Episode 108 Transcript

EMMA: Which yes, she won four gold medals, yes she’s amazing, I love her, she’s fabulous. But they’re almost touting her as if she’s the best gymnast the world has ever seen, ever.[EXPRESS YOURSELF INTRO MUSIC]

JESSICA: This week: Our full recap of the Commonwealth Games, complete with behind the scenes tidbits.

ALLISON TAYLOR: Hey, gymnasts. Elite Sportz Band is a cutting edge compression back warmer that can protect your most valued asset: your back. I’m Allison Taylor on behalf of Elite Sportz Band. Visit EliteSportzBand.com. We’ve got your back.

JESSICA: This is episode 108 for August 11, 2014. I’m Jessica, from Masters Gymnastics.

BLYTHE: I’m Blythe, from the Gymnastics Examiner.

EMMA: I’m Moomin Whiskey from Moomin Whiskey Meets.

JAMIE: I’m Jamie, and you’ll find me on Twitter at @JamieKDay.

JESSICA: This is the best gymnastics podcast ever, bringing you all the news from around the gymternet. I’m really happy to announce that Emma and I, plus some special guests, will be doing a podcast about the BBC1’s new show Tumble, starting this week. So look for that later this week. Make sure to check out last week’s interview with acro world champ, Michael Rodrigues, and his partner, Tumble star, Kristin Allen. You’ll hear even more details about the making of Tumble and what went down. And if you want to find our episodes, like if we’re doing extra episodes and you want to get them right when they come out, make sure to subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher. Or, also sign up for our newsletter. So you just put your e-mail into the little panel on the side navigation of our home page, and you’ll be e-mailed as soon as the show comes out. And next week we’re going to have our regular preview of the US Championships, and then I’ll be doing mini shows from Pittsburgh during Championships, so there’s so much Gymcastic coming up, it’s so fantastic. And remember to send in your questions for Louis Smith for our book club.


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And then today we’re going to start with our European Division, discussing the Commonwealth Games that happened last week. And it was a huge deal. The British gymnasts won 11 out of the 14 golds available for artistic, and New Zealand won a medal, Australia lost its team position. I didn’t even know this; they’d won for like, the last sixteen years, the last four or five games in a row. So, can you guys just tell us firstly, Jamie and Emma, what a huge deal this is. Just how big a production this is? Just the size and scope for the Commonwealth Games for those of us in the US who aren’t really familiar with it?

EMMA: It’s a huge deal, and it’s a huge deal for the home nations because Team GB, you know, you have five or six slots for Worlds and Olympics, and you’ve got so many great gymnasts who will never ever make those teams. So to compete for home nations, it’s just, you know, just opens the door for, particularly a team like Wales, who won a bronze and got a bronze on beam, it’s amazing.

JAMIE: With the volunteers, it’s kind of on the same scale as the Olympics. There were 15,000 volunteers, and the competitors come from 71 nations and territories around the world.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: That’s gigantic, yeah.

EMMA: I actually thought once I’d been to London that it couldn’t be bettered. And I’d only ever have that experience once in my life. But I’m telling you, the Commonwealth Games, you know, you might not have had China or USA or Russia, you know, the huge sporting nations. But the atmosphere and the enjoyment was on the same level. It’s like an Olympics with some crazy sports and you know, the Queen still comes. Prince Edward gave out the pommel horse medals. You know, it’s a big deal. William and Kate were at the gymnastics with Harry.

JESSICA: And you have old-school sports like throwing logs and stuff, right?

EMMA: No, they do crown green bowls or something. Which is like, bowling, sort of.

JESSICA: Oh, I thought there was, like, Scottish, like the old-school Scottish.

EMMA: Oh, that’s the Highland Games.

JESSICA: Oh man, I can’t remember it.

EMMA: Where they do, like, caber tossing and stuff like that.

JESSICA: Yeah, throwing trees. Caber tossing. [LAUGHTER]. Okay, let’s get to the gymnastics! Okay, so bad news out of the way first. Tell us, Emma, who were some of the gymnasts who were out in the very beginning, who were injured or sent home. Let’s cover that first.

EMMA: Oh, first of all, before it even started was Moors got sent home. Which was just rubbish, and the Canadians put out a pretty pitiful statement on why she’s been sent home. That, you know, I don’t…as a gym fan, I wasn’t satisfied with that explanation. [QUIET LAUGHTER] But as well as Victoria Moors there was Courtney McGregor, who’s the big deal from New Zealand, who–I actually spoke to her, and she told me she’d a hyperextended knee, whatever that means in English.

JESSICA: Ooh, ouch.

EMMA: Also…

JESSICA: Your knee goes backwards, the wrong direction.

EMMA: Oh really. Ooh. See, I wasn’t a gymnast so I don’t know these technical [INAUDIBLE]

JESSICA: Oh good, you’ve never done that. I hope it never happens to you.

EMMA: [LAUGHS] MacKenzie Slee, who, there’s a little bit of a film about her, she’s also from New Zealand and her nan and granddad sold their house and moved across New Zealand to support her gymnastics. She competed, first day and I believe on the second day she got, her toes were bad so they didn’t count a team score in the end.


EMMA: Also, India McPeak, she had to withdraw from the floor because she also had a bad leg. And let me tell you, she is so nice, and her mum and dad so sweet. Also Raer Theaker, she sat out Day Two. I asked her what was wrong with her, and she just said she wasn’t sure yet, she had to go for some tests.

JESSICA: Okay, so the competition was split into two parts. So the team was over two days, instead of team being one day. And it was men and women together over the two days, right?. Okay, so what did the gymnasts think about this? Because we talked about Syque Caesar last week saying he competed on three events in like, less than thirty minutes, which is nuts. So what was the feedback from the athletes?’

EMMA: I spoke to a couple of athletes, and they seemed to quite like it. Obviously from a fan’s perspective you got to see both men’s and women’s, which was great. However, if you couldn’t get tickets for both days, if I couldn’t have got tickets for Day Two, I would have been really cross because I don’t want to just watch vault and bars, no.

JESSICA: That’s true. I hadn’t thought of that.

EMMA: But one comment I did hear from certain athletes was that they were in the arena for a long time before they competed. And by the time that they’d actually got to the equipment and competed, you know, they were sort of past competition readiness, if you know what I mean.


JAMIE: Yeah…

EMMA: They’d kind of… you heard that as well, didn’t you, Jamie?

JAMIE: Yeah, lots of the volunteers were saying it as well, because it made the competition quite a lot longer than it would usually be.

EMMA: It was so long.

JAMIE: Also there was lot, people in the audience were struggling because it was just such a long day. Volunteers were just kind of like, “This isn’t normal, we just want to get on with it, keep going.” And some of the athletes were coming in and out, like, “Is it my turn yet, am I ready?” Getting quite annoyed sometimes.

JESSICA: Oh, that’s awful. I didn’t think of that, how long it would have extended it.

EMMA: Yes, some of it, some of the sessions were so long.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: Because even though they were, especially on Day Two I noticed this. Even though there were, two events happening at the same time, they kept cutting and making, say the floor competitor wait for the beam competitor to finish. I guess that was for TV, but so there was only ever one person on at a time.

JESSICA: [GASPS] They went one at a time?

EMMA: Yeah, it was so…

JESSICA: Six events, five events…? Oh my God.

EMMA: I actually, I actually skipped rings, I just lost the will to live by then. [JESSICA LAUGHS] And I skipped the end of the men’s all around, and that’s just a dreadful thing to do as a huge fan, but I just couldn’t stand it. It was too long.

JESSICA: Let’s talk about the pommel horse, like, show down, between…

EMMA: The pommel horse show down.

JESSICA: The pommel horse show down. The only time pommel horse is interesting.

EMMA: That needs a drum roll.

JESSICA: That is the best in the world.

EMA: That needs are drum roll.

JESSICA: Blythe, will you remind us about the characters that we have here, so Dan, Louis Smith, everybody.

BLYTHE: Oh, absolutely. Totally. So in terms of pommel horse competition… Now normally, everybody likes pommel horse. There’s some exciting falls, you’re always wondering, “Are they going to fall off or are they not going to fall off?” But this competition might have been the most anticipated, hotly debated pommel horse competition in the history of gymnastics. And it was Daniel Keatings, you know, who has such a great story behind him as well, just from 2008 Olympian, not being selected to the 2012 team, he’s said for four years that he could not wait to compete for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, and he finally gets his opportunity. And he gets into the pommel horse final, and he’s got to go up against Max Whitlock, you know, your Olympic bronze medalist, who’s just gotten even better on pommel horse and really as an all-around guy. You could maybe consider him number two in the world in the all-around right now. Maybe. We’ll see. And then, and then of course you have Louis Smith who has made a comeback for the Commonwealth Games especially, although now we’ll see if he can continue for 2015 and maybe even try to challenge for Rio. And just these big three British pommel horse workers, and you did not know how it was going to shake down. And their difficulty is also incredibly high, and they all said, “Yeah, we watered back a little bit in the prelims and in the finals we’re going to do everything.” And they did everything. And it was fascinating to see how it all played out.

JESSICA: So Emma, how did it play out?

EMMA: Well, was Louis up first or Max? I don’t remember. Anyway, Louis was great right until the very end of his routine, where he struggled on his dismount, so obviously he got a slightly lower score. But the crowd love him. They absolutely love him. He sort of plays up to the cameras a bit. Well, a lot. [LAUGHTER] And Dan, oh my gosh. He got like, 16 something? 16.25 or something like that.

JESSICA: Huge score.

EMMA: Huge. And being in Scotland, the crowd were nuts. They just went absolutely nuts. And he was very convincing because he had is disappointments at Euros, and there was all that controversy with Louis, should he have been selected over other team members, ect. Max did a great job. And it really was super exciting. I wish Louis had just have got his dismount, just to make it a little bit more exciting. But, you know, Dan was a very worthy winner, and he got his medal given to him by Prince Edward, which probably was quite exciting, I would have thought.

JESSICA: Now is that queen’s husband?

EMMA: No, the queen’s son… come on Jess.

JESSICA: I don’t know, I’m sorry! [LAUGHTER] Oh, that’s the guy, wait, but that’s not the one who was married to Diana. That’s another son?

EMMA: No, that’s Charles. She’s got four kids.

JESSICA: Really?


JESSICA: I didn’t know.

EMMA: Andrew, Charles, Edward, and Anne.

JESSICA: Oh, that’s right, because the one was married to the redhead one, they got divorced too. Is this one still married?

EMMA: Fergie. Yes, he’s married to Sophie…

JESSICA: Oh, look at that.

EMMA: Of Wessex. And they have two children.

JESSICA: Excellent. [LAUGHTER] Okay, so. This wasn’t pommel horse…oh wait, pommel… But Louis Smith also did another event, so he was training…

EMMA: At team competition, he did parallel bars because there was an injury to Sam, so he had to, he was down to do parallel bars anyway, but this format means four compete and three scores count. Whereas, because Sam had got injured and couldn’t continue, Louis’ score had to count. So he pulled it off, he did a great job.

JESSICA: So he did it for the team. He came through for them.

EMMA: He did it for the team. And he made a few people surprised that he could actually do something other than pommel. And you know, he did a good job.

JESSICA: And what happened with Luke Carson, who’s had the two compound fractures, from Ireland, and he trains with Louis Smith? So he did pommel horse, but like his leg was hurting him? What happened?

EMMA: Oh my goodness. He… I wasn’t there for his session, when he was there the first day, but he posted on Twitter that he really wanted to apologize to all the fans, he had an awful day and he’d fallen from the pommel horse. But he said, “I’ll be back tomorrow, stronger than ever, to parallel bars. That’s my favorite event, and I’ll bring my A game.” Or something along those lines. And the whole of the audience was willing him on. And he fell from the parallel bars. [GROANING] Someone who knows him very well tweeted later that evening, “Please, can everyone send their love to Luke because he’s feeling terrible and his leg is absolutely killing him.” [SYMPATHETIC SOUNDS] So I hope he’s not done his leg in again, I really do.


JESSICA: Okay, so let’s talk about the ladies. We have, so this was team prelims, when they were there for a million hours, and they were only doing two events. So we have some really great bar workers from England. And I couldn’t believe that Olivia didn’t make bar finals, Olivia Vivian from Australia. So how did the ladies do?

EMMA: They did… having been to Sofia, where the GB girls were absolutely on fire–I’ve never seen them better than Sofia, ever–they weren’t the sharpest on bars. During prelims, Becky did a good job, but again it wasn’t Sofia style. Hannah struggled on her dismount if I remember correctly, and Ruby, when she did her bhardwaj down to the lower bar, she hit her knees on the floor, so she had break. They did great vaults. And then the Australian girls were lovely on bars. I thought Miller was superb. Georgia Rose Brown, just so pretty.

JAMIE: Hannah Whelan on bars, only competed the double pike dismount. Normally she does a double straight, but I think she did that all week as well. Cause indeed, like, her feet were hurting. So I think especially in warm ups she was taking it quite easy as well sometimes. Like, she was still working really hard, but she wasn’t pushing the dismounts like sometimes she does.

JESSICA: And how about Olivia Vivian? I thought for sure she was going to make finals. I thought that was one of the reasons they sent her, you know? Because the whole strategy was to send event, people who could win a medal. On an event.

EMMA: She actually ended up doing all around in came fifth.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: Which, that was a surprise to me, I had no clue she was doing all around. But she did a nice bars routine. It just, she was just picked by her team mates.

JESSICA: You know, I don’t think she’s vaulted since, like, NCAA. I was shocked she did all around. I was like, “What?”

EMMA: The Australians, the Australians, I mean they, people were saying that they’d failed because they won silver. However, for me, they didn’t fail. Now, Peggy had made quite a controversial team selection in the eyes of some, because they obviously didn’t take their all-around winner. But if you think they had an awful showing at the Olympics, they didn’t even go to Worlds. She’s put together a team of specialists who have had just the most horrendous luck. You know. Some of them had surgery, like, eight weeks ago. Larissa, when she won her silver, she was telling me that if you’d have told her that a few months ago, that she’d have had a silver medal on bars and a silver medal from team, she would have thought you were crazy. Because, you know, she only just got back into training. You know, so they did a phenomenal job, and they were incredibly happy with what they came out with.


EMMA: I suppose their only disappoint was the fact that they had a bit of a poor showing on beam, and Mitchell fell in beam finals. But other than that, you know, they were delighted with what they achieved.

JESSICA: So the biggest thing that made the news all around the US was of course, Dipa from India doing a produnova.

EMMA: Ugh.

JESSICA: The prelims produnova, which she did–so during, we’re still on the team prelims day–oh my God. Terrifying.

EMMA: It looked like–it looked like she was going to die.

JAMIE: Mm. She didn’t ever do it during warm up.

JESSICA: [GASPS] Seriously?

JAMIE: She did it in podium training, but like, on finals day, it was podium training in the arena, like two hours before the competition. And we never saw it. The most we saw was a handspring pike front.

EMMA: I think we should point out that Jamie was behind the scenes.

JAMIE: I was. I’ve got a lot of behind the scenes information. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: Yes! Tell us everything!

JAMIE: Okay, I’ll start with the large. If I get boring, just tell me and I’ll move on.

JESSICA: Okay, don’t worry, I will. [LAUGHTER]

JAMIE: Okay, I…

JESSICA: It won’t happen though. You cannot, no detail is too minute.

JAMIE: We’ll see. Okay, so the athletes’ lounge–it wasn’t, like, a massive room, cause it was made as a temporary corridor. So you had, like, the warm up, which was in the SECC, and then the main arena, which was in the Hydro. So to connect them was like this tunnel they’d set up, which was two and a half minutes’ walk between warm up and arena. So you had some of the gymnasts doing, like, really different things as they walked down, and the floor boards were really creaky, so some of gymnasts who like to stay silent would, like, scowl right down at the floor every time it creaked, which is quite funny to watch. Because we got told that when the athletes came by, we had to, like, stand right by the like, down by the edge and walk to let them walk through. So that was that. And then we had, so the athletes’ lounge was halfway down this temporary corridor between the arena and the main hall. There was one funny thing in the athletes’ lounge, actually. But there were like, sweets on the side. And one of the coaches came in and told us, “You can’t have sweets out, because it’s too much of a distraction for the athletes.” So we had to spend the morning, like, giving out these sweets to like, all the security guards. [LAUGHTER] And the people working the doors, and then we had to eat them. It was a tough day’s work. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: Oh, people, you’re so rough.

JAMIE: Yeah, it was really tough. And then, like, some of the things that were funny in warm up. Well, they weren’t funny, but some of the Welsh girls, when the Welsh girls came in you have like set time of the first mat, so it was like 12 minutes they had on the first mat, and the Welsh girls had this choreographed warm up they all did together. When they came in they’re like they’re here, they’re ready to fight for this medal. They’re all in time with each other, they’re stretching together. So they looked really like sort of on they’ll work as hard as they can. [INAUDIBLE] The Scottish boys were lovely, they always made the effort afterwards. As a volunteer, you couldn’t ask them for a photo, but if they asked you, then you could. So all the Scottish boys asked us to come over and be like, “Oh, I really want a photo with the volunteers.” Like, “Have a picture with me.” [JESSICA SQUEALS] And if you said yes, they’d be like, “Okay, let’s do a line and work through.” So they were really nice.

JESSICA: Oh, that’s so sweet!

JAMIE: Yeah, they were lovely. Actually, everyone was lovely. So it was a really good experience. Then you had, like, the New Zealand girls who were really worried about the big arena, so they came in like two days earlier just to have a look around and see what it was like. They were like, “Oh, it’s so big,” like “I’m so excited!” and stuff like that. And they got us to take pictures of them doing handstands outside of the Hydro. I think you saw that on my Twitter feed. So they were really nice. And they stopped to converse as well with us. Comparing the difference between the rhythmic and artistic competition. So, just how different it was. And if you get the opportunity to go to a rhythmic competition, I would definitely go. You get really into it! You see how much, like how difficult it is. And, I don’t know. It’s really impressive.

JESSICA: What kind of premeet rituals or things did they do, compared to the artistic gymnasts? Like, did they just, like, get held, carried into the arena holding a split [LAUGHTER] down the two and half minute walk?

JAMIE: Oh, they would stand, they would get to the–like, you had to stand in this tiny like, box area before the doorway opened up the curtains and you like marched out. And they would stand like, they would ignore everyone else around. They were so focused. And like, suddenly they would just, like, kick their leg above their head and hold it there, like, “I am in the zone, I am ready.” And like, even if someone’s behind them, they would just like kick anywhere without even realizing. Whereas like, the artistic ones would just try to keep warm. They were like, jumping the whole way. And very focused, but just more trying to keep warm rather than still stretching out. Yeah, and the boys, the boys were just so chill the whole way through. They were just relaxed. I don’t know how they do it.

JESSICA: Seems like that. The guys are always, like, joking around and super chill, and…

JAMIE: Yeah.

JESSICA: Yeah. Okay…

JAMIE: Max Whitlock looked a bit nervous at some points. Like going out before the team finals, he looked a bit nervous. But then he went and nailed everything, so must’ve been fine.

JESSICA: So Dipa never did her produnova.

JAMIE: No, not before finals. All she did was a handspring piked front.


JAMIE: And her first vault.

JESSICA: Oh my God. So, let’s talk about that landing. Like, her knee? That’s exactly the same landing that What’s-her-name did in Tokyo, oh, and at Worlds. Why am I totally blanking on her name? Who’s the other one?

EMMA: Pena.

JAMIE: Pena.

JESSICA: Yes, Pena. Basically, she lands, but she’s so, like, well, the first day–oh no, that wasn’t the first day, that was finals. The first day, like, she hits the board, she hits the vault table and is already tucking, and then she never comes out of her tuck. She just basically rolls out of it, almost like the Egyptian gymnast does. Like, no opening, no finish. Very scary.

EMMA: Well, the first one I saw her do, which was the qualification one. Which–it was just awful. And then the one she did in finals, she did it as a second vault rather than her first. And she’s really cowboyed, and she kind of landed on her bottom, but on her feet at the same time. And as a spectator, I don’t want to be seeing a botched job that nearly might be stood up. I want to see Elena Produnova smashing it out of the park. You know? I just, I’m sick and tired of all these botched job produnova vaults. They just don’t…the gymnasts look like they’re going to die.

JESSICA: And that’s the thing, it’s exactly what Pena did in Tokyo. She landed basically–her feet landed first, then she sat on her butt and stood right up.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: But it’s a fall. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a fall, because…

EMMA: For me too. You should not medal with an abomination like that.

JESSICA: And it doesn’t seem like… She got a 15 something, right? So they didn’t take the fall, which I feel like they should have.

EMMA: Yeah. I think the vault final–can we just talk about the vault final for a second? Because as much as I love Frags, and she is wonderful, I believe Ellie Black should have won.

JESSICA: Yeah. Agreed.

BLYTHE: To take absolutely nothing away from Claudia Fragapane, she is wonderful gymnast, and certainly earned a medal in that vault final. You know, a little bit sloppy. Not a lot of pop off the horse. You know, a little bit loose in the twist. Whereas Ellie Black, especially on that second vault, you know, that tsuk one and a half, that was just perfectly done. Yeah. I thought she earned it. And Fragapane was maybe riding a little bit of the wave of being the all-around champion, being team gold medalist. And, and I don’t blame the judges for being besotted with her. But in all fairness, yeah, I think Ellie Black should have won and Fragapane should have had the silver.

EMMA: I agree.


EMMA: And it’s certainly not anything personal about Frags, I absolutely love her. She’s amazing. But it’s just on that occasion, Black was better.

JESSICA: So let’s go on to day two of the team finals. So that was again, two women’s events, three men’s events. Sam Oldham. Because this was so incredibly sad. I just couldn’t believe that it…

EMMA: It was hideous, and I was sitting right at the end of the vault runway, which was just horrible. He, like, it was like Kerri Strug all over again, where it was almost like he was injured before he started, and he did this crazy dragulescu, and it wasn’t high enough. And then he landed on one foot.


EMMA: So he… it was, it was Kerri Strug all over again. You know, down on the mat, for having medical attention for like–ugh. It seemed like forever.

JAMIE: We got a photo of it, because we were sitting–we got to sit in with the athletes, whe we all, when we were done, our role, before we had to go check the ice and such. We got to sit in with athletes, so when he came round you could hear some of the other boys, and we got a picture of his foot. And if one foot was square on, the other foot was twisted round 45 to 90 degrees? [GASPING] It didn’t look great at all.

EMMA: From what his dad has written on Twitter–and you need to follow him, Bobby Oldham–it’s like as if he’s going to be out for the rest of the year.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: But there’s no sort official press release or anything like that.

JESSICA: Ugh. That’s so sad.

EMMA: Honestly, when, when the boys got their medal, Louis and Christian, they carried him on the podium. It was so emotional.

JESSICA: I can’t believe it was like, totally Kerri Strug all over again.

EMMA: It was Kerri Strug all over again!

JESSICA: Except, thank God, his teammates took him instead of, you know, a boisterous coach that wanted the spotlight. [LAUGHTER] What, did I say that? I like that much better, that they carried him…

EMMA: [BAD HUNGARIAN ACCENT] Wave to the people, Kerri, wave to the people! [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: I mean, not that Kerri Strug’s teammates, let’s give them credit. Like, obviously, I don’t think they knew, like where she was even at the time to even help her out there, so. You know. To give them credit.

EMMA: I don’t think those girls back then would have said boo to a goose, would they? You know.

JESSICA: It was just a totally different time, different time. [LAUGHTER] This was, this explained everything about gymnastics has changed. Also men’s gymnastics is different.

EMMA: Yeah, it was quite funny actually. They were trying to pick him up onto the podium, and the crowd kind of gasped and was going, “Aw!” and the Louis motioned at them to cheer. So, it was sort of tongue in cheek, heartbreaking, lovely, all at the same time.

JESSICA: Aw. Love that. So, just to be clear, this is England, the men who won, not Scotland, the team medal.

EMMA: England.


EMMA: But the exciting thing about the Commonwealth Games, it is if you think that the Olympic team were five members. Well, if you add in Frank Baines and Daniel Keatings and Daniel Purvis, you’ve got three Scotland team members. And if you look on the England side, you’ve got Max, Sam, Christian, Louis. And Nile. So there’s a couple of newbies in Frank and Nile, there’s a few Olympic medalists on either side. And then you’ve got Dan Keatings, who was silver all around to Kohei in 2009. So it was a, it was a fantastic competition.

JESSICA: And let’s talk about the bright side of Sam’s story that we alluded to earlier.

EMMA: Awww!

JESSICA: Tell us everything.

EMMA: Well, one of our friends on our little Facebook gym group posted the other day, “Is there something going on between Sam and Hannah?” And then sort of throughout the week they were always sitting together, and there was lots of flirty tweets and Instagrams and all that sort of stuff. And then by the end of the week it was confirmed that they are an item. So. It’s so lovely. They’re both so sweet and lovely. So good luck to them.

JESSICA: And I just have to say, you know, I always think that Sam is like, 15, but he’s actually 20, right, almost 21.

EMMA: He really is. [JESSICA LAUGHS] No, she’s 22 and he’s 21.

JESSICA: Very age appropriate relationship. [LAUGHTER] Perfect. But we remember him by–he’s the one who looks really young, and Whitlock is the one who does the, with the hair. And then Whitlock’s the one that does the air flares. This is how—not that they, they don’t look alike at all either! I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I can’t tell… [LAUGHTER] I have to give myself little cues.


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So do you guys think that England knew they didn’t have to be as sharp as they were for European championships…

EMMA: Well…

JESSICA: And that’s why they could do this level, not be as clean and sharp, maybe, just not as…

EMMA: I think the men, I think the men were better than they were at Euros. Because if you remember, at Euros they finished second, whereas the previous Euros they had finished first.


EMMA: I just think the women weren’t as sharp, but the women got better as the week went on, so the women in the all-around were better, apart from a couple of errors on beam. And then in event finals, with the exception of Becky on beam, who had a terrible time. But obviously saw the funny side. They, they sort of got better throughout the week.

JESSICA: Right. Can you tell us about Becky’s beam routine? Because she got a ten, right?

EMMA: Oh, poor thing. [JESSICA LAUGHS] She’d been limping throughout the week. She fell three times on beam, and at the end of it all she could do really was just laugh. You know, she’d been on fire the day before and hit her bars and won gold, and she’d obviously got team gold as well. So, you know. I’m sure she would have wanted to go out on a high and win a medal, but she saw the funny side.

BLYTHE: Becky gave a wonderful quote in the mixed zone after the competition on beam. And she said, “After the first mistake, I just thought, ‘Never mind, try to do the rest the best that you can.’ And then the second mistake was a bit unexpected for me, and I was like, ‘Aw, here we go.’ And then I tried to keep the routine going, but once I came off the third time I was like, ‘For God’s sake!’” [LAUGHTER]

EMMA: And Raer Theaker, the day before, had had a similar experience on the bars final, where I think she counted two falls and then just didn’t dismount in the end. I mean, she was carrying a foot injury, but you know, sometimes it’s best to just sort of finish and have a laugh about it and just move on to the next day. You know?

JESSICA: So Blythe, what did you think of the men’s all around? Do you think that it came out correctly? Do you think that Max’s going to…


BLYTHE: Max, Keatings, and Wilson. Yeah, I think that that was fair. Max has so much difficulty, and he performed so well, that he absolutely deserved it. He’s gotten a bit better since last year, which is nice to see.

EMMA: He has.

BLYTHE: Just in term of form, in terms of kind of carrying himself with his shoulders back and his chin up, and things like that. And that, little things that sort of make a difference in your execution score. And he seems a bit calmer, more comfortable in his skills also. For Dan Keatings, you know, since he tore his ACL in 2010, he’s not really been the same guy on floor and on vault, and those are really the things that hold him back from being, like, a major, a major force in a world all-around competition. And you know, on both of those events he sort of did what he could do, and then just let himself be carried by high bar and parallel bars and pommel horse, which is kind of what he does. Yeah, you know, the thing about Dan Keating’s performance in Scotland was that it, it–I don’t want to take anything away from him, but it has marked him out to me, I think, as a fairly inconsistent gymnast. A lot of mistakes in the prelims, and then the mistake in high bar finals. He pulled it together for pommel horse, but when it comes to the World Championships, and the people selecting that team are going to take into account, just a lot of mistakes here and there. Although he did put it together when it mattered for the all-around and event finals, and that’s going to count as a positive for him. And Nile Wilson is so impressive.

EMMA: He’s amazing.

BLYTHE: So impressive.

EMMA: He is! I think he’s pretty much written his own ticket to China, don’t you?

BLYTHE: Yeah. Yes, absolutely. It would be very difficult to see Nile or Christian or Max not on the world team. You know, the other places kind of up for grabs, and you know Dan will absolutely be in the mix. I think that he’ll make it for worlds. Absolutely

EMMA: I think, yeah, me too. And I think Dan Purvis as well.

BLYTHE: Yes. Yes. And maybe… Dan, to me, I thought he was not perhaps in the most optimal shape, but he’s thinking about October. He had a few mistakes in the competition as well. Although, like you said, you know in event finals on parallel bars, that routine, amazing.

EMMA: Mmhmm.

BLYTHE: But he seems to be preparing, perhaps, shooting for October.

EMMA: Yeah.

BLYTHE: And using this as kind of a warm up competition maybe.


EMMA: Yeah.

BLYTHE: And Frank Banes, what a lovely gymnast.

EMMA: He’s absolutely lovely. I felt a bit sorry for him that he had a few errors, because he was clearly gifted when he had falls and stuff, but he’s really lovely, yeah.

BLYTHE: Yeah, beautiful form, beautiful swing on bars. Great parallel bar work. And that’s nice to see, especially since he had a really catastrophic injury in 2013. And it was like, “Is he going to be able to do gymnastics again?” He said the first time he tried to do a handstand after coming back from his injury, he fell over, like he was six years old. And he’s climbed back up from that, to…

JESSICA: Oh my God. What was his injury?

EMMA: It’s just amazing.

BLYTHE: [SIGHS] What was his injury? He took a bad fall on high bar. Like onto his head.


BLYTHE: I don’t know. Something spinal. Like, you know, crushed vertebrae or what have you.

JESSICA: Oh my goodness.

BLYTHE: And, yeah, very scary, career-ending type of injury. But for him, no, it hasn’t been.

JESSICA: And then over to the women’s side for the all around. England swept the medals. So you can win three.

EMMA: Oh yes.

JESSICA: There’s no limits.

EMMA: There’s no limits. It was so great. Again, not the cleanest, most perfect competition I’ve ever seen. Franks had a fall off beam, and so did Ruby Harrold. But it was so enjoyable. I’d have to say the whole competition, the enjoyment level of the gymnasts is probably something I’d never seen at that level before.


EMMA: You know, you had the three girls absolutely delighted. You had the Welsh girls the previous day absolutely delighted. And then you’ve got other competitors, such as the team from the Isle of Man, who were just delighted to be there. The Scottish girls were delighted to be there. You know, there was a lone competitor, the lovely Charlotte from Jersey. She was just over the moon to be there. And you know, that was the great thing about the whole games, that some people say, oh you know, “It’s a waste of time.” And blah, blah, blah, “What is Commonwealth Games? I don’t even get it.” If you’re in it, and you’re competing in it, it’s everything. And just to see the people that went round the crowd with their medals after and were having pictures with everybody, those medals meant everything. It wasn’t a half-assed event for them by any stretch. So you had the three English girls one-two-three. So, Claudia Fragapane, Ruby Harrold, Hannah Whelan. In fourth was Ellie Black, who got better as the week went on. They had a bit of a shaky start, and then she just got better and better. And in fifth place was Olivia Vivian, who had the time of her life, you know? And delighted to be fifth!

JESSICA: And, Jamie, who was freaking out the most after they won a medal, or the team placed, or whatever? Who, behind the scenes, was like ecstatic?

JAMIE: Oh, the Welsh girls after winning their team medal just couldn’t hold it together, they were so happy. They were–I’ve never seen a group all together. They were like, hugging, cheering, especially Raer. Yeah, because lots of the Welsh girls train together, so it’s really nice to see them come out together.

BLYTHE: Mmhmm.

JAMIE: And Raer looked really good, actually. She didn’t get to see much, didn’t get through to many finals. But in qualifying, I think she looked really good, I think she’s one to watch.

EMMA: I think too, I mean two Welsh girls in the beam final–granted, not the most difficult, but just polished and beautiful, and…

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: You know? Hats off to them.

JESSICA: Love polished and beautiful. The world needs more of that. Tell us the story about Mitch and Beth!

EMMA: So, after the all-around final, I was loitering, trying to get a few photographs, I’m not going to lie, [JESSICA LAUGHS] because I usually do. And I had a lovely conversation with Mitch Fenner, and I said to him, I said, “Oh my God. It was like, the most emotional thing I’ve ever seen.” I said, “Were you crying?” and he said, “Yeah, we were all crying the commentary box.” And I said, “Well, we were all crying.”


EMMA: I was sitting in the same stand as all the GB families. So they were all crying and screaming and everything else. And then the following day, I met Beth. And I said to her, I said, “What did you think of yesterday?” She said, “Oh, it was great.”

JESSICA: Beth Tweddle, we’re talking about. There’s no other Beth.

EMMA: Yeah, of course. There’s no other Beth. She, she needs one name, like Madonna. So I said to Beth, I said, “Wasn’t it amazing yesterday?” I said, “I mean, one-two-three. Who ever thought that would have happened?” And she’s, “Oh yeah, it was great.” And I said, “Did you cry, Beth?” And she went, “As if! I didn’t cry when I won my own medals!”

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] She’s like, “Please. I don’t cry.”

EMMA: She’s like, “As if!”

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] I love that.

EMMA: And like, the whole commentary team was crying, all the families were crying, and there’s Beth not crying.

BLYTHE: She’s too tough. She’s too tough for crying.

EMMA: She’s tough. She is too tough for crying.

JESSICA: So tell me about the women’s and men’s floor finals. That’s one we haven’t covered yet. Fragapane just freaking killed it.

EMMA: She’s amazing. One thing that slightly concerns me about Fragapane is not Fragapane herself, but it’s what the media are portraying her as.

JESSICA: Mm, yeah.

EMMA: And all the articles that I’ve read have been, “Golden Girl! Pocket Rocket! Blah blah blah.” Which yes, she won four gold medals, yes she’s amazing, I love her. She’s fabulous. But they’re almost touting her as if she’s the best gymnast the world as ever seen ever. And it’s like, you know, to the casual observer who would only watch a Commonwealth Games or Olympics, they would then watch Worlds, and if she didn’t win gold they’d be like, “Well, what’s she playing at?”

JESSICA: Yeah, the article…her coach also was quoted–and maybe it’s a misquote, maybe she really said this, you know, who knows. You know, not that I don’t totally trust the British media, but I’m just saying. So her, I mean it wasn’t like Ollie wrote the article, you know, or any of our standard people. It was like in Star or something. But she was quoted as saying that Fragapane, like, “No one in the world can do what she is doing,” and I was like, “Actually, there’s several people who have higher start values than she does.”

EMMA: Well… You know, just her floor routine is amazing. I love it. I love the choreo, I love her tumbles, and she sells it, and she is dynamic, and she’s capable of making a world final. However, you’ve got, in that world final you’ve got Simone Biles, who at Classics, oh my goodness! Ridiculous.


EMMA: You’ve got Ferrari, who’s getting better with age. You’ve got Iordache, Bulimar, Mitchell’s come back. You know, and she’s going to be even better for by the time October rolls around. You know, and there’s so many other people out there that are at a higher or sort of equal level. You know, you’ve got Popa as well, and Fasano. You know, so the media needs to just simmer down. And actually, British media, please get people who actually like gymnastics and know about gymnastics write these articles. [LAUGH] That would be really nice.

JESSICA: Yeah, that’s what I was a little worried about, that her coach was feeding into this. Which was good, you should totally pump up your gymnasts. You should be their biggest, biggest marketing team. You know, but…

EMMA: She tote, she tote–I don’t want anyone out there to think I don’t like Fragapane, because I absolutely love her. I think she’s wonderful and I think she’s an amazing thing for British gymnastics. You know, but you’ve got to look at it in the real world. You know, and I didn’t even mention any Russians there. And, you know, there’s going to be Russians, there’s going to be Chinese, there’s, you know. You need to look at it in context, rather than just like, “Wow, she’s won four medals, she’s taking over the world.”

JESSICA: That’s the thing, the context is what was missing. [EMMA LAUGHS] I wish they would have said in the articles, “She has a great chance at a medal or making finals on floor.”

EMMA: She has a great chance now. She’s got a great chance at being in the all-around final at Worlds, she’s got a great chance at being in the team final at Worlds, and she’s got a great chance at being in the floor final at Worlds. And maybe even vault final. But I would hate her to get so pressured by this press that she just can’t handle it, and that’s hideous. You know, look at people in the past who have had the most immense pressure from the press as the next big thing who have not been able to deal with it.

JESSICA: Although, somehow the British gymnasts have been, I feel like, better able to handle this than any American ever has.

EMMA: I think we’ve got a very, very good system and team and staff in GB. It’s a very close knit community, and I genuinely do think that the gymnasts are great friends, and the coaches, the family… It’s a very small, close knit community. Even the gymnasts, the coaches, the families, you know. And I’ve certainly not seen that with any other country or gymnasts, so…

JESSICA: Blythe, what’s your take on this, as a journalist? What are your… I mean, how do you see the balance going? How do you think the British gymnasts have handled the pressure, compared to the Americans that have been put in this position? I mean, Kim Zmeskel comes to mind, of course.

BLYTHE: You know, I was thinking earlier tonight about the curse of being the one to watch going into the Olympics, in the American team. You know, you saw it a bit with Jordyn Wieber in 2012. A bit with Courtney McCool in 2004. Certainly with Kim Zmeskel in 1992. And it’s a very hard position to be in. This, where where you’re made out, like, “It’s all up to you.” Everything is all up to you.


BLYTHE: And to have to go in there with that added pressure–I mean, the Olympic Games is stressful enough. In Britain… Emma, I don’t mean to demean the British team…

EMMA: No, of course not.

BLYTHE: …but, I mean, they have less experience with carrying that on their shoulders.

EMMA: Yeah.

BLYTHE: Beth Tweddle is really the only gymnast who has ever had to deal with that. And Beth had to deal with that at a home games, also. I mean, Beth certainly comported herself remarkably well in 2012, given the injury and the knee surgery, you know, 12 weeks before the games. And [INAUDIBLE]

EMMA: That’s because Beth is incapable of crying. [LAUGHTER] So she never cracked. It’s true! I’ve seen it!

BLYTHE: It’s her super power.

EMMA: She told me! She has a super power.

BLYTHE: And so, with Fragapane, she’s really kind of going into uncharted territory here as an all-around threat at Worlds. Yeah, she seems totally unflappable. She seems unphased by it. Certainly between the all-around and event finals, that’s, like, 24 hours. But we will, we will see.

EMMA: I think she had an excellent sort of debut at Sofia.


EMMA: And she did outstanding, and then the floor final just didn’t quite go her way, and she made some errors on her landings. And this time, I think she kind of, “Well, okay. I’ve been to Euros. I kind of know what to expect.” And she obviously dealt with it a lot better.


BLYTHE: And she’s very young. She’s got a lot of energy. She may not quite realize what’s being sort of gradually placed on her shoulders. But the other thing being, like, just because the Daily Mail, with its 56 sub headlines before it actually starts getting to paragraphs, [LAUGHTER] thinks that you are, you know…

EMMA: It’s the worst newspaper ever!

BLYTHE: …a pocket rocket, and a mighty mite, and you know all the other cutesy little titles that they can come up with. I don’t know if that is really placing the world on somebody’s shoulders. Although it’s got to be pretty cool to open it up and see that. But, I don’t know. When I look at the Daily Mail, I just kind of laugh. Hopefully she does the same thing.

EMMA: Let’s hope so.

JESSICA: So who are the gymnasts, some of the gymnasts people don’t know as well, the lesser known but had great success? Like Mez, from Australia?

EMMA: Aww, Mez! She’s so wonderful! Let’s…seriously, the nicest girl.

JESSICA: She’s had all these crazy injuries.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: And did so well.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: There’s so many great episodes of The Hard Way to Success…

EMMA: Oh, gosh.

JESSICA: … that were played out in this. Everyone needs to watch all the episodes of The Hard Way to Success.

EMMA: Seriously.

JESSICA: To be on it.

EMMA: Seriously. For those of you who don’t know, Mez is Mary Anne Monckton, from Australia. And, yeah, she’s had some serious, serious injuries. She is an actual walking episode of The Hard Way to Success. [JESSICA LAUGHS] She is! She had surgery about eight weeks ago, so to be able to come back and get two silver medals, I’d say that’s pretty damn amazing. And also, I don’t know if any of the Gymcastic listeners have heard of Louise McColgan, who’s a current British espoir gymnast. She’s twelve years old, and she competed last year… At the Glasgow World Cup, they do the Espoir Championships, which was won last year by Catherine Lyons, Princess Catherine, and please go and YouTube Louise’s videos, because she’s amazing. She’s just wonderful. So, she was in arena one day, so we met up and had some photographs, and I chatter with her and her family. And she’s wonderful. So go YouTube her videos. And also, I know what it’s like to be McKayla Maroney now, because I was standing in the arena one day, and this girl came up to me and said, “I’d really like to get a photo with you, Emma!” And I’m like, “What?” And she goes, “Yeah, I follow you on Twitter! I read all the stuff that you write, and I’m like, a really big fan!” And I’m like, “Oh my God!” [LAUGHTER] “I’m like McKayla Maroney here!” So a big, massive shout out to my sole fan, who is Louise. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: That’s awesome.

EMMA: And thank you very much, for making me feel like McKayla Maroney for like, a day. [LAUGHS] [CHANGE OF SUBJECT BLIP]

JESSICA: Do you have any questions or feedback for us? Do you have any gymnastics crisis that we can solve for you? Contact us–we’re here to help! Our e-mail is Gymcastic@gmail.com. Our voice mail is 415-800-3191. Or you can call us for free from anywhere in the world on Skype. Our user name is GymcasticPodcast. Just call GymcasticPodcast and leave a voice mail for free.

Jamie, were there any other behind the scenes moments that we should know about, that struck you as odd, funny, interesting?

JAMIE: I’m just thinking about that. I think we should also mention the Indian girls. I remember, like, if you look back to Delhi Commonwealths, I think there was an Australian commentator who actually, like, made YouTube because she laughed at one of the competitors.


JAMIE: So just comparing, like, the Indian performance there to here, they have massively improved. And…

EMMA: They have, they really have.

JAMIE: …I think that they’re not necessarily a team to watch, but one that like… they’re doing some interesting stuff, and they are getting there. But I think they massively improved, and everyone really supported them as they went through, so I think that’s nice to watch.

JESSICA: That’s so good to hear. Because when they were at–was it the 2003 Worlds that were in Anaheim?

JAMIE: Yeah.

JESSICA: People–it was like they had just gotten off the plane, and they hadn’t… Like, they came straight from the plane to the competition and competed. And they were doing level 6, level 7 skills. But everyone cheered them on so hard. And it’s so great to hear that kind of support, because yeah. To hear that someone made fun of them, that’s just disgusting. That’s not what sports is about. So I’m glad actual sportsmanship was demonstrated so well by your colonies. Or commonwealths.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: Yeah, it really was, and I’ll tell you one thing that they did. I mean, the arena, they KGed up all the time.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: There was all sorts of stuff happening. And one of the days there was literally one person in the entire audience who was shouting, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” And [LAUGHS] the announcer said, “I can just hear one voice saying, ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.’ So as it’s the friendly games, can everybody pitch in and help them out?” They got the entire arena shouting, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” for the Aussie competitors, which was lovely.

JAMIE: Yeah, it’s really good. And the men’s team was so nice to each other. It was when it was Nile’s parallel bars routine, like, all the boys behind us were cheering him on. It’s like everyone was genuinely proud of every competitor going in. It didn’t matter what country they were from, it didn’t matter what they were doing–like, what level their skills were…

EMMA: That’s true.

JAMIE: Everyone shouted the whole way through their routines. They’re like, “Come on, lift up, hit it, stick it, come on!” Everyone was really into it.

EMMA: Yeah. And I’ve got an Olivia Vivian story to tell you.


EMMA: On the first day of event finals, Olivia Vivian suddenly appeared in front of me with her medal. And I was like, “Oh my God, it’s Olivia Vivian! Oh, I love you…” And acting like a bit of a dizzy superfan. And she then… obviously I went up and had a photograph, and people were like, “Who is this peach? This girl’s having a photograph with her and asking her to sign stuff.” So then this huge queue formed, going all the way up the stairs. She not only posed for photographs with everybody, put her medal around everybody’s neck. She gave all the little kids koala bears. It was like, she’s just the nicest person ever. So after that we were having a little chat, and we were talking about this and that, and she said that she liked my phone cover. So I like, within two seconds I’d ripped it off my phone, and like, “You have it, you have it!” And she said, “I can’t take your phone cover!” And I said, “I’ve got hundreds of them, please! I’d love you to have it, please have it!” So we put it on her phone, so, like, and I’m like, “I need a photograph of you with it!” [LAUGHTER] And I was like, “I love this stuff!” So yeah, a massive shout out to Olivia Vivian for her patience and time for all the spectators.

JESSICA: You know, one of the media, one of the writers, called her Miss Congeniality, and I think that is such a good way to frame to who she is for gymnastics. Because not only is she bringing the, just the focus to Australia in such a positive light, but she’s also just demonstrating the best kind of sportsmanship and appreciation for her fans.

EMMA: Oh yeah! And…


EMMA: …for those people who watch the all around, and you know, she was jumping up after she did her vault, she was playing up to the cameras, and everything like that. There were some people on Twitter who wrote her hideous messages.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: She was whacked them all together in like a collage, and like, “Thanks for the hate” and all this lot, in a very positive and upbeat way. And you know, just, what’s all that about? Why do people feel the need to criticize someone like that? It’s just ridiculous. I’m so…

JESSICA: That’s the thing, I feel like… Okay, this, for me, comes back to so much sexism. Because seriously, who complains about the Jamaican guy who’s really fast, and always do the insane stuff?

EMMA: Usain Bolt.

JESSICA: Right, no one’s like, “Oh my God! That guy has such a stick up his ass! Like, I can’t believe he does that. Ugh. How rude!”

EMMA: Yeah, I know!

JESSICA: Like, football players, no one’s like, “Oh my God. Did you see them look at the camera and say something? How disgusting!” But if like, a women’s sport does it, a women does it after she does a great job…

EMMA: I thought it was hilarious! She landed a vault, and she did a, she did a thing that the girl does on Stick It when she lands a vault, [JESSICA LAUGHS] which was hilarious.

BLYTHE: That was awesome.

EMMA: I’m like, “She’s doing the ‘Stick It’ thing!” [LAUGHTER] And Mary Anne, the lovely Mary Anne, bought me a talking kangaroo. And I, when you say anything to this kangaroo, it will repeat what you said. So I got the kangaroo to make Olivia a video, which she absolutely loved, and it, and the kangaroo said, “Ignore the hate.” [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: I love that. I’m so glad… if you guys like what she’s doing, all our listeners, send her an e-mail. And all these guys who have taken the time to really show their appreciation for the fans and give us a glimpse into their daily lives, it’s just so so so great.

EMMA: Absolutely. Absolutely. I cannot say enough good things. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Every person I’ve encountered at a gymnastics meet has been nothing more than wonderful, but I just have to say that at this particular event the Aussie girls were legends. Mez bought me presents. You know, all the girls sat and chatted to me for ages. I can be damn annoying, you know, [JESSICA LAUGHS] so thanks so much. You know, Mez bought me a bottle from the Australian Institute of Sport, and all the girls have signed it. That is, that is like a nugget of gold to me.

JESSICA: That is super sweet.

EMMA: That is a gym treasure extreme.

JESSICA: And that they’ve got, and that Olivia bought little gifts, little koala bears for all the kids, oh my God, that’s the sweetest thing ever!

EMMA: Yeah, yeah.

JESSICA: I love it.

EMMA: It really is, it really is. So literally, I gave them a sack of Cadbury’s chocolate to take home. I’m like, “Your competition’s finished, get on with this lot.” [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: They’re going to arrive in Australia covered in chocolate, like, like, one that says Cadbury when she’s a little kid.

EMMA: Would you like, would you like to know a secret?


EMMA: I’m sure I won’t get told off for telling you this. But, the Australian girls–so there’s Lauren, Larissa, Georgia Rose, Olivia, and Mez–and all four of the girls, with the exception of Mez, are going on holiday somewhere in Europe. So Mez has got to take the flight home with Peggy by herself.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Oh no. And she’s the youngest one? [LAUGHTER]



JESSICA: In thinking about how, what this competition say, besides the fantastic sportsmanship shown here by all of the audience and the competitors and the commentators really, I have to say, Blythe, how do you think, what do you think really, how do you think this says about the future and the upcoming World Championships?

BLYTHE: Well, we’ll wait and see. Somebody wrote somewhere on Twitter, you know, “Do you think now that Big 4, in women’s gymnastics at least (Russia, China, Romania, and the USA), can become the Big 5. Does Britain get past into the upper echelon, the Top 5 teams?” Yeah, I would say yes. Worlds–you know, the Commonwealth Games, at least in the men’s competition, was a British men’s intersquad with Scott Morgan from Canada. And Kevin Lytwyn. But that’s the dominating thing. And in the women’s competition too. Sort of Britain vs Australia, if you will. And… Well, Britain vs Australia vs Canada. And the big question right now, I think, is “Can Britain take on the United States? Can Britain take on China? Can Britain take on Romania? in women’s, and Japan in men’s.” And, you know, yes, I think that they can be a contender, but we’ll on the day, and we’ll see what everybody else brings to the table in Nanning.

EMMA: I actually think this period we’re going through now is really interesting, because a lot of the GB gymnasts are coming towards the ends of their competitive careers. I mean, you think Hannah’s been to two Olympics, Becky went to Beijing. But the up and comers are outstanding. You know, the likes of Teal, Amy Tinkler, Catherine Lyons, Gabby Jupp, who will be back soon. So that there is–and Ellie Downie, of course. It’s really, really exciting.

JESSICA: Jamie, would you recommend volunteering to people who have the option, the opportunity in the future?

JAMIE: Yeah, I definitely would. I’ve already signed to volunteer at the 2015 Worlds. And I did the Olympics as well, so. It’s a really good experience, you get to meet so many new people, and I got to watch most of the competition and then dart back to the, like, warm up area after to see exactly what’s going on, and how the gymnasts were. So I was very lucky. But wherever you, you feel like such a part of the games, and like you’re doing something. So.

EMMA: Yeah, and Jamie, also, you sat with me for one of the sessions, didn’t you?

JAMIE: I did, yeah.

EMMA: So it’s not all working.


EMMA: And then Michelle also volunteered. Michelle was in the press area for gymnastics as well. And she sort of did half work and half spectating.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: And also had an absolutely wonderful time. And also Carrie, another of our nerd friends, she also had a really great experience volunteering as well. So yeah, I think if you’re struggling for finances, but you want to go to big meets, it’s your way in.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: Without needing to buy a ticket! [LAUGHS] Especially as 2015 Worlds are like, a million pounds. [LAUGHS] So, you know. It’s definitely a great idea.

JAMIE: Honestly, it’s just great.

JESSICA: That’s a really good point. Students, this is your way.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: It is your way.

JAMIE: And my university helped fund me as well. I’ve got to write a report for my university, to give me some money for the experience to further my career.

JESSICA: Nice! [LAUGHTER] That’s awesome.

EMMA: See, that’s amazing!

JAMIE: Yeah.

JESSICA: You guys, thank you so much for taking the time to chat and give all the Americans…

JAMIE: Any time.

JESSICA: …and the foreign audience a great perspective on the Commonwealth Games. I always feel like we get such a balance of gymnastics and gymnerdery when we talk to you guys. So thank you.

JAMIE: Thank you.

EMMA: Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s not, it’s not World Championships, it’s not the Olympics, but you get to see, you know, people like Kirsten Beckett, who’s from South Africa, and people like that who, you know, are on the rise and looking for experience and things like that. So it’s amazing. It’s an amazing event. And, you know, the next one’s going to be on the Gold Coast in Australia, and what could be better than that?

JESSICA: Exactly. I’ll have to look into it. [LAUGHTER]

ALLISON TAYLOR: This episode is brought to you by Elite Sportz Band. EliteSportzBand.com. We’ve your back.

JESSCIA: Visit EliteSportzBand.com, that’s “Sportz” with a “z,” and save five dollars on your next purchase with the code “Gymcast.” Remember to go to gymcastic.com and check out our YouTube playlist to see the routines that we’re talking about in the episode. Gymcastic is produced and edited by me, Jessica O’Beirne. Sexy data is by our content and social media director, Dr. Uncle Tim, PhD. Audio engineer is Ivan Alexander. Our theme song is mixed by Chris Seculo, as performed by NWA. Transcription! Our transcription team, you can find our transcripts at Gymcastic.com. Transcription team is Katy, Katie, Alex, Amanda, Cece, Danica, Emma, Jillian, and Kristy. That’s going to do it for us this week. I’m Jessica, from Masters-Gymnastics.com.

So you guys can find Blythe at Gymnastics Examiner, and Emma as Moomin Whiskey, like Moomin, like the little cartoons. And Jamie, can you give your Twitter again?

JAMIE: I’m @JamieKDay.

JESSICA: Thanks, you guys!

JAMIE and EMMA: Thank you!

JESSICA: Thanks for listening! See you guys later this week!