Episode 26.5 Transcript

CASEY JO: [LAUGHS] So I’m probably going to do beam and I love men’s high bar, I think it’s awesome, so I’m going to do full on to the beam for the mount and layout full on the beam. And I also, because I love delchevs on women’s uneven bars, I’m learning a- basically a Gaylord but I’m learning it in straddle position on men’s high bar, so I’m really excited about that.

JESSICA: This is episode 26.5 for April 1, 2013. And as you know this is the best and only gymnastics podcast in the entire world. And today is so exciting that we’re putting out this special episode because we have breaking news. We have three guests here who have incredibly exciting news, and an announcement to make. Uncle Tim, start us off.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah so going around the gymternet for quite some time have been FIG Code changes. I wrote a couple blog posts about it. A few weeks ago people were talking about the disappearance of the cat leap and the cat leap full and stuff. And most recently we had the vault changes, the averages changes. So the other night i was reading the Forward Roll gym blog and somebody mentioned that the Memmel turn is now being downgraded from a D to a B. And I don’t know, what do you guys think about that?

SPANNY: It’s an interesting step. I feel like it’s a precedent where like we’re having so many gymnasts… you can still chuck a spin, and they are chucking the Memmel. So, downgrading I think is an interesting choice. There are about 60 other things I would like to see downgraded before that.

UNCLE TIM: Such as?

SPANNY: All the twisty splity jumps that are considered artistic and beautiful dance. Like the Strug, the Gogean, everything that’s twisty and splits, and that now constitutes a good… you know, that’s supposed to be a really great floor routine if you can do that. But that’s so tragic because we just saw Ohashi do her beautiful Memmel turn at the American Cup, and now what is she going to do? I mean if you’ve seen her do the double L before. Yeah I don’t know, it’s interesting to see where they’re going to go with that.

JESSICA: I mean I just have to say first of all I think it has to be some- I go to conspiracy theory right away on this. Because I just feel like, did someone get credit for this that made them place higher than someone that the FIG thought they should because everything else wasn’t where it should be but this one turn made it for them? And the other thing is I just feel like why not give it crazy deductions? If people aren’t doing it the way they want to see it, why not increase the deductions on it so you only do it if you know you can do it perfectly. Basically if you fall out of it, then it’s only worth an A instead of just downgrading the skill. But you know I think it’s some conspiracy and someone is getting credit for it that they don’t want to.

SPANNY: Who do you think that is though? Trying to think of- I feel like everybody does it now.

JESSICA: Probably like Chusovitina or something is doing it well


JESSICA: And they’re like what?! You’re only supposed to win on vault.

SPANNY: Well they did change the vault scoring for her, I don’t know [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: That’s what I’m saying


UNCLE TIM: So Spanny what do you have for us this week?

SPANNY: I have a very exciting story that I’ve been waiting for a chance- I haven’t gotten the go-ahead to share it and I don’t 100% have it. I can give you ti’s an unnamed source. Let’s just say that when I do recaps about a show that will remain unnamed, the source comes from that show. Let’s just keep it there. Anywho. I know we’ve all had a lifelong dream for a gymnastics reality TV show, and that is finally coming to fruition for real this time. We’ve seen the recent success of MTV’s Gymnastae and Lifetime’s Dance Moms, which I understand are not the same thing but believe it or not, Dance Moms has been a big push of this. Sponsors of our current National team have included a contractual obligation to go “deep behind the scenes with our favorite athletes.” We’ve all seen the “Behind the Team” specials from AT&T so I asked them why is this any different than that? They’re like oh no, we are going to expect more drama, more fun, and bigger characters. I was actually told, “Bela will be bigger than Abby Lee Miller.”

UNCLE TIM: Do we mean size-wise? Or…

SPANNY: Literally and figuratively


JESSICA: Wait, Abby Lee Miller is the dog of the…


JESSICA: Who’s Abby Lee Miller?

SPANNY: She’s the coach on Dance Moms

JESSICA: Oh [LAUGHS] I thought Abby Lee Miller was the CGA dog!

UNCLE TIM: Sophie is! Sophie is!

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Sophie Lee Tracy! My bad

SPANNY: No! [LAUGHS] Oh that’s…

JESSICA: There’s three names, I always get them mixed up just like the assassins, they’re all…

SPANNY: Mary Lee’s dog. No Abby Lee is again, literally and figuratively a huge character on TV. She’s no.. I mean granted it’s got to be all BS on that show, but it’s all very drama and script mongering with the moms, and they’re fighting and the kids. This is going to be more along the lines of that than it is anything we’ve seen before. And it’s sounds honestly, I’ll probably recap it. I’m so excited and I’ve known about it for a while that I’ve been really- I’m trying to reign my excitement in because it is going to be such a train wreck. It’s going to be I think the biggest trainwreck I think we’ve ever seen come from American gymnastics. And we get to see it as soon as the run up to Worlds this fall.

JESSICA: I have to say this is one of the great things about having Spanny on the show, because I don’t know if you guys know, she worked in Hollywood for a long time doing- what would we have seen you in? Weren’t you like a body double for someone super famous?

SPANNY: I don’t want to go into that

JESSICA: Ok ok, anywho.


JESSICA: She has connections, that’s what we’re saying. You know we wanted a show like this for so long so like I’m really excited about it but I’m also kind of like oh God, I hope it’s not so Dance Mom-y that it tears down the image that people have in their minds about gymnastics even further. But then again, it could be awesome!

SPANNY: And honestly, I don’t know which way it’s going to go. Part of me is terrified, like you mentioned. Like they are just going to play out the- all of it’s going to be eating disorders and sexual predators.


SPANNY: And it’s also going to be like exposure for- especially USA Gymnastics beyond the scripted “I just want to hit four for four” and all that. I can see positives in it. I’m terrified of the negatives.


SPANNY: And the casting- if you google it, you will find casting notices. Yes, they have to cast for this. And they’ve been casting for characters and willing families, things like that. They give kind of a hint of what they’re looking for. So obviously it’s TV, and it’s reality TV, everything’s not going to be as it seems. You could not pick a better group of like, a more dramatic, a more diverse intertwined group of people. And I think they probably looked at the opportunity like, we have this in our hands, you know, we’d be silly not to jump on it. Crazy, I don’t know. I think we’ll have a lot to talk about this fall.

JESSICA: Oh my God I can’t wait. So speaking of this fall, we have something really exciting planned. We are announcing our first ever GymCastic throwback meet. We will be using the 1968 Code of Points. Retro-inspired uniforms will be provided for each competitor. Pianists have already been contracted to play live at the meet, please prepare your own sheet music. We are putting a spin on this and allowing any live instrument if one of the competitors provides the live instruments. So basically if you want to do a routine to guitar or drums or the kazoo, you have to bring a musician in to play the instrument. We’ll provide a pianist, but otherwise you have to bring someone in to play. So there are some other rules. So there’s no face tattoos or bed head allowed. Chest hair must be on full display for men. Bumpits, bouffants, and beehives are encouraged because after all this is 1968 Code. Men have to wear suspenders, this is an absolute, you have to wear suspenders. So stay tuned for more details, we’re super excited about this. When we mentioned it on the show we got such positive feedback that we decided yeah we should totally go after this. So we’re working on it and we’ll bring you guys more details as we have them.


JESSICA: Now let’s get into our interview. We have three guests here who have incredibly exciting news and an announcement to make. Let me just start by telling you who is with us today. Our special guests are Jen Hansen, or Jenny Hansen as she was known back in the day. Won three consecutive NCAA all-around championships between 1993 and 1995. She is the only person to ever win three straight all-around titles. That is a record that still stands today. She has been a Hollywood stuntwoman and stunt coordinator. In 2011 at the age of 38 she qualified elite again with skills like a back handspring full on beam and double arabians on floor. She competed elite and she fell just short of making her goal of Nationals but really inspired so many people in the process. She’s just wrapped filming for a television series on a major network. It’s a huge hit, you have all heard of it, and it’s always in People Magazine, hint hint, where she worked as a personal trainer using gymnastics as the main modality to influence the training of her clients. So you can look forward to seeing her there. She was also on Make it or Break It for many years, which we know is Spanny’s favorite show.

UNCLE TIM: Also with us in Anna Li who was one of the best bar workers in the world. She was ranked in the top five on that event going into the Olympic Games. She’s the inventor of and the only female gymnast to ever compete the Rybalko for girls on uneven bars. She is the 2011 World Championship team gold medalist and an alternate for the 2012 gold medal winning Olympic team in London.

SPANNY: And finally we have Casey Jo Magee, a standout gymnast for the University of Arkansas with ridiculous record-breaking scores like a 39.5 in the all-around. She’s known for insanely difficult beam routines which were featured during her elite run in 2011. Her routine consisted of a backspin, an Okino, a Garrison mount, and a layout full. She is currently coaching at Western Michigan University which just won their fourth conference championship.

JESSICA: Thank you so much for joining us you guys. Alright let’s get started. This is so exciting, I don’t even know how to sum this up. So Jen can you tell us, first of all how do you guys all know each other?

JEN: Oh yeah, I know Casey Jo through, what was it, it was Zone meet 2012, first time I met Casey Jo. And I know Anna from working on Make it or Break It and going to UCLA gymnastics meets.

JESSICA: Casey Jo, how did you first even find out about this? Like how were you approached with the idea?

CASEY JO: It was actually kind of great. I was walking into, I was about to walk into the gym for the girls’ practice and this black Rolls Royce drives up and stops. And I’m like well that car is kind of out of place. And then this guy in a suit with white gloves gets out and he walks over to me and he goes, “Are you Casey Jo Magee?” And I said yes. And he hands me this gold envelope. Shimmering gold envelope with an invitation and a plane ticket.

JESSICA: Oh my God. So first of all what did the invitation say?

JEN: Invited us to this competition and saying that since we have competed at our levels of gymnastics and that we’ve done so well in our age that we all are. And I won’t say my own age. But anyways they were just asking us like pretty much basically told us that they would like to invite us to this meet and then we got on a private jet that had all of this craziness on it. And I’m going what?! I’m looking at the other two girls and I’m going, we’re laughing we’re like this is [inaudible] when you are able to have a drink and sit down and enjoy and talk and reminisce. And then all the sudden we were tired and here’s these beds that are filled with rose petals and all this elaborate stuff, and was just tripping the whole time going “what?!” I’m on board and I’m game for it. So I’m just kind of excited.

JESSICA: Casey Jo, like what happened when you guys arrived? Where did they take you and what’s the whole proposition for the competition? Is it one competition? Is it like a league you’re going to be in?

CASEY JO: Yeah so we got there and they escorted us in a limo to the facility where the competition would be held. And it’s going to be a competition next may in 2014. And they basically said they’ll pay for all the costs for our training and everything for the next year. And they want to find out who the best gymnasts in the world are. And so they’re having this competition and it’s crazy, they were treating us like royalty there. And the facility was amazing and so it’s pretty cool.

JESSICA: I heard that there might be prize money involved in this? Did they tell you how much it is? And are you going to compete all-around or one event?

ANNA LI: They actually said that you can pick and choose which events, and it could be any event out of men’s and women’s events. So I haven’t decided if I want to just stick with men’s high bar or the uneven bars but I for sure want to do my Kovacs. So I’m going to do either uneven bars or high bar then probably floor.

JESSICA: Jenny what events are you going to do and tell me about the prize money.

JEN: Well yeah I was kind of blown away about the whole thing. And I guess like Anna I think I’m just going to end up doing two women’s events and try for two men’s events. I’ve been doing this thing called bar stars so I’ve been doing a lot of upper body work. And I’ve been working on p-bars and I think I’ve been trying to perfect my stutz into my belle. So in doing that I think I have a pretty good chance on that and I don’t know who else would be doing p-bars, but then I think I’m going to do pommel as well. So you know I’ve got to keep it in the family. Horse, I’ll probably end up doing vault for a women’s event, then I’ll end up doing balance beam like I was for 2012 trying for. And yeah so pommel, vault, beam, and p-bars. But the prize money is ridiculous! I mean come on really? I can’t even get over- I don’t know how that would be but I mean what a great opportunity to show off all of our gymnastics abilities and say you know what, guy’s events are pretty tough, but girls can do it too.

JESSICA: Yeah! My understanding is the prize money for each event is a million dollars? Is that right?

ANNA: Yeah. Yeah.

JESSICA: And they’re paying for your training?

ANNA: It’s unreal. Yeah.

JESSICA: This is fantastic. So what would you- ok first tell us what skills you’re working on. We have to know this.

CASEY JO: [LAUGHS] So I’m probably going to do beam and I love men’s high bar, I think it’s awesome, so I’m going to do full on to the beam for the mount and layout full on the beam. And I also, because I love delchevs on women’s uneven bars, I’m learning a- basically a Gaylord but I’m learning it in straddle position on men’s high bar, so I’m really excited about that.

JESSICA: Oh. My. God. Ok now let’s go around for a second, this is so exciting. So do you guys know- ok I don’t even know where to start with my questions, it’s so exciting. Ok first of all, what would you do with the prize money?

ANNA: I actually don’t even know, it just seems unreal to actually have the opportunity to win a million dollars. And I have no idea. Vacation. I don’t know.

JESSICA: Jen what would you do with it?

JEN: Well I have always wanted to do a non-profit organization kind of thing and do work with kids and horse ranch and then just have everybody else work on it. I don’t need to work on it, let other people do the job. So I would probably do something like that. Then I don’t know if I could really say that I would probably end up just sitting back and eating a whole bunch of food and getting fat because you know I made a million dollars, what else is there?


JEN: I mean come on really? Do I really need to exercise or work out any more? I don’t think so. [inaudible] I mean people can work me out for my own and maybe they can move my legs.


JEN: Yeah I would eat all I want.

JESSICA: Casey Jo, what would you do with the money?

CASEY JO: Well I think I’d get a new car because my car is getting pretty old and it would be nice to have a new car. And then my parents have a community center back home and so I’d help them fix that up super nice. Then I’d probably get somebody really smart to help me invest some of the money. Some of it. Then like Jen said might as well enjoy some of it. I hopefully wouldn’t want to blow through it too fast, I’d try to be pretty smart with it.

JESSICA: Anna, why did this competition start? Like who’s behind it? Who’s funding it? I mean we know it’s Abu Dhabi but just assuming it’s some oil sheik or something. Who’s behind this? Because this is something fans have wanted for so long, something like a professional league and have all the gymnasts we want to see as fans who are doing the most difficult stuff, who are super artistic be seen on an international stage? So who’s behind this? Who’s funding this? Who’s idea is it?

ANNA: Well the prince, his daughter absolutely loves gymnastics. So he wanted to put something together where he could try to see the best athletes because for the Olympics and for Worlds it’s so limited per country. And some countries the US, it’s very deep and they can only take five or six people. So he wanted to get as many people in the entire world together and see all the best gymnastics. And it’s pretty awesome because it’s for his daughter that absolutely loves gymnastics.

JESSICA: Thank you guys so much for joining us today, it was an honor and pleasure to talk to you all and we cannot wait to watch this meet.


JESSICA: We want to thank Casey Jo Magee, Anna Li, and Jen Hansen for joining us today. Thank you guys all so much for listening. We’ll be back at our regular time on Wednesday so we’ll see you then. Until then, I’m Jessica from Masters-Gymnastics

SPANNY: I’m Spanny Tampson from Spanny’s Big Fake Smile

UNCLE TIM: And I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym

JESSICA: Thanks, we’ll talk to you guys on Wednesday!