The No. 1 Gymnastics Podcast in the Galaxy

Episode 11: Miss Val

We discuss the results and routines from the fall European series and the Mexican Gala, the history of the Sokol’s in the US and share the skill combinations we most want to see on bars and high bar. Then, in the first of a two-part series, we talk to UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field about why gymnastics matters, the power of an athlete identity, college gymnastics as a life skills class, basing personal value on performance, the Kellogg’s Tour, incentivizing artistry and her most embarrassing moment as a dancer.

Next week, in part two of our interview with Miss Val, we find out why so many of her athletes have the desire to go back to elite after college, why Canadians do so well in NCAA, de-programming deflated athletes to build self-esteem back up, and what she told famous gymnasts we all know, who shall not be named because we would never want to put their NCAA eligibility at risk [insert zerbert to NCAA rules here], about going pro.

American Sokol Organization. A Sokol Club in Cleveland with gymnastics for all.

American Turners 

Dvora’s article in Jezebel with sassy Sokol Olympian, 88-year-old Laddie Bakanic.

Help Jacoby by donating $1 to her recovery fund.

Paul Ruggeri’s Respect My Step Video 

Marian Dragulescu – Gangnam Style FX Gala de Estrellas Mexico 2012


Catalina Ponor & Marian Dragulescu – FX Gala de Estrellas Mexico 2012

Tommy Ramos & Jorge Hugo Jiraldo Gala de Estrellas Mexico 2012

Barbara Achondo Andino- FX EF World Cup Ostrava 2012

Ecaterina Szabo’s toe on 1.5 turn on low bar – 1985 Montreal – UB (00:27)

Shang Chunsong 2012 Nationals AA UB

Balavanov – layout Jeager


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11 years ago

Dominique Dawes and Tasha S use to do two release moves in a row as well as Ray

11 years ago

Shang Chunsong’s handstands are amazing! It’s like she turns into a board on top of the high bar. Wow.

11 years ago

There was a Sokol run gym in Baltimore, unfortunately the facilities were destroyed in the August 2011 earthquake and a new location still hasnt been found.

Nick Mann
Nick Mann
11 years ago

Liz Tricase did a tkatchev-tkatchev combination in 2003 too.

Uncle Tim
11 years ago

My word! I was a hot mess that day. I don’t know why I kept calling a stretched Tkatchev a Balabanov.

11 years ago

Ms Val doing a gymnastics nutcracker would be so cool! I wish I had a couple hundred thousand dollars lying around to see that happen.

8 years ago

In honor of the fact that this weekend is Sokolfest in Pittsburgh, PA, I was just searching the archives for Gymcastic commentary on Sokol. I love that you gave some history about the organization–we celebrated the 150-year anniversary of American Sokol last year. I\’m the one behind the Sokol New York Twitter, and we definitely follow Uncle Tim, Jessica, Lauren, Spanny, Dvora. In fact, Dvora and I met up in Brooklyn because of my 2012 Sokol tweeting (I\’ve since taken my opinions to my own Twitter handle @marnilynn22). The good news is…Sokol is now a group made up of all ethnicities. Oh, and there is still plenty of \”socializing\” after adult gymnastics class.

Maybe we\’ll have to commission a whole episode about Sokol…Dvora, let\’s discuss at your book reading next week. Btw, Jim Hartung and Phil Cahoy were from Sokol. And Andy Warhol used to put host events at Sokol New York…it was called The Gymnasium and the Velvet Underground performed there. So much history…so many good stories…

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