Around the Gymternet: The good, the bad, and the fugly

kyle

“Predators rely on silence, fear and shame to keep their victims quiet. It is time to take that away from them.” -Survivor Kyle Stephens in The Washington Post.

Comp news

A whole new camp: USA Gymnastics has released the roster for the February 25 verification camp. The camp will be held at Louisiana State University and will be used to assign athletes to various World Cups. 

The verification will be open to parents and athlete chaperones, and will be live streamed on YouTube. April’s camp, which will be used to choose the Pacific Rim Championships team, will take place at the World Champions Centre in Texas. 

Sausage fest: Two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak won the all-around gold at the 2018 Winter Cup Challenge. Thirteen-year-old Asher Hong took the junior title, and twelve athletes were named to the men’s senior national team.

Jesolo’s a go: Olivia Dunne, Adeline Kenlin, Alyona Shchennikova, Tori Tatum, Grace McCallum, Emma Malabuyo, Ragan Smith, and Sydney Barros are all confirmed for Jesolo. They will attend on behalf of their clubs, not USAG, and thus will not be able to participate in the team event.

Classic WOGA: Japan’s Hitomi Hatakeda and Kiko Kuwajima led the senior all-around at the WOGA Classic, earning the gold and silver, respectively, with Irina Alexeeva of WOGA snagging bronze.

Org failure

Yeah, nope: Some Olympic gymnasts—including Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney—have refused to participate in the U.S. Olympic Committee’s independent investigation. Raisman has said that she does not trust that the investigation will be truly independent or thorough.

You don’t say: USA Gymnastics told Congress that it has not used non-disclosure agreements in the Larry Nassar case, with the exception of McKayla Maroney’s. John Manly—Maroney’s attorney—called BS.

This information was part of USAG’s response to Senate inquiries. Still, U.S. Senators are concerned about “potential systemic issues” within USAG and the USOC and want more information. In addition, U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney says the House Oversight Committee’s investigation should be broadened to include the NCAA and the FBI.

The law: The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act was signed into law on Wednesday. Created in response to USAG’s (mis)handling of Nassar’s abuse, the law stipulates that adults that interact with athletes must report abuse to authorities within 24 hours.

Coming forward: Former Parkettes gymnast and current lawyer Jessica Armstrong says she was abused by her coach in the 1970s and 80s. In 2012, she made proposals for making the sport safer and presented them to USAG, but they were ignored.

In the interim: USAG has made some progress in filling slots in the interim board, including by appointing athlete rep Ivana Hong as the women’s athlete director and Buckeye coach Kittia Carpenter as one of the national membership directors.

The state of Michigan

Staying, humble: Michigan State University’s faculty voted “no confidence” in the school’s board on Tuesday. The board met on Friday, when the chairman called the vote “humbling.” Protesters held signs and interrupted the meeting, but the trustees do not plan to resign.

They don’t recall: MSU—along with USAG and the USOC—have submitted responses to congressional inquiries. MSU told Congress that employees “do not remember” any reports made about Nassar’s conduct. Survivor Larissa Boyce, who came forward in 1997, calls BS.

Outside help: MSU hired former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard to represent the school in upcoming investigations. They’ve also hired Kroll—a global risk solutions firm—to investigate how the school can reduce the time needed to process Title IX complaints.

The law: A bill (the ALERT Act) introduced on Thursday would require state university presidents to personally review sexual abuse cases involving university employees, and the Michigan Senate threatened to withhold funding from schools that do not meet sexual assault prevention standards.

Required reading

  • Survivor Lindsey Lemke wrote an open letter thanking the media for listening to survivors: “We are finally being heard.” Miss Val is in her corner.
  • Katelyn Ohashi writes about the emotional toll that elite gymnastics took on her: “Our voices were never heard sooner simply because of the fear instilled in us and the authorities that silenced us.”
  • Hair winner Aimee Boorman on the future of USAG: “We can and will take back the organization we have invested our time and passion in.”
  • The parents of survivors speak up: “We don’t trust anybody anymore” (Michigan Radio).
  • Survivor Jade Capua of Naperville, IL tells the Chicago Tribune what it was like to speak at Nassar’s sentencing: “I don’t know what it did to him, if it made an impact. But he did hear me.”

Star status

  • Amazon princess Aly Raisman posed nude for the Sports Illustrated 2018 Swimsuit Issue, later tweeting “Women do not have to be modest to be respected.” She responded to backlash, saying “I just don’t understand and it really makes me—it’s devastating.” 
  • Raisman also said she might skip Tokyo 2020 to focus on “fixing this organization.” When asked if she would consider pursuing politics, she said “I’m very honored, but I don’t know enough at all right now,” a sentiment which in itself makes her more qualified than many politicians.
  • India’s Dipa Karmakar will not be competing at Commonwealths this year due to her knee injury. Her coach says she’s now aiming for the Asian Games in August.
  • Spain’s Ana Perez had wrist surgery, Russia’s Elena Eremina had back surgery, and it appears that Dutch gymnast Sanna Veerman is out of the American Cup.

NCAA corner

When I was at Harvard: Here are recaps of the weekend’s meets.

We’re all this child: Watch this adorable video of a fan sobbing because she got to meet LSU’s Sarah Finnegan.

The good: Stanford senior Elizabeth Price stuck her DTY and got a ten on floor.

The bad: Alabama senior Mackenzie Brannan ruptured her Achilles and will be out for the rest of the season, likely marking the end of her career.

The fugly: Arizona had a grand total of two people go up on vault at Saturday’s meet against OSU, due to suspensions and injuries.

Because you asked…

Who is responsible for wolf turns, and what is their address and phone number? Oh, no reason. 

Staying social

Get that D: Land mermaid Riley McCusker is training a double layout.

Going for it: Jamaica’s Danusia Francis is making progress on bars, hitting a full routine on Wednesday. Meanwhile, I ate an entire bag of Reese’s hearts in one shame-filled sitting.

Tweddle 2.0: Brit Olympian Becky Downie’s connection-heavy bar routine looks amazing, and she also just joined Team Nike.

Pupsessed: Simone Biles’ new dog Lilo got all decked out in a Texans cheerleaders outfit. Ready to pupport the team (sorry) 20/10. Speaking of outfits, Biles wants Adam Rippon’s.

More baby news: Hollie Vise, who I’m just now learning is married to Alex Naddour (?), is having another baby. It’s a boy.

Lay it all out: Rudi queen Guilia Steingruber is training a Moors because why the hell not.

Dive right in: Trinity Thomas casually “took up” diving, as one does.

Last words

I wrote an op-ed that appeared in Teen Vogue last week. Love it or hate it, I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

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15 thoughts on “Around the Gymternet: The good, the bad, and the fugly

  1. Ereminas out with back surgery. USAG is in shambles. GB has like five decent seniors . Romania’s still a garbage heap. Rebeca Andrades knee is barely a knee anymore. I know it’s not all about the major countries, but nope. I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Giulia’s Moors looks awesome. Crazy how what she does in competition is nowhere near the limits of her capability. Her floor last year was scaled back to protect her foot (and she still would have made the freaking floor final at Worlds if not for the OOB penalty). I’m really excited to see what upgrades she’s going to do this year.

    Like

  3. What’s up with Sydney Johnson-Scharpf? Her Instagram shows her competing at meets under level 10 rules and scoring but she still claims to be an elite gymnast. Every time someone asks if she dropped down to level 10, she says no. I thought in order to compete at such meets you had to petition back down to level 10.

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  4. they can’t compete as a team because it is not sanctioned or approved by USAG. I don’t understand why they can’t get it together and let these girls compete as a team! I fear that a lot of elites are going to be retiring because of all the scandal and the “depth” that we used to have will go WAY WAY down! Hope not, but I hope and pray that USAG can get their act together! On another note, has Trinity Thomas dropped out of elite? Also, I hear Aly is not going to pursue 2020.. good idea since I don’t think she would make it anyway!

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    • Why would they retire because of the scandal? They worked hard to reached this level, I don’t think the scandal is affecting the current gymnasts much except there is no national team coordinator at the moment.

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  5. About Ivana Hong, I read right here in this blog-comments Section:
    -“ …and also takes some unconventional tacks like having required Bibly study (which, according to my understanding, is part of her view of caring for the athlete as a whole person). While, again, I really haven’t heard anything too bad about her, I just don’t think she’d necessarily be a good fit for that kind of role.“
    Really that she was indicated for that role now for real??? A person that obligate her athletes to perform bible studies?????
    No no no no nooooooo!
    Bad begin!

    Like

  6. What’s happening with Arizona’s athletes? The comment under ‘the fugly’ subheading in this article implies at least a few people have been suspended. I’m British and don’t live in the US but I’ve been following NCAA gymnastics for quite a few years now and in that time suspensions have always seemed quite unusual, and I’ve never come across multiple suspensed athletes in one team, does anyone have any more information? I’m intrigued abour what’s gone down there now!

    Like

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