What We’re Talking About
It’s good to be back. First, it’s an Olympic year! We’ll keep any eye on all the developments as we celebrate the NCAA season. Second, Oklahoma looks exactly like Oklahoma. It’s remarkable how a team can stay this consistent year in and year out. They don’t have the reigning national all-around champion—that would be Maile O’Keefe, who also picked up where she left off, recording the first perfect 10 of the NCAA season. Oklahoma also doesn’t have anyone on their roster from the last Olympic team or anyone vying for the Paris Olympics like Oregon State, UCLA, Utah for Florida; or have members who have already punched their ticket like LSU or Alabama. For all the preseason hype about who might dethrone Oklahoma (we can’t wait to see Florida compete for the first time this week) it’s clear the Sooners are still the top of the class. How good was Oklahoma in the first week? Their first meet of the season was more than a fall better than any other team’s first-week score. Winning a title is super-freakin’ hard. Defending it is even harder. Only Utah, Georgia and Florida (with a championship tie with Oklahoma in 2014) have ever three-peated. Oklahoma looks ready to join that elite club.
We got to witness the beginning of Oklahoma’s journey at the Mean Girls Super 16 meet, which featured the broadcasting duo of Suni Lee’s coach, Jess Graba, and retired longtime LSU icon D-D Breaux; with special guest Olympian Jordan Chiles. Broadcasting is hard. We do a tremendous amount of prep work for our show and we still make errors. Even though mistakes were made, we hope we see this crew together in the future because the insight of listening to two long-time coaches was fascinating. We think the great Steve Martin’s sentiments about Jo Koy can be translated nicely here: “I tip my hat to anyone who steps out on stage to host a live awards show. It’s a very difficult job and not for the squeamish. I know because I’m still throwing up from the last time I did it in 2010.
So, Congratulations to Jo Koy, who took on the toughest gig in show business, hit, missed, was light on his feet, and now has twenty minutes of new material for his stand up!”
Also, if Jordan puts in the work she might have found a second career after she hangs up her grips. And last but not least, be sure to check out Deanna Hong’s new two-part documentary on Becky Downie, MBE, Comeback.
- We tried to prepare you for Lily “Baby Nastia” Smith in our NCAA preview show. If you don’t know now you know.
- The Brooklyn Moors floor domination season is upon us.
- Grace McCallum’s triple wolf turn.
- Beam was beam and everyone (except Oklahoma and Utah) got beamed.
- Jade Carey, bars specialist.
- Condolences to the BYU program for the passing of their former coach, Brad Cattermole.
- Wishing Jennifer Gadirova a speedy recovery.
- Let’s hope this is the last LSU injury (Alyona Shchennikova) for the season.
- We’re not surprised to find out that the new NCAA contract with ESPN tripled in value because they had been undervaluing women’s sports.
- We’re wishing Mary Lou Retton a speedy recovery.
- Sage Kellerman, vault leader.
- Mailee O’Keefe scored the first perfect 10 of the season on beam.
- That makes her the active leader in 10s in the NCAA with 12.
- That also moves her into 13th on the all-time list ahead of Katelyn Ohashi and Ashley Miles.
- Speaking of which, the Ashley Miles Greig era has begun. Iowa State recorded its highest season-opening score in 20 years.
- The last coach to have that kind of season opener was KJ Kindler.
- Nebraska had their best opening score in a decade.
- Utah’s average attendance last year was 13,427. In their opening meet it was 10,774.
- Lindenwood is not going quietly.
- The highest ranked Oklahoma all-arounder after week 1 is Faith Torrez.
- Best Commentary: Jordan Chiles
- You Better Recognize: Sage Kellerman
What’s On the Socials?
— MSU Gymnastics (@MSU_Gymnastics) January 7, 2024
— Shane Wiskthem (@ShaneWiskthem) January 6, 2024
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— Utah Gymnastics (@UtahGymnastics) January 6, 2024
“Honestly, it was probably one of my more emotional 10s. Starting off the season like that is kind of crazy and surreal.” ~ Maile O’Keefe, NCAA 10.0 leader
In the first meet of the season, after a tumultuous offseason, Maile reminds the rest of the field that she’s the reigning all-around champion.
“She came in the house, she knows my code, and saw me and found me and pretty much saved my life.”
~ Mary Lou Retton, Olympic All-Around Champion
Mary Lou shared more details about her illness and how her neighbor found her on the floor struggling to breath.
“I guess those are the best days, right? The hard days, the harder days, the days when you don’t want to do it. So, I’m on my way to the gym as per usual. Let’s go.” ~ Gabby Douglas, Olympic All-Around Champion
Gabby chats with the Olympic Channel about her inspiring (and exciting) comeback.
“I also refuse all pain meds haha (they make me SO sick and frankly after being addicted to adderall it just scares me so I don’t even mess with it.” ~ Shawn Johnson, Olympic Champion
In a Q&A on her social media, Shawn revealed she had been addicted to adderall, which was prescribed by the former doctor who shall not be named.
College & Cocktails
Listen to this week’s bonus episode recorded immediately after the first day of the Super 16 Mean Girls competition: College & Cocktails: Mean Girls
Cocktail of the Week:
Shiny New Program
New Season. New Team. New Drink
5 Golden Berries
.75 oz Honey Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Reposado Tequila
3 drops Jessica’s Emotions
5 Golden Berries
1.5 oz Honey Syrup
1.5 oz Lemon Juice
3 drops Jessica’s Emotions
Make Your Drink:
Muddle Golden Berries together with Honey Syrup. Add in lemon juice and a few drops of Jessica’s Emotions and tequila (if using). Shake to chill and double strain and serve “up” in glass of choice. For the alcohol free recipe, add a splash of seltzer at the end.
Stick the Landing:
Rim the glass with tajin and garnish with a few Golden Berries on a pick.
Entire Season Cocktail Menu Available Here (Thank You Linzerz!).
What? You want even more? Join Club Gym Nerd and you get a bonus episode, College & Cocktails, every Friday after our meet of the week. Once the NCAA season is over you continue to get a weekly bonus episode every Friday afternoon. Plus you get access to all of our archives, exclusive content and more. Then we give the sober analysis on Monday (or Tuesday) after we’ve allowed the data to penetrate our feelings.
This column was composed and compiled by Steve Cooper, Editor, GymCastic; as performed by hosts Jessica O’Beirne and Spencer Barnes.
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