The Winter Cup gymnastics meet is typically a men’s meet. However, in 2021, USA Gymnastics decided to include the women, as no one has had a chance to compete in a year. I had the opportunity to go to Indianapolis and assist with the meet, and it was so much fun to be up close on the floor with the athletes!
The vibe was definitely not the same as a normal meet, though. There were only a handful of parent spectators, a section full of cardboard cutouts, and the whole convention center felt really quiet. It was especially strange to walk the halls during this big meet, and see no other people walking around. I can also say that USA Gymnastics did an excellent job keeping everyone safe, with very detailed Covid-19 procedures.
Despite all of that, thank goodness for a real meet! The gymnasts all seemed very grateful to have the opportunity to be there, and there was some really great gymnastics to watch.
After I left Indianapolis, I went home and watched the NBC broadcast, and thank goodness for YouTube to fill in the gaps. I’d really love to see gymnastics broadcasts show more routines and less of the gymnasts walking around and waiting for their scores!
Gymnasts Not Competing in the Winter Cup
Noticeably absent from the Winter Cup is Simone Biles. But really, who can blame her? She has nothing to prove to anyone, and she could make the Olympic team with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back. There’s been a lot of buzz about her Yurchenko double pike that she’s been training. Wonder if it will show up at a meet this year?
Other top seniors who did not compete in the Winter Cup are:
I was hoping we might get a peek at Chellsie Memmel’s comeback, but she wasn’t competing here either.
Performances from the Winter Cup
Here are the senior women’s performances from the Winter Cup 2021, with the gymnasts listed in alphabetical order.
On bars, I tried to describe the Shaposhnikova and Tkatchev family skills, rather than calling them by the gymnasts they’re named after. It always confuses me since I never remember all those names. If you want to learn them all, check out The Balance Beam Situation’s Shaposhatchev Dictionary.
If you’re looking for the full results of the Winter Cup, here they are.
Vault – Yurchenko full, good form with a huge step back (13.55).
Bars – stalder full, Maloney (needed a bigger backswing) into a Pak with a leg separation. Toe on Shaposh-1/2 with another leg separation. Piked Jaeger. Stuck double flyaway (13.4).
Beam – Full turn with a wobble. Aerial layout stepout layout stepout – beautiful! BHS BHS 2 foot layout – just a slight wobble, very good. Switch leap, switch ½, back leg a bit low. Split leap side somi is solid. Side split jump 1/2. Front aerial, split jump, straddle jump. All very clean! Side straddle jump ½. BHS BHS double full dismount was underrotated and she took a big step forward – too bad, because that was a great routine! 13.0.
Floor – Double pike mount, very nice. Double tuck, lands with chest a bit forward. Memmel turn into full turn. Switch ring to switch ½ dance passage. 1 ½ front full. Tour jete 1/1. Fnished with a double full but landed a bit low and had to hop to the side. Not the most difficult routine, but performed pretty well and had nice dance (12.7).
Vault – Yurchenko full, big step and appeared to be out of bounds (13.05).
Bars – did not compete.
Beam – Double wolf turn, bent leg, wobble. Aerial layout stepout, solid. Front tuck. Front aerial, wobble, split jump, straddle jump. Switch leap, switch ½, not very much split in the switch ½. LONG wait before her BHS BHS double pike dismount. 12.85.
Floor – Piked Arabian double front, deep squat. Nice double tuck. Switch ring, tour jete full dance passage. Double full. Attempted switch full, incomplete. Triple wolf turn. Double pike, step forward. I loved the Macklemore choreography! 12.55.
Beam – Chest stand pirouette mount. Triple wolf turn, very nice. Standing full, excellent. Front handspring front tuck, small wobble but I just love that series! Switch lep, switch ½, back tuck. Aerial cartwheel. Aerial walkover, split jump, straddle jump. RO double tuck dismount with a step back. Very solid and powerful routine, well performed! She scored a 14.5.
Floor – double layout, good power with a step back. Switch-ring to tour jete full dance passage. Full in, landed a bit low and had to take a step forward. Front double full, nice but a big step. Switch full, slightly incomplete. Finished with a double pike and two hops back (12.65).
She only did these two events, so we’ll have to wait to see vault and bars at the next meet.
She has already clinched an individual spot in Tokyo based on her scores from the individual event World Cup. She did three events here.
Vault – very nice, clean Cheng, hop on the landing, received a 14.8.
Bars – toe on piked Tkatchev. Giant ½-Ezhova. Maloney, Pak 1/1, nicely done! Toe-on Shaposh 1/2. Clear hip HS, giant 1/1 finished a little late. Finished with a full-in dismount. Her handstand positions aren’t as perfect as some of the other gymnasts, and she has some form breaks during her routine, but not bad! (13.7)
Beam – Full turn. Aerial walkover, split jump, straddle jump. Could use a little more split. BHS lSO, LSO. Switch leap, switch ½. Bac tuck. Split leap, aerial, solid. Switch side leap. Side split jump ½. BHS BHS double tuck. Very nice, solid routine! 13.55.
She opted not to do floor, so we’ll have to wait until the next meet to see her powerful routine.
Vault – Very powerful double twisting Yurchenko (DTY), excellent height and form, hop backward (14.9).
Bars – Piked Jaeger. Toe-on full, Tkatchev, giant, piked Tkatchev, Pak. Maloney, Gienger between the bars. Full-in dismount. Nice, big release moves! 14.05.
Beam – Aerial layout stepout, layout stepout. Front aerial, straddle jump, BHS. Side somi, solid. Switch leap, switch 1/12, balance check. Side straddle jump ½. Sissonne, wolf jump. Full-in dismount. Great routine and a 14.5!
Floor – Triple wolf turn, tried a double wolf turn which was incomplete. Full twisting DLO – huge and stuck! Double layout, very powerful. Switch-ring, tourjete full dance passage. Front 2/1, front 1/1. Switch 1/1. Finished with a double pike, two small hops. What a great, powerful, hit routine! 13.6 score.
Vault – DTY with a pike and leg separation before landing, 14.2.
Bars – Toe full stalder Shaposh 1/2, piked Jaeger. Stalder entry Tkatchev. Pak. Toe on Shaposh 1/2. She did a lot of skills but didn’t connect them together, and finished with a simple double flyaway (13.45).
Beam – Back handspring to candlestick mount, BHS layout stepout layout stepout – nice! Front aerial, split jump, straddle jump, just a small balance check. Full turn. Aerial. Switch leap, split leap, could use a bit more split. Side split jump ½. Side straddle jump ½ – small balance check. Switch ring needs more amplitude. Finished with a RO double pike, well done with one step back (12.65). She doesn’t seem like she uses her legs at all on her dance skills – they are all really flat.
Floor – Balance error on a double turn, then tumbled a big double layout! Two whips to a double tuck, love the pass but she had a huge jump backward at the end. 1 ½ front full was a little loose but landed well. I’m guessing she intended a tour jete 1/1 but I would give it a tour jete ½ and then she basically did a jump full turn afterward. Last pass was a clean double pike (12.65).
Vault – DTY, some body position errors and a big step on the landing but it was a big vault for 14.35.
Bars – Piked Jaeger was a bit loose, toe full (late turn) into a Pak. Maloney-Gienger between the bars was nice! She finished with a stuck double layout for a 13.35.
Beam – Good double wolf turn. BHS layout, solid! Front aerial, split jump, straddle jump. Side aerial, slight balance check. Switch leap, switch ½, could be bigger. Side split ½, solid but uneven. BHS BHS double full, nicely done but two hops on the landing. 13.15.
Floor – Began with a double pike, then did a front tuck through to 2 ½. Good landings but some form breaks in the air. Wolf turn 1 ½ with a bent leg. Switch leap to tour jete ½ dance passage, Nice double tuck. Ended with a double full, a bit awkward on the landing. Not the most difficult routine and she had some form problems throughout. 11.75.
Beam – Front aerial, wobble, split jump, straddle jump. Front tuck. Side aerial, wobble. Side split jump ½. BHS layout stepout, soft knees. Switch ring. Ring jump, wobble, stop, back tuck. Double pike dismount, three steps back (12.25).
I only found video of beam, but it appears she didn’t finish her bar routine and scored a 4.1.
Vault – DTY didn’t have a ton of amplitude and landed with chest down (13.9).
Bars – Toe-full with a leg separation, no connection to the stalder Shaposh-1/2. Piked Jaeger, another leg separation. Stalder-piked Tkatchev. Pak. Toe-on Shaposh-1/2. Short handstand on HB. Double layout, piked down with a big step forward. Lots of skills but none were connected to each other. 12.7.
Beam – Aerial layout stepout, wobble. Switch leap, stop, switch ½ with very little amplitude and incomplete. Standing full, great! Full turn, wobble. Sissone, wolf jump. Standing front. Side split jump ½, wobble. RO double tuck dismount with a step (12.3).
Floor – Full twisting double layout mount – some form breaks and an awkward landing. Nice double layout! Switch leap, switch full (incomplete) dance passage. Front full through to double tuck. Tour jete ½. Finished with a full-in, a little short and had to hop forward. Not a lot of artistry here but she had strong tumbling. 12.85.
She has had a gym change (now training at World Champions Centre), and has also been recovering from Covid-19.
Vault – Yurchenko full, nice and high with good body position, large hop back (13.5).
Bars – toe full-stalder Shaposh 1/2. Piked Jaeger. Stalder entry piked Tkatchev, loose body on her Pak. Toe-on Shaposh 1/2. Full in dismount, a little short (13.6).
Beam – Double wolf turn. 1 ½ wolf turn, wobble. Front aerial, split jump. BHS layout stepout, wobble. Switch leap, split leap, could have had a little more amplitude. Side split jump ½, back leg low. Ring jump, wobble. Sissonne, wolf jump. Side aerial. Unfortunately she sat down her double pike for an 11.65.
Floor – Double layout. Full-in. Double wolf turn. Front tuck through to double tuck, fell forward. Switch-ring to tour jete ½ dance passage. Finished with a double pike, big step back. Too bad for the fall, because it was nice otherwise! 11.45.
Laurie is now training at Gym-Max, the gym that Kyla Ross came from.
Beam – Front pike, small hop. BHS layout stepout, solid. Full turn. Side split jump ½. Font aerial, split jump, straddle jump. Switch leap, switch ½. Good flexibility. Aerial cartwheel. RO double pike dismount, a little short but just one step forward. 13.95.
Floor – Arabian double front, very nice. Double tuck (was supposed to be a full-in but she watered it down). Switch ring to switch full dance passage. Double pike, nice and high. Tour jete full. Split full isolated. She finished with a layout, which seemed like it should have been a deduction. So I looked it up in the FIG Code and discovered that there is no dismount Special Requirement in elite, so she didn’t lose a Special Requirement for it. Laurie’s floor routine showed her trademark crisp, beautiful artistry, in a routine that she choreographed (12.05).
Vault – nice DTY with a large hop backward for 14.55.
Bars – Stalder full, Maloney, Tkatchev, nice! Stalder entry piked Tkatchev, Pak. Nice double front dismount with a small hop. Great combinations for a 14.4!
Beam – Sissonne, full turn, wobble. Standing Arabian, solid! BHS BHS straight body layout. Very nice! Aerial cartwheel. Side split ½. Side straddle ½. Both slightly short but not bad. Front tuck,s mall wobble. BHS BHS double pike, great! 13.2.
Floor – 1 ½ twisting double back – cool pass that I haven’t seen before! Dance passage. Double layout, very good. Switch ½. Arabian double front, slightly low but not bad. Leg up turn. Double tuck, a bit short and took a big step forward. 12.95.
Vault – Yurchenko full with a big hop back, 13.6.
Bars – Archy cast HS. Piked Jaeger. Toe on piked Tkatchev to Pak, loose legs and body throughout. Toe on Shaposh ½, loose again. Giant full, leg separation. Lands with chest down on full-in dismount and takes a big step (11.95).
Beam – Back handspring to candlestick mount. Double wolf turn, bent leg and big wobble. Side straddle jump ½. BHS layout stepout, bent knees. Switch leap, split leap. Side aerial. Front tuck, solid. Side aerial landing sideways. Switch ½, lacks amplitude, wobble. Double pike, lands with chest down. 12.2.
Floor – Front double full, a bit of messy form and low landing. Double tuck, hop back. Hop full, Tour jete ½, lacking flexibility. 2 ½ punch front. Leg up double turn. Switch ½. Double pike, landed really short but stayed on her feet. Her routine didn’t have as much polish as some of the others, but it’s nice to get to see some new faces!
Vault – DTY with a bit of a pike and leg separation, hop on the landing for a 14.35.
Bars – Toe full, Maloney, Tkatchev, not a ton of amplitude and some small form breaks. Pak caught with really bent arms and she had to stop on the low bar. She had more form breaks on a front giant ½ on the high bar, but her double layout dismount was nice. 11.8.
Beam – Full turn. Aerial layout stepout layout stepout, small wobble but very clean! Switch leap switch ½. BHS BHS 2 foot layout, just a bit underrotated and had to take a step forward. Aerial walkover, split jump, straddle jump. Side straddle jump ½. Side somi, small wobble. Side split jump ½, wobble on her choreography. BHS BHS double pike, very nice! 13.9.
Floor – She opened with a double double, big step on the landing. 2 ½ twist, front full, out of bounds. Switch ring, switch ½ dance passage. Nice double tuck. Leg up double turn, put the heel down early. Finished with a stuck double pike! 13.35.
Bars – Nabieva (toe-on layout Tkatchev) to Pak 1/1 combo – great combo! Toe-on Shaposh 1/2. Blind, pike Jaeger, Pak, Maloney, Gienger between the bars. Nice! Giant full, giant, full-in dismount. Awesome! Her bars is so fun to watch, and she gets a big 15.05.
Beam – triple wolf turn, wobble, double wolf turn Aerial walkover, split jump, BHS. Switch-ring, ring leap, small wobble. Switch leap, switch ½. Aerial LSO LSO, beautiful! She finished with a simple RO layout dismount (14.25). The commentators said the easy dismount doesn’t really hurt her – check this in the FIG code!!
She only did bars and beam, but both events looked great!
Vault – Yurchenko full, small pike and big step (13.9).
Bars – did not compete.
Beam – Triple wolf turn, double wolf turn, nicely done. Standing Arabian, slight wobble, split jump, sissonne. BHS layout stepout, balance check. Front tuck, straddle jump, Korbut – cool combination! Front aerial. Ring jump. Switch-ring, needs more amplitude. BHS BHS double pike, step forward. She has really nice form and lines on beam – 13.9.
Floor – Double layout, a little short. Arabian double front, underrotated with a step back. Switch ring to tour jete full dance passage. Full in to her stomach. She just seems like her power isn’t there. Double wolf turn. Triple wolf turn, well done. Double pike, once again short and takes a giant leap forward (11.5).
Vault – DTY, nice form, hop on the handing, 14.7. Great score!
Beam – Standing full, slight wobble. Wolf jump, wobble, split jump, straddle jump. BHS BHS 2 feet, sky high layout. Full turn. Onodi, gorgeous. Switch leap, switch ½. Front aerial, split jump, ring jump, big wobble. BHS BHS double pike, big step back but good power. Very nice, difficult routine! 14.0.
She only did two events, but they both looked fantastic. I wouldn’t count her out of the Olympic picture!
Riley has been through a gym change and is now at Arizona Sunrays with Jade Carey. The two of them seem to be great training partners and friends!
Vault – She competed a DTY – pretty good but landed a little low and had to take a hop to the side (14.05).
Bars – Toe full, Maloney, Tkatchev. Stalder entry piked tkatchev, beautiful. Stalder tkatchev, Pak, no connection to the Shaposh 1/2. Cast HS a little archy, L grip giants into the double front ½ dismount, step forward. I always love watching Riley’s bars because of her gorgeous form and technique!
Beam – Triple wolf turn, double wolf turn but fell into a front support. Split leap, aerial walkover, straddle jump. BHS layout stepout. Switch leap, switch ½, Korbut. Aerial, split jump, back tuck. Side split jump ½, small wobble. BHS BHS double tuck, underrotated and fell. Too bad, because her beam routine is so pretty!
Riley did not compete floor today.
Vault – good Yurchenko full, slight pike and a big hop on the landing (13.6).
Bars – In-bar full pirouette to in-bar Shaposh, Pak, Stalder-Shaposh 1/2 – wow!!! In-bar blind change, high Jaeger. Late on the cast HS ½ pirouette. Double layout, leg separation and body position errors but came up with a good landing (14.05).
Beam – BHS to candlestick mount. Aerial layout stepout, fall. Switch leap, switch ½. Full turn. Side split jump ½. Jump full turn. Aerial walkover, split jump, BHS. Sissonne, wolf jump. BHS BHS double pike, step (12.15).
Floor – Full Memmel turn, incomplete. Nice double layout! Split full. Tour jete ½. Front tuck through to double tuck, stuck. Switch-ring to switch ½ dance passage. 1 ½ through to double full with some leg separations. High double pike with a big step back. I loved her music but felt she could have shown more artistry. 12.7.
Vault – Yurchenko 1 ½, knee bend in the air and a large hop (13.95).
Bars – Stalder Tkatchev, nice! Toe on Tkatchev with ½ turn to Ezhova. Maloney, uprise clear hip handstand. Toe full into double tuck, small hop. Some different skills in this routine, it was fun to see! 13.35.
Beam – Triple wolf turn, double wolf turn. Front aerial, wobble, straddle jump, split jump (needs a bit more split). BHS layout stepout, soft knees. Switch side 1/2 a bit tentative. Side straddle jump ½, lacks split and had a balance error. Side aerial, wobble. LONG pause before her RO double tuck, one step forward. 11.9.
Floor – Nice full-in. Switch ring, switch side 1/2 dance passage. 1 1/2 – front full. She does the same pretty triple wolf turn-double wolf turn combo on floor that she did on beam. Tour jete full. Double pike. Short on the double tuck and takes a giant step forward (12.45).
Here’s a link to the full results from the Winter Cup.
Thoughts About the Winter Cup
It was great to see so many gymnasts competing again after a year off. Jordan Chiles was really impressive, and definitely put her name in the hat as a Tokyo contender. Suni Lee only did two events, but based on those two, I’d say she’ll be hard to beat for the second spot behind Simone. Konnor McClain looked like the top first-year senior, although she only did two events. I loved watching Laurie Hernandez compete again, but I think she’s a long shot to make the Olympic team. I just love seeing people compete simply because they love the sport, and that’s what it seems like in Laurie’s case.
So, when do we get to see all of our favorite elite gymnasts compete again? Here’s the schedule for the rest of the season.
U.S. Classic May 22
U.S. Championships June 3-6
Olympic Trials June 24-27
Tokyo Olympics July 23-August 8
Want to read more about elite gymnastics news? Check out these articles:
2020 Olympic Postponement and FIG Clarifications