207: A History of Political Protests in Gymnastics

Jul 27, 2016 | GymCastic, Podcast

vera caslavska protest gymnastics

Consecutive Olympic all-around champion, Vera Caslavska protested the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia



In the news, Uncle Tim, Dvora and Jessica chat about:

  • Russia has not been banned as a country, but the FIG must decide on individuals. (3:00)
    • Valentina has declared Ksenia Afanasyeva retired, might not be true but Afan is out.
    • Kuksenkov was cleared of all Meldonium doping charges earlier this year and is in Rio.
  • Marta Karolyi Press Conference (9:25)
    • We’ve decided Rhonda Faehn and Simone Biles/Aimee Boorman have started working Marta’s mouth like a puppet because she held an open practice and even said the gymnasts must all be trained as individuals! Praise the gym gods!
  • Germany, Steingruber Win in Chemnitz (14:00)
    • Sophie Scheder scored a 15.25 on bars  (better at German Nationals with 15.5 which ranked her 8th in the World)
    • Catalina Ponor scored a 14.700 on VT in Chemnitz. She outscored Larisa Iordache (FX, double Y turn immediate illusion turn!) on every event (except bars, which Ponor didn’t do)  
    • Ponor has a full twisting DLO
    • Ponor took on her haters on Instagram–straight up Gabby Douglas style.  
  • Insane Skill Alerts (17:40)
  • A History of Political Protests in Gymnastics (27:45)
    • Are political protests allowed by the IOC and what are the rules about free speech for athletes?
    • Vera Caslavska (CZE) wasn’t punished for her protest against the Soviets by the IOC but Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos were expelled from the Games.
    • 1991 World Championships, Kuwait’s thank you t-shirts. 
    • Statements by gymnasts that could have been taken as protest speech.
    • Politically charged uniforms: Korea vs. Japan’s rising sun throwback flag leotards.
  • Black Lives Matter (56:30)
    • Should the US gymnastics team be prepared to answer questions about Black Lives Matter?
  • Rio Olympic Athlete Village update. (1:02:00)
  • Dvora’s experience interviewing Oksana Chusovitina and Svetlana Boginskaya for Elle magazine.
  • Khorkina “Biles will always be second.
  • Maggie Nichols continues to be a shining light of joy.


Because the end of the quad is a time for competitive retirements and new artistic beginnings, we have a little glimpse into a gym nerd dream job with the casting director of Le Rêve, Louanne Madorma. (1:17:19)

  • They have self-taught, level 8 and Olympians all in the show, there are knitting circles and dance contests, but unfortunately it’s nothing like the movie DreamGirls.
  • Louanne was in the roller-skating sensation, Starlight Express, and has hilarious blooper stories.
  • The Wynn hotel, where Le Reve lives, pays for college at nearby UNLV!
  • Contact Louanne Madorma at Le Rêve casting here.
  • Listen to Jessica’s review of Le Rêve in episode 41 here.


Win:  The End of the Perfect 10: The Making and Breaking of Gymnastics’ Top Score – from Nadia to Now by Dvora Meyers

What: Write a new rule for the next quad

How: #Endofthe10Book @GymCastic on Instagram or Twitter 

Deadline: Sunday, July 31st at midnight.



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Ex-gymnastics coach sentenced to 35 years in prison after grooming, sexually assaulting child in Montgomery County https://buff.ly/3EhmXWW