Things Are Happening – April 30, 2020

A. Bad Maggie

Oof. I’m out of practice with this, it’s been so long. How does one…say…the things…that are happening?

A week on from when USAG told those involved that it would be announcing a verdict in the Maggie Haney affair (CALENDARS ARE HARD, Y’ALL—what with the days and the boxes), we learned today that Haney has been suspended for eight years for ruining the life of national treasure Laurie Hernandez. Haney can apply to be reinstated after those eight years and would then be on probation for a further two, but eight years is a loooong time…

Laurie discussed the mental toll of training with The Haney in an instagram post today, and everyone went, “You could tell by that leg pose.” Burned into my brain.

In the most recent information about this case, we also learned that Riley McCusker was among the athletes who affirmed to the hearing panel that Maggie sucks, which had not been confirmed during the initial hearing. Remember when we were playing the “but Riley could stay with Maggie because she’s 18” game? Ye…no.

A couple things are worth pointing out here. First, everything that Maggie Haney is explicitly accused of—aggressive behavior including teasing and ridiculing, screaming, swearing, bullying, harassing, humiliating, fat shaming, having gymnasts compete on injuries—is both awful and remarkably common. I’d imagine the majority of former elites are reading that list and saying, “oh, you mean a Tuesday?”

One hopes that this massive suspension will serve as a warning to the multitude of coaches doing the exact same things on a daily basis. That’s what USAG hopes as well.

Part B, remember that time the NBC ranch documentary took a break from the ranch to tell us that THANK GOD when Laurie isn’t at the ranch she has someone like Maggie Haney to guide her? A really stellar artifact that one was.


Finally, I think this is the part where I’m supposed to be like, “I COULD TELL WHEN I MET HER” because I did meet Maggie once for a GymCastic interview almost three years ago now, but that’s not really the story. She was intense, but we got along, sharing grapes and sarcasm and nerding out about leaps and the valuation of Riley’s bars dismount. Because you don’t really know what’s going on unless you’re in the gym.

B. Dan Kendig

We got some actual information this week about why Dan Kendig abruptly resigned under mysterious circumstances from the head coaching position at Nebraska a while back. Everyone’s relieved that on the spectrum of the reasons gymnastics coaches have to resign, this is like a 1.

Basically, Nebraska was paying its volunteer assistant coach for choreography and floor music, which is a no-no and meant that Nebraska was operating with more than the maximum of three paid coaches.

It’s a conundrum many schools face unless one of the three paid coaches is good (or competent?) at choreography, needing floor choreography but not being allowed to pay an extra coach for that service. We end up with lots of schools retaining a “volunteer” assistant coach to do choreography—someone who is not supposed to be compensated for all of that work despite it being an essential job—so the schools then have to finagle some other way for that person to be compensated because…uh…they deserve to be paid for doing a job. You know, that old thing.

So, one the one hand, everyone has to follow these rules, you knew the rules, and knew you were breaking them when you broke them. But on the other hand, this isn’t a…see item A?…situation, so I’m not wasting that much thinking time on it. Other than the fact that the fictional company name was Fantasy Floor Music. I’m thinking about that a lot.

I am concerned by the notion that the gymnasts were expected to pay $300 each for choreography and hope that they were being reimbursed under the table by the school or something (you know, allowed things).

I also don’t know why we’re not naming the volunteer coach in question even though it’s obvious who it is. But apparently that’s something we’re doing? One has to wonder what the compensation system was at all of his previous gigs.

C. Denisa Golgota retired

Word on the gymternet is that Denisa Golgota, who singlehandedly carried Romanian gymnastics around wrapped in a handkerchief tied to a stick for the entire last quadrennium, has retired.

Golgota was expected to qualify an individual Olympic spot for Romania through the all-around at last year’s world championships, but a true disaster of a competition in qualification—for which it’s easy now in retrospect to say she looked done—saw her miss out on that spot to Maria Holbura. Golgota struggled through most of 2019, finishing 17th in the all-around at European Championships and even dropping to 6th AA at Romanian nationals, not able to live up to the success of a 2018 year that saw her win two medals at Europeans.

Golgota’s retirement will put even more pressure on the talented new seniors Ioana Stanciulescu and Silviana Sfiringu for the coming quad, and please feel free to ignore all history and be excited about them.

D. Randy Lane at LIU

If you choose to believe that there will one day be colleges again, Randy Lane has been announced as the head coach of the newest collegiate gymnastics program, Long Island University, which is slated to join division I competition in the 2021 season.

Randy has been a head coach before at UCSB, in addition to acting as associate head coach at a solid 85% of NCAA gymnastics programs, most recently finding himself embroiled in that unholy trinity of potential replacements for Miss Val. Nice to see him landing at a new program.

E. GymCastic

This week, we elected to do a rundown of the gymternet news…riiiiggght before things started actually happening. Awesome. We also get deep into the weeds on proper inbars and Huang Mandan, so I’m over the moon.

71 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – April 30, 2020”

    1. Maggie has always made me want to hurl. It’s always been all about herself, with her prancing around the podium in caked on makeup and her tight pants.

  1. There was something very “Regina George’s mom” about Maggie Haney.

  2. I like how the press release’s headline said Randy Lane was “tabbed” as head coach. Yeah, seems like a solid academic institution.

    1. Tabbed is being used appropriately in that case. I’ve seen a lot of people thinking it should be “tapped” but tapped really means to draw from someone as a resource, whereas tabbed means to be identified as suitable for a specific position.

      1. Tabbed sounds SO wrong to me but I googled and it is technically not wrong.
        Tapped is the only version I have ever heard used though (until now) and it is also correct.

    1. Russel Warfield. He choreographed for UGA for years. I always assumed UGA was paying because why wouldn’t you pay someone for a service? I didn’t know it was against the rules. I wonder if NCAA will investigate Georgia because surely they were paying him? I mean, he has to earn money, right? That sucks for Nebraska. I get what Spencer is saying but it is a stupid, stupid rule. Or maybe I’m unclear on the rule? Is it okay to pay for a choreographer as long as they aren’t also the volunteer coach? Like the Umeh sisters currently do for UGA? Although Warfield also was a volunteer coach for UGA at one point so UGA could still possibly have an old violation. I think the last year he volunteer coached them was 2011.

      1. What bothers me less about the Kendig/Warfied situation is not that they broke the stupid NCAA rule, but the way that they went about it. Submitting fictitious invoices is fraud and they are lucky that NCAA suspensions seem to be the only consequence of this. I’m kind of surprised law enforcement wasn’t involved.

      2. Yeah, the fake invoices was a bad move. If they had just paid him directly maybe they would have gotten even less of a punishment. They definitely went about it the wrong way.

      3. No – you can’t pay anyone not a coach and certainly not your volunteer coach. At many schools who don’t have a coaching talent who can do it – someone on team does it, the girls are expected to show up with one that they bought elsewhere – or in some cases they “make one available” at the gym that it “optional” for the girls to pay for. So keep that in mind when you guys are dishing everyone’s floor routines – or wondering why someone didn’t get a new routine.

  3. This doesn’t really explain why Maggie Haney dresses like an “experienced” whore.

    1. This is an ugly comment.

      Maggie’s leggings and heavy eye makeup always seemed very “North Jersey” to me. I grew up not too far from where she has her gym and know a lot of women who dressed that way. Not very professional, but there you go.

      1. I mean, it’s not like the male coaches are dressed up and elite coaches don’t treat each meet like a fashion show the way NCAA coaches do. Coaches should be comfortable, and I’m most comfy in leggings, so I’d probably wear them too, because it’s 2020 and track pants should be burned. And I’m in no way a Maggie supporter, I believe the girls, and believe her suspension is correct. But let’s just stop judging women by their clothing and makeup choices, mmmkay?

      2. I always felt like this is part of why everyone was super quick to believe that Haney was abusive, but no one EVER mentions that Laurent Landi and Mihai Brestyan have had ex-gymnasts make (unofficial) complaints. Landi is hot and Brestyan looks like a nice teddy bear, whereas Haney looks trashy and evil.

        That’s not the right way to identify abusive coaching.

      3. @LinseaHoward I mean, it’s not like appearances don’t matter in one of the shallowest, most image-conscious societies on earth. Your disingenuous illogic about male coaches and NCAA female coaches ignores completely the fact that in a sport where the female athletes wear enough makeup and spangles for a very cheezy casino show, they (and their female coaches) are CHOOSING to present themselves that way; Haney is plenty old enough to know exactly what effect the North Jersey/experienced whore look has on viewers and that’s how she CHOOSES to present herself, with full knowledge. So let’s just stop judging people who accurately observe the effects of women’s clothing and makeup choices and while you’re at it, just stop your obnoxious virtue-signalling, MMMMKAY????????

  4. REALLY, Spencer? You thought Haney was going to waltz into a podcast and lead with (a la SOAPDISH) “Hi, I’m Maggie Haney, and I’M A BITCH!” ??????????????

    1. No. He’s pointing out that people can act benign in public and still be treating their athletes like shit behind the scenes. “Because you don’t really know what’s going on unless you’re in the gym.”

      1. Yes, Anonymous, his obvious point was obvious, and your even more obvious reiteration of it is duly noted. My point, which clearly was not obvious to you, is that most abusive coaches put on a big and totally phony act in public (and have for decades; the Karolyis, particularly Bela, were especially notorious) and that it’s surprising when someone as intelligent as Spencer hasn’t learned to see through that sort of thing by now.

      2. @ 5:43 Anonymous:
        Lots of people still haven’t managed to see through the big and phony acts, with horrible consequences. The Nassar case, in which his “good guy” reputation was trusted above reports from his victims FOR DECADES, made this perfectly clear.

        Congratulations on being extremely smart and astute, great job, etc., but if you care about reducing abuse it’s a good point to reiterate that you can’t identify abusive coaches based on whether they seem like nice people or not.

        Whether Spencer is genuinely surprised that Maggie wasn’t emotionally abusive to him when he interviewed her, or whether he’s just taking the opportunity to remind people that you can’t just trust your instincts here, doesn’t matter. Lots of people still need to hear that message. Boasting that YOU already got the message is pointless and smug.

    2. I will comment as a person who, unfortunately, has interacted with multiple people who were objectively proven to be child abusers (i.e. video or photographic evidence). There were some abusers who, when I met them before I knew they were abusers, I thought: “This person seems creepy. I don’t trust this individual around children, though I have not witnessed any specific red flags.” There were other abusers who, when I met them before I knew they were abusers, I thought: “This person seems very nice. I’ll bet this person is great with children.” Spencer, of course, doesn’t expect abusers to announce themselves as abusers when he meets them professionally. However, it is worth noting that some have odd personalities that rub people the wrong way, and others don’t. I understood the point of his comment to be: “You truly never know what happens behind closed doors. Don’t assume that a person could never do anything wrong just because she never gave off that vibe in your interactions with her.”

      1. I can relate to this. Back in the 1990s and 2000s, I met several gymnastics coaches who have since been outed as either toxic and abusive human beings or paedophiles. I got on reasonably well with all of them and genuinely liked one of them, who is currently in prison for grooming and groping underage gymnasts. He struck me as a really nice and sensitive guy, and I can totally see how he was able to build the rapport you need to be able to get away with that kind of stuff. He definitely had the social skills. I think he was rather like Larry Nassar in that regard. He made girls feel comfortable, then abused their trust.

        The worst I can say for the physically and emotionally abusive coaches I met is that they seemed a little intense, as Spencer put it. Clearly, intensity is not a good thing in a high-pressure environment like an elite gym, but then again, I think you have to be fairly intense to want to work in that environment, anyway.

    3. @5:43 Anon: Your point is nothing. Everyone knows abusers put on an act and the point is exactly that it’s not always that you can see through it, specially outside of the context of abuse. You are not a genius for being like “well, *I* always thought there was something wrong with Haney”. Move along.

  5. After reading some news articles about the Maggie Haney story, I was disheartened to see how many people apparently believe that the only types of abuse that exist are physical and sexual. I saw an alarming number of comments that said something along the lines of, “She didn’t put her hands on anybody.” I hope that we as a society can continue to make progress and have a wider understanding of how verbal and emotional abuse are legitimately abusive, and how these forms of abuse are detrimental to our communities.

    1. So essentially what you’re saying is, if you’re sensitive, don’t join the military. People enlist and suffer verbal and emotional abuse, but you know what? The military produces results. Maggie may have been a bitch, but she coached at an elite level, and guess what? She produced results. The military (boot camp) verbally abuses adults, so I guess that’s the difference. Maggie delt with children, so that makes it so very wrong, I do agree in a way, BUT let’s see how Laurie’s come back goes without Maggie. If she was so traumatized, she should have left before she won those medals.This applies to Riley, Jazmyn Foberg, Olivia Geaves, etc.Maggie did what coaches around the world do at an elite level and have done for hundreds of years. But, because we’re more “modern” and civilized, the behavior makes it wrong in reference to elite..children. I’m not in any way saying abuse is ok, but some pressure is needed to keep elite level athletes in good competitive shape. Children don’t handle this kind of pressure well obviously.

      1. I mean yeah, obviously you shouldn’t join the military if you don’t want to undergo a psychological and physical training process that is aimed at reshaping you into an effective tool that is fully under the control of your superiors. “Sensitive” or not, the military is training you to be a soldier, part of a chain of command in which obedience is essential for the system to function.

        The military produces MILITARY results. There’s no reasons why athletes would need to behave like soldiers, either adults or children. They’re not going to war.

        I’m not even sure why I’m responding to such an idiotic comment. Irrelevant metaphors aside, there are coaches in elite sports who are able to motivate and challenge their athletes at the highest level without using abusive methods. Being a demanding coach is absolutely not synonymous with belittling, manipulating, or frightening your athletes.

      2. Wow. Anonymous at 12:32. That’s a hell of a lot of victim blaming. Is that your intention?
        Here you have athletes with high ambitions, with a coach who is, admittedly, helping them gain the results they desire. And they are being treated in a way no child should. As children, do you really expect them to skillfully grapple with these conflicting positions? This is exactly why abuse by a person in a position of power (in this case – coaches) is such a big deal.

      3. @12:32 Anon: Oh, you ARE very much saying abuse is okay, and you are trash.

    2. A lot of idiots can’t tell the difference between a coach saying “You are not focused and you are not putting in enough effort. Either you step it up now or we’re done on beam for today and you can do conditioning.” and “You useless piece of shit, get back on the beam or get out of my gym and don’t come back.”

      1. Except some coaches are being banned for saying “Either you step it up now or we’re done on beam for today and you can do conditioning.” Because heaven forbid the athlete has to leave the rest of the group to d something different than everyone else.

      2. Please. I have heard people say such sentiments, and complain that thats too rough. Either step it up, or off the beam. Ooh no delicate child, should never be pushed, and elite gymnast cant handle that, The snowflake delicate generation. Everything has to be given with rainbows and starbursts of as I believe I can fly plays in the background. A cover version, and not the Rkelly one. lol

      3. Would either of you care to point to a single situation where a coach was banned for saying anything along the lines of “step it up or you’re doing conditioning for the rest of the day”?

      4. Where are the parents during all the abuse. Are they so wrapped up in a future gold medal that they are unaware that their children are being tortured. My daughter had an abusive math teacher in the 7th grade and I could tell that something was really wrong. I talked with her, her counselor, the assistant principal and she was moved to another class and he was put on probation and mentored to improve. He only lasted another year because of complaints and very little change in attitude. That was a 1 hour a day interaction. Elite gymnasts train far more than that – there must be some visible fallout with the kids. Again, where are the parents.

      5. @JJ According to Laurie’s Instagram post, she told her parents a watered down version of what was happening at some point. Her mother tried to intervene by calling Maggie. The conversation seemed to go well. However, when Laurie went to practice the next day, Maggie was very angry at Laurie because of the call from her mother, and she took her anger out on Laurie and Laurie’s teammates. Laurie then decided to stop telling her parents about what she was experiencing. Perhaps her parents noticed that she seemed unhappy or anxious at times, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising to hear that Laurie had explained her unhappiness away as stress about trying to make National Team and/or Olympic Team. If she was trying to keep her parents out of the situation in order to protect herself and her teammates, it wouldn’t be surprising for her to find excuses such as these to explain her emotions, and why would her parents doubt her? Laurie also said in her Instagram post that in 2016 her mother overheard her talking about something that had happened in practice, her mother was appalled, and her mother immediately filed a report with USAG. It seems like Laurie’s parents were trying their best for her. I don’t understand why we need to blame them for her coach abusing her.

      6. Yep, Laurie basically used the technique I used when something was going badly at school and I knew my parents wouldn’t be able to fix it. Tell your parents just enough that it lifts the burden on you, but not enough to spur them into fruitless action.

    3. Maggie Haney = BAD. Heavy eye makeup, dresses like a whore! Cant change! Emotional abuse is worse than physical, sexual abuse. Throw the book at her. Never allow her to change,

      Al Fong – Two gymnasts died as a result. Emotional abuse, eating disorder = GOOD. People can change grow and blossom over the years. Well no gymnasts have complained about him YET, but he was allowed to grow and change… Did he ever completely stop or was banned for 8 years> LOL naw.


      1. Oh, shut up, everyone thinks Al Fong should have been banned from the sport long ago. Hevs not even a GOOD coach, for all the shit we know about him. Your points are nothing, as usual. I’m not even sure why you still make them.

    4. We all agree that screaming and cursing at kids and teenagers is wrong. We all agree that public shaming is wrong. The bigger problem is that this kind of behavior wasn’t seen as wrong 15-20 years ago when these coaches were coming up in the sport. The prevalence of this kind of behavior makes me believe that many gymnastics coaches don’t know how to behave any differently in this very different age.

      What if USAG didn’t wait to investigate and react to each complaint as it came in? What if USAG got ahead of the problem and held trainings for the behavior expectations of coaches and gym owners. Use real world examples. “What if a gymnast does X? How would you handle it?” “What if a gymnast gains a lot of weight and it’s impacting her performance? What are some appropriate things to say?” I honestly think there is a difference in behavior expectation that has to be corrected by USAG.

      1. THIS. So many young coaches grew up in an abusive system, and they mirror that subconsciously. When joining USAG, particularly at the elite level, there should be some sort of training regarding this and frequent screenings with coaches, athletes and parents to try to identify issues early and correct.

    5. ‘I saw an alarming number of comments that said something along the lines of, “She didn’t put her hands on anybody.”’
      Even aside from the fact that of course you can verbally and emotionally abuse people – Maggie Haney did put her hands on at least one person. The incident that got Laurie’s mom to step in was when Laurie and one of the other gymnasts were talking about how MH had pulled the other gymnast’s hair, and Wanda Hernandez overheard.

  6. Assuming there’s an NCAA season at all in 2021, how the heck is LIU expected to have a program up and running by then? The program was announced right before we all went into lockdown and high school seniors are making college decisions NOW. Presumably none of the potential commits will be able to visit campus before signing on — not a situation I’d want for my kid. This was an ambitious timetable before COVID sent everything sideways, now it seems impossible.

    1. Randy is not an unknown and a free education is a big enticement. It’s not like LIU is trying to recruit girls that would have been in the top at Nationals this year – if for no other reason that 99% of those already had signed LOI. The bigger question was would LIU stay the course with all this COVID uncertainty. The fact that they hired the head coach means yes. I imagine there will be plenty of mid-west girls interested.

    2. When they say 2021, do they definitely mean Spring 2021, or do they mean the 2021-2022 academic year?

  7. I feel like there are so many gyms out there that have a coach like Maggie Haney! The owners/coaches are only concerened about winning…that is their main goal…and don’t acknowledge the responsibility of raising young women. These girls start out out at such a young age and they love winning too. There seems to be a shift when going through puberty, when the injuries start happening, that these coaches feel the need to scare the crap out of them in order for them to do skills. It is a shame when a gymnast is more frightened of their coach than the skill that they are about to attempt. This entire process evolves over years and the mental side affects are real! I truly wish USAG had a way of checking in on gyms to hold the coaches accountable. Parents try to change things…but it is very true that the coaches retaliate against the gymnasts if parents try to get involved…can’t even watch practice! Most say to take your daughter to another gym…it is not that easy when you live in an area that the next gym is an hour and half away, both parents work, your daughter is a successful Level 10, and has a full ride to a D1 school. It’s best to find a great Sport Psych!

  8. So I was at Classic in 2018 and had an extra ticket after a friend bailed, so I sat in on the junior session. It was my first time watching a gymnastics meet in person, and after everything that had come out that year about the culture and abuse, I was interested in seeing how the coaches interacted with their athletes on the floor.

    Olivia Greaves fell on a release on her bar routine. I though, “Oh well, it happens.” But after she finished the routine, instead of heading over to Maggie Haney as I thought she would, I watched Olivia straight up RUN off the podium, in the opposite direction of MH, to the other coach on the floor. Meanwhile, MH took a long, slow walk around the podium. It was very ominous. I felt for Olivia. It didn’t look like there was any shouting but you could tell that something was not right there.

  9. Its such frickin weirdo behavior, when people want to destroy Maggie for emotional abusing her gymnasts, by emotionally abusing Maggies looks etc. Like grow the fuck up. Stop attacking her looks, and the way she dresses. You never did this for the shit mens coaches. Keep it on her behavior. Emotional abuse against emotional abuse. Sounds like a lovely cycle folks!

  10. Generally I hate how our society is overly focused on womens’ appearance and dress as an indicator of their character. In this case, I think it’s worth noting that the way Maggie dressed and carried herself while doing her job suggested some issues with boundaries and appropriate relationship dynamics that were certainly confirmed by this investigation. When everyone on the team, from the 40-something coach to the little compulsory kids, is dressing and presenting like an 18 year old, it leaves the impression that the person in charge — in this case Maggie — doesn’t understand how she’s supposed to be relating to the kids in her care. Bizarre and somewhat racy leotard choices is one thing, emotional manipulation and abuse is entirely another.

    1. The leotard choices not just the elites but for very young athletes were always concerning to me. Always felt they were borderline inappropriate.

      1. Yeah, I think coaches choosing leotards for gymnasts that don’t provide basic coverage is a legitimate thing to criticize, even when the gymnasts aren’t children

  11. A lot of stuff on here reminds me of the MLT fiasco where people saying “coaches who know nothing about nutrition shouldn’t be telling gymnasts not to eat so they look skinnier” was met with similar “oh, do we need to pwotect the elite gymnasts’ wittwe feewings???” comments.

    Meanwhile Aly wrote in her book about how the nutritionist she went to literally took food away from her and tole her “no processed sugar for you until your final salute in Rio” and her response was how awesome he was for giving her such helpful information she never got anywhere else. Turns out the issue isn’t that the gymnasts are too sensitive.

    1. Three things (at least) make the MLT and Aly situations different.
      1. Aly’s situation did not focus exclusively on weight/appearance.
      2. It was Aly’s choice to go to a nutritionist, which nutritionist, and which recommendations to follow. It was not, e.g. a condition of being “coachable” or having a spot on the national team.
      3. Aly was an adult which means the dynamics of trying to keep a pre-pubescent body were lessened.

      1. I’m not sure you got my point. My point was that when situations like these come up on the national team where a coach’s behavior is an issue, it’s frequently met with claims that the coaching isn’t actually an issue, the gymnasts are just too soft. Aly’s situation with the nutritionist was meant to show that the gymnasts aren’t, in fact, too thin-skinned to handle legit coaching, and in fact Aly appreciated clear-cut, no-nonsense correction from someone who knew what he was talking about. My point was that Aly’s situation shows that those “poow wittwe ewite gymnasts got theiw feewings huwt” comments intended to defend the coaching are stupid.

      2. People interpret “coaches shouldn’t harass gymnasts to lose weight in dangerous and unhealthy ways” as “discussing weight is no longer allowed in gymnastics because everyone is a special snowflake.”

        The risk of eating disorders and related anxiety is very high among high-performance female athletes in or near adolescence. The takeaway is not that you can’t ever discuss weight, but that you need to do it in a way that is responsible, prioritizes the athlete’s physical and mental health, and uses the guidance of educated people trained to help athletes maintain their weight and fitness in a healthy way.

      3. It’s almost like being a credentialed professional matters or something.

  12. Do we really think Randy Lane is a skilled coach? Wasn’t he UCLA’s vault coach? That team, with all its talent, had no business being so weak on that event.
    (In truth, I’d say the same about Waller/bars).

    1. At this stage of the game his recruiting skills matter more than his coaching skills. Convincing athletes to commit to LIU, sight unseen, during a pandemic when LIU is right at the epicenter, will be quite a task.

  13. Some readers of The Balance Beam Situation may be interested in the brand new LONG (1hr 47min) very recent interview of Mattie Larson by TSL(TheSkatingLesson) on Youtube entitled: “Mattie Larson: A TSL Interview”.

    From The Skating Lesson: “Mattie Larson impacted the world at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar with her emotionally intelligent, honest and courageous victim impact statement. I had a chance to catch up with the 2010 World silver medalist and UCLA alumni about her career, her views on the sport of gymnastics, the USA Gymnastics system and how she has been able to heal and move forward in her life.”


    1. how effing hard is it to learn the proper usage of alumnus/alumna/alumni/alumnae? Come on TSL.

      1. In a country where major newspapers not only regularly misspell words, use incorrect punctuation and grammar, but deliberately print ‘bothsides’ misinformation? You’re joking, right? LOL

  14. What I don’t understand is, how are these gymnasts training with injuries and the parents don’t find out about it? Your coach tells you to peel off your cast and do this skill. You can’t just patch it up magically without a parent not noticing. I’d think any parent would be horrified to find out their daughter was doing back flips with the cast/bandage/compress/screws out/off. I not talking about Laurie, but I wonder how many parents, over the years, were just as responsible as a coach for abuse. Competing at an elite level, with injuries, has been a well known issue for decades.

    1. Parents are sometimes culpable or complicit, but you’re going to hit a dead end if you try to protect gymnasts by relying on their parents to do the right thing. Sometimes parents don’t know (gymnasts won’t tell them/coaches keep them in the dark), sometimes they don’t care (blinded by potential glory for their kids), sometimes they kind of do know, but they’ve convinced themselves that success is worth the abuse or that this is how it is everywhere.

      You can’t police individual parents. You can get Maggie Haney suspended for 8 years for this kind of behavior but if you tried to suspend some or all of someone’s parental rights for letting their child knowingly compete in that situation… just how would you even go about doing that? That would be a massive, complicated, uncertain and prolonged lawsuit, and whether the outcome for the child is better is pretty debatable.

      It’s irrelevant that parents are as responsible as coaches. The only place you can intervene with any meaningful outcomes is by going after the abusive coaches. Bringing up the parents deflects more responsibility from USAG for investigating and enforcing, and doesn’t help keep gymnasts safe.

      1. It’s like a pageant/dance mom, but with gymnastics. You can police a coach, but what’s stopping an abusive, obsessive parent from just finding another coach with similar coaching techniques? Because as others have mentioned in previous posts, abusive coaching styles are quite prevalent. There’s not much that can be done, from a legal stand point, but it’s something to be aware of for sure.

      2. “You can police a coach, but what’s stopping an abusive, obsessive parent from just finding another coach with similar coaching techniques?”

        You punish enough coaches severely enough (e.g. 8 years’ suspension) to give an incentive for the rest to learn some better, non-abusive coaching techniques. That’s the idea.

        You’re right that it’s an uphill battle right now. But if I was a coach that liked screaming insults at gymnasts or physically pulling them off of apparatuses, I’d be reconsidering my approach right now if I valued my business.

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