TIM DAGGETT: GymCastic is fantastic.
ANNA LI: GymCastic is fantastic.
LOUIS SMITH: GymCastic is fantastic.
ALLISON TAYLOR: Hey gymnasts! Train smarter with the holiday’s best stocking stuffer, Elite Sportz Band. This new gym bag must-have has the approval of Dr. Larry Nassar and is now being worn by Olympic gymnasts. For bands or holiday bundles, go to elitesportzband.com.
JESSICA: Welcome to Gymcastic Episode 14. This is our end of the year awards show. We’re super excited to just discuss our favorite things and worst things about the past year today. In this episode, we are also announcing our guests for January and they are crazy! Oh my God! Like literally, we think that the gymternet may actually explode. I mean really. So make sure you stick around for the end of the show when we announce our guests for January because like it’s unbelievable. Seriously! Eeek! So excited! Ok. Additionally, you’ll be hearing clips from shows like 30 Rock and Girl on Guy that have to do with gymnastics. I hope you like those. I want to remind you guys that you can find everything that we’re talking about, more or less, on the website. And we are also going to have a special survey where you can vote for the winners for this past year and we will discuss. We will argue for our favorites and our worsts and then you can decide who can be the GymCastic champion of whatever. So look for that on the site and I’ll also tweet it and put it on the Facebook page. Remember that you can support the show by telling all of your friends about it. You can rate us on iTunes. You can review us on iTunes. Consider that your end of the year gift to us to review us on iTunes. You can also subscribe to us on Stitcher, which is really cool. You can make your own little radio station. I really like Stitcher. I’m using it more and more. And of course, by supporting our sponsors. So let’s go ahead and get right into the show. First though, let me introduce you to everyone we have because I just started talking and completely forgot about everyone. So….(laughs) that’s how today’s been going. Starting with me just turning my alarm off this morning like I didn’t have to get up. So I am of course, Jessica O’Beirne from masters-gymnastics.com and I’m here with…
BLYTHE: Blythe Lawrence from The Gymnastics Examiner
SPANNY: Spanny Tampson from Spanny’s Big Fake Smile
TIM: Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym
DVORA: And Dvora from Unorthodox Gymnastics
[[30 ROCK CLIP]] JACK DONAGHY: Lemon, you’re going to go to Gavin’s and you’re going to work this thing like a Chinese gymnast. Wear something tight, force a smile and lie about your age.[MUSIC PLAYS] –
JESSICA: Blythe, tell us what has happened in the news since we have been gone.
BLYTHE: Oh man! It’s all about Louis Smith! He has won the British equivalent of Dancing with the Stars. It is called Strictly Come Dancing. And he and his partner, Flavia Cacace, they won and it’s been big in Britain. He took his shirt off. That, I’m sure, is all over the internet. And actually, he like Shawn Johnson, kind of surprising, is really got the moves. Have you guys seen any of the performances that he did?
JESSICA: He’s good. I enjoy watching him very much. And not just for his body. God, so sexist.
BLYTHE: Well, I enjoy watching him for both his body and his dance moves and his gymnastics but anyway that was probably an unsolicited comment.
DVORA: Equal opportunity objectification. You know, we’re not ever going to stop objectifying women so we better start objectifying men much more.
BLYTHE: Yeah Louis’s not afraid to take his shirt off. Not too shy.
SPANNY: Or his pants. I’ve seen some pictures. I’m cool with it.
DVORA: He’s an adult.
JESSICA: There’s nothing wrong with him taking his pants off. I’ll agree with that.
UNCLE TIM: Moving on…..
BLYTHE: Moving on. On a more serious note, the Winter Cup roster was released by USA Gymnastics this week. It features four the five Olympians and I want to say, all three of the alternates. It looks like Chris Brooks is going to hang around, Steven Legendre already said that he’s planning to go another four years and Jonathan Horton, Jake Dalton, Sam Mikulak and Danell Leyva, they are all in for another four years. Chris Brooks also Steven Legendre will be there. The only one who’s not who was part of the Olympic picture would be John Orozco but of course he has torn his ACL so he’s probably looking at a year minimum for coming back. He’s young and strong and really no need to rush it. We’re not in a Mustafina situation here. He’s got a lot of time and so we probably won’t see him for a while. The Romanian picture has cleared up a little bit. But honestly, I can never quite tell what’s going on in Romania. Like one day I’ll read an article that says Catalina Ponor and Sandra Izbasa are done. They’re not training anymore. No more competition for them. And then the next day I’ll read an article where they say oh yeah maybe we’ll come back. We want to do gymnastics as long as possible. So the whole picture is clear as mud. But Gym Power, the Dutch gymnastics website, which is absolutely excellent, (use Google translate) but they also do some quick hits and things in English, they interviewed them at the Gala and Sandra Izbasa says I might keep going. I’ll make a decision in January. And Catalina Ponor says no I am really done. And then kind of in the next sentence she says but you know I may come back for 2016. So we don’t really know.
JESSICA: Actually speaking of Ponor, I watched her balance beam routine from the Gala and I really liked it. First of all, she’s wearing a onesie gymnastics one piece leotard that goes all the way down to her ankles, like long sleeved. And it actually looks very nice. Like, it’s elegant. It looks good. And I liked her routine. She used the floor. She did moves underneath the beam. She did moves over the beam, one side to the other, Everything you would want someone to do in a Gala without it looking totally ridiculous and cheesy and they’re just like oh I’m going to jump off now because I’m tired. I really liked it. I would like to see more routines modeled after what she did. It was original. And she did real skills too. She did flip flop flip flop layout, a three quarter twisting back handspring to handstand which we don’t see much of anymore so I really liked it. One other thing I want to mention is that The Chalk Bucket has a new app out. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Chalk Bucket. It’s a forum. It’s a website. The cool thing about this, it’s like a very well organized message board. It’s very tame. It’s very PG. It’s well maintained. They have good moderators on there. So it’s safe for everybody. There’s a really great adult gymnastics board there. So I always like it if you do gymnastics to find other people to talk about it who also do adult gymnastics, you know gymnastics as adults, to get tips from. They have a new app so if you have an Android phone, you can check it out. So I’m excited about that because I’m going to get an Android phone soon and I’m totally going to check it out. We’ll put a link up on the site for that. The other thing I want to mention is…I knew it! The Olympic report finally came out about the tickets and we all know….if any of you are out there and tried to get a freaking ticket to anything in gymnastics, you will know like I did. I saved for four years, planned to go the Olympics, planned to get tickets, and I got big fat zero tickets to gymnastics even though I applied way ahead of time. You had to apply. There’s a whole process. I did it every single time. I did it ahead of time. And I didn’t get one single ticket to gymnastics. So, the reason for that…I knew they gave tons of tickets to the sponsors, which is understandable. But finally, under pressure from the Olympic organizing committee in London, the report on who tickets actually went to came out. So I will read you a couple of things. We will put links up to the actual report and then to the Telegraph story on the site. So just an example, a quote from the story, “Tom Daley’s winning bronze in the men’s 10 m platform diving was witnessed by a crowd in the Aquatic Center of which only 52% were from the public.” In that event, half the tickets went to the sponsors. In another case, there were 76% for triathlon, 76% of the final tickets for the triathlon went to the sponsors. 76%! You wonder why there were empty seats in the freaking stadium in gymnastics? Yeah. This is why! It’s disgusting. Like, I understand that you have to give tickets to the sponsors. They pay a lot. This is why you give tickets to the sponsors, but this is absolutely a disgrace. 76% and 50% going to the sponsors, it is an outrage. I have no idea what to do about it. But it’s an outrage, people.
DVORA: Also really. We all knew that the Olympics are entirely corporatized and not at all an amateur event and not at all a populist event as they are supposed to be, but this just really drives that point home.
JESSICA: Yeah it absolutely does. And the fact that the athletes are not allowed to wear their own personal sponsors who supported them and have gotten them to this point, to wear their sponsorship logos during the Olympics, when the Olympics is selling the athletes in this way, it’s just disgusting. The whole thing, it’s very sad. It’s too bad that it’s gotten this corporate, to this point. I’m glad that the athletes are starting to unionize and fight for their rights to make a living off of what they’re doing since all the sponsors are profiting from their athletics. The other thing that came out a week ago was the Google release of their Zeitgeist report. It revealed that McKayla Maroney was the fourth most Googled athlete in 2012 behind Jeremy Lin, Michael Phelps, and Payton Manning. So that is a great great thing for gymnastics. It just shows that even if you win a gold medal, if you make a funny face and a meme gets made out of you, you’ll be more popular than anybody else. It’s pretty awesome. I’m pretty stoked about that. I don’t know if we’ve ever had a gymnast, maybe if Google had existed back in the time when Mary Lou was around, but that’s pretty cool.
[[30 ROCK CLIP]]
HAZEL WASSERNAME: Or since I’m here to help, maybe I could fill the time. I still know my rhythmic gymnastics routine. I was good. Until I hit puberty and the coaches said I got too pregnant.
LIZ LEMON: Are you kidding? I’m not going to put you on the show.
JESSICA: Here comes the segment on our 2012 awards and wish list. So the first thing we’re going to start with: best fashion and/or presentation because just in general their presence. Do you notice them? Is there something about them? The je ne sais quoi performance. I put in hair: Danusia Francis for her F-U hair at the London Test Event. And I especially put this in here because of the notorious MTV Italy show where, you know there’s the reality show that follows the Italian gymnastics team and they famously completely laugh their asses off about her hair because they’re rude and have no class. No, really you guys. It was an embarrassing moment for those kids. And I’m not just saying that because I totally love Danusia Francis. Ok, yes I do. I might be a little bit biased. But anyway, I just love her hair. She’s just like yeah this is my hair. I’m going to leave it just like this and I will not play the giant barrette-hair spray-sprinkles game and look like a cupcake is on my head. I’m just going to roll with my own style. And so, I put her in there because I love that. I also put in Maroney’s cute fashion shoot for Glamour magazine, if you guys have seen that. She has little gold shorts. She’s like hanging off a wall. It is actually really cute. Whereas normally when we see the gymnasts in magazine, like especially in the Vogue shoots every year where they put them on a beach and put wings on them, oh my God, they’re so awful. And that was one that was actually totally adorable but not weird. So I liked that one and then of course we have Tomas Gonzalez from Chile and Tomas hipster stache Gonzalez as I like to call him. I mean he really stood out. He made himself stand out, besides his gymnastics, which is stylish. He totally stood out. Then we have the Japanese men who are always rocking the….I’ll call it the Hairajuku gymnastics style. And really it’s totally different but….and then of course we have Louis Smith from head to toe, a stylish man. His facial hair, his hair, from flairing his hand out at the end of his pommel horse routine. Louis Smith is just the end all be all of fashion in gymnastics. And then of course, do you guys have any others that you want to add to this?
SPANNY: Again I would be remiss if I did not put Miss Gabby Douglas. But after her wins, where it was clear. There was an argument between either her mom or her aunt Bianca as to which one is styling them. I still don’t know the truth but somebody styles that girl. And she looks really good. She has knocked it out of the park at almost every appearance since the Olympics. It’s classy, it’s age appropriate. It’s fashionable. It stands out. And again, we’ve gotten really accustomed to seeing gymnasts, after their win…I remember seeing Nastia in Paris with torn jeans, heels, and glitter shirts, more power to her for trying. But I think Gabby…she’s got to be fun to dress because she’s so tiny. She probably fits into every sample on the planet. Little tiny, little short. She’s my number one nominee for best fashion and/or presentation.
DVORA: Well, what’s interesting to note is that the fashion choices for men are about what they wear in competition. For the most part, the women we’ve highlighted, it’s about what they wear outside of competition. So is this because we don’t think any of them look particularly fashionable or stylish on the competitive floor?
SPANNY: There are a lot of websites that will do your typical end of year awards, and every single one it’s probably a best or worst leotard category. I think we’re just trying to think outside of the box a little. If you want a best leotard or worst leotard worn by a woman in Russia vs. a woman in the USA, you can probably find it at every other gymnastics site.
DVORA: Well I wasn’t referring to that because I feel like the leotards are, particularly in international meets, not the gymnasts’ choice. There’s a limited number of Team USA leotards that they can wear. But in terms of, they don’t seem to make any styling choices like Louis Smith or Tomas Gonzalez or anything like that. Because really you’re commenting on things that are outside of the uniform, the team uniform.
UNCLE TIM: Well, I googled images last night of the men and mostly the ones I found were half naked photos. And the ones where they were clothed, I really didn’t enjoy the cut of their suits. So if you’re a male gymnast, please go and get your suits tailored so that they fit you correctly. That’s all I have to say.
DVORA: Or just take off your shirt.
JESSICA: Alright. Let’s go to our next topic which is wipeout of the year.
SPANNY: I vote for McKayla Maroney floor warmups day 2 of Nationals. No thanks to NBC for having shown that fall 800,000 times and then you saw the slow motion replay of Aly responding to it. That was pretty rough. Just the sound of it. I still think of it. Just hearing her thud. I can’t.
UNCLE TIM: I’m going to go with Danny Purvis falling on top of the judges at the 2012 Europeans. I mean as a judge, when you wake up in the morning, you don’t think, today I’m going to get a face full of Danny Purvis’s butt. But some judge had the privilege of that happening. So yeah, I’m putting that on the list.
DVORA: It deserves to be on the list!
JESSICA: That was one of the funniest clips I’ve ever seen. The only one that even comes close to that is when….omg what is her name from the UK….she was totally going to make it but tore her Achilles before the last Olympics and then she didn’t make this one and everyone thought she would. And she fell off the back of the podium onto the floor.
BLYTHE: Oh. Becky Downie
JESSICA: Becky Downie! That is epic comedy wipeout moment. She was like am I going to fall on my head or am I going to make it to my feet? That’s a great one too. I’ve never found a video of that. I’ve only seen pictures of it.
SPANNY: I’ve seen it. It was at Worlds right?
JESSICA: Yeah. I think so.
SPANNY: There’s a video of it somewhere. She rolls off the back.
JESSICA: Maybe the UK gymnasts need to practice on a podium more often. No but Purvis had the flu or something. He was really sick. He said he couldn’t even feel his legs that day when he was vaulting. There’s some good reason for it. It’s still hilarious.
DVORA: As long as no one was really hurt…..we can’t laugh that hard if someone got really injured.
JESSICA: Ok next topic. CILF. That’s how that’s pronounced officially in case you were wondering. It’s like a MILF but it’s for coaches. So the CILF nominees. So it’s CILTF. Wait what’s the T for? Why is that in there? Oh for the to. So the CILF. Like a MILF. CILF is for the coaches we find attractive. I would like to nominate Valeri Liukin because ever since I had that International Gymnast poster up in my room of him in his red unitard doing a planche, I’ve had a crush on him. And he’s still kind of hot. Yeah he’s still hot. So Valeri Liukin is mine.
UNCLE TIM: Well we’re in love with WOGA on this show because there’s also a coach from WOGA whose name is Laurent Landi and he is a beautiful beautiful human being. And I think that Spanny agrees with me.
SPANNY: I do agree with you, Uncle Tim. I do. One of my favorites.
JESSICA: Our next category is unexpected delights. So just things that made us happy and made us want to do a split leap this year. So my first nominee is Rita Wieber. I’m just really pleased with her. I’m just starting to read her book. I really like it. I like that she doesn’t seem crazy. She seems like a normal person. That family just seems really down to earth and cool and I really appreciate parents who have their actual kids in the forefront of their mind. And that she’s passing on what she’s learned like Shannon Miller’s mom did in the past with her book. I think that’s great. And also Gabby Douglas’s mom, Natalie Hawkins just seems like really freaking cool and a great person and I really like her from what I can tell.
DVORA: Well just to piggyback on the gym parents. You know normally we always complain when NBC puts their camera and they show routines and they show them walking around. I don’t know about you but watching Aly Raisman’s parents living through her prelim bar routine. I mean obviously it made them mini celebrities for like a day. But it was really amusing. It’s kind of how I look when I’m bowling and I’m trying to will the ball to not go into the gutter. I get down on the floor and like try to roll it so I really like that. I thought that was really amusing. It was the one time that NBC’s cameras did something right when they weren’t focusing on the routines.
JESSICA: I’m also going to nominate Chow’s optional head coach Michael Durante and his YouTube channel. This is something I did not expect this year. I am so stoked. There’s a coach out there who knows what the fans want to see, and is promoting his gymnasts, and promoting all the cool stuff we want to see people working on! Like, unusual, rare, incredible new skills. We love that stuff! So I am totally nominating him for our Unexpected Delight category. How about you guys?
UNCLE TIM: I would have to say Great Britain taking home the bronze medal in Team Finals. That was an Unexpected Delight for me. I would also have to say, the Silver Fox’s shiny leotard. I was not expecting it, and it brought me great joy, and it produced a lot of tweets, and so I really enjoyed his shiny leotard.
JESSICA: The “Silver Fox”. By the Silver Fox, we are, of course, referring to Jordan Jovtchev.
UNCLE TIM: Yes.
JESSICA: Yes, of course. Who else.
DVORA: Don’t we all know that?
SPANNY: I think my Unexpected Delight was Afanasyeva’s new floor routine. And it was unexpected. I mean, of course if you’ve been watching over the last X amount of years, you know she is going to have a great floor routine, but I’ve never…I wasn’t expecting that. I mean, I want to say it was maybe Blythe’s commentary beforehand, where you heard the music, you were like, “What is this? This is different.” You hear the music from her old routine and then it’s something different. I thought there was no way it was going to live up to that hype. It’s not going to be that great, it’s going to be—she’s going to have wonderful presentation, but it’s going to be bland, forgettable, but she’ll pull it off because she’s Afan, of course she will. When I saw it, especially during prelims, when she just nailed it, I was…my jaw was on the ground. And even though it was something you had come to expect from her, a high level of performance, actually having the performance plus some amazing choreography, the music I thought was perfect, I loved everything about it and, not having seen a floor routine like that, maybe not outside of the NCAA, certainly not in the Elite, for years. That was absolutely delightful to me.
BLYTHE: Oh, and, oh, for me, the Unexpected Delight was the London Test Event, at the end of the women’s competition, and Brazil finding out that they had just edged Belgium and gotten that fourth and last team slot to the Olympic Games. Daniele Hypolito said afterwards, “We’re an old team, but we did it.” And the video is up, I can put it up, of just the moment when they’re standing there huddled, and holding hands, and they realize, they see Brazil go above Belgium into that fourth place spot, and just the shrieking, and the running around, and the jumping for joy, and the coach going off to the side and putting his head in his hands and crying, and it was really, really beautiful.
SPANNY: Wasn’t at the end of that, even before they started celebrating, wasn’t it Hypolito who had just finished beam, and she just got off and she sat down on the stairs…
BLYTHE: She sat down on the podium and…
SPANNY: Or the podium, and she just starts crying, because…
SPANNY: That, I mean, that just says so much, that moment, was spent like that…it broke my heart, but in such a good way, just to see that kind of pressure, but she lived up to it. You know. And her Olympics weren’t quite the same, but…
BLYTHE: And I want to say that before Hypolito went up, Jade Barbosa had gone up, and I think she fell twice. And so, when Hypolito, she probably thought, “This was the last routine of my career at this level”, and it wasn’t.
JESSICA: Ok, I’m just going to add one thing, to the CILF section. The coaches. We’re going to add Justin Spring to that category, because we know that our fans out there would definitely—every gymnastics fan would want him in that category, so. Just adding him in there. And I have to add one more to our Unexpected Delights category. I have to say that when Jonathan Horton was on the show, that man has a sexy voice. He has a tiny, tiny little body, and a super sexy voice. Mmhmm.
JESSICA: I was very surprised. During that whole interview, I was like, “Mm, I could listen to him on the radio! Mmm.” He sounds like a late night DJ. He’s got something about him, mm.
DVORA: He should DJ…
JESSICA: I’m just going to say it. Not ashamed to say it.
DVORA: He should DJed Best R&B Hits. Or he could voice in the middle of a Boyz II Men song. When the music falls away, and it’s like, “Hey girl.” And they’re like, “What you doing?” And they’re like, “But if you come back to me, I’ll spend my whole life trying to get back to you.” And then they come back in, the harmony comes back.
JESSICA: Oh my god. I bet he would do that. I bet he would totally do it, too. It would be…you could submit this to NBC as part of your, Why You Should Take Over Tim Daggett’s Job. Ok.
BLYTHE: Ooh, I have one more for the Unexpected Delights category.
BLYTHE: Remember Ryan Wieber’s video, homemade video, from the Olympic Trials, of Jordyn? And he goes into Jordyn’s room, and she’s got pink walls and she says that it is very messy in here. And just, at the end of it, she gets a bit pissed at him, and she’s like, “turn the camera off! Stop it!” and I watched this video at Olympic Trials, and when she did that, I just laughed out loud. It’s very cute, funny, real teenage moment, and it was just adorable.
JESSICA: Our next category is, what brought you Tears of Joy or Tears of Sorrow this year? What gymnastics moment brought you to tears this year? Go ahead you guys, let me know.
SPANNY: I have two. The first, Tears of Sorrow, was obviously Jordyn after prelims. Somebody pointed this out, I was just online the other day, that you can hear her saying, I want to say it was before Aly goes up on floor, you see her saying this to Maroney, and being like, or what people assume she’s saying, is just, “I just really want to make all-around finals.” And you know she’s not going to. And just by devastation. And then, watching her, they were just trying to corral her into Andrea Joyce, that whole thing seems just a nightmare. So that would be my nomination for Tears of Joy. I mean, Tears of Sorrow, not joy, oh my gosh. But, however, Tears of Joy was when that entire Olympic team was named in San Jose, and they just come marching out of the tunnel, and you see them hysterically sobbing and…almost to the point where it was too much, and I wanted to be like, kids, here’s some Xanax. But it’s hard not to watch. And still now, if I was going to put it on right now, I would still probably get a little bit misty-eyed, because there’s a moment when, you know, the boys and girls are just hugging each other and they’re kind of going down this receiving line, and Danell and Aly hug each other—was there something there? Is there? I don’t know. Their hug was very explosive, is all I am going to say. I had too much time over the summer to really analyze this, plus that’s the type of joy that was in that building. I wasn’t there, but it had to have been incredible.
UNCLE TIM: I’m going to nominate Philipp Boy and his retirement. On this show, there were many tears shed, just because we didn’t know who we would look at, so now that he’s retired we have very few hotties. Just kidding. We have a lot still. And, then, my other nomination is the US men during Team Finals. That was very sad for me. So.
BLYTHE: For me, it was probably Aly Raisman in Team Finals at the Olympics, at the end of her floor routine, where she just really couldn’t keep it in any longer, and she kind of landed that split jump, and you could just see her face just start to crumple, because the enormity of what was going on, and she knew, and that was a really…it was a beautiful, emotional moment, and I think as spectators, we could all kind of get caught up in that, and appreciate it and enjoy it. That was my kind of tear-jerker moment.
DVORA: For me, this is a Tears of Sorrow, and I know we already mentioned her when we talked about meltdowns, but watching Rebecca Bross during Olympic Trials was just devastating. And she did not cry, but I did. I don’t know how she kept it together. [[LAUGHS]] but I just…she was talking to, she was so dominant for parts of the quad, and such a huge contributor to success in 2009, 2010, and really could have been on an Olympic team if she had been healthy, and just watching someone that good and such a decent competitor like that kind of come apart at one of the most important meets for her was really upsetting. I can’t watch that again. It just made me really sad.
BLYTHE: On the other side, because I know the routines happened at almost the same time, for me Nastia Liukin. It wasn’t a tear-jerker moment, more of a, just a…it wasn’t Tears of Joy, either, certainly, but having her finish up on the second day on bars after her rather hard fall on her Gienger, to get back up and to continue the routine, and to do the dismount, and just to hit the rest of it, and knowing that, you know, this was it, no Olympic Games, was just over…I think that took a lot of courage, and I thought that was very impressive. Because all we’ve ever wanted, as fans, from our Olympic champions, is just more gymnastics, and that’s why we have all this speculation, you know, about who’s going to comeback, who’s not competing this year, who’s going to have enough time to get ready for the next one, but she gave the fans what she wanted, what they wanted, and she tried her best and that was just very nice. I think about it and I well up a bit.
JESSICA: I have to follow up to that, that her…the crowd’s reaction to her, because I was at Trials, the crowd’s reaction and the standing ovation she got? Oh my god, now I’m going to get emotional just talking about it. It was so beautiful. That moment in the arena, where the crowd just showed their appreciation for her, was just totally…it was just magical. Like, there are so few moments in sports that you get to be there in person for, and witness, and it was just such a beautiful, touching moment. It was one of those moments where sport transcends into something else, and it was just amazing, it totally made me cry. And also, of course, when Anna Li was announced as the alternate, and you know I just love Anna, and I bawled my eyes out. I bawled my eyes out so hard that all the people around me were congratulating me, when Anna made the team.
BLYTHE: That’s when you know you are too emotionally invested in gymnastics, when someone congratulates you on the accomplishment of athletes. I mean, that you’re not related to.
SPANNY: I don’t know, I got a lot of people go, “Good job!”, when Gabby won. I was like, I did nothing, I did literally zero things, and…
JESSICA: Oh no, I totally just…
SPANNY: I chose the winning team.
JESSICA: Yeah, I totally disagree, I think that’s when you are totally invested, that’s when you are a true fan…
JESSICA: …When people know the depth of your commitment. That is, that is…you’re a great fan when that happens.
DVORA: I got an email from a guy I broke up with, after the US women won in London, congratulating me. It was like, I had dumped him, and yet he knew how important this was to me that he sent me an email, within an hour of it happening.
JESSICA: That is awesome, see? Yeah. That’s a great thing, you should be proud.
DVORA: I am very proud of this. Oh, yes, sorry. I guess I’m a glass-half-empty sort of person, because I can only see sorrow. But it was just…this is me being, it’s not something that made me cry, obviously it shocked a lot of us to see her fall when she hadn’t fallen in a very long time on vault, but…something about have the undisputed best vaulter in the final, in a weak final, because vault finals, for the women, are particularly weak, having her fall, and obviously I’m really happy for Sandra Izbasa because she did a great job, but…you just want the best gymnast to win, in the finals. And it wasn’t like a final like bars, where there are so many excellent gymnasts and there are so many World Champions and medalists, you know, and you could have been conceivably happy with basically anyone, like half the final, coming out on top, because there were so many greats in there. Vault is weak. And you just want…and Maroney was clearly so much better than everyone else, and…I was just really upset when she fell. And obviously, she got some internet fame because she made a face, which we probably wouldn’t have seen had she won the gold medal—she’s probably more famous because of that. But I still, in the Olympics, wanted the best gymnast to win the gold medal there. And I think we mostly, in the other event finals, we mostly had the best gymnast win, or like the best gymnasts were so even matched, or so closely evenly matched, that they came out top or near top. But vault was just disappointing, you know, in that way.
JESSICA: I’m going to add one more right now to the Unexpected Delights: Carlotta Ferlito’s Twitter and general potty-mouth has been nominated, and, yeah. She…that girl, I love that girl. You’d want to hang out with her; if you were mad at someone, you would want her to go and take off her earrings and get in a fight. She is just…she is like a legit, real teenager. Like, I just love that we get to see that real side of her, and that she was not afraid to show it, and…and she wasn’t, she’s not scandalous, she’s not like a Kardashian, you know? She’s just like herself, and she’s very Italian, you know, in our stereotypical view of Italians, and I just really like that girl, and she totally shows her personality, and her gymnastics is great, so I hope she sticks around.
SPANNY: She is like the antithesis of your typical American, media-trained girl. With the stuff she tweets, I’m just like, that’s great! Love it. And I’m sure that’s what a lot of girls her age would like to say, but don’t, and maybe it’s obnoxious, and maybe it’s whatever, but, you know. And given that she is one of the top athletes in her country, and that she just has the freedom and the will to say whatever she wants is pretty incredible.
JESSICA: Our next category is Best Nude or Slutty Photo Spread. We thought long and hard on this one, you guys, and…[[LAUGHS]] alright, I didn’t mean it that way, but so, our first nominee is, of course, our favorite guest from this year, one of our favorite guests, Louis Smith. He did a beautiful fundraiser photo shoot, I forget what charity it was, but we appreciated the photo shoot very much of him doing naked Flairs on a box with a white background, glorious and beautiful and now, of course, now he has a calendar coming out. Yes. Louis Smith. Thank you, thank you Sir. Second nominee is Danell Leyva for his ESPN Body Issue, which he looked incredibly chiseled and fantastic. And then we have Jonathan Horton, who did a—he wasn’t nude, and it wasn’t really slutty, but, you know, but it was fashion-y with some models, and it’s very…it’s just…I don’t know, there’s something about it that I really liked, and that was before I knew what his voice sounded like. It’s…yeah, it’s just an interesting shoot and I think he looks kinda hot. And then, of course, number four on our list, is Danell Leyva’s gratuitous Twitter photo leak. That definitely is on the top of the list for the Slutty-Accidental-Photo category. How about you guys?
UNCLE TIM: I’m going to nominate Zonderland. There are these photos of him, black and white photos, that haven’t really gotten around the gymternet, but he is one jacked kid, that’s all I can say. His body is crazy, and he’s…the photos are not safe for work, we’ll just say.
JESSICA: Good to know. I need to take a look at these. Ahem.
JESSICA: And I’m surprised we don’t have any Romanian gymnasts on this list.
SPANNY: Let’s be grateful for this.
JESSICA: The one post-Olympic year when we don’t have Romanian women on the list.
SPANNY: Because I feel like Porgras is on her way, and that’s going to break my heart.
SPANNY: So let’s not. Let’s just enjoy what we have or do not have today.
DVORA: We don’t really have diversity in our orientation. Everyone who is on this podcast is interested in the same thing. So we’re not really getting any of the women up here.
JESSICA: It’s true.
DVORA: Sorry to our straight, male fans, that you’re just…we’re not giving you…any suggestions, or suggestions of things you should Google.
JESSICA: Straight male fans, please let us know if you have any one you want us to nominate. Although nude—no-one did a nude photo shoot this year, none of the women, and slutty ones?
SPANNY: They’re smart enough not to let them leak, if that’s the case.
SPANNY: And that’s all I ask.
JESSICA: Yes, exactly.
BLYTHE: Like, don’t text these photos, or send them to Twitter. That’s what brought down the Governor of New York. Lieutenant Governor, sorry.
SPANNY: But don’t they have an app now, or something, that prevents you from being…
SPANNY: Yeah, yeah, that deletes it or something, whatever, god, I feel old.
JESSICA: Yes, the Snapchat. But the thing with Snapchat is can’t you take a screenshot? Like, what…
SPANNY: It alerts you, it gives you an alert. I mean, granted, they’re still going to take e a screenshot, I guess, or I don’t know. Whatever. People, kids are dumb. They’re so stupid, is all. Just don’t send you butt pictures to people. Jesus. Ok.
DVORA: It does make you think, just ponder down the line, because people are always like, it’s going to be on the internet! You won’t get hired for a job! And I feel like, at some point, a critical mass will have been reached of so many kids growing up, putting inappropriate pictures of themselves online, that it won’t even matter. You’ll be able to get hired, because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to hire anyone. No-one could get a job. You know, Anthony Weiner has to resign, starts with Twitter photos of his junk, but then, in twenty years, every Congressman, at some point when they were younger, will have had, or Congresswoman, will have put some photo up. And we’re just going to have to move past it, because otherwise there will be no-one left to run the world.
JESSICA: Or maybe we’ll just reach a point where Americans aren’t so phobic about the human body, and it won’t be a big deal anymore, which is why…if it’s taboo, it creates a scandal. If it’s not taboo, nobody cares. And we’re all about taboos here.
BLYTHE: Go U-S-A!
JESSICA: Slow clap. Ok. So, next we have our Wishlist! I’m very excited about this. So, this is the things we want to see happen in 2013. So, first is Fashion Changes. This is our first category. I want to see a fashion change for men. So, like Justin Spring discussed, I would like to see them compete shirtless and only wear shorts, and not those big baggie shorts like the Illinois guys wore. No. Not those baggie, baggie, American-man-not-obsessed-with-showing-anything-from-waist-down. They should be, you know, not form fitting, not spandex, but like board shorts. Something like that, but more flexible than boardshorts. So, yes. And then, that’s my number one, so what about you guys?
SPANNY: I would like to ban Face Tattoos in the NCAA. I think they’re tacky. I don’t understand why you need to brand your face. And it screams of the year 2000 to me. I don’t get it. I don’t get it. That’s my problem, I don’t get it, and I’d to not see things I don’t understand.
UNCLE TIM: We’re talking about fake tattoos, right, not real tattoos?
BLYTHE: That was my question.
SPANNY: Oh, yeah, no, I…
BLYTHE: Face tattoos.
SPANNY: No, fake tattoos. But does it really have to be a big, glittery G so everybody knows I’m from Georgia? And I’m like, enough.
DVORA: I wholeheartedly agree with that. I hate those decals on the girl’s cheeks, and completely piggybacking on Spanny here, your complaint, about the NCAA, I’m going to go with the hair bows as well. I would like those out. You should just a little age appropriateness would be nice. You’re not Olga Korbut, 17 years old, forced to wear yarn pigtails by your communist overlords. You have no excuse to wear hair bows in your hair. Like, you just don’t. You don’t, and should just stop. Sorry. It’s random.
JESSICA: I would like to take that further and say, if we’re just going to let them—fashion changes—if we’re going to let them wear face tattoos, then why not let them wear full body art? So, you can basically temporarily tattoo yourself from your feet to your ears, and make that part of your uniform. Like, why not just go for it? And have costumes and the whole thing? Because I hate face tattoos so much and I feel it is the, what is the word I’m looking for, when you try to make someone look like a child, that’s not a child?
SPANNY: That’s creepy. But yeah.
JESSICA: There’s a word for sure.
UNCLE TIM: Infantilize?
JESSICA: Yeah, infantilize adult women. It’s gross. And it’s just yucky and it reminds me of some weird, creepy, Japanese anime thing that’s just inappropriate. So yeah. I can’t stand it.
DVORA: I guess what we’re all saying is we don’t want to see adult women be infantilized anymore, and I think the sport styling tends to go in that direction. I can’t handle it. I just can’t. Just everyone wear black. You’re not, you know, don’t have to be very morose looking, very pale. No sunlight for anyone, no bronzer. Let’s all be translucent.
JESSICA: Yeah, while we’re at it, can we just ban orange? You can be any actual color that exists in the human skin color scale except for orange, because that’s not a real color. So there’s that. Just embrace your whiteness. You’re in an indoor, winter sport. Just go for it. Own it. Next category in our wish list is: who should come out of retirement, or who should postpone retirement? I would like to see Beth Tweddle stay in gymnastics and keep going. I do not want her to retire, and if anybody saw her routine at the Glasgow Cup, she did just an exhibition, it was fantastic. Now she’s going to be on a skating show. I mean, why not stick around? Just do bars? How about you guys?
SPANNY: I am doing a last-minute mind change here. I’m going to start with Philipp Boy, for obvious reasons we have stated, it is that we are going to suffer without him. My second choice is Vanessa Atler, and here’s why. Is because we’re all sort of at a loss, we’ve speculated on what she could have been had she been around one quad later, or two quads later. Or maybe there is some discussion online at how she would have fared, like Alicia Sacramone on vault. And my response is that there is no question, because she never even had a chance to try the super-springy, forgiving table. She could have done the same vaults that these girls, but she did it on that crappy little vile-looking horse. Atler, I would love see her come back. She did a video, maybe it was on Starting Over, it was some odd years after she had retired, it was something else. Even though she wasn’t in her Elite shape, she was obviously taller, she could still hit a split on beam that you girls today can’t hit. She could do a switch into her split like Gainer on beam. This is old, retired Atler. I think that if she had in her to make a comeback, she could make a difference. She could, especially on vault…the Alicia events, we’ll call them. And it’s just, yeah.
JESSICA: Oh my god, that is the greatest idea I’ve ever heard. I love that.
DVORA: Yeah, if this podcast existed back in 2000, we were doing our Saddest Moments, her Olympic Trials experience was just terrible.
SPANNY: Well, any that’s why I think now, too, she’d be such a good candidate, because she coaches now, she’s in great shape, she seems like she’s gotten her life together, she’s got the mental health and supportive team around her that would allow her to succeed. Maybe she’d never compete internationally, but who cares? Maybe if she showed up at the Classics or something, would be an incredible thing. So let’s start that campaign now.
UNCLE TIM: And I’m going to nominate Ivan Ivankov, just because the guy still a beast, and he should still be competing, and he she be the new Silver Fox, be an old man and still be competing.
JESSICA: Here here. Ok, our next category: our wish list is who we think should be in the ESPN Body Issue this coming year. I would like to nominate Paul Ruggeri. Paul, you know you want to do it. I think you should contact them now and show all of your tattoos. Ooh! and I’m going to add to that Naddour. Super hottie, Oklahoma, Hollie Vice’s boyfriend. Isn’t that how you pronounce his name?
BLYTHE: Yeah. He’s got some impressive tattoos, too.
JESSICA: Mm, mm, mm, mm, mm, mm, mm, mm. He is fine.
JESSICA: ‘Foine’ [laughs] How about you guys?
SPANNY: Clueless flashback [laughs]
SPANNY: Alright, again, not to belabor the point, I’d like to nominate Philipp Boy.
JESSICA: Oh my god! [laughs]
SPANNY: Because heres the thing people ask me a lot, now that I’m knocked up, is they ask me about cravings.
UNCLE TIM: Boy..
DVORA: Where is this going!? [laughs]
SPANNY: Is that for me there’s an idea of something and I become obsessed with it until I have it. Right now that craving is Philipp Boy.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs]
SPANNY: So for that category that is going to be my suggestion, a big helping of Philipp Boy.
BLYTHE: And the other obvious one because it was mentioned earlier is Epke Zonderland. And we’re all on Google hang out and I’m like this sometimes, like I’m getting close to the screen. This is me looking at those photos of Epke Zonderland!
UNCLE TIM: [laughs]
JESSICA: Her eyes are like two inches from the screen for you listeners out there.
DVORA: I’m not sure how well your monitor responds to saliva…
BLYTHE: Boy is incredibly jacked, like, wow!
JESSICA: Do you mean Epke Zonderland? You said Boy.
JESSICA: See even when you’re talking about another gymnast you have to say Boy.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs]
JESSICA: Let me just tell you guys that I have…
DVORA: I think…
JESSICA: Go ahead.
DVORA: I think if we get like sweatshirts, if GymCastic ends up with sweatshirts or something, we obviously need to put a photo of Philipp Boy on them, you know this is clearly a theme. It’s not even a private joke because God knows we broadcast it.
SPANNY: He could be our mascot. [laughs]
UNCLE TIM: [laughs]
SPANNY: It would be funny.
JESSICA: Honestly you guys, I have to say, before I started doing this podcast I had no idea there was such a thing for Philipp Boy, like I seriously was completely clueless. Blythe is sideways now looking at her screen, yeah it’s like a whole new world for me.
DVORA: So now we know what’s going on there. She’s not reading an intense article on the New York Times, but she’s trying to see underneath the screen.
UNCLE TIM: See every inch! I would like to nominate a where are they now, and I would like it to be the 1984 U.S. Olympic Gold medal winning gymnastics team. I just think it would be interesting to see who is still in shape and who is not and to put that in print media in the ESPN Body Issue.
JESSICA: Especially Mitch Gaylord. Mitch Gaylord. Mitch Gaylord.
BLYTHE: Peter Vidmar did say earlier this year that he can still do most of his ’84 pommel horse routine which won the gold medal, but then he added, you know, well, so can like most 15 year olds in the U.S.
JESSICA: [laughs] Okay, next up is our 2012 ‘A Worst of’ List, let me try that again. Next up is our 2012 ‘Worst of’ List. Spanny, I will let you start with this.
SPANNY: I had a couple of suggestions for nominees for the ‘Worst of’ List. Starting with Bruno Grandi’s reelection. And the fact that he won so handedly just is salt in the wound. So we all get to look forward to another term of that. Now, I wrote this but now I can’t even remember if it was this year or late last year, but Porgras’ retirement, especially seeing where she is now, that sucked, you know? I mean good for her, she’s happy, wonderful. But for me, that sucked. I’d like to nominate all tie breakers because people were getting the continual shaft all throughout London and it was horrible and painful. My final nomination, it was after the team was named, but we had all this through Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, you know the girls could post their pictures of training and there was the “Where’s Gabby?” storyline because Gabby wasn’t in every single ice bucket picture everybody determined that the rest of the Fab Five/Fierce Five were a racist bunch of girls because Gabby wasn’t in that picture. And I thought that was pretty terrible of people to assume that. I mean who is going to take the picture, somebody has to take the picture? I don’t know maybe she wasn’t in the ice bucket, maybe she was in a different ice bucket, maybe those four are best friends, I don’t know? It was just dumb.
UNCLE TIM: I’d like to nominate the disappearance of NBC’s fluff pieces. We started out with them, we had some at the American Cup and stuff, but by the Olympics they had completely disappeared. And while we make fun of them, part of me really missed them. My other nomination is NBC’s traffic signal scoring system during the Olympics with the little shapes and triangles and red and yellow and green. Other countries don’t need that but for some reason Americans do.
JESSICA: I liked them! I thought they were helpful! I’m math challenged!
UNCLE TIM: [laughs]
SPANNY: It was, but again it kind of tags on the vault judging, obviously I’ve been pretty vocal about my beef with the judging of vault in London, but we saw a vault that, I don’t know maybe it was Paseka or Komova, where it was clearly not a good vault or a good landing, yet they still got that green light. What is that about? That confuses me more than anything. Samuel L. Jackson is on Twitter saying that was a crappy vault, yet NBC’s trying to give me a green light and tell me that vault was good? That’s not okay.
DVORA: We need to add our most delightful surprise this year, Samuel L. Jackson tweeting about gymnastics! It was amazing. Next year, or next Olympics he should be one of the NBC commentators, because that would be epic! And that would also definitely raise the profile of gymnastics, if like a real famous person was like the third guy in the NBC commentary team, like we get rid of Al Trautwig and we replace him with Samuel L. Jackson, our sport becomes so much more mainstream. Immediately. That’s all we need, we’ve been thinking about how the gymnasts themselves get more famous, maybe we’ve been going about this all wrong. Maybe we just need to get famous fans involved in the promotion of gymnastics.
BLYTHE: Can you imagine an NBC fluff piece that was narrated by Samuel L. Jackson?
DVORA: Oh my god
JESSICA: I’ve just died and gone to heaven.
DVORA: [laughs] He is the national treasure.
JESSICA: He is. Oh my god, that would be..
SPANNY: I still think every time I watch him, because I watch my old meets often, but every time I watch Team Finals or All Around, and he said, it I think, about the vault landings but also the beam, like lets say you watch Komova dismount beam after team, I still think of his commentary, “Oh! Drunk off beam!” or “She’s doing beam drunk!” or something I was like, “You go, Sam”. Ole drunk Viktoria Komova doing beam dismounts…
DVORA: Because that’s what she’s known for, obviously. Drinking some vodka before she goes up.
SPANNY: My one last worst of list is, again we’re just ragging on NBC, was their weird decision to assign a theme song to the girls. I remember hearing it during Trials and I was like, “Hey this is a catchy little number”. That’s the first time I’d heard it. And then they played it again and I was like, “Okay they’re onto something” and then they played it, and played it, and played it, and played it, and played it, and now I have like a Pavlovian response to it where I hear it and I have to look for where it is, where it’s on TV, you know I picture Jordyn Wieber crying. It’s weird and I miss the days of old fluff, I mean I miss the days of fluff at all, but when they’d assign some nice legends of the fall music, I don’t know a different song per fluff as opposed to playing the same verse over and over…
JESSICA: I hated that song so much! My Pavlovian response is that every time I hear that song I get angry, like I want to punch someone. It was so like this bittersweet sad, like it’s supposed to be like, “I’m going to make this place my home” but it’s like from a sad point of view. Like it’s in a minor key or something. It’s just terrible, I hate it. And we had that awesome hip hop song that Chris Saccullo and, I’m so sorry I’m totally forgetting his name, I’ll put a link up to it, like they did an awesome theme song and it mentioned all the gymnasts and it was totally catchy, it was so great. I would just love to see something like that that was like written for it. I’m sure NBC has some deal because the song came from one of their other shows, it’s like someone who won one of those singing shows, which I’m sure is on NBC and so it’s all about the money and promoting that person, but I hate that song so much! [shudders]
SPANNY: [starts singing Home by Phillip Phillips]
JESSICA: No, no, no! It just makes me want to kick something.
DVORA: And also just that type of song and that type of presentation, I think what what we’ve discovered through Twitter and just social media in general, the girls actually have fairly vibrant personalities and they’re funny, I mean at least funny like high school funny, and we saddle them with this schmaltzy stuff that doesn’t do them any justice and obviously doesn’t help the sport in any way. I think the fact that the gymnasts have been accessible to fans on Twitter has done a lot in terms of how popular gymnastics was at the games this year. People were able to really interact with each other, with them and theres this sense that they aren’t these little girls who are kept away from everyone anymore. And I think playing lame songs that they probably don’t listen to doesn’t help anything.
JESSICA: Alright, next we have our predictions. So what do you guys think is going to happen in 2013? Or what do you want to happen really bad so you’re just going to say it’s a prediction even though theres no chance it’s going to happen. So predictions.
SPANNY: I predict that Komova will be recruited by WOGA, she will move here, and she will do clinics at Brestyan’s – bars clinics.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs]
SPANNY: In time she will have an American baby who will compete at the All Around and win [inaudible] gold medal.
BLYTHE: Are these predictions or Spanny’s fantasies?
JESSICA: Both [laughs]
DVORA: This is totally gonna happen, what are you saying?
UNCLE TIM: Blythe the dream crusher.
BLYTHE: Sorry, Spanny!
DVORA: Stop dousing us with cold, hard reality.
UNCLE TIM: [laughs]
DVORA: Go back to looking at pictures of Epke!
BLYTHE: Yes ma’am.
JESSICA: [laughs] Okay, who will be the most famous of the Fierce Five? I think Maroney is going to be the most famous of the Fierce Five because I actually watched her on that TV show that she was on and she was actually pretty good. Like she needed some work but she did a good job. I think she’s very savvy and that’s going to take her a long ways, so I think she’s going to have a long career.
BLYTHE: I think McKayla’s ‘Not Impressed’ meme is going to be, like in 20 years when VH1 is doing their ‘Best of’ whatever you would call this period, like we’re not the 20-teens, yeah the 20 oughts or whatever. They’re going to show it and our whole generation is going to be nodding and be like, “Oh yeah!”
SPANNY: I think it’s going to be Dougie. Again on a very surface level. I think Maroney for now, I think shes got the next six months whatever unless she does step it up in TV and film. But I just think Gabby’s going to be – I’ll say the household name but I’m going to say, amongst the family house code from Wichita that Tim Daggett referred to. I’m probably enraging real gym fans forever but she will be the one that is remembered. They’ll remember the team, they’ll remember they won, they’ll remember the girl from vault, but they’ll remember Gabby Douglas’ name.
JESSICA: Wichita is going to be so pissed at us. Like we’re gonna get hate mail from Wichita forever.
SPANNY: You know nothing about gymnastics! [laughs]
JESSICA: [laughs] So who do you guys think really will actually return? Like we’ve had some news about who will actually from the Fierce Five come back, but who is really going to do it?
SPANNY: Kyla? No, why?
BLYTHE: Not enough difficulty on vault and floor.
DVORA: You don’t think she could at least do well this year at 2013 Worlds?
BLYTHE: You’re right. I’m broadcasting forwards, toward 2016. I think Gabby…
SPANNY: I don’t think Gabby will make it that far.
JESSICA: Yeah, just Worlds this year.
BLYTHE: You know Marta Karolyi had a quote in the news recently in which she said if you’re going to do this again, the Olympic thing, then you have to train like you’ve not won anything before. And I don’t think it’s possible to do.
JESSICA: I think Kyla, I think she’ll make the team and I think she’ll do really well, I don’t think she’ll win. I think Price has the best chance. I think Finnegan’s probably done, I think she’s probably gonna do college and she’ll be the most amazing college gymnast ever, but I don’t really see her coming back, I don’t know why I’m saying that, I don’t know just a feeling. Price I think from the full squad of seven or eight, Kyla and Price, I think, are the ones. I don’t know about Jordyn, I know what her coach has come out and said shes going to come back and train but…
DVORA: But isn’t she doing the next east coast city tour-a-pallooza, what are they calling this one? I don’t know.
UNCLE TIM & SPANNY: The Teen Choice Tour
JESSICA: Yeah and it starts in like, it starts really soon so she won’t be able to actually train until March, I think. So that’s not a lot of time.
UNCLE TIM: She needs a new beam routine.
SPANNY: Which I don’t see her competing anything other than beam. I think it will be like 2009 where it was like a beam showcase for Olympians and that’s pretty much it.
BLYTHE: On the flip side, I never thought Alicia Sacramone would come back, at all. When she made that announcement in 2009 I was kind of like, “Yeah, it’s really easy to say, it’s so much harder to do”, but she surprised everybody. I think what the past few years has proven is that if your body can take it, it doesn’t really matter how old you are.
SPANNY: Mm hmm.
BLYTHE: So we’ll see who’s body can take it. WE might be wrong about Jordyn and her body being able to take it.
DVORA: And if you’re strong on bars. And also Alicia was helped by the fact that she obviously won the World title on vault and very deservedly. But again you specialize in an event where everyone else was very weak. If she was a beam and floor person, would she have fit on that team?
JESSICA: Yeah she basically, in another era, she would have made this Olympic team. She was amazing. She basically was completely amazing in her comeback. She had no control over if she made the team or not, but she was amazing. It just goes to show if your body holds up, and you don’t really just completely stop, and if you keep yourself in shape, yeah.
SPANNY: I think one of her keys too was she didn’t compete for the year after. She didn’t even joke around pretending that she was working out for that year, year and a half. I think that would be key to do to this years’ Olympians is that take the year off, go do dumb stuff, whatever. This next year is worthless in the big picture, I guess, if you’re really gearing up for 2016. Just use this year to rest up. And then 2014 make that your goal year and then take baby steps.
DVORA: Don’t get injured on tours. That is important. Go have fun, but don’t get injured doing the stupid stuff.
SPANNY: Or go do Pilates or something. You stay in shape, but not like that…
JESSICA: This is the thing I have to add to this. Our advice, what we’ve learned from Nastia, is you can stay in shape on everything, but you have to do bars. You can’t stop doing bars. Bars is one of those things, like, I’m not saying this as a slight, but anybody who has done gymnastics has stopped and then come back. You can come back and you can tumble and you can do beam and even vault, but bars is like learning to walk all over again, every time you have to relearn bars. So for all for you Olympians who are listening to the show: please remember to do bars every day.
SPANNY: Talk to Hollie Vice about that.
BLYTHE: Do you remember when Shawn Johnson came back? I believe she said the first day back in the gym she could not do a kip. This would be, what early 2010 something like that? And she couldn’t do a kip.
DVORA: Well that makes me feel better about myself.
SPANNY: That’s what Hollie Vice said, is that she came back and she couldn’t do a kip and it took her a long time to get it back.
DVORA: Also bars is one of those events, where you have micro pauses on beam and floor where you get to like…but you don’t get to stop on bars ever. I mean watching Nastia, like her endurance lag, it’s not surprising. You know the one event where it’s hardest to get your endurance back and the one event where you don’t have the opportunity to take a breather.
JESSICA: Yep, and even Jonathan Horton said that when he was on the show, too, when he talked about why he just can’t do the triple double anymore because he just can’t get that level of endurance back. Alright, who do we think, do you guys have any predictions for who’s going to be an event world champion or an NCAA event champion or all around champion, team champion? Do we think Florida is going to win it? Do we think we’re going to have a repeat bar Olympic and World bar champion in Mustafina?
DVORA: I mean Florida better win it at this point.
BLYTHE: Yeah, if Florida doesn’t win, it’s going to be something else. As for bars, I think Komova is actually a little underrated right now. She had that mistake at the Olympics, and if she hadn’t had that mistake at the Olympics, she might have beaten Mustafina. So, and it seems to be the event that, like you guys said, so long as she continues training bars,and she seems to be doing that, she could come in and dominate in 2013. I think.
DVORA: Is Komova back to training?
SPANNY: I think on a basic level.
BLYTHE: She competed at the Voronin Cup this month, and she did a full bar routine. Watered down the dismount just a little bit.
JESSICA: How about with Justin Spring’s competition format? Do you think that what he suggested, do you think that this match format is going to become a staple? Do you think it will catch on in men’s gymnastics and then spread to other events?
DVORA: I think that we might reform the US Tax Code sooner. That’s all I’m going to say.
BLYTHE: I think it’s a great idea. I mean they’ve got to do something. And this seems like this sort of throw-down one-on-one kind of deal, it’s appealing.
UNCLE TIM: I think it’ll also depend on whether they get media support, because this kind of match format depends on a lot of hype and rivalry and getting people really kind of amped up about it. And so I’m kind of hoping Illinois doesn’t win the NCAA this year. Even though they’re my alma mater and I love them. But I hope another team wins and then they can kind of create this rivalry and this tention of “who’s going to win this year, will it be Illinois or will it be Penn State?” And I think some kind of competition like that would really help the situation.
JESSICA: What I want to know is, I want to know what your top moments from the podcast this year were? What were your favorite things? What were your favorite interviews? What were things that stood out to you? Top moments. Uncle Tim.
UNCLE TIM: Well I would have to say that the Halloween costume contest was one of my favorite moments. It was just great to see that our listeners were so savvy with their sewing needles, and also so gym nerdy that they would actually go out on Halloween in gymnastics costumes. And, I don’t know, I like when you can tell that there’s kind of a gymnastics community out there. So I think that was one of my favorite moments. And I’m going to get a little bit senior year of high school yearbook-y here. But what people don’t get to see is the fact that we’re chatting the entire week about gymnastics. We have I don’t know how many messages on Facebook. And yeah, so just being a part of this with you guys has been very special.
[[“Awww” from everyone]]
DVORA: I penned a blog post today basically to that effect that basically my whole life, I’ve been searching for my people. And they’re not Jews. It turns out, they’re gymnastics fans.
DVORA: So thank you. And Uncle Tim, I will sign your yearbook. I know that’s what you’ve been hoping for.
JESSICA: And Dvora, what was your favorite moment of the podcast this year?
DVORA: I would have to take it from the Miss Val interview because, how it even began. Where I wasn’t sure it had begun and all the sudden it’s like, “she’s asking us questions!” And just she was just a very… it was the type of discussion that I’ve always wanted to have about the sport. Just, not about skills, not about competitive results, but like you know the greater meaning of the sport. And obviously it’s also the types of discussions I’ve been having with you guys over the past several months. And it’s been kind of wonderful.
JESSICA: Spanny how about you?
SPANNY: I really loved our interview with Chellsie. In that it’s someone I know I’ve been following for almost 10 years, and she gave us what wanted in terms of these juicy details, but she kept it classy. She didn’t trash talk. She was very open. And she was just classy. And to have someone that – I don’t want to say idolize, because that’s silly – but somebody that you’ve been following for the better part of a decade. And then you speak and you realize they’re just as cool as you have them pictured in your head, that’s just neat. There was no letdown, she was so smart, she just had so much to say, she was as nerdy as any of us – gym nerdy. Yeah that was probably my favorite moment so far.
JESSICA: Blythe, how about you?
BLYTHE: For me I think it was Tim Daggett. Just all facets of that interview. I loved the part where he was talking about recovering his injury at the 87 Worlds. And he talked about just literally climbing a hill. And it was both metaphorical and literal, he was going to make it up that hill no matter what. And just his determination to come back from that. And then also him describing his most embarrassing moment hula hooping on the post 84 tour and having that show up in I think it was the front of the sports page of the Philadelphia Inquirer or something like that. That was pretty awesome as well.
JESSICA: For me I think one thing was having Tim Daggett finally be able to like really tell people about his injury, which is I think like one of the most horrific things. And people think you know someone can die doing gymnastics by landing on their head or break their neck, but this was so just insane, and it wasn’t even his fault. You know just the mats being apart, and he basically almost bled to death at a meet, is just… I mean it’s just something I feel people don’t really know about him. And that he came back from that just makes him one of the toughest, I’m going to bleep myself, [bleep] in the world. And I’m just glad he finally got to tell that story. The other thing that stood out for me was when Allison Taylor was talking about growing up at WOGA, and when she talked about being elite and it was just another level. Like, she was like, “yeah I did gymnastics and I made it through every level.” Like, “well I started as like a brown belt in karate and I made it all the way to black belt.” Like I was just, my mouth was hanging open when she said that. Because I was like [pretends to stutter/be speechless]. Like I always think of elite as being, like well you only go elite if you want to be the best in the world and you want to beat everyone else’s ass and you’re willing to put up with all the stuff that goes along with being an elite and someone else decided what meets you go to and all that stuff. And then the other thing that stood out for me, was so funny, and I feel like this is classic hardcore athlete and classic gymnast. When Justin Spring talked about how he just knew that his muscle memory had gone from his body and he truly shouldn’t do gymnastics anymore. And the thing that I just love about that is for an elite athlete, your sport is your sport at its highest level, and that’s the only way your sport exists for you. Especially for gymnasts. You don’t hear footbal players saying “no no no, I never go outside and throw the ball anymore because I know my muscle memory has truly left my body.” And it’s funny that he admitted that he doesn’t work out anymore, he doesn’t do any training, he doesn’t do any strength, and he hadn’t done gymnastics in a year and a half. But then he jumped up and did a triple back and a kovacs! Like that is doing gymnastics. That is doing gymnastics at an incredible level. So the irony of that statement that like he could still do the highest level elite skills after not doing any training for that long just shows kind of the mentality of a true elite athlete, an elite gymnast. That just… I don’t know how I’m trying to sum this up, but it’s the disconnection between what you can do and how you think you should be able to do it, I guess, is the thing there. And lastly, just being able to make this show happen. And it’s something that I dreamt about for so long and I looked for a podcast for so so so long. And I love podcasts. So being able to find this amazing team and put this together and learn how to do it and it’s just like, it’s made every Saturday something I look forward to. And all through the week talking to you guys about what we’re going to do has just been great. And getting so much positive feedback from our listeners and finding out there are a bunch of other gym nerds out there who are waiting for something like this to happen too has just been fabulous! So I want to thank everybody for listening.
SPANNY: For Gymline. Our Gymline feedback. Our first Gymline question came in from Abraham Camargo. He tweeted, “What do you do when a gymnast won’t come out even though pretty much everyone knows already? #GymLine #LOL #Im12. Jess, I’m going to defer to you on this.
JESSICA: Ok, so I’ve been a part of the It Gets Better project for a long time, so I’ve watched many of their videos and their live chats with athletes and stuff. So the first thing is that you never want to make someone come out. If they’re not out to themselves, then you know you never want to force someone to come out or make them feel uncomfortable in any way. It’s basically, you know, it’s common courtesy. The other thing is that you know the best thing to do for someone is just totally make them feel loved and accepted. And so the other thing, there’s some other things to take into consideration, which is that for some people, it’s not safe for them to come out. Like it might be that at the gym, all of you are cool with it or whatever, but it might be that literally it’s not safe. So they have a parent that would kick them out of the house. Or they have someone in their life who will cause them harm if they come out. So you want to take those things into consideration. And you know also they might not even be out to themselves now. So the most important thing is just to let people know that they’re loved and accepted to matter what, and that takes precedence. Anybody else?
SPANNY: Good answer.
UNCLE TIM: I have something to add. I think he was trying to be silly and we’re taking…
SPANNY: Yeah, I didn’t mean to read it like, sorry yeah
UNCLE TIM: …his question very seriously. But I mean I think it’s good to talk about too. And I think one thing that straight people often forget is that when you’re LGBT, you never stop coming out. It’s something that you have to do pretty much for the rest of your life. Like, you meet somebody new and you have to say – well you don’t have to – but sometimes you’ll end up saying “I’m gay.” So that’s also coming out to that person. Straight people never really have to say, “I’m straight.” And so that’s something that happens. And I think another thing that’s important is that people prioritize their identities in different ways. And so for some people, people gay is a huge part of their identity, and for other people being gay is just part of their identity. It’s not necessarily something that they really made very important. And so I think that’s also something to consider. And so coming out, you know, the world and saying, “I’m a gay gymnast” might not be who that person is.
SPANNY: I mean that seems like perfect advice.
JESSICA: We have deemed Gymline a sucess, and we are fantastic. Please keep your quesitons coming.
SPANNY: Ok. From el Twitter. So we got a couple of tweets from laurenjessa, who from what I understand has somewhat of a background with NBC, and is just catching up with our GymCastic podcasts. So obviously she started with our classic Tim Daggett interview. But part of our discussion that episode was what we can do to make gymnastics more popular, or how can we make it translate better to the public. And she already has positive feedback in that. And this is, “the problem in her opinion is that with the format medium of live tv, gymnastics does not translate well. It can be shown best on the web with a user-controlled experience. We talked about it in 2007. If the technology had existed… “And then I think Jess you had chimed in with kind of what we ended up doing this year or what NBC did this year with the four different stations. you could do different camera controlled events and pick the event you cared to watch. And she mentioned it was actually an idea we thought of 2007, technology just wasn’t there yet. Which is so interesting. Can you imagine if we like, how spoiled we would have been had we had that ability this whole time. Oh, I just want to watch every minute from 2010 Worlds. That’s incredible. Yeah so I agree, that gymnastics can become popular with the way it is presented. And especially mediums. If you can control the user experience, there you go.
ALLISON TAYLOR: This episode is brought to you by Elite Sportz Band. Elitesportzband.com. We’ve got your back.
JESSICA: Visit elitesportzband.com, that’s sports with a Z, and save $5 on your next purchase with the code gymcast.
JESSICA: So that is going to do it for this week’s show. And right now I’m going to give you our long-awaited preview for what you are going to be hearing on this show in 2013. And I’m so excited! I’ve been waiting waiting waiting. So we’ve confirmed a couple people to tell you who is coming up. So finally here it is. In January, you will hear Elizabeth Price on this show. Olympic alternate and winner of the Glasgow World Cup and the, what’s the other meet she just won?
JESSICA: Stuttgart World Cup. So she’s super badass and is looking good for World Champion in the all around, placing there in 2013. She will be on the show. We will also have a Ukrainian gymnast who trained at Round Lake in the 80s with the likes of Chusovitina and Boginskaya. And she will tell us about growing up in Ukraine, being in the Soviet gymnastics system, and what it was like, including the social aspects – not just the day-to-day training, what their workouts were like – but the social parts of growing up at Round Lake and what life was like there. We’re also going to have Jenni Pinches, who was on the UK Olympic team. She’s going to come on the show and tell us about her experience and her retirement. And finally, next episode, we are going to have the infamous author of LIttle Girls in Pretty Boxes. The one and only Joan Ryan will be joining us. If you don’t know about this book, it came out in 95. Yeah. And it basically exposed a lot of the abusive situations and eating disorders that were happening in gymnastics in the 80s and early 90s. And it was very very controversial. And I infamously said, “don’t buy this book, get it at the library.” And I will explain why I said that. I have a love/hate relationship with this book. On the one hand I think that it was very important and it exposed a lot of things and it helped change the sport of gymnastics for the better. On the other hand, I feel like it was a little bit of scandal mongering, and that it was only put out in order to sell books and make gymnastics look bad. And scandal sells. And I hated that I had to defend my favorite sport, and something that helped me so much in life, when this book came out. So that is why I said what I said. But on the other hand, it really did good things. And I myself have a love/hate relationship with gymnastics. So, I’m really happy that we get to talk to her, and really ask her a lot of the questions that people have wanted to know, like about fact-checking for the book. So if you’re interested in finding this book, you can get it at your local library. I’ve checked, a lot of libraries have it. And also Powell’s Books in Oregon. You can find them online. They have copies of the book. They’re pretty cheap, it’s like $5 you can get them. So you can read it beforehand if you’re not familiar with it. There’s also the full movie that was made out of the book is online on YouTube. So you can check that out. It is of course a little different than the book, but it is hilarious nonetheless.
SPANNY: It’s a Lifetime movie.
JESSICA: Lifetime movies! It’s fabulous. So you can check that out on YouTube. And is there anything else I’m forgetting about the book? Yeah so we’re really excited to have Joan Ryan on the show. And if you have questions for her, please send them in for us because we would love to ask the questions that you want to know from her. Lastly in order to vote on our nominations for this year, we will have a listener survey up on the site. And we’re also going to ask for your feedback. So you can tell us what you like about the show, if you want changes in the show, we’re going to make a few change is the format for the upcoming year. You can give us your feedback. Remember to tell your friends to listen, tweet about us, send us your questions, rate us on iTunes, get us on Stitcher. You can find related links to this show on the website at gymcastic.com. Remember our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Skype name is gymcasticpodcast. You can leave us a voicemail by finding us on Skype. Or you can call 415-800-3191. And you can also leave a question for Gymline which, as you can tell from this episode, was a smashing success. Send us any question you have about gymnastics life in general and we will answer it to the best of our abilities. And, that is it for this episode. For Masters-Gymnastics.com I’m Jessica O’Beirne.
BLYTHE: I’m Blythe Lawrence from the Gymnastics Examiner
SPANNY: Spanny Tampson from Spanny’s Big Fake Smile
UNCLE TIM: Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s gym
DVORA: And Dvora from Unorthodox Gymnastics.
JESSICA: And we’ll see you next week.
[[Outro from Girl on Guy with “My Moment” (Team USA Anthem) by D Santos playing]]
MATT ISEMAN: Really for the most men, there’s no payoff. Maybe win a gold medal. I mean like…
AISHA TYLER: What percent of those guys walk out and get on the side of a cereal box, right?
MATT: The gymnastics is actually hard to watch, with these girls who you feel haven’t led a life
AISHA: Well right, this little girl who didn’t make it into the all around
MATT: they’re 15 and 16
AISHA: she’s crying and screaming and losing her mind.
MATT: And this is their shot and it’s like, you are probably experiencing the most pressure packed moment of your life at age 17
MATT: I don’t know if you have the tools to deal with it. I couldn’t.
MATT: I couldn’t now…
MATT: …to go out there and execute at this level and do the most impossible things. That’s sports stuff because I feel like all you do is watch for them to screw up.
AISHA: Oh yeah. And it’s amazing because I feel like the commentators are the mean… like they’re whol
MATT: “That was a terrible dismount! Terrible! Look at that step!”
AISHA: “Oh come on! Did you see that, her legs were so wide apart! What’s she, a sex, what’s she a whore? Come on!”
AISHA: “Put those knees together!” [laughing] And the guy was saying something about like, because I watched the all around prelims, and there was like the commentator, and there was the ex gymnast. And the ex gymnast was kind of being very technical, and the commentator was just like, “oh the American program is totally off the rails. I mean they were cruising along but this is just utter destructions!” And the gymnast lady is like “[stuttering] come on now!”
MATT: They’re little girls.
AISHA: They’re little tiny girls.
AISHA: Little girls who are never going to get their periods. Give them a break.
MATT: I know. But I do love, I love when you see somebody win.
MATT: When you see someone like, and you see their parents and you realize those parents gave up their life pretty much to make this dream happen.
MATT: And that’s what it’s about. For me.
AISHA: And I love every single athlete.