Things Are Happening – November 22, 2019

A. It’s All Bad

Big news on the USAG-being-terrible front: a WSJ article from Louise Radnofsky specifically delves into how information about the investigation of That Guy was withheld from Simone—and how information that Simone was a likely victim was in turn withheld from the FBI.

At the heart of all of this is Steve Penny’s (and by extension USAG’s) obsession with stage managing and manipulating everything the athletes did, using them as pawns for the benefit of himself and USAG. We see it as a pattern of behavior permeating everything, from Penny’s using Simone for his own gain by bringing her to that daughter’s party, to the truly horrendous idea that he would act as Simone’s agent to ensure he could exploit her to make as much money as possible off of her success.

So then of course he would stage manage the investigation of That Guy in exactly the same way. Because if you view athletes as tangible assets rather than autonomous human beings, you’re not going to see the problem in withholding information about an investigation that directly affects them, or not reporting their abuse to authorities. You sell off that asset, you protect this asset, you hide this asset in a secret account. Whatever suits your aims. They’re just objects, after all.

It’s truly depressing how beholden the athletes were made to feel to Penny, part of a wider infection of “you would be nothing without me” manipulation that is so rife in gymnastics, from the micro level—coach-to-athlete in gyms—to the macro level with Steve Penny.

This whole scenario also makes me think about the revolted impression I have when we see USAG employees to this day doing the physical pushing and pulling and grabbing and directing of female athletes to move them into the positions they want them to be in. Part of the reason for that revulsion—secondary to the general unwanted touching and violation of personal space—is the physical manifestation it provides of an organization that has treated the athletes like game pieces to be moved around and manipulated to suit various strategic ends, for which the benefit, needs, or preferences of the athlete are never considered.

This news has also renewed calls for an actual, real, widespread investigation to uncover everything. Because we’re all so sick of the trickle of information. It’s been three years.

B. Full Out

Now that we got the sad, responsible, newsy part out of the way, we get to do the fun part. Because the trailer for Full Out 2: Brenna Ruined My Life is out, and it’s exactly as terribinsane as you wanted it to be.

OK, first of all, the subtitle of this sequel is “You Got This!” in a font that I think is called Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper, so we’re already in self-parody territory.

I’m not wild about the KJ casting. She’s bringing a little too much “twice-divorced, my dinner is wine” energy to the role.

KJ is surprised that Brenna can do a double front piked. Because you know that thing where you recruit athletes you’ve never seen before who have also already been on the team for a year at this point?

Let’s talk about these movies’ fascination with “finding some new moves.” Yes. The moves. FIND THEM. Search under every rock for an ending pose. It is the key to beating Florida.

Please, we all know that every move you’ve ever needed was already emblazoned onto your soul by the power of KJ Kindler’s stare.

The most important part of college is your first time learning what break dancing is.

That part where Cocaine-Energy-Tom-Haley mansplains to KJ what winning and nationals are.

I listened to that falling-on-a-scale sound effect 12 times. Still funny.

I need a really cool move to end my floor routine. I know! It’s going to be a layout stepout with a hidey back leg that would get .05 off at home and .10 on the road. “I approve of this” – No KJ ever

Nadia, who brings a lower-third with her everywhere she goes, coming in with the wisdom: “The secret to confidence and many repetitions.” The end. NADIA MAKES ANOTHER CHAMPION.

Y’all, Natalie Brown competed in the 2015 season too, so don’t give me this shit.

We’re really playing fast and loose with the races of these athletes if I heard right that it was “Nico” participating in that break-dance fight?

As we all know, Oklahoma hosted nationals in 2016 in front of a fully empty arena. History facts.

Girl, no one came in for Nicole at nationals. That’s not a thing.

“I’ve never competed in a meet before!
“I’m a farmer!”
“Then how did you get here?”

When you win a championship you have to IMMEDIATELY go line dancing. NCAA regs.

C. NCAA News

  • Speaking of OU, the Oklahoma women’s team and Stanford men’s team went to the White House because they won the winning things last season, which always provokes some internet getting-worked-up about it. I’m not that worked up about it. I obviously wouldn’t go (and definitely wouldn’t have gone in college, when “taking a showy political stand on something” is like the main thing), but there are any number of reasons people would choose to go to this White House after winning a championship, from being super into putting non-white kids in cages, to viewing it as an honor regardless—and an honor bestowed by the country rather than the occupant of the WH, to just wanting to be with their team and celebrate their accomplishments together, to not having a choice in the matter. But there should always be a choice in the matter.
  • If you’re not aggressively attuned to Cottbus (get out of my house?), Iowa State’s Andrea Maldonado debuted a front 3/1, which will be named after her in the elite CoP. There are several videos of this rolling around, but I feel like only Bram correctly captured the essence.
  • Courtney Loper no longer appears on Denver’s roster for the 2020 season.

D. The Forster House Rules

In actual gymnastics stuff, Tom Forster did a…thing…for International Gymnast’s Facebook page, where he talked about problems with the code of points and proposed some solutions. And it was hilarious.

It’s the subject of this week’s first GymCastic episode, as we mostly tear these proposals to shreds and point out the rather obvious logical flaws with the idea of, you know, just crediting every skill anyone attempts or not deducting US routines for artistry.

E. Housekeeping

I’ve added a “Do You Have a Link For…?” page to the top menu, so if I ever have a link for something, and you’re looking for a link for something, it will be there.

I’ll be live blogging the finals from Cottbus this weekend, starting at 8am ET, 5am PT both days.

22 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – November 22, 2019”

  1. My favorite part of Full Out 2, a movie set in 2016, are the 2017 and 2018 championship banners prominently displayed in the background of all the training scenes.

  2. Full Out 2 was originally going to be about Peng-Peng Lee’s comebacks and ultimately her 6th year perfect 10s to help win the Team Natty. Miss Val’s cancer diagnosis/treatment was going to be a secondary storyline within the movie.

    That Peng/Val story idea was ultimately replaced with the Oklahoma story. Which movie story would you have preferred to see?

    1. I wish that I didn’t know that because it makes me long for what could have been! I will never understand why they went from an actual story to this nothingness?!

    2. I am THRILLED that there is one less reason that I will have to see Val or Peng Peng in media coverage. It’s certainly a better story but I am so, so, so, so tired of hearing about either one of them.

  3. I hate how Full Out 2 appears to portray KJ as a dumbass stone cold bitch. (which I’m sure she’s not) like wtf is that casting and that writing.

    1. what’s REALLY cringey for me is the borderline-racist storyline of “oh look at these goody-good, mostly white athletes who need some pizzazz for their big show – where could they possibly find it? Oh I know, let’s hit up the people of color breakdancing over there! Streetcred achieved!”

  4. It looks like the FIG gave the front triple full an “F” rating?
    That seems low to me

    1. F?? That’s ridiculously too low! Unfortunately not surprised though. Personally, I would’ve gone G or H.

    2. This is sickening. Front tumbling is criminally undervalued and has been for a long time. How can the double Arabian piked and front triple full be 0.2 LESS than the double-double and equal to nearly compulsory double layout?? The technique needed to execute 3 full twists in a single salto with a forward entry and a forward landing is beyond what is needed for almost any other floor element.

      I would not be opposed to an H as long as the double-double is an H. I don’t think we’d start seeing a bunch of people doing it because you could probably count on 1 hand the people who could get close.

  5. Grace Woolfolk is off Iowa State’s roster, has removed “gymnastics” from all of her social media bios/deleted her posts about being grateful for another chance, wasn’t in the last team photo uploaded, and was in a boot in the last one that she WAS in. 🙁

  6. Spencer, are you not going to at least acknowledge the SCSU gymnast who passed away earlier this month? I understand your not wanting to touch the subject, but this is a college gymnastics blog, and that was a very big thing that just happened in college gymnastics.

    Also, just so you know, the mobile site is still having a ton of issues with spam popups, to the point where it’s borderline unusable.

    (I realize the above comments are both complaints so I’ll just throw in that I’ve been following your blog religiously for several years now and I love it so much, thank you for all you do!!)

    1. He tweeted about it, and they talked about it in the most recent Gymcastic episode.

      1. Gotcha! I’ve never listened to Gymcastic and must have missed the tweet. My sincerest apologies!

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