Elite comps — NCAA postseason is upon us — More gym news

The IX: Gymnastics Saturday with Jessica Taylor Price, March 19, 2022

Happy Gymnastics Saturday! Much is happening in the international elite scene this month, and it’s all very exciting. It’s still early in the gym season, but it’s going to be fun to see how the competition shapes up as we get closer to bigger meets like the continental championships in May and June.

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First, we’ve got the Cairo Apparatus World Cup, the third of four apparatus world cups this season. Notably, Russia is banned from competing here, and Ukrainian gymnasts who competed in Doha are replacing those who were supposed to travel to compete in Cairo.

Which brings us to Daniela Batrona, who continues to put in super impressive performances and is in first on beam after qualifications with a 12.80, and is also in second on bars. Oksana Chusovitina refuses to slow down and is ahead of the vault field with a 12.88. Canada’s Laurie Denommee leads on bars with a 12.70 and on floor with a 12.93. Competition continues with finals this weekend. Snaps to Lauren for figuring out that there’s a stream for quals, which you can still watch here.

Next up, we have the Pokol Mixed Cup and Team Challenge, the first international competition of the season for Team USA. The women’s team challenge will happen on Saturday, and apparatus finals and the mixed cup (where each country has three men and three women competing as a team) will be held on Sunday. Here’s the full schedule

This will be a fun one, as the mixed cup features teams from the U.S., Germany, Italy, and Canada, so the competition will be fierce there. For the senior women’s team challenge, we’ll see those countries compete along with Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and Spain. Here’s a full roster.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a U.S. competition without some horrible controversy. Despite the recent outcry after news emerged that Valeri Liukin was being considered for the national team coordinator position even though he’s the subject of an ongoing SafeSport investigation, according to the OC Register, Liukin is the head coach of the U.S. delegation that’s currently in Germany.

This is of course disappointing, but I’d be lying out my ass if I said it was surprising. USA Gymnastics has shown over and over again that not only do they not practice what they preach when it comes to turning over a new leaf and protecting athletes, but that they can’t even do the more sinister work of pretending like they do. Former Liukin trainee Vanessa Atler took to Facebook to share her thoughts, which are worth reading in full. She says that while she believes Valeri “is not a horrible person,” “he should not be allowed to be head coach of any competition.” Yup.

Also across the pond, Jessica Gadirova won the English Championships with a 54.650, also winning vault and floor with massive numbers, a 14.250 and 14.050, respectively, including a powerful DTY:

Becky Downie competed everything but vault; she peeled off bars but still looked amazing.

Results via The Gymternet.

More meets from this week included the second Italian Serie A, which Martina Maggio won with a 54.250 (results via The Gymternet). Maisa Kuusikko won the Finland Team Challenge with a 51.550 (results via The Gymternet), but what everyone’s talking about is her connection-filled bar routine that has a random half turn:

NCAA quick hits

The NCAA regular season is officially over, and it’s on to conference champs! More on that and postseason next week, but here’s a quick roundup of what happened since we last spoke:

  • On Saturday, Michigan took a 197.950 at home, and Minnesota scored a 197.850 at home, where we got to see the Ramler in honor of Senior Night:

  • UCLA beat UC Davis with a 197.700. There, Emma Malabuyo scored her first 10, on beam, and Chae Campbell took two 10s.
  • Jade Carey scored a 39.800 in Denver on Sunday.
  • Oklahoma and Florida have taken over Michigan in the standings, but Utah remains in fourth.
  • All of the conference champs happen Saturday except for Friday’s MIC Championship. Check out the full schedule and meet previews at College Gym News, and standings at Road to Nationals.

More elite news

  • Rebeca Andrade is working on a fabrichnova!

  • Ana Perez had a major foot surgery. Like, major surgery. Seriously, check out the pictures. Get well soon, Ana!
  • The financial situation in Romanian gymnastics is dire. They’ve dropped out of competitions this year and are accepting donations (h/t GYMeme).
  • Farah Ann Abdul Hadi has retired (h/t Shirai 3). Farah has been a force in Malaysian gymnastics for the past three quads, winning seven golds at the Southeast Asian Games. Congrats to Farah on an incredible career, and good luck to her in the future!
  • Aleah Finnegan will compete for the Philippines at the Southeast Asian Games.
  • Sunisa Lee talked to ESPN about some mental struggles she’s been dealing with since the Olympics, and she and Konnor McClain talked to Olympics.com about her and Lee’s friendship and how they’ve helped each other.

Tweet of the week

When you realize Suni is listening

Five at the IX: Dagmar Kersten

This week, I’m sending you over to The Gymternet for a translation of a podcast starring Dagmar Kersten, a former East German gymnast and Olympic medalist. It’s a fascinating look at the life of someone competing for the GDR at that time, and I look forward to hearing more from her in the coming episodes!

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parkerThe IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Anne Tokarski, @annetokarski, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer