JESSICA: This week, it’s all about the P&G Championships! Scott Bregman from USA Gymnastics joins us to tell us about the possibility of webcasting from worlds, Uncle Tim has hot new data rankings for us and Spanny and Lauren tell us all about being there at nationals.
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JESSICA: This is Episode 45 for August 20, 2013. I’m Jessica from Master’s Gymnastics
SPANNY: Spanny from Spanny’s Big Fake Smile
UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym
LAUREN: And I’m Lauren from thecouchgymnast.com
JESSICA: This is the number one gymnastics podcast in the world, bringing you the top news from around the gymternet. And this week, Scott Bregman, communications director for USAG and the man responsible for all the YouTube videos we’ve been watching, stops by to chat about championships.
JESSICA: Do you guys keep any data on how much time, how many routines you have uploaded? It just seems like there’s so much, you guys did way more than previous.
SCOTT: Yeah we actually [inaudible]. If you look at the end of each individual clip, we have 18 hours and 57 minutes and then if you add up the broadcast archives and the webcast archives, we have 53 hours and 52 minutes of that and I think about 40 hours of that total is from podium training. So all together its 72 hours and 49 minutes. Obviously you could watch three days of the P&G Championships if you wanted.
JESSICA: And that is exactly what I do want to do! This is so exciting! I love it!
SCOTT: Go right ahead!
JESSICA: This is what vacations are for. Did everything go the way you wanted it to with the coverage and everything? It looked like it went great!
SCOTT: Yeah you know obviously coming from the Secret Classic, it was such a different environment because that event is so much shorter and we have a little bit less of our staff there. Some of it can be sort of a scramble to get everything set up and all that stuff so quickly. We also had Jess [inaudible] come in this time and help us out with some stuff. And lots of people probably know her. She used to work for the ECV Olympics so she’s phenomenal and a dear friend of mine and a big help so there’s less that I have to worry about I guess. But yeah it went really well. It was so funny because the reason that it didn’t work at Classics, we have finally discovered it. The only thing we are working on is the ability to replay a floor routine with the music.
JESSICA: Yes, it was weird because sometimes it worked and it was perfect in the webcast portion. It was like there was an actual feed directly into the webcast and then it went away. And then it came back and went away.
SCOTT: Yeah I think there was, this is obviously a little bit of my bad, but I think we maybe need another staff person dedicated to mixing it more. Because we had someone trained to mix it but also to cue up the lower thirds and also do a couple of other things I think. So it’s just a matter of getting someone who’s maybe a little more dedicated that. But we were obviously aware of it but definitely want to make sure that we can get that. The other tricky part of course is that, unlike TV, we’re not holding the athletes. Whoever is going, as soon as the judges are ready, the judges control the event. Sometimes it was frustrating because we couldn’t see or hear in the background if someone was going. But I sort of, because I’m the one who’s calling where we go, I can tell the cameraman to keep recording a routine so we have it for the replay.I just feel like it’s more important to have, I’d rather have gymnastics knowledge than to sit around for whoever’s in second place to sit on the sidelines. You know what I mean?
JESSICA: Yes exactly! We’d rather watch gymnastics than watch someone put their grips on.
SCOTT: Right so that’s why there were lots of replays at the end of the rotation and stuff. I was following Twitter at one point and someone said no they’re not showing Laurie Hernandez on floor and I was like people please come on. I’m better than that.
JESSICA: That was seriously the best, best, best when she was on. I mean I was watching with my family and everyone was like oh my God, watch her! People were so excited so yes you know exactly what we want. If only you could have made them show Paul Ruggeri during the men’s NBC feed. I was like seriously?! He’s like the Laurie Hernandez of the men’s field as far as I’m concerned. Flashy, artistic.
SCOTT: That’s something I don’t control so you can’t blame that on me.
JESSICA: Well I tweeted them all over the place so yes I cannot blame it on you! So yes if only. They should really just put you in charge of everything, I’m just saying.
SCOTT: [LAUGHS] No I can’t be in charge of anything else!
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] It’s enough right now! Well, we are stoked about how it went. Who do you think they should put on the team now that Leyva is out?
SCOTT: I’m sure that any of the guys would be a very fitting replacement for Danell.
JESSICA: SO diplomatic. So diplomatic.
SCOTT: I mean if you want me to keep my job….
JESSICA: [LAUGHS]I do. Okay. What about, can you say who you would love to see on the women’s world team? You have to be diplomatic about that too.
SCOTT: You know, I think with the women’s world team, the three of them are pretty clear cut for Simone, Kyla, and McKayla. They’re the only three that won titles at the P&G Championships. So obviously those three and then the fourth, I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision for sure.
JESSICA: That is going to be tough. We just have to make it back to more athletes. I can’t stand this only four, five, six. Too few. Six is the minimum. So you guys have done a really amazing job upping your coverage in the last year with webcasts and the routines going on YouTube. Of course you guys were trending on Twitter , which I don’t know if that has ever happened, maybe at the Olympics, Gabby trended or something. It was really exciting. I just wanted to know if you guys had any plans to do the same kind of thing at Worlds this year? I mean there’s been years when we haven’t even had Worlds on TV. I just want to know if you can talk about what kind of rights you have maybe?
SCOTT: We actually trended for a bit during the American Cup broadcast, and it was the number one thing that AT&T was interested in. And when it happened the first time, there was a little bit of pressure to make it happen again. And unfortunately I don’t have that kind of power. And for the P&G Championships, it was big for Procter and Gamble, it’s good for the sport. You’ve talked about, they support us and they make the fact that I have a job to make some great content for the fans possible so yeah that was super exciting. We own the US rights for all the World Championships so rhythmic, trampoline and artistic this year. But there will be some coverage from rhythmic worlds at some level and like I said, we’re getting all those details worked out. It was really exciting because on, I guess Wednesday, I got an email from someone at the FIG who works with their broadcast rights and he was like oh we were just watching the podium training feed. That looks incredible! Can you help us out with how you set that up? So I haven’t been able to get back to them or whatever but it sounds like they’re really interested. I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up but it looks like they’re interested in setting up some more content of their own.
SCOTT: At the very least, it’s obviously going to be, well we have to show something of it, but it’s going to be on NBC, I think a week after. Again, we’re shooting to webcast that competition live if possible. And then, we’ll be able to, for the first time, shoot prelims routines.
JESSICA: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh that’s so exciting!
SCOTT: Yeah there’s so many variables. And obviously it would be geo-blocked to US computers only because that’s what we own the rights for. You know, if we can do something live in prelims, we’ll try. But we’ll definitely be posting all of the American routines. I don’t have too many specifics except we want to do a lot of live stuff and give everyone what they want. That’s what I’m all about!
UNCLE TIM: Jess, there were some rumors floating around during nationals. Can we confirm any of these? For instance, anything regarding Jordyn or Jenni Pinches?
JESSICA: Yes! There’s some things we can confirm. We can confirm that Jordyn and Jenni Pinches will be starting this fall at UCLA! I’m so excited! I just love that Jenni Pinches is going to be there with Sam and Peng Peng and Jordyn’s going to be there. I don’t know what I’m more excited about, the gymnastics or those personalities all together. It’s going to be amazing!
UNCLE TIM: You can confirm that Jordyn Wieber will not be on the UCLA team right? She doesn’t have eligibility.
JESSICA: Exactly. She is a team manager. There’s no confirmation yet about where she will be training.
UNCLE TIM: So Jess, there’s also another rumor going around nationals and it comes from International Gymnast, our New York Times of gymnastics if you will. It’s related to Gabby and the fact that Chow is no longer going to be her coach. Have you heard anything about this?
JESSICA: I’ve heard a lot about this and there is no confirmation that anything is changing with Gabby. There were pictures going around of her training in the LA area. But I’m assuming when something changes, it will come from the Gabby camp and she will make an official announcement. So we will just keep our eye out for that.
UNCLE TIM: And while we are on the topic of Gabby, we have to speak with Spanny. And tell us about this Gabby movie that’s coming out Spanny.
SPANNY: All I know is that they are casting out of New Orleans for a young Gabby Douglas type. Actually, it’s going to be a biopic so they are looking for an African American actress with a gymnastics background.
UNCLE TIM: Dominique Dawes!
SPANNY: [LAUGHS] Yes! I did a little snooping on the director and it’s not promising. I want to say it will go direct-to-Lifetime which means I’ll actually probably love it. Also the casting is part of an expo which immediately sent off every warning bell I had because that’s never promising if you’re going to charge all the kids to come and audition for you and then like surprise the movie doesn’t exist or something like that.
JESSICA: Eh that’s a bummer. It could potentially, if it actually happens, it could be the best Spanny Tampson recap ever in the history. It sounds really bad.
SPANNY: Well Lauren and I have already offered to write for the film, we’re just going to submit…
LAUREN: We wrote part of it already!
SPANNY: Yeah it’s pretty much already done! It needs a little bit of tidying up but yeah we’re basically going to write it.
JESSICA: So the one other rumor I’ve already heard, since we’re on that, although that is not a rumor, that is confirmed that they are casting, although if that money has any backing. Ugh if that money has any backing? If that movie has any backing and money will remain to be seen. Word on the street is that Martha has laid the smack down on the unprofessional bedhead nonsense. So no more messy hair and of course, we saw that at the meet this weekend. Everyone’s hair was fantastic, neat and tidy, tied back. Rejoice, gymternet, our prayers have been answered. I’m sure that Martha heard about them from the podcast and that’s why she changed this rule.
UNCLE TIM: She reads Spanny Tampson.
SPANNY: I know I was going to say, this is all thanks to me.
JESSICA: So you guys were there, looking at everyone’s fantastic hair. On TV, I couldn’t tell if little Sydney Johnson-Scharpf was actually wearing beads in her hair or if she was wearing little colored…I don’t know. It looked like beads on TV. I mean it seems like a very risky move, beads. They could cause injuries. They could fly out, crack something. What do you think?
LAUREN: I think it was rubber bands. I love the way that they do her hair. It’s adorable. But I think they were the little rubber bands they use for like yeah.
LAUREN: Yeah that’s what it looked like.
JESSICA: Oh speaking of braces, oh my God. There was one girl. I can’t remember who it was. So unfortunate that no one monitored this before she was on television. She had black braces rubber bands in so on TV when she smiled, it made it look like there were giant gaps on both sides of her teeth. So unfortunate. So you guys, I would just like you all to remember before you go on TV, there are many rules, the Gymcastic rules of fashion. You look at the leotard from far away. You look at the leotard with a bright light shining on it to see if it’s totally see through. You make sure you don’t have things in your mouth to make it look like you’re missing multiple teeth. And then you have to do things in your leotard to make sure it doesn’t ride up all the way to the back of your back and give you a wedgie as big as China. What are they called again?
SPANNY: A smudgy? A smudgy is better.
UNCLE TIM: This week’s recap is sponsored by TumblTrak. As I was watching the P&G Championships, I noticed that a lot of girls were cheating their dance elements on floor. The tour jete full was a particularly tricky skill which got me thinking about how to fix this problem. And Jess do you know what that made me think of?
UNCLE TIM: Well TumblTrak duh!
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] I was going to say the laser beam but wait I don’t know how that applies at all.
UNCLE TIM: Actually it is the laser beam!
JESSICA: Oooh! It’s my favorite new thing.
UNCLE TIM: I know. So you know how they put lines on everything which is perfect for solving this problem. Personally, I’d make the girls do the tour jete full on the laser beam so that they practice taking off with their foot, hips, and shoulders square. And doing the skill on the beam would also assure that they don’t cheat their landings. You know right away if you’re not square on the balance beam. Plus the color lines would help the gymnast spot the landing a little bit sooner. So I think it would be a good way to fix the tour jete fulls that we’ve been seeing. Oh and one more thing. Since it’s cushy and it’s a floor beam, you don’t have to worry about their ankles. You don’t have to worry about ankle injuries, which is awesome. So head over to tumbltrak.com, buy a laser beam and fix those leaps today. That’s tumbltrak.com.
JESSICA: Alright, let’s talk about championships. Uncle Tim, let’s start with the junior women’s meet. Tell us about the winners and some of the data that you have unearthed.
UNCLE TIM: Alright, to start with the winners. We have Bailie Key came in first in the all-around with a 118.550. Second was Laurie Hernandez and third was Amelia Hundley. First on vault was Ariana Agrapides who threw two double twisting Yurchenkos. First on bars was Amelia Hundley and first on beam and floor was Bailie Key. As you look at the all-around scores, when I combined the junior and senior results and the top five would be Simone Biles, Kyla Ross, then Bailie Key the junior, then Laurie Hernandez, also the junior and in fifth would be Brenna Dowell.
JESSICA: This is the thing I’ve been thinking the whole time I was watching this meet and I was seeing how far Bailie Key was ahead of everybody else. So why was she so dominant? Was it because her start values on every event were higher? Was her start value on one event way higher than everyone else or is it that her execution so much better? Is she like a McCool with double flips?
UNCLE TIM: Well part of the reason she was really successful is her biggest competition has moved onto the seniors. In 2012, Bailie was 4th behind Lexie Priessman, Madison Desch, and Simone Biles who are all seniors now. But she also has a decent amount of difficulty. Her total D score on the second night of competition was a 23.7. That’s only .8 behind Simone Biles who had a 24.5. She also is, of all the US gymnasts, juniors and seniors, she also has the highest D score on beam. Hers starts out at a 16.5. Honestly, she’s not that exciting to watch.
JESSICA: You can say that again.
UNCLE TIM: She’s not like Larisa Iordache who does two fulls on beam. She gets a lot of her D score from connections, things like an aerial front walk over to a jump. You get .1 of connection bonus there. Or she also does a switch leap to a switch leap half. Yeah, nothing really too too exciting.
JESSICA: I love your data. I think it’s really hot, like really sexy. You do all these charts and data and stuff. It’s like ahhh data. Gymnastics data. I mean ahhh. Ok. Let’s talk about, I mean really, that’s how I feel about data. It’s my favorite thing especially when I don’t have to come up with it, when someone else will do it. So Lauren, let’s talk about the impressions you got from the top 3 girls. Being there live and seeing them compete, what did you think?
LAUREN: Well first of all, let’s talk about how Bailie and Laurie are literally polar opposites. I think I brought up Black Swan last week and I’m going to do it again. Because in the movie Black Swan, there’s the Natalie Portman character and the Mila Kunis character and that’s basically Bailie and Laurie. Because you have the one that’s technically perfect, like does everything the way she’s supposed to do it, has been carefully trained and always performs the way she’s been trained. But then you have the other one who’s a little more wild. She might throw away some form because her mind is on wanting to please the crowd and that’s Laurie. It’s interesting because obviously in gymnastics, technically perfect is going to win, but because execution matters. So like on floor, I think everyone knows when they watch, I mean it’s opinion but the better floor routine between Bailie and Laurie is probably Laurie for most people. But Bailie won floor because her landings are clean, her leaps are amazing. Her floor routine has grown on me but you don’t really want to watch it. I’ll watch it now and be like oh okay that’s some really good tumbling but I’m not thrilled by it. And that’s how I think a lot of people are. Whereas Laurie, the crowd from the beginning, they don’t start going crazy until she finishes her second pass and starts dancing. It’s not even the tumbling so much that people are jumping out of their skin about, when the music change comes in and the crowd is like oh my God this kid is incredible. She’s not tumbling, she’s performing. They’re both exciting because they can both offer something. Bailie can offer technical perfection and Laurie can offer huge performance value. And then Amelia can in third, Amelia Hundley. I was thinking this for a couple of years that she was going to be the Aly of this quad, the Aly Raisman. I continue to think that just because she’s never going to be one of the top girls. She’s always going to be like third, fourth, fifth place in the all-around because everyone is going to come in. this is her last junior year and you would think she might have a chance and winning the title but not when younger girls are coming up with bigger skills. She’s always going to be there. She’s always going to be solid. She’s always going to have something to offer. She won gold on bars. She told me she was completely shocked because she’s always been told she’s not good at bars.
LAUREN: Yeah. She was laughing but I was happy for her. She said it’s never been my event. To win gold on bars is a big thing for her. Her bars are like everything else she does, they’re just solid. You can count on them. Aly’s were never great but you could count on them in a world team final or Olympic team final if you needed them.
JESSICA: I was totally shocked when she fell on beam. I was like what?! And then the second day, she looked pissed. She looked so mad and I was like oh this is why she’s a good competitor.
LAUREN: I was doing this for fun but I was looking at scores from 2009 to compare them to this year to be like oh ok McKayla came in 27th in 2009 so who came in 27th this year? Who’s going to win gold on vault….well McKayla didn’t win gold on vault. Who’s going to have the best Amanar in the future? It was Lauren Farley so that was way off but….because she’s doing a Yurchenko layout.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Well you never know.
LAUREN: But Aly came in third in 2009 and Amelia came in third this year so my theory is correct if we go based on if this quad happens exactly like the last quad which is possible.
JESSICA: So let’s talk about some of the standout skills and some of the standout vaults that happened. Spanny, how about for you? Agrapides?
SPANNY: Yes, thank you. I was sitting right in front of vault. I was right there. I’ve never in my life, so Kyla’s got a beautiful double twisting Yurchenko but this girl somehow gets like a lift on the second twist. I’ve never seen anything like it. The way that some men when they tumble, when they do a twist on their double layout, they get some lift on that second, you know the last half of the skill, that’s what her vault looks like. It looks like she’s actually still going higher when she’s finishing the twist. Yeah, I’d never heard of her before. I didn’t know who she was other than she was Laurie’s teammate and she vaulted and everybody basically died because it was incredible. Ok, Kennedy Baker, her Patterson, I’m going to put it out there, it’s better than Carly’s.
JESSICA: Shut up!
SPANNY: No no no no. You watch it, and I thought it was a double back at first. It’s so open and so easy that you don’t realize that that’s what she just did.
JESSICA: Wow. I mean it looked really good. Better than Carly Patterson is like….We need these side by side comparisons on every event, not just on Maroney’s vault a thousand times in a row.
SPANNY: Oh I know. Also on beam, Nia Dennis, her Arabian. I missed it during prelims because I was watching Emily Gaskins on floor. I was like oh I’ll just turn and watch beam now and I missed her Arabian. But I did catch it in finals as advertised. Again, incredible skill that just looks way way way way too easy. If you’re used to watching these Arabians too, the girls, they thud the beam as hard as they can. And they look like they’re getting into their chest cavities with their knees and it’s awful. Hers, it just looks like, oh okay here it goes. Yeah it was pretty incredible. Also her releases on bars, they’re a lot like Gabby’s. The whole crowd gasps.
SPANNY: I don’t know if this is something that translates on TV, but in person when you compare it, relative to the other releases, especially with the juniors, the amplitude is indescribable. Yeah, she’s very exciting to watch. And because I mentioned her, Emily Gaskins on floor.
JESSICA: I love her! I love her so much! I can’t even. Oh my God! It’s like if Podkopayeva and Mo Huilan had a baby. I love her. Oh my God.
SPANNY: I don’t understand where she came from. I remember. I was watching. She hit her pose and I looked at her foot. Her foot was so pointed and I was like this is not a Mary Lee girl. What? What is this? And then her whole routine, that’s what I thought. What am I watching right now? This is incredible. I was so entranced with her routine that I was not paying attention to Nia Dennis on beam and I wanted to stab my eyeballs out. And so of course I had to go online and stalk Emily Gaskins basically. I think she was a level 9 like a year ago. She made some incredible jump and now she’s at Mary Lee’s.
JESSICA: She’s just the greatest gift to gymnastics. Her and Laurie Hernandez, they just have it. And they perform it. Oh my God, did you see the Gaskins smile at the judges on beam?
SPANNY: No I’ll have to go back and look.
JESSICA: People barely do that in college. Are you kidding me? She’s a junior elite. Shut up! Oh I died. I died when she did that.
SPANNY: Yeah I like her quite a bit. And of course, Norah Flatley, the much spoken about, her connection on beam, which she did hit in warm-ups. Maybe Lauren caught it more than I did. She did hit it once or twice.
LAUREN: Yeah there’s always like one break where either she wobbles or something or she maybe gets nervous and she has like a spot like after the front aerial where she can throw in choreo if she needs it. I think on day 1, she did this front aerial, front aerial, side aerial then choreo then switch to back. But on day 2, she wobbled after the second front aerial so then she did the side aerial switch to back pike all in one connection. Right now, there’s always one little break, whether intentional or not but I think that would be the coolest connection in recent gym memory.
SPANNY: Oh yeah!
JESSICA: She did it in Beyond the Routine. She was totally making it or at least the way they cut made it look like she was making it. Yeah, first year. She’ll totally have it. That kid’s money. I have to, before I forget. Mo Huilan just jumped into my head because Uncle Tim reminded me that Emily Gaskins’ ending pose is almost like Mo Huilan’s from, it’s not the typewriter routine, it’s the other routine she did. Did anybody else notice that?
UNCLE TIM: (laughs) The 1996 Chicken Dance.
JESSICA: The Chicken Dance!
SPANNY: Isn’t that also the same ending pose Jiang Yuyuan, if I’m saying that right? She also does that pose right? I’m not like trying to say that all the Chinese girls do the same thing.
JESSICA: No it might be though because it is very Chinese opera. It might be some other French ballet too. I don’t know those. I only know Chinese gymnastics so I’m going to go with that. But yes, I didn’t want to give myself all the credit for coming up with that. But I think it’s fabulous. And I think if it is an ode to the great Mo Huilan, then even better. So Spanny, let’s talk about the behind the scenes. People loved your report from the bar at nationals. So you guys can read it on the site if you haven’t read it yet. Definitely check it out. So tell us about meeting Laurie’s folks and hanging out with the Olympians at the meet.
SPANNY: Just after the meet, the meet went on so late. I’m old. I can’t stay up that late. I was waiting for one Lauren Hopkins in the hotel bar after the meet. I actually happened to be sitting right next to Laurie and her folks. Earlier in the day, Laurie, I saw her down in the lobby being mobbed, just mobbed by children. The host hotel was connected to the arena and apparently word got out and every single gymnast and their mother was in the lobby waiting for autographs. Yeah so I was sitting next to them and I mentioned that I was surprised you’re not being mobbed right now. She laughed and said I don’t know if she’s hiding. But we got to talking and I introduced myself and I mentioned the podcast and I was super excited because as you know, Laurie was on the show and they were very happy about it. What was interesting though was I did mention to her, you know they showed you on NBC tonight. And the whole family got really excited and her dad pulled up a video of the NBC clip of her on floor. Which luckily they couldn’t hear it. They kept saying do you have headphones so we can hear it. Maybe it’s a good thing that her dad wasn’t there to hear it because Tim Daggett, my new best friend made some very inappropriate comments. They could hear that someone had texted them saying that Nastia had said she was one of the best dancers in the world. Something like that.They were really really excited about that which is adorable. Because you forget how young these girls are. If you’re 12 or 13, yeah Nastia probably is a god and you know, good for them.
JESSICA: Yeah and I’m totally shocked at what Tim said. He said, what did he say. He said for all you gym dads out there, she’s only 13 and she dances like this. My entire family, because I’m watching with my family, everybody looked at each other like did he really just say that? Like what just happened right there? I was totally shocked. That’s so out of character for him. And I don’t think he meant it the way it came out. It was very out of character for him.
SPANNY: Yeah so I was a little grateful that I was not there to witness the moment her dad really does hear that. Because I can’t imagine any father of a teenaged girl would be happy about that comment. And we spoke a little about that too. Her mother said you put on music and her booty starts popping.
SPANNY: We both agreed that there’s nothing in her routine that’s suggestive or inappropriate.
SPANNY: And you know how critical I am of a lot of things. Never for a second do I watch her routine and think anything that…I don’t know. I don’t’ understand where people get that.
JESSICA: No Maroney’s routine is way more suggestive and way less successful at it at the same time.
SPANNY: Yeah so I had a unique experience. I got to sit up at the top of the arena with all of the parents, the men gymnasts, and Carly and the other athletes that I suppose were up there to kind of keep away from the crowd. There were a couple of things though. And this stood out to me the most. So obviously the Raismans, Aly’s mom and dad became famous and viral because of the way they watch meets, the way they watched Aly in London. So Aly’s dad cheers that way for every single girl. for Erin Macadaeg, he’s going stick it, stick it, keep it, go! He’s like Bela but for every girl and that was the most heartwarming thing I think I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t really as obnoxious as it seemed on TV. They really did cheer for every girl. Even Kyla’s family was cheering for Simone. It was touching. I don’t know. Maybe I just watch too many movies or too much Make it or Break It where all the parents are cat fighting and going to attack each other. It was like the friendliest thing I’ve ever seen. I had a cool shirt that I made myself and got lots of compliments on it so we should probably make them.
JESSICA: Yes we need to. We’ve had many shirt requests now. I really need to get on that.
SPANNY: I had our names on the front and I had Spanny on the back and I kept running into Mary Lee up in the lobby. She was like lurking in front of the restaurant every single time I went down there so I would hug up against the wall with my back to the wall so she would run away. She’s bigger in person….no I mean like she’s tall. She reminds me of Sue Sylvester basically because she’s always wearing her warm ups. I never saw her in people clothes.
JESSICA: Sue Sylvester, oh that’s the best.
JESSICA: Let’s move on to the seniors. Oh just a little update. So Laurie Hernandez and Bailie Key got an assignment so they are going to Japan at the end of September.I can’t wait to see them compete there and I can’t wait for them to go to Japan. Bailie’s already been oh my God Japan is going to love them. The two of them together, little black swan, oh my God, they’re going to love them. It’s the best combo. So let’s move on to the senior women. Uncle Tim, give us the breakdown.
UNCLE TIM: First in the all-around was Simone Biles with a two-day total of 120.450. Two tenths behind her was Kyla Ross and then Brenna Dowell was in third behind her with a 116.550. On the events, McKayla Maroney came in first on vault. Kyla Ross came in first on bars and beam and also McKayla Maroney won floor. There were some complaints though about the scores that some of these gymnasts got. On the second day, McKayla Maroney got a 9.7 in execution on vault. Kyla got a 9.250 on beam with a huge wobble. And McKayla Maroney got a 9.150 on floor and as a result, she now has a 15.250 which is the highest score in the world right now. Lauren, did you think there was some home judging going on?
LAUREN: I do and for the most part I didn’t. For the most part, bars especially, they were really taking, I think it was Chellsie Memmel was on top of things. They were going for everything that you want them to go for on bars but at home they usually don’t, except for Simone. I don’t know what the judges were on on the second night of competition on bars because Simone went into a dead hang and the whole routine was just a mess and she got like an 8.1 execution. Someone compared her routine from day 2 nationals to Brenna Dowell’s Classics routine. And Brenna Dowell got like a 7 execution on bars at Classics and her routine was a little bit better than Simone’s day 2 bars routine. There were a couple of instances like that where I was like you’ve been so good this whole weekend and now all of a sudden, you’re giving out an 8.1 execution for a routine that should come nowhere near that. So that was a big one to me. McKayla’s vault definitely, I mean it was big and clean in the air but it wasn’t a 9.7 execution. Kyla on beam with the wobble, I almost felt like they knew what she needed to beat Simone and they were trying their best to give it to her and still they were like, I guess this is the highest we can get away with without causing suspicion. But a 9.25 caused a lot of suspicion from pretty much everyone watching because that was not her best routine. And yeah I think McKayla on floor was another one. She could do well with that internationally. I don’t think it was a 15.25. Maybe it was her double layout was okay but she hopped out of two of her other passes. I don’t remember. But it was not the cleanest in terms of landings and even after the competition, she said she still has a lot to clean up even if that was her best floor routine since coming back. She said there’s still definitely a lot of work to be done. And she also needs to add a stag after the double Arabian to help boost the difficulty. So yeah there were some routines that stand out as being a little bit over scored.
UNCLE TIM: A follow up question: so McKayla got a 9.7 on her Amanar. Then at the University Games, both Russians on their Amanars got 9.150s in execution. So if they got that, would you say that McKayla Maroney’s 9.7 was fair compared to their 9.150 vaults?
LAUREN: Yeah like 1000% because their 9.50 vaults, I mean I’ve seen Maria Paseka vault like a million times and I watch it and I think how do judges not freak out when they see this? They’re rewarding it. I’m screaming at the computer. So I think if they’re giving Russians anything above a 9, that’s really way too nice. So McKayla’s 9.7 is especially as, I would say more deserved, than the Russians’ 9s.
UNCLE TIM: Comparatively speaking
LAUREN: Yeah comparatively speaking. I don’t know. I think that was one of her better Amanars but she got what, a 9.65 at the Olympics and that one was stuck and looked similar in the air. So I think it was a little bit of overkill. The crowd went crazy. They really wanted to see it. John MacReady at the beginning of every competition says if you see a 16, you know it’s going to be huge. I feel like they gave it to her just to give her the 16 and have the crowd freak out because they did. Not a lot of scores get applause and that was one of them. So did Ariana Agrapides’ double.
SPANNY: She got a 9.6 execution right?
LAUREN: Yeah she got a 9.6. And the crowd, well there were a lot of Jersey peeps in the crowd, and they were all like dying whenever the MG Elite girls did anything. But when her score came up, there was like a rave going on. She had her glow sticks.
SPANNY: [LAUGHS] She had her glow sticks.
JESSICA: No for real, she had glow sticks?
LAUREN: No I wish!
SPANNY: She had the glow necklaces or whatever.
LAUREN: Oh she did?
SPANNY: Yeah and the Raismans did also.
JESSICA: I can so see Tarynn leading a rave. Now MacReady, if you’re listening to this, please go pick her out so she can lead a rave. Oh God, that kid.
SPANNY: Obviously they didn’t show this on the broadcast, but seeing how MacReady does all these little dumb games between the rotations. They did one where two gym dads and their two little girls have to go up and down the vault runway doing dumb stuff. And but it’s a race. And these two dads were so desperate, they just bowled into John MacReady and he went flying. It was like the highlight of the meet. He just did what everyone has wanted to do for years, just knock him down. It was like a Weeble Wobble.
JESSICA: Last week, we talked about some skill upgrades that we were expecting to see. We talked about Kyla Ross. We thought she was going to upgrade on beam and bars and she didn’t do either. We talked about Priessman possibly doing an upgrade on floor before she got hurt. Did we see that in podium training before she was injured?
LAUREN: She didn’t do podium training. She did the non media podium training and the only thing they showed on video was her Amanar which was amazing.
JESSICA: And she’s actually withdrawn from the selection camp so it sounds like it’s pretty serious. That’s such a bummer. Or it’s either really serious or she’s being really smart and doesn’t want to go all the way to worlds and then blow out her Achilles. So Uncle Tim, let’s talk about last week how you secretly want Skinner to show up and blow us away and have perfect execution. And something crazy happened but it wasn’t that.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah so it was not that. She did not just have suddenly perfect form and got 10.0 execution. But she did improve her all-around score from Classics to day 2 of nationals by 4.7 points. That’s the best improvement of anyone. Yeah, 4.7 points which is kind of crazy. And Lauren, I know that you had the opportunity to interview her. What were your interviews like?
LAUREN: Well I wanted to talk to her about why she does difficulty when it’s such a risk and she knows that it’s such a risk based from experience and I was surprised. She comes off as very not arrogant, but overly confident online. She calls her double double layout the Skinner, stuff like that. She’s actually a very self-deprecating kid. She talks about walking into the gym and tripping over mats. She does a thing where she’ll hit most of her skills most of the time and that she’s almost like shocked when she does. So I thought that was really interesting. And I think she does the big, difficult things because she likes throwing crazy, difficult things. She seems almost shocked when she had such a good day on day 2. She did take a lot out of her beam. On day 1, she tried to go for the double wolf turn and she made it 1.5 way around and then fell off backwards. Which if you haven’t seen it, it’s literally the funniest fall I’ve seen in recent years. I think we were watching it at the hotel because it was funny. She didn’t get hurt. It’s just a good, clean fall. She did downgrade a lot of her harder stuff on beam probably because she realized she needed to if she wanted to make the national team. I mean her floor on day 2, she stuck every pass, looked almost shocked when she stuck the double twisting double layout. Her face was like oh my God! I literally screamed when she did that because it was insane to see. It was a bit pikey and her leaps aren’t perfect but with a floor routine like that, how can you be picky because I was telling myself I almost was picky with it doing quick hits. But then I was like that was an amazing routine just because she responded well to the crowd. They were clapping along. She has this bright smile on her face the whole time. You knew she was going to get through that routine because she just had the crowd support and it was completely building her through the whole thing. Her bars are still messy, her beam’s not as clean as it should be. Her vaults are still scary but she made it through everything I think really well. It’s funny on vault because she probably hears everyone saying you’re going to get extra points off if you don’t touch the vault. It almost looks like she’s touching only to be like look at me, I touched. Now you have to give me the points because she’s not pushing at all.
JESSICA: It’s like a fingernail scrape.
LAUREN: It is. It’s like her fingertips touch or something. She thinks that’s enough but I don’t know. I like her a lot. You know in talking to her and seeing her struggle so much at Classics and day 1 and then seeing that transition on day 2 where she just was confident in herself and hit everything. I’m a fan. I’m still scared for her and I still have my issues with some of her form but I think anyone who does a floor routine finishing with a 2.5 front full, you know that’s a first pass for most of the juniors. So she gets an A+ from me for effort.
SPANNY: It was such a special moment too. In the arena watching that routine, everybody was like oh she stuck the first pass and then every pass went on and she stuck another one and she stuck another one, the momentum was building and everybody I saw was really into it.
LAUREN: Yeah I almost cried to be honest. I had like tears in my eyes during that routine.
SPANNY: Yeah it was special. I feel like there were a couple of different moments throughout the weekend where everybody just kind of stopped and watched. Laurie’s floor was one where everybody just stopped what they were doing and this was another one. I’m not comparing the two floor routines but this was another time where everybody was interested in what was going on. It was palpable I guess in a good way.
LAUREN: Right and the seniors went one at a time and there were routines where you would get up and go and get a snack or something. This was a routine where everyone was glued to the floor. They were into it. They were clapping along. They were rooting for this kid and she was feeding off of that amazingly well. Everything came together. It was incredible to see.
SPANNY: Someone pointed this out online in the USAG, the YouTube video of her routine after she sticks the first pass, I think its Sam Mikulak is in the background and I think you can see his face and he’s like oh holy crap. There was just a lot of respect I think for that routine.
JESSICA: It’s so great to hear about this especially from people who were actually there because everyone I have talked to has talked about this routine, like a transcendent sports moment. So the one person that did upgrade that we weren’t expecting was Peyton who, Peyton Ernst from Texas Dreams and she upgraded on both bars and on floor. What did she do?
LAUREN: On floor she was training a double layout in warm ups, that was the first time I noticed it. And she took out the double pike. So now I think double layout, double arabian, 1 1/2 to rudi, and then double back. So the double layout is her first skills. It looks really good. It looked good in warm ups and then she hit it great both nights in competition, so that was awesome. What I did not see warm ups so I freaked out when I saw it in competition was the pak to stalder full, which on day 1 of competition I was watching I knew she had a pak and I knew she went back to the high bar, and she did a stalder out of it and I freaked out so I didn’t see what came after the stalder. So I watched specifically on day 2 and it was a stalder 1/1 and I literally just like screamed because that was the coolest upgrade I think I’ve seen probably in like the past year. Because no one connects things out of a pak. It’s like, I think Kyla we were talking about last week was supposed to connect her pak to a stalder, but seeing it from Peyton who’s not known to be the best bars gymnast, it was just cool to see that added awesome skill that we never see. Especially from an American. So yeah she had some cool ones.
JESSICA: And Uncle Tim, how did- can you lay some of your sexy data on us right now…
JESSICA: …and talk about upgrades since Classics?
UNCLE TIM: Whenever you say that I think of the song “You Think My Tractor’s Sexy” the country song. Anyway.
JESSICA: I’ll have to find this now for the outro
UNCLE TIM: Anyway. So Kyla Ross upgraded from Classics to day 2 of Nationals on beam. She had a 5.7 difficulty score on beam at Classics, and then a 6.0 difficulty score on day 2. She took out her switch half and added a switch ring. And she also added a switch leap to a back tuck on day 2. And the switch leap to back tuck is nothing really new for her, it was just added back into the routine.
JESSICA: Oh and wait I just have to interrupt for a moment here and declare the new rule that you should have two points off any time you don’t point your back freaking foot on a switch half. That’s new rule. There I’ve said it. Ok carry on.
UNCLE TIM: And also McKayla Maroney on floor ex. She upgraded from a 5.8 difficulty score at Classics to a 6.1 difficulty score on both days at Nationals. And I think most of that came from changing her 2.5 to front layout to a 2.5 to front full. Then there were also some significant downgrades since Classics. Skinner on balance beam, she had a 6.2 at Classics and she downgraded to a 5.6. And there were a lot of changes in the routine, but for instance she took out here wolf turn 1.5 on the second day of Championships. And she added a simple full turn. She also took out her back handspring stepout arabian. She left in the back handspring stepout full. And she also took out, at Classics she attempted to do an aerial cartwheel into a standing layout stepout for some reason, and she took out the layout stepout and replaced it with a sissone jump.
JESSICA: I’m kind of glad she took out her wolf turn. Because we’ve already decided if people don’t do it like Biles or like
LAUREN: Or Baker
JESSICA: Or yeah, then pftt they’re fired. They shouldn’t do it. That’s another-
LAUREN: Baker does two by the way, back to back. She does a triple then a double back to back. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.
UNCLE TIM: Lauren I think you also noted Biles had some downgrades?
LAUREN: The double layout half out is gone. She’s just doing the double layout. And the half out looked amazing at Classics both in warm ups and in competition. But I think maybe doing something like that is what freaked her out for the rest of her routine. So that’s probably the reasoning for that. But that’s an awesome skill so hopefully she can get it perfected.
JESSICA: And she can throw that in in finals at Worlds,
JESSICA: That’s how she’ll win her floor title. Just saying.
JESSICA: So for each of you, I would like to know- now that the meet is over and we’ve seen the two major meets for the US, we now know what the new trends are and we now know therefore what the code whoring trends are. So I would like to know what you think is a step in the right direction in terms of the code, something we’re seeing often and you like it, it’s going the right way. And something that makes you want to throw chalk into your eyes until you blind yourself. Spanny?
SPANNY: We’ll start with the positive. I know that the new side choreography is a new thing in the code. Or if it’s new, I don’t know, whatever. But you know, I felt like I saw a little more choreography on beam, both with like mount sequences and parts inside the routine, the internal part of the routine. Again I don’t know how much of that is part of the code, but it was there and I’ll take it. Of course, the code whore department was awful wolf turns. I’m sorry, you mentioned Kennedy Baker. I mean they’re lovely. There are a lot of them. I’m pretty sure every single girl does one. And when you have to do a triple and a double back to back, that’s a lot of spinning in the same position. And it’s not really a position to be in.
JESSICA: No. Only Victoria Moors is allowed to do it. That’s the rule.
SPANNY: Yeah. And I think Gabby’s mom Natalie kept calling them the can opener spin or something.
SPANNY: Yes that’s the actual term.
JESSICA: Lauren how about for you?
LAUREN: Positive, I don’t know. I can’t really think of any that sticks out as me being like oh my gosh thank god for this change. Many of the changes I’ve seen have been ok. There’s nothing that’s thrilling me yet. I kind of like that the amanar has been downgraded, she because with that it’s not a huge difference and Maroney still got a 16. But for all-arounders doing the amanar those two tenths where they’re gone I guess make it a tiny more fair. Not really. I’m just against the whole one event should decide the all around thing. Any step in that direction is something I like so I’m going with that. I don’t even know if this is really code whoring, but I feel like we didn’t see that many van leeuwen’s, which are the toe-on shaposh halfs, last year. Maybe I didn’t notice them. But this year every single junior and senior is doing them, and only like three of them are actually clean. Everyone else is a mess. Hundley has a beautiful one sometimes. I’m going to keep her in there because for the most part she’s ok. Kocian and Ross are the only ones that are there like all the time. So unless you’re doing them like Madison Kocian or Kyla Ross, just do not do it. Stick to the Maloney. Even with the Maloney, there’s trouble. Like leg separation all over the place.
JESSICA: Uncle Tim how about for you?
UNCLE TIM: Well I think on balance beam, the thing that I really enjoy is the fact that we no longer have to see the aerial front walkover to back handspring step out layout step out. The rule that they’re trying to encourage direct connections on balance beam has been good in that sense. I don’t know that we’ve totally seen it yet, because we’ve seen a lot of the aerial front walkover, hesitation, aerial front walkover into an aerial cartwheel or something. And I don’t think they’ve figured out exactly what a direct connection is yet and how to define it. The skill that, it’s not necessarily code whoring, but the skill that I cannot stand is the Ferrari on floor. It’s pretty much the new Memmel turn. It’s a split leap to full turn to ring position. Kyla Ross, not Kyla Ross, McKayla Maroney does it among other gymnasts and I’m just sick of it. I’d rather eat chalk than watch that skill. And chalk tastes terrible. So that’s what I’m going to say. What about you Jess?
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] I love that you know how chalk tastes. Like a lot of it or just how it falls on you after you ping off the bar and you’re laying underneath and it gets in your eyes?
UNCLE TIM: I lost a bet once and I had to take a giant bite out of a chalk cube once and it was disgusting. It dries out your mouth too. It’s the worst.
JESSICA: Oh that sucks. Ok well that’s good to know about you. Something new. Ok. So I’m already tired of seeing the back handspring back handspring to two-foot layout on beam, which is a B + B + E so only 1 point of connection bonus. Seriously? I mean I love that it’s encouraging doing multiple skills because two in a row is totally lame unless one of them is an arabian or a full. So I like the direction that that’s going. But seriously, I mean, totally boring. Unless the layout is a full or something else like, snore. I really think, I like the direction that beam is going the most, and I like how they’re trying to encourage artistry again. I just feel like why can’t we go back to the rule that used to be you could not stop before a skill. Period. Like if you were going for your dismount, you couldn’t stop, put your hands in the air, thrust your hips forward, take a deep breath, and then go. You had to actually dance into it without stopping and immediately go. Why can’t we go back to that? What’s the problem with that? I don’t think the skills are so hard that you can’t do that, because people used to go really slowly from their last dance element into their acro element. I mean, ugh why can’t we just go back to this. That would avoid all this nonsense with the stork stand on floor. Ooh ooh yes! This is the thing I want to talk about. So in law, in US law, you can argue that the spirit of the law is not being enforced. You need to go by the spirit of the law. You can go back and look at the arguments that the legislators have, that is the legislative history of the law about why they wanted this law passed. And you can use that as evidence. So I say we need the exact same thing in the code of points with the judges. Maybe they already have this, but it seems like they don’t because what we need to do is say well the FIG has decided they want to encourage artistry, so standing in the corner on one foot like a stork that’s frozen like a statue is not actually what they meant. That’s not the spirit of the rule. That is just whoring the rule, that is not the spirit of the rule. And so if you stand still and you’re not actually dancing, then boom. Zero for the whole routine. That’s how I think it should be. So. That’s a new rule we need to have. Enforcing the spirit of the rule, not just the actual literal rule. Which is what everyone was doing which was defeating the whole purpose. I’m done with that rant now. Ok. So.
JESSICA: So last week Lauren we talked about your interview with Precision Choreography and how they’ve been working with Kyla Ross. So each of you I just want to hear, do you think it worked? Do you think it worked a little bit? Do you think you can see a little bit of improvement, yes or no? Lauren go first.
LAUREN: I did see improvement. I saw it in training. I saw it more so in competition. I actually talked to her a tiny bit about it. I told her I saw [inaudible] blah blah blah, and Kyla said it’s kind of like working skills. Like learning how to be artistic. So she was looking at it from her Kyla standpoint of course which is train it and it will happen eventually in competition. So but I think even though she’s approaching it like that, I think she’s taking it in at least a little bit. Like you know they worked together three times so considering it’s only three times it’s already remarkably improved from Classics. And I hope that in the future we’ll see even more improvement. So yeah I think she’s done a good job with it.
JESSICA: Spanny, did you see an improvement? Yes or no?
SPANNY: Yes. I think there is room for improvement. I feel like on floor the level or presentation starts pretty high and then as the routine goes on she kind of goes into robot mode. But you can see a level or commitment again the beginning and then it just kind of fades throughout. But it’s a step in the right direction.
JESSICA: Uncle Tim?
UNCLE TIM: I agree with Spanny. It starts off well and you can see a little bit in her eyes, but it dies quickly. And she just doesn’t have the presence that other people have on the floor. Your eyes aren’t automatically drawn to her because she’s such a big character on the floor.
JESSICA: But she did try to make up for it with the lipstick that matched her leo. So.
JESSICA: I give her points for that. Now last thing to close it up here- we know that Lexie Priessman and Kocian are out for Worlds selection camp, so let me hear your World team picks.
LAUREN: Biles, Ross, and Maroney are the obvious ones. I think they’re the three locks. Martha even said something in the little press conference afterward. Like she would prefer to just send those three and have them all do the all around. So I don’t know if she’s seriously considering that because we haven’t seen McKayla do the all around yet in over a year. And Martha’s usually like if you didn’t do it at Nationals you’re not going to do it at Worlds. So I don’t know how serious she is.
JESSICA: Will you remind everybody how- sorry should’ve asked this first. Would you remind everybody how it works at Worlds, because it’s individual and event Worlds, it works differently about who can compete on which events.
LAUREN: Yeah so individual and event Worlds, they only allow four on a team and only three can do each event in qualifications. So if you have four girls there, they can’t all go up and do the all around. They have to be, you can have two in the all around then two event specialists. Or you can have all event specialists but they can’t all be doing the same event. So it’s a puzzle almost. You have to bring the right people. I really thought Kocian would have a chance to make a case for herself for bars. You know she could be the bars/beam specialist and hopefully make bar final. I don’t think she would make beam. But now that she’s out with injury and is not going to be going to the selection camp. They did invite Abby Milliet and the other one who didn’t make the team. Oh, Maddie Desch. So I’m still, I’m just going to go with Abby Milliet even though she was heartbreaking this weekend. I feel like-
LAUREN: I still want her on the team. Like Spanny and the other person who was with us, Jen, they looked at me every single time Abby went up. Every single time. And-
SPANNY: You could smell the tears.
LAUREN: You could. I was just, you know, crying the whole time. So it was very heartbreaking. She was in 6th place for most of the competition, which is an automatic National team spot. And then the bars fall and then the beam fall and then she was basically in last place. And I was like, you know, Skinner got in over her and I don’t know I don’t agree with that. So I was just very sad all day and all night.
JESSICA: Alright Spanny-
LAUREN: But she’s still my pick, so yeah.
JESSICA: K. Ok. Spanny who are your picks?
SPANNY: Well I agree with the three locks. Biles, Ross, and Maroney. Now with that, everybody’s like oh well with Maroney they now have to bring a bars and beam girl. I disagree. I think regardless of who you send, I think Ross and Biles would qualify top two on beam. I argue that maybe let’s bring someone for bars. Maybe Price. Maybe Dowell. I think it’ll be a spot kind of like Jana in 2005 where it’s like, you’re going to bring someone because they can, but the expectations might not be so high. Yeah I argue that they might bring someone just for bars. And that would be the only event they would compete. I’d love to see Price go.
JESSICA: Price is- if we’re going on past performances, Price has earned it in the past. I don’t know if she’ll be totally ready now, but. Uncle Tim how about you?
UNCLE TIM: So I wouldn’t doubt- I don’t doubt that Martha will send only three gymnasts. I could see her just sending three all around gymnasts and that being that, just to send a message to the world and to our other gymnasts. Like these are kind of the three I care about the most or look we’re America we don’t need to send four people in order to win all these medals. You know?
JESSICA: Oh my god that would be so gnarly! I never even thought of that. I mean not that she’s going to do it but oh my god. You totally think like an evil genius. Ok carry on.
UNCLE TIM: So I can definitely see her doing that. And I do wonder what Martha has in her mind for the future. I’m thinking that Martha always has like a four year plan in mind. And I think that Kyla Ross, Simone Biles, and McKayla Maroney are kind of in the picture at least for now. And Bailey Key will also be in the picture in the future I have a feeling. And I just wonder if the other girls are not fitting into her master puzzle that she’s creating. But, you know let’s say that I do have to pick a fourth person. I think she might send Peyton Ernst just because Peyton was already selected for a World Cup event in Tokyo. And so I think that Martha might test her out, just give her some more experience without the expectation that she will medal on something like balance beam.
JESSICA: Well my team is Biles, Ross, Maroney, and Kennedy freakin I-can-do-a-Patterson-dismount-uh-what’s-up-I’m-from-Texas Baker. Mm. That’s what’s up. Just for her beam. Boom! That’s how I feel about it. I mean Peyton Ernst maybe for her bars, and she’s pretty all-around. But I think Kennedy Baker. I mean with the Patterson now. I mean phew! Everyone would fall over when she does that. It’s so awesome. Lauren can you give us a update on the injuries that happened and, we know who’s not going to camp but what other injuries happened? What other people are out?
LAUREN: A lot of junior injuries. Allison Marks, we talked about Madison Kocian, Emily Shields was injured but ended up competing. She hit her head on the vault on a yurchenko.
JESSICA: Oh jesus
LAUREN: Yeah. Felicia Hano, her first skill is a van leeuwen, and she slipped off on her toe-on both times. Second time landed on her neck, had a concussion. Ashley Foss dislocated her knee cap in the training gym. Spanny Tampson was running to the hotel room door peephole to see Ebee in the hallway and she tripped over our rollaway bed.
LAUREN: And Donna Strauss has a knee injury and was rolling around fashionably in the arena on a scooter, which I thought was a bicycle and I totally thought she was riding a bike around the arena.
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JESSICA: Let’s talk about the men’s competition. The men’s competition was kind of a splat fest, especially on pommel horse. But it was also- pommel horse was like oh my god it was my dream come true. I tweeted at NBC like hello, this is what I’m talking about. If you’re going to start a TV broadcast with pommel horse, then start it with a montage of all of these awesome falls. So. Starting a broadcast with pommel horse, are they kidding with that? Worst idea ever. When are they going to put me in charge? So it was kind of a splat fest but it was also really exciting. There were some huge skills being thrown. So let’s just start with who won what.
UNCLE TIM: Alright so in the all-around the big winner was Sam Mikulak, who won with a 181.4. And then in second nearly three points behind him was Alexander Naddour, who had a 178.5. And in third was Jake Dalton with a 177.650. And he did not look happy on day 2, right Jess?
JESSICA: Oooh he looked pissed! It was awesome. I love to see when people are really angry that they didn’t do well. Like you see their competitive spirit come out, and he was pissed. Like he was attacking his events. It was kind of awesome. I think he’s going to carry that into Worlds and be like oh hell no, this is not going to happen again.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah he kind of alluded to that during our interview with him. He talked about how Steven Legendre handled not making the Olympic team much better than he would have, and we’ve never really seen Jake bring out his inner B. And so it was interesting to see that.
JESSICA: He totally did.
JESSICA: Speaking of your inner B, let’s talk about hard Ds
UNCLE TIM: Well we have to talk about who won what on the events
JESSICA: Oh yeah that. I’m sorry I’m too excited about hard Ds. Go ahead.
UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] So first on floor was Steven Legendre. First on pommel horse was Alex Naddour. First on rings was Brandon Wynn, no real surprise there. Counting only one vault there was a tie on vault between Sean Senters and Eddie Penev. And I just have to say that even though Sean Senters finished 16th in the all around, if you like well-executed gymnastics, you should watch him because on day 2 Sean Senters had the second highest execution score of the meet, which was pretty awesome. And Kyle Shewfelt also approves of the Shewfelt.
JESSICA: He did. He tweeted about it, which is like oh my god can you imagine if I was Sean Senters I would just die. Best thing ever. His vault is beautiful. You gasp. You’ll gasp when you watch it.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah it’s so good. And then winning parallel bars, pardon, and high bar was Sam Mikulak. Then to talk about the Ds if you will Jess.
JESSICA: So Macready, we have to point this out. So at the meet, John Macready does his little stuff, thing in the stands and does little games and stuff. And so he said, he didn’t say start value, he said you have to think about who has the hardest D. [LAUGHS] Who has the har- that’s all. That is the funniest thing.
UNCLE TIM: You have a little 12 year old inside of you. You laugh.
JESSICA: Which we all do. So it’s not the hardest start value anymore, it’s the hardest D. Ok.
UNCLE TIM: So on the men’s side, Paul Ruggeri had a 6.6 D score on high bar at the Slovenia Challenge Cup. At Nationals day 2 he had a 6.9 D score. He upped his difficulty by taking out his German giants, which were very original but also giving him trouble. And he added a stalder 1 1/2 and an endo healy, both of which are pretty conventional skills but if you want to win a World medal you sometimes have to be a little more conventional.
JESSICA: Which is unfortunate, but yes.
UNCLE TIM: And then Sam Mikulak, when we saw him at the Portugal Challenge Cup, he had a 6.5 difficulty score on high bar. And he, at Nationals on day 2, had a 7.0 difficulty score. He took out a straddle tkachev and replaced it with a cassina, which is a full twisting double layout over the bars. And-
JESSICA: Kind of badass.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah. It wasn’t the prettiest skill to be honest. We were probably scared that he was going to miss the bar both days. But it was the sign of a true champion. He did not give up and he was going to grab that bar no matter what. And he did.
JESSICA: And he caught the bar like underneath. Like if he had not caught it, he would have pinged off onto the floor exercise right over the judge’s head. That’s how low he caught those. But yeah it was pretty awesome. And Cassina, only Cassina does it semi-pretty and even his aren’t semi pretty.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah. And then John Orozco, he had a tenth or two upgrade here and there, but where he really improved was on his execution score. Especially on parallel bars. He, at the qualifying meet, had a 7.350 execution on parallel bars. And then on day 2 he had an 8.450, which is a point and a tenth improvement within a matter of more or less a month, which is incredible. He’s now getting his double saltos around a little bit better and catching them on his upper arms a little bit better. He doesn’t muscle his peach baskets as much for the most part. So he’s improving within a month. So that also brings us to World Championships I think Jess.
JESSICA: So. Alright. Let’s discuss. Now, a lot has happened since the Championships ended. We waited a whole day, like 12 hours- ok it wasn’t that long but it felt like forever for them to announce the team. Then the next morning, Leyva announced he was taking himself off the team because of a shoulder injury.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah so for the men’s team you get six gymnasts right? And three up on apparatus, similar to the women.
JESSICA: Yes and so right now, as it is right now, the World team is Sam Mikulak, Jake Dalton, Alexander Naddour, Brandon Wynn,
UNCLE TIM: Steven Legendre
JESSICA: Steven Legendre, oh that’s right. He wasn’t on my first picks, so that’s why I can’t remember him. And I love him but he was not on my team. So, and then the alternates are Orozco, Ruggeri, and
UNCLE TIM: Eddie Penev.
JESSICA: Eddie Penev. Eddie Penev, who really his vaults were absolutely gorgeous too. He got a 15.4, the same as Senter, and his vaults just really really beautiful too. Senter’s is like other worldly, but Penev’s also made me gasp. And you know how I love a beautiful vault. So. So much has happened. So now it’s like why was Leyva even on the team? This is what I don’t understand. I love Leyva, don’t get me wrong. But he didn’t even finish in the top three on any event. He wasn’t even in the- no he did. High bar he finished in the top three with a 15.6. That’s it. And that puts him in, a 15.6 is like, that’s a top eight in the world score. But that’s the only event he finished in the top three on. He wasn’t even close to the top three on any other events. Are we going to take him just for that? Psh. He wasn’t on my list, that’s all I’m saying. So explain why you think he was on there. Just for high bar?
UNCLE TIM: For high bar and for parallel bars as well. I think that we need to back up for a second and say right now, we’re trying to decide who will be the sixth man on the team. And it’s a question of is it going to be John Orozco, is it going to be Eddie Penev, or is it going to be Paul Ruggeri. And yeah so it was really Leyva 2011 World Champion on parallel bars and also finalist at the Olympics on high bar and so it’s a question of can he do that again. Can he repeat. And
JESSICA: And he finished fifth. At this meet he finished fifth on p-bars. So he was third on high bar and fifth on p-bars. Brandon Wynn, John Orozco, and Sam Mikulak were above him.
UNCLE TIM: Right but he also has a fairly high difficulty score on both events. And let’s be honest if you don’t have a high enough difficulty score, your chances of making event finals at World Championships are pretty low.
JESSICA: Especially since all the men’s execution pretty much completely suck with the exception of like four gymnasts. Oh my god like seriously execution is a big problem. But yeah so I mean but like he’s been having such a difficult year. He seems like he’s totally overtrained or he’s injured or something’s totally wrong. That’s why I was like why would you take someone with so much inconsistency even if they have been so incredible in the past and give them the benefit of the doubt now?
UNCLE TIM: Well I think that you have to recognize that all of these guys, every single one of these gymnasts has been inconsistent at one point or another. On the men’s side we don’t really have a Kyla Ross whose gymnastics is pretty consistent, hard enough, but boring to watch. We don’t have someone like that.
JESSICA: I would say Mikulak is that person.
UNCLE TIM: But he messed up at the Olympics. Like honestly he messed up at one of the biggest competitions.
JESSICA: Ok but so did Leyva and so did Orozco
UNCLE TIM: Exactly. I’m saying [inaudible] is inconsistent
JESSICA: But then ever since then he’s been perfect. Ugh I’m so frustrated.
JESSICA: Ok. So I’m just saying I feel like Mikulak, since having a rough go at the Olympics, even though his vault was like perfection in finals, he has been totally consistent since there which is Leyva has only gone downhill since the Olympics and has been super inconsistent. So I would not have given him the benefit of the doubt. But. Ok so he’s, but so now he’s withdrawn with a shoulder injury, which hm. Who knows. That’s all I’m saying about that. So who would you- so now, who would you put on the team? I know who I would put on. Who would you put on?
UNCLE TIM: Alright. So two things I want to say before I choose my team for the entire listenership that we have. So with the exception of Danell Leyva, none of these guys has won an individual medal at the World or Olympic level. Many have won medals at the World Cup meets or the Pac Rims, but not one has won a medal at a major international competition. So they all have kind of an even playing field on that.
JESSICA: Yes because it’s like Danell Leyva then you have to go back to like Kurt Thomas. Ok now we did have an Olympic Champion I’m sorry. The Hamms. Ok so but still it’s been a while.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah and so the other thing is these guys are all inconsistent in some ways, and so for me it really comes down to who can fill the holes the best. That’s what she said.
UNCLE TIM: And right now the way I see it, we have holes on pommels, parallel bars, and high bar. So for me right now I’d say you put on floor, well you put Sam Mikulak on every single event. He’s going to compete all-around and that’s where his chances of medaling are probably best. But on floor you put Sam, Steve, and Jake. Pommels you put Sam, Alex, and we need a third person. And I’d put Orozco there because he has a D of 6.6.
JESSICA: But he’s going to fall off twice.
UNCLE TIM: Well yeah. But there’s also the chance that he might not fall off. Then there’s also the chance that a bunch of other guys fall off who might score better than he does.
JESSICA: No and that’s what I’m saying. Everyone’s going to fall off so a 6.0 is pretty good. Because what we learned this week is that no one can stay on. And we can’t take any of the other guys who are really good, because even the other guys like Luke Stannard who had a 15.7, he fell off the first day too. So Naddour is like our only chance. And even with a 15.6, it’s doubtful that he can get into finals. And even if he does get into finals then you have the lifelong super pommel horse, professional pommel horse, the entire country is supporting their pommel horse work guys. So to get a medal on pommel horse is like pft, everyone will have to fall off.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah. I mean our chances of getting a medal on pommel horse aren’t the greatest. Moving onto still rings, you put Sam obviously, Brandon Wynn who has a really high D score of 6.9, one of the highest in the world, and then I think they’ll also put Alexander Naddour on rings because they’ve done it previously at the Slovenia Challenge Cup where he got third on still rings. I don’t think that at a World Championships he’d win a medal, but that’s my guess is what they’re going to do.
JESSICA: So Dalton won’t be an all-arounder then? Just Sam will?
UNCLE TIM: I think so. That’s what I would do. I mean you could put Dalton on all these events, and it wouldn’t change the fact that I’d still put Orozco on the team because we still have giant holes on parallel bars and high bar. Vault I’d put Sam, Steven Legendre, and Jake Dalton on vault. And then on parallel bars I’d put Sam, John Orozco, and maybe Brandon Wynn just because he- they’ve done it previously. USAG has done it previously. At Cottbus he finished fourth on parallel bars.
JESSICA: And he was fourth at this meet too. So.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah he doesn’t really have the execution, but he does have the big difficulty score. Then on high bar I’d put Sam Mikulak, John Orozco, and then Jake Dalton. Because Jake Dalton finished second at the French International. I don’t think he’d win a medal again, but you know if you’re going to fill the slots, I’d probably put him there. What about you Jess? Why, who would you put on the team and why?
JESSICA: Well first of all, I wouldn’t have put Legendre on. Even though I love Legendre, I could watch him all day long, love him, love him on vault, love him on floor. He’s fantastic and he’s come back from this gnarly knee injury where they put the rod in his leg. And we know from past gymnasts how much that hurts to compete on. So I mean he’s fantastic. He got a 15.9 which was the highest- actually was not the highest. Dalton got the highest floor score with a 16.1. We know Legendre is great, but he couldn’t land a vault, he landed one vault the entire weekend. So you’re going to put him.
UNCLE TIM: He landed two. He landed.
UNCLE TIM: One of them was a Dragulescu to almost two black eyes. Because his knees almost went through his eyes. But yes he landed two.
JESSICA: Ok he landed two out of- and it’s a vault final. That doesn’t matter. He’s not an all-arounder. So you have to be consistent. You have to have two vaults that are going to get you into finals, not one. So ugh. So-
UNCLE TIM: But he, of all the guys, has two vaults out of a 6.0 right now. And that’s kind of, either you have two vaults that average to 6.0 or you probably aren’t going to win a medal.
JESSICA: But you aren’t going to win a medal if you fall on everything either.
UNCLE TIM: It’s true
JESSICA: You’re not even going to make finals if you go up and throw two vaults and you fall on one. Like that’s it.
UNCLE TIM: But that’s why you have Jake Dalton to be more consistent.
JESSICA: So I would not put Legendre on. I would have picked Paul Ruggeri. And I would have picked Paul Ruggeri because he had the second highest score on floor. That also puts him in third place I think the top two or three scores in the world on floor. So on floor we could totally win a medal.
UNCLE TIM: That’s not true [LAUGHS]
JESSICA: Ugh ok. On floor I think we could totally win a medal on floor. Oh we have to deal with Kenzo. Whatever we’ll deal with him. We could be second or third. You don’t think so?
UNCLE TIM: No I think say. I was just saying Paul does not have that score in the world right now. He’s not the second or third highest on floor.
JESSICA: A 15.8?
UNCLE TIM: Yeah no
JESSICA: It’s- oh wait did I look at the UTRS rankings before you updated them? Because when I looked at them, Kenzo’s was the highest with a 15.9. Oh so now it’s Dalton a 16.1. And then Kenzo. And then Legendre. And then oh so he’s like fifth now. Or fourth.
UNCLE TIM: Let me look for you. Yeah he’s tied for fourth.
UNCLE TIM: With Kohei, Eddie Penev, yeah.
JESSICA: Ok well I looked before you updated the rankings. So. Alright he could make finals. He could make finals. Ok. And then I would put, and then I would also put-
UNCLE TIM: Wait so who’s going on, who are your three on floor?
JESSICA: It would be Sam, Dalton, and Ruggeri.
UNCLE TIM: Ok so, ok. We can go through your team
UNCLE TIM: Your ideal team but then we have to be realistic and go through the fact that Steven Legendre is on the team and you’re not going to change that. So.
UNCLE TIM: Let’s go through your ideal team
JESSICA: Ok ok ok. So we’ll go through my realistic team. Alright anyway. Pommel horse I would put up Naddour, Sam, and Dalton because I want Dalton and Sam should be all-around. I think they both have a chance to make an all-around final, so I think they should both be in there. And no one else is going to do anything on pommel horse so pft, why would you put anyone else up? It’s not a team competition. It doesn’t matter was Orozco does. He’s not going to do all-around, so pft why make him stress out and have that, he has that sad face every time he does pommel horse. And I hate seeing him sad so we won’t do that. The on rings I would have Wynn obviously, I would have Naddour, and I would have Dalton. Oh no that leaves out Same. So I guess Wynn and I would leave out Naddour and I would have Sam and Dalton. And then on vault I would have, well I would have Ruggeri. This is where Ruggeri was in. And then I would have Dalton and Mikulak. Even though they have no chance to make a final, but I thought Ruggeri did. Because he was second before you did your rankings, but is he still second in the rankings with a 15.5? He had the highest vault score of the weekend with a 15.5.
UNCLE TIM: The problem is there’s only one vault score listed for USAG. They didn’t reveal the second vault score. And so my rankings are based on two vault averages.
JESSICA: Oh. Well, he would still be in my vault final.
UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] Ok
JESSICA: Even though Penev and Senter have better form, but he got a higher score based on the two ranked. Ok well that’s where I would put him. He’s very consistent. And then he has a lot of great vaults that he can do too. So that’s who I put up there. And then on p-bars it would be Sam, and Wynn, and Dalton. And then on high bar it would be Sam, Dalton, and I guess this is where I would put Ruggeri in too. Or else I would put- yeah that’s where I would put Ruggeri.
UNCLE TIM: You would put Ruggeri in
JESSICA: Yeah. Yeah. So that’s my team. Because-
UNCLE TIM: That’s your ideal team.
JESSICA: That’s my ideal team.
UNCLE TIM: Now you have to deal with the fact that Steven Legendre was named to the team. And unless something happens he’s going to be on the team. And now you have most likely-
UNCLE TIM: Pommels- yeah.
JESSICA: Orozco’s going the one that makes sense
UNCLE TIM: Yeah. Well you have a parallel bars and high bar person to fill.
JESSICA: Right. And that’s the thing. Orozco’s going to be good on those. Even though he needs to get rid of his ridiculous knee brace. That has to go. Mental crutch. That’s doing nothing for you right now. And he’s not going to get rid of it between now and Worlds, but he really should.
UNCLE TIM: I think that, I mean the argument could be made that you’d put up Sam, Jake, and Brandon Wynn on parallel bars and then just pull in Paul Ruggeri for high bar and high bar alone. But I don’t know if that makes the most sense or not. Or maybe putting in Paul instead of Steven on floor or vault, but I don’t think that that would actually happen. So if Paul is named to the team, it’s most likely going to be for high bar. And he admitted that in interviews. He knew he had to hit high bar. And on night 1 when he didn’t, he was not too happy with himself.
JESSICA: Yeah and you could tell when he was in the National team picture he is totally doing an unimpressed face. He’s just like grrr. He has that look on his face like ugh can’t believe this I didn’t have my best meet. But I think he did amazing, and I love his gymnastics. And it completely and totally biases me toward any reality about Legendre and his giant 15.9 D.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah
JESSICA: I mean I think the international judges will just love Ruggeri. He’s so stylish. He’s so artistic. I think he could score better internationally than he would at home, where at home we score, seem to score better the guys who have are like little powerhouses but have zero home. Whereas Ruggeri has that going for him. He brings something really artistic the way Dalton’s toe point does.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah. I mean they were definitely looking to reward those who executed well at the meet because there was a bonus in play for-
JESSICA: Oh! Oh my god yes! You need to tell everybody about the bonus! Hello Tim Daggett you did not mention this. There was a bonus in effect. This is a really really important even though it was a tiny bonus. This makes a giant difference. Ugh. Go ahead.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, so if you stuck a landing that, if your dismount was a D or higher and you stuck the landing, you got .1 in bonus. Then also if your execution was between a 9.0 and a 9.35, you got .1 in bonus. And if it was from a 9.4-10.0 you got .2 in bonus excluding vault. Vault had its own rules. If you did a 5.6 vault or higher and you had a 9.4-10 in E, you got .1 on vault. But I mean there were definitely some cases where that came into play, especially on floor with men like Jake Dalton. I’m guessing he got some bonus. But yeah there was bonus in play and they were trying to reward those and probably make sure that the guys with good execution would get on the team rather than guys with huge Ds and no E.
UNCLE TIM: Let me rephrase that.
UNCLE TIM: They wanted to make sure that the guys with good execution got on the team.
UNCLE TIM: I can’t do it without the laughing
JESSICA: Damn you John Macready!
UNCLE TIM: Ok. It looks like they wanted to get the guys with huge, better execution the team rather than guys with big Ds who don’t know how to use their big D scores. So yeah. That’s what I think they were trying to do. But I do agree that there is a question of- I don’t want to say it was down to body type, but honestly our men look like they should all be really good at still rings compared to a lot of other countries. And I mean
JESSICA: They’re not light
UNCLE TIM: Judges should not look at that I don’t think. Yeah they don’t have a certain lightness to them. But maybe gymnastics is changing and judges are changing what they expect.
JESSICA: I hate to think the body type has something to do with this. I hate when people are like oh this girl has to pull her ribs in or she’s going to get deducted. I’m like if this is just how her body is, if she has a neutral spine and her ribs are out, that should not be a deduction. Anyway that’s a whole other discussion.
UNCLE TIM: Well it came up during the NBC broadcast. Tim Daggett was talking about massive biceps and how hard that is for pommel horse.
JESSICA: Oh that’s true. Oh yes and then we had the discussion about how we would like the trainers to report in on bicep growth and perhaps a tumbler about this. My mom was really a big fan of that idea.
UNCLE TIM: The evolution of Jake Dalton’s biceps
JESSICA: Yes. I mean another fundraiser idea for men’s gymnastics. I’m just saying. Use what you got. So we will find out I hope very soon who is going to be the replacement. Or maybe they’re going to name him at camp. So we’ll see. I think it will be Orozco. I mean it makes sense. But in my heart, it will always be Ruggeri. Ooh! And big shout out to Stacey Ervin for making the National team! Good job!
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JESSICA: That’s going to do it for us this week. Thank you so much for supporting the show. And remember that you can write in a review of us on iTunes to support the show. You can subscribe on iTunes. You can download the Stitcher app. You can donate or use our Amazon store. Shop there normally just like you normally would, just go through our Amazon store to shop. We also are posting all the routines we can on our website, so don’t forget to go there and see Skinner’s balance beam fall on her squat turn. We’ll find that for you and put it up. And I just want to thank our transcribers for their awesome amazing work. All of our transcripts, pretty much we usually get them up a week or two after the show are up on our website so you can read the transcripts there. And of course you can contact us. Let us know your thoughts. Let us know what you want more of. Let us know what you think of the show. Gymcastic@gmail.com or our phone number is 415-800-3191. Our Skype name is Gymcastic Podcast. And of course you can always follow us on Twitter. We get back to everyone. We’re amazing on Twitter. Can I just say holy social engagement. We’re awesome at Twitter. Until next week I’m Jessica from masters-gymnastics where you can find a list of all the adult gymnastics classes and as many adult gymnastics meets as I can find
SPANNY: I’m Spanny Tampson from Spanny’s Big Fake Smile
UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym
LAUREN: And I’m Lauren from thecouchgymnast.com
JESSICA: Make sure to check out Uncle Tim’s UTRS rankings. Until next week, I’m Jessica. Goodbye, and thank you gymternet!
[[OUTRO MUSIC: SHE THINKS MY TRACTOR’S SEXY]]
JESSICA: It’s really late
SPANNY: The UTRS
JESSICA: So she joined the Dirty Scooter Boys
SPANNY: She did. It was in the hotel. Again the meet wasn’t over till I don’t think we got out- this was easily after 11 at night. And the hotel bar, Donna comes strolling in. But then she was able to walk. She walked to the bar. And then Al Fong’s little girl was playing on the scooter. Going around the bar. 11:00 at night.
SPANNY: Don’t know where Taryn was, but.
JESSICA: Oh my god [LAUGHS]. The best thing ever.
LAUREN: Oh and I don’t know if you want to include this. I saw Al Fong smile more times this weekend than I have in my entire life. Like, he was making fun of Chris Burdette because Chris Burdette was wearing a salmon color shirt. And giggling. And then when Brenna finished bars he had the biggest smile on his face and was clapping. I don’t know what he’s been taking, but he is the happiest coach out there. Weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.
JESSICA: Wow, maybe being a dad has totally changed his outlook on life. Taking things so seriously.
LAUREN: Yean and his kid has a Juicy Couture stroller by the way. And he was pushing it around the hotel.
LAUREN: So he held the elevator door open for me and that was really sweet. And then I get on and saw his stroller and was like oh, good to be a Fong.
SPANNY: Yeah, and who was not happy and who was in disguise wearing an Arkansas sweatshirt throwing back a few beers on the patio, one [SOUND BYTE]
JESSICA: Ooh, interesting
SPANNY: Yeah. So that’s all I’m going to say.
SPANNY: And that he looks old in person. That’s it. That’s really all I’m going to say.