Around the Gymternet: Six more weeks of winter

Florida says EQUALITY

In the News

Don’t go with the Flo. The big drama of the week was USA Gymnastics announcing a five-year deal with FloSports that will give Flo the rights to air dozens of meets each year, as well as international rights for meets airing on NBC’s platforms. The decision sparked immediate outrage as fans recalled FloSports’ decision to link to private images of McKayla Maroney that had been posted to 4chan in a massive iCloud leak back in 2014, which obviously isn’t a good look for an organization trying to rebuild its reputation following a long history of athlete exploitation and sexual abuse cover-ups.

Back in 2014, we wrote extensively about what Flo – then Gymnastike – did in revictimizing Maroney by linking to her photos, and then justifying their decision to keep the link live, and FloSports’ statement about what they did and how they’ve “grown” to become better contradicts and leaves out much of the original story. I hope they have changed for the sake of the athletes, but if you have concerns about the partnership, you can sign this petition asking USA Gymnastics to revoke the contract with FloSports.

“Totally dysfunctional.” The Zurich-based law firm Pachmann Rechtsanwälte conducted an independent investigation that looked into allegations of abuse in Switzerland’s rhythmic gymnastics program, finding that the federation has a “totally dysfunctional high-level sports concept” with more than 90% of gymnasts regularly yelled at over the past eight years, more than 60% regularly insulted, more than 30% regularly ridiculed in public, and more than 25% regularly suffering physical violence. The federation said it will follow the firm’s recommendations to make a positive and lasting change, starting with a strategic reorientation that names Fabio Corti as the new central president and Béatrice Wertli as the new director. The firm also encouraged the federation to “treat gymnasts decently” (a concept!), to establish a medical commission and a national reporting center, and to improve the training and education of coaches.

Berki’s back? The Hungarian legend Krisztian Berki might be coming back, but not to compete. Instead, it looks like he’ll be stepping into a brand-new director role at the Hungarian federation, created with him in mind late last year. It’s still unofficial right now, but 24.hu got the scoop from an insider at the federation, and then when they reached out to Berki, he referred them to the general secretary, who confirmed that the new role does exist, and that the media will be informed about the filling of the position “in time.” Meanwhile I’m absolutely obsessed with gymnastics gossip being legit news in Hungary.

Gold Over America. The Gold Over America Tour, aka the post-Olympic tour headed up by Simone Biles featuring an all-star list of female athletes that currently includes Danusia Francis, Laurie Hernandez, Morgan Hurd, Peng Peng Lee, and Katelyn Ohashi, is officially on! With the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, the fate of the tour was up in the air, but it looks like with Tokyo most likely going ahead this summer, the tour will also likely happen afterwards, tentatively scheduled for 35 cities between September and November. Tickets aren’t yet available, and there will be more cast members added as more details are confirmed, but hopefully everyone can get vaccinated in the next seven months so this thing can actually get lift-off!

Star Status

The Wiskus report. Shane Wiskus decided to skip out on the beginning of his senior season at Minnesota, electing to remain at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to focus on training for the Olympic Games. Traveling back and forth between Colorado and Minnesota to double-team NCAA and elite would require lengthy quarantines causing him to miss valuable training time, but if possible, he’ll try to rejoin the Gophers near the end of the collegiate season.

The Xiao update. The Chinese Olympic Committee gave us an update about MAG star Xiao Ruoteng, and this twitter thread recaps it nicely, telling us that he’s trying to “maintain a balance between training full routines and managing nagging injuries” after the postponement of the Olympic Games and missing out on many competitive opportunities in 2020. Xiao also said that “losing the national all-around title [in 2020] helped him know what to improve on” going forward. Oh, and he got a cat and wants to spend all of his time with it.

Skinner’s in the gym. MyKayla Skinner shared an update on YouTube about going back to the gym for the first time since she had to take a month-long break due to her experiences with COVID-19 and pneumonia. She said this is the longest break she’s ever had from the gym, which isn’t ideal with just five months to go until the Olympic trials, but she didn’t feel as weak as she thought she would, and while she mostly stuck to basics, her coaches remarked that she mostly looked like she didn’t take any time off.

Tinkler’s on ice. Amy Tinkler was announced as a replacement for an injured competitor on the series Dancing On Ice with professional skating partner Joe Johnson after training in secret as a reserve for the past three months. She made her debut this weekend, skating to the musical Fame, and fans of the show loved her, calling her performance ‘underscored’ and ‘robbed’ of better marks from the judges.

Meet Updates

This weekend. A few meets will take place this weekend, including the second U.S. elite qualifier of the season, as well as the WOGA Classic and the Liukin Invitational. While the latter two both generally have large international fields in the elite sessions, this year the competitions will be restricted to U.S. gymnasts only, with athletes from Discover, Mavericks, Metroplex, Pearland, Texas Dreams, World Champions Centre, and WOGA in the women’s meet.

Elite Canada. Gymnastics Canada has shared a bit more information about how this year’s virtual Elite Canada will work, with video submission now taking place beginning tomorrow, February 3, through February 9, while judging will then happen from February 12-14. At the conclusion of Elite Canada, the first technical trial (March 11-20), and the second technical trial (April 15-24), the women’s program will present awards to the top eight all-arounders and the top three on each apparatus, using the best score for each gymnast from any of the competitions. They’re also ‘investigating options’ for making routines available for viewing.

NCAA Corner

The Rankings. Well, this certainly was a week, now, wasn’t it? Florida continues to crush it, and they maintain a stronghold on the top spot in the rankings. Oklahoma dropped two spots this week and fellow Big 12 team Denver dropped three, while Utah, Arkansas, and Alabama all moved up the rankings. UCLA also climbed this week, moving into the top 10 to displace Georgia, with the GymDogs now down in 13th.

1. Florida 197.506
2. LSU 197.008
3. Utah 197.000
4. Arkansas 196.775
5. Oklahoma 196.606
6. Alabama 196.581
7. Michigan 196.538
8. Denver 196.483
9. UCLA 196.450
10. Iowa 196.442

The weekend wrap. Florida and Utah look postseason levels of amazing right now, Oklahoma had three falls on beam and couldn’t crack a 196, Nebraska also had a rough week, made even more painful as former Husker Addy de Jesus posted the fourth Perfect 10 in Iowa State’s history as the Cyclones upset Big 12 rival Denver, Cal competed for the first time this season to debut at 19th, and Washington and Oregon State continue to struggle, as do many teams who are having trouble putting together full lineups, with Bowling Green especially affected this week, fielding only four vaults.

Florida said equality. The Gators celebrated a very special pride night on Friday, championing love, respect, and equality as a cause that’s near and dear to their hearts. The team also re-shared junior Savannah Schoenherr’s beautiful coming out story on social media, and several gymnasts took to social media to talk about why this meet was so important to them.

Where was LSU? The Tigers couldn’t compete this weekend and had their meet with Auburn postponed due to “COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing within the LSU program” which like, color me shocked. According to The Advocate, the SEC put these protocols in place to deal with “an inevitable case of COVID-19 impacting a team,” though coach Jay Clark said there is no outbreak, blaming the problem on contract tracing monitors that determined the gymnasts spent too much time in close distances despite “restricting themselves socially” (we can literally see their social media, but good try). The team was tested again over the past week, and everything looks good, so the meet with Auburn was rescheduled for February 5.

Now you’re just showing off. While some teams are doing the absolute least to stay protected, Cal junior Milan Clausi was like “here’s how it’s done” and competed on both vault and beam with her mask on. She did remove her mask for floor, but I can barely carry my mail up the stairs with a mask on without complaining, so I’ll give her a pass on that one.

Staying Social

Laurie Hernandez’s floor. Our girl has outdone herself yet again, sharing a sneak peak of her floor routine, which includes music from the musical Hamilton. Laurie, you absolute queen.

Clara Raposo’s double double. After suffering a season-ending injury while competing her Yurchenko double last year, Clara is back and better than ever, showing off an awesome double double on Instagram. Swipe to get a peek at how her vault is going as well!

Tonya Paulsson’s layout Jaeger. I’m obsessed with Swedish bars queen Tonya’s Jaegers in general, but she’s really upping the game with this layout Jaeger she shared from a recent practice.

Kaylia Nemour’s inbar layout Tkachev. This video is a two-for-one! In the background of Alizée Letrange-Mouakit training a lovely van Leeuwen, peep junior prodigy Kaylia Nemour working an inbar layout Tkachev!!! She doesn’t catch it here, but it looks promising to me.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

7 thoughts on “Around the Gymternet: Six more weeks of winter

    • LOL yes, I love all of these coaches being like “we follow the rules super closely!” and it’s like, we see everything you do! Hide it better, or better yet, actually follow the rules!

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    • Yes!!! And she’s a SENIOR! I’m so excited for her. Even if it’s too soon for her to get to the Olympics this year, I think she’ll be a great option for worlds.

      Like

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