We have liftoff. The FIG posted the nominative roster for the Szombathely Challenge Cup, set to take place the first week of October. While pretty much every other LOC has canceled plans for world cups and other similar events in 2020, the Hungarians are like, we’re over it, and with 80 gymnasts signing up – including several who have qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games – it seems a lot of other people are, too. This will be the first international competition since the pandemic shut down Baku six months ago, and the organizers are following strict COVID-19 guidelines to hopefully keep everyone safe, but with cases in Hungary growing at an alarming rate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see athletes back out, or the meet canceled entirely.
American Cup. USA Gymnastics released its tentative 2021 calendar, which includes a weird hybrid American Cup slash Winter Cup that will act as a selection meet for Gymnix. Earlier this year, there were rumors that the American Cup was kaputt, but it looks like instead of going forward as an FIG world cup, there are maybe plans to morph it into a national team-wide event for the women, which I kind of love.
Pac Rims canceled. After initially being postponed to 2021, Gymnastics New Zealand has opted to cancel the Pacific Rim Championships “due to the domestic and global uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” New Zealand’s borders are essentially hermetically sealed, and are unlikely to open to many of the countries expected to attend, especially as some – like the United States – have been unable to contain the virus. Since this competition was supposed to serve as the continental Olympic qualifier for the Oceanic region, the FIG will now have to designate an alternate means of qualification for this berth.
Verniaiev’s a winner. The CSKA gym in Ukraine, where the men’s national team sometimes trains, hosted a closed meet for its competitors, which the national team guys attended. Oleg Verniaiev won the all-around, with Vladislav Hryko taking the silver, and they even got cute little medals for bragging rights.
In the News
CGA under fire. Inspired by fellow Cincinnati gymnast Alyssa Beckerman speaking out about Miss Val, former elite Alexis Beucler came forward with allegations of her own against club coach Mary Lee Tracy. Beucler’s story is a nightmare from start to finish, and she confirms the long-discussed rumor that MLT dropped her down to Level 10 without consulting her, one of the many sabotaging and psychologically abusive behaviors she exerted as a coach.
One of the most disturbing allegations is that Beucler went to Alison Arnold, aka Doc Ali, for sports psychology sessions, only for Doc Ali – the national team “peak performance consultant” who is probably not actually a doctor – to turn right around and share everything with MLT, who’d then use it against her in training. Doc Ali also came up in Jamie Dantzscher’s victim impact statement at Larry Nassar’s sentencing as someone who tried to discredit Dantzscher when she first came forward in 2016, though she has since claimed that the allegations were “very confusing” for her at the beginning and she now sees things “more clearly.”
In addition to Beucler, a Level 8 gymnast named Kaylee Fox also shared her story about the time she spent training under MLT, during which she developed multiple injuries as well as anorexia nervosa after her coaches put her on a starvation diet, telling her that a whole banana at breakfast was “too much.” Her story includes detailed descriptions of her eating disorder, including numbers and meal plans, but it’s an incredibly important addition to the narrative if you can manage.
But because MLT’s gonna MLT, instead of apologizing or even remotely reflecting on the fact that she literally psychologically tormented and traumatized children, she’s posting bible quotes about how everyone’s so mean to her and she’s the better person for “showing kindness to those who curse her.” Is that what Jesus would do?
What the Dutch? I can’t even begin to understand all of the drama happening in the Dutch women’s program right now, which comes after several former gymnasts have accused coaches – including Vincent Wevers and Gerben Wiersma – of abuse. Both coaches were initially suspended, and the KNGU put all national team activity on hold, but Wevers and Wiersma are now allowed to coach again “under supervision” and the national team women are allowed to train again with their personal coaches in Nijmegen.
Terin’s claims bid rejected. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indiana rejected Terin Humphrey’s bid to be included in a potential settlement with USA Gymnastics, citing missing a 2019 filing deadline as the reasoning. Humphrey, who came forward about her abuse this summer, alleges that she did not recognize herself as a victim until her memory was triggered at a prenatal exam last year, but the Committee of Sexual Abuse Survivors attorneys don’t buy this as a legitimate reason to have missed the deadline for filing a claim, which is actually super shitty of them. Her attorney, Robert Allard, says that the real reasons for ousting Humphrey are “petty and political” and that he’s “astounded that fellow Nassar abuse victims would take such actions” against her.
W&M scraps gym. The College of William & Mary is the most recent NCAA program to give gymnastics the axe, scrapping both its men’s and women’s programs along with five other sports at the end of the 2021 season, blaming budget concerns due to COVID-19. This leaves just 17 Division I programs alive on the men’s side, and while the women still have 58, losing two programs this year is devastating for a sport that can only offer 12 full scholarship spots per year.
The Golden Girl. The Andreea Raducan documentary The Golden Girl is now available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime! Apparently it’s only available for the U.S. and UK right now, but we’ll keep our eyes open for streaming links in other countries.
Scott to Florida. JaFree Scott, a first-year senior elite who trains at GAGE, committed to the University of Florida for the 2022-2023 season. JaFree missed some of 2018 and all of 2019 due to injuries, but she’s got major dark horse energy and has potential to make waves on the national team before going off to college. Check out a clip of her training bars, where she has a Tweddle to Jaeger!
We love to see it. Lynnzee Brown, a senior at the University of Denver, wants to stay in the gym after finishing her NCAA career with her sights set on representing Haiti at the 2024 Olympic Games. Brown, who’s father is originally from Haiti, still needs to work out the logistics, such as getting her dual citizenship and figuring out how she’ll pay for training, but she has a lot of support along the way, including from her club coaches at GAGE, as well as with her coaches at Denver, including three-time Olympian and Denver alum Jessica Lopez.
F the Hall of Fame. Ignore the bulk of this wildly incorrect and badly-punctuated Miss Val-centric article and look for the tiny paragraph that discusses what the title actually promises – that Jordyn Wieber will not attend her induction into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame because she “wants it to be clear that she does not condone they way [USA Gymnastics] handled abuse allegations.” Wieber, who is now the women’s program head coach at the University of Arkansas, said she was conflicted about the prestigious accolade, but while she’s proud of her accomplishments as a top U.S. gymnast, she will not support the organization in any way.
RIP Nina. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Nina Bocharova, one of the OGs of the modern era of gymnastics who helped launch the Soviet program into the stratosphere with her performance at the 1952 Olympic Games, passed away on August 31 at the age of 95. Bocharova was the Soviet national champion in 1949 and 1951, and in addition to her team and balance beam gold medals in Helsinki, she also won silver in the all-around and in the team portable final. After winning a second team gold at world championships in 1954, Bocharova retired from competing, and went on to become a coach for Ukraine.
Jackson Payne retires. Canadian gymnast Jackson Payne announced his retirement from the sport after over a decade of senior-level international competition. Payne was a four-time national all-around champion in Canada, a Commonwealth Games silver medalist, a seven-time world championships team member, and he won numerous medals at FIG world cups.
Just bein’ Biles. Simone Biles shared a video where she’s casually throwing a 1½ through to double layout on floor and making it look easy, because she can. I personally think it’s too easy for her, and kinda need her to up the ante. How about the 1½ into a Biles to punch front?!
Georgiamanar. The heat is on in the Amanar race for the British gals, and Georgia-Mae Fenton has thrown herself into the mix, with a gorgeous effort shown in practice. Fenton joins Ellie Downie and Jennifer Gadirova on the list of Brits with serious attempts, meaning GB could potentially have three Amanars in Tokyo. Game-changing.
What a badass. Greek god Vlasios Maras is training a Gaylord half (aka a Pegan) from L grip on high bar! #JawDrop
All natural. Remember when Gabby Douglas won f—ing gold medals at two f—ing Olympic Games and all anyone could talk about was her f—ing hair? Gabby posted a beautiful photo with a heartbreaking caption talking about how damaged her natural hair became while competing as a gymnast, which she says was so embarrassing, she’d cry about it all the time. In the photo, she has “no extensions, no clip-ins, no wigs, no chemicals,” proudly sharing that her hair is finally “all her.”
McCallum takeover. Two-time world champion Grace McCallum spent a day taking over Inside Gymnastics’ Insta stories, sharing gems like this split leap + side aerial + loso + loso on beam, as well as an inbar + Pak + van Leeuwen series and a Ray dismount on bars.
Why not. Here’s a 36-second clip of Sae Miyakawa taken from an hour-long live stream where she bounced back and forth between two trampolines at a trampoline park. Someone’s ready for All-Japan nationals!
Article by Lauren Hopkins