Toni-Ann Williams in Rio

When California takes the floor at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas this week, there will be one notable absence in the lineup: Toni-Ann Williams.

Instead, the four-time Regular-Season All-American and two-time regional Gymnast of the Year will be more than 5,000 miles south in Rio de Janeiro, preparing for a competition equally as exciting and important to her gymnastics career. …

“When I talked to Cal’s coaching staff, they said they supported me whether I wanted to continue my international competition or not. That was a huge factor for me to choose Cal,” Williams said. “I couldn’t ask for better coaches, and since I started the university has been very supportive with my class schedule and training schedule.”

“The only question that we had for Toni was whether or not she wanted to defer or whether or not she wanted to compete with her team,” Crandall-Howell said. “There wasn’t a question in her mind that she wanted to compete with her team as long as she possibly could. That is unique to her as an individual. To me, it’s incredibly selfless and all about what a team should be.”

Williams eventually went with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. …

From Rio With Love

related – BBS: “… she has a better chance of making the Olympics than Cal has of making Super Six.”

(via Collegiate Gymnastics Board)

Olympic Test Meet MAG podium

The HSBC Arena was built 2007. It has capacity of 14,981 for sports, but feels smaller.

Apparatus is Spieth. But the Floor is Gymnova. They must have collaborated to get just the right shade of green. 🙂


This competition is a rehearsal. Responsible are the IOC and the Rio Organizing Committee. Needless to say, they have far less expertise than do the FIG when they organize a World class event.

There was confusion and some minor problems day 1. I’m assuming those will be fixed by Saturday’s first competition. Lets cut them some slack. This IS the first Olympics ever held in South America. 🙂

Eight teams are fighting for 4 spots at the Olympics: Belgium, Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Ukraine

It’s Men’s Gymnastics so anything can happen: Pommels, Vault landings, H Bar release moves, Pommels, Anything.

It’s Men’s Gymnastics so podium training is absolutely no indicator as to competition performance.

If Germany doesn’t qualify, it’s a national disaster. They should have qualified at Worlds 2015.

France impressed me most of all 8 teams. Don’t bet the mortgage, but I’m putting down a sizeable bet they will qualify.

Belgium is ranked lowest of the teams here. It would be a huge happy surprise for them to get through as a team. I was impressed with their discipline and seriousness today. Respect.

As for the other 5 teams, I’d advise hitting as many routines as possible trying to save every tenth of Execution deduction.

Individual Qualifications

The Olympics has many goals only one of which is gathering all the best athletes together to decide whom is best on the day. “Sport as a human right”, for example. A “spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play”.

It’s not easy for Cyprus to compete against the USA, for example. But it certainly helps sport in Cyprus when they do. 🙂

Marios Georgiou of Cyprus had he best over-bar salto releases on H Bar today. HUGE. Catching with extended arms. (training VIDEO)

Sun Wei CHN hit the best Pommel routine I saw today. He scored 15.033 at American Cup. Filip Ude from Coatia is here, however. And Daniel Corral from Mexico. And more.

Randy Leru of Cuba showed the best full Floor routine all day. Small hop on 3/1 twist dismt the only obvious deduction. Great height & control.

related – 7 Caribbean Gymnasts Set to Compete at Rio Test Event

A new favourite gymnast for me is Oskar Kirmes from Finland. Exquisite form. Excellent technique on just about everything.


The Olympics wants representation from many countries, not only the best. I cheer stars from nations with limited resources. Like Ukraine.

Saturday will be interesting. Anything can happen. 🙂

more Grace Chiu photos

Lindsay Mable wins the AAI

Considered the Heisman Trophy in College gymnastics.

The other 5 gymnasts nominated:

Caitlin Atkinson (Auburn)
Ivana Hong (Stanford)
Nina McGee (Denver)
Haley Scaman (Oklahoma)
Bridget Sloan (Florida)

(via Balance Beam Situation)

Utah’s Tom Farden

Born in Incheon, South Korea, in 1974, on a specific day nobody knows, he was left in a basket at the steps of the city hall. A note pinned to his diapers said, “This is my son, Man-Ki Park. I can no longer take care of him.”

There was no documentation or address …

When he was (approximately) a year old, Farden was selected from an adoption catalog by Gordon and Marilyn Farden, of Dayton, Minnesota. …


Deseret News

stupid Karolyi training

The most severe, the most stupid Gymnastics training was in the 1980s. Here’s a case study. Other coaches tried to emulate.

Retton has undergone 19 surgeries, including having both hips replaced, partially because of all the pounding as a gymnast. She needs back and shoulder surgery, which won’t be scheduled until after the Rio Games.

“When I say we did 60 to 70 vaults a day, we did — and that was landing on that hard surface,” Retton said. …

Catching up with Mary Lou Retton, Olympic darling of 1984


Click PLAY or watch part of that interview on Facebook.

Mary Lou Retton: Ignore your critics, do what you love

(via GymCastic)

Pommels – Max v Louis

Click PLAY or watch Max on YouTube. (7.4 difficulty)

Click PLAY or watch Louis on YouTube. (7.2 difficulty)

Tough call for the judges. In the end it was 16.325 for Max and 16.100 for Louis. Both scores a little too high, in my opinion. Neither hit their best set. But as for ranking, I can’t decide.

Louis later complained about the judging in social media. Then apologized.

via @GymCastic

Russell Mills – 1964 Pommels

This is the winning routine in the 1964 AAU Nationals (the precursor to the USGF and USA gymnastics). Mills also won the NCAA Championships in 1963 and 1964, coached by Don Tonry and . competing for Yale University. When Mills hit his routines, he was unbeatable in the US and probably by anyone in the world at that time. There was no international competition for specialists during the period. The mount here is a back Moore, caught a bit late by the camera.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.