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Things Are Happening – September 16, 2016

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A. The queen is dead, long live the king

Today, in an announcement and press conference that isn’t at all being used to distract everyone from that whole sex-abuse nasty, USAG finally proclaimed to the whole kingdom that Valeri of House Liukin will officially take his place upon the Iron Throne beginning this month.

I don’t think you’ll find too many people railing against this decision. It makes sense. He’s an experienced technical coach, he’s more than familiar with the system, he’s already shepherding the young ones, this continues to consolidate power among a few key ruling families a la European monarchy marriages of the 16th century, and most importantly, he’s a stone-cold Eastern Bloc ice queen. So business as usual.

The NTC has to make tough Olympic-team level decisions, so we can’t have some soft, sentimental American feelings-pudding getting in there and being like, “She’s worked so hard and improved so much and deserves blah blah blah.” I trust Valeri to make the logical choice. Just make sure someone’s there to stop him from having gymnasts with shattered Pinocchio-legs do DTYs at nationals for no reason. Then we’re fine. Is that Rhonda’s new official title? Senior Vice President of No Pinocchio DTYs Ever?

Valeri was kinda-sorta supposed to take over after 2012 until Martha pulled the football away, and the best part of the press conference (transcribed here by Lauren) was when Valeri totally Prince Charles-ed and was like, “I’ve been waiting for her to get her ass out of here FOREVER! GUH! FINALLY!”

B. YUCK

That whole Larry Nassar thing is also happening, just in case the Valeri announcement made you forget, and it’s gross. And by gross, I mean read pages 15-17 of the Jane Doe complaint. Or don’t, if you still have a sliver of faith in humanity and want to keep it.

It’s the kind of thing USAG can’t just sweep away with another “there’s nothing more important to us than the image of our organization safety of our gymnasts” nothing-statement because clearly…not good enough. Not even close to good enough if this kind of this is allowed to happen while everyone is going, “La la la” for decades. We discussed it in detail on this week’s GymCastic, which you can listen to in the GymCastic box on this page.

C. Simone has ADHD

Almost as shocking a development as Valeri being announced as the new national team coordinator! BETTER CALL A PRESS CONFERENCE.

I sort of love that hackers tried to come after Simone and all they could find was…you have ADHD. OK…

Simone’s like, “What was the question?”

D. Taylor with a Tea

The best thing about about our beloved Taylor Rice having graduated is that the gag order is no longer in effect. This week, she related a must-read story taking us inside the more petty, unpleasant corners of the MANDATORY SCREAMING SISTERS culture that pervades NCAA gymnastics, when it turns into a passive-aggressive workout sorority from hell.

“Raise your right leg if you think this person is 100% committed to the program.”

What even IS that?

E. “First” day of training

I expect that a lot of commitments to SparkleMotion are being tested this week, as it marked the “beginning” of “official” training for the NCAA season. No one was doing any coaching before this, right? Of course you weren’t! That would be against the rules!

The best part was D-D’s little

UCLA is at Woodward. Kyla has learned a lot, mostly about how UCLA’s team motto this season is, “All in, never stop rapping. Literally ever apparently.”

Because also this happened. Don’t worry, it doesn’t start with “My name is Valorie, and I’m here to say,” so phew.

Sometimes I like to imagine how quickly I would get kicked off the UCLA team. Day 1, obviously. But like, morning or afternoon? I would just be like, “Nice to meet everyone, I don’t want to do a rap. Also, cupping is woo. I’ll show myself out.”

F. NCAA Schedules

The team schedules are still continuing to trickle in. By my count, we have 25 of 82 schedules right now. I’ll do the usual composite schedule once we pass at least the halfway point. As always, the DIII teams are putting the DI teams to shame in terms of both punctuality and knowing what the time zones are.

I do want to thank the Mountain Rim and Mountain Pacific conferences for being similarly prompt, but also pull yourselves together. A few of you need to have some conversations. Apparently on the night of January 20th, Alaska will be competing simultaneously in both Anchorage and San Jose, which I feel might not be right. Or Alaska’s just really deep this year.

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