This week, Alexis Brown joined us on the podcast to talk about her experience kneeling during the national anthem in the 2017 and 2018 NCAA seasons, the reaction from within the gymnastics community (spoiler alert: it was bad!), and her thoughts on the current protests of police brutality. So, I recommend giving a listen to her story.
WATCH HERE Club Gym Nerd members can watch the podcast being recorded (pre-edits with all the flubs and hiccups) and see video of the routines we discuss. THIS WEEK Mark Alesia, formerly of the Indy Star and part of the team that reported the Criminal Ex-Doctor story, joins us to discuss Athlete A and #GymnastAlliance The Dutch federation has shut down the women's elite program to conduct an investigation into coaching abuse. What does it all mean? Terin Humphrey is a survivor. We discuss reconciling that with her…other behavior and why her complaints about USAG removing her don't really add up. What Terin has to say about Steve Penny trying to influence team selection Chellsie's comeback – it's officially official! We talk about her skills and her interview with the Olympic Channel Sam Mikulak says he will retire after the Olympics, citing a chronic wrist injury and a desire to preserve his mental health MINI-COMMISSION Desirae asked us to come up with a gymnastics coaching qualification system for the US—what courses, information, and classes would we require? We have a lot of suggestions. GYMTERNET NEWS A story of abuse allegations coming out of New Zealand that we have some questions about Australia's Human Rights Commission is reviewing Australian gymnastics Some…unfortunate incidental translation issues from the FIG The Pac-12 football boys are making Jessica's dreams come true Plus, spending the day with Aliya JOIN CLUB GYM NERD Join Club Gym Nerd for access to Behind the Scenes episodes. Buy our awesome clothing and gifts here. We have masks too! RELATED EPISODES 434: Svetlana Khorcanceled 433: Weirdest Gymnastics Exhibitions of the 90s (Commissioned) 432: #GymnastAlliance Best of GymCastic: The Leotard Episode 431: 2003 Team Final (Commissioned)
Being an icon as usual, Kennedy Baker got the “we’re not going to keep our experiences of gymnastics racism hidden anymore” ball rolling earlier this week when she posted about Florida silencing her when she was on the receiving end of racist comments from her team.
Despite there being soooo much nothing going on, the gymnastics news hasn’t fully stopped, and a number of gymnasts have let us in on their career decisions made during the apocalypse. A rundown:
New Zealand and Boise State gymnast and overall gem Courtney McGregor announced her retirement this week. As you’ll recall, Courtney set the tone for 2020 when her Achilles exploded in the very first meet of the season, and then the entire world went, “So…same I guess” and we’re all currently working under the theory that she is an oracle.
She did have the option to return for a fifth NCAA season in 2021, but as she explains in her post, given the uncertainty surrounding the season and the fact that she has already completed her academics, returning to BSU for a maybe-season was not the right call for her.
Right now, I’m thinking about that time at worlds last year when I went into the training hall and her coach immediately yelled, “ONLY NICE COMMENTS” at me. As if there would be any other. Happy retirement, Courtney.
USAG announced today that the 2020 editions of Classic and Nationals are officially off and that we all just have to reset for the 2021 editions instead. Sigh. Previously, the party line had been that these events were postponed and that USAG would reassess possibilities for holding them in late summer or fall, but that always seemed like a pipe dream. You can’t really set a date (or venue) for nationals if you can’t set a date for athletes to return to their gyms first.
In a statement, USAG said, “Listen up, pee heads, we have literally no reason to try to organize these meets without crowds because then we can’t charge 8 million gold bars per ticket—or, I mean, after consulting with public health experts and in an effort to protect of our community and the wider world, we will not hold nationals this year.”
Nadia Nadia Nadia. Much Nadia. With an extra dash of Nadia. The Olympics of Nadia—in which Comaneci came away with three of the five individual gold medals—also produced perhaps the least controversial Olympic beam champion of all time. I mean…uh doooyyy.
Comaneci’s beam routine in 1976 raised the difficulty stakes well beyond the “OMG an acrobatic element” world of the 1972 Olympic by incorporating a front aerial, a side aerial connected to back handspring, a series of back handsprings, and a cartwheel into a layout double full dismount in an event-final routine that easily outpaced the rest of the competition in both difficulty and execution.
Awarding a 10.000 to her event-final routine really prickles the old anxiety muscles given her not-close-to-stuck dismount, but the superiority of Comaneci’s routine compared to the rest of the field is indisputable.
The race for gold may have been ultimately uneventful (Comaneci ended up needing only 9.800 in the final to win, and home girl wasn’t getting some 9.8 on beam like a common farmhand), but the race for silver proved dramatic, coming down to the beam queen of the previous Olympics—Olga Korbut—against The One Who Wasn’t Nadia—Teodora Ungureanu.
In 1976, Korbut was still a strong gymnast and not the “why is she so old and gross now?” bucket of bolts of popular conception whom the New York Times evaluated as follows: “At times her hair was messy and her smile a hollow grin. She was an also‐ran.” Great.