Things Are Happening – August 4, 2020

A. D-D Retires

We all woke this morning to news that D-D Breaux is retiring from LSU after a storied 175 years as head coach of the program. She has been there for so long and done so much that her retirement can’t really be considered surprising, but I was definitely also thinking she had a good 8 decades left in her and would stay on as coach exactly until LSU won her a national title.

In terms of influence—being there from the beginning and building a small group of 1980s-haired gymnastics nomads into a powerful civilization by face-burning anyone who stood in her way—D-D should be mentioned right along with her trailblazing conference cohorts Suzanne and Sarah. But I’d say it wasn’t until this most recent stint of LSU success that her significance started to be consistently and rightfully mentioned in the same sentence as Sarah, Suzanne, Greg, Val, and the like.

In this current era, we’ve seen the attendance really start to blossom, we’ve seen LSU start consistently winning conference titles and emerge as a perennial threat to win nationals. With that status inevitably comes recognition of the person who has been building up those stones for decades.

Like any good Roman emperor, D-D hand-selected her successor well in advance of her departure and established Jay Clark as her co-ruler before last season. Jay will now take over as lone head coach of a gymnastics program for the first time since “resigning” at Georgia in 2012. Microscopes and opera glasses out to see if it goes better this time around.

B. The Deal with Terin

This week, Terin Humphrey disclosed that she is a survivor and is filing to join the other survivors in the suit against Nassar, describing in detail the occasions of the abuse and the nature of her post-traumatic stress disorder with delayed expression.

This has led to some fraught hand-wringing about what to do with Terin, who is supposed to be one of The Bad Guys, but I don’t think it’s actually that complicated. You can support her status as a survivor (yes, join the lawsuit, get that justice) while continuing to have the exact same problems with her other behavior that you did before.

For instance, Terin’s argument in this second article is…some nonsense overall. She’s arguing that USAG mistreated her in removing her from her position after the whole Facebook meme debacle, but this is one of those rare occasions where I’m Team USAG. It was entirely appropriate for the organization to get rid of her after the post (and, most critically, her lack of remorse or demonstration of understanding afterward). It seems there remains little desire from Terin to apologize or understand why her behavior upset people, especially coming from someone in her position. So while her being a survivor may provide some context to her later behavior, it doesn’t provide an eraser.

But by all means Terin should keep talking about how Steve Penny tried to influence team selection procedures because we need to hear a lot more about that.

C. Klages Sentencing

Today, former Michigan State head coach Kathie Klages was sentenced to 3.25 white ladies in prison (the metric equivalent of 90 days) for lying to police during their investigation of That Guy.

She maintains that little-old-me can’t remember such things but also that little-old-me is a good lady who would never do anything that a bad lady would do.

But Larissa Boyce is like, “I told you in 1997, good day bye.”

Speaking of which, the Senate just passed the Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019 which makes ALL Y’ALL mandatory reporters, allows for more congressional oversight of the board of directors of the USOPC, requires the USOPC provide $20 million annually to fund SafeSport, addresses some issues of conflicts of interest and retaliation, and gives SafeSport the power to audit national governing bodies to assess compliance and impose punishment for noncompliance.

Congress found that the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics fundamentally failed to uphold their existing statutory purposes and duty to protect amateur athletes from sexual, emotional, or physical abuse. USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee knowingly concealed abuse by Larry Nassar, leading to the abuse of dozens of additional amateur athletes during the period beginning in the summer of 2015 and ending in September 2016. Ending abuse in the Olympic and Paralympic movement requires enhanced oversight to ensure that the Olympic and Paralympic movement does more to serve athletes and protect their voice and safety.

D. Chellsie’s Comeback

It’s officially official officialburger now.

In case her training a DTY and piked Arabian on beam and Dos Santos on floor weren’t the kind of hint you were looking for, Chellsie Memmel said the c-word this week and confirmed that this comeback is a comeback.

May this journey not have to bear the burden of being the only good thing existing in the world for too much longer.

Her Olympic Channel interview is a must-watch.

E. Sam Mikulak Will Retire…Soonish

Sam Mikulak made a video-talking where he announced his intention to retire following the maybe-lympics of 2021. He’s retiring because of a chronic wrist injury and puppies. I think.

But also because it turns out that not competing makes him way happier than competing and he doesn’t want to have to do it anymore. As good a reason as any. Better even.

F. NCAA Rosters

LSU announced two additions to this year’s freshman class. Sierra Ballard (so…Lori Strong’s daughter, Jay Clark’s niece…BUT HOW DID SHE CHOOSE LSU) is joining the team, someone who put up very competitive AA scores as a JO athlete and should provide real lineup possibilities. LSU is also adding Chase Brock, who’s probably looking like a bars and floor depth option. This duo will join the big names already known about—Olivia Dunne, Haleigh Bryant, and Elena Arenas.

Penn State announced that Abi Walker—former elite from Texas Dreams—is joining the roster for the 2021 season. She was previously verbally committed but wasn’t among the fall signing announcements.

Meanwhile, Skinner confirmed that she won’t return to Utah if there is a 2021 season as she’s continuing to focus on the Olympics.

G. GymCastic

This week’s episode will be out in the vicinity of pretty soon, and you can watch it in the embedded player here the second it exists.

2023 World Championships Preview GymCastic: The Gymnastics Podcast

World Championships! It's happening. Competition starts on the 30th, and we're here with our mega-preview of everything we’re excited about Top 10 Things to Watch: We're counting down the top 10 storylines heading into worlds, including Simone's quest for history, the Women In Their 30s revolution, the United Nationals Summit on Amazing Bars, the best tricky boys, and all the shrinking Ds Olympic Qualification Test: Spencer puts Jessica's rule-retention skills to the test with a quiz on how athletes qualify to the Olympics from this competition Women's Finals: Who are the top medal contenders, who are the most exciting performers, and who are the potential disruptors for event finals? How Simone feels about an Amanar these days. Our Coverage From Worlds: Podcast coverage at Worlds starts on Thursday Sept 28th after the first day of women’s podium training and will include a total of 10 podcasts from the competition We'll have tons of videos coming your way from podium training – top routines, interviews, asking the questions no one else will Check out our Antwerp Worlds Headquarters for all the info you need JOIN CLUB GYM NERD Join Club Gym Nerd (or give it as a gift!) for access to weekly Behind the Scenes episodes. Club Gym Nerd members get access to all of our exclusive extended interviews, Behind The Scenes and College & Cocktails episodes. Buy our awesome clothing and gifts here and even "tapestries" (banners perfect to display in an arena) to support your favorite gymnast here. RELATED EPISODES US World Team Trials Day 2 US World Team Trials Day 1 Worlds Team Controversy Season Steven Butcher RESOURCES & CITATIONS Gymnastics History and Code of Points Archive from Uncle Tim Larisa Latynina previously undiscovered worlds medal that ties her with Simone on the all-time medal list. Listen here. To follow the effects of the Russian invasion to Ukraine at Gymnovosti The Highest D and event rankings from The Gymternet Judge routines and learn visually with FlipFlyTumble  Men's Gymnastics coverage from Kensley Neutral Deductions MORE WAYS TO LISTEN HERE    
  1. 2023 World Championships Preview
  2. U. S. World Team Trials: Day Two Final
  3. U.S. World Team Trials 2023: Day One
  4. Worlds Team Controversy Season
  5. International Report: Steve Butcher Interview

87 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – August 4, 2020”

  1. After working for “175 years” I can only wish DD the best in her return to Shangri La.

  2. Well I suppose we can finally put the silly “I guess Larry decided to take a six year break from molesting!” theories to bed.

    1. Someone pointed out that quad & a half was stocked full of former gymnasts who went into coaching, broadcasting, and judging. I’m not sure that means they would not step forward but it might not allow them the distance they might need.

      1. That was me, actually! I assumed there were plenty of survivors among that group, they just hadn’t come forward (and maybe fewer Olympic team members in that group). The whole “maybe he was busy with his young children and was behaving better” theory NEVER rang true with me.

  3. D-D Breaux was interviewed and said she wants to retire now while healthy: “I don’t want to fight that COVID battle. I’m 67. I want to be able to control my environment, where I am, and what I do.”

    1. I thought she was a couple of years older- I guess I took for granted just how young she began coaching. I’m not sure I put her on the Greg, Suzanne, Sarah level but she, Bev Plocki, and Kendig are definitely the next tier with a drop-off after them.

    2. Am I the only one that sees a problem with that? DD is abandoning her team in the middle of a global pandemic. The gymnasts are asked to put their health and safety on the line for their school every day just doing ordinary gymnastics, and now they’re being asked to risk even more. But DD won’t? Students need their mentor figures and authority figures to step up and help them right now, not walk away because it’s suddenly more complicated and leave them to deal with even more changes. The athletes don’t get to walk away because it’s too hard. I don’t know what she’s said to her athletes or how (or if) she plans to stay in contact with them, but based on what I’ve seen, if I were an LSU gymnast I would feel all kinds of abandoned right now. And I’m an LSU PhD student so I do feel kind of like DD’s abandoning LSU.

      1. I think at 67, D-D is much higher risk than the students. I don’t blame her for not wanting to risk her health.

        Technically, any of them can walk away like she did too. It’s not like she is being allowed to sit on the sidelines and still collect her paycheque from LSU.

      2. DD’s letter to the LSU community states that she is going to continue as an LSU sports ambassador, so until I see further information about what that position entails it sounds like she is doing exactly that.
        Athletes can’t walk away without losing their scholarships or taking a redshirt year. They have to trade long-term consequences for their short-term safety, consequences that DD does not have to face later. Students are presently seen as selfish, petty, entitled, and immature for prioritizing themselves over the teams they represent or the schools they attend; I refuse to celebrate a grown-up for doing something that would make her an entitled monster if she were 45 years younger.

        And besides, if you were one of her gymnasts how would you feel to watch your coach walk away right now? A person who has been an important mentor figure in her athletes’ lives has now decided that she will no longer occupy that role because it’s going to be too difficult. Her athletes have been indirectly told that it will be too much work to help them in this difficult time, and that they must weather changes and complications that their coach is not willing to handle herself. Their gymnastics is more important than they are as people, and because they have been left in Jay Clark’s competent coaching hands the emotional and personal consequences of her departure apparently are not important.

        From the letter:
        “The silent but deadly pandemic we are facing will necessitate change in how we do everything, at least this next season, so I believe it is the best time to make a personal life decision.”

      3. Well, D-D is losing her paycheck from walking away so it’s not like there aren’t any consequences for her. Also, the NCAA is currently allowing students not to participate in their sport if they have covid concerns.

      4. She still gets retirement benefits and retirement payment per LSU’s staff policies. And it seems I was unclear: an LSU sports ambassador appears to be a PAID position, meaning that in fact she’s not losing a paycheck.

        And there is SO MUCH MORE to covid than concerns about health btw. The students don’t know whether their classes are online or in person (LSU has not finalized anything), they don’t know which dorm they will be in or whether they will be randomly made to vacate in the middle of the semester (no housing policy is finalized and students were made to leave in the spring), no idea if dining halls will be open, whether they can meet with advisors, how testing will work if it happens at all, whether they can see their families or travel to competitions, or even which direction they can walk on the sidewalks around campus. Their lives have been turned upside down in ways that people who aren’t students just don’t understand and will always dismiss as irrelevant and trivial. NCAA’s not letting people skip the season over these concerns. And on top of all that, to have an adult who could help create as much normalcy as possible and could help support students through these challenges just turn and walk away? Not okay with me.

      5. She is fricking 67 years old. And she named Clark an Associate head coach years ago and Co-head coach a year or two ago. If you were a recruit this writing has been on the wall. I am going to assume you took issue with Mrs. Marsden and Coach Val walking away at the height of the sexual abuse scandals since their athletes could very well be in need. Or Patterson retiring on a dime when she needed double joint replacement. This hissy fit over a high risk person on a major college campus handing over the reigns to coaches with long term ties to the program is baffling. The fact it comes from a PhD candidate reaffirms why it is known as an academic shit school even for the SEC.

      6. Okay first of all comments about my academic work are inappropriate and out of line (and my program is #3 in the country but like sorry to contradict your prejudice against my school with my facts). And yes, I did take issue with Miss Val leaving her team when people who relied on her needed her the most.

        I teach classes. These kids are my students. They are scared. And no one wants to help them because when they point out things that they need or ways they have been harmed, they are told by dismissive assholes in comment sections that they are throwing hissy fits. LSU has wronged its students at every turn, and every authority figure on campus has decided that bottom lines, bureaucratic procedure, and the football season are more important than addressing any level of student need. I don’t care how long Jay Clark has been there or what position he has, DD is leaving her athletes and they have every right to feel abandoned by yet another authority figure.

        You obviously aren’t a college student right now, but I am, and I have seen how LSU has behaved recently and been sorely disappointed. I don’t understand why you can’t consider that DD Breaux retiring right now has emotional consequences for her team that must be respected, and even if it was the right choice for her it is going to hurt her team and her athletes. And that is not going to go away, no matter how many more dismissive and trivializing terms you may want to throw at me.

      7. Have any gymnasts from the team expressed any of the feelings or concerns you’ve expressed? Or are you simply talking for them, or projecting how you may feel if you were in the position?

        It’s baffling that you can’t respect that she is her own human, & she needs to make decisions that are right for her, along with her family.

      8. Hahaha this thread is GOLD.

        Ally, interesting point, but I’m with everyone here who thinks you’re wrong.

        LSU and pretty much half of America is fucking up the pandemic response. Not only do I think DD is well within the bounds of appropriateness to quit her job if she feels it threatens her health (at any time, honestly… this isn’t the army during a battle; she’s not deserting), but I also think that the departure of a head coach in a successful program is a helpful message for all the idiots out there denying the coronavirus’s existence or severity or thinking they’ll suffer no repercussions from it because high risk populations don’t matter.

      9. Ally I’m sorry your university is failing you and other students – you sound very stressed. But I don’t think DD has an obligation to make up for the failings of the state of Louisiana and the LSU administration by risking her own personal health. I also think you’re ascribing feelings to her gymnasts that they might not have. It’s completely possible that you’re right about how they feel, but it’s also possible that if DD is THAT important to them as a personal mentor, that they would rather she retired than risk getting severely ill and dying.

        Also… “And no one wants to help them because when they point out things that they need or ways they have been harmed, they are told by dismissive assholes in comment sections that they are throwing hissy fits.”

        This sentence makes no sense, and I promise you that dismissive assholes in comment sections on gymnastics websites have zero influence on the behavior of people with decision-making power in the real world.

      10. DD is beyond retirement age, and as previously stated, her age makes her more vulnerable to CoVid. She is very much within her right to protect her health and begin retirement. Especially since she has groomed her replacement (like him or not, Jay Clark will provide an easy transition for the team)

      11. I call some BS on it being 100 percent COVID. D-D’s a big enough fish that if she asked the AD for a leave of absence until there was a vaccine, they would have given it to her. Now, maybe COVID has made her re-evaluate some things and she chose to retire, but that’s different than saying that she wanted to keep coaching but feared for her life.

      12. DD’s mother apparently died within the last year as well. So I think the cumulative impact of reevaluating how to spend your final decades, having young grandkids, likely having to be very hands off from the team you coach, and generally being at retirement age added up to her decision. She is within a year of both Patterson and Yoculan in terms of age and only about two years younger than Marsden. Val is about 6 years younger and Meghan Marsden a year or so younger than Val. After Clark was named co-Head Coach it was really a game of when not if she should retire. With 40+ years in the system she is likely to make more money in retirement because she will not be subject to as much withholding and employee matches. And none of us know her personal medical history or that of her immediate family- that could very well add another factor.

        I continue to be shocked that the retirement of 67 year old women with full retirement benefits illicits this much second guessing. I can’t wait to hear the Q Anon take- although that’s likely already filtered through Jay Clark…

  4. One thing that doesn’t sit well with me about Chellsie’s comeback is her complete silence on both abuse in gymnastics and the Black Lives Matter movement against racism. She posts so many training videos, she’s obviously active on social media & reads comments, but on these issues… it’s nothing. not even a black square or the barest of minimums.
    If I’ve missed something, I’d be grateful if someone would point it out to me. I find it quite odd.
    We’re holdings many other gymnasts to higher standards than her, even though these gymnasts are teenagers and Chellsie is a fully grown adult businesswoman. Her silence is starting to be really loud.

    1. I don’t know. There are times for allies to speak out, and there are conflicting and legitimate opinions on whether that should be defined as all the time. If Chellsie is a survivor, she may want to keep that private; if she isn’t, she may want to let survivors’ voices be centered. Likewise, it’s important to center Black voices. Social media allyship can be rather performative unless you have an absolutely enormous following (see: Beyonce) that can move mountains. I don’t think Chellsie has that. Also, some people prefer to have these discussions in person since social media can be so fraught. IMO in the absence of problematic behavior*, I don’t think we should be making specific social media demands of gymnasts.

      *Cough, Ashton, Riley, Mykayla, Nastia

      1. Not a clue. I follow her on social and I’ve never seen anything remotely controversial from her.

      2. Problematic = NOT VALIDATING YOUR MORALSTIC POINT OF VIEW. You want diversity so bad in the fakest sense, but not in thought or POV. Log off.

      3. I would assume the Riley issue is not supporting your teammate’s abuse claim while making your own through back channels. That one is tricky for me and I think her mother’s actions are impacting perception.

        I’ll join the not expecting people too close to a situation to comment- it brings to mind people throwing bricks at UGA for failing to jump feet first into the sexual abuse discussion/meets only to have one of their gymnasts come out as a victim. If she herself was not ready to deal with it the team made the correct decision in simply observing without commenting.

    2. For me the bigger problem is the deafening silence from most public figures, athletes, actors and influencers alike, until May 2020. I’d much rather criticize people for waiting until it was cool to speak up about issues that we’ve all agreed are pervasive and entrenched and were only illuminated by the protests.

      1. To be fair, social media is not real life and many people use social media to highlight only certain facets of their life. I have a friend who, if you only knew her on social media, you wouldn’t realize that she has a son — she chooses to keep her family life off the internet.

        In my case, I’m involved in a lot of political and social activism stuff (racial justice issues specifically) but I keep it off social media because I prefer to limit my social media activity to frivolous nonsense. Yes, I dutifully posted my black square so that random college friends I haven’t kept in touch with wouldn’t think I was a racist, but there’s a lot more that only my “IRL” friends see.

        There’s an argument to be made that famous people have a greater obligation to participate in the social media dialogue of the moment, but I wouldn’t put most gymnasts in the “celebrity” category.

    3. Gurl bye! You and your dumb performative leftist notions about black boxes on Instagram or words so you can feel morally validated and superior. Stfu for real you woke zombie.. It’s a fucking religion! Do you need that validation sis? You honestly feel like black men are being hunted down by cops daily when all the data shows that actually isn’t true what so ever? So if everyone doesn’t fall under this fake narrative they are bad people? Facts don’t matter at all? Your forest of feelings does, and when people don’t validate your world view you are mad? Like, get a life! She must bend the knee to my religion of wokeness. Everyone thinks George Floyds murderer needs to be sent to jail, but the fact you are running with it so so far is gross! She didn’t say anything, CANCEL. He didn’t say anything CANCEL ie HE DIDNT VALIDATE MY MORALISTIC POINT OF VIEW. Starting to sound like horrible Jessica from Gymcastic on her twitter page. Just call her the tired cliche remark all you woke leftists are saying RACIST. Just call Chellsie racist, because I know you really want 2!. sigh

    4. Why in God’s name do people expect all businesses and individuals to speak up about anything and everything regardless if they know anything about the subject or not? When it becomes de facto mandatory for every person to put up a gay pride flag, a BLM black square, or an “I support survivors” banner, then these actions become meaningless. Watching people desperately jump on the “woke” bandwagon is both hilarious and depressing. Some people do it for self-promotion, others do it simply to follow the “crowd”, and others do it as strategic business decisions.

      The countless businesses all of a sudden stumbling over themselves to make the biggest and flashiest BLM display or gesture is disingenuous at best. All these companies clearly didn’t see this as a major issue until it became popular to make it an issue. I fully understand the gestures as a business decision – and it’s smart for that reason – you get free publicity and praised by social media for “doing the right thing” (as if posting a teary video or painting a banner or sidewalk improves anyone’s lives in any meaningful way).

      It’s refreshing to see content devoid of any of this pandering. Sometimes, people want to focus on the content at hand and not be barraged with messaging that is tangential or not even related to the core content. There do exist people out there who just want to want to watch gymnastics and not be lectured, shamed, scolded, “educated,” and told what to believe and how to believe it.

      1. Gestures like these aren’t meaningless though. Sure, it’s purely strategy for businesses to do Pride Month or Black Lives Matter stuff, but it normalizes these issues, especially for younger people.

        It actually DOES mean something when it no longer becomes appropriate to stay silent for the average person – it means that enough of society has decided that civil rights matter that it’s not ok to casually opt out of treating certain groups of people like human beings. It means that you can’t publicly hold the opinion that gay people or black people are less valid and deserve less protection. The fact that it is ‘mandatory’ is the sign of a sea change. If you can’t see that, it’s probably because you’ve never been part of a group that has had to have its struggle (and its humanity) normalized by the mainstream in order to access the same basic protections and rights that everyone else enjoys.

        Target selling Pride shirts is plenty cynical but if you’re gay, it’s a sign that your daily life has become much safer. Black squares can be empty virtue signaling on an individual level and still contribute to a wave of pressure that results in actual institutions changing behaviors.

    5. i see your side of the story but there’s also a big part in virtue signaling on social media unfortunately (not specifically accusing anyone of doing so!). one could argue that she has a social responsibility because she has a platform but she doesn’t really post personal stuff on her instagram too and keeps it all gymnastics related. if i remember correctly, she also replied to a comment that was asking her to do more, saying that she is trying to educate herself/donating without attaching her name to it.

      (also what did riley do? i’ve follweed her for a while and haven’t seen anything controversial.)

    6. Chelsie has always been a great role model for gymnasts who came after her. You never hear anything negative about her. She’s training extremely hard and has family responsibilities that she takes seriously. Not everyone has to be a vocal advocate for the cause. Start listing all of the other gymnasts in her age bracket. Are they all vocal about big causes. Sometimes living an exemplary life with high standards has to speak for itself.

    7. I think Chellsie has spoken out to say that she is not a survivor of that doctor, and prefers to let survivors speak, rather than trying to speak for them. There was interviews of her back in 2017 talking about this, that may have not made major news because the coverage was more focused on those coming forward as survivors (as it should be).

    8. Why does she need to speak out on these topics? Not every public figure is obligated to share their opinion.

    9. Hi JayNay- she did post a black square on Instagram on July 2. She replies to another poster asking her to do more in that comment thread as well.

    10. Black Lives DO Matter, but it is ridiculous that people like you demand everybody has to speak up about it/ against it. I am pro BLM but I have not issued any statements about this on my YT, Twitter, or Facebook accounts. Why? Because it doesn’t matter! I leave specific content on those social media pages. Not everything has to be BLM. Chellsie’s content is specific to gymnastics only. You don’t see her posting Blue Lives Matter or All Lives Matter she’s not posting Pro Trump or Pro Biden. You are being dramatic and judgmental for no reason. I have always appreciated your comments here but this one is pointless and unnecessary.

      1. Thank you Sally for this sensible comment. Nobody should be expected to post anything on social media. It’s their account and they are fit to do whatever they want with it.

  5. Sorry not sorry but the Chellsie comeback is started to annoy me. Maybe because of her wack job fans. But it’s such a sharp contrast to Laurie’s comeback which was ridiculed when she was in actuality trying to recover from abuse and find joy again. Maybe because Chellsie has had a longer elite career, so there’s the nostalgia factor for some. Maybe because I was never a huge fan of her gymnastics, in general, makes me biased. But imagine if Laurie was out peddling cheap tank tops when she announced her comeback? And please stop with the, she has the right to make money! Of course, she does! That’s not the point. But it all being tied into her comeback and her constant posting videos all the time about every skill she does, when Lauries was accused of only doing it for sponsors! The contrast is sharp. And the fact Chellsie has been quiet as a Wisconsin mouth about the scandal. I mean, Memmel up I guess! cringe.

    1. I think people were (are?) skeptical of Laurie’s comeback because, in all fairness, she chose to show very – VERY – little gymnastics content. It’s hard to get on board with a comeback when basically all you see is a front aerial to split jump and a pak salto. Chellsie, on the other hand, looks to be way ahead in all respects, and has looked that way for a long time now.

      1. yeah, the gymternet has a tendency to be rude without knowing much about the situation. laurie and all the other survivors are absolutely entitled to privacy and sharing only the details that they want to but like someone else said it’s difficult to picture an entire comeback from a video of laurie doing a beautiful front aerial. we haven’t seen too many new training videos so i’m still kind of skeptical but excited to see how she finds happiness in gymnastics again.

      2. And also no company was whipping out their checkbooks over a potential Memmel comeback.

    2. I think it’s ridiculous that either Laurie or Chellsie are getting pushback for their comebacks. Remember, people have the freedom to decide which videos to click on. If Laurie drives you up a wall or you find Chellsie disingenuous, then it’s truly so easy not to follow them or see a single thing they do. It’s totally fair to discuss the progress they’ve made and their chances of making the team and even their motives for returning, but there’s very little point complaining about them making and posting gymnastics videos.

      Regarding this specific situation, I think Chellsie’s comeback was generally seen as more genuine because she has kept up with training and fitness for quite a while now – well before her official comeback. Laurie didn’t show any gymnastics for a long time after Rio and then when she did show something, it was a single skill such as a double tuck into a pit or a front aerial. Personally, I like seeing all gymnastics and it’s interesting seeing the different paces and focuses of these comebacks. I don’t think either has any chance of making the Olympics but I enjoy watching the training progress and continual improvement.

    3. I think a lot of people also feel that Chellsie was really wronged and treated unfairly, including leading to her repeated injuries, by Marta et al during her long tenure in elite, so a comeback after Marta is gone is extra satisfying. Whereas Laurie competed one single senior season and if anything got a big old boost from the powers that be in the form of that wackjob scoring she got at Nats and Trials 2016. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anyone thinks Laurie didn’t deserve to be on the team, but she had a comparatively straightforward road to her Olympics so that “revenge” comeback vibe isn’t there. And then, purely due to age, Chellsie attempting to return is more impressive. We’ve seen several ex-Olympians successfully return to elite from one quad ago in recent times, but Chellsie competed in the 2000-2004 as a senior. She is a dino in comparison to Laurie.

      Just a theory about why one comeback was celebrated and the other side-eyed.

      1. The way Laurie talked about her comeback In the beginning was also the textbook “do what you can to keep them interested” spiel so that’s why many of us were skeptics. It reminded me of how in late 2004-2005, Carly would be all “my back is bothering me, I’m trying to ease back into it, etc.” Didn’t Carly wait until like 2006 to fully disclose the severity of her back injury?

      2. Agree with this. I am new here, and man, these comments are blistering. And while I think both women, good job, do what you want,, am I wrong to point out that people think Chelsea’s comeback is a bigger thing because she is 32 (truly unheard of in contemporary gymnastics) and a mom of two? Laurie is still quite within the age range of “normal” women’s gymnastics, and she’s only coming back from like…3 years? So yeah, not a huge deal? Also, Laurie posting way less gymnastics and seems more focused on image right now?

        Am I missing something?

  6. Does the Bailey Ferrer transfer/not transfer to Auburn and back to LSU have anything to do with the DD sayonara … her (and her moms ) posts mention “unethical behavior “ that they “can’t get into” so maybe DD wanted to be gone before that hornet’s nest erupted….

    1. what posts about unethical behaviour? the situation is super sketchy, and Bailey seems like such a wonderful person posting ED recovery tips.

      1. The posts about the unethical behavior were by Bailey’s mom stating that her daughter had just moved to Auburn, got an apartment there and something happened to blow it all out of the water that they “can’t comment on” … sorry I’d be commenting or having someone “commenting anonymously “ if this had happened to me or my kid …

  7. I find the timing of DD’s “retirement” kind of odd. Maybe I’m over analyzing this, but the sudden retirement for Bailey Ferrer, with the rumor that DD pulled the transfer to Auburn, and then FIVE days later DD retires? Something isn’t adding up here

    1. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the issue was on the Auburn side. After all, she chose to return to LSU once gymnastics was off the table. That suggests to me that she only explored auburn in the first place because the LSU team had already cut her loose.

      1. That’s what I thought too. Maybe it was both Auburn and LSU problems. I’m trying to think what scenario would make it that Bailey had to give up gymnastics forever, if it’s not because of her mental and/or physical health issues. Some sort of NCAA violation? I just don’t get it and I find the timing of these two things to be a little more than coincidental 🤷‍♀️

      2. I kind of doubt she got blackballed by all 82(?) teams? More likely LSU asked her to leave the team (for whatever reason), she made the decision to transfer to Auburn, something went sour at Auburn, and at that point she was like “fuck it, I’m not putting myself through another transfer.”

      3. That’s probably it, unless there was an NCAA violation we don’t know about and then she would be ineligible

      4. She had supposedly been deemed medically ineligible at LSU but from her posts , she says it’s “not physical or medical “ but per a source, it is extremely difficult to get a medical clearance once a school thinks you’re done … so I can see where she’d try to move on from LSU … kind of like Randi Lau did at Penn St … but it seems like something unexpected happened after Auburn decided to take her … whether their docs didn’t clear her or DD reneged on letting her go there , if she was getting an apartment there, she definitely thought Auburn was a go so there was some huge disconnect or miscommunication there and she is paying the price.

    2. The transfer already happened. DD couldn’t “pull” it after Bailey went through the process using the transfer portal. She also sat out of gymnastics for a full year already. DD’s retirement has been in the works for years. Jay Clark was first promoted to associate head coach and this past season was promoted to co-head coach. DD would likely have retired at the end of this season, but that didn’t occur due to Covid. She probably decided to do one more year so she could end her career the way she wanted to by finishing a season (and potentially winning the NCAA title with Oklahoma losing a strong senior class) but with Covid and the uncertainty of a 2021 season even happening at this point, she decided to retire. She is still going to be involved with the team and will continue to work with the athletic department, she just stepped down from head coaching duties. If she had anything to hide she would have removed herself from the university completely.

  8. Why do Chellsie’s Cheerleaders care so much if other folks don’t want to throw her a parade? Seriously

    1. Conversely, why do you care so much if other folks DO want to thrown her a parade?

      1. Why do you care what I think so much and I hope your therapist a) gives package deals to save you $$$ and b) has their own therapist because of you.

    2. I don’t think everyone needs to throw her a parade, but there is no need to rain on everyone’s parade.

      Personally, I think both Chellsie and Laurie are long shots to make the Olympics next year, if we even have an Olympics. But I am enjoying seeing both of them post skills so we can see what they are doing and would be happy to see either or both make it to Olympic Trials. It’s great that Laurie has found coaches that result in her having a happier experience with gymnastics and that Chellsie might get the chance to go out on her own terms rather than ending due to a denied petition from Marta.

      Sorry to sound like a pollyanna, but the world is shitty now and it’s nice to have something to celebrate and enjoy. Even if these comebacks may come to nothing, I’ll enjoy them for now.

      1. Chellsie is acting like this is just for love, like 2008, and 2012 doesn’t factor at all in her reason to want to try again. I have doubts we will ever even see her in a competition. And she is having a parade thrown, go to Reddit forum, or all around the gymternet.

      2. The Reddit forum pretty much consists of:
        – People who are more excited about Simone’s new boyfriend than about gymnastics (and similar – people who are excited about Chellsie as a person, etc.)
        – A couple of pedants who think they know everything because they once googled 1980s gymnastics for a couple hours.

        I think it skews very young.

        I wouldn’t spend time there if that stuff ^ gets on your nerves.

  9. What’s the connection between Lori Strong and Jay Clark that makes Lori’s daughter Jay’s niece? Lori’s sister is married to Jay? Or Lori’s husband and Jay’s wife are brother and sister?

      1. Former gymdog Julie Ballard is Jay Clark’s wife. Lori Strong married Steve Ballard, Julie’s brother.

  10. Be kind. There’s no need to decide “what to do about Terin” at all. There’s no requirement that we must judge everyone in the world or immediately come to a collective consensus about whether they belong in the “good” box or the “bad” box. Terin comes out as a survivor and the response is to decide how we should judge her? That says a lot more about those judging. How about just let it be. There’s no need to decide anything about Terin, as if you’re part of some court. There is a third option. You don’t have to decide if you think Terin is “good” or “bad” or more good than bad, or more bad than good. You can just let reality be. Leave off judging others’ actions when it’s not actually productive. What is productive is to fight for what you believe in and support the things you love. It doesn’t make you a good person, or a better person, to be constantly figuring out where other people fit on the morality scale. Nor does it make the world better to be constantly thinking and analyzing this way. Be you and do you. Stop focusing on what you think everyone else’s imperfections might be. There is an option just to love, and send love to what you do support. And one of those things would be Terin’s strength as a survivor. Try sending love, even to those you don’t agree with. Unqualified love with no “buts” or “even thoughs” or “despites”. Just try it. It doesn’t mean you support your opinions any less. It means your big enough to send unconditional love.

    1. The elephant in the room is people generally thought Terin was a jerk before this (at least in her professional capacity) and now they don’t know whether they can acknowledge that without being the jerk who shits on an abuse victim.

      It also exposes the raw, ugly question that no one wants to deal with. We are generally in agreement that no Nassar victim had an obligation to report him, but what happens when those same victims grow up and take jobs where they’re required to protect kids who continue to be exposed to the abuser? In Terin’s case, she didn’t know that Larry’s “treatments” were abuse until much later but some of them knew it at a younger age, or at least strongly suspected something. What if one of them had grown up to become the athlete rep, or an elite coach, or some other leadership position? What if this hypothetical adult-in-leadership WASN’T abused, but had grown up hearing her teammates chatter about Nassar’s treatments?

      It’s starting to feel like the vast majority of adults in the center of power of the elite program are either perpetrators or victims or abuse (maybe both, a la Anna Li). That creates a really messed-up atmosphere because the abusers obviously can’t be trusted and the victims are (rightly) given a lot of leeway.

  11. And let’s add Ashton Kim’s letter to Texas Dreams (or as she puts it, Nightmares) coaches Kim and Chris to the long line of exposing abusive coaching …and Kim Z was a Bela gymnast so you’d think she would’ve thought “gee, that was a crap p way to be treated ” but no, winning is everything is what she learned from that experience…

    Ashton’s comments shouldn’t be all that surprising as there has barely been any gymnast that makes it out of there without a zillion injuries and can do more that one event in NCAA , if at all….Baker and Smith probably being the only ones I can think of …..tons of talent trained to death there ..

    1. Doesn’t make it ok, but I think Kim thought she was taking the parts of the Karolyi techniques that made her a “strong” gymnast (heavy conditioning, discipline and preparation), but also listening to her athletes more and being kinder to them, as she saw it. But that stuff is so ingrained in you after going through the system that it still was very much a part of the culture at TD. Athletes still didn’t feel comfortable speaking up or that their injuries were taken seriously because it’s not part of the nature of gymnastics in the US for women, full stop. Coaching is still fear-based, even if it’s “benevolent.”

      1. For elite/high level optional coaches in the USAG system, was there any sort of continuing education beyond “compare notes with your colleagues at the ranch?”

      2. After reading Kennedy Baker’s letter today, I don’t think there was anything “benevolent” about Kim and Chris’ coaching. Horrifying is more like it.

    2. Aside from Baker- Chelsea Davis, Tiffany Tolnay, and Llomincia Hall are the Texas Dreams gymnasts I recall making it through NCAA. I imagine Kindler will nurse Smith through a full career as well in the same manner she managed Vise. I think Kiya Johnson is also in good hands at LSU.

      To be honest, I always so Zmeskal as an odd combo of dependent and exceedingly resilient. I think she fully believes the Bela/Marta were great people with her best interest at heart. And when you consider her follow up to them was MLT who she also says was generous to her… I think she is probably a good person who needs some type of training/consultation to find a proper perspective. As much as we want to pretend all these coaches are hopeless, if USFSA had either the athletes or coaches best interests at heart they would really be doubling down on mentoring and intervening with coaches who seem to be going off course. I know people who have been abused or grown up around addicts. They might appear functional but they are often so impacted they literally need group support or some type of therapy to break from the patterns they learn. They repeat awful or codependent behavior without any intention.

  12. Something to watch out for vis-a-vis NCAA. The NCAA plans to cancel the championship for any sport where more than half the eligible teams cancel their season. All of Division II and III and some DI conferences outside the Power 5 have already canceled for the fall. Presumably the Power 5 will be the last holdouts since they would leave the most money on the table.

    In NCAA women’s gymnastics, just 32 teams are from schools primarily affiliated with P5 conferences (10 B1G, 8 SEC, 8 PAC-12, 3 ACC, and 3 big 12). Theres a very real chance the postseason gets canceled by default even if some teams/conferences want to compete.

    1. If decisions are being made this week to cancel all fall season sports, then what would be the likely time frame for such a decision to be made regarding the winter season sports (including gymnastics)?

      1. Just as fall sports are driven by football, winter sports are driven by basketball. Basketball season usually starts around thanksgiving. Schools will also need to make plans for the spring semester writ large around that time.

  13. Ferrer not being cleared to compete for Auburn, and DD retiring have nothing to do with each other. Ferrer already sat out a season and LSU had already deemed her medically ineligible so LSU was done with.
    Ferrer was accepted to Auburn and was going to compete, but she was ruled medically unable to compete by Auburn medical staff. The reason she was ruled ineligible was due to her mental health issues, which she has already shared she struggles with. Additionally she admitted to having an eating disorder and stated that she recovered. Apparently the team didn’t want to take a risk considering her mental health and former eating disorder and so she was not cleared medically. Ferrer is naturally upset that it didn’t work out. Her and her mother calling the decision “unethical” is because they don’t think it is “fair” for Bailey. I have to wonder if Ferrer was completely honest with Auburn about her health to begin with and then they found out she was not.

    1. This just shows that while there are obviously benefits to the individual and the public good by being open and honest about certain health issues, it remains very much a double-edged sword.

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