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A Bronze For Simone Biles And A Win For Gymnastics

First, Sara and Geoff talk about baseball’s very active trade deadline — and with 10 All-Stars on the move, there is a lot to chew over. But the firework deals really come down to the Nationals and the Cubs joining the ranks of the sellers. Those two clubs had a lot of talent to bargain away in the service of a true rebuild, and send it away they did. The Dodgers are dealing with the looming threat of San Francisco by buying up everything that moves, of course, but Kris Bryant’s move to the Bay Area keeps the Giants well in the hunt. The only truly head-scratching decision was the Colorado Rockies’ choice to stand pat. Given the altitude, Coors Field is a hard place to lure pitchers, but they could’ve at least gotten something for Trevor Story.

Next, we’re joined by FiveThirtyEight contributor Dvora Meyers to talk about the storylines coming out of Olympic gymnastics. We touch on Simone Biles’s triumph on the beam and how helpful the larger public conversation about the twisties could be for gymnasts who are struggling with the phenomenon — if this is something the GOAT deals with, it can really happen to anyone. But we also talk about other changes that may be coming to the sport, including calls for the return of apparatus warmups in event finals and the changing view of gymnastics as a proxy fight between the West and (the heirs of) the Eastern bloc. Gymnasts being so much more accessible to each other and to fans will hopefully emphasize how they support each other and drive each other to be better, which makes the sport better too. 

Finally, in the Rabbit Hole, Sara revisits an old Olympic favorite: Which records have changed in track and field lately, and which records are holding strong? We like that Flo-Jo’s world record in the 100-meters is still intact, even if wind may have been a factor when she set it. But for all the technology or mitigating weather circumstances, there’s a very human element to running too. On the men’s side, the times aren’t just slower because Usain Bolt retired. He elevated a whole class of generational talents, and we appear to be in the midst of a changing of the guard. 

What we’re looking at this week: 

Sarah Shachat is Hot Takedown’s producer.

Sara Ziegler is the former sports editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Geoff Foster is the former sports editor of FiveThirtyEight.

Dvora Meyers is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, VICE and Defector. She writes even more about gymnastics in her newsletter, Unorthodox Gymnastics.