168: Shannon Miller, Belarusgate, NED vs GB

Oct 7, 2015 | GymCastic, Interviews, Podcast

viatlana Lifenka and Valeryia Tsekhmistrenka ousted by Belarusan president behind the Bolshoi theater in minsk

Nellie Kim and Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko are at the center of a controversy that left Belarusian gymnasts, Sviatlana Lifenka (R) and Valeryia Tsekhmistrenka (L) out of Worlds.


This Week's Interview

The most decorated gymnast in American history, three-time Olympian, and Olympic gold medalist and world champion, Shannon Miller graced us with her presence for a second time! We squealed with glee! Shannon told us about:

  • Her new line of leotards and leisure wear
  • Handling commentators and public discussion of her body and puberty
  • Who she’s excited to watch at Glasgow Worlds
  • Chusovitina and the longevity of adult gymnasts
  • What she thought of the winning impression video from our It’s Not About Perfect book giveaway contest.
  • Tips on learning her famous back extension rolls on beam
  • Settles the debate for us: Is high altitude ever an excuse for poor conditioning?

In the News

In the news, Uncle Tim, Lauren Hopkins, and Jessica chat about:

  • Belarusgate
    • Two Americans were granted expedited dual-Belarusian citizenship and state that they will compete for Belarus instead of the native Belarusian team.
    • The American teens’ interview with International Gymnast was off-putting to say the least (read it here).
    • We separate fact from fiction and explain why the Americans aren’t technically switching countries at all or breaking International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) rules.
    • Lauren helps us get to know the current Belarusian team members
    • Uncle Tim puts this kind of “make your own team” activity into historical context for gymnastics and other Olympic sports.
    • Our opinions on what the unintended consequences of this precedent could be and where we should go from here.
  • Netherlands vs. British-friendly meet
    • Eythora Thorsdottir debuted a new floor routine that’s causing controversy and our artistic hearts to bleed with joy!
    • Could Ellie Downie be the dark horse for an all-around medal in Glasgow?
    • Why the Netherlands are leading the way: in innovation, the Spirit of The Code, and unique beam construction.
  • Natasha Coates is our gym-hero of the week!
    • Find out why here.

WHAT: Elevate of The Stage:  Xcel, J.O., with Auburn vs. Alabama dual meet finale
WHEN: January 16-17, 2016
WHERE: Legacy Arena at the BJCC in Birmingham, Alabama
SPECIALNESS: It’s on podium and the college coaches will watch the top levels on Saturday night.

  • $250 off of a gym’s registration (20 or more gymnasts) to compete in the JO meet and no team fees.
  • Four VIP passes to watch the college meet on the floor, access to hospitality and four free t-shirts.
    ***With this, the winner will have to be someone 18 or older because recruitable gymnasts can’t be on the floor during college meet competition (blame the NCAA rules).


  1. Like us on Facebook
  2. Send us an email with the subject line “Elevate the Stage” to gymcastic@gmail.com

DEADLINE: Sunday, October 18th
More details on the Elevate the Stage podium meet here.

Related Links
Kwan, Dickson Eager for Worlds Debut on Behalf of Belarus, the International Gymnast interview.

Meet the Belarusian Gymnasts from The Gymternet

Why I’m angry about Belarus by Lauren Hopkins

Shannon Miller’s new leotard collection

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