Ellie Black: superhero gymnast, superhero human
In the News
Athletes call for resignation of GymCan’s CEO. In the aftermath of the McLaren report’s release last week, Olympians Kyle Shewfelt, Rosie MacLennan, and Ellie Black have written a letter to Gymnastics Canada’s board of directors demanding the resignation of CEO Ian Moss and board chair Jeffrey Thomson, sharing concerns related to Safe Sport, the health of the organization, and lack of transparency, and stating that they don’t feel these leaders “have the skill sets or capacity” to implement changes that would shift the culture of the sport in Canada.
The athletes also requested a meeting to debate this issue, asking that it take place no later than February 15. You can hear more about this and the reasoning behind the decision in this interview with Jennifer Fraser, a member of Scholars Against Abuse in Canadian Sport, that aired on the CBC last week, and make sure you’re following Gymnasts for Change Canada on Twitter for more comprehensive updates as they happen in this quickly-moving story.
Hanging up the grips. There were two pretty high-profile retirements this week that left me pretty bummed. One was Claire Pontlevoy, who made her worlds debut in 2019 at just 15 years old, helping France qualify a full team to the Olympic Games and earning a reserve spot for the bars final. She seemed to have a brilliant future for the program until a knee injury sidelined her shortly before the Covid pandemic, which – along with a more recent ankle injury and then another surgery – left her unable to train.
Also announcing his decision to retire was two-time Olympian and 2017 high bar bronze medalist Bart Deurloo, who has represented the Netherlands as a senior at the highest international levels since 2009. Deurloo is now coaching for his program, currently working with standouts Jordi Hagenaar and Martijn de Veer.
Not a “loser” anymore. What’s the opposite of retiring? Because that’s what Dorien Motten is up to! The Belgian veteran – who we previously announced will now represent Georgia internationally – shared her new experiences in an interview with Sporza, discussing how welcoming her new federation has been after she felt like a “loser” in her home country, saying that she had nowhere left to go in Belgian gymnastics but “wasn’t ready to let go of gymnastics.” She also talked about the issue of taking spots from other athletes in her adopted country, but felt Georgia made sense because currently, there isn’t anyone competing at a high enough level who would be affected by her move.
Geurts no longer heurts. Dutch gymnast Elze Geurts, who had a stunning comeback in the 2021 season to nearly make the Olympic team and to earn a finals spot at world championships, is finally back from an ACL injury that kept her out of competition last year, and she reportedly has “almost all of her skills back!” She’ll return at the Luxembourg Cup later this month, and is also likely expected to compete at the DTB Pokal team competition in March. Now 27, Geurts’ goal is to make it to both Euros and World Championships this year.
I can’t believe Russian MAG used to give me so much joy. Well, it shouldn’t be surprising at this point, but I was still pretty depressed to read that the entire 2020 Olympic gold medal-winning Russian men’s team donated a drone to the Russian army, with soldiers thanking the men in this video. This comes just as the IOC and FIG have been considering bringing Russia and Belarus back in time to qualify for the Paris Games, and while I understand that some people don’t want to see the “politicization” of sports and “feel bad” for the poor, sweet, non-drone-gifting athletes out there…I don’t know, I still think things are kinda worse for Ukrainians, no? And if their athletes are saying “please no Russians so we don’t have to be reminded mid-competition of our friends and families being murdered by their gifts” I feel like we should probably listen.
Marinitch’s replacement is in. Last week, Vitaly Marinitch was let go by the French federation due to “inappropriate behavior” that involved drinking and being an ass to a physiotherapist, and the men’s program was quick to replace him, naming Laurent Barbiéri as the manager of the MAG national team. The federation said Marinitch had been carrying the team and called his departure unfortunate, and Barbieri now has some pretty big shoes to fill as the team prepares for Euros, just two months away.
China’s winter training camp. I’m super grateful for the Reddit user who translated this news clip of the Chinese national team at a training camp, which gives us a glimpse at some training footage. There is a focus on first-year senior Qiu Qiyuan, who dealt with a knee injury last year but has new skills she’s keeping a secret, and we also get to see interviews with Ou Yushan and Wei Xiaoyuan, both of whom were in their “recovery phase” at this camp.
Elite qualifiers. Last week’s elite qualifier in Las Vegas saw 11 gymnast earn their scores to reach the senior and junior elite levels, including Kaliya Lincoln, back from injury with a 52.900 in the all-around and a massive 14.1 on floor! Today we saw a few more added to the list at the Buckeye meet, and there will be two more in February before we take a little break.
Stanford Open. So many of the biggest MAG scores of the year so far have come from last weekend’s Stanford Open, which offered a simultaneous collegiate meet and Winter Cup qualifier while also being part of the Grand Prix series that offers prize money to MAG athletes. Asher Hong won the all-around, rings (along with teammate Mark Berlaga), vault, and p-bars, while Khoi Young took the title on floor and shared the high bar title with Ian Gunther, and Vahe Petrosyan – the only non-Stanford athlete in this bubble – won pommels. Additionally, Gunther, Noah Newfeld, and Anthony Koppie earned Winter Cup spots here, joining a number of others who have recently earned spots or who have petitioned in.
Top 12. The first WAG edition of France’s Top 12 league kicked off last weekend, seeing wins from Saint Lo, Hyeres, and Lyon, and though there weren’t any earth-shattering scores in any of the matches, Djenna Laroui was a pretty strong all-arounder for Lyon, while Alexandra Lens put up a 13.266 on beam to win her duel.
The men’s competition was a bit more exciting, partly thanks to some international guests, including Nicola Bartolini with a 14.666 on vault, world pommels medalist Harutyun Merdinyan with a 14.5 on his key apparatus, and Nestor Abad with a 13.866 on high bar. This was the fourth in the six-part regular season for MAG, and both races will continue on February 11.
Rosters and draws and bids, oh my. There was so much news about future competitions this week! We got the draws for the junior world championships, which begin at the end of March, and the nominative rosters for both the Cottbus and Doha world cups, coming later this month and in early March, respectively. The list of competitors for the English Championships is also out, and features Becky Downie in her first meet back post-injury, the list of nations expected at the DTB Team Challenge is here, and the UEG announced that Tel Aviv will host European Championships in 2025, which is kind of shocking given Israel’s history in Palestine and the current ban of the Russians and Belarusians for literally the same thing.
Coming up. Next weekend will see the City of Lights national qualifier in Orlando and the continuation of the Top 12 series in France, while Italy’s Serie A season will kick off in Florence. This competition typically has a YouTube stream and live results, so we’ll try and preview/share everything as it gets a bit closer. Keep your eyes on Twitter in case we can’t get around to making a whole formal post!
WGYM rankings. The top four teams continue to separate from the rest a bit, but have seen no movement compared to one another nearly all season! OU rattled Denver on the road last weekend, earning the best score of any team so far this season by three tenths with a 198.425 (though the Pioneers were still pretty awesome in their own right, getting a season-high 197.425 to jump up a spot in the rankings), while Florida topped Georgia at home, Michigan went big with a 197.975 against Ohio State, and Utah secured a win against Washington. UCLA climbs up one spot after tying Oregon State, while LSU dropped down after losing on the road to No. 18 Arkansas.
1. Oklahoma 197.969 (no change)
2. Florida 197.700 (no change)
3. Michigan 197.619 (no change)
4. Utah 197.569 (no change)
5. UCLA 197.325 (+1)
6. Auburn 197.306 (-1)
7. California 197.231 (no change)
8. Denver 197.069 (+1)
9. LSU 197.040 (-1)
10. Kentucky 197.025 (no change)
MGYM rankings. Even though Stanford was without several of its top athletes who competed as part of “Team USA” during the Stanford Open, the team had no problem taking down Cal and securing its top spot in the rankings, all while spreading the wealth in terms of lineup opportunities. Their 406.750 wasn’t quite the 420 we saw in the previous week, but it didn’t affect their standing at all, as the team is still nearly four points ahead of OU, which went 405.400 last weekend against Illinois and Air Force. Also notable was Ohio State jumping up two spots, dropping the meet to Michigan, which also moved up after both teams improved on their averages.
1. Stanford 412.450 (no change)
2. Oklahoma 408.625 (no change)
3. Ohio State 401.417 (+2)
4. Nebraska 401.383 (-1)
5. Michigan 401.188 (+1)
6. Penn State 400.988 (-2)
7. Illinois 399.967 (no change)
8. California 392.525 (+1)
9. Navy 391.283 (+1)
10. Air Force 388.925 (-2)
Leeiah Davis to LIU. After leaving Fisk’s program following allegations of bullying and hazing in her first few months on the team, Leeiah Davis has found a new home at LIU! It’s a pretty massive change for the gymnast, especially in her freshman year, but I hope the Florida native is adjusting to life in New York, especially as we prepare for a big freeze this weekend!
Clara commits! One of the top Canadians in the Class of 2024, junior world championships competitor and national standout Clara Raposo shared this week that she’s heading to the University of Utah! Raposo, 17, made a massive impression in her comeback at Elite Canada a couple of weeks ago, winning the senior title on beam after multiple knee injuries and surgeries kept her out of competition for three full years.
Norah’s skincare routine. In the most important gymnastics journalism of our time, Tess DeMeyer of The Athletic finally got the scoop everyone’s been waiting for their entire lives – what is Norah Flatley’s skincare routine?! The Arkansas athlete said she primarily uses Youth To The People’s Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser, Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, La Roche-Posay moisturizer, and, “of course,” sunscreen.
And I leave you with… Don’t miss this absolutely gorgeous beam routine from Canadian-Hungarian elite Ilka Juk, who earned a 9.925 for LIU last weekend with a level of difficulty that seriously deserves bonus at this level. The wink! Pretty much no one is doing it like her.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
6 thoughts on “Around the Gymternet: Reporting on skincare routines is responsible journalism”
Great news about Clara Raposo!
So happy for her after such a dramatic few years! I have a feeling her NCAA career will be outstanding.
Maybe if they publicly suck up to Putin, they keep themselves from being drafted. There’s a lot of untrained Russian men dying because Putin has a man power shortage. Cannon fodder.
I’d buy that for a lot of them, and understand that the majority of the population needs to do this to survive. But with how much sports is celebrated in Russia there’s no way he’s sending his top athletes to die in battle. All of their military connections and assignments have always been more performative. They’re propaganda machines that Putin needs at home, but I guess if any of them were like “sorry, but no” then that’s when he’s like “get thee to the front.” But with Nagornyy I sincerely believe he is living for this.
This is awful, how come they give drones? Shoudnt they concentrate on sport? I was for them to compete since sport is sport and other countries including US have been involved in wars(many) bit their athletes never been banned from competing but i dont remember them sending bullets and bombs! There might be a question if they were forced to send it so it looks like they all support the war including the athletes etc, but surely this dosent look good/right from
Any point of view. Hopefully the international federation are aware about this?
I agree and also thought it was weird that suddenly we want to ban athletes from aggressor countries, but we never did this for the U.S., Israel, Azerbaijan, China, etc. But what so many of the Russian athletes are doing to help the war effort and with propaganda is gross – especially considering they used to consider people like Oleg Verniaiev and Igor Radivilov their friends, and now they’re helping their country destroy their friends’ homes, families, etc? I can see why the Ukrainian athletes don’t want the people who are responsible for atrocities competing next to them and I am fully supportive of the Ukrainians’ requests to keep the Russians banned. I assume the FIG and IOC are aware, but Russia is so important in sports, I feel like they’d never actually punish them and will allow an “ROC” team again just like they did when they “punished” the country for doping. They let Russia get away with everything.