1. The U.S. team dominated the Pan American Championships, winning the all around title and all event finals. Utah commit Grace McCallum won the all around crown with an impressive 56.366, followed by Florida freshman Trinity Thomas (54.433) and Brazil’s Flavia Saraiva (53.334). Grace also won the bars title with a big 14.533, ahead of Trinity (14.433) and Florida commit Shilese Jones (14.133). Oregon State freshman Jade Carey won vault (14.550) with a DTY and a Lopez, Cuba’s Marcia Vidiaux was second (14.234) and Grace McCallum third (13.883). Kara Eaker (who is still unbelievably uncommitted) won beam with a big 14.300, ahead of Flavia Saraiva (14.033) and Grace McCallum (14.000). On floor, Jade Carey dominated (14.400), Flavia Saraiva was second (13.867) and Kara Eaker was third (13.767). UCLA commit Frida Esparza, who represented Mexico, was ninth in the all around (51.533). With their strong performances at Pan Ams, Jade Carey and Grace McCallum made a strong case for themselves to be considered for the U.S. World Championships team.
2. Michigan Radio has announced the launching of a new podcast series, Believed, dedicated to give voice to the over 150 survivors of Larry Nassar. The series follows closely the team of women survivors, detectives and prosecutors who brought Nassar to justice, and explores the failure of a system that favoured victories and prestige over the wellbeing of the children they were entrusted with. Believed is hosted by Kate Wells, who has exhaustively covered the Nassar story since 2016, and Lindsey Smith, who led Michigan Radio’s Flint water crisis investigative team, and will premiere in late October. Unmissable!
3. After being first employed and then sacked by USA Gymnastics as new Developing Programme Coordinator in a dramatic twist of events last week, Mary Lee Tracy flew to Los Angeles to join Valorie Kondos Field in conversation. MLT still has a lot to explain (and to learn) concerning her statements in favour of Larry Nassar in December 2016, after the latter was openly accused of sexual abuse by multiple women. Miss Val thanked Ms Tracy for opening up to dialogue, writing: ‘We also understand this is just the first of many more needed conversations, questions, answers and apologies. This single conversation was meant to get the process started’.
4. UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi was last week’s guest star on Kristyn Burtt’s show To The Pointe. She talked about her gymnastics career, wanting to be on Dancing with the Stars and the positive influence Miss Val had on her ability to find her on voice. Insightful!
5. Here are the training videos of the week. Two seniors showed off impressive upgrades: UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi is training an insane split leg double layout on floor. Someone needs to make a slow motion version of the video, so hard it is to understand how on earth she can do it. Olympic champion Roza Galiyeva used to perform that skill back in the Nineties. In the meantime, Kentucky’s Alex Hyland is working on upgrades on three different apparatuses. On beam, she is training a free-walkover to split leap; on bars, she is training a Tkatchev; and on vault, she is training a Yurchenko one-and-a-half into the pit. If she gets the vault ready by the beginning of season, it would be a nice 10.0 addition to the vault lineup to Mollie Korth’s same vault. Speaking of Yurchenkos one-and-a-half, Pitt sophomore Sophie Bochenek is also hitting the same vault. It is a great addition for Pitt! Aaaand finally back in Los Angeles, UCLA junior Gracie Kramer is KILLING her new floor choreography!
6. Here are some coaching news. Former Utah standout Baely Rowe joined Washington as volunteer assistant coach. Rowe is the 2016 Pac-12 beam champion and a six-time All American. At Washington, she will coach all four events, will help choreograph floor routines, and will fulfil also a series of duties in recruiting, administration and coaching planning. West Virginia alumna Zaakira Muhammad joined Temple as graduate assistant coach. Muhammad was a three-time recipient of the Linda Burnette-Good Award, which honors the team’s most valuable gymnast. She is currently a graduate student at Temple, pursuing her Master of Education in higher education. Former Alabama associate head-coach Bryan Raschilla was hired by Auburn as volunteer assistant coach. Raschilla spent twenty-one seasons at Alabama, including three as associate head-coach. He helped coach the Crimson Tide to three national titles (2002, 2011 and 2012) and to fifteen individual NCAA titles, latest of which Katie Bailey’s co-title on bars in 2017. San Jose State added James Williams and Jeffery Langenstein as assistant coaches. Williams coached at club level for several years, before working at Yale last season. Langenstein is a former Cal standout and talented choreographer, who spent the past two seasons coaching at Lindenwood.
7. There were two weddings last week. BYU senior Erin Hilton married fiancé Jonathan Casey, and her new name is Erin Jacobsen. And Southern Utah senior Madi Ward also got married, and her new name is Madi Ward Sessions.
8. UC Davis alumna Shauna Duggins won a Creative Arts Emmy Award for her stunting work in GLOW! Shauna is the first woman to win Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program. Congratulations!
9. Mary Lou Retton, 1982 Olympic all around champion and mother of LSU’s McKenna Kelley, was announced as one of the competitors in this year’s season of Dancing with the Stars. She was paired with Sasha Farber, who also danced with Simone Biles in 2017.
10. Here are the commits of the week: Kyla Podges to William & Mary (2020), Jasmine Lee to Brown (2020) and Maggie Mace to Penn State (2022). After the announcement of the ending of the UIC programme, commit Payton Murphy switched her commitment to William and Mary (2020).
Routine of the week
Utah commit Grace McCallum on balance beam at the Pan American Championships.