Around the Gymternet: Flawless victory

“This is the best thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” -Somebody find out who made this Mortal Kombat video and give them a gold medal, stat.

Cancel all my meetings

The ladies are at worlds. Spotted in Doha: Team Greece, Team Brazil (here’s their lineup), Team China, Team Germany (bonus: puppy), Team Belgium, Team Japan, Team Spain, Team Russia (lineup), Aliya being better than you on the beam, and Aliya being better than you on the floor. Gymnasts from India are sadly absent.

We’ve also been treated to some Team USA training videos, plus their training leos, which come in pink, purple, throwback, and rainbow (read it however you like).

The boys too. Podium training has begun for the dudes. Here are videos (thank you, Scott), plus word of a broken pommel and an update on your king, who won’t be doing the all-around.

But of course. Since nothing can just be normal, teams have met with floods, some indoor raining, and a hard floor in the training gym.

Here’s your watch schedule, and a preview of the ladies’ all-around (spoiler alert).

Wut happened

Mary Bono stepped down. USA Gymnastics interim CEO and president Mary Bono resigned on Tuesday after four days on the job. The resignation comes after Simone Biles called out Bono for her September anti-Nike tweet, and Aly Raisman found out that Bono worked for USAG’s law firm in 2015.

USAG said that Bono was not “counsel of record” during the time when the law firm was assisting USAG, and invited feedback for their next CEO hire.

Steve Penny was arrested. Former USAG president Steve Penny was arrested on Wednesday for tampering with evidence in relation to the Larry Nassar case. Penny is charged with ordering the removal of documents from the Karolyi Ranch. He was arrested while on vacation in Tennessee with his family, and his lawyer said he had no idea he had been indicted and that he is “confident” that the allegations “will be disproven.”

Psst: If “removing documents” sounds familiar, it’s because allegations of moving medical records from the Karolyi Ranch appeared in Jordyn Wieber’s lawsuit and Rhonda Faehn’s congressional testimony, at the same congressional hearing where Penny pleaded the fifth.

Evidence also suggests that Penny asked the FBI to help protect USAG’s image during the Nassar scandal, even offering an FBI agent a job with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

USAG and the USOC are under investigation for possible ties to a cover-up. USAG says it has “fully cooperated” with investigations. They later announced that Steve Penny has been placed on the permanently ineligible list.

Tasha came forward. Tasha Schwikert came forward as a survivor of Larry Nassar’s abuse, along with her sister Jordan, on Thursday. Tasha also alleges that Penny pressured her to support USAG during the Nassar scandal, including providing a statement about her positive experience with USAG, which was tweeted during a 60 Minutes interview with survivors.

Other survivors have chimed in: Jessica Howard says Penny is “guilty as sin,” and Lindsey Lemke says she feels “validated” by the arrest. 

  • Michigan State University police say “significant” fraudulent claims were made to the victims’ assistance fund, but not by survivors. The fund has been frozen for months.
  • Dan Kendig, Nebraska’s head coach for 25 years, stepped down on Tuesday.
  • Dave Brubaker, former head coach of Canada’s women’s program, will be tried for sexual assault starting on Monday.

Required reading

  • Where are the adults at USA Gymnastics? The future of the sport is in jeopardy (ESPNW)
  • USA Gymnastics is out of chances to get its CEO hire right (ESPNW)
  • The USOC needs to intervene with USAG (Outside the Lines)
  • Throw another log onto the ongoing dumpster fire that is USA Gymnastics (The Boston Globe)
  • USA Gymnastics’ week to forget shows the newfound power of athletes and the law (CNN)
  • Vera Caslavska and the forgotten story of her 1968 Olympics protest (BBC)
  • America’s gymnasts deserve better than USA Gymnastics (Teen Vogue)

Star status

Out of worlds. Helmi Murto of Finland, Rianna Mizzen and Kiara Munteanu of Australia, Lucy Stanhope of Great Britain, and Laney Madsen of Bulgaria are sadly all injured and won’t be competing.

Surprise appearance. Denisa Golgota is in Doha despite earlier muscle issues.

Worlds comebacks. Oleg Verniaiev says he wants to do the all-around in Doha, and Ellie Downie is ready despite continuing foot pain.

Laurie’s comeback. Laurie Hernandez is co-hosting American Ninja Warrior Junior and says her current goal is to make 2019 worlds team.

Staying social

Nastia danced. Nastia Liukin joined Mary Lou Retton on Dancing with the Stars for a trio dance. Jury’s out on whether they put their gold medals together to combine their powers.

Singapore’s gymnasts napped. Apparently the team does nap workshops. Guess the grass really is always greener, after all.

Sergei got his medal. A special ceremony was held for Sergei Naidin to accept his bronze medal on parallel bars at YOGs. (He was not able to make it to the regularly scheduled programming due to back pain.)

Gabs is acting. Gabby Douglas will be in a Hallmark movie. Fun fact: I once worked at a Hallmark store. We called it Hellmark (clever, I know).

Shang Chunsong is living life. And I’m just…[fights back tears]…just so *happy* for her.

Last words

There’s…a lot happening. Did I miss your favorite worlds team, or anything else you think is worth sharing? Leave a comment.

P.S. First episode of the Believed podcast is here.

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24 thoughts on “Around the Gymternet: Flawless victory

  1. Does anyone have an inkling as to why Ellie Downie’s injury isn’t healing? Aside from not resting it properly? Severe tendonitis maybe?

    To me, she probably shouldn’t be competing if she’s experiencing that much variability in her ability to compete.


    • I don’t think she’s been competing long, either. I mean, she isn’t essential this year. GB would probably make top 24 without her, so I hope she just watered down routines and stays healthy enough for 2019.


  2. No Idea why but I’m guessing it hasn’t been rested properly. Injuries to the top girls plus poor reserve options means that GB are desperate.


    • I was thinking about this the other day. With Taeja and Lucy injured, and I think Latalia and probably Maisie (I think Maisie would have made reserve over Emily Thomas if healthy), there really are not many options left.
      Hopefully GB will learn not to rely on the same 4/5 gymnasts all the time now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oooh Taeja is injured? That would explain why she wasn’t on the team or reserve – I was wondering about that.

        The strength of the Downie/Downie/Fragapane/Tinkler quartet kind of makes you forget that GB really doesn’t have THAT much depth after all. But I think it will come along. Amelie Morgan coming up is really exciting for them, especially since she doesn’t seem to be locked in mortal combat with the beam at every turn.


  3. I still do not know how I can watch in the US? Do I have to have Olympic channel to see any of it? Will it be on just regular NBC? It should not be this hard to watch a sport that I LOVE and have been following since 1972!


    • If you go to the USA Gymnastics Facebook page, they have times and channels posted. For instance, women’s podium training is Tuesday (tomorrow) at 11am ET on Youtube. I’m sure they will post the link. It looks like NBC Sports Live will cover all qualifications, and the the Olympic Channel will cover all Finals (Team, AA, apparatus). However, Finals will be re-broadcast in the evening on the NBCSN Channel.


    • It will probably be on regular NBC but it may not be in real time or show all the coverage you want. If you want to watch on the Olympic Channell, usually if you already have a TV provider and the Olympic channel isn’t showing it “free”, all they require is that you log in with your current provider on their channel.
      If you don’t have a current TV provider, I would highly recommend signing up with YoutubeTV as a provider. Unless they’ve changed recently, you can sign up and cancel anytime (no yearly contract), so you could just sign up for this month and cancel next month (and pay about $40). Then you can use YoutubeTV as your TV provider to log into the Olympic Channel coverage (and additionally get the NBC content streaming on your computer as well).


  4. Pingback: Around the Gymternet: Flawless victory | species specific

  5. So what is happening with Shang Chunsong?!?! Sorry, I don’t ha e Twitter, I know she was on the provincial team before but has she retired again someone PLZ tell me I’m dying.


  6. Very disgusted to see Nastia associating herself with Mary Lou Retton, given Retton’s consistent support of the USAG coverup and actions to prevent the protection of gymnasts. I don’t think Nastia has bad intentions but she should be more aware of the optics of associating herself with someone who has clearly supported Penny, USAG, and the Karolyi Ranch.


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