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Best of GymCastic: Vanessa Atler Interview




Originally released in June 2017. Vanessa Atler is an American treasure and fans have loved her from the moment they first saw her elegant power. She’s a multi-time national champion, multi-World Cup champion, Goodwill Games event champion. She would probably have made the 1996 Olympic team had she been age eligible. She was one of those gymnasts for whom nothing ever worked out the way it should have and fans hearts broke along with her through the 1996-2000 quad. We discuss:

  • Why she requested the interview with us
  • Her thoughts on age limits and specialists (13:10)
  • Elements she worked on but never competed (19:25)
  • Dealing with emotions and tears of frustration
  • The Comaneci-Salto & The Rybackis – (22:34)
    • Why didn’t she just take the Comaneci out of her routine and win all the things? 
    • Beth and Steve’s differing opinions on bars 
    • What worked and didn’t work with the Rybackis 
    • How being at Charter Oak effected her own coaching
    • Did she seek counseling or therapy? (31:01)
  • Her early online presence… and her mom’s (32:50)
    • Epic fluff from 1997 on Vanessa’s online diary
  • 1999 Goodwill Games and Sang Lan’s vault accident (34:43)
  • Why she left the Rybackis (39:00)
  • The real story behind the ankle injury (47:57)
  • Why she did not train with Bela Karolyi (50:47)
  • The letter Larry Nassar said USAG received about him that caused him to be banned from the Ranch (52:16)
  • Pre-2000 Olympics, moving to WOGA (1:00:01)
    • What did and didn’t work for her with Valeri 
    • How Valeri helped make her more confident on bars
    • Weigh-ins (1:04:29)
  • 2000 Olympic Trials
    • When an agent gets into the mix: where the “you didn’t make the team because you were fat” rumor came from (1:08:35)
    • Bela told her he’d put her on the team 
  • Did she try and compete after 2000?
  • What are her feelings toward gymnastics now?
  • Being on the realty show “Starting Over”
  • Outside influences: family members and agents
  • The decision to turn professional
  • Fibromyalgia after her motorcycle accident
  • Dealing with anxiety and food
  • Talking about her support for the defendants in the Larry Nassar case (1:36:00)
  • Worlds in China: Nassar asking who wanted a cortisone shot without parental consent and alone in room (1:39:36)
  • What she overheard during a coaches meeting through the walls of a hotel (1:44:11)
  • Would she want her son to participate in elite gymnastics?
  • What she does to keep gymnastics fun for her gymnasts
  • What are her upcoming plans… is another book in the works?
  • What are her thoughts on the Nassar situation and USAG today?
    • How terrible the food was when she was at the Ranch for national team camp (2:00:11)
    • The group message exchange asking for support for Nassar (2:02:04)
    • Asking for help for her bulimia and being told to do what it takes (2:03:55)



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