Things Are Happening – July 15, 2020

A. Denmark Says BYEEEEEE

Newsflash: Copenhagen does not want your hideous mouth droplets infecting its city.

Citing monies as the primary reason, Denmark has withdrawn from hosting the 2021 World Championships, still scheduled for the fall of 2021—just a few months after the rescheduled Olympics.

At this point, the FIG still intends to keep on trucking with the event by finding a new host, and we can assume that a couple of the usual suspect cities would still be on that truck…your Bakus and your Dohas, the cities most familiar with throwing random money at hosting fan-free events. They’ve been preparing for this for years. I can’t imagine many other cities would be jumping at the chance of hosting a money pit that might not even happen, though.

But we can hope. I’m still excited by the prospect of a post-Olympic worlds where Teja Belak rolls up to become world champion on vault.

B. 30 for 30: Bela Sucks

The 30 for 30 podcast series about how much Bela sucks—or, I mean, the Karolyi system—is out now. It’s seven episodes, and I’m three episodes in so far. There’s some good stuff in here, especially at the beginning with Emilia Eberle and her teammates talking about being trained by Bela in Romania and calling him Dracula, and some juicy unpacking of all the lies Bela told about himself and his fake dockworker background.

You also…spend a lot of time in episode two hearing from Steve Nunno and Mary Lou and Mike Jacki that I didn’t want to spend, but overall I’m into it.

I tried to dredge up the screenshot of Dracula labeled “Karolyi” from the NBC documentary about Bela and Martha’s love story from 2016, but it was not my finest screenshot work. I wish that were stull available somewhere. We’ve come a long way since 2016 in terms of the content being produced about Bela.

C. Nellie Kim: Nellie Sucks

Nellie Kim opened her maw and said some awfuls again. They’re exactly the kind of awfuls you would expect her to say about Nassar survivors wanting money and attention, just in case you don’t want to take the time to have Nellie inflict herself on your life again, which I totally understand.

But the Nellie-est nugget of all:

While discussing why she would never want to open a gym in the US, she says it’s because of RETALIATION GONE MAD THESE DAYS: “We’ll retaliate against you for calling my daughter stupid and fat and making her stand in a corner ten years ago.”

Nellie Kim, proudly captaining Team Calling Your Daughter Stupid and Fat since 1976.

D. College Gymnastics – Does It Exist?

Stanford cut 11 sports, and in a surprise to all of us, gymnastics was not among them. This time. It’s a miracle.

Meanwhile, the Ivy League announced it has canceled all fall sports for 2020 and will have no sports contested until at least January 1. Gymnastics is a winter sport that wouldn’t begin competition until January anyway, but no word yet on what this means for practicing. (The Ivy gymnastics programs are Yale, Penn, Brown, and Cornell.)

Both of these announcements have a very “this is only the beginning” vibe.

Meanwhile, Mara Titarsolej (NED) and Allison Lapp (FRA) are heading to LIU, and in the never-ending saga of Addy Dejesus, she’s apparently going to Iowa State now?

E. Simone Things

Simone did a DLO to double tuck for you.

So that was nice of her.

F. GymCastic

This week, we discuss #GymnastAlliance and reactions to Athlete A, including the emerging narrative that Maggie Nichols should have been on the 2016 team.

2023 World Championships: Brazil, China, Japan Podium Training GymCastic: The Gymnastics Podcast

2023 World Championships Andrade! What vaults did she do, what bars dismount and how Brazil looked. All the China and Japan details. France, Mexico, the gorgeousness of the Swedes and a new vibe for Romania. Sarah Voss's medically impossible gymnastics and the flight/plight of the German team. LOGIN FOR BONUS CONTENT  RELATED EPISODES & RESOURCES 2023 World Headquarters: Podcasts, Videos and more 2023 Worlds US Podium Training  2023 World Championships Preview World Team Trials Women's Day Two Meet Report  World Team Trials Women's Day One Meet Report Podium Training Report 2023 U.S. Championships Preview Simone Biles Interview 2023 Classic Shilese Jones Flight Series Profile Resources & Research Spencer's The Balance Beam Situation  Gymnastics History and Code of Points Archive from Uncle Tim To follow the effects of the Russian invasion to Ukraine at Gymnovosti Kensley is covering men's gymnastics at Neutral Deductions Score and difficulty ranking from The Gymternet
  1. 2023 World Championships: Brazil, China, Japan Podium Training
  2. 2023 World Championships: U.S. Podium Training
  3. 2023 World Championships Preview
  4. U. S. World Team Trials: Day Two Final
  5. U.S. World Team Trials 2023: Day One

It’s possible that a team selected with corrupt intent can also end up being a correct and logical team, but I think that’s too much nuance for people, so it gets boiled down to a misleading narrative about people getting snubbed.

95 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – July 15, 2020”

      1. I don’t think that’s as much a lack of capability issue for Simone as it is a “the CoP for floor is a disgusting used face mask in a subway wagon” issue. Why would she train front tumbling when the double double (a mind-numbingly easy element for her) is an H and all front tumbling is currently capping at F despite so many of them being, yknow, harder than a double double?

      2. (Addendum: I guess the Dos Santos II is an H, but eh. Still the same as the double double)

      3. Front tumbling in almost all cases needs to be upgraded and many back tumbling elements need to be downgraded.

        The Podkopayeva, double front pike, front 2.5, and double Arabian piked all need to be upgraded to G and the double double needs to be downgraded to a G.

        Other upgrades needed: rudi- D, front double full – E, front triple full – H, double front – F.

        The rarity of front tumbling shows just how undervalued it is. Gymnasts and their coaches always seek out the best valued skills and front tumbling for too long has been grossly undervalued.

      4. @moron ‘Anonymous’–your attempt to ‘shade’ Biles’s tumbling, or anything else about her, was as impotent as everything else about you. Several comments anatomized exactly why no one does front tumbling now (permaf*cked CoP) but you just had to show your arse once more, didn’t you?

      5. 1. If my ‘shading’ was so ‘impotent’, you wouldn’t’ve responded.

        2. I am absolutely entitled to throw shade on the fact that Simone Biles, supposedly Teh Best Tumbler Evar(TM), can’t (or won’t) even throw a goddamn double front or double Arabian, both E elements which could easily replace her equally E-value full-in and show some goddamn variety in tumbling instead of just doing the same thing over and fucking over again. She has no excuses.

        3. Plenty of people throw front tumbling. Brooklyn Moors has a Podkopayeva. Aly Raisman opened with a double Arabian. Kennedy Baker was basically laying out her Arabian double pike by the end of her NCAA career. Simone just won’t bother to learn any. Which is, again, why I’m shading her.

        Now go away, the grownups are talking.

      6. Simone was once rumoured to have all of her tumbling passes being G or above so, again, not worth it to even replace her full-in if she could put the double double in its place at some point. I firmly believe Simone could easily nail front tumbling if she had any shred of an incentive to train it. On vault, she went from only having a Lopez compared an Amanar, to actually picking her front vaults (Cheng, Biles) over the Amanar as her first vault.

      7. to the so called “grownup” anon: if you really were mature you wouldn’t have to say that. also, yes, you’re entitled to do whatever you want bc this is ~america~, but don’t think people aren’t going to call you out on your bs when they see it. there are so many reasons as to why simone shouldn’t construct her routine like that, and you’ll be educated on them if you bothered to read the reasons below. (and fun fact! there’s a video of simone doing a double arabian FULL OUT as a fourteen year old!)

      8. Imbecile and almost certainly RACIST ‘Anonymous’:
        1) Nope. It’s delightful to school and spank asswipes like you. Your tears are delicious.
        2) Biles did a double Arabian TEN YEARS AGO, you puling troll. She has no reason to do ANY front tumbling under current CoP idiocy, as has been said to your illiterate and learning-disabled self by many many posters here.
        3) You found THREE examples of front tumbling in all of gymnastics, including one from NCAA which caps everything at E, and you think you made any sort of point?
        Now run along and get the hell off Mommy’s computer, little twunt; no one here is interested in your juvenile stupidity.

    1. OP here. Wasn’t trying to shade Simone’s tumbling at all! Just thought biles+pod would be sick.

      1. I’m not the OP and I definitely WAS trying to shade Simone’s tumbling.

  1. PAC-12 gymnastics will survive for two reasons. One, it’s a woman’s sport with Title iX protections, and two, it makes money.

  2. I love when Nellie Kim says this, “There are absolutely many victims of this doctor but many just tried to attach themselves to it even though they’ve never worked with him. ”

    Paging Dominique Moceanu…

  3. Smelly SCRIM is still trying to get in the news? Is there anyone who doesn’t already hate her? Weren’t her overt judging crimes and suspension enough to dispense with any further ‘interviews’ with this CUNextTuesday?

  4. I attempted to explain to two children I coach who watched athlete A and were a whole 6 years old during the 2016 Olympics/trials why the documentary was misleading about Maggie’s prospects of being on that team. It did not go well.

    I really do wish that 1) She hadn’t gotten injured at the worst time and 2) She could have magically had her Oklahoma form in 2016.

    1. I think it’s probably really useful for raising awareness outside of gymnastics fans, but Athlete A and the Nichols family’s whole narrative – and now all the insinuating by the gymternet’s attention whores that Penny was paid off to get certain athletes on the 2016 team – is so, so irritating to me. Maggie has had a GREAT gymnastics career compared to the vast majority of elites and NCAA competitors. She’s been showered with accolades, some of which she did not deserve. She has also gotten a huge amount of credit as a “whistleblower” in the Nassar case, which I assume is due to her relative fame since the actual role she played was, while brave, fairly passive compared to those of ex-gymnasts who spoke up early, filed lawsuits, and actually faced repercussions from USAG. I’m tired of hearing about how she was so unfairly treated. Lots of people were.

      Also, if your strategy for being the #2 gymnast in the US is based on throwing a vault that you can barely manage, and you get injured… well, that’s bad luck, but maybe you should’ve upped your D-scores elsewhere.

      1. Not to mention, Nichols is Biles best friend allegedly. So Biles throwing out there that Maggie “earned” her spot on the team and even Marta knew it is disgusting favoritism. It smacks at Douglas, Locklear, and Skinner.
        Even if the team was selected by rank order, Nichols finished 6th and would not be on the team.
        If Douglas had mucked up UB at Trials along with beam she would have been left off the team, with Marta picking Locklear for UB and Kocian going AA in prelims (like she did in 2014) as we know Hernandez, Biles, and Raisman had VT/BB/FX covered anyway. That said if Locklear was out because of her two eventness, then Skinner goes in and attempts a vault medal and VTs in TF. UB would be messy with her on the team but Hernandez was likely capable of hitting a set and worst case scenario, Raisman would have provided a 14. FIG judges were obsessed with Raisman on UB.
        It can be argued that Nichols could have been the 3rd alternate. But she had no top 3 score and fell off BB. Skinner had VT/FX covered and Locklear had UB covered so all that was left was BB so it made perfect sense to use Smith.
        Even if somehow Penny accepted a bribe to put Douglas on the team, linking it to Maggie NOT making the team is ridiculous and absurd.
        Cecile trying to get in on the drama backing up Biles claim and stoking Lauren’s ego is childish. Cecile claiming Maggie should have been an Olympian damages her reputation as any sane person/coach would see clearly that Maggie was always going to be the odd one w/ Hernandez and Raisman so strong.

      2. If you have to compare different athletes, Skinner technically got more screwed as an alternate than Maggie was not getting selected at all (though neither should have been on the 5-person team). At least Skinner had a very good chance at a vault medal while Maggie would not have medaled or even qualified to any final. Maggie didn’t have her Amanar and her floor had deteriorated too much. Her bars and beam were average compared to the rest of the US. Maggie wouldn’t have added anything to the team final.

        Gabby did mathematically provide an advantage even though she was only there to provide the second best bars scores (and be a backup if needed). That shows just how rock solid Biles, Raisman, and Hernandez were.

        With 11 out of 12 routines completely covered by Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, and Kocian/Locklear, Martha and company could justifiably select Gabby even with no external drama and manipulation. I’m sure there was a whole political discussion and I have no doubt that Penny, Karolyi, and the Douglas family were in cahoots about getting Gabby on the team.

        It’s good that Gabby did pull together an excellent bars routine for trials. Otherwise, the real justification for including Gabby wouldn’t have been there and there would have been a much deeper scandal.

  5. Most experts are very optimistic an effective, accessible vaccine will be available to everyone by early 2021. Several are into human trials and expect to be distributed this year to the public. I find it unlikely Worlds won’t happen somewhere, despite the Twitter troupe that’s insisting otherwise.

    And speaking of theatrics, Gymcastic’s increasing “outrage” in the past year about everything social, political, gymnastics and not, is as absurd as a billionaire decrying poor infrastructure in a rural town that does nothing but complain about it.

    When you’re followed by that many people and have access to athletes with even more followers, you could start and coordinate campaigns to make an actual impact on the sport and athletes lives instead of just virtue signaling, canceling and click baiting. I hold similar views, but it’s just gross at this point, I can’t listen anymore.

    1. Thank you for sharing this as I feel exactly the same way. The Gymcastic podcast has devolved into an angry, political, virtue signaling joke hosted by people with no journalistic skill or self-control.

      Listening to Jessica squeal like a fat little pig when one of her “favorites” does something remotely interesting is almost as obnoxious as her lust for destroying anyone who has fallen on her bad side. She knows very little about gymnastics itself and beyond having a loud mouth and strong opinions, she does absolutely nothing about the things she complains about except retweet posts from other people. She is the prime example of someone who wants all the praise for saying the right things without having to lift a finger to make any iota of change.

      It’s bad enough that Gymcastic podcasts are scattered, unprofessional, under-researched, and largely incoherent in the first place. Having to also suffer through Jessica’s and Spencer’s desperation to be woke makes it unlistenable.

      1. You’re so brave, calling people hideous names anonymously on the internet. Pluck up the courage and write your own name next time.

        Spencer and Jessica are not journalists, dear. They’re their own bosses, it’s their podcast and they’re not tied up by anyone. GymCastic has gotten political because gymnastics is political right now and because the hosts have opinions on things, and some of them are not 100% gymnastics related (but they are related). Of course, it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste. So stop listening to this awful show and get yourself a hobby, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

      2. Well no one is forcing you to listen to them. If they’re so bad why don’t you put your superior journalistic skills and gymnastics knowledge to good use and start your own competitive podcast then? No one is stopping you.

        Using language like “squealing like a fat little pig” is nasty and insulting. You must be a pleasant person (Karen) to be around.

      3. I could do without the squealing and comically fake “mix-ups” by Jessica, but she’s clearly decided that it is adorable and part of her persona. I find the podcast otherwise well-done.

      4. I agree with everything you say except the “fat little pig” comment which is gross. It really undermines all the valid criticisms of Jessica.

        You can dislike and find fault with Gymcastic and one or all of its contributors without that kind of creepy viciousness.

      5. The name calling is wholly unnecessary but I agree largely with the sentiment that a lot of people seem to have. If Gymcastic was just some little gymnastics podcast then it wouldn’t be a big deal. HOWEVER, Jessica is starting to make more and more inroads into major media (getting quoted more and more frequently in sports articles, doing the voice intros for that Olympic Channel series, etc.) Does anyone, fan of her or not, think Jessica is a good representative of the gymnastics community? Has anyone seen that dumpster fire of a twitter page? When you have a position of some prominence like Jessica has, you got to be more responsible.

      6. I support Gymcastic’s efforts to be woke and don’t care whether they are genuine or not – by all means jump on the bandwagon if the bandwagon means advocating for positive social change. The problem is they often don’t seem to realize that in many situations the “woke” thing to do is to shut up and listen to and respect the people whose voices you are ostensibly trying to lift up via your platform.

        That would mean things like not selling t-shirts with slogans about sexual abuse after receiving multiple complaints, or not interrupting and contradicting black elite gymnasts whom you invite on the show to share their experiences about being black elite gymnasts. Etc.

    2. I mute Gymcastics and Jessica on Twitter so I don’t have to see other fans retweet the nonsense for the same reason. I don’t feel that Spencer does that as often or in the same way. He can do what he wants with the blog and they can do whatever with the podcast. At least here there’s sensible information with a little humor.

      But let’s not kid ourselves, gymnastics is rampant with vain, immature judgments. It is the culture and it is no different here. Spencer takes his jokes and his spreadsheets seriously, he doesn’t pretend to be an activist and doesn’t have to. Avoid gymcastic, scroll past his player button here and enjoy the rest of the site.

  6. I couldn’t sit through one of Jessica’s podcasts unless I was paid a lot of money to do it. That being said, it’s just a podcast.

    1. Unfortunately it’s THE podcast, at least right now. Jessica contributes to the ESPN 30 for 30 podcast as a gymnastics media commentator… how on earth is she qualified for that? This is the same lady that boldly tweeted about how China was cheating and breaking the rules by subbing one athlete for another in the AA last Worlds… when that’s blatantly false on several levels and super easy to fact check before hitting “publish” on a tweet.

      1. Jessica has been wrong on so many occasions I’ve lost count. She doesn’t know the technical aspects of the sport to begin with. You’d think being a prominent voice in the gymnastics world that she’d take some time to learn the published FIG rules and study the Code of Points. Unfortunately lots of sportswriters and sports journalists are clueless about gymnastics so Jessica ended up as the de facto source since she runs the most prominent gymnastics podcast out there.

    2. I have mixed feelings on gymcastic. I think that Jessica has unfortunately gone way over the top with all the squealing lately and I could really do without the shouting. I would never rely on her for anything factual about gymnastics. I wish they had a different men’s gymnastics “expert” than Kensley, who is wrong more often than she is right and is basically just a fangirl/stalker of Sam Mikulak. As someone who supported the podcast in the past, I didn’t love how much they spent on 2019 Worlds and the claims that “Germany’s expensive” – I’ve been there several times and it’s really not.

      But…I do think that they have done good work in a lot of areas and raised awareness about athlete abuse. I appreciated that when the Nassar allegations were first being made public, Jessica brought on an expert to talk about pelvic floor treatment and why what Nassar did was not legit. I think there have been some great interviews on the show and provided a platform for some athletes (e.g. Vanessa Atler, McKayla Maroney). I think that they really do care a lot about athlete safety and making it a priority, even if I don’t always agree with the recommendations. I also feel like I’m way more up to speed on the sport now that I listen weekly.

      People generally aren’t all good or all bad. In terms of listening and supporting, it’s a question of whether the good outweighs the bad that everyone can make individually. For me, there are a lot of things I would change, but I still appreciate enough what they are doing to continue listening. I’m on the fence about whether to continue supporting financially.

      1. I can’t remember when I found Gymcastic, but I DO know that I wouldn’t have known about NCAA and the Nassar scandal without them. For two people doing it from their houses, they get great guests on and aren’t afraid to talk about the difficult issues. And… hour long weekly podcasts? HOW?? Also think it’s a bit rough to be trash-talking a podcast anonymously on the blog of one of the main contributors… ahhh… the Internet…. ❤️

  7. “I’m too tired for an evening of second hand emotion,.” ~Dowager Countess. Listen, don’t listen…Am I the only one who remembers that Gabby had to fire Kittia Carpenter to be named to the team? Why don’t we ever hear more about that?

    1. Gabby deciding to work with Gallardo instead of Carpenter had nothing to do with making the Olympic team. Carpenter wanted Douglas to put in more hours, train the Amanar, and work some skills on BB and FX. Natalie wanted Gabby to pursue Hollywood and other money opportunities. Gallardo convinced Natalie and Gabby to work with him instead and he would still get her to the Olympics and she could still do “her thing”. Gallardo saw a ticket to fame by being Gabby’s head coach and coaching her at the Olympics, as he was setting himself in the future to open his own gymnastics club (no pun intended) and wanted to use Gabby’s name to promote himself and his business. It was a win-win for both parties involved. Momager got her way and Gabby got to spend more time filming “Douglas Family Gold”, partnering with Mattel to have her own Barbie doll, and partnering with Walmart and Post It Notes for the upcoming back to school campaign “Make It Stick! Stick to your GOALS.” Gallardo got what he wanted which was to be able to forever describe himself as an Olympic Coach. From Gallardo’s gym website: “Future Gymnastics Academy is an Elite training facility on the east side of Columbus. Our focus is on a positive environment for maximum growth in both sport and life. Managed and coached by 2016 Olympic Coach – Christian Gallardo, each individual athlete will have the groundwork laid down for a strong future in both gymnastics and their life beyond the sport.”
      Their gamble almost didn’t pay off as Douglas was messy at Trials and was lucky to hit UB two days in a row. Douglas’ performance at the Olympics was thanks to Marta’s intense training and focus on competition…not Gallardo’s coaching.
      So not sure what you are remembering, but you are not recalling facts correctly.
      If there was a bribe to Penny to get Gabby on the team I would bet it came from Gallardo/Natalie, who both had the most to profit from Gabby being on that team.

      Kittia regretted taking Gabby on once she had to start dealing with Natalie being overly involved and trying to control everything, including gabby’s training plan. Natalie told Gabby that she was in charge, not Kittia. Gabby decided to protest Kittia’s training plan by not bothering to attend practice for almost two weeks. Meanwhile USAG was on Kittia’s ass to get prepared for Rio. Kittia couldn’t wait for the Olympics to be over so be could be done with both of them. Kittia also didn’t wait too long after the Olympics to fire Christian’s ass for the stunts he pulled. Did Christian really think he could bad mouth Kittia to Gabby and Natalie and think it wouldn’t get back to her? LMAO. Kittia wanted to peace out on Gabby shortly after the shenanigans happened right after American Cup, but Marta and USAG had to intervene and convince Kittia to keep her at Buckeye, because no one else would have taken Gabby. No one wanted her or her mother. Douglas only ended up at Buckeye because she followed Fernando Villa there when he moved from LA to Buckeye.

      1. Wow. Fascinating and really explains so much.

        One comment, without any inside knowledge – I doubt it was necessary for anyone to bribe Steve Penny for him to pressure Marta to put Gabby on the Olympic team. I think Steve wanted Gabby on that team under any circumstances because she brought headlines. An Olympic AA gold medalist hadn’t returned since Nadia and that was a BIG DEAL. I’m not saying someone definitely didn’t bribe Penny, but if they did, it was a waste of money because Penny would have wanted Gabby no matter what.

      2. I’ve always felt that Gabby was highly influenced/pressured by her mom to try for Rio. She looked shaky going into the 2015 worlds but really exceeded all expectations there. If only she could have continued that momentum going into the Olympics. Unfortunately, Gabby was off all of 2016. Her Amanar never materialized, her bars were hit and miss, she never got a good beam routine together, and her floor was downgraded from 2012. Maybe she was just over it all, but I really think those 6-7 months between 2015 worlds and 2016 Olympics were squandered. Aly on the other hand went absolutely berserk improving things between worlds and olympics and it paid off massively in Rio.

  8. Does anyone really have the inside scoop on that whole situation? I’d like to know what really went on between Douglas and her personal coaches and the selection committee/USA execs. The whole 2016 trials were bizarre though. Nastia, Al, and Tim kept changing the narrative of who was making the team. So you have confusion on the NBC side and then the stuff going on behind the scenes that no one knew about. And now we have a lauded documentary that is telling everyone that Maggie Nichols would have been on the team if not for instigating the investigation – which is completely wrong. She was never part of the 2016 discussion because her gymnastics was not good enough. Simple as that. It doesn’t help that we have Maggie’s own parents and now the Biles family and Aimee Boorman pushing this narrative too.

    Maggie losing her Amanar was the biggest loss, but every other event got weaker too. There wasn’t a single event where she provided a mathematical advantage unlike 2015 where she was top 3 on both floor and vault and stronger on beam and bars.

    This narrative also discredits Gabby Douglas too. People tore her to shreds during the trials, after the trials, before the Olympics, and after the Olympics. This documentary isn’t going to help that. It doesn’t make much sense to someone who doesn’t understand putting a team together, but in the strange case of 2016, Gabby perfectly filled in the “second best at bars – usable elsewhere” role. We all know Simone, Aly, and Laurie would have won gold easily on their own competing the all-around in team finals. Madison and Gabby were there to pad the bars scores, contend for bars medals, and fill in if disaster struck.

    The “Maggie was robbed” narrative is at best inaccurate and at worst harmful.

    1. Simone Biles crying that her best friend was robbed of a spot on the Olympic team that she “earned” and even Marta knew Maggie earned it but had no choice it is not helping in the least bit since everyone of Simone’s fans will take it as fact. Add in Cecile being dramatic and wanting attention by stating Maggie should have been an Olympian is comical. I would like further explanation from Biles on all the facts in determining how exactly Maggie “earned” her spot on the team.

      Simone needs to grow up.

      1. Here’s the thing: we already know that Penny engaged in sketchy hush-money deals (via Aly and McKayla) and tried to become essentially a shadow agent entitled to a cut of athletes’ earnings (via Aly and Simone). So it’s not exactly a stretch to think he’d cut a deal to put someone on the Olympic team. This doesn’t have to mean that anyone “didn’t deserve their spot.” I could 100% see Steve Penny making an athlete think they were in jeopardy and taking a bribe to guarantee that athlete’s spot, when in fact that athlete was always going to make the team. That sounds like EXACTLY the shit Penny was capable of pulling.

      2. I like Simone as a gymnast and admire her for continuing to put pressure on USAG, but I also wish she’d behave more professionally and act her age.

        AND I wish fans would stop assuming she’s some kind of authority. She’s a 23 year old who has never been to college or had any kind of regular job, and has not displayed any unusual level of maturity in her public persona (e.g.: the Morgan Hurd feud 2018, or the “they only undervalued my dismount because I’m American!”) These aren’t things she needs to be demonized for, but just… come on people take it with a grain of salt when Simone insists that her BFF five years ago was treated sooo unfairly. She’s going to be pretty biased.

      3. Right but what does Steve Penny accepting an alleged bribe to put Douglas on the team have anything to do with Maggie being robbed of an alleged “earned” spot on the Olympic Team?

        At the end of the day Douglas belonged on that team for her ability to do all 4 events, perform one of the best DTY in the World (still surprised she didn’t do VT in TFs), and contribute to UB team total.

        If this alleged bribe had any impact on someone, Maggie was the last person it effected in that group as Locklear was directly competing with Douglas and Kocian for the two UB spots in TF. If not Locklear, Skinner would have been next in line for VT.

        I love Nichols, but I am tired of this “Maggie was robbed of her rightful spot on the Olympic team because of USAG.” It was sad when she didn’t make it in 2016, considering how good she was in 2015, but she just had bad injury timing as well as other athletes peaking at the right moment.

      4. It presumably has nothing to do with Maggie not making the team. But if Simone speaking out on behalf of her bestie does, in fact, have the effect of exposing corruption by Penny, I’m not going to be mad about it.

      5. It’s really hard to watch people like Cecile and Aimee, who know gymnastics inside and out, make these blatantly inaccurate statements. You know they don’t believe what they’re saying. They’re only saying these things about Maggie because that documentary is out and because they’ll be celebrated for saying the “right” thing. Absolutely everyone knew going into trials that Maggie had no chance at an Olympic spot and at the VERY most, might have squeaked into an alternate spot. I’m glad Spencer is saying that the selected Olympic team was the right one.

        We all know crazy shit went down during the trials between Kittia, Steve, Martha, Christian, Gabby, and Gabby’s family. But Maggie still doesn’t have an argument there. MyKayla was more justified with her complaints and even then Gabby made the most sense for that team. What exactly was Maggie supposed to do at the Olympics that Biles, Raisman, and Hernandez couldn’t have done, and done much better??

      6. The whole conversation reminds me of college decision season at my crazypants competitive high school. I remember being devastated when Princeton rejected me, and I was incredibly bitter that a classmate who had far inferior credentials, but who was a legacy, got in. I carried “SHE TOOK MY SPOT!” resentment for far longer than I’d care to admit. And of course, that’s not the case — if she had never applied, some other legacy probably would have gotten that spot, not me. But we were all living at a bubble at the time, where everything was a competition and a zero sum game. Kind of like the national team.

        I think we can all agree on two things: (1) there is a lot of smoke surrounding Steve Penny generally, his handling of the athletes circa 2013-2016, and Gabby’s trajectory toward the Olympic team and (2) Gabby had few to no friends on the national team. That makes her an easy target for resentment. If Gabby were beloved by her teammates, I don’t think they’d be so salty about this. To be honest, I think there probably was corruption in the 2016 selection process, because Steve Penny is a corrupt motherfucker in general and we all saw him storm into that selection room and generally act super weird that whole evening. Manipulating the Olympic selection process for personal enrichment is 150% on-brand for him. But even Gabby’s placement on the team was decided by some back-room deal, that doesn’t mean Maggie or MyKayla or anyone else was robbed. Any combination of Simone+four was going to win gold, and TBH Maggie probably dug her grave with her knee injury and MyKayla probably dug hers with her social media fuckups. So, Simone and everyone else need to separate the result (Maggie/MyKayla/whoever didn’t make the Olympic team) from the process that may or may not have been incredibly corrupt. Because in this instance a corrupt process doesn’t necessarily invalidate the result.

    2. Disclaimer that I haven’t watched Athlete A. However, am I the only one sitting here thinking: But Gabby was a victim too!!

      1. Yes, Gabby is a survivor of Nassar abuse. However, she didn’t make a peep about it until well after Rio. She played nice with USAG.
        Penny put Gabby on the team because she was the returning AA champ and that was big marketing $$$$. Nobody had to bribe him. Arguably, she earned the spot with her performance at trials regardless.

  9. Media reports indicated that she dropped Kittia on the eve of Trials, shortly before Trials, and the week before Trials. OK. There had been rumors that Martha wasn’t a fan of Kittia “allowing” Gabby to “go at her own pace” although who knows who really set the schedule. Maybe Martha just used Kittia to express her displeasure with Gabby, since she didn’t want public beef with Gabby. In any event, this Sports Illustrated article supports your point that it didn’t have anything to do with her being selected. “Martha Karolyi, the U.S. team’s program director, used different language to discuss the situation. “Gabby told me about this change,” she said. “I would not have done it, but if there is not good chemistry with the coach, then it is the gymnast’s decision.”

  10. Biles is a messy shit stirrer and gets away with it because she’s the GOAT. Receipts or it didn’t happen. We live in a world, where because you are rich and famous, you can make unfounded accusations and the mob will grab their pitchforks and go hound people.

    Looking at Trials, I personally think Douglas was over the BS and would have happily peace out. Penny put her on the team, she did her best and as soon as she was done, she got TF out of dodge and has not posted or followed anything or anyone that does gymnastics. Suffice to say, the public and pundits all got their pound of flesh at Trials, after Trials, before Rio, during Rio, after Rio and still 4 fucking years later.

    Nichols gymnastics were not great at Trials, or at Nationals. Based on that alone, she didn’t deserve a spot. Skinner was the one screwed over, she seems to have moved on.

    Let it fucking go people.

    1. There was tension between Gabby, Natalie, and Kittia for quite some time following American Cup. Gallardo was doing a lot of the coaching, specifically on UB. Nationals was where it all started to unravel as Douglas did not perform as well as Kittia wanted her to perform and Natalie was furious she didn’t medal in the AA. The blame for the performance was shifted to Kittia, despite the “I told you need more time in the gym but you aren’t listening.” Kittia was concerned about Gabby’s UB fuck up on night 2 of Nationals and knew that if she performed this way at Trials it would not be good for Gabby’s chances. Kittia was never “dumped” but the decision was made to have her sit in the stands ad have Gallardo on the floor only. Power move by Natalie shortly after a mediocre performance at Nationals. Kittia was right the whole time, but don’t you tell Natalie Hawkins she is wrong. You will get your head snapped off!

    2. You clearly do not know what you are talking about.

      Douglas didn’t disappear from social media right after Rio.
      Did you forget the Gabby vs Aly twitter feud? Aly tweeted about the Nassar abuse and Gabby responded to her, victim blaming. Gabby tweeted “it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy.”
      Simone Biles retweeted that and responded saying she was “shocked but not surprised” at Douglas’ tweet and stated as a teammate she should support Aly and expected more out of Gabby than her reply.

      In case it wasn’t clear, Gabby did not really get along with the rest of her teammates. They tolerated her and supported her but there was not the same level of connection as the others had.

      1. Lmao, and I’m sure you do since you’re the former Buckeye Gymnastics Coach. Kittia, is that you?

        Have you heard from Douglas since the tweet and the apology posted. Raisman is now a crusader along with Biles, but Douglas has kept quiet. Funny, how Douglas was also a victim of Nassar but beyond putting out a statement, she’s not been involved with this case. I think she wants to be left alone.

        She also never claimed to be friends with the rest of the girls, they were teammates and colleagues. And when she was done, she left, and kept it moving. She’s never badmouthed the rest of the team but I’ve seen Biles try to drag her into BS about not responding to the group chat.

        They were never that close to begin with. Sure, they tolerated her and I’m sure she tolerated them too. Simone especially seems to be a very trying person. That’s life. My point is, she has moved on. There is nothing on her social media about gymnastics. That’s a hint everyone should take.

        Biles needs to grow the fuck up or produce receipts of the so called backroom deal. I stand by what I said.

      2. Scorpion. I am not Kittia but I was in the gym when Douglas was preparing for Rio. You def. have some aspects correct, but the rest wrong.
        Douglas had a talking to after that Twitter beef with Simone and Aly because sponsors/opportunities aren’t going to be lining up for someone that is on the wrong side of all the was going on with USAG and Nassar. Victim shaming does not get people to get you a contract for an appearance at special events/promotions.

    3. How was Skinner screwed over? She never stood a chance at anything besides alternate which after Nationals was hanging by a thread. She is lucky she had the meet of her life at Trials. Skinner was not an option for the team. Read everything Marta put out in interviews. She was looking for UB workers.

      1. Skinner made the same mistake a lot of athletes made over the years: she thought Trials mattered. When really if you’re not on Marta’s list a year beforehand, you’re toast.

  11. Simone is not the GOAT. She’s a great tumbler who competes in a terrible scoring system. She’s not even in the conversation of the best gymnast ever because she’s merely an acrobat who competes in a time where being a tumbler savant outscores everyone. Shushunova was a much more complete gymnast who won 11 medals in a total of 2 World Championships. Shannon Miller was a much more complete gymnast. Lilia Podkopaeva.Vera Cavlaska. Svetlana Khorkina. Daniela Silivas. There were much more complete gymnasts back in the day.

    1. YES, THANK YOU!! And she’s not even a versatile tumbler, either. All she can do is back tumbling.

      I would argue that of the current prominent Americans, it’s actually Riley McCusker who fits the mold of the ‘complete gymnast’ more than anyone else (or she will once she finishes learning how to vault properly and make her DTY less terrifying, thank you Brian Carey) – she’s absolutely exquisite in everything she does. Ebee Price back in the day was also excellent, bringing big skills on all four events and having an excellent bars swing besides.

      1. I agree. I think the consistency that’s going to be required of the girls when they go up on all events is going to lead to shocking medals in Tokyo.

        Simone’s tumbling is epic, but I can foresee a lot of challengers by Tokyo. If she falls in qualifications, she won’t be in event finals, because she’ll be fighting for top 2 against 5 other Americans.

        I predict tantrums. I predict Riley and Leanne will be there too. I can hardly wait.

      2. No, Simone has a D-score buffer to protect her from getting 2-per’d after falls on VT and FX. Beam not so much but I imagine she’s well aware of that. AA she has a multiple-fall buffer. She’ll be in at least 2 EFs and AA at Tokyo no matter what happens, and probably 3-4. There won’t be surprises and tantrums. Sorry.

        I think it’s ridiculous to claim that Riley is more of a “complete package” than Biles. Her beam and bars are uncreative and her vault and floor are technically weak. Agree to disagree about her being “exquisite” in everything she does – I think her form can be nice, but it’s not head and shoulders above the rest of the US NT. She’s just thin. She might have more potential that she can realize with her new coach and I think she can and will improve her consistency, but I’d be surprised if it even gets her to Sunisa’s level, let alone anywhere near Simone’s. Also – part of the package is being able to actually compete – Riley hasn’t even managed to give herself the opportunity to compete against Simone on the world stage because she doesn’t hit when she needs to and is constantly injured. Haney’s poor coaching results in the injuries, but much like Nichols, if you can’t train to your level or do your skills without getting hurt, then you might be over your head.

        I’m not usually a big Simone defender as I think she gets PLENTY of credit for what she does, but it’s just silly to claim that Riley is a better or more well-rounded gymnast. Maybe you like her more, but objectively she is in a radically different class than Simone and she is one of the least “complete package” gymnasts out of the US NT.

      3. Simone has to be top 2 from the 6 girls competing on all 4 events going from team usa, so she a fall buffer on AA, nothing else.

        We know Jade is going on and would outscore her on VT and FX if Simone falls. All the girls likely to get to Tokyo have posted 14+ on floor, multiple will have amanars and chengs, Mykayla and Grace among them.

        Obviously it isn’t expected that Simone would make big errors like that, but the point is that this will be the first time she’s had to be top 2 out of 6. Usually only 4 go up. Most girls will be significantly increasing difficulty, whereas Simone is not.

        Point being, the 30-70% hit rate of the top contenders means Tokyo is unpredictable.

      4. I’m not sure how having to compete against AAers #5 and 6 makes Tokyo that much harder for Simone, or why you assume other gymnasts will be successfully adding to their D scores while Simone’s stay the same (she’s been pulling away from the pack this quad; they’re not catching up).

        But if you’re the kind of person who assumes that Grace and Mykayla will definitely have Amanar and Chengs in Tokyo because of some Instagram training footage, then you’re probably not big on objectivity here. I hope you’re right and that Tokyo is more of a competition, but don’t get your hopes up.

      5. If Grace “has a cheng” to compete, then Simone will be debuting her triple-double beam dismount and DLO-double tuck tumbling pass on floor next year.

    2. I’ll get flamed for saying this, but women’s gymnastics is mostly tumbling with a smaller portion of dance and bars. Of the 4 events, 3 are mostly or all tumbling with only the uneven bars testing a majorly separate skill. Simone excels at back tumbling and back tumbling is the most rewarded set of skills in gymnastics – in the form of yurchenko vaults, back tumbling passes on floor, and back tumbling dismounts on beam.

      She also performs a superb bars routine and is clean on all dance elements. But it’s her tumbling that sets her apart.

      1. She does not perform a “superb” bars routine. She performs a semi-decent, mostly clean bars routine with absolutely zero natural swing, which is labored and not at all pleasant to watch.

        Meanwhile, her dance elements are barely adequate in hitting split positions and the best thing you can say about them is that she points her toes.

      2. That’s fair that you don’t like her bars style, but any routine that makes an event final two world championships in a row is a strong routine with both world class execution and difficulty.

        Regarding dance skills, I might be blind, but she hits 180 more often than not? Maybe not her switch half on beam but no one hits that and I’m sure she gets a 0.3 deduction. She gets her split 1.5 and switch full on floor more around than almost anyone and when she doesn’t fully complete them, they do get properly devalued.

    3. The extent of how great Simone is certainly is a bit overrated by people, but the fact she is entirely unreachable on VT and FX (even if the CoP was better in those events) while still being one of the best of the world on BB and these last years even on UB does make her the GOAT, and more complete than any Soviet or Romanian before her. They were bigger innovators for sure, but they didn’t perform above their peers the same way Simone does. Simone plays by the rules and shows incredible execution on incredible difficulty. It doesn’t matter if she’s not a natural swinger on UB. A swing looking “laboured” is not a deduction.

      People read “GOAT” and think “perfect” and Simone is indeed not perfect, but nobody else is or was anyway. Also, saying Riley of all people is more “complete” than Simone is laughable. Which sport are you even watching? Are we just judging how white and long the gymnasts are? Are you this desperate to bring Simone down?

      1. I would argue the difference in how innovative Simone is compared to the old Soviets and Romanians isn’t even that big in context. The fact of the matter is that it was easier to be innovative in the 70s and 80s. Simone has pushed the boundaries of the sport about as much as is possible in this era, and more than I would expect many would have thought possible.

        Also, while I would agree that claiming that Riley is a better gymnast than Simone is bizarre, I would like to point out that she has technique which puts her in an elite class of excellence.

      2. Does she though? I just see thin. Until last year when she showed up super muscular (and then went down to overtraining), she had the same loose core Nastia always had (which admittedly is one of my personal pet peeves and maybe not such a big deal in scoring).

        Riley always looks to me like she is getting through her routines on a hope and a prayer. I do have high hopes for her post-Maggie career though, maybe she can find some balance and better skill selection.

  12. Jessica is a giggling fangirl who sometimes asks a decent question because even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while. But it’s nauseating to listen to her fawn over everyone. I listened to part of her Jamie D interview and there were so many moments where an actual journalists would ask a follow-up question but you know, Jessica chose to be herself instead.

  13. Blogs and webcasts aren’t actual journalism. That’s part of why they get access to athletes.

    Jessica and Spencer have done some amazing things.

    Good to see people still appreciate journalism, but it’s silly to criticize Jessica and Spencer for not practicing journalism.

    1. Agree. There are few to zero mainstream news outlets that will keep someone on the payroll just to be a gymnastics expert, and since gymnastics has such a steep learning curve you’re not going to see much expertise among professional journalists — they’ve got other things to do. The Scott Reids of the world are the exception, not the rule. That created a vacuum that Jessica waltzed right into, and that explains the degree of exposure she’s been given. Doesn’t make her a journalist.

      1. Jessica is getting the exposure and credibility that Lauren Hopkins actually deserves.

      2. I’d argue Lauren Hopkins is equally unprofessional, just in a different way.

      3. Omg, Lauren is so much more unprofessional than Jessica. I have my problems with Jessica, but as far as I know, Jessica has never called someone an assface on twitter for disagreeing with her or gotten into a twitter war with an Olympic gold medallist resulting in being blocked by said medallist. I also don’t believe Jessica has ever doxxed someone for publicly criticizing her. All of which Lauren has done, and so much more that I don’t even have time to list it all.

      4. You can say that Jessica is unprincipled, unknowledgeable, unprofessional, and out of her league, but at least she doesn’t have neurotic/psychopathic tendencies like crazy Lauren.

        The fact that Lauren and Jessica managed to be the ones who rose to prominence shows how daffy the gymternet is. Not the sanest group of people is it?

  14. Lauren Hopkins’ therapist probably needs a therapist. The way she lusts over barely legal male gymnasts is appalling.

    1. To edit my above post, maybe lust isn’t the right word but making cute endearing nicknames for 18 year olds is not a good look.

    2. Agreed. I forgot about that creepy aspect of her. Calling Milad Karimi her son for example.

      Lauren has posted some things on her personal twitter that make me feel sorry for her, and I don’t think she has had an easy life, but she has also done some awful things, which I don’t think are totally excused by the things she has been through.

      1. Yeah she blocked me on twitter because she was going on about her Emmy and I was like, look, you were on a team with like 200 other people and making and updating a spreadsheet to see when different male gymnasts turn 18 isn’t really sports research. Anyway yeah.

      2. She has shown she has absolutely zero ability to handle criticism.

      3. Lauren does not seem mentally stable – same goes for lots of us, but most of us realize what is and is not appropriate to share on the internet ESPECIALLY in connection with our professional/semi-professional profiles.

        Anyone remember when she used to post videos on her Tumblr that were supposedly her taking Ambien and doing commentary on meets? But it was just her trying desperately to be funny by being vulgar. It was such weird behavior from someone who was well out of her teens.

  15. It’s a feeding frenzy on here. I think it’s fair to say appetites aren’t being satiated by the garbage being served up.

    I guess the consensus is that people are tired of hearing about abuse and being nagged into giving lip service against obvious abuse, whether that’s corporate, emotional or physical.

    Is there a flag or bumper sticker for human decency? Apparently that in conjunction with the Nosferatu image sums up the culture here, hypocrisy unintentional. Now back to gymnastics…oh wait…there is none.

    1. I think the consensus is just not what you would like it to be. People are not tired of hearing about abuse, they’re tired of hearing this truth-stretching narrative about Maggie as a victim, which seems to have more fallout of people criticizing other gymnasts’ rights to be on the Rio team rather than criticizing a system that would apparently delude a gymnast into thinking that she could be taken to Rio based on her 2015 accomplishments.

      It’s not nice that Maggie’s family and Simone and Cecile, and the so-called gymnastics media represented by fans like Lauren and Jessica, are spreading rumors that imply that Gabby shouldn’t have been on the team. That’s a bad use of their platforms. It’s irresponsible and I’m starting to question whether it is even helping in the campaign to clean up USAG, because it implies that the problem is special Maggie not making an Olympic team (rather than a system with zero transparency and no respect for athletes that supported decades of varying kinds of abuse).

      If you don’t like people complaining about Lauren or Jessica’s behavior over the years, well, maybe this isn’t a good place for you? R/gymnastics has a more “positive” environment – you could try there. They’re also overwhelmingly supportive of Simone.

      1. It’s not just Simone, Cecile, the Nichols family, and Lauren. It’s literally THIS BLOG. How many times has Spencer posted along the lines of “I hope we finally get the scoop on what Penny was up to in 2016?” If you look back, he’s done it a lot. And Spencer seems a hell of a lot more responsible than most on the gymternet. Unlike the others, Spencer gets that this story, if true, would be a story about Steve Penny’s corruption and not about Maggie getting screwed or someone buying a team spot they didn’t deserve.

        The way people talk about Penny in the gymnastics world reminds me of how the Harvey Weinstein stuff was an open secret for years before he finally got busted. And while yes, Penny *was* arrested, it wouldn’t shock me if there were more skeletons in his closet that haven’t come out yet, whether related to 2016 selection or otherwise. As that astute GymCastic listener noted, Penny was also a big cheese at USA Cycling during the Armstrong era, which raises a bunch of red flags. Dude is one shady MF.

      2. I don’t think any of Jessica, Spencer, or Lauren has said Gabby shouldn’t have been on the team or that Maggie should have been on it. They have all said that Penny was probably up to shady stuff, but that the gymnastics still supported the team that was named.

      3. My issue is with those who think potential corruption by Steve Penny should not be discussed because it wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

      4. Spencer has clearly said that by the numbers, Gabby earned her spot on the team.
        He also looks into Steve Penny corruption, which would have put her on the team for other reasons.
        Both can be true parts of a complex picture, and Spencer is right to look at it from these angles.

  16. this drama is pure yikes. not just the gymnasts involved, but these comments. you’re allowed to have an opinion, but remember that just because you’re behind a screen doesn’t make you immune. treat people respectfully and remember that the gymnasts you’re criticizing are still teenagers or young adults. we can hold people responsible and not call them names.

    also, regarding proper journalism…college gym news is made up of unproblematic, actually funny queens! they do their research and all have journalism degrees, and have supported various issues without bandwagoning on. they don’t provide elite and mag content but i like their stuff a lot!

    (in case i get flamed: no, i’m not part of their team, and yes, everything i said is only to the extent that i am aware of.)

  17. I know I am late to the game, and I am not knowledgeable enough to dispute whether Maggie should have made the 2016 team. But, I think Athlete A made it clear that, even if she had been in shape, the USAG would not have chosen her because of the complaint she filed.

    1. I think Athlete A made it clear that the Nichols family is delusional.

      The Nicholses turned into stage parents once Maggie became a contender, or maybe they always were, and I’m surprised they don’t get more flack for it.

      It’s certainly possible that USAG would have declined to choose Maggie for the team based on the complaint, but I was not even remotely convinced by that “documentary” that there’s any evidence for it.

      1. Gabby was the only strong all-arounder with a very strong bars. There was no else on the USA senior team who could fill Gabby’s spot. On the other hand, there were a lot of gymnasts who fit the strong vault and floor role.

        Maggie with an Amanar and her 2015 floor would have replaced Hernandez. However at her 2016 levels she offered absolutely nothing to the team score. She would not have been used anywhere except as a backup.

        Literally all Gabby had to do at trials is show she could do two bars routines without messing up and get through the other 3 events – which she did – barely…

        While Gabby’s position on the team was virtually guaranteed, she really squandered an opportunity to be on the AA podium for the second Olympics in a row. Whatever the circumstances were, she didn’t get her Amanar back, beam was shaky at best, and her floor was a cobbled together mess of iffy spins and that ridiculous full-in + back tuck quasi-connection. Yes, she still had a world class vault, beam, and floor, but not good enough for someone of Gabby’s talent and potential and especially not enough to beat Raisman in the AA.

        Gabby did basically the bare minimum needed to make Rio and not an ounce more. 2015 demonstrated she could push herself towards her 2012 levels and it baffles me why she couldn’t sustain that progress for 7 more months. Gabby at her very best would have put pressure on Simone at Rio. Sadly, every routine was watered down from 2012 except bars – and bars is why she made the team.

      2. I mean, they didn’t really *need* a second EF-worthy bars routine. They could have Romania-ed it, had a meh bars rotation, run up the score on the other three events, and still win in a blowout. But it’s totally Marta’s MO to obsess over one event to an excessive degree (like she did with vault in 2004).

  18. Anon, that’s the thing the spot was never between Maggie and Gabby. It was between Maggie and Laurie. Maggie had to beat Laurie to be on that team because that’s the hole she fit. She couldn’t and thus did not make the team.

Comments are closed.