The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – June 21, 2018

A. Alex Naddour

We learned last night that Alex Naddour has been added to the USAG Suspended Members list regarding allegations of sexual misconduct, including multiple complaints dating back to 2012, and again in 2016 for additional incidents.

2012?!?!? SOOOO glad you’re just starting to do something about this now, USAG. Another real bang-up job. So much empowering women I can barely even handle it all. I’m sure those women who had to make complaints in 2016 feel so empowered learning that you had already received a complaint about him four years earlier.

It can’t have been easy for them to report this and make their statements, especially knowing that the “but what about HIM?” vultures would be out in even more force than usual because he has a known name, so thank you.

As for Naddour, this would seem to reinforce my theory that to find the creeps, we must follow the trail of bad Olympic tattoos. For now, he is only suspended pending a hearing (can’t be employed by or work out with member institutions in the interim), and we don’t know how long that status will last. The nature of the complaints is still vague, other than that they deal with sexual misconduct, which is really all we need to know. I’m sure details will come out as we go, but keep in mind that this is USAG/USOC, and in the past, the threshold for any kind of action like a suspension has been “It’s so big that we can’t not.”

And as for USAG, this passage from the OC Register is such peak reactionary USAG lying nonsense that I can barely even begin.

“Alex Who????? Never heard of her. Oh, um, yes, after definitely just learning who Alex Who is today, Alex Who is suspended, which was always going to happen anyway because of justice and empowerment and certainly not because we were trying to get ahead of your story before it came out so we could look proactive for PR reasons. We do all the caring.”

Here’s another winner, the official statement from USAG to the OC Register:


I’m very convinced that they are handling this in a well-organized, professional manner with standards and a communicated approach and whatnot.

Stay tuned.

B. Romania wept

“Chances to continue are around 50%.”

That’s referring to Iordache’s career, not the concept of Romanian gymnastics. But also both.

We hadn’t seen anything from Larisa in quite a while, so I don’t think many of us were counting on her for the major competitions of 2018, but any vague hopes of Romanian success this quad were nonetheless pinned on her returning at some point to save the team yet again. That’s perhaps an unfair weight to place on her since most of her contemporaries have already left elite (less than 25% of the athletes who competed with her in the 2012 TF are still active), but it is what it is. Sadly, she does not sound particularly optimistic about her return.

Without Iordache, Romania can still be a top-15 country in the world, but hoping for more than that right now seems a stretch. She’s the most recent Romanian great, but someone else needs to come along and ensure she’s not the last Romanian great.

C. Laurie to Gym-Max

Before it was all NADDOUR and THE END OF ROMANIA AS A CONCEPT, the gymternet was aflutter which much nicer news, Laurie Hernandez settling on Gym-Max as her new gym. Now that she has an actual gym at which to train, we can start taking the 2020 chatter a bit more seriously. Before this development, it was all a little “that’s nice dear,” but this signals some real intent, officially moving her up to 2nd place on the list of 2016ers most likely to make it to 2020.

Laurie needed a new gym after the relationship between her and Maggie Haney turned into a…what do you call it?…oh, a large sulfur fire on top of an ocean of rancid mayonnaise. I’m pleased that Laurie landed someplace solid and doesn’t seem to have been a victim of that “I can’t take you because you were at so-and-so’s gym and I need to be loyal to her” political BS where all the adults involved start acting like petty middle schoolers—the US gymnastics special.

D. Mediterranean Games

Saturday brings the opening day of competition at the Mediterranean Games. Team competition runs Saturday and Sunday, with the AA final on Monday and event finals on Tuesday. Basic expectations are that Spain, Italy, and France will take the team medals, but most of the other countries like Greece, Egypt, Slovenia, and Turkey are also sending first-choice teams and looking for competitive scores.

Only France is mixing it up by sending a team of half first-choice veterans and half newer possibilities to see how they fare. That’s a worthwhile strategy in testing to see whether any of those second-tier options are viable choices for a Euros squad that should be pushing for a team medal this year.

Saturday June 23
9:00am ET/6:00am PT – Men’s Team Day 1
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Women’s Team Day 1

Sunday June 24
9:00am ET/6:00am PT – Men’s Team Day 2
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Women’s Team Day 2

Monday June 25
5:00am ET/2:00am PT – Men’s AA Final
11:30am ET/8:30 am PT – Women’s AA Final

Monday June 25
11:00am ET/8:00 am PT – Event Finals

E. This weekend

Also this weekend, we’ll have the European qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games, running all day Saturday and streaming live here. The top 17 countries advance to YOG, one spot per country.

On Saturday at 5:30pm local time, Germany will host its trial for the European Championship team, with Sophie Scheder, Pauline Schäfer, and Kim Bui headlining the field.

On both Saturday and Sunday, Brestyan’s is hosting the final US elite qualifier of the year, with compulsories on Saturday and optionals on Sunday. It’s the last opportunity to get the score necessary to advance to the American Classic and US Classic, which is a 51.000 AA for seniors and a 50.500 AA for juniors.

F. GymCastic

This week, a commission has us talking all about perfect form. We discuss the exemplars of said form on various events and manage to solve all the problems in the code of points and fix gymnastics entirely in under 2 hours. Easy peasy. You’re welcome.

%d bloggers like this: