The No. 1 Gymnastics Podcast in the Galaxy

242: Standards



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

  • Melbourne World Cup
  • NCAA
    • Beligerent fans at Utah (6:25)?
    • Chalkography rebellion!
    • Crack or Correct:
  • Winter Cup (21:01)
    • Yul is amazing. End of story.
    • Anthony McCullum’s vault is gorgeous.
    • Chris Brooks won his only event, HB
    • Donell Whittenburg did his triple pike dismount on HB
    • There were a lot of Winter Cup-ness moments, AKA injuries and crashes
    • Watch every single routine here
  • News and assignments for the American women!
    • New seniors intro video
    • American Cup – Ragan Smith and Riley McCusker


Nancy Hogshead-Makar former professor of Sports Law and head of women’s sports advocacy group, Champion Women, joins us to interpret our strong feelings about the Legendres interview from last week’s show. We discuss (36:10):

  • How did USAG allegedly fail the Legendres?
    • Lack of a standard and professional protocol for the entire process
    • Focus on individual athlete rather than safety for all future athletes
    • Should be given the whistleblower policy in writing and have an advocate (or ombudsman) present to advise them of their rights 
  • What can parents and club owners learn from this? 
    • Liability falls to the institution when alcohol is involved and your insurance company will probably not cover you. 
    • Beware the Waiver: Imagine your child is abused, the coach is found guilty and you have agreed to pay for his lawyers
    • You’re The Boss: How to talk to kids about permission for physical contact
    • Athletes must have permission to say NO to their coaches
    • Thinking of an athlete like a solider is inappropriate.
  • Lack of Oversight
    • There is no unified process or government agency that can remove abusers from coaching
    • Prisoners have more rights than athletes representing the U.S.
    • SafeSport
      • Independent
      • Ethical Firewall between victims and the organization
      • Power to enforce policies
  • USA Gymnastics Sexual Abuse Investigation Update (1:03:34)
    • Fallout from the Legendre interview in last week’s episode
    • Vitaly Marinitch reportedly no longer at the Olympic Training Center boys program.
    • USAG responds to our episode
    • Feedback from the men’s team
    • USA Gymnastics failed to report Nassar to the FBI for five weeks
    • Sen. Feinstein rebukes USA Gymnastics on sex abuse (again) 
    • “It’s obviously terrible and it should never have happened, but there is an investigation.” – Aly Raisman 
    • 150 coaches and officials associated with Olympic governing bodies have been convicted of sex crimes since early 80s 
    • Government probe of sex abuse prevention in Olympic sports went nowhere 
    • Three gymnasts went public in this 60 Minutes special
    • “Bela Karolyi grabbed my butt and told me to lose it,” Antolin said in an interview  
    • “Dominique Moceanu says USA Gymnastics, Karolyis ‘Set the Stage’ for ‘Atrocities’ in Physician Sex Abuse Case” 


Our weekly roundup of the latest news stories from around the gymternet include (1:24:08):

  • Jeff Thompson at Penn State finally fired!
  • Kathy Klages, Dr. Larry Nassar sympathizer and former MSU gymnastics coach was suspended.
  • Aly Raisman on How Her SI Swim Photoshoot Made Her Feel ‘Confident’ 
  • FEEDBACK (1:32:13):
    • Why are all the gymnasts getting kidney stones? A possible answer
    • Do we talk about politics too much or not enough?


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7 years ago

Loved the commentary about the NCAA judging. Something we often talk about in JO judges meetings is making sure the order is correct. Whether scoring is high or low, our most important job is making sure the best routine wins and so on and so forth.

There is definitely a lot of pressure on NCAA judges to please the crowd. High scores help schools attract fans (and money), so as long as the routines are placed correctly (within THAT meet, not compared to the rest of the country), then I think the judges are doing the best they can.

7 years ago

I\’m with your first letter on politics: too much, it distracts from the discussion of gymnastics. That\’s what I listen to your podcast for, not half-baked progressivism that throws around the word \”privilege\” like social justice Tourettes.

As a business matter, every time you discuss politics, you evoke negative emotions in me. Over time, I become less likely to want to listen to you because I know that I\’ll be insulted or condescended to. If you truly want to be the number one gymnastics podcast, alienating a large proportion of your potential audience strikes me as self-defeating.

7 years ago
Reply to  anon

Caller: “The Dutch gymnastics team died in concentration camps.”

You: “[this is] half-baked progressivism that throws around the word \”privilege\” like social justice Tourettes”

Get a grip. By the way, whatever money you don’t give to gymcastic I’ll more than make up for, so you’re welcome to leave.

7 years ago
Reply to  anon

Hi Anon,

I\’m what someone might call a diehard liberal, but I have to say that I see your point. I personally love that Gymcastic often gives us the WHOLE picture and am not bothered by their progressive slant. I don\’t find their politics gratuitous or excessive either.

BUT I do think that the word \’privilege\’ has become a toxic one. I can see how Uncle Tim\’s response might have come off as condescending.

I think this kind of dialogue is really important though. I think we can all learn how to be better neighbors.

7 years ago
Reply to  anon

I definitely agree. It\’s one thing to talk about political news as it relates to gymnastics, and another to act like that there is only one valid or ethical stance that can be taken. I honestly feel like if they knew me they would probably hate me because of just a couple of my personal convictions and that\’s sad. Gymnastics should be for everyone, not just liberals 🙂

7 years ago

The Eagles play in Philly (that\’s also where Santa Clause was booed) – not Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh\’s getting a bad rep in these last 2 podcasts…we\’re nice people, really. 🙂

7 years ago

I agree with your second caller and Uncle Tim–anyone who chooses not to take a political stance in the face of fascism is on the side of the oppressor. And yes, it is relevant to gymnastics. We saw the photos of the smiling Dutch gymnastics team years before all of them went to concentration camps, and I personally hate living in a world knowing that some members of the Final Five and many, many others could suffer a similar fate.

7 years ago

Regarding politics, I really do not want it in this show. This show is where I come to escape from all of the politics that suffocate every other aspect of life. I love having these episodes to turn to when I need to get away from all of the negativity in the world today, and I would hate for the negativity to become a part of this amazing show and take away from the shows amazing purpose: gymnastics. Thank you all for all of your hard work and for putting gymnastics in the spotlight that it deserves.

7 years ago
Reply to  Kara

I totally get this, but then again it’s hard to ignore politics entirely. Ignoring the hard/annoying/complicated sh*t is what allowed Nasser to (allegedly) molest women for 20 years. 🙁 🙁

7 years ago
Reply to  Kara

I feel you. That being said, I think for the most part, when politics come up, it’s because it’s related to the gymnastics. Larry Nasser and what happened with The Legendres I think are good examples, as better policy, both within USAG and via new legislation, could lead to keeping gymnasts and other athletes safe). I’m glad Gymcastic didn’t shy away from reporting on these tough, often uncomfortable stories. I feel like it’s taught me a lot about the ways, for whatever reason, people want to sweep these stories under the rug. I think it’s also prepared me better for enrolling my kids in amateur sports programs/camps/etc.

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