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134: 409 Wins Restored, Lives Still Ruined

The PSU gymnastics team wrote 409 on their hands. Jessica is furious, find out why.
The PSU gymnastics team wrote 409 on their hands. Jessica is furious, find out why.

 

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In the News

In the news, Uncle Tim, Spanny Tampson, and Jessica chat about (time stamps in parenthesis):

  • Catalina Ponor is training again. Will she make the Romanian team? (3:30)
  • Texas Dreams is raising an army of artistic gymnasts.
  • Our listeners really liked this girl Colbi FloryTexas Prime Meet:
  • Lilia Podkopayeva  resorted to thievery and dancing as a form of protest in order to defend the efforts of her team at the Legendz Classic. (11:00)
  • Katelyn Ohashi returns to competition! (14:35)
  • Spanny declares Oklahoma the new queens of choreography and has an out-of-body gym-gasm experience watching Chayse Capps in person.(40:15)
  • Kyla Ross working new skills and applying to Stanford next year. (23:30)
  • NCAA rankings and a review of the 10’s on vault. (33: 28)
  • Kennedy Baker (Gators) does the sassiest arabian double pike in all the land. (48:45)
  • Our picks for NCAA floor champ if as of right now, including Denver’s Nina McGee. (51:45)
  • Alabama vs. Arkansas – Katie Bailey (Bama) might have done the highest full-out in the history of gymnastics; Courtney Kupets makes her debut as a television commentator. (1:01:50)
  • UCLA vs. Arizona – Sam Peszek invents a new skill to cover a wobble, and Arizona continues their Halloween themed dramatic floor choreography. (1:15:25)
  • PSU vs. Nebraska – where Nebraska continues to push the difficulty level with E’s on floor and variety on beam; while PSU star Robles steals the show. (1:21:16)
  • Rage-o-Meter: Jessica is furious that the Penn State gymnastics team wrote the number 409 on their hands, according to a television broadcast, to honor football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno who was fired for failing to report child molestation to police even though it happened in the Penn State locker room and was reported to him by an eyewitness. (1:24:35)

Related Links

Jerry Sandusky grand jury report.

Joe Paterno grand jury  .

The Freeh Report.

Article: What Paterno Admitted he knew: Sandusky couldn’t have done it without him

Article Penn State Hockey : Decision to put 409 stickers on helmets overshadowing program

Article Penn State Hockey: Athletic Director Sandy Barbour apologizes for 409 sticker tweet.

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22 COMMENTS

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David Wenger
David Wenger
7 years ago

Shit, Jessica…Here I thought “409” was meant to refer to the number of sexually abused children, their parents, close friends, lovers, partners, and offspring, whose lives were irreparably altered due to a conspiracy of money grubbing, career enhancing, and morally depraved coaches, administrators and perps! Geez, I’m just so naive sometimes!

KT D
7 years ago
Reply to  David Wenger

“As part of a proposed settlement announced Friday, the NCAA agreed to restore the vacated wins that were part of the Sandusky scandal punishments. The victories again officially give former coach Joe Paterno 409 wins and make him the winningest coach in FBS history.”

Kari
Kari
7 years ago

I disagree with what you guys said regarding Ponor & Isbasa. I think the point Lauren was trying to make was not who deserved anything- they are all so talented the best will have earned a rightful Olympic spot- but what happens next quad and the quad after that? Where are the NEW Sandra & Isbasa to lead the teams, and be dependable medal contenders? We cant assume Lari will stay around after a second Olympics, ya know.
What I gauged from Lauren’s article, and agree with, is that some of the younger girls show potential to be better gymnasts, eventually, than P&I because they’re about average on FX and BB, and will improve, but they’re also finally swinging bars better (Iridon, Jurca and Tudorache esp.) and that can be upgraded, plus and all can do DTY’s. Thus, they can become excellent AAers one day! But when you bring back your aces, you neglect developing that potential, in which case Ponor and Isbasa will ALWAYS be better than the younger girls. Recall that ROU neglected all their senior girls this year because as long as they had Didi and Lari they only needed to have a team full of one trick ponies to put in 3rd position on any apparatus. But then Didi couldn’t make World’s and all those girls who should’ve been given upgrades throughout the year came to world’s with 4.9 d-scores on UB, 5.0 on FX and 5.5’s on BB. When’s the last time you can recall a Romanian senior AT WORLD’S with a 5.5…on BEAM !?!?!

The chicklets need more attention paid to them in the gym, they need more intl competitions to make them consistent, and they need their federation to believe and invest in them; show them that there is a system that can still produce top gymnasts not a system that depends on greatness produced 8-10 years ago. Do we forget Raluca Haidu and why she quit (a girl they could’ve used this year ironically)?

PP
PP
7 years ago
Reply to  Kari

I might have lived under a rock the last couple of years, so please excuse my perhaps dumb question, but why did Haidu quit? I never looked in to that.

Hayley
Hayley
7 years ago
Reply to  PP

The reasons given as to why Haidu (and Chelaru) decided to quit were all pretty vague. Here is an article about Haidu’s retirement: beautifulgymnastics.blogspot.co.nz/2013/01/another-one-bites-dust-romania.html and one about Chelaru’s: http://wogymnastika.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/romanias-catalina-ponor-and-diana.html. The Romanian gymnastics federation seemed to be pretty disappointed with London, and seemed to subsequently step up training measures directly after.

Hayley
Hayley
7 years ago
Reply to  Kari

I’m a little confused about your insinuation that the Romanian gymnastics federation have basically abandoned the idea of trying to increase younger gymnast’s difficulty because they prefer to coast off Bulimar and Iordache. I’m sure they were all well aware of the possibility of one, or both, gymnasts getting injured or even deciding to retire from the sport ala Porgras. Furthermore, I’m sure many federations are looking at US and wondering how they’re ever going to be able to challenge them if they keep going at the rate they’re at now, and I’m sure they realise that a big factor to the US’s success is their insane depth. Of the girls on the Romanian Worlds team least year (Iordache aside), to me Iridon and Ocalisan were the only two that show real promise as internationally competitive elites.

I agree with you that relying on Izbasa and Ponor is a bad idea long-term, but if that’s the only option available to Romania right now, and Izbasa and Ponor want to be back on the team, you can’t fault them for running with it. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s better than the alternative.

Hayley
Hayley
7 years ago
Reply to  Hayley

Whoops – meant Munteanu and Ocolisan, not Iridion and Munteanu. I get the two Andreeas confused.

Kari
Kari
7 years ago
Reply to  Hayley

I hope i didn’t mean to make B&B sound like heinous villains, that was not my intention. But, as coaches they have questionable training techniques and allow certain things to happen in their gym that top federations like USA or a friendlier fed. like GB wouldn’t allow. For instance, in interviews in 2013 (some translated by The Couch Gymnast) B&B either outright defended or were passive in rejecting the brutalist training regime from “the olden days”. When Belu was asked if hitting kids (either by spanking or slapping them somewhere, excluding the face) was ok he said yes. He said yes because ‘discipline is the foundation of results’ blah blah blah. Mind you these coaches were dismissed after 2004 because of abuse allegations. So my first point of order is that B&B, while maybe not encouraging it, do not see anything wrong with gymnasts working in a hostile stressful environment.

The second thing I have against them is their grudge against RGF and the gov’t for getting rid of them in the first place and not giving Belu some high class position he wanted in gov’t ( i forget what). Anyways, the latter has nothing really to do with the grievance. So B&B were brought back to boost ROU chances of an Olympic medal. When they came back they were very positive and respectful about the whole situation. But after a while they began to make little statements here and there that they felt most of the girls were not good gymnasts and were not at the caliber that their girls (think Athens team) was. Maybe its the truth but its the way they said these things, onetime to romanian television media right after euros RIGHT INFRONT OF THE GIRLS, that’s just tactless and mean. It eventually became my opinion that what started out as simply being unimpressed with the girls grew into some sort of mild hatred of them, like they couldn’t separate their resentment of the ppl who forced them to leave the team from the girls who were trained by a diff coach (again, this is simply my analysis and anyone is free to see events differently).

Belu and Bitang used to be very efficent but i think that unlike the Karoyli’s who saw that coaching needed to evolve just as the sport was, B&B never really let go of some of the more damaging ways they get their girls to the top of the podium. So things like mind games and bullying are seen as toughening the girls up and sorting out the weak and strong but all it did was demoralize everyone in the leadup to London. Especially when Isbasa and Ponor came back and they flat out said ‘ok for Euros we’re just looking for 2 more girls cuz Larissa, Ponor and , Isbasa are going’ even tho the latter two had not even returned to full difficulty in programs, they just gave up on the others. And when you think of how they’ve been running the program this quad… (not being supportive at World’s and saying that they were retiring after 2013, saying last year that they are not the natl coaches, not travelling with the team or training them and now in 2015 they once again are the national coaches…it’s so wtf i can’t even). A good coach would not leave a top team like ROU destabilized for so long b/c a head coach plans the short term and long term direction of the team, and guides each individual’s progress towars that collective goal so for them to just eff around b/c of grudges is immature and makes victims of the gymnasts. The results of their havoc: Raluca Haidu, Gabriella Dragoi, Diana Chelaru, Amelia Racea and Ana Porgras all quit within a year (2012-2013), and many of the seniors simply have not shown any progress (save Larissa) from their junior days that distinguishes a gymnast who knows the strengths and weaknesses of her program and knows what and how to work on fixing it. So sorry this post was long I just wanted to explain myself ?:)

Kari
Kari
7 years ago
Reply to  Hayley

OMG. I forgot i wrote a comment here and never returned to it. Does anyone still care for a response lol?

Hayley
Hayley
7 years ago
Reply to  Kari

Sure!

Nick Mann
Nick Mann
7 years ago

I think the reason they ARE coming back is because they are needed. Maybe that will motivate others to learn whatever skills they are lacking…and I feel only the best will make the team!

I also remember Ponor posting a pic of Donald Duck and a bunch of baby ducklings and Donald was HUGE compared to the real baby ducks….she tweeted ‘My teammates and I in London!”

Doc Marten
7 years ago

OK, here’s the problem with the Romanians: They STILL depend on the old paradigm-the kids are sent to Belu and Bitang in Izvorani, and they train there. Now, THAT has been an issue since the abuse allegations in the Romanian media in 2001. Romanian parents have been RATHER reluctant to send their kids to B&B. also, the Romanian economy has improved, thanks to Romania joining the EU. So, It’s up in the air.

Lauren H
Lauren H
7 years ago

Jess, I just finished listening to the podcast, and just needed to say THANK YOU for expressing your anger about the BS 409 crap. I couldn’t have expressed my own anger over that nonsense more beautifully than you did. The whole thing just makes me skin crawl, makes me want to burn things, and I can’t believe any of the gymnasts agreed to have 409 written on their hands. UGH!

Cristina
Cristina
7 years ago

i think that the fact that Catalina and Sandra can comeback and if they come back to the level they were in 2012 (or maybe even less) they will be on the team it’s not playing favoritism. If they are good enough for the team, they should be on the team. I just think the fact that they can be on the team so easily and push out younger gymnasts speaks volumes about the state of Romanian gymnastics. That they have to rely on older gymnasts, the same gymnasts time and time again to keep their program at the same level they’ve been. If Larisa had been injured during last year’s worlds, Romania wouldn’t have qualified for TF. And the young ones are nowhere near the same level as Larisa or even Didi and that’s sad to see.

Maria
7 years ago

Jessica, your “Rage O Meter” was spot on this week. That behavoir disgusts me and it disgusts me that winning is more important than integrity and honesty. Joe Paterno knew what was going on and did nothing about it. As a woman and a feminist this disgusts me, as a human being this disgusts me. It disgusts me that Paterno let this go on for years just so he could win a few God damned football games. As a woman, I am disgusted because sexual abuse and rape are such under-reported crimes. Simply because it’s your word against your rapist. Paterno had a clear opportunity to do the right thing and to stop the abuse from happening, but like you said, he let it continue in the name of winning and fucking football. Lives were ruined, families destroyed so that Penn State could win a few FUCKING FOOTBALL GAMES. This is the same reason I have refused to watch NFL football this year and that includes the SuperBowl. I was disgusted that the NFL gave Ray Rice, basically just a slap on the wrist after the video of him punching out his wife in an elevator came out. Just so the god damned Baltimore Ravens could continue paying that asshole millions of dollars a year.

abbeyviolet
7 years ago

Love, Loved the review of Oklahoma! I’m an OU alum (not a gymnast though) and have been attending meets off and on for about 15 years. I have thought for a few years that people were really missing out on how amazing they have become. I thought the comments about this being why NCAA gymnastics is is amazing and important were spot on. Thanks for the love for my OU team, it is well-deserved. #BoomerSooner

Meg
Meg
7 years ago

Regarding Kyla potentially picking Stanford over UCLA because she might be a better “fit” there – in my opinion, a lot of the girls who choose UCLA are girls who really enjoy the spotlight and the “LA” of it all. I’m glad Kyla knows herself and I think she’ll enjoy Stanford a lot should she choose it!

abbeyviolet
7 years ago

Fun fact I just noticed, one “could” attend the OU/Florida match-up in Norman on March 6th and then the AT&T America’s Cup in Dallas the next day and have a very good gymnastics weekend. (They are about 3-4 hours driving apart or a 30 min flight). Just thought I’d pass that along in case you or your listeners are interested.

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