Stay up to date with the latest happenings in senior men’s finals at the 2019 Winter Cup in Las Vegas, NV.
Our Live Blogging team today includes:
*No need to refresh the page, new updates will automatically load
Stay up to date with the latest happenings in senior men’s finals at the 2019 Winter Cup in Las Vegas, NV.
Our Live Blogging team today includes:
*No need to refresh the page, new updates will automatically load
The gymnasts spoke and the coaches listened. According to a recent interview by Blythe Lawrence, the gymnasts asked for a revision of the mandatory two-days of competition at Winter Cup, which they were granted. This year, the top six all-arounders, (and Sam Mikulak) will have the opportunity to save their body if they don’t wish to compete the second day of competition. As long as Sam competes on day one and qualifies to finals in any capacity, he will be named to the national team because he won a medal at the 2018 World Championships. If history is any indicator, should the five-time national champion compete in the all-around he should place well within the top six, and he will probably lead the all-around standings–meaning a total of seven gymnasts will be named to the national team after night one. Consequently, there will be only five spots to be determined by the second night of competition or medical petitions.
The 2018 all-around silver medalist and 2017 National Champion, Yul Moldauer, has yet to compete in the all-around this year; making Winter Cup his all-around debut. This will be a lead-up meet to his competition at the American Cup in March. The 2017 world bronze-medalist on floor has upped his difficulty by .3 tenths from last year’s world championships. Expect him to contend for the the floor title here should he perform with his normal form and ability to stick the landings.
Allan Bower, who placed third at nationals last year, is coming off his win at the Houston National Invitational where he took home the all-around, floor (tie), and vault titles. His teammate and current national team member, Colin Van Wicklen, placed second in the all-around at the same competition and took home the floor (tie) and high bar titles as well. Van Wicklen has changed vaults from a Dragulescu (handspring double front half) to a Blanik (handspring double pike). Both vaults are worth the same, however the Blanik has a forward landing which is easier on his ankles. In a recent interview with Gymnasticsville, he stated that he hopes to upgrade the Blanik to a double front pike half known as a Ri Se Gwang 2 and holds a start value of 6.0.
Trevor Howard, who was named to the national team after being named a non-traveling alternate for the 2018 World Championship squad, placed third in the all-around at the Houston National Invitational. He has two vaults and a superb ring set to anticipate.
The final member of the 2018 World Championships team competing this weekend is Akash Modi. He is best known for his work on parallel bars.
Unfortunately, injuries have plagued a large number of our current and former senior men’s national team members. Last season Donnell Whittenburg, Eddie Penev, Marvin Kimble, and Donothan Bailey, all suffered from significant injuries that prevented them from competitively competing for a spot on the World’s team.
In an interview with GymCastic, Donnell described his journey through gymnastics the last few years as he has continued to work to come back from a partially-torn rotator cuff. It is undecided if he will compete the all-around or choose to compete less events this weekend. For him, health is his priority because the end-goal is the Olympics.
Donnell has down-graded his routines to allow for him to stay as healthy as possible and wants to communicate that he is back and that his return will only get better from here. When asked about his choice to compete at nationals last year instead of petitioning for medical reasons, he said, ” I wanted to compete. I wanted to do something.” Though his choice to compete didn’t earn him a spot on national team, he had an extremely positive outlook because he was finally able to fully cheer his teammates on.
The most anticipated comeback for this meet is none other than former NCAA star and current national team member, Eddie Penev. Known for his explosive power on vault and dynamic tumbling on floor, the 2017 World Challenge Cup floor champion couldn’t be happier to be doing gymnastics again.
He said he will be doing five events and is thrilled to be back given he had surgery just 6 months ago. He has upgraded pommels, p-bars and high bar. He will be performing a slightly watered down floor, but thinks it should be the highest start value. On vault he’s doing a “Simone-esque man-amar.”
Marvin Kimble is also a superb vaulter and pommel horse worker. Showing consistency here will go a long way in his quest towards a second world championship team.
Still missing from the senior field at Winter Cup is Donothan Bailey as he recovers from surgeries last year. He will, however, have the opportunity to petition to the national team.
There are only three–out of the 56 gymnasts competing–that do not have ties to the NCAA. That means 94% of senior gymnasts this weekend are competing or have competed in collegiate programs around the country. This number shows the significance and continued relevance of the NCAA men’s gymnastics programs to our elite national program.
Current NCAA stars and national team members competing in this meet include Cameron Bock of the University of Michigan, Genki Suzuki of the University of Oklahoma, Shane Wiskus of the University of Minnesota, and Alec Yoder of Ohio State University. Bock owns the highest AA score this year in the NCAA and Yoder is known for his internationally-competitive pommel horse work.
Names like Sam Mikulak and Yul Moldauer are familiar to most gymnastics fans, but who are the ones with an outside chance a national team?
Levi Anderson (Oklahoma) is my pick for a surprise spot on the national team. He’s ranked first on HB in the NCAA and can put together a solid all-around score that may well earn him the chance to wear red, white, and blue. High Bar is the weakest event for Team USA right now and his score could be invaluable in the future.
Stephen Nedoroscik has a phenomenal pommel horse routine. Though it would be hard to win a spot on the team by only competing one event, he could easily snag the title this weekend.
Sean Melton, though a familiar name to most, hasn’t competed since last year’s national championships. He has often been a regular on the national team, but was dealing with some nagging injuries at last year’s championships. Look for the reigning Winter Cup still rings champion to compete to retain his title.
In fact, all 2018 Winter Cup champions are returning to reclaim their titles. The 2018 event winners were:
Sam Mikulak: AA, FX, PB, HB
Alec Yoder: PH
Sean Melton: SR
Marvin Kimble: VT
The 2018 Winter Cup junior champion, Asher Hong, will not be competing in this event. He is healthy and is choosing to focus on other meets coming up.
Though the MPC has yet to finalize the qualification process for choosing a team for the 2019 Junior World Championships, we know consistency plays a role in who is chosen based on Brett McClure’s statistics database. Additionally, only all-around athletes will be considered for the team due to the format of the world championships, and the gymnasts must be born between 2002 and 2003. Unlike the senior men, junior gymnasts do not have the option of a second chance each year for a spot on national team. However, the good news is that a gymnast does not have to currently be on national team to be selected for the world team in Hungary. Gymnasts competing this weekend who are age-eligible include: Fuzzy Benas (NT), Garrett Braunton, Michael Jaroh, Rithik Puri, Luke McFarland, Isaiah Drake, Raydel Gamboa, Nicolas Kuebler, Ian Lasic-Ellis, and Khoi Young.
The meet will be live-streamed by USA Gymnastics.
Kensley and Jessica will be live blogging and giving behind-the-scenes coverage of event finals on Sunday night.
Start lists and live results can be found here.
Article by: Kensley Behel
Stay up to date with the latest happenings at the 2019 WOGA Classic.
Our Live Blogging team today includes:
Kensley Behel (in the arena)
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We assume that all children’s activity centers and your local high school are doing the right thing to protect kids from predators, the same way we assume restaurants are following food safety standards. We don’t go into a restaurant and demand to check the kitchen, because the government has already inspected it. Regrettably, even though the US Olympic Committee was created and is governed by a federal statute, there is no agency that oversees how the USOC or national governing bodies like USA Gymnastics are run. While students can take their complaints to the Department of Education; employees can go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, no comparable government agency oversees athletes. Most countries have a “Minister of Sport” position, but the US does not. Even more unfortunate is the fact that predators always find a way to be near kids, which means parents and coaches looking for a safe environment are not only within their rights, but most definitely should be “checking out the kitchen” in gymnastics training facilities.
The annotated guidelines below, adapted from leading organizations, protect not only the child, but also the staff. Predators can be manipulative, gregarious and very hard to convict. These guidelines help identify and eliminate grooming behavior before it reaches the criminal level. Here’s how to order your gymnastics with a heaping helping of safety!
Questions that everyone should be asking when choosing a school or gym:
* Absolute best practices
+ Bonus best practices for extra points
USAG professional members must pass a bi-annual background check and take a safety certification course which includes education on safety and preventing sexual abuse. An equivalent would be USA Parkour which at least has safety education.
If they use the USA Gymnastics background check, it includes both misdemeanor (referred to as “lesser” convictions in their documentation) and felony convictions. Misdemeanors can be sex crimes against children. Remember, a background check does not ensure safety, in the case of a predator, it just means the very high criminal threshold for conviction hasn’t been met. This is why code of conduct that identifies and eliminates grooming behavior must be enforced.
The answer to this question should always be NO. Not ever, not anywhere inside the gym or outside of the gym. This does not imply guilt towards a staff member, but merely offers a safe, comfortable environment for the athlete, and the staff member.
Video surveillance can provide an objective record of misconduct and protect both gymnasts and coaches if a question of inappropriate behavior is alleged.
During enrollment the gym should offer you photo release documentation. If you choose not to sign that authorization, your child’s photo may not be used in anything. Their image may not even be in the background for a marketing image. Any photographs or videos of gymnasts and storage of those images should be closely monitored.
The answer should be yes and please feel free to drop in unannounced. Some teams have rules about parents camping out or creating a gossip-free environment. Those guidelines are great, but parents should be able to drop in to watch.
If a coach seems drunk, high or just out of sorts, everyone should be trained on what to do about it.
This is often a parent or booster whose profession requires mandatory reporting of crime or abuse.
Now that you have chosen a gym with safety standards in place, here’s your job:
2018 has been quite the year for the gymnastics community. From Simone’s triumphant return to U.S. training camps being streamed to powerful victim impact statements to USAGym’s consistent ineptitude, we have covered the major stories of 2018.
If you have missed any episodes, we hope that this list gives you a chance to catch up.
Welcome to the gift guide that will fulfill all of your gym nerd needs; with something for your gymnastics nieces, a favorite coach, adult gymnast, proud gym nerd or hardcore athlete on your holiday gift list.
Mark Your Calendar
British gymnast Gaius Thompson has a 2019 calendar waiting for your upcoming schedule. The last time we checked just before publishing Gaius’s Twitter account announced there were fewer than 100 left… so don’t wait!
Choreography Digital Master Class
We love Eythora’s artistry and he’s the author. Take a the digital Choreography Masterclass with Dutch Coach and Choreographer Patrick Kiens!
Gift for Coaches
Gymnasts are super heros, that’s just a fact. Now your coaches can flaunt it.
Contact Air Traffic Control
Vault can be terrifying, but not as a tabletop game. Now we can all pretend we’re Air Maroney with Fantastic Gymnastics Vault Challenge Game. You press a yellow button to send the gymnast down the runway, at the right time press the red button to block and then cross your fingers and hope for a stuck landing.
Shoulder Surgery Sold Separately
This high bar game from Hasbro requires a consistent rhythm of tapping the swing button, and then, like in real gymnastics, a good release giving you enough height and rotation to stick the landing. An easy game to play, difficult to master.
Life is About Choice
This book is part memoir, part self-help and part inspiration. Before Miss Val’s gymnastics swan song this season she compiled her coaching and life philosophies then blended them with stories throughout her three-plus decade career to produce this amazing work. Aly’s book is important because it will help move the sport forward… Miss Val’s book is important because it will help you move forward.
**Disclaimer: Jess’s husband is the co-author of this book!
College Gymnastics Fan
When you want to see artistic gymnastics you turn to college. School swag is always nice, but you can step it up a notch with season tickets. Visit your school’s website for purchase.
True gym nerds know it’s always gymnastics season. Get into the holiday spirit with one of our unique holiday designs.
Focused and Inspired
If the Smoky Mountain Fugative Task Force has taught us anything it’s that we have an urgent need for cultural change, physically, emotionally, and verbally. Lisa Mitzel explores just that in her book, “Focused and Inspired: Keeping Our Athletes Safe in a Win-at-All-Costs World.”
Focused and on Fire!
Lisa focuses on empowering athletes of all ages in “Focused and On Fire: The Athlete’s Guide to Mental Training and Kicking Butt.” She takes readers through the highs and lows and focuses on the emotions that go with it.
Join the Club
You can give a Club Gym Nerd gift membership (or, of course, treat yourself). You get a discount code for swag, entry into exclusive giveaways (e.g., tickets and prayer candles), a full emotional chalk bucket and more. If you want your chalk bucket to runneth over you might consider a Commissioned Episode or Mini-Commission. More info at the link:
A gymnast’s afterlife is often found in a circus. More specifically, Cirque Du Soleil shows where human acrobatics and gravity-defying entertainment reigns supreme.
There’s nothing better than tumbling around at your own home. Of course, it’s important to do it safely. We’ve all ruined plenty of furniture creating makeshift equipment. This is the year you can step up your game with all the holiday deals from Norberts.
What Aly Raisman Said
Aly Raisman has become a force for change in and outside the sport of gymnastics. Aly’s book, “Fierce,” is a well-written launchpad exposing what not to do and how she persevered and became the champion she is today. This book is on our gym nerd must-read list.
Gorgeous Workout Wear with a Side of Smarts
Who wouldn’t want a pair of workout shorts that say “Doing it for Pizza” or “Slay All Day.” Cloud & Victory is known for their beautiful design, but it shouldn’t be overlooked how they’re also putting comedy and Game of Throne references into dance wear.
What Can’t Laurie Do?
You’d think winning Olympic medals and the Mirrorball Trophy would be enough for anyone to accomplish in a lifetime, let alone in just 18 years. However, Laurie Hernandez is not a normal human, she’s a star and has taken her fame and experience and is passing it on to the younger generation with her children’s book, “She’s Got This.” In it, Laurie imparts important lessons for young gymnasts that they can apply inside an outside of the gym.
Newsflash: Gymnastics Keeps You Fit
We’re really excited about Nile Wilson’s book, “Nile Wilson: Raising the Bar: How Gymnastics Can Change Your Life” because he has created a guide that will show all of us how we can stay fit using gymnastics. That’s right! Adult gymnastics is awesome and Crossfit people aren’t the first to discover how amazing gymnastics is for fitness. Bless you Nile.
Hindsight Is 20/20
What would an Olympian do—or perhaps share with the world—if he or she were to do it all over again? Olympian, Ninja Warrior, commentator, Jonathan Horton, shares his journey in “If I Had Known: Life Lessons From An Olympic Pro Athlete” and provides tips and insight on how even us mortals can push ourselves to greatness to get the most of life.
Wear Your Leotard… All. Day. Long.
If you love gymnastics you have an opinion on leotards. Some are amazing and some should be thrown into a trash can and lit on fire. LeoTees only honors the former and turns those designs into t-shirts that you can wear all day long!
Gymnastics is for Grown-Ass Women and Men
This summer you can join your tribe and attend the amazing adult gymnastics camp in Portsmouth, NH. The camp is staffed by the coaches of Atlantic Gymnastics, a nationally recognized JO Club and is open to all skill levels from beginner to advanced. We can’t promise you’ll roast marshmallows as this camp, but you’re an adult and you can if you want to.
And you can wear this Gymnastics is for Grown-Ass Women shirt to camp
Find Your Balance
Every crack in the sidewalk and every curb turns into a balance beam. It’s 2018… you don’t need to pretend anymore when you can instead have one of these high quality, synthetic suede low beam’s for your own from TumblTrak. After all, having this narrow stage at home is the first step in training smart.
The overarching theme of last week’s conference call with the 2018 men’s worlds competitors was team and the NCAA’s role in helping create a bond that will benefit the five gymnasts in Doha. If there’s one message the team is sending it’s that they are ready and that they believe they will be on the podium. Yul Moldauer was emphatic, “I know we will do it.”
Moldauer described the mental game as the team’s biggest challenge, not Russia, China, or Japan, but simply themselves. They plan to take each event one by one and to trust in each other and in their training. In his training, he praised his coach, Mark Williams, saying “I feel like I could do my routines with my eyes closed because I feel so prepared.”
Moldauer’s back is now healed and he feels no pain. Even though there is no discomfort, he plans on competing his lower difficulty floor routine which holds the same start value as Sam Mikulak’s (5.7); and if he make event finals, the plan is to compete the 6.0 routine.
Akash Modi spoke of that same team unity that Yul focused on. Though former rivals in the NCAA, they are teammates and one for TEAM USA. The perfect picture of that was demonstrated in 2017 at the American Cup when Yul and Akash competed as TEAM USA then as soon as the competition was over, they watched the Oklahoma/Stanford meet on TV as their NCAA teammates competed against each other. This competitive spirit and camaraderie means they have each other’s back. Akash views this as their main advantage. He knows that landings are a weakness for him and has been focusing hard during his 7 am trainings to stick. To give himself and his teammates and even better shot at success, he has taken a leave of absence from Stanford’s program and will continue pursuing his M.S. in engineering after the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Alec Yoder is looking to make his return to Doha this fall after having won a bronze medal on pommel horse earlier this year. He, like Yul, has two different routines to choose from, but his choice comes on pommel horse. He talked about his consistency, having hit 12/12 at nationals and at the selection camp. He has looked up to Sam for a long time and said what an incredible honor it was to be named to the team with him and the other three members. When asked about how he’s been preparing for the new Taishan equipment, he said that he had not had the opportunity to compete or train on it before, but knew the high bar would be tighter as well as some other small differences, but that the team would have a week to adjust in Doha.
Sam has changed an element on rings. He changed his honma cross to a back uprise cross to focus on better execution. He talked at length about how stressed he used to be before competition, but incorporating normal parts of life—like coming home to his puppy and his girlfriend, as well as being ok with eating a slice of pizza once in a while—have helped take the pressure off.
Sam feels he will contribute to the team most on high bar and feels he should be good enough not to fall. He has been working specifically on checkpoints in his routine, when to pace and when to be aggressive. He says he is ready. Both he and fellow world teammate, Colin Van Wicklen, who is currently residing at the Olympic Training Center (OTC), have been waking up early for their main practice in preparation for the qualifications in Doha.
Colin talked about his move from the University of Oklahoma to Cypress and the reasoning behind it. He left so that he could chase his dreams in his hometown where other Olympians like Jon Horton and Chris Brooks also trained. While no decision to make another move the OTC has been made, he has been training there in preparation for Doha and will make his decision after Worlds as to where he will continue training.
At the OTC, they have worked on playing stick games to bring more of a light atmosphere with a serious goal in mind, particularly on floor. Colin is on a redemption tour for both himself and for the team as they search for that first team medal since 2014.
Best of luck to Team USA.
Brett McClure sat down with Kensley Behel in an exclusive interview to talk about the direction of the Men’s Program, as well as his role as the High Performance Director. A former elite gymnast himself, he has definite and direct goals, while also acknowledging that his position is a work in progress, as is his team. One thing is for sure, Brett is happy in this new full-time role based in Colorado Springs and it radiates on his face and through this team. In a joy that has rarely been seen as of late among recent scandals within both the men and women’s program, there is at least one man making his mark to create positive changes.
At age 16, Brett moved to the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in 1997 and trained under Ron Brant, a place where he would call home for the next 10 years. He came to the OTC after an injury at the Pan American Championships and was looking for the best medical care available to him. He won three major international medals, silvers at the 2001 and 2003 world championships and also in Athens at the 2004 Olympic Games. When asked if there was anything that he wished that had been provided to him in his training that he is now able to provide in his current role, he said he was given what he needed and was able to achieve everything that he wanted. It’s in that confidence that he is able to give back to those currently under his tutelage.
Brett views his main role as one of support and accountability, notably one that is separate from the relationship between the athlete and his personal coach. “I don’t want to interfere in their work. If it’s working, keeping doing it. If you force something, it’s not going to get results.” he said.
It’s a reality that is evident as world-medalist, Donnell Whittenburg, was left off the national team. “I’m just as disappointed that he’s not on national team, but if you choose to compete, you have to earn your spot.” Brett said. Brett clarified that Whittenburg could have petitioned to the World Selection Camp; it was a choice solely between him and his coach. Coming back from injury, he needed a few more weeks before he was really ready, but the decision was made and the results stand. It is part of the accountability system that Brett has worked to implement for his program.
The Goal for the Men’s Team
Brett’s goal is progress and he sees that within one of the all-time greatest American gymnasts, Sam Mikulak. Sam is good, really good, but he has an Achilles heel and it’s not the one that required surgery last year. His Achilles heel is his ability to consistently go 6 for 6, but Brett has his own experience with inconsistency.
John McCready once said the same thing to Brett. McCready said, “Brett, you’re good, but you always miss one event. There’s always something.” Brett acknowledged that McCready was right, but he told himself, “I know I can hit 6 for 6.” When asked if he saw a sports psychologist, he said, “I believe it’s a good thing. It works for a lot of people, but it didn’t work for me. I needed to figure it out on my own.”
For Sam, and for each of the gymnasts, he provides them with the education needed, but ultimately, it’s their choice to see one of the three sports psychologists available to them. This doesn’t mean, however, that Brett doesn’t offer other tips on making successful routines. He teaches them how to slow their heartbeat and how to work on deep-breathing techniques to give them the best chance for success. He want his athletes to let their brain get out of the way and to let the muscle memory be second nature.
The Athlete’s Voice
He gives the athletes a voice and feels good about the communication they’ve built between the staff and the team. It’s a priority for him and there are actions to back his words. At the beginning of his tenure with USA Gymnastics, he told each of his gymnasts that they would receive a clean slate. The athletes and coaches together formed a strategic plan for the quadrennium as a group.
Camp is now a priority and so is showing up when it counts. In some previous camps before his position was finalized, camps would consist of as little as three gymnasts. To maximize the efficiency of these training sessions, there are now only four to five camps per year to try and serve the needs of the athletes.
Sometimes those needs focus on team building and community. During the May camp, the coaches chose to cut practice to allow the athletes a chance to go hiking in the Cheyenne Mountains. It was a welcomed break by the gymnasts and one that allowed them to spend time together out of the gym. Some camps are easier than others.
March camp is the hardest for the gymnasts because of conference championships. An NCAA coach for 10 years, he understands the difficulties of balancing life between the two worlds.
Concerns include skill development which is a much-needed step to boost D-score values to compete with the best teams in the world. Competing simultaneously as an NCAA and elite gymnast takes its toll as gymnasts Allan Bower and Yul Moldauer shared their experiences earlier this year. It’s a reason Brett himself chose to go professional.
However, as a coach, he successfully helped utilize the Olympic Exception option offered by the NCAA. Leading up to the Olympics, an NCAA athlete is allowed to redshirt that year to focus solely on training for the Olympic Games. His former gymnast, Ryan Patterson, was able to utilize this option and successfully competed at the Olympic Games for South Africa. Brett reiterated that he provides each of his gymnasts with the educational tools necessary, but leaves the final decision up to the athlete and his coach.
While there still remain limitations within the NCAA system in relation to the Elite schedule, Brett pointed to the benefits of having a gymnast compete in both seasons simultaneously. He pointed to Yul Moldauer specifically and his love of team. He spoke of how Yul brought this same love of team to the elite scene and the bond that it has helped develop between the athletes. “That’s where college is so important.” Brett said. That comradery will benefit the team well as they head to Doha, Qatar next month to compete at the World Championships.
Though this is Brett’s first team World Championships as High Performance Director, heading to Doha the goals are clear: 1. To bring home a medal as a team. 2. To bring home as many individual medals as possible. 3. To go 18 for 18.
Team Strategy and Statistics
In the strategy for choosing the team, Brett said that they looked at different options, including best scoring, most consistent, and the opportunity for the most individual medals. “We have to be the best version of ourselves.” Brett said.
The best version of this team is one that has been closely watched as Brett has tracked each gymnast over the past year with his statistics program. They track all of their results from Winter Cup and National Championships. They also track each camp and international assignments as well. All of the results are saved for each team member in an accessible online database. Brett can log into any gymnasts record on the national team and see results, videos, scores, judges reports, travel tips, physiology, nutrition, bloodwork, hydration levels, etc. He, and the selection committee, are able to see trends, variances, and red flags that help choose the most successful team. He believes it makes not only the gymnasts, but also the members of the selection committee more accountable, because whatever a gymnasts does, even at a camp, is now in his profile forever.
When asked about the strengths and weaknesses of the team, “Our obvious weaknesses include start value on parallel bars, and our start value and execution on high bar. When there are gymnasts like Zou Jingyuan who are scoring our start values, we’ve got to step it up.”
Brett McClure was not shy about his current team. He said, “We need to be better.” It’s a sentiment echoed by much of the gymnastics community and a voiced pragmatic realization by the High Performance Director of the Men’s Program. He believes that Team USA is strong on pommel horse and that floor looks good. He believes that a healthy Team USA can compete with anyone in the world on their best day, but that they need more guys and more depth at that level.
The questions was posed if Brett ever considered team chemistry when creating a roster. “It’s an interesting question about personalities, one I hadn’t really thought about how different personalities would perform together.” He spoke comparatively to the women’s team where the 2012 head coach mentioned that team chemistry played a role in who was chosen. Brett admitted that his program does not currently have the depth, and therefore does not always have the luxury, to always choose a team that considers personalities as a factor.
NCAA in Elite
The team, as a whole, are both hopeful and pragmatic about Doha. Each of the five members will come together as one unit led by automatic qualifiers Sam Mikulak and Yul Moldauer. It’s important to note that every member of the five-man squad, in addition to the alternate, come from the NCAA system.
With the recent announcement of UIC cutting both men and women’s gymnastics after the 2019 season, and with the importance of NCAA team pipeline to the US elite program, how is Brett helping fight for the future of men’s gymnastics?
Brett McClure knows first-hand the difficulties associated a university cutting a men’s gymnastics program. He suggest that, if the leadership of the university will allow for it, each team should be fundraising and should be prepared for any situation. He helped create the Cal Benefit Cup and the Cal Benefit Camp to raise money to support his team. He helped the program survive another three years before taking over the position with USA Gymnastics.
In light of the climate surrounding USAG, one that is shoulder-deep in lawsuits, Ms. Behel proposed it might be necessary for Mr. McClure to begin a similar program for the elite system. Brett countered that he doesn’t believe they are there yet, but it’s a program he’s also ready to implement should that time ever be needed.
The US men’s program is making progress with accountability and in its use of statistics and tracking under Brett McClure’s tutelage. He stated that the guys are his number one priority and that includes keeping them accountable so that they can achieve their own goals. They understand that because they are more accountable, their choices affect team selection. Brett considers the athletes as the utmost important part of the program and he will do everything in his power to make sure they have a secure and successful program. Through growth in conflict resolution, accountability, skill-development and support, the men’s team is looking for a successful trip to Doha next month with Brett McClure at the helm.
Article by: Kensley Behel
The men will start on vault today as that is their draw for Doha this year.
AA from today:
Sam, Yul, Alec, Akash, Collin, Allan, Trevor, Marvin (Note: Allan, Trevor, and Marvin did not compete the AA)
Akash: azarian to l cross to maltese, kip to yami to joh to iron cross. Up to L sit straddle to handstand, giant (super solid) double double with a small hop to finish. 13.3
Allan: maltese, rotation through to iron, yami to joh to straddle planche, front giant to handstand (well held) pikey in the layout full, but he sticks it. 13.0
Marvin: azarian cross up to maltese, up to planche/maltese – not really sure, yami to joh to iron, super arched planche, backrise up to handstand. Layed out 1/1 with a step to finish. 5.9 13.6
Trevor: beautiful maltese, back uprise to maltese, bounce cross, yami to joh, to iron, up to handstand. Almost stuck double double to finish. 14.55
Alec: He is having to wait a looonnnggg time. up to planche, lower to malese (super high) up to maltese, also high, joh to yami to straddle sit, to to straddle planche (not held long enough). Double double to finish. Low chest and a step on the landing. 13.5
Colin: azarian cross, pike front to iron, up to straddle planche (not sure he held that long enough) front giant to handstand, john to yam to straddle sit, push to handstand (small bend) double tuck with 1.5 twists to finish. Super long wait for Colin’s score. 13.65
Sam: up to maltese, bouch iron cross (he is shaking) kip to planche (well held) kip to yami to jon to iron, joh, double double with a small hop. 14.15
Yul: kip to maltese (high) kip to maltese, azarian iron cross, yami to joh, to iron cross, up to straddle planche, giant (little swing) double double with a small hop. 14.25
Rotation 6: Still Rings
Colin: Flop, russian on one pommel, sivado, big push into the dismount.
Sam: Mikulak, up to handstand travel, spindle flair, roth, tripple russian, magyar, sivado, up to handstand. 6.1/8.8 14.9
Yul: flop, flop, flair spindle, flair magyar, flair sivado, 1 russian on pommel, nice into the dismount. 5.6/9 14.6
Akash: Scissor to handstand, spindle (c) spindle (d), wu, roth fell off on handstand. Will do it again. D handstand. 6.1/6.7 12.8
Rotation 5: Pommel Horse
Trevor: Rudi, double tuck with 1/5 twists, missed third pass, nice handstand, front 2/1 to front 1/1, back 2/1 stuck, double arabian to finish with a hop forward. 5.4/8.25 13.65
Alec: Double double with a hop back, back 3/2 to front 2/1, back 5/2 to 1/2, back 3/2 to front tucked 1/1, back 2/1, triple full to finish with a small hop back. 5.5/8.25 13.75
Colin: Double front piked half out, back 5/2 front 1/2 gainered back 5/2 to front full, back double twist with hop. Really landings are all over the place, Can’t see fifth pass, Double arabian to finish – small hop. 5.3/8.1 (-.3) = 13.1
Sam: Back 5/2 to front double front (almost sat it down but stuck it) , back 3/2 to front 1/1, flairs, Again people standing in front of me, back double twist stuck, Triple full to finish. Feet almost on top of each other to finish. Stuck. 5.7/8.8 14.5
Yul: Randi, double arabian 1/2 stuck, back 3/2 to front 1/1, nice flair sequence (D to C ), back 5/2 to 1/2, back double full stuck, Triple full to finish. Really low chest. 5.8/8.8 14.6
Akash: Front double pike, back 1.5 to front 1/1, sorry I’m at a terrible angle for floor! Going to try and move, D press up to handstand, Randi small hop, back 2/1, Triple full to finish with a small hop. 6.0/8.4 14.4
Allan Bower: Double pick front double double stuck, twisting that I missed, back 2/1, russians, wide arm press with good control, back 3/2 to front 1/1, back 5/2 stuck. 5.6/8.65 14.25
Rotation 4 – Floor
Trevor Howard: lay tkatchev 1/2, 1/2, lay tkatchev caught 1 arm pushed out like Epke save, straddle tkatchev 1/2, weiler, weiler 1/2, stuck full twisting double lay finish. 12.3
Alec Yoder: Yami, Kolman, Kovacs, stalder, rybalko, endo 1/1, endo, tak 1/2, 1 arm, double twisting double lay stuck. 13.3
Colin Van Wicklen: Yami, 1/2, lay tkatchev, straddle 1/2, 1 arm, tak 1/2, lay tkatchev 1/2, bent elbows and has to press up significantly, straddle tkatchev, stalder, very strange wind up for the dismount. 5.1/7.8 12.9
Sam Mikulak: 1/2, Kassina (by fingertips) off on Kolman. Stays down on the mat a bit. Does the skill again catches! lay to straddle tkatchev, staddle 1/2, tkatchev, 1 arm, tak 1/2, (right on top, hop 1/2, stalder, stuck double twisting double lay. 6.1/8.15 14.25
Yul Moldauer: Missed the first skill 1 arm tak 1/2, Kovacs 1 arm, hop full, rybalko, 1/2, giant 1/2, flaired out full twisting double lay! 5.0/8.4
Akash Modi: tak 1/1 (way over), Straddle to lay to straddle 1/2 tkatchev (big push out of this skill), lay tkatchev 1/2, tak, endo, endo 1/2, stuck the double twisting double layout.
Marvin Kimble: 1/2, Liukin, lay tkatchev to lay 1/2, (big push,) tak 1/2, (super late), tak 1/2, straddle tkatchev, straddle tkatchev 1/2, endo, stuck full twisting layout.
Rotation 3: High Bar
Alec Yoder: Beautiful peach (great form) Diam, Diam 1/2, has to muscle up a bit, HUGE back toss, Stutz, GORGEOUS double pike! Huge height and opens up to stick the landing. Took forever to get his score. 5.0/9.2
Colin VanWicklen: Peach 1/2, big struggle, back toss, giant to suarez, peach basket, really tired going into the double front. Big step forward. 5.4/7.75 13.15
Sam Mikulak: Healy, Peach 1/2, Peach, Harada to Back toss, Bhavsar, 1/2, Tippelt, Stutz, WOW! double front 1/2 STUCK! His transitions are so smooth on this event. 6.4/8.95 15.35
Yul Moldaur: Back toss, Peach, Peach 1/2, Diam, Giant Diam , Suarez, Suarez from support (slammed his arms). Double front 1/2 out stuck to finish. 14.55 5.9/8.65
Akash Modi: Peach ( a little short), peach 1/2, uprise 1/2, Bhavsar, giant 1/2, Tippelt, Healy, to 1/2, Diam, Stutz, Stuck full-in! 14.4
Allan Bower: Really nice rhythm, Peach, Giant to suarez, Healy, 1/2, Diam, Back toss, Stutz, Suarez from upper support, Stuck double pike! 13.35 5.6/7.75
Trevor Howard: Healy, Peach, nice movement, Suarez, Diam (little wobble, giant, Giant swing to Suarez. Double front to finish. Stumbles out to his bottom. 5.4/7.3
Rotation 2: Parallel Bars
Colin Van Wicklen: Dragulescu! Really nice height. Twists late and creates a low landing. 15.0
Van Wicklen – Vault 2: Kas 1.5. He got the most height of anyone! Small hop on the landing.
Sam Mikulak! Great vault! Small leg separation! Beautiful in the air! Small hop on the landing. 14.6
Yul Moldauer: Beautiful form on the Kas 1.5. Legs glued together and toes pointed. Small hop on the landing. 14.7
Akash Modi: Kas 1.5 – was a little worried because his steps looked slightly off. Good distance, but hopped out of bounds. 14.4
Allan Bower: Kas 1.5. Little bent knees in the air and a hop out of bounds. 14.35
Trevor Howard: Kas 1.5. Nice form in the air, but had a large step out of bound to the right.14.05
Trevor Howard – Vault 2: Beautiful Handspring double front. Great height and a small hop on the landing.
Alec Yoder: Tsuk Double stuck cold! Really amazing! 14.15
Rotation 1: Vault
Article by: Kensley Behel
The highly-anticipated world team trials is upon us. Unbeknownst to most of the gym community, the camps at the OTC have long been open to the public. In an age where so many transparency issues have gone wrong, the men have been leaders in allowing the public to watch their meets. It’s simply their national governing body that has, at times, not placed value in also sharing their talent with the world.
Here are the facts. From the eight men team that the selection committee will be choosing from, with only five available slots, Team USA is going to have holes. There are really no ifs, ands, or buts around that. Keeping that in mind, be pragmatic during the selection process. Realize, that there is going to be at least one weak spot on the team as is the case with most of the rest of the world.
The committee members for this selections process are as follows:
Jake Dalton – Athlete’s Representative
Russ Fystrom – Coach Representative
Brett McClure – High Performance Director
Mike Serra – Coach Representative
J.D. Reive – Athlete, Coach, Administrative Representative
Dennis McIntyre – Vice President for Men, ex officio, voice – no vote
The 8 athletes in the selection process are:
Colin Van Wicklen
Trevor Howard (replacing Donothan Bailey)
If the committee chooses to take the top 5 from the AA at Nationals in a 5-3-3 format with the top scorers from that group competing as they ranked, the team would ironically only be comprised of four gymnasts: Sam, Yul, Allan, and Alec. Donathan never outscored any of them to be in the top three team members of each event. If each of the four gymnasts matched their best score, the team total would be 259.3. For the four gymnasts listed, the averages of this proposed team from nationals would still score well into the 250s with a 255.05, which will be competitive in Doha.
For a myriad of reasons, this max score likely won’t happen exactly as is. Scoring is always a little different across competitions and we’ve yet to see how Marvin can factor into this team scenario. This scenario also puts Sam doing AA in qualifications, team finals, all-around finals, and additional routines on whichever other final he might make. Depending on the head coach for the team, Sam, or Yul, could be taken out of the AA in team final to rest and prepare for the rest of the competition. For example, if Mark Williams were to be named head coach of this team, there is a probability that he would take Sam out of the line-up on rings in team final for stamina reasons as he did in 2014 and 2016. Other coaches might have other solutions to give certain gymnasts a break to optimize medal potential.
Sam is going – likely even if his hand touches the mat an equal number of times to his feet touching the mat, he’s going. There is no one in the country, nor has there been in the last five years that can touch him if he is healthy. He also owns the second highest AA score in the world this year behind Kohei Uchimura’s 87.75.
Yul is likely also going, unless there have been significant changes in his injury. He’s clean, beautiful to watch, and also highly consistent. The 2017 world championship bronze medalist will hopefully have the opportunity to equal or better is results from Montreal.
Marvin: Is he still injured? Has he recovered enough to compete well? If he’s still injured, will the selection committee consider naming him to the team still a month out from the competition? Will him showing up with a strong enough PH, SR, VT, HB combination make it impossible for the committee to not choose him?
Trevor: The replacement for Donothan Bailey – why was he chosen over someone from the Pan AM championships who would likely be in better shape having just competed? His highest score was on rings and it was only about two-tenths higher than Yul. Where does the committee see him fitting into this team?
Akash: Akash could be immensely valuable to TEAM USA, but is he consistent enough to do so? After having one stellar day of competition in Boston followed by one that might leave the committee wanting, he will need two great days of competition to earn one of the five spots to Doha.
Allan: Will the committee see the value in taking someone who will hit over someone with a higher scoring potential?
Alec: Alec provides a world-class pommel set and a consistent parallel bar set. Does his pommel horse set alone warrant a return trip to Doha this year?
Van Wicklen: Colin has a lot of power on vault and a much needed score on high bar, however, the approximate .8 given on high bar is equally as lost on other events he may need to fill in on to relieve either Sam or Yul from doing the all-around three in three consecutive competitions.
With four members of the team well-established, in my opinion, the committee will need to look at who they could substitute in for the maximum additional points. The most easily targeted event in need for substitution is high bar followed by rings and then vault. The most logical piece to this puzzle would be a healthy Marvin. Should he not be healthy, Van Wicklen would be the next most logical choice for his high bar alone.
In terms of the alternate, I believe Akash is going to end up in this role again. He is a stable gymnasts with a phenomenal Pbar set, but for this puzzle, this seems to be the most practical role.
If there are no injuries, and if everyone hits to their capabilities, I believe the team would be Sam, Yul, Allan, Alec, and Marvin.
You can watch the competition live on USA Gymnastics’ Youtube channel. The competitions will be Thursday, September 20th at 11am MST and Saturday, September 21st at 3:30pm MST.
Article by: Kensley Behel