Thursday, June 21, 2018
Sports

London Olympics: Gymnastics primer

THE SCHEDULE

The competition runs July 28-Aug. 7. The men's team competition is July 28 and 30, the women's July 29 and 31. The men's all-around competition is Aug. 1, the women's Aug. 2. The individual event finals for men and women are Aug. 5-7.

THE AGE THING

The 2008 gold-medal-winning Chinese women's team was at the center of a controversy when it was accused of having athletes too young by the age rules. Both female and male competitors must turn 16 by Dec. 31.

THE WOMEN

Many in the gymnastics world believe the U.S. women's team is the country's best since the gold-medal squad of 1996. One of the sport's most recognizable and successful coaches goes a step further. "I think this is the strongest team," says Bela Karolyi, who coached the 1996 team and whose list of champions also includes Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton. "On the '96 team, there were ups and downs. This is the most even team. The truth is going to come out at the Olympic Games. We are going to be at the top." Not making such a bold prediction is the U.S. national team coordinator, his wife, Marta. But she is excited about the team's makeup — its strength and depth — and its potential to challenge the Russians and Chinese for gold. "For a long time, this team has been in my mind," Marta Karolyi says of a squad that will be led by a pair of 16-year-olds, reigning world all-around champion Jordyn Wieber and Olympic trials all-around winner Gabby Douglas. "I've got a very good feel about this team. It's very young but also very aggressive. We're definitely going for a place on the podium."

THE U.S. WOMEN'S ROSTER

Gabby Douglas, Virginia Beach, Va.; McKayla Maroney, Long Beach, Calif.; Aly Raisman, Needham, Mass.; Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif.; Jordyn Wieber, DeWitt, Mich.

OTHER WOMEN TO WATCH

Oksana Chusovitina

The German is a stunning 37 years old. Yet she won silver on the vault at the world championships last year.

He Kexin

The Chinese star who was one of gymnasts involved in the 2008 age scandal beat American Nastia Liukin for uneven bars gold in Beijing by winning a tiebreaker.

Viktoria Komova

The Russian has been slowed by an ankle injury after finishing second to Wieber at the 2011 world championships.

Aliya Mustafinia

The 2010 all-around world champion from Russia has struggled to return to form since a knee injury.

THE U.S. MEN'S ROSTER

Jake Dalton, Reno, Nev.; Jonathan Horton, Houston; Danell Leyva, Homestead; Sam Mikulak, Newport Coast, Calif.; John Orozco, Bronx, N.Y.

Times staff, wires

THE SCORING

The International Gymnastics Federation decided to overhaul the scoring system after controversies at the 2004 Games. The "perfect 10" system — one panel of judges awarded a gymnast a score that could not be higher than 10 —has been replaced by one in which a score is determined by combining the marks awarded by two panels of judges. One panel starts from zero and adds points for required moves and difficulty. A second panel starts from 10 and deducts for execution and artistry. Those scores are added together for the score. Generally, scores above 15 are good; they're the rough equivalent of mid 9s in the old system. Scores above 16 are exceptional.

Comments
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox Sr. was watching the NFL draft 24 years ago when the phone rang. Buffalo coach Marv Levy was on the other line."Marv said they were taking me," said Knox Sr., a standout receiver at FSU.Soon after, Knox Sr. saw his name scroll across ESPN'...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final last season, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Thursday, June 21

TODAYBaseballRed Sox at Twins1 p.m.MLBMets at Rockies (in progress)4 p.m.MLBCubs at Reds7 p.m.MLBBlue Jays at Angels10 p.m.MLBCollege baseball, World SeriesFlorida vs. Texas Tech8 p.m.ESPNUGolfPGA: Traveler’s Championship3:30 p.m.GolfHorsesRoyal Asco...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could be suspended for up to three games  next season following the league's investigation into allegations he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016, a Tallahassee radio station reported.Jeff Cameron, a&#...
Updated: 6 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Phil Mickelson apologizes four days after hitting moving ball at U.S. Open

Phil Mickelson apologizes four days after hitting moving ball at U.S. Open

NEW YORK — Phil Mickelson has apologized four days after intentionally violating golf rules by hitting a moving ball on the green at the U.S. Open, saying his frustration got the best of him. The apology came Wednesday in a statement released by his ...
Published: 06/20/18
Tough questions are mere child’s play for Kevin Knox

Tough questions are mere child’s play for Kevin Knox

Growing up, Kevin Knox II watched videos or listened to motivational tapes during car rides to and from school so he could learn how to expand upon answers in interviews.That was all by design.His father, Kevin Knox Sr., knew about the spotlight as a...
Published: 06/20/18