The No. 1 Gymnastics Podcast in the Galaxy

234: Chris Brooks

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Chris Brooks. Photo courtesy of USA Gymnastics/Jason Lavengood




If you need inspiration, are a coach of a gymnast who doesn’t quite get it, or need New Year’s resolution help, this is the episode for you. Chris Brooks has been through all the things and his message is very powerful. From the great Texas gymnastics tradition, he overcame personal tragedy and a horrific injury to make the Rio Olympic team at age 29. He had grip lock as a junior, but recovered and won an NCAA Championship at Oklahoma. While in college, his father, who got him into gymnastics and was a gymnast himself, was killed in a car accident. Chris was named Olympic team alternate in 2012. Then he made the all-around final at the Rio Olympic Games just a few months before his 30th birthday. We discuss:

  • The full Cheeseburgers on Horse story
  • The famous hug between John Orozco and Chris Brooks after being named to the 2016 Olympic Team.
  • How he peaked and gave up excuses to finally make the Olympic team. 
  • Is the U.S. men’s team really not doing well or is it actually improving? 
  • Was the judging fair in Rio?
  • What does he think of the new changes to the Code of Points?
  • His grip lock accident. (Article on preventing grip lock)
  • Cheering hard: Did he ever get in trouble for being too loud?
  • What was it like being coached by Olympic Champion, Rustom Sharipov?
  • What to do about Winter Cup?
  • Does he dislike being objectified (by the screaming gym mom’s at Winter Cup)?
  • The 2015 floor faceplant.
  • Performing in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
  • His future plans. 


  • Indianapolis Star Out of Balance Investigation series 


  • Join Club Gym Nerd here.
  • Buy one of our awesome shirts here.



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7 years ago

Brittany Koncak (lovely aught era gymnast) experienced grip lock and dislocated her nose along with other injuries. Grip lock is indeed awful!

7 years ago

Sorry, the her name should be spelled Brittney. Apologies!

Mike C.
Mike C.
7 years ago

I was glad to hear Chris Brooks defend Kohei’s victory. I was disappointed with Danell Leyva’s statement that he thought Uchimura didn’t deserve it because he though Uchimura was overscored on high bar. Brooks rightly pointed out that if you look at competition as a whole, you’d see a little overscoring here, a little underscoring there across all six events and applying to both Uchimura and Verniaiev. Different panels would come up with different results. It didn’t come down to one event.

Gymnastic Crew–What is the vault you’re talking about that was mathematically impossible? I think you said it was a Lin Chaopan vault?

7 years ago

I love the podcast, but I really wish Jess had pressed Chris to give real answers instead of skirting around giving an opinion about anything (e.g. whether the men’s team needs to focus on individual vs. team success, whether USA gymnastics is doing enough to address the molestation issues). Everything he said was sanitized to the point of not saying anything. I understand the pressures that these athletes are under to stay on good terms with their federations and all, but someone like Danell was able to provide a much better interview and show actual integrity as an individual.

This definitely was not an episode I’d recommend.

Isaac Martin
7 years ago

Hi Gymcastic loved this week\’s episode as usual, just a quick little correction: Jana Bieger was the 2006 world all around silver medalist, Ferrari was the champion. Thought the interview was amazing,

Many Thanks x

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