The No. 1 Gymnastics Podcast in the Galaxy

286: Cover Your Eyes and Silently Scream




2015 US Team World Champion, floor bronze medalists and 2017 Oklahoma NCAA Team Champion, Maggie Nichols has come forward as a survivor of doctor Larry Nassar “Up until now, I was identified as Athlete A by USA gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University. I want everyone to know that he did not do this to Athlete A, he did it to Maggie Nichols.”

  • OC Register: Maggie Nichols, first Nassar whistle-blower, goes public
  • Time: He Violated Our Innocence.’ Maggie Nichols Says She Was Abused by Team Doctor Larry Nassar
  • Sports Illustrated: Says John Nichols, “After Maggie reported [in June of 2015], we were told to be quiet, don’t say anything to anybody, that USA Gymnastics was going to handle it. Later on, we would ask what’s happening and they’d say they were contacting the FBI. I was led to believe that the FBI was going to be handling this.” USA Gymnastics has not responded to SI’s requests for comment.
  • You can read Maggie’s statement in its entirety here
  • Take Action
    • Tell Maggie how much you appreciate her on her twitter
    • Sign up for Champion Women‘s action alerts.
    • Support Feinstein’s Senate Bill 534 Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 by contacting your legislator. Find your representative here.


The first weekend of the NCAA season is in the books, and the theme was endurance. (Or lack thereof.)

  • Michigan upsets Alabama.
    • The Oscar-worthy tearjerker that was everyone’s facial expressions before their third pass. 
    • Bailie Key’s stress dream of a debut beam routine, how it gets better, and how Jess still gives her a 10.
  • Kennedy Baker’s flu-cramp sets the tone for Florida’s rough performance.
    • When Amelia Hundley is falling, something is very wrong indeed
    • Alyssa Baumann is back from the health wars and looks like she never left
  • Was…was UCLA the most prepared team on floor this weekend?
  • Do any of these first-week problems even matter?
  • Kyla going up second on bars: A way-too-deep discussion.
  • The change in beam requirements and the problem with forward + backward “series”
  • Denver is coming for everyone, and Lynnzee Brown is about to be a star.
  • Why Peng’s bars score of 9.975 was exactly correct


  • USA Gymnastics struck a deal with McKayla Maroney to keep abuse quiet
    • Confused about who’s arguing what, what arguments makes sense, what arguments definitely don’t make sense, who’s lawsuiting whom, who knew what when, and what the timeline for all this was? We break it all down simply enough that even we can understand.
  • USOC CEO apologizes
  • Fran Sepler made some statements. And they were a PROBLEM. 
    • To summarize, the investigator for USAG just—hypothetically—admitted that she didn’t report to police or CPC a child molester who was still working with kids. USAG did… after 5 weeks.
  • Deanna Hong’s phenomenal documentary piece, Why I Spoke Up: Rachael Denhollander
  • WHAAAAA? A new team-final format was slipped into the FIG’s updated technical regulations, and we love it.
  • We have some questions about the characterizations (and accent situations) unveiled in the trailer for the Simone movie.
  • Voronin Cup
    • Komova is back and nailing her Arabian.
    • She is the bars execution queen (because everyone knows giant swings don’t count).
    • We break down Nabieva’s floor drama (because Nabieva) in detail.
  • Oleg had surgery on his everything


We discuss your questions and comments, including

  • Is it possible to do a Pak double back?
  • More about undies and tinkling when tumbling
  • Are puppies sexist? (One of us still doesn’t understand the question.) Here are the ice skaters with puppies at Olympic Trials. 
  • A tiny complaint that we need to do more episodes (we agree!)
  • What NCAA gymnastics can learn from lacrosse about early recruiting




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6 years ago

NCAA Eligibility Center lays out all the requirements for academic plan. In addition, many high schools have guidance counselors who will guide a student through necessary NCAA courses. The need for a coach to make sure a gymnast on track sounds like baloney to me.

Cheri Rose
Cheri Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer

Agreed! NCAA eligibility center takes care of all of that.

Cal grad
Cal grad
6 years ago

As a UC Berkeley grad, I can say that almost everyone calls it Cal. I have a degree from Cal, I tell people I went to Cal. I might call it Berkeley sometimes, but I don\’t think I ever heard anyone call it Cal Berkeley (possibly because that makes it could like a CSU, like Cal Fullerton or whatnot). We went to Cal or Berkeley.

Vanessa K
Vanessa K
6 years ago

I also think the change to the team final format is good in terms of suspense, but the in between gymnast bar adjustments (de-chalking, re-chalking, honey spraying, etc) are going to drive me nuts.

6 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa K

I would agree – especially for some countries who don’t use grips having to share a rotation with a country that does, so there would be a pretty big difference in the bar preparation. It would probably make for a very long bars rotation each round.

I’m also not sure how I feel about this change as it relates to score building. Mind you with only 3 gymnasts competing on each event score building isn’t as relevant as it was in the days where 5-6 gymnasts competed per event, but it would suck if you send up two gymnasts who hit big, and right before your best gymnast the other team’s gymnast has a disaster. Suppose one team is incredible on beam, while the other team it’s rotating with has beam as its worst event? I think this might mess with the athlete’s psyche as well as possibly influence the judging scores.

6 years ago

I had a college professor come to my college in Wisconsin from UC Berkeley. She also stated people just called it Cal or Berkeley, not Cal Berkeley. For the reasons \’Cal grad\’ stated above. I am a from Wisconsin so I call it Berkeley. But I understand if you are involved with the school it\’s Cal. We actually had this discussion because she thought it was curious or funny that every campus had its own nickname to those that attended. I went to UW Stevens Point, but everyone that attended called it \”Point.\”

6 years ago

I initially thought the change in team finals format would cause issues with de-chalking and re-chalking the bars. However I guess it\’s the same as in AA finals or apparatus finals when gymnasts from different counties compete back to back

6 years ago

I wanted to comment on the equestrian vaulting segment, and the underlying sentiment that vaulting is the riskiest and most athletic of all equestrian events (one reason being due to the fact that the participating athletes wear sporting attire).
I am particularly disappointed regarding the snide remarks that the discipline of Dressage is not to be taken seriously as a sport because the riders are dressed in pants, etc. (formal attire).
Well, a lot of people come to that same conclusion about women\’s gymnastics, when they know nothing about the sport — the see the hair bows, the sequins and makeup, and do not take the gymnasts seriously — they think that it\’s just \’little girls prancing around having fun\”, precisely for similar reasons that the hosts have dismissed Dressage as not an athletic sport.
Dressage takes a surprising (to non-riders) amount of physical fitness, coordination, concentration and endurance on the part of the rider. The rider\’s body looks like it\’s doing nothing while the horse does all the work — I have to point out LOOKS like it\’s doing nothing, which is very misleading, Actually, the stiller the rider is (aka. doing \’nothing\’), the more athletic he / she has to be, because they are actually resisting flopping all over the place, due to the the sheer force of the horse\’s momentum. Building that core strength and body control takes years and years of hard work. Not to mention the fitness, coordination and tact needed to give the horse almost invisible cues.
As for the risk factor, interestingly there have been NO deaths associated with vaulting, while dressage holds a surprisingly large number of serious rider accidents including death resulting from a traumatic brain injury. There has never been a death in any gymnastics competition directly related to a fall (Julissa Gomez became paralyzed after crashing on the vault, but did not die), but their have been many in the the discipline of Dressage and let\’s not even mention the equestrian discipline of eventing, where there are eight deaths per year due to rotational falls off a horse.
Please inform yourself before judging something, esp. since others judge gymnastics the same manner!

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