Gymcastic. Thoughts?

Oh, yeah, for sure. I was really replying to the comment that we hadn’t seen Mykayla in many high-pressure situations and didn’t have a full handle on how she’d compete under pressure. “Her best” did not mean “the best of the competition.”

Also, Skinner had competed in team finals before but for vault and floor only. She never had any experience under a 3 up 3 count format doing bars and floor.

Jade’s bars really relied on connecting the Geinger. When she hit that, her bars were actually pretty good. Without it, she lost big D and also had an extra kip cast which is never a good thing.

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Oh, I switched up Jade’s UB and BB scores. I thought she scored the 12.8 on UB. That’s my bad.

As for Skinner coming in clutch, chances are she would if nothing else other than to prove that she should have been on the team all along. But given how the entirety of the Games turned out, I wouldn’t put all my money on that one horse. We’ve seen otherwise consistent gymnasts completely shit the bed before.

She also had a history on bombing on beam when the pressure was on at Nationals.


Did you not continue listening to the episode? Cuz Jessica quickly corrected herself to claim Shilese should have been named as an alternate to the Olympic team. Which – while still debatable, the point she was making then as well as when it first happened, was that USA apparently had the ability to name five alternates, which going in rank order would have made Shilese the logical fifth candidate. I don’t have a strong opinion either way about that argument, like sure I guess if you want to be benevolent and give someone that title for their resume I suppose it would be fine, but also not that ~controversial~ to most gym fans.

But uh, yeah, at the time Jessica’s (terrible, tbh) memory might have also been 3 degrees of separation from this other minor kerfuffle with Shilese Jones circa Olympic Trials, which was really just an expression of disappointment directed at Tom Forester, and not much more than that. See here:

There was never as case for taking Jones as an alternate. DiCello, Malabuyo, and Wong were all much more capable all arounders, and Eaker had the potential to make beam EFs. McCusker made vastly more sense for the 5th spot than Jones.

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McCusker is more logical imo than many choices, including Skinner as an actual competitor, and Malabuyo as an alternate, but Mr. Forster certainly wasn’t attempting to make a strategic selection of a fifth alternate (hence: none at all), so to the extent that the alternates were assembled essentially as a big group of ‘honorable mentions’, the take all the rest of the sequential all-arounders from Trials is indeed a case.

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I do strongly feel that either Jones or McCusker should have been selected as an alternate. Riley could have provided strong bars, and Jones could have provided a strong vault (and normally strong bars, though she didn’t show her best there at trials), as well as AA backup. It’s unlikely the team would have gotten to the fifth alternate, but it could have happened, especially with two that were rooming together ending up in quarantine.

She did. After Spencer corrected her that Shilese did not in fact come 4th at Olympic Trials, but that she came 10th.

For the little that it’s worth, with all that NCAA experience and decent big match temperament, I’d have trusted Skinner to hit beam as much as any of the other options, if somewhat less attractively. Most of the Americans weren’t strangers to a badly timed beam tanking. It’s just that it wouldn’t have made two shits of difference.

As it turned out, the factors that meant the US couldn’t feasibly compete with Russia without Simone were all in place well before Tom made the not particularly significant choice for the 4th spot on the team. The die was cast.


Yeah, I like you am annoyed by how often she just blurts out a way-wrong stats and then yells “Fact check me!!!” and tries to make it an opportunity for comedy… because often the fact check never comes, and I end up having to look it up myself.

Right! And it’s rarely comedic in any way other than laughing in pity at her lack of gymnastics knowledge.

That’s what I was thinking of when I made my original comment. We’ve seen her bomb beam and run out of energy on FX because her routines would be packed with difficulty but didn’t have the endurance to match.

Yep. Which also shows the downside of a four-person team with one person being so dominant. The team was built around Simone and Sunisa was the obvious next pick. After those two, there’s a drop in strong UB/BB routines other than Riley but you can’t put what amounted to a one-event gymnast on a four-person team.

As an aside, I’m amazed that no coach worked a gymnast to being a strong and consistent UB/BB gymnast. Knowing those events are Simone’s weak points (and USA’s weakness overall), that would have been a guarantee onto any team she was on. That’s why Suni was able to come so close to Simone’s tail.

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very good point.

Isn’t that exactly what Graba did with Suni Lee??


This could have been Riley all over.

Yeah, i think they were trying to position Riley for that “spot”. Unfortunately, her fragility was a hinderance since she had to keep training AA since there was no indication that they wouls take a 2 event gymnast. I think Morgan was also attempting that strategy as much as she was able, but again, injury.

Grace spent too much time trying to upgrade vauld when she should have been focusing on maxing out her BB and UB and keeping floor clean. Jordan…i think her newfound steadiness crumbled a bit under the pressure and the struggles of Simone got in her head a bit. Everything was pretty fragilly goodish at Nationals but very rushed and jittery at the Olympics. And the mistakes started piling up.


Suni was an AAer, but had obvious strengths in UB and BB so Graba did put heavy focus on that versus trying to catch up to Simone on VT/FX. Aside from making good sense overall, it kept Suni competitive when she wasn’t 100%. I’ve said a Suni at 100% health would be going toe-to-toe with Simone.

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Jessica annoys the crap out of me. I haven’t listened to that podcast in years.

There is a lesson in all this - no guts, no glory. She went out and started something, and it worked out pretty well ( at least for her).

If you want something, just go for it.


Shilese Jones was indeed fourth, though. Those results are expressed in base-4 numbers, and I believe that this person is an expert in base-4 numbers.

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