Things Are Happening – June 25, 2020

Eh, there’s not that much this week, but here goes…

Athlete A. Out Now

The Netflix documentary on That Guy, and USAG, and the IndyStar investigation, and Maggie, and Rachael, and Jamie is out now.

For those who have followed what’s been happening in detail over the last four years, there’s not going to be a lot of new information there for you, but the documentary does do an impressive job of synthesizing that information and establishing a clear and understandable timeline of events and culpability. That can be really difficult to do with all the moving parts and little wisps of information that have come out here and there—and will be particularly valuable for the general public watching it.

For some reason, USAG decided it needed to make a statement…about the film…today? It didn’t go over awesome. (Guys, you didn’t even have to say anything.)

OK. First of all, you’re not supposed to take this opportunity to pat yourself on the back for some great job you’ve done since they came forward, because…highly debatable and no you haven’t. I do think some things are improving and that the leadership staff is better, but it’s like you want a standing ovation for getting off the couch. Make it to the toilet and then we’ll talk.

Also they didn’t do it for you. USAG taking this documentary and focusing on what it has learned or improved because of Maggie still assumes that she exists to serve USAG or to make the organization better. “Debt of gratitude.” Like she gave you something. You took from her, so much. And now you need to give her something. Such as…everything she and the other survivors are asking for.

Anyway, we talked with Jennifer Sey about the film on GymCastic this week.

Best of GymCastic: The Leotard Episode GymCastic: The Gymnastics Podcast

Club Gym Nerd member, Gym Coach Diana, has commissioned an episode all about the glorious leotard! Spencer, Lauren, and Jessica chat about leos leos leos; biggest leotard fails, the most patriotic, custom theme leos, Australia, cut outs, crushed velvet, rules for leotard design, technology, sewn in underpants, leotard deductions, controversies and the most notorious leotards of all time. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LEOTARDS WE DISCUSS IN ORDER: https://gymcastic.com/?p=61421&preview=true  This episode originally aired in November 2016.
  1. Best of GymCastic: The Leotard Episode
  2. 431: 2003 Team Final Commissioned
  3. 430: Athlete A with Jennifer Sey
  4. 429: John Orozco Does Not Hold Back
  5. 428: Black Lives Matter This Week Too

B. Germany is kind of doing gymnastics

Germany has been hosting some sort-of-gymnastics events, which I would normally just make fun of…but because I’m so desperate for any kind of competition, I watched the entire thing.

Basically, it was like a training game being held between three gyms over a live stream. So, there were some actual gymnastics contests like how many Shap + Pak combinations can you do in a row (Sarah Voss – 5), or how many side aerials can you do on beam in a minute (Pauline Schaefer – 18)…and then also they just balanced chalk on their feet for a while? The men are up next with their version today.

It’s weird, but so is literally everything.

C. NCAA Stuff

So…er…head coach Tanya Ho and assistant coach Alina Cartwright have both left Alaska and the team’s two best returning gymnasts are both transferring—Isabelle Fox to Illinois State and Kenadi Brown to New Hampshire. That…does not bode well. The Alaska athletic director used the announcement about Tanya Ho to project a lot of “we’ll find a new head coach and things are going great,” but…are they? Are they though?

I mentioned exactly two weeks ago that Jah’Liyah Bedminster was going to be a walk-on at Georgia. Well, not so much. Instead, she’s heading to LIU. While I thought she would be a backup vaulter and a possible bars project for Georgia, she’ll of course be a much more likely contender on both events (as well as floor) for LIU.

Nebraska’s Italian pipeline appears to be alive and well with the team adding Martina Comin to next season’s group. She has shown solid vault and floor scores in Serie A over the years, but that’s about all I’ve got for you on her.

In the elite-commitment world, Ondine Achampong has verbally committed to Cal to continue the Britain-to-Cal pipeline that also includes Amelie Morgan, who is slated to join for the 2022 season. Meanwhile, her gym has a story about her with the following headline: “Achampong by name, a champion by nature.” So that’s all I’m ever going to think about forever.

D. Memmel

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Chellsie Memmel did an Arabian on the high beam.

E. Oh Also

This is your several-monthly reminder that the highest-scoring TF squad from the 2016 Olympic Trials would have been Biles, Hernandez, Raisman, Kocian, Locklear (lol) and because that group was deemed understandably unrealistic, the next highest-scoring team was Biles, Hernandez, Raisman, Kocian, and Douglas (by a smidge over the team with Skinner on it)—even with Douglas scoring so much lower on bars at Trials than she did at the actual Olympics. There’s a general, lingering impression that Douglas didn’t earn her spot on the Olympic team based on her actual routines, or that the team didn’t make logical gymnastic sense, and that’s not really correct. There are pure gymnastic reasons to select the exact team and alternates that were chosen.

Now, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t ALSO a ton bullshit around how the decision was made and doesn’t mean that the team was actually selected for those purely logical gymnastic reasons that exist. Given everything we’ve learned about Steve Penny, and how he had his fingers in every stupid little thing regarding the marketing of these athletes and the organization, and how he did everything possible to value image and marketing over safety and humanity, there’s every reason to assume that corruption played a part in arriving at this team (likely in ways we haven’t even learned yet), even if it’s the exact same team and alternates I would have selected for “normal” reasons.

Just needed to get that out there.

71 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – June 25, 2020”

    1. You are probably right. Several colleges are announcing several cut sports. UConn just announced that women’s rowing, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, and men’s cross country are all cut immediately.

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      1. It’s not a factor that would be determinative in deciding whether to keep the program, but I’m thinking that few to no teams will want to travel to Alaska to compete next year — the big dogs only compete against peasants when they’re conveniently located, and the other peasants will probably be under a bunch of travel restrictions.

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  1. USAG got “lucky” that Maggie was injured and not at her best therefore not placing top 3 on any event so not selecting her for the team or alternates was justified. Had she not come off beam night 1 and placed 4th at trials instead of 6th not selecting her for alternate would’ve been a bit more controversial but perhaps still justified. Problem is, based on the way she and her family were being treated by Steve Penny, it seems as though even if putting her on the team would’ve made sense they still wouldn’t have done it.

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    1. I agree with Spencer (and you, by implication) that trials results didn’t matter, but wow how wild would it have been if your hypothetical had happened and only three of the top five made the team, with #4 getting nothing?

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    2. I think they had been expecting to make her the third alternate alongside Ragan and Ashton, but Mykayla showed up with literally the best two performances of her career to that point and pretty much made them acknowledge her, and Maggie was the most similar gymnastics-wise and thus wound up getting the shaft. I’m pretty sure we didn’t have mic on the parents of the other presumptive alternates, did we? So that checks out. Maggie wasn’t all the way back yet. The timing of that injury was awful. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if marketing considerations played a role in the team selection, but I really don’t think it was the only factor at play and I certainly don’t think that it was retaliatory. If it had been, I don’t think Maggie would have been on the 2015 World team or invited to the media summit.

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      1. 2015 Maggie absolutely replaces 2016 Gabby on that Olympic team. I also agree that Maggie was pretty much slated for a alternate spot until Mykayla got 4th AA.

        Looking back at the 2016 team, Gabby actually benefitted massively from Simone, Aly, and Laurie being as strong as they were. Beam and floor (and it turned out vault too) were fully covered which means the struggles Gabby had on beam and floor leading up to the Olympics weren’t as significant. As long as she could put together a strong, reliable bars, her proficiency/usability on the other 3 events meant she was always going to be selected.

        It seems like a tired trope, but once again, the USA’s “weak bars” made a way for a bars specialist who was still an all-arounder. Mykayla’s only chance to make the 5-person team was if the coordinators were trying to maximize total medals. You can make a good argument that Mykalya had a better chance at a vault medal than Gabby did at a bars medal. We know the team always takes precedence however, so that wasn’t ever going to happen.

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      2. Maggie was really always putting pressure on Aly more than Gabby tbh. I think her fate was more or less sealed once Aly’s scores starting flying.

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  2. travel restrictions are probably going to bite alaska, which is a shame. there’s gymnast there i really like on floor but cannot think of her name at all. teams prob can’t afford/want to travel there and traveling from alaska prob won’t be easy.

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    1. They primarily competed against Seattle-Pacific I believe in 2-3 meets during the season, with SP dropping their program, it doesn’t bode well for Alaska. As it was pre-Covid, many teams that traveled to Alaska competed twice over the weekend (Friday and Sunday) to make it worth the travel.

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  3. Only tangentially related to Athlete A but…

    Does anyone remember that Grace McLaughlin social media post? I think it was the one where she also subtweeted Laurent? She mentioned that the WOGA girls were encouraged to travel in a group to go get therapy. I still wonder what Valeri knew and when he knew it.

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    1. I find it very suspicious that literally no one from the 05-08 quad has come forward. If there really are no elite survivors among that cohort, despite athletes from the previous and following quads as well as club athletes from that time having been preyed on in droves, I can only think that someone at USAG knew and scared him off it for a few years but concealed it from the general public. Ain’t got a witness and there’s no way to prove it but if we ever get an actual deep independent investigation and it produces evidence that corroborates this theory I won’t be the least bit surprised

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      1. Larry was consumed with evaluating and taking care of his 2 yr old severely autistic daughter during those years. She was diagnosed at around this time and he was preoccupied for a few years with her. He was often NOT At ranch nor at major meets because of this during this era fortunately for many of these athletes. CGA gymnasts ‘were not injured’ for reasons folks in the elite world understand and didn’t see him even if he was available…I can’t speak for others from this era. Recall also there were several gymnasts coached by their parent so that might explain their exclusion. Just an educated guess.

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      2. I mean, he molested the Michigan patients with their parents in the room so I doubt he was scared of the parent coaches. If anything, my guess is that the parents who coached their kids were more likely to seek out top-notch medical care at home and not trust their kids to Marta’s quack doctor (because he was a quack, not because he was a predator).

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      3. I think part of it may be that a LOT of the elites from the ‘08 and ‘04 quads had already decided to make gymnastics their career when the story came out. As far as I know White, Dantzscher, and Schwikert don’t draw their paychecks from the gymnastics world and the 2012/2016 cohort hadn’t really established careers yet. But in the ‘04 and ‘08 cohorts you have a ton of coaches, choreographers, a spouse of a MAG national team member, a member of the selection committee, an NBC commentator, etc. People who need to maintain good relationships in the gymnastics community if they don’t want to risk upending their professional lives. So regardless of whether Nassar was abusing people during those years, it’s not shocking to me that the ‘04 and ‘08 groups aren’t very outspoken.

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  4. I was so happy this week to see Savannah Schoenherr’s coming out story! There are so few (are there any??) out WAG athletes, I hope this encourages more to be able to be themselves openly.

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    1. kalyany steele just came out as bisexual! i’m so happy for both of them and i love that all the little girls seeing this will have someone to look up to and know that it’s normal.

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  5. My only real problem with Athlete A is the narrative they were pushing that Maggie was left out of the Olympics because she spoke out. While that might have played a role (I don’t know and no one in the public does), I found it quite bizzarre that the documentary decided to go that way. Yes, Maggie was definitely a contender in 2015, but by Trials it was clear as day she would not be making it to Rio. Everyone with eyes and ears and a decent understanding of US gymnastics knew it. Now, WHY she got to the point of being broken in the process is a whole other story, one that I would have been EXTREMELY interested to hear about. Again, while the documentary did an overall excellent job in reconstructing the sex abuse scandal, I feel like the Karolyis and the training conditions were not explored as thoroughly as they could have been. That’s where the Maggie not making it to Rio problem should have been (rightfully) addressed.

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    1. I’m cautiously optimistic that the upcoming 30 for 30 podcast will dive into that. Really depends on who they interview. If it’s Retton/Okino/Thompson, we know we’re getting a puff piece. If it’s Moceanu/Stack/Dantzscher/Beckerman, it’s TEA TIME BABY.

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      1. I know this makes me a horrible person, but Marta fucked up 2011 so badly that I was actively rooting for the US to lose because then maybe Marta would get canned.

        Once she pulled the rabbit out of the hat, I knew she was bulletproof and it actually caused me to stop following the sport until 2016.

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    2. I agree that Maggie wasn’t going to be on the Rio team (even if she hadn’t fallen off beam and finished 4th at trials) but there are two other decisions which I suspect Steve Penny might have been involved in:

      – 2015 AA qualifications: Maggie really should have gone on bars instead of Aly in qualification. She would have easily qualified to the AA even if she made some mistakes in the routine as long as she didn’t fall, and she was the silver medalist at nationals. I can easily imagine Steve Penny not wanting Maggie to be the reigning world AA silver medalist for publicity reasons going into Olympic season.

      – Alternate selection: Everyone always talks about how athletes like Grace are the “perfect alternate” because they cover 4 events. Why was Ashton the alternate then for Rio over Maggie when she didn’t have VT or FX at all? In 2012, Sacramone didn’t have UB or FX and wasn’t named alternate despite finishing 2nd on both VT and BB at trials (whereas Locklear was 2nd on UB and 13th on BB) and many said it was because she couldn’t step in on any event as needed.

      Now, Steve Penny may have just been against Maggie because she wasn’t pro like Aly or Gabby (he tried to push McKayla over. Kyla for the AA in 2013 for the same reasons) but it would be no shock at all if Maggie’s status as Athlete A wasn’t the reason instead or as well.

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      1. Nichols was intended to do AA in TQ as she was first up on UB in podium training. Followed by Douglas, Biles, Kocian, Dowell, Skinner (alternate), and Raisman. However, Nichols struggled in podium with hitting handstands and was having difficulty with her 1/1layout dismount on her first set and then struggle on her second set, jumping off. Raisman hit her routine including a nearly stuck dismount. Podium training was ultimately what caused Marta to swap the two in the line up.
        Marta often did this at Worlds and changed line ups based on podium training performance, so nothing new there.
        Did Nichols deserve to go AA based on her 2nd place at Nationals, absolutely. However, the team final UB line up was supposed to be Douglas, Kocian, and Dowell (hoping for all 15s) but with Dowell bombing out, Nichols was switched in for her so that Biles didn’t have to do AA in TF.
        IMO, Dowell, who had struggled with her second UB set should have been made alternate and Skinner should have done VT/FX with Kocian doing UB/BB and the other 4 doing AA. but because Dowell’s UB set had the potential to go mid 15’s over Nichols and Raisman mid to high 14s she was always going to be tried out in TQ on UB where they could drop a score.
        Ultimately it was Nichols’ performance on UB in podium plus having Dowell compete in TQ that caused her to be benched.

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      2. shamrockstar81, that myth about “Nichols didn’t hit in podium training” is just that, a myth. Her actual podium training routine is on YouTube. Maybe one handstand was missed. It looks pretty similar to the routine she did in Team Finals, except that in TF, she took out the full twist on her double layout dismount. It was most definitely a hit routine and easily a better routine than Raisman. Anyone watching those routines back to back and doesn’t see that, doesn’t know gymnastics.

        Also, this is pretty minor, but you might also want to get your facts right – Raisman was up first in podium training, then Nichols. However, it was clear that if Dowell was on the competing team, she was going to be doing bars and that one of Raisman and Nichols would get pulled. Clearly someone (Marta and/or Steve Penny) wanted Raisman doing AA, so that’s how the chips fell.

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      3. I’m a huge Aly fan and I can’t believe anyone is still trying to justify the 2015 Worlds with gymnastics. Marta made bad decisions sometimes and that was one of them.

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      4. Actually Anon, Nichols hit her first PT routine on UB with a missed handstand, however her second PT routine included a fall. Shamrockstar81 is correct in that is what decided the line up as Raisman hit two sets. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkT6Uoff_0w

        Marta was often known to change line ups based on hit routines, rather than better, higher scoring routines with errors. She did this frequently.

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  6. Thank you so much for item E. Gabby Douglas deserved to be on the team gymnastically and that’s it. If they put that team together for non-gymnastics reasons, who can say other than those people in power, but Douglas was the best gymnastics choice anyway.

    I do think Nichols should have been an alternate over Smith though. With another month to train she’d be the best replacement to Douglas (an AAer with TF-level bars) specially knowing how we do now that Hernandez was injured and her bars were deteroriating. Smith wasn’t better than her in any event except beam, the event the actual team least needed an alternate for, since even Kocian was usable should it come to that.

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    1. I would have taken Nichols over Locklear, or any number of other people over Locklear. Given Marta’s shitty track record of injuring (multiple) athletes *at* Worlds/Olympics, it was utter lunacy to take someone who didn’t even TRAIN two events. Just imagine if Gabby had gone down with an injury before prelims and Ashton was subbed in, and then one of Aly/Laurie/Simone went down between prelims and finals Kupets-style. Suddenly you have Kocian doing AA in team finals. Locklear only makes sense as an alternate if you don’t think about the implications of actually using her.

      Nichols’ bars were not in the same league as Douglas or Kocian but her routine was perfectly cromulent and at least she had other events where she could fill in if things went to shit after the roster was locked.

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      1. I agree, in 2012 Alicia had better results on her two events at trials than Ashton did in 2016 and wasn’t named an alternate. Maggie should have been the third alternate because she would have stepped in best to do multiple events in TF should any non-Kocian athlete have gone down with injury.

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      2. I think the alternates made sense, since they were good substitutes for each person on the team. If Simone or Aly got injured, Mykayla would’ve been able to come in and do vault and floor for them, and then Gabby could have done beam (which looked fine at the Olympics). If Laurie got injured, Ragan could have came in since she would have had the next best chance of a beam medal, and then either her or Gabby could have gone on floor. If Gabby or Maddie got injured, Ashton could have came in and done bars in their place, and could have challenged for a bars medal. In my opinion the 2012 alternates made less sense than the 2016 ones.

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    2. Douglas absolutely did not gymnastically deserve to be on the team, she made it for her name alone and that’s the tea goodnight

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      1. That is not an informed opinion based on actual data.
        You are going off of personal feelings about Douglas.

        Douglas was not on the highest scoring team after trials. However, you would have to be insane to take both Locklear and Kocian for the team. However, Douglas was on the second highest scoring team, in place of Locklear. Douglas was also capable of a very high scoring DTY that could have been used as the lead off VT and capable of doing all 4 events, which Locklear was not.

        Additionally, Douglas had the highest E score in both team qualifications and team finals in Rio. She was ranked 3rd on the event in both phases of the competition and had she hit her routine in event finals would have had a bronze medal.

        Marta and USAG made the wise choice to select her and Douglas performed up to expectations in Rio.

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      2. Nah fam, Douglas was trending downward all summer. Kocian was one thing but Douglas had zero shot at a bars medal and added less to the team score than Mykayla would’ve done vaulting TF in place of Laurie or Aly. There was no excuse to take someone who placed 7th at Trials (both days!) AND couldn’t contend for an individual medal. She only went because Marta wanted to give the finger to everyone who (correctly) pointed out that USA is weak on bars.

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      3. She scored higher on bars than Maggie. Gabby was more beneficial. Maggie couldn’t add anything. Stop with the bs. Maggie shouldn’t have been on the team or even an alternate.

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      4. Anon are you dumb? THE TEAM ISN’T DECIDED AT TRIALS. Gabby beat mykayla in Italy and at nationals. Her form is bad and will never make a team without fixing it. Also Gabby could’ve gotten bronze on bars. Use logic

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      5. Also she was the defending AA champion. If the defending champ is still competing four years later, that person is guaranteed a slot unless their gymnastics has deteriorated to a literal wet fart (see Liukin, Nastia).

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      6. Trending downward, which is why… she got the highest E score in bars of the Olympics (and in fact of the whole quad, which before the Olympics was also a feat by her)? Douglas absolutely added more to TF with her bars vs Hernandez’s, specially with how Hernandez was injured, then Skinner’s Cheng vs someone’s DTY. Douglas peaked at the Olympics and proved herself as tbe right choice, Skinner needed the meet of her life at trials to still have a total E score lower than Douglas counting two falls. Skinner didn’t make sense and anyone still believing that just dislikes Douglas for non-gymnastics reasons (which makes them a hypocrite) or thinks the same way Tom Forster does (which makes them dumb). Take your pick, “fam”.

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      7. @anon 4:03. Douglas could contend for an individual medal. 2012-AA gold, 2015-AA silver, 2016-3rd in TQ. Douglas made every UB finals at Worlds and Olympics that she competed in.
        2011-UB 5th, 2012-UB 8th, 2015-5th, 2016-7th w/major error, was 3rd after TQ and 3rd after TF, w/highest E score all quad 9.266. If she hit in EF she would have gotten bronze over Scheder.

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    3. If you add up both days of nationals and trials (and maybe classics, can’t remember for sure), the top 5 AA was Biles, Hernandez, Raisman, Douglas, Kocian (in some order).

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      1. True, but that equation always bugs me because it takes Maggie out of the picture entirely because she didn’t compete floor and vault at Nationals. It means she’s not even considered as a competitor. If you add in Maggie’s floor/vault scores from Trials to substitute for her having a 0.00 on them at Nationals, she comes out in the top 5, ahead of Kocian. So if you want to determine the team by AA, the top 5 AA were probably Biles, Hernandez, Raisman, Douglas, and Nichols.
        But if the team was told AA scores determined the team, Kocian may have done her DTY, instead of losing 4 points over 4 days using the FTY Martha told her to do. And Locklear wouldn’t have bothered continuing to train because she would have had no chance as a non-AA.
        It’s not an totally accurate way to support a team selection when athletes made competitive choices (to water down, or skip events at Nationals on Martha’s direction) based on the idea that the team selection was not about the highest AAers.

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      2. Four of the five slots were locked in by the end of 2015. If random fans on the internet could figure this out, the athletes and coaches had no excuse. The fifth athlete was going to be whoever could decisively beat the rest of the field, which is exactly what Laurie did.

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      3. square444, the Olympic team wasn’t chosen based on trials results since 1996. You cannot strictly go by AA results when selecting teams with the current team finals format.

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      4. If memory serves, in either the 2004 or 2008 quad there were rumblings on the gymternet that Marta wanted to do away with trials altogether and just have a training camp, but that would be a violation of the NBC contract which is why they carried on with the charade.

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      5. It was not about a contract with NBC, not holding a trials violated USOTC bylaws for all sports as they require an Olympic Trials.

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      6. Sally, I agree you can’t go only by AA results. I never said you should. I was responding to someone who was using AA results (that were incomplete) to support Douglas’ position on the team. My point was that if you do want to go with AA results, to support Douglas’ spot, than you have to accept that Kocian is probably not on that team (based on performances at Nationals/Trials).

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  7. Why is “Athlete A” pretending that Maggie had a shot at being on the 5-person team for Rio? She didn’t. She was battling back from injuries and wasn’t in Olympic shape. It was in no way her fault, of course, but she wasn’t in the running. 2015 Maggie would’ve been on that team. 2016 Maggie was just too injured.

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    1. if they had left her off when she was at 2015 strength, i would fully agree with athlete a. as you said, she wasn’t at full strength. however, steve penny and usag are still monsters. i mean, that hershey commercial for simone’s birthday that maggie didn’t get to do? gross.

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      1. same anon here as last time, i clicked send smh. what usag/penny did with the commercial is plain petty and so mean, but the coverups are even worse.

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      2. Oh, Steve Penny is absolutely a garbage fire of a human being and I would not have put it past him to screw Maggie off the team in ’16 if she had still been in her Worlds shape. In the event, though, he didn’t, because her body was held together by rubber bands and prayers at that point and couldn’t’ve endured her being an Olympian.

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    1. I agree! When she adds the Piked Barani and hopefully a triple series as well (either BHS + LOSO + LOSO or Aerial + LOSO + LOSO) she is going to have a serious leg up on the current beamers in terms of acro.

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  8. Spencer needs to be careful about criticizing every aspect of every response that USA gymnastics makes on things. Compared to the fiasco it was just a couple years ago, USA gymnastics has made huge improvements.

    Saying they’ve made huge improvements doesn’t mean they are perfect or even decent at this point, but we have to support tangible progress where it’s been made. It’s so obvious to everyone that there are miles and miles to go and hundreds or reforms still to be instituted.

    Ripping every single statement because of word choice or because it doesn’t say what you personally want it to does not help anything…

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    1. No he doesn’t need to be careful, no we don’t have to SUPPORT anything just because it’s progress, the statement was ripped apart for being absolutely insincere and empty which isn’t just a word choice, and actually how is anything that happened recently with USAG a huge improvement?

      Enough intelectually dishonest bootlicking for today. Do you work at USAG?

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      1. Being in a state of perpetual outrage over USA gymnastics does nothing to help. You have to be able to recognize the progress that has been made in order to see how much left there is.

        Looking at what’s been done and saying, those are positive changes, but we’re not nearly done helps focus on the drastic changes that still needs to be done.

        If every single action and statement is met with unrestrained anger from everyone in the gymnastics community, it makes it easier for USA gymnastics to throw up their hands and say “it doesn’t matter what we do so we give up.”

        Please leave it to the gymnasts themselves to respond in whatever way they feel they need to. They are the ones who actually suffered and need to by far be the loudest voices.

        Keyboard warriors exploding at anything and everything does nothing except take away from the gymnasts’ voices who need to be the focus.

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      2. Well, we kind of *want* them to throw their hands and give up. We don’t think they are redeemable. We want decertification. We want things to restart from scratch. And since that will not happen, the next best thing is to be very harsh and wary of everything they do, because it’s what they earned and still earn with their actions.

        You saying that “takes the focus from the voices of gymnasts” is emotionally manipulative bullshit and won’t stop anyone. Also, the gymnasts literally agree with this approach so maybe you should listem to them for a change.

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      3. The irony is that part of the argument/rationale for fighting off decertification for so long was that it would hamstring the US for the Tokyo Olympics. You know, the Olympics that were delayed a year and may or may not happen at all. They would have been better off ripping off the band-aid in 2017.

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      4. If that’s true, it’s a dumb argument. No one is beating US in team finals while Simone is on the scene – this quad would’ve been fine for decertification without losing the gold. Next quad could be harder.

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    2. BS. If USAG really wanted to improve they would launch an internal investigation and they would clear out every staff member that was there during Nassar and Penny. Athletes are asking for an internal investigation. Simone Biles told USAG this is what she wanted when they posted her on their twitter account and wished her a happy birthday.
      Instead it has been cover-up after cover-up. What huge improvements? Ones they were forced to make because of the scandal?

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  9. The more I think about Athlete A, the more it annoys me.

    IMO, this story was told more comprehensively and more compellingly in At The Heart of Gold. The only new information we got in Athlete A was the specific ramifications to Dantzscher and Nichols for coming forward (which gym nerds already knew), which is why we’re all re-litigating 2016 when that was entirely beside the point. I really wish everyone had just agreed to participate in the same documentary and just one was made. You could take At The Heart of Gold and mix in about 25 minutes of material from Athlete A and have all you need. I wish Athlete A had covered more uncharted territory, like really diving in on the Karolyis and Steve Penny (And fewer of Nassar’s creepy-ass videos. You proved your point with the first one).

    And given that Biles/Raisman/Maroney didn’t participate in either film, we could have a third documentary before all is said and done.

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    1. I agree. While I was watching this documentary, athlete A, I kept waiting for something new and it really didn’t come. Nothing new at all. We even knew the ramifications that dantzscher suffered, and yes we also knew what was happening with Maggie. I Get why it would be awkward to put currently competing athletes like biles and hernandez in it, but why was there nothing more about the karolyis. I WAS DISAPPOINTED.
      To be honest I was also very annoyed that we saw so much of belas history in there too. We knew that as well. What we don’t know is what bela and Martha knew, and that is still swept under the rug.

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      1. The problem is that Marta will never admit what she knew, Bela possibly CAN’T, and any third party who knows anything would implicate themselves by acknowledging it.

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    2. Replying to my own comment…it just occurred to me that maybe all those creepy-ass Nassar videos and slo-mo footage of Maggie doing the flippies (gorgeously shot btw) were, in fact, filler, and were put there because there was either another participant who pulled out and/or a subplot that got dropped at the last minute?

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    3. I personally really hate the „Nichols was robbed of a spot“ narrative – I think it’s false and her family should know that. It was obvious she had no shot after her performance at nationals and they’re not entitled to media contention or special acknowledgement just because she was second at nationals and American cup. Bad luck that she was injured (though not much of a surprise given that Amanar), but no one „deserves“ an alternate spot based on their past performances. Might as well send retired 2016 Kyla if the alternate position is a thank you note for services to the National team and not an actual position.

      However. For a casual audience I think the whole „her Olympic dream was stolen“ narrative resonates – sadly, maybe even more than the actual sexual abuse. So if it goes to serve the cause of inciting anger in the general public against corrupt sports governing boards, then it’s worth it.

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