an F. 

I just read on Texas Dreams page that they have an on-site school. Is this something many gyms have? Do you know how it works or what the quality is? I’d love to know what the life is for a gymnast who goes to school on the gym.

A few have them, but most aren’t actual schools with one dedicated teacher coming up with complete curriculums. Most are just places for athletes to be able to get their schoolwork done using whatever curriculum their family has decided on for them. I think of them as basically communal schoolrooms with a tutor or two there to help out as-needed. Having the tutors there is probably better than the kids learning just from under their parents, assuming the tutors are accredited in some way, so I’d say their quality of education probably comes from the program each kid is using (e.g. a college prep-oriented STEAM program is likely going to be a bit stronger than something like Switched-On Schoolhouse, which is what the Duggars used lol) as well as the quality of the tutors as well as the support the kids are getting from home.

For the 2012 Olympic team, Kyla Ross got the bars/beam spot as an all-arounder with a strength in those areas, but some of the other gymnasts being considered for the spot (particularly Nastia Liukin) didn’t have all-around programs. If a true specialist had been on the team instead of Kyla, what would have happened when McKayla couldn’t do floor? Would they have had no choice but to replace her?

I think had Nastia made the team, they either would have forced McKayla to do floor on an injury (which I feel like would have been the case, given that Jordyn Wieber was essentially competing super broken and given that the culture basically existed in a way where gymnasts never really spoke out about the true severity of their injuries because they didn’t WANT to be replaced). The only other alternative would have been replacing McKayla entirely, likely with Elizabeth Price to fill in for those vault and floor scores.

Is Brooklyn Moors retired? I didn’t see her at Canadian Championships!

Yes, Brooklyn retired from elite after the Olympic Games so she could focus on her NCAA career. She’s currently in her sophomore season at UCLA.

Now that she’s officially announced her plans, what do you think the chances are for Oksana Chusovitina to qualify to Paris? What’s her best qualification route?

Given that she’s pretty much entirely stopped working on any event but vault, I think she’s going to focus on qualifying through vault at the apparatus world cups. She was the top qualifier to worlds on vault this year (even though she ultimately turned down the spot), and I think with countries that qualify full teams not able to go for extra individual spots anymore, it’ll be a bit easier than it was last quad. She won’t be contending with the best vaulters from countries like the United States, only against smaller-program gymnasts, which gives her a pretty good chance of getting in that way. Maybe she’ll try the all-around at worlds next year just in case, but I think vault will be her way in.

Do you think the apparatus world cup qualifications for the next Olympics will be more interesting since top countries won’t be able to qualify extra spots through them this time?

I love that this question came right after what I just answered and where I kind of already talked about this, but yes! The fields will be limited only to gymnasts whose countries did not qualify full teams, and who haven’t previously qualified as all-arounders, and since most of the top apparatus gymnasts are also top all-arounders or gymnasts from top 12 teams, it means the apparatus qualifiers will likely be “true specialists” who wouldn’t have been able to qualify otherwise.

What are the length rules for beam and floor routines in NCAA? Is it the same as elite?

Yes, both are the same as elite, which is 1 minute and 30 seconds with a 10 second warning. For beam, this is the same at levels 8-10, while it’s also the same for levels 7-10 on floor, so gymnasts are super used to that timing whether they go the NCAA route, the elite route, or both. I think beam usually comes up short of that limit at times, though, as there are a lot of very efficient routines where gymnasts wrap up every requirement in much shorter length of time than they are able to do in elite.

If a gymnast does a skill that isn’t in the code and that they didn’t submit (like when Brooklyn Moors did an accidental triple turn), how does it get credited in the D score?

I believe the D panel has to evaluate in the moment in order to give it an appropriate value, but it of course wouldn’t be named for the athlete if they didn’t previously submit it. 

How do the coaching safety rules in the US (like about communication or traveling in a car) work for gymnasts who are coached by family members? Is there just an understood exception because that person is also the gymnast’s parent or sibling or whatever?

Interesting question…I believe if a coach is related to the athlete, there wouldn’t be any issue with that family member being alone with a minor? Maybe immediate family would be considered different from extended family, but I doubt they would tell a parent they need to get a third-party guardian in the mix when flying to a competition. Besides, these things are difficult to enforce anyway. Even in cases where a coach is not related, it’s unfortunately not uncommon to see these safety rules not always taken super seriously…lots of coaches are still texting their athletes regularly, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many are also breaking the “don’t be alone with a minor” rules, especially in instances where coaches are helping parents with things like driving kids to and from practices.

Why do we see gymnasts do routines where they have a skill that could get cancelled out if an earlier skill is downgraded (like Kara Eaker using a switch ring and switch leap in the same routine)? Isn’t that super risky?

I truly do not know, other than to say that most risk comes with a reward and gymnasts want that reward. Having multiple high-level leaps in the same routine is great for building difficulty scores, but of course risk can also come with a cost, and if you’re not doing something perfectly, it can end up hurting you. Kara’s routine at worlds was the most notable of instances like these, but it happens all the time where risky skills or construction ultimately ends up hurting in the end.

What rating do you think a double full to pike back like that Alexis Brion video you posted would be? It seems like it would be harder than a Silvas but easier than a Moors but there’s no way to put it in between.

I assume it would be rated the same as a Silivas, since the difficulty between a tuck and a pike is a lot less than the difficulty between a pike and a layout. Yes, the first flip is technically a layout, but most piked full-ins are competed with a layout-in pike-out, because twisting in a pike shape isn’t really a thing. Since both a tucked and “piked” full-in are both rated an E, I feel like a Silivas and a “Brion” would also be rated the same, but if there WAS room between a Silivas and Moors, I’d put the “Brion” between them.

You’ve talked before about how gymnasts upgrading from the FTY will often go straight to the DTY because the blind landing on the 1.5 makes it not worth it as an intermediate skill. Do you think we could ever see something similar with a gymnast skipping straight from a DTY to a triple due to the blind landing on the Amanar, or is the Amanar such a “staple” that any gymnast at that level would feel like they had to at least give it a shot before upgrading?

I think if someone had the power to get a triple around, then we might see them go right from a double to the triple…but I think the Amanar has been the standard upgrade from the double because no one can safely or accurately do a triple, so adding a half instead of a full is the most reasonable upgrade for a double even though the half is more annoying in terms of figuring out landings. I think about Simone Biles switching the Amanar to the Cheng as her main vault post-2016 as a good example because I think the swap was LARGELY due to the landings. So maybe the Cheng can become a realistic upgrade from the Yurchenko double until people figure out the triple? I believe Ellie Downie got a Cheng to a solid competitive level before she was able to get an Amanar close, so this is probably going to be pretty common for the top vaulters working on upgrades from doubles.

In the 2012 vault finals in London, if McKayla had replicated her Amanar from team finals but had the same fall on her Mustafina, could she have won the vault final? Also, had she won with a fall, what would the fallout be? I’m seeing the streets of Bucharest running with blood…

Numbers-wise, yes…had McKayla replicated her Amanar and scored a 16.233, that score averaged with her 14.3 for the Mustafina fall would have resulted in a 15.266, and she would have come in ahead of Sandra Izbasa by just under a tenth. I’m sure the Romanian fans would have been very mad about that, but I don’t think any reaction would be THAT severe. Simone Biles won plenty of competitions with falls, including the 2018 all-around final with two falls, so I think people who follow the sport know enough to realize that difficulty plus high levels of execution almost negate falls in many cases. 

In this video from Jesolo at 1:02:44 a gymnast falls off the beam during her routine. After a beat, she mounts the beam again and immediately falls off again. Is this counted as two falls? The female announcer laughingly says in Italian “two falls,” but I couldn’t tell if she was serious.

Oh god, I remember watching this live and screaming. Yes, this counts as two falls! Whether a gymnast misses a legit skill or comes off the beam just from tripping or walking off the end (which has also happened this year) or from remounting, it all counts as the same. Unlike on floor, where a fall from something like a wolf turn is not worth as much from a fall on an acro element, anytime a gymnast comes off of the beam is a full point off.

In the broadest of senses, what is your opinion of the scoring in Tokyo? Fair, unfair, harsh, lax, harsh in some places, etc… Also, randomness: do you like pineapple on pizza?

I thought it was pretty fair throughout? And pretty strict when it needed to be, usually in a good way. I didn’t find it harsh and didn’t really find any results all that outlandish. I know some people thought Rebeca Andrade should have won the all-around, and I think she would have, but that beam and the landing issues on floor really kind of gave it to Suni Lee, though they could have gone either way and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see their totals separated by only thousandths. I don’t think any of the apparatus finals were shocking to me in any way, maybe with the exception of bars? I really thought Elisabeth Seitz would get on the podium after what happened in Suni’s routine.

And no, I do NOT like pineapple on pizza! The only topping I really like is pepperoni, but sometimes I will go for olives, mushrooms, or red/green peppers.

Have there ever been Germans in the NCAA apart from Tratz and Bijak? I’m from Germany and a huge fan.

Yes! Alaska had a couple in recent years, including Louisa Marie Knapp and Marie-Sophie Boggasch, and Giulia Hindermann and Antonia Alicke were both at UIC a few years back. Other high-level gymnasts who competed NCAA included 1992 Olympian Gabi Weller at Towson and 1987 West German worlds team member Christine Wetzel at LSU.

Why aren’t twisty double fronts much of a thing in WAG? There’s the Podkopayava, but no full-in/out double front or 1.5s, to my knowledge, or at least not outside the training gym. (I assume the answer is basically just ‘it’s really hard’, which, fair enough.)

Double saltos in general are just not favored at all in WAG, and I think it’s largely because they’re just not rated high enough. A double front being the same as an arabian double front makes the double front in WAG pretty much pointless, since an arabian double front is a lot easier in the sense that they are able to compete building block elements – the roundoff back handspring – into it as opposed to a less-effective punch or front layout in to a double front. I think any twisting double front would also be not worth it for most when compared to backward skills rated similarly, though I’d love to see more variety here. I am pretty sure Brooklyn Moors was training a double front full-out from what I can remember back in 2017 or so…I watched her throw double front layouts on the trampoline at practice that summer and am pretty sure she was working on some pretty difficult front tumbling that she just never put out on the competition floor.

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

6 thoughts on “You Asked, The Gymternet Answered

  1. Pingback: You Asked, The Gymternet Answered | Olympic Games 2024

  2. Pingback: You Asked, The Gymternet Answered | The Globe

  3. Hey Lauren, do you know whatever happened to US Olympic alternate Brandon Briones? He’s so young and I couldn’t find any info onStanford team info and haven’t heard anything since Trials last year… can we expect him to aim for Paris? Did he have surgery? I’ve surfed the internet and found Nada, Zilch, Nyet, Rien de Rien….?????!

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  4. There is another scenario for the Maroney, Liukin, Douglas, Wieber, Raisman 2012 team.

    The US could simply have just used Douglas, Wieber, Raisman on floor in qualifications and not drop a score.
    China did this in 2016 with their beam rotation, only 3 athletes competed, all score counted.
    In 2012, Ross ended up going in for Maroney and her score was dropped, so those three counted anyway.

    OR Marta could have put up Maroney as anchor and once the three before her hit (as they did in London) then she could salute the judges and step off the floor taking a 0.0 which would be the dropped score.
    In 2012, Russia did this on bars. Komova, Grishina, and Mustafina all went up and hit routines, then Paseka as anchor touched the bar and took the 0.0 which was dropped.

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