Episode 9: Chellsie Memmel, Swiss Cup & FIG Presidential Proposals

Chellsie Memmel

Chellsie Memmel


This Week's Interview

On November 12, 2014, Chellsie Memmel stopped by. We talk about our favorite routines from the Swiss Cup and discuss the platforms Grandi, Stoica and Titov ran on in their FIG presidential campaigns.  We talk to Chellsie Memmel who gave us very honest and frank answers about her experience being eliminated from the 2012 Olympic trials process; how Steve Penny suggested her retirement after Classics, being announced as an alternate live on television in 2004, finding love while being an elite athlete, making the team but competing with a severe injury in Beijing and how she made the decision to move on from her longtime coach Jim Chudy at Salto.

Related Links

Louis Smith Calendar

Blythe’s Notes from the 2012 Swiss Cup

Rybacki is the new Kathy Kelly

Karolyi confirmed as U.S. National Team Coordinator; Liukin, Rybacki get new job

Visa no longer the title sponsor for US Nationals

Platforms of the FIG presidents from the fantastic blog / FIG Watchdog,  The All Around 

Dvora for Deadspin U.S. Gymnastics Turns Its Back On Chellsie Memmel, Genuine Badass

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Episode 19: Andreea Raducan

Episode 19 Transcript

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This week we had the honor of talking with ex-2000 Olympic all-around champion Andreea Raducan. Raducan’s gold medal was taken away from her after she tested positive for the banned stimulant ephedrine. The drug was in the cold medication she was given by the team doctor the night before all-around finals. Her book, The Other SIde of The Medal is now available in English.  She talks about her start in gymnastics, life at Deva, that infamous night and what she’s up to now. She also busted some long standing urban-gymnastics-myths! We also talk about what we are thankful for this week in NCAA. Remember to check back here on Thursday and Saturday for quick hits from Winter Cup in Las Vegas.

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Buy her book in English on her Official Website.
Check out her interview with The Couch Gymnast.


Ryan in Lexington, Kentucky answered our GymNerd Challenge of the Month! We asked you to take someone’s gymnastics meet virginity this month. Here is Ryan with his friends from adult gymnastics at their very first gymnastics meet! Keep the photos coming!

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University of Minnesota beat Michigan and was ranked in the top 10 until this week when they fell to 13.

Iowa’s Anton Gryshayev Rings- 15.80 1st place

Kentucky’s Alexis Gross does a double front half out.

Episode 18: Bridget Sloan

Episode 18 Transcript

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This week we talk to 2009 World All-Around Champion and University of Florida freshman, Bridget Sloan. She tells us about the transition to NCAA gymnastics, the athletic trainer who she calls her surrogate father, air pollution at the Beijing Olympics, age falsification and Martha Karolyi commenting on her weight on television.

In that special way, that only the two best satirists in the business can do, Spanny and Uncle Tim review Gymnastike’s groundbreaking documentary series about Mary Lee Tracy’s elite program at Cincinnati Gymnastics. Check out Spanny’s recap here. We talk about our favorite NCAA meets so far, UW’s bad ass Kylie Sharp who is competing despite needing a liver transplant  and OSU’s shocking fashion-related injury that even the writers of Make It Or Break It couldn’t have thought up.

Ellis Mannon of Minnesota. High bar dismount of double front with one and a half twists.

Adrian Evans’ hand slips off of the ring before his dismount.

Watch more video of 2013 Navy Open – PSU, William & Mary, Temple, & Springfield at Navy on gymnastike.org

Landon Funiciello’s vault.

Watch more video of 2013 Navy Open – PSU, William & Mary, Temple, & Springfield at Navy on gymnastike.org

Unexpected Choreo of the Week- Kaylyn Millick from WV. Clean, crisp, and innovative (around the 9:30 mark).

Sarah DeMeo of Alabama vs LSU on beam.

Episode 17: Growing Up In The Soviet Gymnastics System And Training At Round Lake

Episode 17 Transcript

Lena Degteva in Ukraine

Lena Degteva (left) with her sister Marina in Ukraine around 1981.

This week we interview Canadian and NCAA champion, Lena Degteva. Lena was born in the mid-70’s in Lvov, Ukraine and later immigrated to Canada. The daughter of two gymnastics coaches, she quite literally grew up running around the famed Soviet national gymnastics training center at Lake Krugloye, affectionately known as,”Round Lake.” In 1989, Lena became the Soviet Junior National Champion and an official athlete-in-residence, training alongside greats like Chusovitina and Gutsu at Round Lake.

Lena Degteva is now a professional stylist based in Los Angeles. She is still connected to her gymnastics roots as a choreographer and custom leotard designer. She answers all of our deepest, darkest and most ridiculous Sovietophile gymnerd questions.

Here’s a look at what Round Lake was like around the time Lena was training there (1991).

Katy and Lauren answered our call for positive gymnastics stories. Read the full letters here. They are guaranteed to make you smile and warm your heart.

Beth Tweddle on wedgies and her bum.

Fill a blister or cover a rip with zinc oxide to quickly cure and  moisturizing a rip.

Fill a blister or cover a rip with zinc oxide to quickly cure and moisturizing a rip.

Gymnastics Zone’s discussion on rips and Jess’s Athletic Trainers description of her zinc oxide cure can be read here.

The Couch Gymnast’s full coverage of Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

Uncle Tim’s NCAA Bingo!

NCAA Bingo by Uncle Tim

NCAA Bingo by Uncle Tim

Burlington Gymnastics, in Canada to host Masters Gymnastics World Championships in March for adults.

2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival – Team – Catherine Lyons (GBR)

Ponor’s double layout beam dismount into the pit.

MyKayla Skinner Double Double Layout

Bridget Sloan of Florida on Floor Jan.18.2013 vs Missouri

Spanny’s pick for “Birds Nest” of the Week

Spanny’s “Nice Try Choreography” of the Week

Bekah’s Get a Grip Gymblog’s Vlog Weekly NCAA Recap

Episode 16: Elizabeth Price

Episode 16 Transcript


This week we talk to 16-year-old Elizabeth Price of Parkettes. She’s coming off a stellar year, being named alternate to the 2012 Olympic Team, then winning back-to-back all-around titles at the Stuttgart and Glasgow World Cups. Next month, she’ll be joining Kyla Ross, Vanessa Ferrari, Asuka Teramoto, Larissa Iordache and Elisabeth Seitz at the American Cup.

Peszek and asac

2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Samantha Peszek, gives Alicia Sacramone a pep-talk in Beijing.

We are joined by special guest-host, World and Olympic medalist and 2011 NCAA beam champion, Samantha Peszek. She gives us her thoughts on the latest news, including Beth Tweddle on Dancing on Ice, Lloimincia Hall’s new floor routine and weighs in on Spanny’s week-one NCAA recap.

Michaela Chernoch of Southern Utah: Vault rotation at UCLA at 20 second mark.

Cool recap video of Southern Utah at UCLA

Haley Scaman’s Yurchenko 1.5 for Oaklahoma

Nicole Allen from Ball State on floor in 2012

Stars in Danger – Diving


Episode 15: Joan Ryan Author of Little Girls in Pretty Boxes

Episode 15 Transcript



This week we talk to award winning sports journalist Joan Ryan, author of “Little Girls in Pretty Boxes: The Making and Breaking of Elite Gymnasts and Figure Skaters.” Her book debut in 1995 was a controversial, ground-breaking expose that shook the gymnastics community. Ryan brought national attention to the training methods, eating disorders and lack of checks and balances in elite gymnastics. During that time, she was a guest on every major news outlet in the US. Her research forever changed the way gymnasts were trained and perceived by the public. Although she no longer follows the sport professionally, she sat down with us to discuss what her book meant both then and now.

Also, the 2012 GymCastic Champions are announced and we discuss the interview and book at length!


USA Gymnastics Athlete Welfare Policy. This includes definitions of physical and sexual abuse, screening policies and how to report abuse.

Safe for Athletes founded by athletes who were once abused by their coaches, this organization advocates for athlete welfare — striving to provide every athlete with a safe and positive environment free of sexual abuse, bullying and harassment.

Kathy Johnson, Betty Okino, Kristie Phillips and parents of Julissa Gomez and Christy Henrich on Oprah with Joan Ryan.

Little Girls In Pretty Boxes the movie.

Light or Dark: Putting Little Girls In Their Pretty Boxes

Dvora’s article in Deadspin,”Happy Girl, Sad Girl: Shawn Johnson And Dominique Moceanu Tell The Two Stories People Want From Their Sport”



 Ethan Polson back flip-a-day challenge even with cancer!

Special thank you to D Santos for our outro music.

Episode 14: The GymCastic 2012 Awards & Wish List

Episode 14 Transcript

Louis Smith has won Strictly Come Dancing.

In our end of the year award show, we talk about our favorites, argue about the worst, address crimes against gymnastics, present our wish list for 2013 and make predictions. We present the case, you pick the winners. Fill out our listener survey below to vote for your champions and tell us how we can make the show ever better!

In our first GymLine segment, we tackle whether or not to “help” a gay gymnast come out. GymLine is a service we provide for everything and anything non-technique related to gymnastics. Just call our hotline  (415) 800-3191 or find us on Skype under username “GymCastic Podcast.” Leave us a short message with your name, city and question.

Olympic Ticket Scandal “You couldn’t get best seats at the Olympics because VIPs took them. More than half the tickets for many of the biggest events at London 2012 were set aside for VIPs or other Olympic “clients”, official figures showed…” Official Ticket Report. 

Chalk Bucket’s new App for Android phones.


Episode 13: Justin Spring

Episode 13 Transcript

Justin Spring at the Beijing Olympic Games

This week we talk to Olympic silver medalist and head coach of the reigning NCAA Champions at Illinois, Justin Spring. He tells us where his daredevil nature comes from, the origins of his unique and sometimes terrifying skills, about his proposed match meet format, the injury to Maestas, uniform changes for men and yes, we ask him about all of the controversial events at Illinois over the past few years.

We discuss our fantasy gym-acro floor combos, announce our gymnastics-holiday decoration contest and our new service for all of your burning gymnastics needs, called GymLine. A little bit like Oprah for gymnasts, or maybe like LoveLine for the nerves of the overzealous fan; we will answer your questions and solve your conundrums. Can’t figure out why your leo still rides up even after applying butt glue seven times? We can help with that. Need to decide which far away meet to spend your hard earned cash to travel to? We can help with that too. Call and leave a message on our Skype line (username GymCastic) or by calling 415 800-3191. Leave your name (or makeup a really good one), your city (or fantasy location) and try to keep the message under 60 seconds.  We’ll be back on January 2nd with our year-end award show.

Remember to send in photos of your entries for the gymnastics holiday decoration contest before December 28th!

Yang Bo ornament

Illinois Gymnastics Orange & Blue Exh. Highlights 12/9/12

No handed Onodi

Jeager from high to low, or a flipping straddle back from Sara at Chow’s.

Hope Spivey’s famous NCAA reverse routine

Mo Hulian FX 1997 Worlds, gym-acro reverse

Leon Purvis asks Gabby Douglas to prom

Jamie Dantzscher – 2000 Olympics Team Prelims – Floor Exercise pretend front 1/4 after first pass.

Liz Tricase 2004 Olympic Trials FX

Really, a tinsica should start like a cartwheel showing a side position but these are pretty close.

Episode 12: Miss Val Part 2

Episode 12 Transcript

Mattie Larson at Meet The Bruins

UCLA’s Mattie Larson at Meet The Bruins

This week we cover the Stuttgart and Glasgow World Cups, the two-per-country rule petition and Gabby’s book takes us into a discussion of life lessons in perseverance. A rare interview with FIG Women’s Technical Committee President, Nelli Kim leads to talk of ugly artistry, Uncle Tim teaches us about the YMCA’s contribution to US gymnastics and we continue our fantasy connection series with beam combos.

In part two of our interview with Miss Val, we discover how she and her former roommate inspired one of the creators of the television show Will and Grace, we find out why so many UCLA athletes have success in elite after college, why Canadians thrive in NCAA, de-programming damaged athletes to build self-esteem and tells us the price of going pro; the actual dollar amount after taxes and experiential cost. Lastly, she tells the story of the amazing wedding gift she gave to a fan.

Nelli Kim interview from Sports Panorama translation curtesy of Rewriting Russian Gymnastics.

Jenny Pinches interview with The Couch Gymnast

Two-Per-Country rule change petition and commentary from Dvora and The Couch Gymnast.

Blythe’s review of Gabrielle Douglas’s book “Grace, Glory and My Leap of Faith”

Uncle Tim’s review of Dvora’s book Hersey on The High Beam

Positive Coaching Alliance

Out gymnast Josh Dixon is a Stanford graduate and 2012 US National Team member.

Out gymnasts and University of Michigan graduates Ben Strauss and Evan Heiter shared their journey in an It Gets Better project video.

Will & Grace –  fast-forward to :40 second mark for the water bra episode highlight.

Kristin Furukawa BB- 2011 University of Minnesota

Doris Fuchs Brause Uneven Bars 1966

Mariya Livchikova BB – Front ariel front tuck on beam

Marcia Frederick UB 1978 Gymnastics World Championships

Svetlana Khorkina – 2000 Olympics EF – Uneven Bars

Ksenia Afanasyeva FX – 2012 Olympics qualifying

Episode 11: Miss Val

Episode 11 Transcript

We discuss the results and routines from the fall European series and the Mexican Gala, the history of the Sokol’s in the US and share the skill combinations we most want to see on bars and high bar. Then, in the first of a two-part series, we talk to UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field about why gymnastics matters, the power of an athlete identity, college gymnastics as a life skills class, basing personal value on performance, the Kellogg’s Tour, incentivizing artistry and her most embarrassing moment as a dancer.

Next week, in part two of our interview with Miss Val, we find out why so many of her athletes have the desire to go back to elite after college, why Canadians do so well in NCAA, de-programming deflated athletes to build self-esteem back up, and what she told famous gymnasts we all know, who shall not be named because we would never want to put their NCAA eligibility at risk [insert zerbert to NCAA rules here], about going pro.

American Sokol Organization. A Sokol Club in Cleveland with gymnastics for all.

American Turners 

Dvora’s article in Jezebel with sassy Sokol Olympian, 88-year-old Laddie Bakanic.

Help Jacoby by donating $1 to her recovery fund.

Paul Ruggeri’s Respect My Step Video 

Marian Dragulescu – Gangnam Style FX Gala de Estrellas Mexico 2012


Catalina Ponor & Marian Dragulescu – FX Gala de Estrellas Mexico 2012

Tommy Ramos & Jorge Hugo Jiraldo Gala de Estrellas Mexico 2012

Barbara Achondo Andino- FX EF World Cup Ostrava 2012

Ecaterina Szabo’s toe on 1.5 turn on low bar – 1985 Montreal – UB (00:27)

Shang Chunsong 2012 Nationals AA UB

Balavanov – layout Jeager