The No. 1 Gymnastics Podcast in the Galaxy

89: Everybody Loves Raymond! Pacific Rim, Men’s NCAA Championships, plus a Russian Championships/Tokyo World Cup recap DO OVER!

Nia dennis , bailie key, stacey ervin, michigan men's gymnastics, victoria komova, raymond white
Oklahoma’s showstopper Raymond White (center), Victoria Komova (bottom L), Michigan repeat as NCAA Champions and Luo Huan, Bailie Key with Nia Dennis (far R) at Pacific Rim Championships.

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In the News

In the news, Jessica, Blythe, Uncle Tim, Evan and Scott Bregman chat about:

  • A star is born! Why everyone flipped out when Oklahoma’s Raymond White was shown on TV during the men’s NCAA Championships!
  • Russian Championships and Tokyo World Cup recap do-over with Blythe! Yes, yes, you were all upset, we didn’t devote enough time to it. Please forgive us!
  • Pacific Rim – the US gets serious on bars, Nia “Silent Assassin” Dennis, Chinese babies, Ting Ting and Luo Huan, plus from Canada, Miss Alleza Yu’s “mysterious” floor choreography.
  • Which sponsor will snatch up Sam Mikulak now that he can go pro?
  • Women’s NCAA Championships Super-Fight: we debate why LSU, Florida or Oklahoma could become the 2014 champions.
  • Whether or not we like this new “welcome” arm sweep the US team is using to enter their floor routines.
  • If tiny, tan and talented Katherine Grable can “Jenny Hansen” the meet by stealing the all-around title away from Rheagan Courville  or Sam Peszek.

Announcement! The first ever GymCastic Meet-up is happening at the NCAA Championships. Come join us for a drinky-poo and gym-nerd out with your people!

When: 3:30-4:30 on Saturday, April 19th before Super-Six Finals.

WhereTodd English Pub, right behind the parking structure at BJCC arena.  It’s only a three minute walk to the meet from here. The address is: 2221 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N, Birmingham, AL 35203.

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Alyssia
Alyssia
8 years ago

Ahhh just thank you for the do over, really fair to put it this way. Enjoyed this episode much more! Blythe’s analysis was great.
Thanks for solving it this way! Props!
And I think the Amanar problem the Russians have won’t be as much of a problem when Rio comes along to be honest… Three juniors (Seda Tutkhalyan, Darya Skrypnik and Angelina Melnikova) have DTYs all of a sudden (Melnikova and Skrypnik whipped it out in the last two months, Seda has been competing it for a year), and Alla Sosnitskaya will probably get an Amanar in the next two years. I mean none of the juniors are near Bailie Key’s level, but they’re coming 😉
I do like the fact that they sort of make up the lower D scores on vault with bars and beam. Aliya, Vika and Darya Spiridonova have 6.4+ potential Ds on bars and Aliya, Vika and Maria Kharenkova have 6.3+ potential Ds on beam. So I like that! Although they probably still don’t bring in as high of a score as an Amanar would. I like them using their strengths though, as the Americans do with vault and floor. I hope they can develop that more, so it can be REALLY close at the Olympics.

My old housemate was called Liu Tingting so I saw that name and was like ?????? Haha. She was uber cute too. THE SOUNDS DURING EVAN’S EXPLANATION OF THE MAGICIAN WRISTS FLOOR ENTRANCE HAHAHHA yes. A lot of people do it yeah, but some people are doing it much more graceful than others… I agree with Uncle Tim and Jess on this one. The Romanians did a really nice arm wave when they get off the floor at Worlds and it looks really nice too.

For the GymCastic cocktail….. Something with Bailey’s? (for Bailie Key of course 😉 ). For Jess, you could just use Irish cream.
And yeah Jess I was superconfused about the pommel horse thing too! Glad that’s clarified 🙂

Love love loved the rest of the episode as well. And yes, I too love Raymond!!!

Abbey
Abbey
8 years ago

I, of course, adore Raymond White. I’ve seen his floor routine score 15.5 before so it has definitely scored higher than at Nationals, which is sad as I would have loved it if he was in event finals this year. Meanwhile, his mom says he is also trying out for Cirque. (Her twitter is @dramama82).

Renee
Renee
8 years ago

Can you guys post a link to the Rankings you talk about around the 13 minute mark?

Komova Clarification
Komova Clarification
8 years ago

Blythe is correct—the piked stalder shap 1/2 is the Komova II (piked stalder shap is Komova I). Also, she’s been doing the LO Jaeger for years, but it’s just always been pretty piked.

Kitty
Kitty
8 years ago

Komova I is a picked stalder shap 1/2 ( she performed it on YOG’2010) and Komova II is a picked stalder Shap ( performed lately, Tokyo Worlds’ 2011)

Julie
Julie
8 years ago

I generally love the show, but I have been disappointed in the fact that there has been so much NCAA coverage. I would venture to guess that women’s elite gymnastics is the most popular event, just from the coverage and tumblr blogs online. Yet you spent as much time covering men’s NCAA championships as you did on Pac Rims, one of the only team elite international competitions of the year. You spent much longer just previewing women’s NCAA championships (when you didn’t really preview Pac Rims at all). Not to mention the fact that you spent so much time on NCAA regionals last week. You didn’t talk about Bailie’s great performance, Ebee’s huge AA performance or Team USA’s general dominance.

I would be interested to know if your listeners really want so much NCAA coverage instead of elite coverage. Of course, it is your show and you clearly can do whatever makes you happy. I just appreciate everyone’s analysis so much that I really wish there was more elite coverage (even though it is a slower time in the season!)

Kari
Kari
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

A lot of listeners tune in strictly for the NCAA coverage! GymCastic has introduced a lot of new people to NCAA, especially the international audience who complained about lack of pretty execution in elite. Secondly, they are a GYMNASTICS podcast, so you may as well attack them for not featuring acrobatic gymnastics as for speaking too much about NCAA; they can’t cover everything but I love that they cover collegiate gymnastics and so do the athletes who compete in it and listen weekly!
I too thought that artistic gymnastics ruled over the gymnastics disciplines…that is until i took a look at the kinds of numbers rhythmic meets get on YouTube and then i discovered a whole world of rhythmic appreciation online that is completely separate from the “gymternet” which only deals with artistic. I’ve found blogs and tumblrs that get three times more views than some of my favorite places for artistic gymnastics. So, the internet is a big place; if you think it’s not there, it’s because you didn’t look for it. Besides, they are clearly excited about NCAA gymnastics so it’s not some perfunctory coverage they do for others, they really are genuine about the sport themselves, and just because you’re not interested doesn’t mean many others aren’t.

Julie
Julie
8 years ago
Reply to  Kari

And that is fine. But there have been 3 elite competitions in the past few weeks and the NCAA coverage has far outshadowed the coverage of those competitions. I just wish they had been given a little more time.

Unai
Unai
8 years ago

In all honesty, I didn’t think Pac Rim was a very interesting competition other than to demonstrate the crazy dominance of the US team while other teams didn’t send very strong gymnasts. I did enjoy the wonderful performances of Bailie Key, Norah Flatley, and Nia Dennis, so those were worth mentioning. I liked some of the Chinese juniors and Canadian girls too.

However, we are in the peak of collegiate season with the NCAA Championships this weekend. Elite season is still barely beginning. This weekend is THE weekend for NCAA, so I can understand why it’s going to get a lot of coverage. After that, no more. We won’t hear a peep about NCAA for the rest of the year. Just hang in there.

Thanks
Thanks
8 years ago

The do over was nice. Thanks.

Well done
Well done
8 years ago

I read it all, and I absolutely understand your point, and if I’m not mistaken, based solely on how the FIG has approached scoring these past few years, they’re okay with the discrepancies here. And if you are, too, that is totally fine. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. 🙂

However, you must allow me to respectfully disagree with your assertions. I for one actually agree that the harder vaults should be getting higher E scores because you have the right point: The girls who are doing these harder vaults ARE doing them perfectly. And if their execution is as perfect as it is, then they need to be duly rewarded (however, what judges in their right mind gave Aliya a 9.166 E score for her Amanot? Even as a HUGE fan of Mustafina, I’m appalled that she scored so high.)

But since we’re leaving E scores alone, then I maintain that D scores should all be brought down (if we agree that the AA scoring system shouldn’t be changed). And honestly, if all vaults are brought down by about 0.5, then there is no reason that anyone will be unduly rewarded since everyone is still on the same level playing field. Once again, I point to the MAG example. Through the London-London quad, vault scores were, on average for MAG, about 0.8 to 1.3 higher than all of the other events. And this is without taking into consideration the fact that vault D scores were usually at least 0.3 lower than the other events. The fact of the matter is that vault takes so little time, so compared to the other events, it has the least deductions. Even if you compare the E scores of the top gymnasts across each of their own events: on average (using your numbers), VT E scores hugely outnumber the other events’ E scores. And since we already established that this is okay (because vault doesn’t give time to give many deductions; it is simply the nature of the apparatus), then we need to look at other ways to even out the playing field.

If we bring down vault D scores, then we will see the averages in the statistically permissible disparity (which I ran through various statistical deviation tests. Unfortunately, I don’t have those numbers with me because I forgot to save them, or I would publish those, too).

Honestly, though, I think we need to have a discussion first that isn’t even related to changing scores: Do we want to rely on what math tells us or not rely on what math tells us as being an acceptable disparity across events (which I calculated above using the statistical test for deviation). I personally believe that as long as we are using a mathematical system, then yes, we DO need to rely on what math tells us is the correct disparity.

And using this belief, I firmly believe that either all WAG VT scores need to be decreased.

However, despite understanding your problems with his scoring system for the AA, I must admit that I’m not convinced by your arguments.

Who cares what non-fans think about the scoring system for our sport? As fans (and as the sport’s administration), it is our duty to make sure that we are giving every single gymnast the correct score based solely on how they perform; whether or not four years fans understand it be damned. Also, who in their right mind thinks that the current scoring system is logical when they first become a fan anyway? It takes time to go through the code and understand every single intricacy if you want to be a fan. I don’t see any problem requiring those who choose to be fans to spend more time doing so.

I’m also not taken by the point that “it doesn’t matter anyway because the results don’t change”. I strongly disagree. Aliya Mustafina would NOT have won bronze in the London AA with this new scoring system because it doesn’t allow mistakes to be masked. Similarly, Rebecca Bross would NOT have won bronze in the Rotterdam AA. Japan would not have won silver in the MAG London TF. Russia would not have won the Rotterdam WAG TF. Jordyn Wieber would not be the 2011 World AA Champion (I personally believe that was a fluke regardless, but whatever). It DOES matter. Right now, at least in my opinion, the best “all around” gymnasts aren’t be treated as such with the current scoring system because huge mistakes on one event (Aliya Mustafina London AA; Jordyn Wieber Tokyo AA; Rebecca Bross Rotterdam AA; Rebecca Bross London 2009 AA; Russia 2010 TF; Japan 2012 MAG TF; Japan 2011 MAG TF; Japan 2012 MAG TF; USA 2012 MAG QF and TF) are being masked on other events. At least in my opinion, an “all around” gymnast should be he or she, or team, that is equally the best at ALL events. But everyone is, of course, entitled to his or her own opinion.

Also, I don’t think this is just a Russia vs. USA issue honestly. This is also affecting other teams. I mentioned Japan in 2012 MAG TF. Ukraine has been suffering funding problems for years now for their artistic gymnastics program, but think what a boost it could have been to their program if they had won the bronze? This also happened with Japan’s MAG team in the 2011 TF. They had so many mistakes but still won silver. If they had been duly penalized, Russia would have won bronze and USA silver, and BOTH countries desperately need funding and publicity for their MAG teams.

Now before someone comes to the false conclusion that this is only an MAG program. I’m going to point out Rebecca Bross in 2010 AA again. If she had been duly penalized, China would have won silver and bronze that year in the AA. China, too, need publicity for their program. Let’s look at Aliya Mustafina in 2012 AA. If she had been duly penalized, Izbasa would have finished fourth. Think of how that could have helped the Romanian program. Now what if Bross was penalized correctly in the 2009 AA? Lauren Mitchell would have won bronze! Also, in London 2012, China would have gotten the team bronze instead of Romania. My point here is that it DOES make a difference, and that difference could have a lot of consequences long-term.

But, again, it is up to one’s own opinion. I personally am of the belief that things need to change, but in no way should my opinion be considered to be more important than anyone else’s. But I really do think that we as a gymnastics community need to promulgate this discussion a bit more.

Well done
Well done
8 years ago

Oops that wasn’t supposed to be posted twice… Sorry! D:

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