Around the Gymternet: When they go low, we swag high

USOC Portraits for Rio2016

“I want everyone to know that he did not do this to Athlete A, he did it to Maggie Nichols.”

-Maggie Nichols

What’s happening

Mags says #MeToo: World gold medalist and University of Oklahoma star Maggie Nichols revealed in a letter on Tuesday that she was sexually abused by former national team doctor Larry Nassar at the Karolyi Ranch, when she was 15.

The letter, which Nichols will submit to the judge presiding over Nassar’s Tuesday sentencing, states that Nichols was the first gymnast to alert USA Gymnastics of Nassar’s abuse. She writes that her coach Sarah Jantzi overheard her speaking about Nassar’s “treatments” and notified USAG.

Org failure: Gina Nichols—Maggie’s mom—calls Jantzi a “hero,” and says the abuse was the result of “gross negligence” on USAG’s part. She also says that USAG has never inquired about Nichols’ well-being or offered therapy, and that the org pressured the family to not go to authorities and to keep the matter quiet.

USAG responds: USAG released a statement denying claims that they tried to silence survivors. They also state that Nichols’ and a second survivor’s claims “did not provide reasonable suspicion that sexual abuse had occurred,” and that they notified the FBI of the alleged abuse after a third survivor came forward.

Aly is livid: Aly Raisman responded to USAG’s statement on Twitter, saying the org is “victim shaming” and that they are “100% responsible” for the abuse. John Manly, Nichols’ (and McKayla Maroney’s) attorney, also responded, calling the statement “cynical, false and misleading.”

Nassar’s sentencing: The Michigan Attorney General has asked the judge in Nassar’s case to sentence him to 40 to 125 years. Survivors will have the opportunity to speak at the sentencing on Tuesday, and the Attorney General expects at least 88 women and girls to give impact statements. 

Other org news: Meanwhile, Michigan State University has released details about their $10 million victims’ fund, and has also filed a motion to have lawsuits against the school dismissed, saying it is not liable for Nassar’s abuse. Twistars owner John Geddert has filed a similar motion.

A date has been set for a separate civil trial against USAG in Effingham County, Georgia. The lawsuit claims that USAG failed to protect gymnasts from abusers, particularly coach William McCabe.  

Standing by Maggie: Oklahoma University head coach K.J. Kindler, along with many, many others, has voiced her support for Nichols.

Nichols will compete for first time this year today at 2 PM EST. Stream the comp here (login required) and show your support here.

NCAA corner

Previously on NCAA: Here are recaps of the weekend’s meets, and you can relive last night’s Elevate the Stage meet in Reno with our live blog.

#ThePriceisRight: Stanford senior Elizabeth Price scored a perfect ten on bars, the first perfect score of the season. This is her second ten, if you’re just joining us.

Hawaiian shirt alert: Georgia junior Gracie Cherrey has retired due to injury. Head coach Courtney Kupets Carter says she looks forward to Cherrey “contributing to our team in many other ways.”

Speaking of CKC: She talked to ESPNW about her plans for the Gymdogs this year.

Never be royals: Since the tragic news of Prince Harry’s engagement broke, the ladies of LSU have taken matters into their own hands. Here’s the story of the “stick crown.”

Future’s so bright: Four level 10s have qualified so far to this year’s Nastia Liukin Cup, including one UC Berkeley and one LSU commit. A total of 36 will compete in the competition in March.

Gymternews

The first video in our series about Dynamo Gymnastics is up! Get a behind-the-scenes look at Canadian star Brooklyn Moors training for worlds, then remember your 2018 gym resolution and go cry yourself to sleep.

Because you asked…

Has anyone ever done an Amanar in NCAA? Has Ragan Smith been at camp? What about Ashton Locklear? How about this guy? Is he at camp? WHO’S AT CAMP, LAUREN.

Staying social

Bye bye braces: World champ Morgan Hurd is officially done with them. She’s also training a piked full-in on beam, and it looks amazing

Getting dressed: Brit Olympic bronze medalist Nile Wilson puts on his pants the hard way: with help from other men.

Love yourself: You have to watch this adorable interview Simone Biles did about body image on the Today Show. Or don’t, I don’t care.

Dom’s next stepThe Magnificent Seven’s Dominique Moceanu plans to open her own gymnastics and yoga center in Medina, Ohio this May.

Giving back: Actual ray of sunshine Laurie Hernandez went to an elementary school in Newark, NJ to promote literacy.

Need to know

New girls: The new Russian seniors are here to show promise only to crash and burn like dying stars once again. Lauren has thoughts, and her gif game is on.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: The FIG released the 2018 Technical Regulations showing a new team final format (section two, page 10) wherein team members from each country alternate on each apparatus, presumably to encourage more stare-downs in competition.

Jesolo’s a go: Nine countries—Brazil, Italy, Russia, France, Romania, Germany, Great Britain, Canada, and the USA—are set to compete at the City of Jesolo competition in April. Snaps to Emma Bailey, who keeps track of such things.

Last words

Yours truly will be attending her very first nationals this year in Boston, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel icky about it. Comment below on how gymnerds should make our feelings known, then read this to lighten things up a bit.

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14 thoughts on “Around the Gymternet: When they go low, we swag high

    • It means that if Russia and the US were rotating together on the same apparatus during team finals, they’d go up on Russian, then one American, then one Russian, etc (eg., R-US-R-US-R-US). The previous format was all one team, then all another team (e.g., R-R-R-US-US-US).

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    • I assume it goes something like this: say the US (consisting of Laurie, Simone, and Aly for this exercise) and Russia (Gelya, Seda, Aliya) are competing on beam. The order would go Laurie, Gelya, Simone, Seda, Aly, Aliya – instead of one country finishing its rotation and then the other country going up, the two are mixed.

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  1. I always wondered what could slow down/stop the USAG juggernaut. I never suspected a sexual abuse nightmare of their own making would be the culprit. Maggie is one of my favorite gymnasts and people. I believe everything she says about her abuse. It’s such a shame that the USAG did not believe her when she first reported it. I used to love reading about gymnastics in the mainstream press. But now I cringe because I know it means another victim stepped forward. At this point, I assume that the vast majority of gymnasts who were treated by *him* were sexually abused. This scandal is jaw dropping in its scope.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. even Simone Biles was also abused.

    I am guessing he basically did this probably several times everyday. Probably the worst sport scandal ever! Sad..:(

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  3. Somehow, it’s almost feel surreal that WAG might not be training anymore at Karolyi ranch. It’s too bad because that was where the U.S. started its currently unbeatable state. There’s definitely a lot of nostalgia. But also some badness to it. It’s a great facility that I wish didn’t have to be wasted. But if no one really wants to come back to it anymore than so be it….

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    • I will never think of the Karolyi Ranch the same way again. I used to hold it in reverence as the “place where champions are made,” but now it leaves a sad and hollow feeling. It’s a cautionary tale. All those titles and medals, but at what cost? Mostly, I think, “WHY WOULD MARTA ALLOW A MAN TO TREAT UNDERAGE GIRLS ALONE?!!! AND ADMINISTER A “SPECIAL” TREATMENT?!!!? The woman is sharp and detailed. There is no way she didn’t hear the whispers and the rumors.

      The Karolyis helped US gymnastics a lot. More than I can type. But perhaps they overlooked too much when building the best development system in the world.

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  4. I am not sure I can quite agree on the comments about the Karolyi’s and the ranch. The Karolyi’s always had a TON of crap following them that USA gymnastics and the media cared nothing about. What many of the athletes have talked about is all the horrible atmosphere from many adults involved – coaches, team co ordinators ect. only having contributed to Nassar’s abuse. The one thing I am not surprised about is the way it was handled for all of these years. I am surprised of the scale, however, that they let this man get away with this for so long. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but the arrogance and the negligence is a total disgrace and MSU and USAG honestly should be bitten in the a** hard for this.

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