JESSICA: Welcome to episode one of GymCastic, the best gymnastics podcast on the web. Im your host, Jessica Obeirne from Masters-Gymnastics.com, and Im joined with
BLYTHE: My name is Blythe Lawrence, and I write the Gymnastics Examiner.
SPANNY: Im Spanny Tampson, from Spanny Tampsons Big Fake Smile.
UNCLE TIM: And Im Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Mens Gym.
JESSICA: So welcome to our first podcast. Today were going to talk a little bit about whats going on, and the latest in gymnastics news. We are going to have a tour review by Uncle Tim, who went to the San Jose Show. And then we have the first part of our epic, fantastic, and incredibly exciting interview with the one and only Tim Daggett. So were going to go ahead and get started. Let me first tell you first when you can find us. You can always find us on our website, at Gymcastic.comand thats gym as in gym as in gymnastics, cast as in podcast, and tic and in fantastic. And you can also find us on Twitter, were @GymCastic on Twitter. We have a Facebook page. And if you want to get in touch with us, give us feedback, let us know who you want hear from and what you think of the show, you can contact us at Gymcastic@gmail.com, and youll soon be able to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and of course you can always get the Podcast on our website. So, um, lets get started with Blythe. Whats going on in the news?
BLYTHE: Well, were kind of in the post-Olympic portion of the year, where theres not a lot of competitions coming up immediately on the horizon and so the gymnasts that we saw in London are focusing on other things. In the US, theres the Kelloggs Tour of Gymnastics Champions, and theres been a bit of news that came out of the tour this week. We had injuries unfortunately to McKayla Maroney, who has just had surgery for a broken tibia, and Aly Raisman. A lot of people saw that video online as well where she unfortunately smashed her knees on cement, falling off the uneven bars during a group routine. Gabby Douglas as signed two book deals with Zondervan, a Christian publishing arm of HarperCollins, and the first one will be out by Christmas. Its going to be more focused on inspirational messages rather than gymnastics according to her agent, Sheryl Shade, and she also said that it is already half done. Internationally, the Romanians say that Catalina Ponor and Sandra Izbasa will continue training. Thats the word out of the Romanian Press. Great Britains Jenni Pinches has retired from gymnastics. She sent out her retirement tweet as she was getting on a plane to go and do some volunteering in Ecuador for several months, so she definitely seems to be moving on with her life. Stateside, also, Danell Leyva has apparently been considering joining the Spider-Man show in New York City. He said that show business is something that really interests him and it interests John Orozco as well, but Orozcos on tour and Leyva is not. Other than that, its been a pretty quiet week. Oh, one other thing. The Russians are having a sort of post-Olympic briefing in Mallorca in Spain and hopefully theyre getting some fun as well as doing some conditioning. There were some videos online of Maria Paseka doing something other than vaultshe appears to be training a markelov to gienger combination on bars, and thats kind of exciting.
JESSICA: Mmm, cool.
BLYTHE: And thats about what Ive got.
JESSICA: Alright. So, I have heard that Kathy Kelly has descended upon the Kelloggs tour in order to make sure that there is someone on safety watch. You know, it looked like I mean, we knew that Maroney already had a broken toe, she already has the stress fracture in her leg, and she was still doingI mean, it wasnt a hard trick, but it was, you know, shes landing from, like, whatever, ten or fifteen feet in the air and then ended up, you know, breaking her leg again, socause its the same leg, right or is it the opposite leg? I cant remember.
BLYTHE: The tibia. She broke her left tibia.
JESSICA: Yeah, ok. So Kathy Kelly it sounds like has come down to the tour that has maybe existing injuries is doing anything that could exacerbate or cause another injury, and then hopefully is also making sure, in my opinion, you know, that having mats on the floor that are regulation length. Cause, to me, I dont know, you know, Tim was there so he could tell us, but to me it looked like that mat was shorter than what the regulation length is and she had peeled whenIm talking about Aly Raismanit looked like when she peeled, if that had been a regular regulation mat she wouldnt have half landed on the cement. So anyway. Thats what Ive heard about the tour. Does anybody know why Leyva is not doing the tour? Does anybody think it might have something to do with his sexy tweets?
UNCLE TIM: I havent heard anything. I mean I think you were the one who mentioned that it could possibly be because he couldnt earn money going on the Hispanic shows on television and radio, but yeah, I havent heard anything definitive. Anyone else?
JESSICA: Yeah, I guess its all speculation at this point. I was really hoping to see him, but maybe well find out. Maybe well get him on the show. Danell, give us a call, let us know when we can interview you, and well discuss this at length, and you can tell us all about Spider-Man. So Uncle Tim went to the tour in San Jose, and hes going to give us his review now.
UNCLE TIM: So, my tour experience was sponsored by Gordon Biersch beer. After seeing Nastia do a rhythmic balance beam routine, I thought I would need a little something-something to help me out. So every time I heard someone yell, Go Gabby!, and it was Elizabeth Price, the other African-American girl on tour, I took a sip. Every time I heard someone yell, Go Nastia!, when it was Mary Sanders, the other blonde girl on tour, I took a sip. When I saw the men come out with mushrooms in hand, I took a sip. I mean, pommel horse isnt really a strong for Team USA and not really the most interesting either. And on top of that, they were wearing clothing at first.
UNCLE TIM: So I took another sip. WTF. Anyway, the men circled a bit, did a few back tucks off the mushrooms, and they did a scale while standing on the mushrooms, which was when half of my beer magically disappeared. The rest of it disappeared when the men tried to do grapevines during the dance. They were, they were not very good at that. They were ok when they just had to stand there and pose and flex. So when it came down to, you know, a grapevine, which isnt even like a tour jete or anything, it wasnt very good. I think could have used a few lessons from Abby Leaden-Norr, and she probably could have ridiculed them until they cried. So fresh out of beer, I was a little concerned after seeing a couple dances, and then the magic happened. The men took off their shirts.
UNCLE TIM: It was like poetry in motion. Seriously, let me read a few of the lyrics for you. When I walk in the spot (yeah), this is what I see (ok) / Everybody stops and they staring at me /
I got passion in my pants and I aint afraid to show it, show it, show it, show it / Im sexy and I know it. I mean, isnt that pure poetry? Honestly, I cant tell you why the members of LMFAO arent poet lauretes yet? But, I dont know. Anyway. So, unfortunately, the men didnt actually show us the passion in their pants, but you know who came close on several occasions? Nastia Liuken. So, all of us on this podcast are old enough to remember the year 2000, and you might recall that Britney Spears wore a little blue bra and jammies number with rhinestones to the VMAs and sang I Cant Get No Satisfaction and Oops I Did It Again. Well, Nastia wore that same outfit, but the unitard version of it. Twice. Not just once, twice. And theres this one really moment featuring the unitard, solet me set this up for you. The Fierce Five head to the balance beam, and theyre wearing white, flowy, angelic numbers, and there is some classical music playing in the background, and the beams are in the shape of a cross. Ok? And each girl, minus McKayla Maroney, mounted the beam. And Kyla did a lovely aerial front walkover into sheep jump, and Gabrielle Douglas also did a lovely aerial front walkoverside note, aerial front walkovers are the new front layouts. Theyre lovely until you have to see a million of them. Anyway, thankfully Jordyn didnt do an aerial front walkover, because she did her lovely front handspring walkover, whatever that is, and then Aly did her sheep into her layout stepup, ok? After that the Fierce Four walked toward the center of the cross, and then, thats when the magic happened. So the girls looked up, into the sky, and suddenly Nastia Liuken emerges and ascends up, and shes holding onto the scope and shes ascending up and shes doing some splits, and then suddenly, as she is descending, her hands go all into the shape of a cross. Im not even making this up, ok? So Ive travelled the world a lot in my life. Ive been to many a cathedral, including the Vatican, and I have yet to see a stained glass window of a female, blonde, rhinestone beauty Jesus. Thats what Nastia was, ok? And it is a little bit sacrilegious, but I think that Lady Gaga and Madonna are probably [unintelligible 11:15-17]. Anyway, all snark aside, Im giving four shushunovas out of five. Like I said, I came in with really low expectations after seeing the rhythmic balance beam routine, but it was pretty great. I mean, there are a few little adorable kids doing gymnasticsI mean, they did, actually, the senior elites did really big tricks; there were double layouts, there are ishabeedos on floor, theres a huge Gabby Douglas Tkatchev on bars, there were rhythmic gymnasts, and acro gymnasts, and trampoline, and there are men performing on parallel bars in see-through silver and lame pants Theres something for everyone, and thats why Im giving it four shushunovas. So now, my big question for everyone here is would you go see the tour? And, considering the fact that Gabby is going to be dropping out early and McKaylas not performingwhat do you guys think? Would you guys go see it? Lets start with Blythe.
BLYTHE: Oh yeah. Its coming to Seattle on September 24th, I think, and Ive already got tickets! Really excited. As far as, you know, two of the five maybe not performing, it doesnt bother me that much. I mean, its show gymnastics, and so you kind of, you dont sign up thinking its going to be an elite competition. And its nice to see the girls just hanging out, having fun, being teenagers because in the Olympic run-up they didnt have much of an opportunity, and so its good to see that now.
UNCLE TIM: What about you, Jessica?
JESSICA: Well, I have to say that I have not seen the tour since 96, and I never saw it again after 96 because it was so bad. And so Im going, but this time around I am going on, Im going actually to the one tonight in LA where the LMFAO guy is actually supposed to be there with his own super lyrics and then going tomorrow to Anaheim. But I have to say that I did get free tickets, and thats really much the only reason Im going. [[LAUGHS]] Cause otherwise I dont know, I just, its expensive, oh my God! Like, the front, like the lower levels here there, like, 100 bucks. Like, for 100 bucks I can go see Cirque de Soleil for that, and like I love to support gymnastics like, obviously I totally love it, but, you know, like for 100 dollars, like I want to see hard skills. But Im excited to see the tour, and, you know, from what Ive heard theyre doing some real skills and Im super excited to seeI dont wanna, ok, spoiler alert, cover your ears for the next ten seconds if you dont want to hear this, butapparently Anna Li and Chellsie Memmel do a high bar routine at the end, and that is like what Im really excited to see. But in general, you know, I just find it, I dont know, kinda boring but Im really excited to see this and it sounds like theyve really stepped it up with this tour and therere doing more higher levels skills and they have, like, a really professional choreographer putting the whole thing together and dancers and so, you know, Im looking forward to seeing it.
UNCLE TIM: And Spanny?
SPANNY: I am with Jessica in that, one I just magically have happened to stumble upon tickets. Paying hundreds of dollars for prancing Sexy and I Know It probably wouldnt fly. Also, in that the last tour Ive seen was after 1996, and that was it for me, that was my life. I took like five rolls of film and waited for weeks to get copies of those to get made. Nothing is going to live up to 1996 to me. But that also means that Im excited to see it. To see, you know, how it holds up, I amI have very low expectations, but that said Im not spending any money, you know, aside from booze, and so its a win-win situation
UNCLE TIM: And do you guys have any questions about the tour, I guess, anything thatany rumors, any clarifications that you need?
JESSICA: Some people are saying that, like, they thought that the floor was a little bit unsafe because it had like, people were bouncing off the floor and there was, like, no mats around it, like, do you feel like that did you see some of that, or did you agree with that at all?
UNCLE TIM: Yeah, so there is a routine, of sorts, when the gymnasts cross-tumble, and I guess it seems unsafe because a lot of gymnasts over-rotated their routines, but at the same time, I have gone to a lot of college gymnastics meets, and thats the setup. You have the floor, and then you have the cement or wood floor of the gym next to it, so I guess I wasnt too surprised by that, and even in the competition you dont necessarily have matting all the way around, you have the podium. So I can see how that would be a concern. My bigger concern would be when the gymnasts do, not really a routine, but they grab on to these Olympic rings and they are shot up into the air and then are kind-of just climbing around it. The women just sit, but they go pretty high up in the air, and the only thing below them is the spring floor, and theyre not strapped in, they dont have harnesses on or anything, theyre just kind of there in the air, and if they fall, its a long way down, so that would be one of the bigger safety concerns. And then, in terms of the bars, they do have one set of bars that have regulation-size mats, and then another set of bars that doesnt, and the set that doesnt have the regulation mats is where Aly Raisman fell, at least from what I saw on the videosI wasnt in Ontario. But, I mean, I think there are some safety concerns, and it looks like USA Gymnastics is looking into it to see that the apparatus is safe, so we will have to see what it is like tonight in LA.
JESSICA: If we are ready to move on, then, to our next segment, Spanny, I hear that you have something special for us?
SPANNY: I have a little segment I like to call Thats Too Bad. If you remember a magic time, before we started winning every world title there is, 2003, our first world title for the US gymnastics team, a little snippet was caught, Im sure youve all seen it, Carly Patterson, its pretty legendary. These five ladies on tour are going very high in the air without harnesses, and now, seemingly, their shirts. Weve all seen the pictures. Ladies, those are your bras. And thats too bad. Speaking of the tour again, the organizers seem to disagree on the lengths of the JO mats, and so, surprise, Aly Raisman peels off of bars, and then while she face-plants the mats, she then chest-plants, hip-plants, knee-plants, ankle-plants the cement floor of the arena. And that is bad. Poor Aly, sweet, sweet Aly. She thought it would be smart to snuggle up and take pictures with super nice guy, totally not a girlfriend beater, Chris Brown. Thats too bad. Speaking of crimes, John Gedderts back tattoo. Now, not just visually, but also legally a crime in that plagiarizes the NBC Olympic logo, and it is not a small tattoo. We have seen the pictures. It is an entire back tattoo, from his neck to his buttcrack, back tattoo. And that, my friends, is too bad.
JESSICA: Awesome. Alright, next we have the first part of our incredible interviewand yes, I am saying that its incredible, thats my own personal opinion and youre going to agree after you hear itof a two part interview with Tim Daggett. So well get started and bring you that interview right now.
JESSICA: Ok, so two things I want to ask you before we get started: is there anything that you want to talk about that no-one ever asks you that you would love for someone to ask you in an interview?
TIM DAGGETT: You, I mean, its just one of the frustrations that I have is, when you see a broadcast on television, unfortunately youre really not, its not being put together for a group like you guys.
TIM DAGGETT: Youre hardcore fans, and you want to see every routine, and I mean, you know, NBC is a business, and so they obviously want to get the best ratings possible, and so sometimes I know it is frustrating as all getup, because you dont get to see things and you get a lot of the drama, and the drama repeated and repeated and repeated, and thats to build an audience, you know?
TIM DAGGETT: And so its hard, because there are some really great things that always get missed, but I try my best, and at this point I do have some impact on what we can see, and we do get to see more variety, because I know whats going on out there, so I do fight for it.
JESSICA: Totally. Got it. And with that, Im going to hand it over to Blythe.
BLYTHE: NBC Gymnastics Commentator Tim Daggett attended UCLA during the Golden Years, with greats like Mitch Gaylord and Peter Vidmar. As an elite gymnast, he has won almost every title you can imagine. He has been US National Champion, NCAA Champion, won the American Cup, and also won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics with the team, and bronze on the pommel horse. He owns a gym, Tim Daggetts Gold Medal Gymnastics, outside of Boston, and is a full time gymnastics coach. Tim, its an honor to have you here, and thanks for coming on the show.
TIM DAGGETT: Great, great to be here.
BLYTHE: OK, so I have a sort of fun question to start off with. Other teams in US gymnastics have a gold medal. The womens team in gymnastics has come up with cool nicknames: The Magnificent Seven, The Fierce Five, and do you ever think about if your team from 1984 could have a nickname, what it would be? Or maybe you had one?
TIM DAGGETT: [[LAUGHS]] Yeah, I know. We werent that cool back then, thats the problem. You know, there was a big song that came out, Don Henley had a song called The Boys of Summer right around that same time, and some of the press kind of called us that, but really what we got compared a lot to was the hockey team in 1980. You know, The Miracle on Ice. And some people called us The Miracle on Mats, too. But that was the closest had to a Fierce Five or a Magnificent Seven.
BLYTHE: [[LAUGHS]] And as a gymnast, you were quite a gymnast, and one thing some of our listeners might not know is you have a pretty incredible comeback story, from a knee injury, correct? And according to Sports Illustrated, it said you tore your ACL at the 1987 Worlds, but is that exactly what happened, and can you tell us about that?
TIM DAGGETT: No, not exactly. What I did was, competing at the Worlds in 1987, I landed my vault, and there was back then, they used to have a base layer of mats like what you see now, and then they had an inch-long cover that ran the entire length of the mats, and I guess part of the lower mat had separated, but you really couldnt see that, because you had this cover that went the entire length of the landing area, and so I landed in the crack, and so its kind of like a fracture. And it just really snapped my leg, I shattered both of the bones in my left leg, and it was pretty messy because I ended up tearing an artery as well, which required about five different emergency surgeries, I lost pints of blood, you know, and in Rotterdam, Holland, the doctor told me, basically, his hope was to save my leg. Not to ever walk or run or certainly ever do gymnastics again, it was, you know, somehow to save my leg so they wouldnt have to amputate, which was pretty surreal at the time, and I was very fortunate. I got out of there and went to UCLA, and they hooked me up, and it was a very, very long process. Because all the surgeries, the vascular injuries, but I did compete again, which Im very proud of.
BLYTHE: And the World Champion that year was Dmitry Bilozerchev, who had gone through something similar after a car accident, is that correct? Did you know about that at the time?
TIM DAGGETT: Oh, sure. Im actually a good friend of Dmitrys, and, you know, post 1984, I dont know why, but USA and the Soviet Union, we had a whole bunch of competitions, and we even had training camps together. And so, we all knew each other quite well and we were very friendly, and I dont know why this was, but as you guys know, there are many competitions outside of Worlds and the Olympic games, and for whatever reason, you know, all of the meets I went to around the world, Bilozerchev was always there. And so, we got to know each other well, and his coach at that time, the person who really made him who he was, was Alexander Alexandrov, who was the coach for the Russian team now, and my coach at that time was Art Shurlock, who was from the Soviet system, and so there was a translator component, and so we really got to know each other quite well.
BLYTHE: I see. And so, you now have a son, Peter, who is named after Peter Vidmar, is that right?
TIM DAGGETT: Yes.
BLYTHE: He is quite an up and coming gymnast, and he has been to a couple of level 9 national championships, is that right? And he has already had ACL surgery, I read this in an article a couple years ago, and if I can ask, what is it like being the dad of a gymnast who has a knee injury like that, and how do you help him get through it?
TIM DAGGETT: Oh, its horrific. [[LAUGHS]] You know, because he had it at such a young age, and it really was such a fluke accident, you know? One of the thingsand if you hear my broadcast, we always, when somebody lands with locked legs, its really scary. And you know, the likelihood that something really bad happens isnt all that high, but the potential is there. So when I see somebody, on the air, land with locked knees, Im always like, Bend your knees! And, thats what my son did. He was doing a dismount off of high bar, and he landed with locked knees, and yeah, tore his ACL. But he worked really hard, and did a lot of rehab and came back, and since that injury he made the Junior National Team, so very proud of that little man.
BLYTHE: That is quite an accomplishment. I think some of the fans may wonder what vault you were doing when you hurt your knee?
TIM DAGGETT: Well, actually, it was a highly rated vault back then, but it was a piked Cuervo. Very few people do it nowadays, because it really isnt an efficient way of flipping and twisting. What youre doing is youre doing a forward handspringits basically a handspring pike front with a half turn, but you do it at the wrong time, so its a little inefficient, so you do a handspring and you immediately do a full half turn, where you kind of have to stall your rotation a little bit, and then you do a piked back somersault after that. So, thats what I did.
BLYTHE: And obviously, when you came home from the Netherlands, you probably thought your career was over, and at what point did you think that you could begin to do elite gymnastics again?
TIM DAGGETT: You know, it took so long, because I was in the hospital for a couple of weeks in Rotterdam, and I came back and at UCLA for another week, and home care for a couple of months, and I was in a wheelchair, literally, until, I dont know, mid-January, and I dont know what happened, but one day, I used to go outside because it was healthy, it helped, and my apartment in Los Angeles sat atop a big hill, and if it went to the left it was very flat a long way, and if you went to the right, you went down the big hill, and one day I just said, were going to go this way. And my aide was like no, you cant do that, youre going to have to come up and its going to be very hard, and I said no, its a beautiful day, I want to see whats going on this way. And so, I went down the big hill, and I didnt really realize it at the time, but I got to the bottom, and she said ok, its time to go back up, and I said I got it and I can get up, and she said, Ive got to help you, Ive got to push you uphill. And, you know, my body basically hadnt moved for months. And I said No, I said Do not touch the chair. And so I peddled my waywell, I didnt peddle, I used my armspushed my way to the top of the hill, a couple of times I almost went out into the road because I had no strength at all, but she didnt touch the chair, and I made it to the top, and for some strange reason, when I did that, I knew I had to try and come back.
BLYTHE: Thats fantastic. And once you were back in the gym, was it any harder than you expected?
TIM DAGGETT: You know, I knew how hard it was going to be. Its just a mid-shaft tibia shatter like that is one of the slowest healing bones, and when you compound it with a vascular injury, with the artery and losing all that blood, I had a couple other different surgeries, its called a fasciotomy, to release the pressure in my lower leg, and I knew it was going to be really hard. And it wasnt my first time dealing with a surgery. I had fallen and hurt my head, ruptured some discs in my neck, so I really knew it was going to be hard. I thought it would be less painful after a while, but really it just never lost that intense pain, it was there, the day I competed at the Olympic Trials.
BLYTHE: After something like that, to go back to the Olympic Trials after having won a Gold Medal, what was driving you?
TIM DAGGETT: You know, its funny. I just, I really felt that, I could be better. And I was the youngest guy in 84, and I before the injury, I fully knew I was going to continue on, you know, for another 4 years, and I just really though that I could be much better than I was in Los Angeles. And I made that commitment to myself, and even though it was hard, even though there were lots of people who said You should move on, its just not the kind of person I am, and I had to try. And, kind of remarkably, I made it, all the way to the Olympic Trials, and after the compulsories, I did a pretty good job, and I think I lead two of the events after compulsories, and I think was seventhI was either seventh or eighth after the first day, and it just I know what it took to get to the Olympic games, to win a gold medal, and it was hard, and I had to make sacrifices, and I had to be committed, but getting back to the Olympic Trials and having that first day, and even that second day, it was a higher mountain to climb, and in many waysnobody knows about thisbut for me, as a person, Im more proud of that than of winning a gold medal.
UNCLE TIM: So, shortly after your comeback, you started your career as a commentator. Could you talk briefly about how you became involved with NBC as a commentator?
TIM DAGGETT: Sure. You know, a lot of people, especially the younger folks today, they just think it happened, and in a certain amount they do, but I always wanted to do it. It looked like it would be the coolest job ever, and I couldnt figure out how to. I thought about it a lot, and I dont know anybody in TV, really. So I thought to myself, whats the best shot of finding an agent? So I said to myself, theyre probably all in New York. And of course, there was no internet then, you couldnt just Google it, so I got on a bus from Springfield, Massachusetts, and I went to New York City, and back then, of course, pay phones and Yellow Pages. So I get off the bus in Penn Station of wherever, and find a phone booth that actually has a Yellow Pages still there, and Im just looking through it and looking through agents, and of course the agents are all theatrical or singing or whatever, and I find a section that I think is for television broadcasters in sports, and I see a listing, and its one of the first, it was called Athletes and Artists. And so I figure, athletes, what is that? I did a little more checking, and it actually was started by one of the pioneers in the industry, a guy named Art Menskey, who represented so many different broadcasters throughout the years, so I put my quarter or dime or whatever it was in the phone, and I called Athletes and Artists, and I said to the lady, the receptionist who answers the phone, Hello, my name is Tim Daggett, I was a gymnast in the Olympics and I won a gold medal, and I want to do television broadcasting. And she was like, oh. She sounded a little flustered, and she put me on my hold, and a couple minutes later Art Menskey came on the phone, and he said hello Tim, Im a big fan, Id love to meet you.
TIM DAGGETT: And he said, When can we get together? And I said, Well, I just came down here now, and so Im right near Broadway, can I come over now? And he was flabbergasted by that, and so I went over, and I met the crew, and was assigned an agent named Alan Sanders, and have been with Alan ever since.
UNCLE TIM: Great. So, something that we probably dont really understand is how much time and effort you have to put into preparing for a competition. Could you talk about how you catch up on the news on the athletes, are there websites you visit, are there blogs that you visit, can you talk a little bit about that process?
TIM DAGGETT: Anything and everything. And you know now, its actually easier, obviously, but so much harder, because theres just too much information. People ask me, how do you get ready for an Olympics? See, I never stop, thats what it comes down to, I just never stop. I did take a couple week break after the Olympic games, cause I was just so exhausted, but I do, on average, about an hour a day, every day, even when nothing is coming up. Im just visiting sites, Im talking to people on the telephone, and then, when we get closer to an event, I ramp it up a lot. Three months before the Olympics, I was probably doing eight hours a day. And, a month before the Olympics, I was in front of my Olympics or on the telephone twelve hours a day. And I reallyone of the things I really want to be able to do is, I want to know all of the players in a bunch of different areas. I want to know, obviously, something about them personally, and I want to know their past accomplishments, and then I want to know what they do. So basically, I want to know going into the Games, I want to know the routines of all of the players, men and women, on all the different events, and I do know that. And then I also have to, in my brainbecause you have to access everything pretty quicklyI want to have perspective. Like, you know, when somebody from Romania is going, obviously I have to know facts in my brain of all of the accomplishments of Romania, and to be able to, if something becomes relevant, to be able to talk about that. So its a lot to know, but I love doing it.
UNCLE TIM: Great. And I think something else that a lot of gym fans think is, we tend to think that you have a huge role in the production, and everything that happens on NBCs broadcast is because of you, because youre kind of the figurehead that we look to. So could you talk about how much of a role you have in the production, and what you think, maybe, NBC is trying to do with their broadcasts?
TIM DAGGETT: Well I do have a role, now. Initially, you know, I was just a minion, you know? But, you know, the thing that a little frustrating is the company, NBC, is a huge corporation and its a business, and theyre trying to make money. And so, really there isnt a gymnastics broadcast on television that is for the hardcore gymnastics fan. Its not. Because unfortunately, there arent enough of us. So what it comes down to is, we have to make the sport appealing and interesting to the grandma in Topeka, or whoever. So, unfortunately, if you have a ton of different, cast of characters, it just they lose interest. And so were always going to focus on the Americans, because it is the National Broadcasting Company. And, you know, and so thats always going to be the case. And then were going to pick and choose the most dramatic stories out there, and you know, were going to tell the story and were going to tell it again, because its what the casual viewer, its what they want. And NBC has done so many, you have constantly, forever and ever, theyre doing research on what is it that these people want to see, and they want to learn about Viktoria Komova, and they want to know some of her history, and weve got to tell that story, and weve got to tell it again and again and again, and so, its not like going to a podium training at a World Championships. If you saw me at a podium training at a World Championships, Id look just like all of the hardcore gymnastics fans, because I love the sport so much. Im looking at and bars and then, oh, did you see that on beam, that was beautiful, that was gorgeous, and then Im back over on vault and Im like, Hey, Penas going now, and its Im all over the place, I love it! But, you know, to sell it for a show, thats unrealistic and its really not going to happen that way, so and one of the other things that is so frustrating to me is, you know, we show the great routines, we always do, and I love it. When its spectacular, I go crazy. I mean, high bar finals at the Olympic Games was just off-the-charts, and I was as excited and thrilled and calling Epke, of course, calling Hambuchen on high bar, it was just fantastic. Im so positive and so passionate, and people always thinking Im negative and so critical, but its like, the only thing that I do, is that I interpret for that grandma in Topeka, I interpret what the judge is doing through my comments. Because, its like, I have to let them know why its not going to be I mean yes, its remarkable, its amazing, but in the context of the Olympic Games or the American Cup or whatever, its just not good enough. And sometimes, its not like watching quarterback throw the ball and get intercepted and run for a touchdown, its not that clear, but to you and to me, it is. Because we know, oh, thats a full point she lost the, not just the deduction, but she also loses the element and shes supposed to connect off of it, and its devastating. And so, they hire me to tell the truth, and I try to.
BLYTHE: And so, we are really the hardcore gymnastics fans, and we would love to talk to you a bit about, from fan perspective, from the hardcore fan perspective, about the Olympics, whats happened.
TIM DAGGETT: Sure.
BLYTHE: Could you put it in context for us, what were some of the surprises, the best moments, the best routines you saw in London.
TIM DAGGETT: Well, you know, personally I just thought high bar was off the charts. I mean, it was unbelievable. What a final. I mean, Jonathan Horton did one of the best routines of his life, and he didnt make it to the medal podium. Hes got a lot to be proud of of that routine, though, because it was tremendous, but Epke and Hambuchen were just phenomenal. I actually think that Fabian I dont know, I think he maybe got the short end of the stick, it was much cleaner, but Epke was just off the charts fantastic, you know, it was wild, and I set that up before the games in a production meeting, I said that in the qualifying rounds we need to show Epke Zonderland, and they were like, where is he from? Holland. Oh, we cant do that, we cant show that and I go, he is going to do the hardest piece of gymnastics of every gymnast in the games, male or female, and we gotta show him. And they were like, uh, we dont know. But we got to show him, and of course he didnt do it in the prelims, but so, high bar was a highlight. Obviously, the next most amazing thing, for me, was the USA womens vault, the first rotation in the team finals. I mean, it was breathtaking, and dominant times ten. And then McKayla, you know, capping it off with the best vault that has ever been done by a woman, ever. And those silly judges, finding deductions, its just crazy. So that was an amazing one. Watching Gabby hold it together was phenomenal, in the All-Around finals, because if youre a hardcore fan, you know how wonderful she is. You know how brilliant she can be. But you also know she is capable of really having a mental lapse, thats all there is to it. And a lot of people dont know this, but there were rumors that, in the first day of competition, Gabby wasnt going to do the All-Around. And I heard that, and I said, thats the craziest thing I ever heard, she just won the Olympic Trials, but she really, in training, had been struggling on beam. A lot.
TIM DAGGETT: A lot. She was, you know, that first sequence where she does aerial flip out, layout, step out. She was falling a lot, and there was talk that they werent going to put her up, which I thought would have been the biggest mistake ever, and Im glad that they didnt do that. So, lets see, what else was amazing I though Chen Yibing was better on rings, but a lot of people dont know this either, the Brazilian guy, he you got to hand it to him, because he took a risk of epic proportions, he knew the draw was done before, and he knew that if you came in as the leader on still rings that you would compete first in the individual event finals, and so he took eitherI cant remember at this point, but he took either two- or three-tenths of difficulty out of his routine, because he didnt want to qualify in first.
TIM DAGGETT: Yeah, yeah. It was pretty gutsy, and it worked, he made it, and he ends up in the last position, and, you know, Chen Yibing going first and him going last, but I think they got that one wrong, personally. I just think that Chen Yibing is poetry, and Zanettis great, but not quite at that level. Let me think, what else was amazing I was really happy for Aliya on the uneven bars. You know, its been a tumultuous couple of years for her, as well, and shes a beautiful gymnast and a beautiful person, and her bar routineits gorgeous, its absolutely fantastic. The combinations, you know, she does Shaposh and Stalter and release to the high bar, its just absolutely elegant. Beth was phenomenal as well, though, and she went for it, she did that double double, and really what it comes down to is that that was a three-tenths step, theres no question about that. And I dont know if she needed that. I think she, as an athlete, needed that, because look at her routine, and you can see that, absolutely, she is all out, 100%, to finished, so she had to give it everything she had, and she won a medal at home and Im sure shes really grateful about that.
JESSICA: I have one follow-up question about bars, because I was sothis might sound badbut I was really excited when I was watching the bar final, and when Gabby went up, you were trying to set the expectation because people were like, shes the favourite for this, and you were like, no, not really, she doesnt have the difficulty, and the people like us know that, but the people at home
TIM DAGGETT: Right.
JESSICA: were like, Gabby, shes going to win! But when she went, there was something specific you said where you were like, Shes the best, and then you were like, Well, shes, you know, the best at this competition for the US, and I totally knew you were talking about Anna Li.
TIM DAGGETT: Yes. Yeah. Yes. I mean, what were getting down to at that point time is, she is the It person of the Olympic games. I mean, I think she had 32 million independent Google searches during the Olympics.
JESSICA: Oh my god.
TIM DAGGETT: Something off the charts like that. And, you know, the American public, coming into each night of womens gymnastics, they are craving for Gabby. It was even a little more challenging on balance beam, because she really wasnt at that level on beam for the beam finals. And so, that was hard. And then, coming into bars, people really if people fell, she could have gotten a medal, but everybody knew that that was most likely not going to happen. And I think when I said shes the best, I was giving her props for she was, she is the Olympic All-Around Champion. I think that was probably what I was making reference to. And you know, its important for people to know that even though it was tape delayed, we called all of the routines live, every single one, we called them live. And we were, at the compound, until sometimes three in the morning, because what happens in television is you know, youve got this huge puzzle to put together for the primetime broadcast, and we start out with a plan, you know, swimming theyre going to be at for an hour and three minutes, and gymnastics they are going to be at for an hour and 26 minutes, and water polo, and all these things, but then, something happens dramatic at a venue that they didnt anticipate, so they give that some time and they take away from somebody else, or gymnastics is off the charts, and so they take away from swimming, and so, when they do that, what we have to do is we have to either lose routines, lose replays, add routines, add replays, and so, were just doing those transitions, and that is brutally time consuming, but just for the folks who think that Im manufacturing this stuff, and sometimes Im looking at this and I know what happens, were calling it live, which is the way I love to do it, and we call edit live and I said that Chen Yibing after Zanetti went, I said, hes the champ! And, you know, he wasnt. so we didnt take that out because that was what I felt, and, back forth, for people to know.
JESSICA: So, were going to stop our interview with Tim right there, and were going to bring you the second half next week. Next week well have a little more of the same, so news and then our interview. Remember that you can reach us at email@example.com. You can also reach us and give us your feedback, and we would love to hear from you and see what you want to hear. You can find us on our website or our Twitter, @Gymcastic, or on our Facebook page. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and you can always find it on our website. So until next week, this is Jessica OBeirne.
BLYTHE: Blythe Lawrence.
SPANNY: Spanny Tampson.
UNCLE TIM: And Uncle Tim.
JESSICA: See you next time!