JESSICA: I feel like its not a pandering butt smack. Its like a, Yes! Thats right. I know all about this. And so do you now. [laughs] Shelike, how is it possible not to offend me with a butt smack in a competitive gymnastics routine? I dont know. Shes transcendent. Thats all I can say.
JESSICA: This week: Ljbljana World Cup, the Korean Cup, and another first time ever NCAA Championship teamOklahoma! Just like I told you guys!
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JESSICA: This is episode 90 for April 23rd, 2014, and Im Jessica fromMasters Gymnastics.
UNCLE TIM: Im Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Mens Gym.
SPENCER: Im Spencer from The Balance Beam Situation.
JESSICA: This is the best gymnastics podcast ever, bringing you all the news from around the gymternet. Lets start first by recapping what happened this week in the elite world and then well talk about NCAA Championships.
UNCLE TIM: On the womens side it was at the Ljbljana World Cup it was mostly the Eastern European countries and former Soviet republics. For the gymternet, the big story was Anna Pavlova who won bars with a 4.5 D-Score and an 8.325 E-Score and a 12.825 total score. Um, normally this would not be a routine that I would love because the score is so low, but her pak salto is gorgeous and in the past I have been somewhat critical of the fact that she was only doing a layout flyaway, but at Ljbljana she threw a double pike. Jess, what did you think of Annas routine?
JESSICA: I, she could get a 1 on bars and I would still watch it because its guaranteed to be beautiful. Like, you guarantee that you will have texbook gymnastics. Like, her dismount was a little rough. Like, she kind of ran out of it, um, but, you know, whatever. I dont care. Shes had like a million knee surgeries, andbut her, you know, on the bars shes absolutely stunning. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I love to see her back, and I love to see that her form has not degraded with age in any way. Shes rust proof.
UNCLE TIM: Shes rust proof you said?
JESSICA: [laughs] Yes.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Okay. Spencer, which of the NCAA girls do you think would have beaten Anna PavPavlova on bars at the Ljbljana?
SPENCER: I think probably anyone at Nationals, because, um, they just haveit wasnt a, a particularly clean routine from Pavlova in the dismount, but I was really excited to see that the basis was there. The elite level skills that she did perform in looked really strong. There was a little bit of, sort of, like, she did a Jeager and a Pak and had a lot of, sort of, filler and then did a dismount, but andbut she looked in shape too. That was nice to see. Like, she, she can get there you feel like hopefully in time for Europeans to make everyone go [gasp], Anna Pavlovas back! But, the basis is there. That was nice to see.
UNCLE TIM: On the mens side, as weve mentioned before on this show, that, um, the men can have skills named after them, and Danny Pinero-Rodriguez of France, had his, uh, second rings skill named after him. Both skills have to do with the victorian position, and if youre not very familiar with mens gymnastics, um, its basically looks like hes lying on his back. His body is parallel to the ground and his entire body is at ring height. Its pretty much the hardest strength skill you can do on mens rings. Um, his old skill was basically swinging up into that position, and now hes doing whats called a Nazarian Roll, so he keeps his body completely straight, and kind of does a, a very controlled layout between the rings, and then lifts up into the victorian position, which is really, really hard, and I think if my boyfriend of two and a half years could actually do that thered be a ring on his finger by now.
UNCLE TIM: Just saying.
JESSICA: What this skill reminds me ofdid you ever play that game, like a sleepovers where you all like, um, someone lays on the ground and then you all go around them and put just your fingertips under them, and youre supposed to chant, like, bloody mary or something. And then are, like, stiff as a board, light as a feather, and you like lift them up with just your fingertips and the spirits will help you. Thats what it reminds me of.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, thats pretty much what it is. Um, but a lot harder. Um, [laughs] then, of course I have to talk about my Oleg Verniev. He finished first on pommel horse of all events. And then he also [ ]
JESSICA: Shut up!
UNCLE TIM: [ ] I know. He also won, uh, parallel bars. And, I have to say that I was watching this routine between NCAA routines, which made me, kind of, think of Katherine Grable of course! My other favorite gymnast right now.
UNCLE TIM: Because, um, Oleg on his parallel bar routine, he does a double front half outjust like Katherine Grable does on uneven barsas he just stuck the lights out of it.
UNCLE TIM: Like a true NCAA gymnast. It was impressive. I was like YEAH OLEG YEAH!
UNCLE TIM: Um, then over in Korea there was a meet. [chuckles] Um, a few weeks ago I saw that Jake Dalton had posted something about preparing to go to Korea, and I was like, what are you talking about? There isnt a big meet in Korea. Maybe he was the victim of autocorrect. Maybe he was the victim of an inferior geography education.
UNCLE TIM: I didnt know. But lo and behold, I was wrong! There was a meet in Korea, and it wasnt a World Cup event, so Im not really sure what the story is behind this meet. But, a lot of big gymnasts went. Um, for instance on the womens side Vasiliki Millousi won balance beam.
JESSICA: Greek Goddess.
UNCLE TIM: I know. I havent seen a routine yet on YouTube, but I know that she competed and won. Um, on the mens side Louis Smith edged out Krisztián Berki.
JESSICA: [gasps] Shut up! [gasps]
UNCLE TIM: Yeah. Yeah.
JESSICA: Oh my god, this is so exciting!
UNCLE TIM: I know. Louis finished with a 15.850 and Krisztián Berki finished with a 15.775, so Louis has gotten his payback. His yeah. Karma.
JESSICA: Thats so awesome. Did you see the picture that, um, John Orozco and Olivia Vivian posted?
UNCLE TIM: I did not.
JESSICA: Oh my god, its so adorable! So, basicallyits on Instagram, and as you know, everyone should be following both of them cuz theyre awesome. And, um, its johnorozcopix and oliviavivianuh, not sure what her handle is, but anyway look her up. Shes fabulous. So, its a picture of them in front of the floor and John Orozco is, like, holding Olivia Vivian in his arms and shes, like, being dipped back. Very, uh, extravagantly draped over his arm in a Dancing with the Stars pose, and he has a rose in his mouth. So hes holding a rose, and like, holding her like the cover of a romance novel. And shes dipped back like she just fainted away because hes so handsome. And its like, Dancing with the Stars are you ready? or something like that, and honestly I was like, oh my god, yes! Yes! Put them on the show! So, I just love the two of them. They are hilarious wherever they go. Like, Olivia Vivian did NCAA. Shes from Australia. She has the most beautiful bars ever. Shes such a great performer. Those two get performing. They are great. So, ah, that made me so happy. I was like, this meet looks like it was fun!
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Nice. Yeah, and then also on rings, Brandon Wynn of The United States took home gold. Um, he had finished with a 15.65 and he defeated, uh, your favorite: Igor. Igor Radivilov of Ukraine who got, uh, the bronze. Um [ ]
JESSICA: Looking super hot, Im sure.
UNCLE TIM: Im sure. But, its kinda weird cuz you had, uh, Oleg of Ukraine competing in Ljbljana and then you had, uh, Igor off in Korea. So, Im not exactly sure how they worked that with the Ukrainian coaches and whatnot, but, um, anywayBrandons score was decent, but its not quite as high as someone like Arthur Zanetti who this past weekend also scored a 16 in Brazil. Um, so well have to see. Kinda keep our eyes open as we continue toas the conas the elite season continues to unfold. The big story of the Korean meet was Yang Hak Seon who threw his new vault. We talked about this a little bit lastuh, last year right before World Championships. He was trying to get a Yang IIthe Yang I is a handspring triple twist. And now hes working on a, um, a Koz slash uh, Tsukahara style vault. Um, if youre a womens gymnastics fan just think a Tsukahara style vault. Um, the problem with the vault though is it looks exactly like his handspring style vault. Its just basically he staggers his hands. So, when you do a Koz or Tsuk style vault you really wanna see a turn of the body, and hes really just, kind of, staggering his hands. Doing kind of like a Tinsica onto the table and calling it a Koz vault. So, its really not that much different from what hes doing for his handspring vault. Did you watch that video Jess?
JESSICA: Yes. And thats [ ]
UNCLE TIM: What did you think?
JESSICA: II mean, whenever I watch him vault I feel like Lauren. Like, I cant count the twists.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: Im just like, that was super aggressive! I have no idea how many twists he did [ ]
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: [ ] but that was badass! [laughs] And then I always wonder, like, how is Korea able to consistently turn out men and women who have this kind of vault technique and power that no other country can duplicate? Except Maroney I feel is the only one.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, I dont know. I mean so, Yang now has two vaults out of a 6.4. The only man that I know of who can also say that is Ri Se Gwang of North Korea who also has two vaults out of 6.4. Yangs are all twisty and, Ri Se Gwangs are all based on double flips and it always looks like his ankles hurt a little bit. Um, also in the elite scene there was a meet between Romania, Belgium and France this ppast weekend. On the junior side, um, it was really all about Romania. On the senior side it was also all about Romania. Uh, for the seniors Larisa Iordache won all four events and the all around title. Really, nobody really came close to even touching her. The closest to really challenging her was her teammate Andreea Munteanu. Um, she is a first year senior and shes quite good on beam. Larisa didhad a 15.4 on beam and Andrea scored a 15.2. Um, we have not seen the return of the two fulls from Larisa, which ehh, I mean, I kind of wanna see the two fulls again. What about you Jess?
JESSICA: I do for sure.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, so yeah. Hopefully shell put em back into her beam routine. I know that its a littits hard toon your feet to land on the beam, period. Um, so doing two fulls probably doesnt feel the best. And its a risky chchoice. But, hopefully shell throw em back in. The other big story is Diana Bulimar. Um, she hurt her knee right before Worlds, and shes kind of coming back from that. Um, and shes showing some really good difficulty and amazing landings. I was like, woah! What?! Yeah. She was, like, sticking things. Her first pass is a piked full in. I think before Worlds she was either doing a double layout or a full-twisting double layout. Um, so a little bit of a downgrade, but I mean, its still really impressive for having knee surgery in, I wanna say, like, September. Um, so yeah. What stood out to you Jessica in that routine?
JESSICA: Oh my god! First of all, I loved the leo. It was very different. You guys have to watch the video. Ill put it in our playlist. Um, tell us what you think of it. Its super unique, and I really liked it. And, oh my god! She does, like, a switch half straddle full that is so huge, so perfect. Like, I had to watch it over and over cuz I was like, am I really seeing that done that well? It is so complete and so oversplit. She looks amazing. Like, I always knew, like, she was a badass, but I am super impressed with her. Like, I think this was the strongest shes ever looked. I was really excited to watch her.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, Im excited to see whats gonna happen with her too, and as were looking ahead towards the future, to see how Romania, kind of develops. Um, I mean, itthey had a little bit of a rough go at the 2013 Worlds, and so its gonna be interesting to see if they can pick it up. Um, one routine from the French that everyones talking about lately isher name looks like lone his in English, but Im guessing in French its pronounced something to the effect of Luan Hee. Um, and so, Jessica I know that you loved this routine.
[Jessica dramatic gasps]
UNCLE TIM: Tell me all about it!
JESSICA: Oh my gosh. Its so French. It just, like, dripping with butter and chocolate eclairs.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: Its like shes just oozing into each dance move and its just, like this, like beautiful, exquisite, delicious melding of all your favorite flavors into one tasty floor routine. I just loved it! I could watch it over and over and over. She performs it so well. Ah, I love this kid. Im so excited about the choreography and what shes gonna do in the future. And, um, ahh, its so very French.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Yeah, Im, Im liking it. I think that there still needs to be a little bit of work, especially in terms of really connecting with the music, and maybe emoting a little bit more, but I feel like as is evidenced by NCAAs, sometimes the performance within the building is much better than the performance, um, than we see on video. Video doesnt always capture the performance value. And so Im wondering, maybe, if its a little bit more dynamic when youre actually seeing it live. Well have to see. Hopefully well get to see her sometime in a meet soon. Um, one thing that I did notice thoughand Ive noticed this before going to, like, Level 10 meets and stuff, is the landings. Especially with juniors, and likein the United States Level 10s, um, they land their double skills really, really short. And this is very evident for me in Asiana Pengs routine. Shes fromshes a junior from Romania, and she did a full in that was she barely got her feet down. Her hands didnt touch, but I mean, she could have easily face-planted that. I dont know how she got her feet down. And then, also on a double back. And it just looks like the timing of the skills isisnt quite right. And it feelsit looks like shes not quite pulling her toes over her head quick enough. And, I dont know. It just worries me. Jessica, as a former athletic trainer, what do you think as you watch these landings?
JESSICA: Yeah. She, like, really, really worried me. This is like watching people trying to do their double backs with no bounce in the floor in the 80s. Um, I just feel like shesshe has so many short landings, the front of her ankles are just gonna be so crunched and so destroyed. And, Im hoping this is nerves and that they, you know, would never put somebody on the floor who normally lands like this. Im hoping those were only, you know, three landings for her like this, and its not normally like that. Uh, which knowing thethe program, I think is unlikely. But, its really scary. I mean, you guys know bad it hurts when you land short, and every one of her landings were like that. Not to mention the stumbling forward out of it, and her back, ugh. Yeah, it really worried me. All I could think was the crunching that was going on between her bones every time she landed and her ankle, um, ligaments being pinched.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah. It..uhhgh. It just reminds me of Ri Se Gwangs, uh, landings on his vault, which we talked about a little bit earlier. Um, and one thing that in the past weve kind of chastised cercertain judges, well we chastised many judges in the past. But weve also chastised many coaches for doing things wrong. Especially recently at the African, um, Championships a couple weeks ago where the coach just, kind of, watched his gymnast do a double back over the bar and really injure her and just walk away. Well, this meet between Romania, Belgium and France, um, we saw something really good, actually. Um, Claire Martinshe is as senior for the French team. She did a Jeager, and the timing and everything was just wrong with it. And she basically just went straight up on the Jeager, really high, and came down on the bars, and the coach was there. And, I was just like, [gasps] my heart was going through my chest, and it was like, oh thank god the coach was there! [chuckles] Well, I mean, I dont know what else to say about it. I was just, like, ah thank goodness! What about you Jess? What were you thinking?
JESSICA: Oh my god! That was, like, a dream moment. Like, first of all, thank god that that coach is, like, a hundred feet tall, cuz all he had to do was [ ]
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: [ ] like, slightly lift his elbows.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] True.
JESSICA: But, like, oh my god. I loved that ithe didnt just spot her. He didnt wait for her to fall. He caught her and held onto her, walked off the mat, made sure she was okay, checked on her before he even put her down on the ground. Like, he was like, Im holding you still until I verify that I shouldyou know, youre okay to actually put on the ground. And even when she walked away and was like, yeah Im fine, and was like, chalking up to get back on the bar, you could kinda see that her back was hurting her, and immediately he followed her to maketo like, follow up. And he was talking to her like, I do not want you to get backthis is how I interpreted itI dont want you to get back up there if youre hurt at all. You know, cuz she really landed hard on her back. That is exactly what we want to see from a great coach. And thank god he caught her because she would have rolled over potentially right onto her head if he hadnt caught her.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah.
JESSICA: So, hats off to you. You know, we, the kudos we wanna hand out just as much as we hand out our rage. So, hats off to you sir. I just want to give a shout to, um, two fabulous Slovenian gymnasts who won floor and vault at, um, LubijanLjbljana. Why do I wanna call is Lubijan?
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: Thats like sounds like
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Louboutin.
JESSICA: That sounds like some condom with extra lube that theyre handing out at the Olympics Games.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Or, like, the shoes.
JESSICA: Oh, maybe thats it. Yes, thank you! Anyway, hats off to Teja and Saza from Slovenia for winning two events, um, at that meet. Thats really exciting for Slovenia. I think they have some exciting gymnasts, and Im just happy to see them as a new country that, um, is competing. And that, also, I wanna mention how awesome Epke is. Emma told me this story. Um, she has a friend who was at the meet and, uh, shethis girlwent up to Epke and just told him, you know, that, how, how much she loves watching him. You know, that kind of stuff. And Epkeoh my god! He gave her his flowers from the competition and thanked her for coming to the meet and supporting gymnastics.
UNCLE TIM: Awww.
JESSICA: [squeals] That is the sweetest thing ever! Aw, we love him even more. His manners are just as good as his gymnastics. Hats off to you sir. Well done.
UNCLE TIM: On the elite injury front, um, our favorite Victoria Komova, she competed at Russian Nationals and looked, um, I mean, she had that huge back handspring arabian, but she also just didnt look like she had a lot of fire inside her at the Russian Nationals. She looked a little despondent. Um, and its revealed that she recently had another ankle injury. Um, and so its just kind of like, when is this girl going to get a break?! Um, at the same time, uh, Queen Elizabeth over at reRewriting Russian Gymnasticsman thats hard for somebody who had trouble saying his rs as a child.
UNCLE TIM: Um, she, she was kind of questioning, um, whether Komovas heart is really in it anymore and does Komova really need gymnastics? And, her idea is that, you know, you have somebody like Aliya Mustafina, whos basically very dedicated, and doesnt matter what color medal she gets. She celebrates that and she uses it to push her harder. Um, Komova is kind of if she doesnt win gold its like the world has ended for her.
UNCLE TIM: And, yeah. And so shes kind of wondering about what that means for her and for her gymnastics career. Is this really something that she should continue doing? Um, she thinks that gymnastics needs Victoria, but does Victoria need gymnastics, is basically the idea. So, well link to that blog post on our website. And, whats going on with Carlotta Ferlito? The gymternets favorite person, Jessica?
JESSICA: Ooo, this is interesting. So, basically shes off the Euros team because she couldnt go to the camp. Basically, um, she, you know, went to the gymternet to address the rumors that she was not invited because shes acting too much like a diva, and she said that, you know, I want to clear this up. Its not because I was kicked off the team. It is because I was told by doctors, um, two weeks ago that I am not allowed to even train right now. Im not even allowed in the gym. She didnt give a reason. She said, Im sick and I cannot go into the gym. So, if I were guessing I would say it sounds like mono. When youre not allowed to do any exercise, that always screams mono to me. And she has, I meanshe and Ferlito have been competing nonstop, nonstop, nonstop. So, that wouldnt really surprise me. Um, but, she didnt give a real reason, but sufficed to say, um, she pointed out that this is the first time in, like, seven years that she hasnt been able to fulfill an assignment. So, we hope that she recovers soon and heals well. And we always appreciate when a gymnast takes to the gymternet to clear up the rumors, so thank you for doing that.
JESSICA: If you love the show and you love the coverage we have been bringing you, please consider supporting us. Um, there are a couple ways to do it. The easiest way: when you shop on Amazon, just go through ourAmazon store on the website and you can shop normally. It doesnt have to be for stuff in our store. It can be buying anything on Amazon. You can even bookmark us once you get there, so you can always use that link to shop, and a little portion of what you spend goes back to the show. You can also donate if you want to. You guys asked for a way to donate to the show, so thank you so much to everyone who has donated to the show. Its absolutely amazing. Thank you. All the money that we get from you guys goes directly into supporting the show. Paying our bills and improving our sound equipment. And, um, I also wanna thank you guys, um, to everybody who came out this weekend to the meetup. We had so much fun. It was so good meeting you guys! I hope you guys loved the little goodies that you got from us. Um, Ill put a picture of what I gave out to everyone, um, onInstagram so you guys can see. The other way to support us is to write a review of the show on Stitchers or iTunes. Basically, um, Stitcher or iTunesI said Stitchersbasically what happens when you guys write a review is it just helps people find us. It helps increase our ranking, and so if someones looking for gymnastics radio, gymnastics podcasts, the more reviews, um, the higher that goes. And of course, it totally fuels our passion and fire to do this when we read your reviews, so we appreciate it so much. Um, you can follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Instagram is basically a freakin awesome, like, up to the second video updates that I put up. If you guys are following during NCAAs, Im basically extremely impressed with myself at how fast I got those videos up.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: And Twitter is like a 24 hour non-stop CNN for gymnastics news. Uncle Tims freaking amazing with Twitter and managing that. I dont know how he gets anything done, like, in his regular life and updates Twitter so often. Like, hes pretty muchthats like his superhero skill. Besides, um, pausing gymnastics videos at awkward moments.
JESSICA: So, thank you all who are supporting this show. Um, and if you havent done one of things, consider doing someone of those little things while we take our little break over the next two weeks.
[Segment change noise]
JESSICA: We have a very special guest on the show today who, one whos, uh, website you may have followed and whos excellent essays you may have read during the season. So, Uncle Tim can you please, um, let us know a little bit more about our special guest today.
UNCLE TIM: Well, I dont know that much about him, so Im gonna have to do a little interview here with him. And, I have five really tough questions for you Spencer.
UNCLE TIM: Are you ready?
SPENCER: Im as ready as Ill ever be.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] The first really hard question is: why did you start your blog?
SPENCER: Um, I was bored, mostly. I felt like I had followed gymnastics for a long time, and just sort of reading things on the internet, and learning what other people had to say, and then I decided I had opinions of my own, especially about NCAA gymnastics, and there wasnt really that much on the internetor that many people talking about NCAA gymnastics. So, I wanted to be the person to do that.
UNCLE TIM: And, what really attracted you to NCAA gymnastics?
SPENCER: I, I should preface this by saying when I first started following gymnastics I was one of those people who only cared about elite and I thought, NCAA gymnastics? Thats boring! Um, and then I actually watched it and I realized that wasnt the case. And, it is a completely different sport than elite gymnastics in many ways. It has so much more folks on the team, which is kind of a cliche, cuz they all say, ah its all about the team! But, I like the fact that there is a team component and that it matters what one person does on their routine that affects what someone else does and their success. Thats interesting to me. Theres also much more focus on cleanliness in gymnastics. Not about difficulty. Its sort of about the very small things, and thats more interesting to me than difficulty or the big skills. The really small things and being as precise as possible..
UNCLE TIM: So, youre a perfectionist. [laughs]
SPENCER: Yes. Oh, obviously! I mean, I feel like every gymnastics fan is a perfectionist, kind of.
UNCLE TIM: Probably. Pretty accurate. And if you were a college gymnast, which team would you be on and why?
SPENCER: Oh, okay. Woah! That is really hard. Um, I think so much of it has to do with the coach. I think thatsif I were an NCAA gymnast, thats how Id make my decision. So, I think Id probably choose Florida just because, I, I think its really clear to me whenever you see Rhonda Faen interviewed why so many top gymnasts want to go there. Um, I think she has a great mix of being realistic, but, um, positive and also doesnt think that shes curing cancer while also coaching gymnastics.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
SPENCER: Which is a problem sometimes in NCAA coaching. Um, so thats maybe my choice right now, but ask me in a week and itll probably be different.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Alright.
SPENCER: But now that Oklahoma also won and [inaudible] was hard
UNCLE TIM: Are you on your highest toe Spencer? Do you remember that quote?
SPENCER: Im on myIm on my [inaudible] highest toe. I need top level coaching to get there.
UNCLE TIM: [chuckles] Alright. And, who is your favorite college gymnast of all time?
SPENCER: Ooh, hmm I would have to divide it between the era before I started watching, but Ive seen it on video. Like, maybe Stella Umay.
UNCLE TIM: Oof. Good one.
SPENCER: Or, like, Kupets is kind of a cliche, but shes another one. Um, recently Kat Ding is one of my favorites. Ooh this is hard.
JESSICA: Shes so gorgeous.
SPENCER: Theyre my nominees. Im setting myself on those nominees.
UNCLE TIM: Okay, final question.
UNCLE TIM: Which will bring us into Birmingham, Alabama. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you love Kat Grable? 1 being you love her as much as a root canal and 10 being as much as I do.
SPENCER: Um, 9.975.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
SPENCER: For her vault in vault finals.
UNCLE TIM: Perfect.
SPENCER: Not quite as much as you, but almost as much.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Nice. Alright, so Spencer, you and I were not at the competition. At least I dont think you were.
SPENCER: No. No I was not.
UNCLE TIM: So, Jessica you have to tell us all about the behind the scenes stuff that was going on. Im expecting a Spanny Tampson style report. Go for it.
JESSICA: [laughs] Okay well, first of all youI just, this meet is so fun you guys. And, for anybody that doesnt know why we love NCAA so much, um, I will just tell you that if you say lovely gymnastics and you idolized a World Champion and the US elites, maybe a, you know US bar champion or a US World team medalist or World Champion, you will run into them, like, a hundred times during this meet. Um, its, its justyou get to talk to whoever you wanna talk to cuz everybodys around all the time. And they lovethis is like the one time they get to talk to their fans. Cuz, you know, the US is, is sequestered the entire time they compete, so they dont get to talk to their fans. They dont get to see their families. This is the time they get to be showered with praise the whole weekend. Um, you know, there are a lot of [laughs], theres a lot of moments where people were just going up to people, bursting into tears, hugging them and telling them why they loved them since they were a little kid.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: Um, there are also the drunken moments in the bar where, where you would see someone, um, you know, like a little gymnast standing there with her boyfriend and some drunken gymnastics fan is pouring their heart out, and the two of them looking at the person like, are you serious? Are you joking right now? Because Ive never heard this much passion about anything in my life.
JESSICA: It was so awesome! Um, and then, oh my god you guys! When Llomincia goes anywhere, like, either one of two things happen. People either start imitating her routine instantly. Like, she walked into the bar while, like, Florida was having like, a birthday party for Marissa Kinganother Olympian who you just run into, like, a hundred times. And um, sheLlomincia comes in and, like, Bridget Sloan, uh, is just, like, instantly imitating her floor routine. Like, half the bar is doing their imitation of her routine. She walks into the lobby, a Georgia parent is like, Llomincia! Im working on your choreography for next year! I have all summer to get ready for you. She has the best attitude about it. Like, she loves it. Its justits so fun. Its a gymnastics fans paradise. So, I justoh my god you guys. I had such a good time. I hadit was such a good time. You guys should totally go. And uh, I got to stay on the floor where, um, Alabama was, so I inhaled enough hairspray to, um, probably, um, burn a whole new, um, hole in the ozone level. It was fantastic. I had the best time. Im also covered with bruises by the way. I dont know how Im coveredI have, like, literally, like scratches and brI have a scratch on my neck. I have, like, cuts and bruises all over my arms and fingers, and I dont know how did that happen, except, um, apparently I like, flail around a lot in my seat while Im watching. Um, when Lindsay Mable fell of beam I, like, literally almost, like, collapsed. I wasthatlike, a little part of my heart is broken off forever. Um, so I guess its me I think. Or else, like, all the imitation and stuff that goes on when were in the bars afterwards. And I dont even drink. Like, Im not an alcohol person. I dont like it. It tastes yucky. So, I dont know what happened to me, but theyre a little bit violentthe Championships. Just, you know, so just be aware of that. Just an FYI.
[Uncle Tim chuckles]
UNCLE TIM: Wow. Okay. I cant say that that happened to me last year. I did not come out with any bruises or scrapes. But, I guess I didnt have the full experience. Ill have to go again.
UNCLE TIM: Spencer, have you ever gone?
SPENCER: No. Ive never been to the National, National championships before. I need to.
UNCLE TIM: [sighs] Well..
SPENCER: I know. Im a disappointment. I know.
UNCLE TIM: Its okay. Last year was my first time too. So
JESSICA: Wait. I have two more things. I forgot.
UNCLE TIM: Oh, woah. Okay.
JESSICA: One, this is so important. First of all, the leos you guyseveryone who wrote in and talked about how the leos are meant to look good under the arena lights are totally right. Ithe leos look so beautiful in person. Just, and like, Im not a sparkle person, but I was like, [sighs] something specials happening over there! Theres a glow like, you just are attracted to the sparkle like a crow. You know, you just like, you have toor a raven whichever ones a crayou know, they like sparkly things. Um, I just could not look away. They were so pretty. And um, and also, like peoples choreography just looks likethe leotards and the choreography in person, it makes such a huge difference. So,thats another reason everyone should try to go in person to one of these meets. And also, Luan Peszek, who is, as you know, Sam Peszek: um, UCLA team member and a NCAA beam national champion a couple years ago, and Olympic medalist from 2008, and her moms the, uh, US Gymnastics team coordinatorshes like my meet idol. I dont know she does it, but shes at all of these meets, and she always looks like she just did a workout, had a salad and then shows up at the events. Like shes always, like, fresh. She looks perfect. Shes like ready toshes like totally chill. Chattin with everybody. And I am like, can barely drag my ass out of bed. Like, it is everything I can do to get up. Cuz Im staying up til, like, three in the morning, and [laughs] like, Luans always out too! Like, shes out there chattin up with all of her friends. She knows everybody, but she always looks like she just, like, popped out of a magazine and Im always like, you know, just like, tumbling onto the floor, dragging myself back to my seat the next day. So, I dont know what she does, but she must have a secret, and Im gonna get to the bottom of it. Its probably just living like a really disciplined, healthy life, whereas I have to have my box of candy. Its good luck. Its good luck candy during the meet to eat. So, I dont think she does that, butyou know. Shes amazing. Thats all Im saying.
UNCLE TIM: Nice.
SPENCER: Maybe shes been taking advice from Sam and doing the hot yoga that UCLA cant stop talking about that Sam Peszek started this season.
JESSICA: That could be. Ill ask.
SPENCER: Yeah. You should be sure because that is the most important thing in anyones life right now.
SPENCER: How does Luan Peszek do it?
UNCLE TIM: Nice. So, lets get into the meet and lets start at the very beginning with prelims. And, there are two sessions of prelims ofsix teams in each, uh, prelim. Um, only the top three teams from each session qualify to the Super Six Finals. Um, in terms of the individual awards the prelims determine two things. First, they determine who will qualify for the event finals. Uh, Spencer, correct me if Im wrong, but the top four gymnasts, including ties, from each session make up the field for event finals. Is that correct?
SPENCER: Yes. That is right. They dont break the tie, so sometimes you end up 100,000 vaulters in one [inaudible].
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, it was pretty good. Beam was the big one this, uh, this year. Um, and then in terms of indthe individuals, uh, the prelims also determine the All Around winner. Unlike Super Six qualifiers and the event qualifiers, the All Around champ is not determined on a session-by-session basis. The All Around title goes to the gymnast with the highest all around score at the end of the day, so it doesnt matter if the gymternet says that the judging was easier during session two. Doesnt matter. The high score wins. No questions asked. So, with that lets start with Session 1. In Session 1 we had Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, Stanford, Michigan and Illinois. Oklahoma, Georgia and LSU qualified for Finals in that order. So, what were some of the key storylines for you guys from that particular session? Lets start with you, Spencer. Our guest of honor.
SPENCER: Aw, well thank you. Um, I think the main thing from that session is that it was, sort of, disappointingly not as close as I thought it was gonna be. Um, we had the third, fourth and fifth seeds in it, which were Georgia, Michigan and Stanford, and I thought they were gonna fighting it out. Right til the end. Neck-in-neck. Event by event. And, it didnt really turn out that way. Um, pretty early on it was clear that unless Oklahoma, LSU or Georgia had a major mistake, that they were going to advance. Um, but we still saw some great gymnastics from those teams. Its just, Michigan had a beam meltdown, and Stanford kind of started slowly on floor and vault, and they couldnt really recover from that.
UNCLE TIM: Jessica, were you at that session?
JESSICA: Yeah. [sighs] I, um, theres a couple things that happened in that session. One, um, Ifirst I just have to say that honestly, like LSUs vaults are so freaking high. They are so much more impressive in person than I everI mean, I, I, I was picking them as one of my teams, you know, to win, and theyre even more impressimpressive in person. Their vaults are so freaking high. I mean, theyre like mens gymnastics high. And, Rheagan lands, like, exactly one foot away from the end of the mat. And, you know, the mat is like 15 feet long, so thats tells you howwhat incredible power she has. And I was also struck by just that tone is just sothey are so incredibly fit. They just look like ballerinas with booties. They have the extension. And they are super fit. And they are bouncy. They just Im so, Im evenin person I was even more impressed with them than I, than I already was. And, um, I take back every negative thing I ever said about Oklahomas choreography except the knock on the door, spread your legs thing. That I still am not okay with, from a couple years back. But, theyve, theyve gone less weird and more magical this year. I justtheir, like Spanny said when she was on the show, their choreography in person is just they do everything right. They repeat the phrases. Theres a clear and consistent theme. They have incredibly, um, diverse musical choices. Theyre not just pandering to the crowd. They emote. They perform. Its everything gymnastics is supposed to be with absolutely beautiful extension and form. Its, I cant say enough good things about them. They were even more impressive, and they just rose to the occasion. Like, that team can handle pressure like nobodys business. I did think that Stanford was a little bit underscored. Um, they, I mean [sigh], their baryou know weve talked about how amazing their bars are. Um, Sam Shapiro: you know, shes a former US National Champion on bars, um, for the US team. Shes from All Olympia. Thats the same club as McKayla Maroney. She, um, sprained her ankle really bad last Monday. I mean, like, I saw a picture of it. It was enormous. Like, gigantic. And they x-rayed it. It was not broken, but that doesnt mean she doesnt have, like ten fractures in there or something, because for herI mean, it was huge. So, she came through and did bars for her team. Stuck her dismount cold. Made bar finals. She is just incredible. I cant say enough good things about Sam. And, I mean, Stanford it was so sad that, um, Taylor Rice fell because shes such an incredible performer. Love to watch her on bars. She went out of bounds, I think, on floor. I just was, I was crushed for her, because she just has so much potential. Shes gonna be great, but I think Stanford should be really proud of how they did, because I think they were underscored and I think they really rose to the occasion. I mean, two little mistakes like thats really not that bad in the, in the big picture. Um, and, uh, it was clear to me from that point that Oklahoma were the team to beat. I was like, theyre gonna win. Theyre gonna win. I dont care what anybody else says. People asked me, like, well do you think they can do better? And I was like, they dont need to. They were perfect, and theyre gonna be perfect again tomorrow. And of course I was right. La-la-la-la! Okay. Ready for next question.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
UNCLE TIM: So Jessica, just out of curiosity for people going to these meets, how do you determine what youre gonna watch? Because, right, for Spencer and for us its really easy, right, because we dont really have any options. We just watch whatever Troy Garcia and the NCAA wanted us to watch. Um, what about you Jess? How did you decide where youre gonna watch?
JESSICA: You know what? I chose the teams that I thought had the best chance of making it, or the individuals who I really wanted to see. So, thats kind of how I chose. Like, there was an individual, Marie Case, who was rotating with UCLA on beam, and she was justshe qualified as a beam specialist, which is so freaking hard you guys! It means you have to win over everyone that has a team at your Regional. You have to be #1. So imagine on beam how hard that is. This girl wasshes from Kent State. Like, Kent State has a gymnastics team? Who knew? Well everybody freakin knows now because she showed them what was up. So, she has to compete by herself. No team. After UCLA does their whole rotation.
SPENCER: [inaudible] But I think, didnt Marie Case qualify as an All Arounder? Didnt she do all the events?
JESSICA: Was she? Crap. I felt like was a, just a beam specialist. Am I wrong?
SPENCER: I have it written down, but I would need to look at the scores, that she made it out of that Regional as an All Arounder
JESSICA: Maybe she did. [pages turn] Okay, wait. I might be wrong about that. Either way.
SPENCER: Yeah, cuz she rotated with UCLA and did all the events, and then they had that girl from Boise State with them who did floor.
JESSICA: Oh, thats right.
JESSICA: And I had them confused. I was thinking Boise State was okay yes. Youre right. Thank you. See, this is why Spencers so fantastic and everyone should go to his freakin site.
JESSICA: Because, he has all the facts, whereas you know how I get confused. But, okay, Marie Case: the All Arounder who qualified, which is also difficult, from Regionals. Her beam routine was the best beam routine of the whole UCLA rotation on beam. She shouldve gotten the highest score. She went last. She didnt get the highest score. She was totally ripped off. She does, like, every freaking switch leap with a turn you can possibly do on beam. She does a three-series for her acro series. She was incredible. I loved watching her, but then she got totally screwed with the scores. And let me just preface this by saying, I of course was sitting in the front row by vault and floor, so I feel like all of my comments about those two events are completely justified, and I dont care what the judges say. But, bars and beam were very far away, so I was not at the judges table. So, let me just say, of course, I did not see exactly what they saw. But, from my angle she was amazing. And we put video up in our, um, in our weekly playlist for you guys to check out, because that girl mm. Something else.
UNCLE TIM: Nice. Then moving on to Session 2 we had Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, Utah, UCLA and Penn State. Alabama and Florida tied for the top spot. Then Nebraska was third, edging out Utah by 75 thousandths of a point, which was kind of a big deal because last year Nebraska didnt, uh, even may the, uh, NCAA Championships, uh, after a really disappointing Regional. So, for them to make the Super Six was pretty awesome, um, but Im not the one whos going to tell you guys what the key story lines were. Lets start with you Jess. For you, what were the story lines that really stood out, because your UCLA was there.
JESSICA: I think the biggest story was Alabama just showing up and killing it. I mean, if you go to Alabama apparently you cayou love pressure and you love competing because, even though I, I mean, I felt like the scoring was pretty fair. I feel like the scoring was tighter than regular season, which I appreciated. And I felt like it was pretty fair across the board. There are some little things, but in general I dont feel like there was any huge, huge, huge, major, major, major upsets. There were some firsts and seconds, but, you know, in general I felt like the team placement was correct in the end, which is the purpose of the judgesto rank. Um, but I think Alabama was just on fire. They were amazing. All I could think about was your words that you can never count Alabama out.
UNCLE TIM: Nope. [laughs]
JESSICA: Especially [chuckles], especially in Alabama even though they werent at theyou know, its supposed to be a neutral site, so we werent actually in Tuscaloosa where the school is. We were in Birmingham. But you know, nonetheless, its only like an hour and a half away. The, the crowd was filled with Alabama fans, and it was justit was electric in there when Alabama was going. They were incredible.
UNCLE TIM: And what about your UCLA?
JESSICA: Well, heres the thing: I mean, you cant expect, like, a miracle to happen when you all season youve been at a certain level. You hope to have your best score and do your best, but you cant expect to, like, all of a sudden, like, whip out a 198 at the end of the season. So, I feel like not doing well on beam, wasnt really surprised because that was an issue for them this season. It was really surprised that it was two of their bestthat Sam had a little wobble on beam and that Nush shhI dont know if she really shuffled her feet, but she took a little too long into her dismount. I didnt see that she shuffled her feet from where I was, but their two best beam people had a little problem, um, on beam. But, I mean, and they had a good score. They did well. They got, like, a 197.2 I think. Um, so, but, you know, it wasnt enough. And, but they still did well for how theyve done this season, so I waswell, I was most surprised about was the not having a lot of people in finals, but, um, you know, then they had, like, Jenni Pinches and Ellette Craddock: Level 10 who walked on from, you know, San Francisco, who was basically the MVP of the meet. She had the, the beam routine of her life. Absolutely gorgeous in the UCLA lineup. So, it was sad, but I dont feel like it was really that unexpected.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, I kind of agree. Thinking about comparing last year and this year, Alabama, at least on video, it reminded me a lot of UCLA last year, where UCLA when they were in Pauley Pavilion they were just hitting everything, and it was kind of the meet of their life. And then during the Super Six they kind of didnt have that spectacular of a meet, and when I saw Alabama just killing it in the prelims I also started to wonder, oh, whats gonna happen in finals. And well get to finals in a second, but what about you Spencer? What were, kind of, the big stories of the second session?
SPENCER: Well, I loved that the second session came down right to the end. Three teams basically tied. Utah, UCLA and Nebraska were all within a tenth of each other with one event to go. And it was-Utah I thought was the favorite at that point. They were gonna win because theyUtah still had to compete on vault. UCLA still had to compete on bars, and Nebraska still had to compete on beam. Utah has been getting 49.5s all season on vault, and they have Kyla Delaney and Tori Wilson and Georgia Dabritz ending that lineup. And I was like, oh, theyre all gonna stick for 9.95s and then Utah is gonna advance. And I though Nebraska had the hardest job because I think its hardest to score on beamor harder than it is on vault and bars, especially at the end of a meet. And they stuck their landings, and that was the big difference. Utah stuck one of six vaults. Only Georgia Dabritz at the end I think. And of the routines we saw, I only saw Sam Peszek stick her bars landing for UCLA. There was a lot of hopping there, so that was a really unexpected development, especially given the events they still had to compete on. And, really exciting, because as you mentioned before, Nebraska didnt make it last year, and I think they were kind of the underdog coming in here. So, to see them just stick all those beam dismounts and not wobble at all on those routines was exciting. But, I actually wanted to ask Jess if you were watching enough of the Nebraska beam, did you agree with the really high score that they got? They got a 49.45, which was the highest beam score in that semifinal.
JESSICA: They did. They absolutely killed it. Like, they showed up and completely rose to the moment, and I think they definitely did. And I also think, like, going back to Session 1 I think LSU got correct scores on beam too because theyre pretty sloppy on beam, which I had not really noticed. I dont know why in, in person I could really see. Like, they all haveexcept for Rheagan Courville cuz shes perfectthey all haveand Jessie Jordanthey have, umand Nat too. Okay those three are perfect. But, they all have bent legs and, um flexed feet on their series. I was like, eew. Like, we dont do that in NCAA. Thats not allowed. This isnt elite. This isnt the Olympic finals.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: They dont allow that. Um, it was, uh, I was like, yeesh! Thethatso I thought that their scoresyou knw, they didnt get great scores on beam, and I thought that was correct, whereas, um, Nebraska was just bringin it. They just, they killed it. I mean, the Nebraska beam final. I mean, finevent finals like all Nebraska. I mean, yeah. I thought they did a great job. So
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, and I asked, um, Heather Brink, whos their beam coach, about it on Twitter. And I was kind of joking, and I said that she was my beam coach of the year, and then I asked her if it was because she used to wear the white, poofy scrunchie like Shannon Miller did, and if was because of her training with Peggy Liddick and Steve Nunno at [chuckles] at, uh, Dynamo in Oklahoma. And she said, no it wasnt. Its because of how awesome her team was, which is a very NCAA answer. But then she said the poof comes in second, or something like that, so yeah.
UNCLE TIM: Maybe she learned a little thing or two about coaching beam from Peggy Liddick. Uh, Spencer what was your second big storyline for you from the semifinal?
SPENCER: Um, I think it was how Florida looked. Because I didnt think that Florida had a great showing in the semifinal. There were some errors here and there. They looked good. I mean, they got a huge score cuz its Florida, but um
JESSICA: But Bridget fell again.
SPENCER: Bridget fell again. Oh, I know. And that routineI dont want to skip ahead to Super Six, but that routine was probably my favorite moment from Super Six. All of the reactions, especially Kathy Johnson talking about it. But, we can talk about that later. Um, but Florida I thought there was so much room for improvement on what Florida did in the semifinal. And the fact that they tied Alabama, who had a pretty strong performance like you talked about. The fact that they got tied for the best score in semifinals, I though, oh. If they even remotely hit one of their best meets of the year theyre gonna be right in it.
UNCLE TIM: The big moment for me: the All Around competition, um, during prelims. Uh, Kim Jacob of Illinoisof Illinois?of Alabama won. And then Katherine Grable of, uh, gymternet fameshes the big heartthrob of the gymternetcame in second, and she tied with Alaina Johnson of Florida. Um, what did you guys think? Should Kim Jacobs have won the All Around or was there some home scoring? What are your thoughts? Spencer.
SPENCER: Um, I dontyeah, I think there was both some home scoring and she probably should have won. She hit amazing routines of the ones we saw during the broadcast, cuz I was watching on the ESPNor the, um, NCAA feed and didnt see her vault. But of the other routines she nailed everything. So, I think everyone else basically hadeveryone had some sort of error. No one had four perfect events, which is why we saw the scores go lower than I thought they were gonna be to win the All Around. I thought it was gonna take a 39.7. Weve seen Bridget Sloan and Rheagan Courville all year long get 39.7, but I thought it was gonna take that to win. Um, but because Bridget Sloan had a fall; everyone had sort of, some mistake. Even Katherine Grable had, I think a wobble on beam. So
UNCLE TIM: Mmhmm.
SPENCER: I dont think anyone has a better argument than, than Kim Jacob that they should have won because no one hadnone of our top all arounders had a perfect meet. But of course I wanted Katherine Grable to win cuz shes Katherine Grable.
JESSICA: Of course. I, I didnt notice ithonestly you guys, in person I have a really hard time telling Kim Jacob and, um, Sarah DeMeo apart. Um, which is just from a distance, so, um
UNCLE TIM: Racist.
JESSICA: I know. Right?
JESSICA: God, they both have, like, brown hair. I cannot tell them apart. So um, I, they just both have that little GAGE body even though Kim Jacobs not from GAGE. I dont know where shes from. So, [sighs] I didntI dont know for sure that Ive watched all of Kim Jacobs routines. [laughs] But I do remember her being, you know, pretty much on fire. Uh, Katherine Grable had that one tiny, tiny, tiny mistake, but I feel like Katherine Grable does a way harder vault, and that she should have gotten the Im Alone Here Without a Team Bonus and won. But Im also of course totally biased for her because if youre competing by yourself and youre doing a skill thats so hard on floor that the only other person whos done it in known memory would be Uchimura, whos done it piked, then you should basically be given the I Am Doing The Hardest Crap Here Bonus. Um, but theres no difficulty bonus. But, all the judges should take that into consideration. So, on that, in that regard, because of the difficulty level in her routines is so much higher, I think she should have won. But, Kim Jacob is incredible, and I dont want to take anything away from her because shes, shes a total badass, and any team would be lucky to have her, and shes amazing. So, the one thing that I think is outrageous is that Alaina Johnson was, uh, tied for second? What? Alainatotally overscored. And dont get me wrong. Alaina Johnsons gymnastics is beautiful. Its amazing. I could just watch her all day. But she has major deductions on some of her skills that she never, ever gets deducted for, and I totally dont understand it. You know, I took a video of her dismount becauseand I paused it so you guys could see the, where shes not getting deducted. On her double layout she straddles her legs at least, like 45 degrees. Are they deducting for that? Apparently not. She cowboys her tumbling on floor so extreme that its like, like 1990s double fronts for men on vault. I mean, its, theres such clear, obvious, major deductions. She does not get them taken in NCAA, and I dont understand why um, when Katherine Grable does even harder skills, and does them with perfect form. So, mm. Thats my take on that situation. Uncle Tim, whatd you think?
UNCLE TIM: I mean [sigh], its hard because Iveyeah. I mean, its hard because does my personal attachment to Wisconsin and to the fact that Katherine comes from Oshkosh, and my friend used to coach her, and anyway. So, its a lot more difficult for me to be, like, really separate myself from the situation and be very logical. But, as Spencer said, yes. She did have a mistake on beam, and Im sure she was probably harder on herself than any of us. Im sure she was kicking herself afterwards. She just seems like, kind of, the spitfire type who, you know, does not want to make any mistakes and wants to win everything. So, she was probably hard on herself for that, but, I mean, I kind of wanted her to win, and, but I think Kim Jacob was probably did have a really great meet. And, when I was making the gym nerd poll, Kim Jacob didnt really fit into the criteria that I had set up, but I thought, you know, whatever. She has a chance, and its gonna be Alabama in Alabama, and I was like, I have to put her on the list. Nobody voted for her.
JESSICA: [laughs] I know.
UNCLE TIM: Um, [laughs] and then she won. So, shows what we know gym nerds. Shows what we know. And, I mean, a broader question: do you guys feel like there was home scoring in Alabama, and do you feel like there is a way to actually have this meet on neutral territory?
SPENCER: Um, I thought there was some scoring in Alabamas favor in places. I didnt think it was consistent or anything overwhelming. Ithe place I noticed it the most was the first rotation of Super Six on floor. When they got a 49.675 I was like, woah! Whats happening? But, um, I didnt think it was, like, systematic or anything across a lot of events. And, I dont really thinkif you have a dominant fan base in the crowd, I dont really think theres that much of a way to avoid it. Its not like the judges are trying to sit there and be, like, lets give Alabama the highest scores.
[Uncle Tim chuckles]
SPENCER: Um, there, but its human nature to be, sort of, convinced by all the cheering and the screaming and everything. It just sort of, subconsciously raises the situation. So, if youre anywhere close to one of the major schools, if youre hosting it, thats always gonna be a factor. Um, I dont think it influenced anything about the final results though.
JESSICA: Yeah, I think, umits interesting because I thought really overall the judging was very fair, and it was very tight. And, um, um, the scoring, the way that the scoring works by dropping the high and low really worked because there was a judge on floor, who honestly, like, her scores did not count the whole entire session because she was consistently lower or higher for all the teams. So, you know. It, it worked. And keeping her as the outlier out of the scoring. Um, and yes. I was particularly looking at her the whole time. My friend was like, shes on my list!
[Uncle Tim chuckles]
JESSICA: Im taking her picture! [laughs] It was so funny. Um, but in general I thought it was really good. And you know, really, um, a neutral location is something that theyre doing I guess. I mean, this is the point of having these places at neutral location. They had one in Cleveland and now here, and then the next two years is in, uh, uh, Houston? Houston? Im gonna look..
JESSICA: Uh, Dallas. Dallas. Mmm, oh my god, Im just gonna make all of theits in Texas. Texas. So, um, they [sighs], the, the thing it comes down to is really what Spencer said about who has the loudest crowd, and I think thats why its so important for all these coaches are constantare constantly being like, come to the meets. Come to the meets. Come to the meets. Because it really does make a difference, and it comes down to whose fan base has the money and the time off from work to travel. And thats what it comes down to. If the judges are influenced by the crowdand I can tell you that I do not think that the judges were influenced because I was screaming my head off at the vault judges and, um, they refused to look at me or acknowledge my screams.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: And, they were very, extremely professional. They didnt even make faces when I bood my head off, and as you can hear, somewhat lost my voice yelling at them. So, you know. I thought they didI mean I, I think the neutral location thing is, is good, andbut I just hate to see meets with no fan base there like Cleveland. You know? So, mm.
UNCLE TIM: Spencer, as you know, scoring and sexy data gets me all hot and bothered. And, I know that you have some really sexy data, so please just lay it on me. Let me know about your sexy data. Go ahead.
SPENCER: I, I have so much sexy data. So, I was also really interested in how the scoring was gonna play out. Um, especially compared to the regular season and what we saw at Regionals, because this season has been sort of, historically high scoring. Um, its the highest scores sinceand most 10s since 2004, which had, like, 150 million 10s. So, I wanted to see whether the judges were really gonna tighten up at Nationals, which I wanted them to because you have the 12 best teams in the country. Everyone is really, really good. And if they were judging with the same standard that they used for some of the regular season, I felt like, just, everyone was gonna get 9.95, and that would be the end of the meet. So, I compared some of the averages for, from Nationals to what we saw at Regionals, and it was kind of interesting in that vault was the biggest difference in that it was so much tighter at Nationals than it has been for any part of the regular season. Um, the average team score for the 12 teams that qualified to Nationals during their Regionals on vault was 49.379, and at Nationals it was 49.288, which is a tenth, and thats really significant. We saw it certainly make the difference in Super Six, and that would have made the difference in the final as well. So, the judges were much, much tighter on the vault than they had been at any other point. Bars and beam were very even, basically from what weve seen the whole season. And, floor was much higher than what we saw at, um, Regionals. The average team score for the 12 teams at Regionals was a 49.35, and then it waat Nationals it was a 49.405, so there was a half tenth bump up of giving higher scores at Nationals, which I thought was really interesting. Did you guys notice that vault seemed particularly tight and that floor seemed looser? Or, did that not play out in your impressions?
UNCLE TIM: I think I noticed that vault was definitely lower, um, which made me happy. [laughs]
UNCLE TIM: Cuz I usually judge people lower than I do during the regular season. Floor Im trying to think, did I notice it? Yeah, I think I did. Um, but I think I noticed it a little bit more during Super Six just because I might have been a little more intoxicated [laughs] during uh, [laughs] prelims.
SPENCER: What? You? I would never have known.
UNCLE TIM: Uhh, [laughs] so, yes. I think I did notice it definitely during Super Six a little bit more.
JESSICA: I wasmaybe I was just too busy screaming my head off at the judges for not giving 10s when I thought they were 10s, which were like three instanceor four of that.
SPENCER: Well, you said you were screaming at the vault judges, so maybe you subconsciously noticed [ ]
SPENCER: [ ] that they were.
JESSICA: Yes. Thats it.
SPENCER: No teams in semi-finals matched their season [unaudible] on floor. Everyone was lower on vault.
JESSICA: There you go. Thats why I was screaming my head off. But yes, I did notice, in fact, and I was doing those calculations in my head. Cuz, as you know Im a math whiz.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: And that is where my flailing and, um, competition injuries came in.
UNCLE TIM: Next we need to talk about the Super Six. So, in the Super Six we had Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, LSU and Nebraska. And obviously, the big outcome was the first tie in NCAA history with Florida tying with Oklahoma. And Spencer, what were the individual performances that really stood out for you during the Super Six?
SPENCER: Um, I thought thatI think it was, the one person that stood out to me the most was Chayse Capps for Oklahoma.
JESSICA: Ahhh! Did you hear the angels singing when you mentioned her?
SPENCER: I know.
JESSICA: Oh good.
SPENCER: Yeah. And, I, I think the thing Im most impressed about Chayse Capps is that its a typical Oklahoma story in that I hadwho had any idea that we were gonna see this gymnastics from her in her freshman year? I remember looking through, sort of, the Level 10 videos of the Oklahoma freshman, and I saw Chayse Capps, and I saw her vault first of all, which I thought she had great distance, great power. She was really gonna help them on vault. I thought, beam? Okay. She has the skills. Its fine. Its regular. Whatever. And then on floorwell actually, the first thing I thought about her on floor was that she reminded me so much of Chelsie Memmel. In her JO videos she had the same hair and she moved the same way. And thats another thing you would never know that, from watching her from Oklahoma.
SPENCER: She is ais such a great performer and it is exciting to watch that, especially because it, it was so unexpected to see her of all that whole freshman class, with Mackenzie Wofford who was an elite and Cherry Jones who won the Nastia Liukin Cup before, it was pretty impressive to have a typical Oklahoma Ninja Level 10 come through and get 9.9s on three events throughout the whole competition.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, she was pretty impressive onyeah, on beam and floor she really stood out. Uh, Jessica I know youve been praising her. What was her performance like in person. Was itdid it give you goosebumps?
JESSICA: Literally. Literally, goosebumps. The hair on my arms stood up. Shes a just other-worldly you guys. Shes gonna be, Im, Im calling her out now. Shes gonna be a NCAA Champion multiple times over. The, the pressure does not phase her. Shes a performer. She loves it. Shes incredible to watch. She has so much practice as a competitive dancer, and shes, shes one of those routines that you see her in videos and youre like, wow. Thats amazing. And then you see her in person and you get goosebumps. Shes incredible. Absolutely incredible. Untouchable.
UNCLE TIM: Nice. And what about you? What were you big performances that you really loved? Anything about Brandie Jay you wanna
JESSICA: [laughs] That was my favorite moment of the meet! [laughs] Oh my god! Okay, well first, Rheagan Courville on floor totally redeemed herself. Shes another one that in person her routine is incredible She, like, she just came. She brought it when she was doing that routine. And, um, I hope you guys got to see Christy Linders amazing photos from this event. When she crawls across the floor at the end, like, she looks like shes gonna have you for dinner. She is, like, so sensual during that routine. Like, shes just, like, owning it. And her body, shes like, [sighs] my god. Shes, like, so hot. And, um,
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: She is!
UNCLE TIM: The butt smack.
UNCLE TIM: The butt smack after the first pass.
JESSICA: Right? And somehow her butt smack does not offend me.
JESSICA: Because I feel like its not a pandering butt smack. Its like a, yes. Thats right. I know all about this. And so do you now.
JESSICA: Shelike how is it possible not to offend me with a butt smack in a competitive gymnastics routine? I dont know. She is transcendent. Thats all I can say. She is the pop star of the, of the meet, but shes like the Rihanna. Shes the Rihanna, except with a better voice. So, all of you Rihanna fans can hate on me for that, but thats what shes like. Like, shes just oh my god. Amazing. And um, but in person even more. And, like, shher landings. Eee! And she does this thing where shoots and arrow, and really, youI found myself wanting to be like, ah! Shoot me with the arrow! Ah! Yes! I put my chest out. Im here. Get me.
JESSICA: Because shes just awesome. I cannot say enough. Thats another problem why I injured myself: thrusting myself at her floor routine. Um, so, anywhoo [ ]
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: I totally forgot what I was talkoh yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, the other person that strthat totally stands out is, uh, Milliner, but we can talk about her in event finals. Brandie Jay [laughs], so you know. Brandie Jay is an elite. She was on the Pan Am team that won gold with Shawn Johnson when she came back. Shes a badass. She does a fulla full out on floor. A full out. Do you know how freaking a full out is? And its so consistent. She just throws it into her NCAA routine. No biggie. Um, so she [laughs] she goes to vault and, like, she goes straight up. She landed, like, right next to the vaulting horse. Straight up and does the fastest double twist youve ever seen in your life. Just b-r-r-r-r. And all of usliterally the entire front row is all, like, GGMBers and hard core fans. It was the best front row ever, and Ill tell you why later. Um, and all of us looked at each other. Simultaneously the entire front row looks at each other and goes, was that a double full? Was that a double full? She just did a double full. And then her coach looks at her and, like, like, Dana, like, she comes down and shes like, you just did a double full?
JESSICA: Like, everyoneand then she was like, she just kind of shook her head like, ahh. And you guys know, you dont block the same way for a double full. You dontlike, its a different vault. Like, Evan and Scott Bregman were going on about this forever. Theyre just like, you dont just accidentally do it. Its a whole different vault. But then maybe, you know, if youre Brandie Jay you just go so high anyway or maybe she just in her headI dont even know what happened, but she looked surprised. The coaches were surprised. And it was a very happy accident. But I dont think theres any, um, actual deduction for putting up the wrong vault, because as far as I know you just put the number for a Yurchenko; not for the actual vault itself. Imcorrect me if Im wrong. Write in all you judges out there. But, um, you know, she did have a big bounce out because I think she was a little surprised at herself. But, um, it was one of the funniest things Ive ever seen, and, like, one of the happiest fan moments that we have gotten. Cuz its been a long time since someone did a double full. Uh, I dont think anyones ever double full in Super Six, actually. Its been done in finals before, but I dont think anyonesexcept maybe Marissa King no, she always did a one and a half, right? Um
SPENCER: I think she did a Tsuk.
JESSICA: Yeah, so, it was really, really, really awesome.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, I guess so Elizabeth Grimsleythe person who writes for the Georgia newspapertalked to Brandie after itafter the meet, and asked her about that. And, I guess what happened was she, she kind of got lost in the air. She squeezed her butt
UNCLE TIM: and, I guess, just squeezed too tight, or something.
UNCLE TIM: And, like, just pulled around a double full. Ya know cuz when I squeeze my butt I just automatically, just pull double fulls out of my butt, literally.
UNCLE TIM: So, yeah.
JESSICA: [laughs] That is the magic of having elite haunches (sp??). You just squeeze and [laughs] and you do an extra twist.
SPENCER: And a double full pops out.
SPENCER: Did youIcould you see Brandie Jays face after she did that vault?
JESSICA: [laughs] Yes.
SPENCER: Cuz we could on the broadcast. I have never seen a gymnast look like that. She was just abject confusion
SPENCER: and just, like, her hands were kind of up in the air. She looit reminded me of, like, a little kid who just lost their mom at the mall.
SPENCER: And theyre like, what is happening?! She just looked so, like, completely bewildered by what just happened. It was theit was my favorite part of the whole meet. Seeing her face after she accidentally did a double full.
UNCLE TIM: [laugh] Yes, it was [laughs] it was pretty awesome. Were there any other moments you guys wanted to talk about?
SPENCER: Um, Bridget Sloans beam routine from Super Six
SPENCER: was another one of the standout moments, because it was the whole big story. She fell at Regionals, and then you talked to Rhonda and she said, Bridget hasnt beenshes hit every single routine. Shes never had a wobble and shes gonna hit in Championships. 100% of course she is. And then she comes up in Semi-Finals and has what may be the worst beam routine Ive ever seen her do. It was like
SPENCER: a fall and a wobble. She landed short on the dismount, and it was like, this is Bridget Sloan? Does she do that?
JESSICA: It was, like, comedic. It was so messed up.
SPENCER: It was likeit was just from a different person. And so, then she comes to Super Six and its like, the big routine because she had fallen on two in a row, and shes Bridget Sloan. And then, she had a look on her face before she did that routine like she was either gonna get a 20, or she just gonna, like, rip the beam outta the ground Incredible Hulk style, and like
SPENCER: throw it into the crowd. And then, she nailed every single piece of acro, and then on the broadcast Kathy Johnson Clark was going full drama. She was so excited. She was like, this is the defining moment of a lifetime.
SPENCER: Iit was like, woah Kathy.
SPENCER: Dont oversell it. But then she finished. It was so exciting. And then she, like, almost ran into the beam when she was so excited to go find Rhonda and give her a hug. And, it was, like, crazy, and really exciting because it felt like genuine enthusiasm. Like, she was so relieve to have hit that routine. I think sometimes in NCAA its likepeople are really conscious about being enthusiastic for the rest of the team. So its like, they land and they have to think, oh yeah. I have to scream my head off now and be excited, and I am! This was, like, really genuine.
JESSICA: Thats a really, really good point. You know, someone who is big a, uh, elite fan, and not an NCAA fan was talking about how, you know, its manufactured enthusiasm. And I was like, I was so offended by that. But it is true that sometimes I feel like there is this, um, theres an element of acting like you did a really great job, even if you didnt, thats more emphasized in NCAA than it is in elite. You know, when Maroney doesnt do a good job, she just stalks off like shes gonna go stab someone. Whereas in, in, uh, NCAA, even if you did the crappiest job, youre so coached to, like, fist pump, and arch your back as far as you possibly can til you cause an injury, and, um, it really stands out when someone does a genuine happy, uh, moment like that. And, that was definitely one of em. And then she went and killed the bars because she was so badass.
SPENCER: Um, when I went to Pac-12s I made my sister go with me, who is not a gymnastics person at all, and the first reaction she had about NCAA gymnastics, she said, I dont think I could have be an NCAA gymnast because I couldnt be, like, yay! What a terrible job! Great job! Yay! It was awful!
UNCLE TIM: Same.
SPENCER: I was like, oh. I understand. That is a reaction that I think people who dont watch a lot of NCAA gymnastics have. That theyre just so excited, even regardless of quality.
JESSICA: I think thats one of those things though that, like, um, Mackenzie Caquatto was talking about when she was like, what would she change about elite, and what would she add into the elite program, was that having people that are, like, we believe in you and we have your back, even when you messed up.
SPENCER: Mmhmm. Right.
JESSICA: Which, all the time looks like someones patting you on the back for, like, doing the worst job of your life. But, its like, the thing is were not gonna punish you because you messed up. Like, its like, that, thats okay. Youre gonna do it next time. We believe that you can do it next time. But, it definitely comes across, I think, as, umand Ive, like, some of the teammates do not believe it. Theyd rather punch their teammate in the face. But they, um, you know, totally comes across as, um, you know, cheering for crap. But I notice that in volleyball too. Theyre always smacking each others butts no matter what, and then Im just like, oh, oh. This is like the, you know, college salute.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah. And then the Super Six really came down to the final routines. We had Alabama on beam, Oklahoma on vault, and Florida was on floor. Spencer, could you kind of set up things for our listeners who didnt really get to watch.
SPENCER: Yeah. It absolutely came down to the last rotation and the last routine. Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma were all going into their final events all at the same time, basically tied. And, Oklahoma was on vault. Alabama was on beam, and Florida was on floor. And, it was just back and forth; back and forth; back and forth. Everyone was hitting. 9.9 here. 9.9 here. 9.9 there. And it was thhone of the, if not the most exciting rotations of gymnastics Ive ever watched.
SPENCER: Just because it came down to quarters of tenths, and not even that. And then finally, um, it looked like Alabama was gonna win. Uh, so, with two routines left they needed a 9.875 and a 9.9 in the last two routines to tie Oklahoma who had already finished on vault at that point. And then crazy falls. Completely unexpected falls for Alabama. They had, um, their leadoff, Deandre Milliner, fall onwho doesnt fall. She always looks petrified during her routines. She always looks like shes gonna fall.
SPENCER: But shes so consistent. And, she comes up, and then the very last routine Kim Jacobs fell on her press handstand mount, which was like
JESSICA: Uhh [sighs].
SPENCER: I didnt even..did that even Kim Jacob doesnt fall on her press handstand mount. Um, and what was also really interesting about that, and that they were two seniors who had the falls in the last rotation of Super Six, and thats really, really common. And I think kind of understandable that the people who fall on beam are often seniors.
SPENCER: Um, two, two years ago when UCLA was ending on beam and [look up name] had that fall, um, and then Aisha Gerber also had a struggle routine, or got a 9.7 or something, which she never did, um, before then. She was a senior. It always seems its the seniors cuz theyre justthey want it so much. Its their last routine. Theres so much pressure. You could just see that both of those mistakes were things that they never, ever do.
JESSICA: And thats the thingits such a good point you make because, the thing thats going on here is, like, in elite you never know when someones routine is the last routine of their lives, of their career. Thats it. But in NCAA theres a clock. And it ends. And it runs out. And if you havent made event finals, or even if you have, this is the last routine of your competitive career, unless youre one of those super outliers who goes back to elite, or goes back to Level 10. Its still not the same. This is the last routine youre ever allowed to do with your team. Your last routine ever in college. Period. No matter what, you cant go back. Youre goingyoure about to mount the beam, and you are replaying your very first, you know, daddy and me tumbling class to your, you know, the end of your club career, to the first day you showed up as a freshman, and this is it. Your last chance. Like, theyreI dont, like Olympic finals for your team, and Olympic event finals can, I feel like, can be the only thing that compares to the amount of pressure, and putting that, that on, and really knowing for sure, no matter what, this is the last routine of your life.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, Im trying to think. Albut, but it happens to some people in elite though too. I feel like Kim Zmeskal going into 92 really thought the Olympics was going to be her last meet, and then look what happened. It wasnt really her best meet ever. Um, so yeah. Its one of those situations where you just, kind of, get ahead of yourself. And then, so, we were talking a little bit about how Alabama fell, and it really came down to one final routine on floor by Bridgette Caquatto, and she had two errors in the meets leading up, and she hit her routine. She did have a little bounce back on her double pikethe last, uh, pass. Do you think she deserved a 9.95, which tied Oklahoma? Spencer.
SPENCER: Um, my first reactionI knew going into that routine that she needed a 9.975 to win, and then a 9.95 to tie. I will say, after she finished that routine my first reaction was, Oklahoma just won the National Championship, because I thought, thatll get a 9.9. But, Iand I think theres been some criticism. Like, oh, Bridgette Caquatto didnt deserve that score, so Oklahoma shouldve won outright. But, I didntI dont think you can view it as just that one routine. I think both teams got, like we already talked about, high scores on floor. Um, th, that that was happening to both teams, so I dont think you can just pinpoint it on that one routine. But, I dont think that was a 9.95.
JESSICA: So, let me tell you what was happening over on vault. So, Oklahoma goes on vault. So now, right, were thinking its a competition. Youre like, Alabamas kicking ass, and then Alabama has their first fall, and were like, holy crap. Has Alabama taken themselves out? Meanwhile, Oklahoma is vaulting and just slaughtering the vault. You guys, it was so freaking exciting. It was like everyone had the best vault of their entire lives in that instance; when it counted; when it mattered the most. Every single competitor that landed went instantly burst into tears when they ran down to their team. I, of course, was screaming bloody murder at the judges. I think I yelled, off with their heads at one point, which I was like, what is this?
JESSICA: Alice in Wonderland? Ive never uttered those words in my life. Like, I was just, like, beside myself because they were just so perfect in the moment when they needed it the most. Like, so everyones bawling their eyes out when theyre running down the stairs, and theyre hitting, like, amazingly. And then, were all sitting therethe whole front row is, like, GGMBers; lifelong fans. And, we, um, the minute that Kim Jacob fell on beam, like, we leaned over to the coaches that were right underneath us, and were like, you won. You won. And then you were like, dont! Were not sure yet because it coulda been Florida. Like, Florida could still get a ten and they could win. And were like, alright, okay maybe. But thats not gonna happen. But Kytra was up, so we were like, oh crap! Kytra could get a ten. But shes not gonna get a ten. So we watch Kytra; she doesnt get her ten. So were like, thats it. You won. And theyre like, no! Because, uh, Bridgette could go and she could still get a, uh, 9.975. And were like theres no way shes getting a 9.975. And so, literally, this is the conversation going on between the front row of fans at vault, and the coaches are yelling back and forth to each other. And, like the coaches are trying not to get excited and the fans were, like losing it. Were like, ah! [inaudible] And theyre like, no! We have to stay calm. Like, we cant celebrate yet. Like, we cant celebrate yet. Were like, its [inaudible]. And so then were like, all, like, holding onliterally using our railingand were holding onto it; gripping it, watching Bridgette do her routine. And were like, theres no way shes gonna get a 10. Shes not gonna get a 9.975. And like, of course they put Bridgey up at the end because, like, she doesnt have the difficulty. She has a really great, clean routine. Shes amazing. I love watching her routine. Um, I totally get into it. Like, I totally want to do her little, like, eh eh eh, put your hand in the air thing. Um, but you know. Its notits strategy. They put her at the end because they wanna bump her score up and put Kytra and Bridgetteand Bridgette, you know, in the beginning. So, um, were like, no. Shes not gonna get a 9.975. So then she gets the 9.975, and were like you tied! You tied! You tied! You did it! And theyre like, what if theres a tie breaker? So, like, the Oklahoma coaches were refusing to celebrate, and all the fans were like, Oh my god! Its the first time! And poor, like, Oklahoma corral. The gymnasts were in this corral and were not allowed to come out cuz its the NCAA Championships, and you have to stay in your corral. And the gymnasts are, like, instantly, like bawling their eyes out, and then just holding hands and, like, staring at each other, like, [breaths in], hold your emotion! And like, KJ is just standing there staring straight ahead. Like, she was just, like, I will not be distracted. I will not let any of my emotions out yet. I have to just wait. Im just gonna stand here and wait, and at some point I will be a National Championship coach. The, like, assistant coach is , like, running around, and are like, I dont know is there a tie-breaker? And theyre asking us in the stands, and like, one of the guys is like, totally doing the math over and over and [inaudible] all the scores. And hes like, no. For sure you tied. Theres not tie-breakers. Does anybody know if theres a tie-breaker? Where was the Oklahoma SIDSports Information Director? Thats their jobto know this. The Sports Information Directors supposed to give the public the information and know all the rules so they can tell someone, so when something like this happensSports Information Directors like, nowhere to be seen. So, theyre like, looking on the College BGymnastics Board, like, message board. Like, someone just said there is a tie-breaker. Were like, oh crap! Then, so the guy in the front row is, like, re-doing all the math, and hes like, well what would the tie-breaker be, and so all of us are guessing. Like, no one knows. Like, the coach is like, I have no idea what it is. So, um, hes like, I dont know. This has never happened before, right? And were like, no! Its never happened before. So were going back and forth so the guy in front row re-does the math, and hes like, well I dont know. Do they add in the sixth score? Because thats what they do in prelims to break the tie so they would add the competitor because its five upits six up, five count. So, maybe you add in the last score from every single eventyou add in the sixth person. So, he re-does that and hes like, oh my god! If they add in the sixth score then Florida wins by .025. And then, of course, Oklahoma coach is like, oh no! And then this woman from the NCAAthis is the most despicable moment of the entire story you guysthis woman from the NCAA comes over and is like, oh yes. There is a tie-breaker. So now, like, theyre like, oh my god this cant be. And were like, no! She, she doesnt know what shes talking about! Like, were just like, no, no no. This cant be. Theres gonna be a tie. Theres gonna be a tie. So, like, seriously if felt like ten minutes of standing there, like, goingthe fans going back and forth, and like, re-calculating the math, and uh, the coaches trying to look at the rules on their phones, and the SID, you know, being totally MIA and being nowhere to be found. And the poor, like, gymnasts just holding onto each other for dear life, like, please, please let us have won. Finally, Adrian from the Florida teamone of the coaches, runs across the floor, leaping, hurdling, like, obstaclesruns to the Oklahoma coaches and yells, We tied! We tied! Theyre not gonna break the tie! Its a tie! Its a tie! You won! You won! And so, thank god for Adrian. And then everyone was, like, bursting into tears, and were all crying and cheering, and Oklahomaoh my god! It was so exciting you guys! I just love that team, and Im so happy for them. Ties are the way to go! [sighs]
JESSICA: Thats what happened.
UNCLE TIM: I dont know how to react to that.
UNCLE TIM: That was a lotta energy right there.
JESSICA: It was so exciting! [sighs]
SPENCER: How do you really feel about it?
JESSICA: I probably got more of my bruises I mean, I have, like, a bruise on my knuckles. How do you getand like, cuts how do you get that? [laughs] Like, did I punch someone you think?
UNCLE TIM: I dont know. I went to Cirque with you, and you were very excitable at Cirque, so I can see how during this moment youd a been flailing and hitting things, and grabbing railings, and yeah. I can see. You probably left scratches on other people too. Spencer, do you feel like they shouldve broken the tie?
SPENCER: Um, I kind ofIm okay with the fact that there was a tie. I wasnt at first because I dont have, uh, feelings or a soul or a heart or anything, and Im like, one winner. But, the fact that it was Oklahoma kind of makes it okay for me, because if they had broken the tie and gone with the sixth score, Florida would have won by a quarter tenth, and I feel like Oklahoma performed the gymnastics worthy of winning a National Championship, so if they hadntif they had been bumped down, that would have felt like they had been cheated. But, sort of on principle, on I have trouble with ties cuz I think theyre, kind of, a let downespecially if youre just a fan watching at home. Um, cuz its kind of like, oh theyre going back and forth. Whos gonna win? Whos gonna win? And then its like, oh they both are fun which is great for them. Its kind of like we have two winners now. I dont know how I would feel if it had been different teams. I think I would be more frustrated by having a tie, but because it was Oklahoma and Florida, Im kind of just happy about it.
JESSICA: Do you guys think this is the end of dynasties, since weve had otherfirst time ever, first time in school history, first time NCAA gymnastics winner?
SPENCER: Well, its also Floridas second time in a row winning though.
JESSICA: True. But second year in a row with a first time winner.
SPENCER: Yeah. I think its less likely now. I dont think its the end, because there are more teams capable of winning now. I dont think, wewere not really replacing things in terms of the big four that we used to have with Georgia and Utaha and Alabama and UCLA. Theyre still all there. Its just theres more. So, I think its less likely, but given the elitesthe top elites still tend to come to the same few schools, and as long as thats happening I think the possibility for a dynasty is still there.
JESSICA: Uncle Tim?
UNCLE TIM: I agree that the possibilitys still there, and I thinkI mean, its not going to just blow open the doors. You know, the 23rd team in the nation is suddenly going to be able to challenge for the NCAA title. I think there is stillyes, the coaches whenever you listen to the press conferences before this meet theyre like, oh the parity. Theres so much parity. Blah blah blah, blah blah. If I have to hear the word parity one more time before NCAA Championships I will probably hang one of the coaches by their toenails and beat them with a wet noodle.
UNCLE TIM: Um, and yeah. And so, its just I, I dont know. I dont think that there is suddenly going to be this totally equal playing field. I mean, youre still going to have the Rutgers that will celebrate the fact that they had one gymnast qualify for the NCAA Championships in the All Around. Youre not gonna have those teams suddenly vying for the top spot.
JESSICA: I think they have been talking about parity for the last, like four to six years, and you constantly hear about it, and then nothing changed. It was always Alabama, Georgia, but then Utah and, uh, UCLA in 2010, and then, but now two years in a row we had a first time ever winner. Two years in a row. That is justI feel like its the end. I feel like this is the end of dynasties. Even if it is two times in a row for Florida, like, a tie is great. I, I really feel that this is it, because really you haveI mean you have this, like we talked about, these ninja Level 10s. Like, Level 10s now, like Oklahoma has, like, its basically like the WOGA team who were like, eh, elite? Not so much for me. I just wanna be a Level 10. Like, they are incredible. Like, they could be elites if they wanted to be. They decided to stay Level 10s and be ninjas, and win a National Championship, and thisits just, its really true now. And its really come to fruition, and I totally think its the end despite what you two say, so [grunts].
SPENCER: Um, but whodo you think theres another team on the horizon, like, LSU
SPENCER: thats gonna be the next first time winner? Cuz Oklahoma has been right there for so many years. They finished second twice within, like, three or four years, so theyre always right there. But, I dont see a lot of other teams besides LSU where its like, oh, theyre gonna win a National Championship one of these days.
JESSICA: LSU is definitely one, especially with theyyou know, Jays like the master recruiter with his t-shirts that say, I want you you know, LSU wants you and all this stuff. And, uh, the people that theyre bringing in are justlike, theyre just incredible recruiting classes, and um, I, I think that LSU is absolutely the next team. And then, also the other team that I feel likeihaI dont know what needs to happen, what needs to be changed, but honestly, I feel like, uh, Stanford. I know thats shocking, but Stanford, andwhich by the way, is the only school that is in the top ten academically andin gymnastics, which is a huge accomplishmentreal schooling. Um, Im just saying. And, um, Oregon State. Oregon State could totally win. I dont know whats going on there, why they keep failing, but Stanford and Oregon State. LSU for sure. If they had cleaned up beam, they wouldve won. Period.
SPENCER: Yeah. LSU is really one to watch out for for next season. I was already thinking about this cuz Championships are over, so Im immediately thinking about next season. And theyre bringingdo you remember, um, from Viser, not Visa Championships anymore, but elite US Championships last year, Erin Macadaeg?
SPENCER: She didnt finish that well but she was really clean. Everyone really liked her. Shes coming to LSU next year, and I particularly liked her on beam. And I just think with her, and then they have Ashley Matt, and Rheagan Courville, and Jessie Jordan; theyll have all of them on beam next year. Its like, theyve got that figured out.
SPENCER: Theyre fixing that.
JESSICA: Yup. And thats their only weak spot. Honestly. And they, I mean, honestly, afterwardslike, when they were outside getting on their bus, they were, like, in a haze of, I cant believe that this happened, and we didnt win. And, they are gonna be so fired up for next year. They absolutethey want it. They want it really, really bad. And, of course, they have their little ninja coach Dedee Breaux, whos gonna make it happen.
UNCLE TIM: Who is National Coach of the Year.
JESSICA: Which she totally deserves
JESSICA: Shes so positive you guys. Like, honestly she came overI mean, one, one of the first people to come over to congratbesides Adrian, the Florida coach coming over, which I love. Such a great show of sportsmanship that he was just as excited for Oklahoma as he was for his own team, um, that he wanted to relieve their pain over there of them not knowing. Um, Dedee Breaux was one of the first people that came over and congratulated, and you know, gave all the Oklahoma coaching staff huge hugs. And, um, all the coaches came over and congratulated them, and it was just so great to see how, like, all the compliments they got, and how happyyou know, because it benefits everybody when theres a new winner. And, they know they totally freakin deserved it, and they earned it. So, Dedee Breauxs gonna make it happen. Like, she will not, like, therenothingher life, I feel like, is just on pause until she wins this. Like, if she
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: If it takes til, like, 110, she will live to be 110 years old.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: Thats what she will do. It doesnt matter. Shes gonna win.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] With that, lets quickly talk about the Event Finals. Um, coming in first on vault, there was a tie for Rheagan Courville of LSU and Katherine Grable of Arkansas. And that was Arkansass first, uh, National title ever in its school history, which is pretty exciting. And then on bars first was Bridget Sloan. On beam, first was Taylor Spears, and on floor Katherine Grable won. She was a double winner this weekend.
UNCLE TIM: Yaaaaaay! I know. So, what were some of the big skills that you were flailing over Jessica?
JESSICA: [laughs] Well, first of all, um, lets see um, Utahs Nansy Deminova, who is a 2008 Olympian for Canada. She upgrawell, she warmed up her Arabian on floor, and then I dont know what happened. Something bizarre happened. She just psyched herself out, or got nervous. I dont know, but she just did a double back for her first pass, and then, like, it was justshe psyched herself out and the whole rest of the team was kind of a mess. Um, but, the other upgrades were Deandra Milliner, who does this awesome Hunger Games routine, which her routine starts with [sings routine music], like twice. The refrain of The Hunger Games, which I just love. And then she jusshe shoots and arrow into the corner and then tumbles. So, shes just a total badass. And she did a piked full-in, which is gorgeous. Like, she just lands, like, perfectly. Like, boop. Like, shes maybeI dont know, like three degree angle tilted forward. You know. So, when she lands shes just incredible and I have a lot of respect for her. Sheshe did such a great routine. Um, and then who else had an upgrade? I feel like someone threw something extra on beam that Im totally forgetting. There was a 1 ½ on vaulta new 1 ½. I feel like Jessie Jordan maybe upgraded her vault to 1 ½. And then, oh, what is the one on beam? Someone, someone remind me. Somebody put in something extra.
SPENCER: I didnt notice anyone on beam do an upgrade
JESSICA: Alike, aerial to two feet? Like, a Barani?
SPENCER: I may not have noticed and someone upgraded, and I was just like, shes always done it that way. Probably. Um
JESSICA: Or maybe it was like, she does a, I dont know, she does it off and on through the season and she put it in then. I dont know. Someone will recognize it and tell us.
JESSICA: Gymternet, help us out here.
UNCLE TIM: Great. And so, I guess, the big thing the gymternet is talking about right now is the balance beam final.
UNCLE TIM: There was very yes. Jessica why dont youI mean, obviously you have a lot of feels about this.
JESSICA: So many feels!
UNCLE TIM: So why dont you tell us what happened.
JESSICA: [gasps] [inaudible] [sighs] Youreokay, first..
UNCLE TIM: Let me, let me give you words first Jess [laughs]. So, Taylor Spears won. Um, she got a 9.925 I wanna say. And, Lindsey Cheek came in second with a 9.9. Alright, now go ahead Jessica and let out your tirade.
JESSICA: First of all, Taylor Spearsabsolutely gorgeous. Totally deserved to win. Completely deserved to win. Taylor Spears, you are a beam goddess. You will go down in history as one of the greatest, most confident, most fluid beam workers of all time. Hats off to you. Since my Lindsay Mable could not make the beam final because she fell, the gym gods didnt wish it for this year for some reason, because maybe next year shes gonna add in, like, seven extra flips and still win. Who knows? Um, but, um, also because Hanna Norquist couldnt win, whos also absolutely stunning, and as we know, uh, KatherineKatherine? Kathy Johnson had an audible orgasm during her routine last year. Um, she does the aerial layout, and shes just, oh my god! She so perfect on beam. And, if you guys noticed [sighs] no construction worker bedazzled back brace this year. Hmm? Theyre doin things right over there.
UNCLE TIM: For Minnesota. Yeah.
JESSICA: For Minnesota. Yup. They lookedthey had these, like, backless leos with, like, pink, which I waseh, you know how I feel about pink. But, I love the backless leo. And, they were throwback leos. They were velvetcrushed velvet, which, hey, you dont see that a lot anymore. They definitely stood out.
JESSICA: Yup. Um, but Hanna Norquist was just so amazing. So, I mean, she just looked like, talk about, you know, like, the whole ripping the beam out of the floor. Like, Hannah Norquist looks so pissed. I mean, Lindsay Mable and Hanna Norquist are destined. Someday its gonna happen, and theyre gonna win. Theyre gonna be like the Arizona, and theyre gonna win that event, because they were born to do this, and Meg Stephenson was born to coach a national champion on beam and on floor. Um, but anywhoo, I digress. [sighs] What was I talking about? Oh, okay. Lindsey Cheek. If I was, like, a gorilla, I would, like, be, like, pulling trees down.
JESSICA: Like, pulling them up by their roots, and like, throwing them. Im, like, Lindsey Cheek is so freaking good. She is so underscored. And I dont care if shes only underscored by one tenth. Its one tenth too much! Shes so robbed. And, and she even does her, you know, the, the, the, uh, moonwalk, which I cant stand cuz I feel like its totally overused, but I dont care. I look past it because I love the whole rest of her routine. I love the choreography. Shes so good! You guys, where was the freakin deduction? Where was the deduction? I demand for someone to show me where the deduction was, because she should have tied with Taylor Spears. She should have gotten a higher score on all of her vaults. It is a toshe is the most robbed gymnast of the entire year this year. Its totally unacceptable. Besides asterisks on the whole vault final where Austin Sheppard should bebroken foot, may you rest in peace. That bone; please heal soon. Um, honestly, its, it, Im so, I was so mad. Like, uhh. I [sighs] I dont know. Why?! Why?! Someone explain it to me! Its not fair!
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Spencer, can you explain it to her?
SPENCER: I cannot explain it to her. I thought Lindsey Cheeks routineif it were the, the regular seasonespecially in Georgia, like, it wouldve gotten a 35.
SPENCER: It was perfect from beginning to end. And herits a switch though. Yeah. Its a switch side that she does, isno one has ever done the switch side better than she does. I could watch that skill all day long. Ah, it was so good. But, I mean its hard because Taylor Spears was great too, and that was an amazing routine. But, so you dont be like, that Taylor Spears. How dare she win beam finals? Cuz shes great, but it wasnt Lindsey Cheeks routine.
UNCLE TIM: Its true. I thought that Taylor Spears, she maybe had a little more difficulty in the sense that she did the Onodi, and she also connected that to a Korbut. Um, but her leaps I just didnt think were quite as good, and I kind of harped on Oklahomas leaps last year on balance beam on, um, just throughout the meets and the National Championships. And, this year again I feel like theyre just a little more hesitant on their leaps, and not quite doing really good extension, but I thought Lindsey Cheeks were a lot better, so sheI mean, obviously she didnt do the Onodi and get Jessicas, um, non-existent difficulty bonus. Um
JESSICA: Thats right.
UNCLE TIM: But, so yes. But, I did think that she had the better leaps and was just overall more confident during her routine. So, oh well. You know. You cant really change history now. But, you know, Im, I mean I guess its good that Taylor Spears won and Oklahoma was recognized for their awesome beam work after having a really rough yearrough Nationals last year where barely anyone made, uh, beam finals. So yeah.
JESSICA: One think I just have to say about Lindsey Cheek that I just have to sing her praises once more is that no matter what the pressure is, she delivers the exact same routine. You know that she has it in her head that she should be getting a 10. You know shes pissed, right? But it does not affect her perperformance. She never overdoes it. She never tries to be like, so perfect, and just concentrateconcentrates on that so it messes up her performance. Like, you could take a video of her and then just plunk that routine into any day of the week; any competition, no matter if its her, her intra-squad video from pre-season, or if its event finals at NCAAs. She does exactly the same routine, and that is freaking amazing. Her ability to handle pressure is amazing. Like, whatever she has in her veins, like, we need to extract that and give it to, like, you know, all the scientists and people doing important work so that they can be as steady-nerved as she is. Steady-nerved. Thats a new word I invented.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs] I have nothing to add, so I think were kind of done yammering on about, uh, NCAAs. What about you Jess?
JESSICA: I wanna yammer on a little bit more about
JESSICA: Kat Grables floor. Totally the correct winner, because obviously Chayse Capps, uh, shouldve won, but she had a little on her secondwell she, you know, she, her second pass. But she covered up very well by doing, sort of, a, a sideways exaggerated college salute to lunge thingy, but, you know, she, she hasshes only a freshman. You know, she performed like a super senior, but shes only a freshman, so we have more to look forward to from her. Um, Kat Grable did, of course, her patented arabian double front half out, which as we know, the onlyas I mentioned before, the only other person who was doing that in modern history was, uh, Uchimura did it piked, which is like, shes doing the same skill in NCAA that Uchimuras doing? What? Sick!
UNCLE TIM: And Eddie Penev of Stanford does it laid out.
JESSICA: Which is super badass too.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
JESSICA: Um, [sighs] totally distracted now. Something about laid out skills.
UNCLE TIM: Kat Grable. Think about Kat Grable.
JESSICA: Um, so the other thing I wanted to say was I, I think that the, the vault, umthis was one of the first times weve seen a, a, she does a Podkopayeva. So, she does a half on, um, like, front pikefront layout, half off, and its just beautiful. She does a great job, and we rarely see a vault other than a Yurkchenko full win, so I think it was great to see that. I think that Marissa King was last with a Yurchenko one and a half, or a Tsuk one and a half? Um
JESSICA: so it was great to see that. I think the judging was really good on that event despite the fact that Lindsay Mable [sighs] I justyou know how I feel about Lindsay Mable. And shes just so fantastic, and I just think they didnt give it to her because of the power part of it. I mean, I think you, you know, couldnt really take anything away from her vault, but when you have Rheagan Courville whos doing the same vault and lands literally, like, three full body distances away from where Lindsay Mable lands, and its like, eh, okay. Well, I can kind of see that. Um, what else did I wanna say about that? Um, I alI mean, Bridget Sloan did a fantastic job. I think Sam Shapiro was excellent, excellent on bars. I reallyI just her form is just to die for. You could take a picture of her at any point in her routine, and her form is absolutely perfect. Um, and I was just so excited to see a fantastic competition where there were hardly any falls. I mean, honestly, in this entire meet there were maybein like, the finals, between Saturday and Sunday there were maybe, like, six falls total. You know? Thats pretty, thats pretty good average for a gymnastics meet. It was great, great, great gymnastics. People really performing to their, to the absolute utter perfection. It was just great to see people going out that way. I loved it. Loved it. Oh, I have to mention the other person who I absolutely feel in love with, whos an individual from Sac State. Shes the first ever competitor from Sac State to make it to NCAA Championships, is Kalliah McCartney from WashingtonWashington state. She is 57. Holla! And, um, she made it in the All Around. She is just one of the most beautiful Ive ever seen. So clean. So perfect. We put up a video of her from earlier in the season in our playlist, so you guys can check her out. My god. Shes one of those gymnasts that Iyou could not stop looking at her, and honestly, I was like, who is that? How is she not on one of these, you know, teams? Like, Oklahoma Im sure shes like, totally Oklahoma gymnast. Like, long, lean, flexible, perfect lines. Um, I think every coach there was jealous that Sac State got this amazing competitor, so hats off you. Um, she was great. Anything else you think we should discuss? Um, Spencer?
SPENCER: The only other thing that I really noticedor I was really impressed by was just the high quality in event finals throughout all of them, which we dont usually see, cuz its the third day in a row and everyones sort of dragging and can barely get off the floor. Can barely do a vault and we saw, I think last year we saw, like, two sticks in vault finals, and everyone was sticking in vault finals this year. And its so much great tumbling for all the people who were tied right behind Katherine Grable on floor. I was just really impressed that they were able to come up with such strong routines on the third day when they shouldve been, like, dripping off the floor with exhaustion.
JESSICA: [laughs] Yes. And people were up til likeI mean, Oklahoma were with us until, like, three in the morning the night before. So, the fact that they got up and competed, and then won stuff theyre just amazing. Theyre incredible. All these women are just absolutely superstars. Oh, I know what I wanted to talk about. Security. So, you know how last year I complained about securityhow you could just walk in with your luggage. Well, that happened again. No on checked anything. And then I was in media areano one asked for my credentials when I went to the media area. Someone wanted to check my bag to see if, you know, I was carrying anything in my bag that I shouldnt have in there. But, not anywere on my person, and not anywhere in the giant container of, uh, takeout food that I was taking into Christy Linder so she could eat because the NCAA doesnt provide any food, unlike USA Gymnastics, which does. Thank you very much. And, all normal events provide food for the media because they cant leave. Theyre there from, like, the crack of dawn in the morning until, like, 2 am. So, NCAA, seriously? Like, oh I dont know out of your billions maybe you could kick down a sandwich for all the people covering your event free.
UNCLE TIM: So, last year they did have it. Um, its a question of when the food is available and, and if you are really out there for every single rotation, and you dont stop in the middle of a rotation, then you miss out on the food. Cuz I definitely missed out on the food last year.
JESSICA: Unacceptable. They should have food out all the time because they have enough money to make that happen. So,tsk tsk NCAA. And, not only did they notyou know, they checked my bag, but they didnt ask for my credential at all, um, after I walked into the media area, put the food down, left a bag there unattended, and then walked out, I walked directly into the media sign and knocked it over along with the easel making a giant crashing noise in front of everyone working on their computers in the back. Thank you very much. That was me. I just wanted to make sure everyone knew I was there. Um, after I, you know, picked that stuff up in the back, um, then I was walking out towards the floor and, like, again no one asking for credentials. No one looking in security. But, there was a dude there warning everybody: make sure you put a sticker over that Adidas thing. Make sure you put a sticker over that Adidasor, um, you know Reebok logo that you have on your shorts. Um, you know, so like, you can basically take a gun or a bomb into directly onto the floor or as a spectator into the arena, but make sure you dont have a logo thats not the official sponsor of the NCAAs. Mm. The security is a total joke, and it makes me sick. And, Im, I really? They cant afford one person to actually make sure that people arent carrying stuff in? Its, its a tragedy waiting to happen is all Im saying. So, once again, NCAA [makes mouth fart]. Did that farting noise come across that I just made?
UNCLE TIM: Yes.
SPENCER: Loud and clear.
JESSICA: Good. Im glad.
[segment change beeps]
ALLISON TAYLOR Advertisement: This episode is brought to you by Elite Sportz Band. EliteSportzband.com. Weve got your back.
JESSICA: Visit EliteSportzBand.com. Thats Sportz with a Z, and save $5 on your next purchase with the code Gymcast.
UNCLE TIM: You can also contact us if you missed us a lot over the next two weeks. Um, we love reading your feedback. Um, so please send us emails at firstname.lastname@example.org. We read all of them. Sometimes it takes us a little while to get back to you, but we do get back to you. Um, you can also leave us a voicemail by calling us at 415-800-3191. Or you can call us free from anywhere in the world. Um, just use skype. Our username is GymcasticPodcast. And as Jessica already stated, you can follow us on many, many, many social media channels. Uh, you can follow us on Twitter, Tumbler, Facebook, Instagram, Google+. Am I missing anything? Not that I can think of. So, follow everywhere that you are, because were probably there as well. And, with that we want to a great next two weeks. Well miss you guys.
JESSICA: Thank you so much for listening. Make sure to check out our YouTube playlist. Watch the routines that were talkin about this week. And we will see you in two weeks after our breaky-poo. And, til then, Im Jessica from Masters Gymnastics.
UNCLE TIM: Im Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Mens Gym.
SPENCER: Im Spencer from The Balance Beam Situation.
JESSICA: See you guys in two weeks!
[salsa music to close]
JESSICA: The Korea Cup? Is that what it was?
UNCLE TIM: The Korean Cup. Yeah. Which was not an FIG event.
JESSICA: They just somehow got everybody to show up.
[Uncle Tim laughs]
UNCLE TIM: So yeahI dont really know how that worked.
JESSICA: I hope they just, like, uh, uh, gave them filthy amounts of money and thats how it worked out. Ah, okay. Here we go.
JESSICA: This week Llubijanoh shit.