This week, we have a special episode commissioned by InterGalactic Champion level Club Gym Nerd member Matt who, inspired by Queen Alexandra Raisman, requested an episode about athletes who were bold enough to make a difference in the quality of life for others. He said, “Thus, for my commissioned episode, I would like for you to name your All-Olympic team of difference makers. Honorees must be Olympic gymnasts from any country or era who made a positive impact.” Let’s do this! Here are the athletes we’re naming to our Olympic team of difference makers.
- Team Captain Vera Caslavska, who bowed her head in the 1968 medal ceremony to protest Soviet incursion in Czechoslovakia
- Hong Un Jong and Lee Eun Ju—The North/South Korea selfie heard ’round the world
- Agnes Keleti, who survived WWII by posing as a Christian maid to return to gymnastics and become the most decorated Jewish Olympian (to that point)
- Emilia Eberle, Jennifer Sey, Marcia Frederick, Dominique Moceanu, the 2011 Dutch team, and all others who have spoken out against abusive coaching
- 1996 Canadian Olympian Kris Burley, who came out after retiring in 1999 and later joined the COC’s program to combat homophobia in sports
- Jeffrey Wammes, who came out in an interview with Linda Magazine in 2011, and continued competing until 2016
- Alexis Brown of UC Davis, who kneeled during the national anthem during the 2017 season
- Mirabella Akhunu, who changed what you thought of when you thought Ukrainian
- 1968 beam champion Natalya Kuchinskaya, who said obvious things about coaching the person rather than the gymnast before people were ready to hear it
- Firsts from Dianne Durham and Wendy Hilliard
- All those responsible for the introduction of the vaulting table
- Olympians who spoke up during a major competition about safety: Allana Slater and Bart Deurloo
SUPPORT THE SHOW
- 313: Best Floor Routines EVAH! (Commissioned)
- 312: 4th Is the New 1st (Commissioned)
- 309: Perfect Form – The O’Beirne Code (Commissioned)
- 308: 2004 Olympic All-Around Final (Commissioned)
- 306: Gymnastics Fails (Commissioned)
- 304: The GymCastic Olympics (Commissioned)
- 281: Myths, Legends, and Unexpected Moments PART 2 (Commissioned)
- 279: A Diva Is Magical: The Svetlana Khorkina Episode (Commissioned)
- 278: 2000 Sydney All-Around Final (Commissioned)
- 262: 1996 Olympic Event Finals (Commissioned)
- 258: The Fluff Cast (Commissioned)
- 256: 1996 Olympic All-Around Final (Commissioned)
- 255: 1996 Olympic Team Final (Commissioned)
- 252: Myths, Legends and Unexpected Moments in Gymnastics History (Commissioned)
- 228: Leotards (Commissioned)
- 225: 1992 Olympics Recap with Wendy Bruce (Commissioned)
- 185: 2008 Olympic All-Around Finals (Commissioned)
What: 5 winners get a copy of Miss Val’s book: Life is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance
Grand Prize: Book and 15 minute personal phone call with Miss Val.
How to Enter: Using the #DontWaitToDance on Twitter or Instagram tag us @GymCastic with a 5 second video doing your favorite UCLA floor choreography. Doesn’t have to be you, use your dog, fingers, make a friend do it.
Bonus entries: Link to the book. Enter as many times as you want.
When: Now to October 5th, 2018
*Conflict of Interest Disclaimer: Jessica’s husband co-authored this book.
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