Article by GymCastic Crew Member Stefane Victor.
When it comes to gymnastics reporting, the media can’t seem to get it right. Whether it’s a factual error or a complete misrepresentation of the situation at hand, here are the most misleading storylines Gym Nerds have noticed from the big media outlets.
1. BuzzFeed and NBC: Laurie’s specialties are UB and FX.
This is the most egregious. I don’t even know who did this. A troll did this. A real life troll did this just to mess with me. This doesn’t even make sense.
Laurie punches her ticket to Rio with balance beam. In fact, depending on how qualifications go, it may be the only event she competes in team finals. A quick look at scores shows that (Laurie won beam).
As much as I appreciate Tim Daggett, I don’t understand why he didn’t correct the prompter (sent from hell) before he read it. It’s like saying that Aly is a VT/UB specialist. It’s ridiculous. It insults your intelligence, mine, and the very fibers that keep this country together.
2. NBC: The US is weak on UB.
This has been the narrative we’ve heard since the start of the 2008 Olympic selection. It’s not completely incorrect, but it’s definitely misleading. The U.S. is only “weak” on the apparatus during the process of building the team. Since 2012, the locks for teams have been gymnasts who excel at VT/FX, leaving the UB rotation a bit weak. In other words, we’ve been in positions of building teams around gymnasts who didn’t put up strong UB scores. On the other hand, in team competition this quad, the U.S. does just fine during the bar rotation, often not giving away too much ground if they don’t flat out win the rotation.
While the U.S. isn’t a favorite for UB gold in Rio, we have quite a few great bar workers, and normally at least one of them is 2-per-country’d out of event finals (Simone). Three athletes in the top eight in the world, does not qualify UB as a weak apparatus for the Americans.
3. Raisman quote to media: “Comeback is not impossible.”
Tim Daggett began the 2007 nationals and 2008 Olympic coverage saying that Nastia at 18 was past the “perfect age” for gymnastics, while Shawn was born at the perfect time. A few years later, an 18-year-old was the youngest on the U.S. World Championship team. The concept of a “perfect age” for gymnasts is an antiquated idea that doesn’t even have merit in history. Before any of the Fierce Five were born, Oksana Chusovitina had been to multiple Olympics.
For the average gymnastics fan who comes around once every four years, a comeback isn’t a comeback unless a gymnast makes it to multiple Olympic Games. We know that’s not true. Every member of the 2008 team, came back to compete elite. Comebacks are quite common.
Sure, there is a time to peak, but that changes based on the athlete. Just like every other sport.
4. NYT: Douglas left her longtime coach.
Gabby trained with Chow only a short time before 2011 Nationals. By the time Rio starts, she’ll have trained with Buckeye* longer than Chow.
Let us know: What’s a misleading headline you’ve heard?
*Is Gabby even training at Buckeye? Any gym fan knows that gym drama follows Gabby.*tear* *pray for Gabby*