Episode 27 Transcript

TRICIA: Totally a great outlet for me, I feel like. You know how people who need to sing because they got emotions that they got to let out or they need to write music or they need to paint, well, this was my outlet for emotions that I could not express so well.[[“EXPRESS YOURSELF” INTRO MUSIC]]

JESSICA: This week on the show, piercings, poo, and running away with the circus with Tricia Woo.

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JESSICA: This is episode 27 for April 3rd, 2013. I’m Jessica from Masters-Gymnastics

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

JESSICA: Remember you can follow along on our website and see videos or photos of everything we’re discussing. And remember this is the world famous and only gymnastics podcast ever, starting with the top news from around the gymternet. Uncle Tim, there were a couple exciting meets. Let’s start with the Doha Challenge Cup. What happened?

UNCLE TIM: Alright so on the women’s side I want to talk about Larissa Iordache and her beam routine. She won beam with a 15.5 and let’s keep in mind that that’s better than Ohashi’s 15.333 at the American Cup. And keep in mind that Iordache also did two fulls on the beam, not one. In other words, Ohashi’s a huuuuuge slacker.


UNCLE TIM: She needs to step up her game. So anyway I’m going to nominate Iordache early for 2013 Badass of the Year award. And Jess what did you think of that routine?

JESSICA: Yeah it’s beautiful. The two fulls, that’s awesome. And yeah you really can’t- there’s nothing to dislike in that routine. I mean you know, it’s badass, and you know she can have her feet together on her tucked full, the second full twist she does on the beam. But she’s so solid, she’s so prepared, yeah. It’s pretty awesome. I have to say I do like the artistry and the lines of Ohashi little bit more, but Iordache is badass. She’s badass.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah, it’s just kind of scary because you’re doing these huge skills on the beam and you’re doing two of them, and if you’re going to be off on one there’s the chance you might be off on the second too, so yeah. And Euros are coming up Jess, so who do you think is going to win beam at Euros. Are you going with Mustafina or Iordache?

JESSICA: Well this is the thing. Mustafina kind of downgraded at the Zakharova Cup, so you know, but Iordache’s already ready. So I feel like either of them could win, they could tie right now. Iordache is doing some- I mean the two fulls is crazy, but Mustafina is doing incredible combinations. Glorious combinations that haven’t been done- I don’t know if anyone’s done the kinds of combinations she’s doing right now. But she hasn’t, you know, she watered down. So the question is will Iordache be extra prepared? Or is Mustafina going to peak at the right time? Or will Iordache be a little burned out? Because it’ll be like her third competition in a row. So, I don’t know, they could both win it right now as far as I’m concerned.

UNCLE TIM: And while we’re on the topic of Larissa, I’d like to also mention she got second on floor with a 14.425. Bulimar won that. And I noticed she did a quadruple turn on floor. Now Jess you have to explain to me how this is possible. You’re talking to somebody who gets rug burn after doing two single turns on the floor on carpet. So how is this even possible?

JESSICA: Well some of the tricks to this are taping your toes together so they don’t break if they get stuck in the carpet. But you know they did have- true true, not even kidding. But they did have that- they don’t look like they had the carpet we had, they look like they have that much slippery- a much more slippery surface, that Gymnova carpet. It’s less shaggy. [LAUGHS] We call our carpet shaggy carpet, it’s less shaggy than ours.


JESSICA: [LAUGHS] It is! But the thing is she doesn’t really do the quad turn. She hops. If you look at it really closely, yeah. On the third- because she moves [LAUGHS] about three feet from where she starts the turn, and she’s not like a spinning top. She actually you know hops the last one around. But it’s still really impressive. So you get credit for a triple turn instead of a quad? Big deal. So that was really exciting to see. I liked it. I always like the cool dance moves.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah. And what did you think about her corners? Because I noticed that they were definitely a little bit different from the stork stand we’ve been noticing, and I feel like her corner moves are more in the spirit of the code and what the code is looking for.

JESSICA: I totally thought that when I watched. I was saying to myself like this is it, this is how it’s supposed to be. She’s, you know, she’s stopping to catch her breath a little before she gets to the corner, but she’s taking that- what she’s doing, flowing into the corner and then switching back to tumble. Which is how it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be you dance into the tumbling like the old days instead of pausing for 10 minutes in the corner. So I really liked it. I was really surprised. I really liked her floor routine, I liked her choreography, I liked how the choreography was to the music. I haven’t enjoyed a Romanian floor routine…


JESSICA: …like that in a long time, so [LAUGHS] I was pretty stoked.


JESSICA: I mean I’m just being honest.


UNCLE TIM: Well, I’m glad that you’re honest. And so moving onto the men, there were some exciting routines. Krisztian Berki was there who I love. And so was Arthur Nabarrete from Brazil, he competed on the rings, our current Olympic champion, and won. But the big thing that everyone’s talking about is Ri Se Gwang of North Korea, who does a piked Dragulescu. So if you don’t know what that it, it’s a front handspring double front in the piked position with a half turn out. And he also does the vault named after him which is a tsuk full twisting double back. And you know I mean that’s a pretty hard vault but my one critique is that he does that vault into what I call “The Komova” which is basically just walking off the mat off to the side.


UNCLE TIM: And he won with a 15.137. So what did you think Jess?

JESSICA: It’s incredible. His vaults are amazing and they’re huge. And I love to see- his body type, I mean that’s been missing in gymnastics. I feel like there used to be- he has these gigantic legs. Huge massive thighs. And I- that’s the kind of body type that I love to watch [LAUGHS] tumbling and doing- I mean I do! I really like it. I mean you know how I feel about this.

UNCLE TIM: I’ve noticed, yeah.


UNCLE TIM: That look like a wrestler and you’re just like swooning, basically

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Totally, yeah. The first time I met Wei Ju I totally took a picture with his legs. Me and my friend. Ha! [LAUGHS] Because they’re legendary! And he laughed the whole time. So yeah I just you know I just think that he’s bringing back the old school body type and I like to see that kind of power. You know he’s got to work on the landings a little bit. I mean [LAUGHS] yeah. Because I mean I wasn’t scared. I didn’t feel like he was going to land on his head, it wasn’t scary at all. But definitely I could see an achilles tearing, yeah, during one of his landings. Other than that it is just incredible to watch. His form is not as good as homeboy from Korea, our Olympic champion, but I loved it.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah I mean I think that in terms of who could win Worlds, I’m guessing that Yang Hak Seon will probably win just because his form his impeccable compared to Ri Se Gwang who’s lacking on the landings, pretty much, I don’t know, grinding his ankle bones into like military grade weapons every time he lands.


UNCLE TIM: I don’t know, it’s just, yeah. I feel bad for his ankles. Also a side note for the listeners, if you didn’t know, Anna Li’s dad is in the movie American Anthem. And so I just put two and two together this year. I’m a little slow, so. Anway.

JESSICA: He’s also World champion in 1981 on floor with his incredible double side flip rollouts. I just love that. But I would really love to see a showdown between Yang Hak Seon and Ri Se Gwang because of course it would be this incredible opportunity for- imagine if they tied and it would be this lovely moment for peace between North Korea and Korea. And, you know, I love those kind of things. You know, the “beyond sports” moments. And so it would be great. That’s what I want to see at World Championships. But you know, Seon has definitely better form. Gwang has to work on that.

UNCLE TIM: I concur. Alright so Jess what can you tell me about the Zakharova Cup?

JESSICA: Well you know I was looking into this because I remember hearing about this but I don’t really know anything about it. So it’s organized by Stella Zakharova, who was a member of the 1980 Olympic team, who won the gold. The USSR team, but she’s actually Ukrainian. So this meet is hosted in Kiev, which is capital of Ukraine, and she gave the best quote ever talking about this meet and why she hosts this meet, which just makes me love her. So she said- so this is a quote from her interview with IG. She said, “I want the people who say gymnastics is not spectacular and is not important to spend time and money on to take another look. In fact, we wipe the floor with those people today.” [LAUGHS] I love a woman who talks like that.

UNCLE TIM: She’s very honest and [LAUGHS] very direct, that’s for sure.

JESSICA: My kinda woman!

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS]. So yeah and who won this meet?

JESSICA: Let’s see, so Mustafina and Oleg Verinaiev, your boy, won the all-around. And I have to always remind myself who Oleg is but now of course he’s really starting to stand out so I’m not going to have a problem with this. So he’s the one who looks like he’s 12 but he’s really 19 and he placed second on vault in London. And he’s not the really buff one, that’s Igor, this is Oleg. And he competed at the American Cup this year, and he was the one that almost fell off p-bars but did this really crazy sideways handstand. And we said he could shave his head and get a mohawk to raise money for Ukraine. So, that’s who we’re talking about now. He’s winning everything so I won’t ever have to remind myself after this probably…


JESSICA: …who he is. So he won the all-around by four points, and then he also won parallel bars by- his score was, he had a D score, a difficulty of 6.8, which is freakin huge. I mean for women’s that’s huge. And then his p-bars score was 15.8 which I think is also a huge score. For women that would be a huge score.

UNCLE TIM: For men it is too. I’m trying to think, the guy who won, Kato I believe, he won the French International and he won with a 15.5 or something. So yeah it’s definitely up there. And Oleg actually tweeted a picture of the giant cup. It looks a little bit like- I don’t know, it looks like it’s made of Plaster of Paris or something. But yeah. So you were talking about Oleg’s total domination, what about Mustafina?

JESSICA: Yeah so she completely killed it. I mean Dementyeva came in second, but she came in second two points behind Mustafina. So yeah she walked away with this very easily. And I mean she had watered down routines like I said earlier. So she didn’t do her arabian on beam, but she did- and this is the coolest combination, I talked about this a while ago. She does a switch half, to an Onodi, to a double turn. Which is a crazy series but i guess she’s getting credit for it. She had a 6.5 difficulty on beam with a score of 15.2. And then on bars she also watered down but she got a 15.5 in the bar final. Actually I don’t know if she watered down in the bar final but she got a 15.5, which is also a huge score. So yeah I’m totally just love love loving her. And she also did, there’s another series- this is nuts, that she did. So in the beam final she did front aerial, wolf jump, side- so she must have stepped out of it. So she does front aerial, wolf jump, side aerial, sissone, side somi. That’s crazy, how do you even connect those? She must be stepping out or stepping right into them. It’s really exciting. This is the kind of stuff I was talking about before, those kind of the 1992 1996 gym acro combinations that people are putting together, and I love seeing that stuff. So if she hits all of that, I think she could totally beat Iordache. But then again, I don’t know, beam is going to be really interesting at Europeans.

UNCLE TIM: I agree. What about 2013 Worlds, Jess? I’m going to put you on the spot. You’re love love loving Mustafina, but you’re also like the biggest Biles fan, so.

JESSICA: I know. She-

UNCLE TIM: And there’s Elizabeth Price, who…


UNCLE TIM: …people have kind of forgotten about. But she’s still…


UNCLE TIM: …you know, you can’t count her out.

JESSICA: You totally can’t count her out. Ugh, this is the thing, this is why I just want there to be ties because I love all of them for different reasons. Like, Mustafina, I love her ability to emote and to, you know dance a little bit. Even though it’s elite and it’s not very good dance, but for comparing it to other things. But you know, I like her style and I like her- but she’s totally different than Biles and Price. And Biles is just insane! She’s so powerful. I just feel if Biles can just stay on bars, Biles’ vault score is going to be so enormous that no one can touch her. But [SIGHS] I just want them all to tie.


JESSICA: That’s what I want. Or I want them to just merge into one person and be everything [LAUGHS]. Who do you think?

UNCLE TIM: I don’t know. Um…

JESSICA: Because Kyla just came back as we saw at the US-Germany-Romania meet. So…

UNCLE TIM: At the Friendly Meet, as it’s called [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: Friendly, yes, Friendly.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah I don’t know, I’m trying to think. I’d probably go with… Biles or Price right now just because I don’t feel like I’ve seen full difficulty from Mustafina yet so it’s hard for me to really gauge where she’ll be in a couple months. That said, couple months is a long time in elite, so, you don’t know what’s going to happen.

JESSICA: Yeah, that’s the thing. And since they just came back from, it was like three weeks of competing in a row, I feel like everyone’s going to be injured, so now we have to wait for them all to get better. So yeah. I don’t know. But speaking of the Friendly meet. So Kyla won by 1.3 over Biles. Biles fell on her Hindorff, but Biles did great on everything else. She got a 15.9 on her vault. She took a tiny step on her vault landing. I think she would have gotten a 16 had she not taken a tiny step. The meet is kind of weird though, because did you know that it- it’s basically like all of our seniors with like two juniors and then everybody else is a junior except for like three Germans.

UNCLE TIM: I didn’t know that, no.

JESSICA: Yeah so basically it was kind of like, we were like, “We are going to dominate you!” And everybody else is like, “We’re going to send our juniors to get some experience.” I mean there is-


JESSICA: There’s like a poor Romanian little junior got a 10 on bars. It’s like, I mean [LAUGHS]. You know, so hopefully everyone just saw it as- I mean I was listening to some of the commentary and they were like, “Oh this is just a great experience for these athletes to be here with the Americans, the big dogs. “It’s just building their confidence to see where they are.” You know if they really had that mindset I think that’s good. One of the things that totally pissed me off listening to the German feed is the announcer goes, “In the US through gymnastics you can actually become a millionaire. That’s the dream of all these girls.” This is during Kyla’s bar routine. And I was like, “Dude, are you serious? No it’s not! That is not why we do gymnastics!” Like and yeah there’s one gymnast who becomes a millionaire in the US from doing gymnastics. So that kind of annoyed me. But who knows who that guy was. I mean he might’ve just been some random dude hired to do the feed that knows nothing. But, I found that annoying. Especially during Kyla’s routine when Kyla is the one who has stayed eligible for NCAA and didn’t go pro or take any money.

UNCLE TIM: That’s very true. So what did you think about Kyla’s performances?

JESSICA: She looked great. She really looked great. She hit a handstand on bars that she held like Zamarripa for like 10 seconds and was like, “Alright I’ll do my dismount now.” So she just looked beautiful. Her form was so nice and she just looked like she was in great shape. She looks really healthy. Yeah, she on her game.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah. Like last year I was not a “Ross-ian” by any means, mostly because that Amanar…


UNCLE TIM: … I think upset the gymnastics gods.


UNCLE TIM: But I’m kind of liking the taller version of Kyla.


UNCLE TIM: I don’t know it reminds of Dominique Moceanu when she grew

JESSICA: [GASPS] Glorious!

UNCLE TIM: Like Moceanu, Kyla’s also got that bun thing going. And like Moceanu, Kyla also has that cowboy yeehaw double tuck off beam.


UNCLE TIM: That said, overall I think she’s looking a little more elegant. And I’m liking that side of her. One thing that I noticed when I was watching the American routines is that a bunch of girls are trying to do a front aerial into a side somi. And it’s just like girls, you are never going to tumble on the beam like Maria Livchikova.


UNCLE TIM: But it’s cute that you’re trying.


UNCLE TIM: Like do you think that anyone’s ever going to get the front aerial into side somi combo and actually get credit?

JESSICA: I mean the only person that ever did it amazingly was Yezhova. Remember her in like 2003. She was tiny, she did the craziest series on beam, and she did it like she was on the floor. It’s so rare to be able to be that person who can tumble on beam in any direction and do it well. And I don’t really see- there’s very few people that I see doing that. I mean Casey Jo Magee was one of the people that did that. It’s just really rare. So I think people, keep on trying,but basically if you’re really trying to make it work and you’re just not that kind of athlete, just move on to something else. [LAUGHS] That’s what I feel like. What do you think?

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] Yeah I think it’s one of those connections that is not really going to be a connection. It’s going to be one of those front aerial, hold your foot up, then do your side somi. Or front aerial, put your foot down, pretend like you’re supposed to do that and do some arm flicks, and then step side somi.


UNCLE TIM: I feel like that’s what’s going to happen with most people, and it’s, you know, it’s not as dangerous as other connections that we’ve seen from Americans in the past. But I think that this one’s probably not going to get credit. But you know, it’s a new quad, why not try something new.

JESSICA: Yeah. I mean that’s the thing. I like to see the trying, I like to see the variety, I just would rather see something more interesting and creative than that. Speaking of different, did you see “Prom Night” on Dancing with the Stars and Aly’s performance?

UNCLE TIM: I did. So I thought she actually moved quite nicely. I was surprised. It was definitely more elegant than I thought it would be just because she’s always been seen as this power gymnast who doesn’t really know how to dance. But I was impressed, and so was Carrie Ann Inaba. She said, “Aly, your movement quality is so amazing. It’s strong. It’s sensual. It’s fluid. It’s refined.” Which made me tweet about it, and I said- I don’t know if I can say this on the show so I’m going to change it.


UNCLE TIM: “Watch yourselves, ballet artistry trolls.”

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] I watched it too and I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It’s- I really actually enjoyed it. I like the little story they did, I didn’t feel like it was pedophile creepy like it was with some of the others. And I enjoyed watching her. I enjoyed her fluidity. I watched her hands specifically and her hands were so precise and nicely done. Yeah.

UNCLE TIM: And I like the direction that Dancing with the Stars is going in general with Aly, because I felt like with Shawn they definitely tried to play up the, “Oh she’s this cute little bubbly little girl,” and did like pigtails and stuff. And with Aly it’s been a little more amtrue. And I appreciate seeing people do that with- cast gymnasts in that light.

JESSICA: I agree, that’s a good point.


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JESSICA: This week we’re talking to former Nebraska superstar Tricia Woo. Shew as trained by the coaches of the 1996 Olympic gold medalist Amy Chow, that’s Diana Amos, who’s now at Yale, and Mark Young at West Valley Gymnastics. She was an artist in the Cirque du Soleil show Saltimbanco, and she performed Russian Swing and Chinese Pole. I was so excited to talk to Tricia because she really was a standout and there was something really different about her in NCAA when she competed, and you find out why when we do this interview. I little background on Tricia, and she’ll mention this in the interview. So her very last competition in NCAA was regionals. So the way it works at NCAA regionals, if you qualify as an individual to Nationals, that means you have to be the best. Which means you have to win that event. So you have to be first in the region out of all the teams on that specific event. So that happened was, her team, Nebraska was hosting Nationals. So even if they didn’t qualify, which they did not, she could have made it as an individual on beam. She was ranked in the top one or two on beam, averaging like a 9.95, 9.9. But what happened was, she scored a 9.9 on beam, then Courtney McCool got a 10. So Courtney McCool and Georgia went to Nationals, and Tricia Woo did not qualify. And you can imagine if that’s your senior year and your team is hosting Nationals and you’re a competitive person, and you’re ranked in the top and don’t make it because someone else got a perfect 10, how difficult that could be. So we originally thought that this interview would be all about Cirque du Soleil and all about what it’s like to be in the circus, and it is about that. But it became so much more. So I hope you guys enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed talking to Tricia. Also want to let you guys know that there will be one or two swear words in here. Remember this is a PG-13 show. And we will also discuss the existence of sex between consenting adults.

JESSICA: We can make this sort of, since it’s just us, because sometimes there can be three of us doing the interview, so it’s kind of special that it’s just the two of us, so if you want to make that more like a conversation we can totally do that too, so you don’t have to feel so…you know. We can just chat, you know.

TRICIA: Ok. Sure. That sounds good.

JESSICA: Ok, cool. So I have to tell you first of all that I am so stoked to talk to you because I love—your beam routine, when you were at Nebraska, was the best thing that has ever been done in NCAA gymnastics. It was…I mean, I think every time you competed—I live in California, so I would go to the UCLA meets, and any time you competed there I would scream “THE WOO!” at the top of my lungs, and when you didn’t make finals that last year I totally wanted there to be a Make It or Break it or Stick It moment where all the other gymnasts formed a circle around beam during finals and were like, “We know we deserve to be here but we know who should win.” And they just ushered you in and would have you do your beam routine for the fans and not care about the judges, because you totally should have been there. So I just wanted to tell you that first.

TRICIA: Oh, great. Yeah, no, that was a really hard time for me, I think, right towards the end, because when I started doing college gymnastics I wasn’t an elite gymnast, I did level 10 for maybe five years or so. I wasn’t in the Olympics, I wasn’t an Olympic, international level competitor, so when I got to college, it was like, oh my gosh, there are all these people here who have so much more experience. I don’t belong here. And I actually made it to finals the first couple years, and every time I was like, oh my gosh, I’m freaking out. There is no way that I belong here. And I had really great coaches, my coach at the time was Danna Durante, who I believe is the head coach at Georgia now…


TRICIA: So good for her. She really helped me focus and helped me understand that I and everyone else deserved to be there. I worked my ass off. I deserved this, I need this. So, you know, at that last meet, that regional meet, I had the highest score throughout the whole meet, so I would have qualified as an individual, but because, I think it was one of the Olympics, she got a 10, so, you can’t really compete with that one. So it was definitely a very, very difficult time for me, to accept that this was the end of my career. This was how I was going to remember it. I spent all that time. This was, you know, not a bad note to end on, but it was like—I was finally mentally ready and prepared to compete and show everyone at finals that, hey! I was just a level 10 and I’m kicking butt here. But I never got that chance, and in the grand scheme of things, I look back and at that time, it was the only thing that mattered to me. And every time I go and watch a gymnastics meet, I feel like I’m reminded of it. So I try—it’s hard for me. So now I’m ok. I’ve since then, moved on and done other things with my life and it’s just one of those things you have to look back and learn from, basically.

JESSICA: Yeah, that’s so surprising to hear because you performed so confidently, I never would have thought, ever, watching you that for a second you felt like, because I’m not an Olympian, I don’t deserve to be here. Because you were so confident, you were so badass, you were clearly doing the most dynamic, most difficult routine being done—still, I think, the most difficult routine being done in NCAA, what you were doing then…

TRICIA: Thank you.

JESSICA: Yeah, you really were. I loved it, seriously. I loved it so much that when I told my husband that we were interviewing you, he was like, the Woo? And I was like, “Yes! THE WOO!”


JESSICA: So he totally knows you, too.

TRICIA: Sorry. It’s a big show. For athletes it’s a huge show. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and of course, as a spectator, you don’t get to see the hours of practice, the dedication, and sometimes it’s not always, I want to say glitz and glamour, because there was a lot of struggle involved to get to that point, and I would say most of it was struggle and hard work, and literally, every time I went to a meet I was like, man. I’m not—I need to prove that I belong here, but at the same time I feel like I don’t belong here. You’ve got people who have won national titles, and I am competing against them, right? And of course, I try not to watch and tune out everything else that is happening around you so that I can focus, but, you know, it’s that little voice, that little negative voice that you try and stick in a box inside your head and tell it to go away because you don’t want to hear it, but the only thing that you hear is, do you really deserve to be here? So I think that negative voice pushed me so hard, so I was like, no ,I do belong here, I want to be here, I deserve to be here, no-one else is going to take that away from me. That voice really pushed me my senior year to be the best I could be.

JESSICA: So let’s go back to the beginning a little bit, and tell us about where you’re from in California and how you started in gymnastics.

TRICIA: Sure. I’m from the Bay Area of California—Milpitas, specifically. I started gymnastics, I don’t know, I think I was just three, because my mother did not like me jumping on her bed or climbing up the door frames or basically hanging off anything with a ledge, so she was like, I can’t deal with this. Put me in gymnastics, and I loved it. Couldn’t stop bouncing around, and I’ve been in it ever since, so I went to Pegasus Gymnastics Academy for a bit, and then I switched to West Valley Gymnastics, which is home of Amy Chow. I was there actually after she finished, I think, like a couple years after she had finished. But she would come by a few times. Actually, we’d be coached by Mark every now and again and I had Diane as my beam coach, which might explain all my crazy beam skills because she really pushed me to do so many things on beam, and I’m really grateful for that.

JESSICA: Speaking of her coaching and the skills you do, you do really rare skills. Like, I think that the last person, someone on the—one of our listeners will correct me right away if I am wrong, but I think the last person to compete in NCAA who did the Shushunova Loop was, or Yurchenko Loop—wait, the Yurchenko’s the back handspring, and you do the Shushunova Loop, yeah.

TRICIA: Yeah, I did a half-turn Shushunova and then I did a Flip-Flop Schertz Roll, I believe. It’s not very, how you say. The element isn’t worth anything. So in gymnastics you have all the skills that are worth a certain amount, from easiest to hardest, and I think that one of the elements—both of them, actually—are just not worth anything, so actually it’s quite a big risk to be taking, to be doing those two things because if they’re not worth anything, and if you mess up on them, you lose a connection or lose—basically, a fall deduction. So, a lot of people—and actually, my routine in college was watered down so that I could have a very good consistency. I came in with so many skills that I just didn’t need. In JO, I had a round off layout mount, I had a switch leap – one arm back handspring – other arm back handspring – double full as the dismount. I had front aerials. I was learning a full twisting Yurchenko. I was also learning round off, full twisting step out on beam as a mount, so there were so many other ritzy things that I did, so my coach was like, um, yeah, you aren’t going to do that.

JESSICA: You would totally have been great at doing these skills. Were you scared to learn this stuff, or was it natural for you? Or did you have a coach that was amazing at helping you get over your fear?

TRICIA: I think I just kind of did things and my coach, Diane, was like, why don’t you try this? Let’s do this with you. Why don’t you try this? And if it works she would continue to push me, and if it didn’t work we would what it was that I was doing. Like, I am really shit and doing back tucks on beam. I cannot. I don’t know why, I just cannot do them. Anything going forward was not my friend. I had a front aerial for a while, but when I hurt—I had an injury on my arm or something, so I learned a front aerial but I was so scared of it every single time. So, it was this little bit of the scary factor, and some people are good at dealing with it, and some people aren’t. And it just never goes away. So for me, it was like, kind of like pushing myself. Like, can I overcome this and just go for it, because I had this voice in my head—I have a lot of voices in my head, I guess—telling me, you’re going to fall, you’re going to get hurt, you’re not going to be able to do it, and it was like, yeah, I’m going to shut everything out and just be, I’m doing this. Total commitment. So I think that helped me just try anything on beam at least once, and if it didn’t work, I wouldn’t do it. But summer was great because I could do just anything I wanted. If I wanted to try a double back off beam, sure. Why not? Definitely, I’m not a double flipper off beam, you know. I don’t have that type of power. I’m also pretty crap at doing round offs. I would hate to do it every time. It’s just kind of that fear that you have to overcome, I guess.

JESSICA: So did you ever have that moment, I guess, in junior high or in high school, when social life was amping up or you were just tired of gymnastics and wanted to quit and didn’t want to go on to college?

TRICIA: I don’t think I ever had that. I loved gymnastics so much that I didn’t care if I didn’t have a social life. I mean yeah, if your friends—not even friends, but people at school—oh, prom this, prom that, you know, dances, and—I don’t know, I just felt like I’m doing something here, for me, and I don’t really see the benefit for me right now going to a dance how that’s going to help me in my future. I want to do college gymnastics. At the time, I, like most other girls during the Olympic year, was like, I want to go to the Olympics! I want to do elite! I want to do this! So I knew I had to sacrifice a lot, and going out and having a social life always felt like I wasting time, you know? I had to do gymnastics practice, I had homework, I had to go to school—the day was completely full. In high school, I actually started to do morning practice. I started quite late training for elite, actually. I think I was a sophomore or junior in high school, so it was quite late to start something, but I wanted to try because I would rather try and fail and be, “Ok, at least I know I did my best,” than to look back and wonder, “I should have done this. I should have tried it.” Cause that, I think, is the hardest thing to have in your brain, and so I was waking up and doing morning practice, I was going to school, and then I was coming back for afternoon practice, so working out about 40 hours a week, plus doing homework and all that other stuff, so there was no time, actually, to have a social life. And I was ok with that.

JESSICA: And did you, when you did go to Nebraska, what was it like going from the Bay Area, moving to Nebraska—and Nebraska’s a huge sports school. What was that transition like, just culturally?

TRICIA: [LAUGHS] It was really awkward for me, for sure. So as I said, I grew up in the Bay Area, which is predominantly Asian—well, about 50%, I’d say—but most of the people in my school, most of my classmates were majority Asian. So when I went to Nebraska, they, like you said, the culture is different. There is not so much Asian people around. So that was hard to get used to. Plus the pace of living, the pace at school was a little bit different. You had people who grew up on farms and are coming to college. It’s a big college town. And sports. I don’t even watch football—I didn’t, let me correct myself—I didn’t watch football until I went to Nebraska, and you get into all that team spirit, you learn that culture, and it took me a while, actually, to be able to be able to understand that side of culture, you know? That whole culture, because I was kind of, I’d say, I was fighting it for a little bit. I was like, no, I miss home, I’m so homesick; this is not me, how am I going to make it here? I don’t understand everything, the way people think, and I got to the point where actually, I got it, I would say. There was a point where everything just clicked and I would say, oh my gosh. What the heck have I been doing this whole time? And I was able to really enjoy Nebraska. You know, I know it sounds crazy. People are like, “Why the heck did you go to Nebraska? You were in California, what is actually in Nebraska? Do you ride a cow to school?” And I’m like, “Really? Ride a cow to school? Come on.” So I really liked Nebraska. I would say it’s a good experience, and for me it really shaped who I am now, because now I can go into situations that are scary and think, you know what? I ended up loving a place like Nebraska, which I thought I would never love like I do, so any place I go to, even if it’s pretty bad when you start, you always have to find what makes it good. A lot of times there will be some person or something that or some influence that helps you get through it and you’ll find that you actually learn a lot from that experience. So I wouldn’t trade my experience. I wouldn’t go to another school—yeah, I wouldn’t go to another school to change my experience. It was what it was. There were good times and there were bad times, and I take all of it as my experience.

JESSICA: One question I want to ask you, too, about maybe the hard days of you being in Nebraska, is you’ve always seemed to me—and I might be totally wrong about this—but you always seem like one of the few punk rockers in gymnastics. And I mean by that, you just seem like a non-conformist. You seem like someone who has to express themself artistically, and your beam routine was done with so much amplitude, and everything about you just seemed like there was this inner artistic beast that you needed to express, and I know we’ve seen that on the outside of you, with tattoos and piercings and whatnot and all your different hair colors since you’ve left NCAA and competitive sports, but I wonder if you see yourself that way or if you’d call yourself that, it doesn’t really matter, but if that was that part of gymnastics, that kind of conformist part, that we all wear the same leo, if that was ever something that was difficult for you or something that you totally embraced or if there was time where that was difficult and you embraced it later?

TRICIA: Well, to be honest, I actually don’t like to put myself in, or I don’t like to think of myself in any sort of category. I think, I like what I like, and if people don’t like it then I’m just different. I don’t like to think, oh, I’m punk so I’m going to do this and this and this. I just kind of do my own thing, which is cool, for me, because then if I need to dress down and do something important, than I focus on what I need to do in whatever situation. But I would say, for sure, it drove Dan nuts. [LAUGHS] I remember when he came for my recruiting trip, and I had gotten my tongue pierced when I was 17 by some dude at someone’s house, so I guess you could say that was kind of rebellious—my parents will probably kill me when they find that out—but I had that tongue piercing for maybe five years, and I had it throughout college, and I’m so surprised that Dan didn’t have an aneurysm every time I came in with a new piercing. I didn’t have any tattoos, actually, at the time, which probably would have been easier to hide. But I’ve definitely been kicked out of the gym a couple of times and when other girls get ear piercings, the blame always rests on me, and I’m like, whatever. I had nothing to do with it. But it was an interesting experience because I did always feel that I was a little bit different, and it was hard because I was trying to grow, in the beginning, and trying to get along with my teammates, so I was thinking, maybe I could try and be, I guess, more like a normal person, which didn’t really work out for me. Being normal does not work. [LAUGHS] As it turns out. So I just started doing my own thing and accepted that, and it took a long time to accept that I just like different things and I like to do different things and—that whole learning experience in Nebraska, I finally found some people and some classmates that kind of accepted me for who I was, and other teammates. So in the beginning, it was—they thought I was weird, for sure. They would always say things like, “Uh, you would do that.” And I would say, “Well, yeah, of course I would do that, that’s me, who I am,” but sometimes I would think that it doesn’t sound that great when they say that to you because it’s like they’re talking down to you, so I always—for me, it was a bit of a struggle in that aspect. And my first year was particularly rough, I would say. I don’t want to say I was bullied at all, just because I’m different, but the people that I trained with, the girls—they’re not from places that have people like me, I would say. So, but then it might have also been a learning experience, I’m a bit shocking, and things like that. So it was hard to get used to that, and doing gymnastics, there was no question about conformity because we were a team and we were a unit, so as kind of weird as it sounds, there’s no individual, because we’re like, this is for the good of the team. I’m working hard because I want to make sure we have the best team ever, and you’re working hard because you want the same thing, so it almost brought, gymnastics brought us all together, and we’re all working for a common goal. It does not matter if you like someone or if you don’t like someone, if they’re different, if they’re weird, you know? When you get to a meet, you’re all there for eachother, no matter what. 100%. So I never had a problem with that. I loved gymnastics, I loved doing it. I think gymnastics helped me get through a lot of hard times and learning about myself, and actually, I was—by the time I got to the end of my career, around senior year, I was more accepting of myself and people were more accepting of me, and I had this crazy idea, and maybe Dan will be really happy that I didn’t end up going to Nationals [LAUGHS], because I—the first day I planned to compete normal, right? And then the second, whatever we had—I think it’s finals? I was going to shave half my head. And the third day, I was going to be completely bald. That was my plan. And then I didn’t make Nationals, and I was like, damn it. There goes my plan. [LAUGHS] but…

JESSICA: Oh my god, that would have been my dream come true, if someone did that. Oh my god.


JESSICA: That’s awesome.

TRICIA: So that was my plan. I don’t think I would have gone through with it, only because a big thing for me is the weight of my hair, so if I don’t know or if I’m not used to the weight of my hair—and I know it sounds so silly—but it can really throw you off, especially if you have a lot of hair and then you shave it all off, and then there’s that draft on your head. So I might have done it because it would have been like, balls out, I don’t give a f*** any more, screw you everyone, I don’t care about the prize and the politics of gymnastics, because sometimes teams make it that don’t deserve to, or people make it because they had better scores than you or a better name, or they are at a certain school. So there was, I would say there was a lot of politics, which is why I had such a crazy routine and had the drive to work so hard to prove that, you know what, it does not matter if I do not go to the Olympics, if I do not compete elite, if I am not at a school that isn’t getting the benefit of the doubt—it doesn’t matter, and I’m going to show you that I can do this. So that’s kind of my, every time I went into a meet. And of course, I’m still fighting this, oh my gosh, I don’t belong here. But it’s all these feelings that are swirling around me all the time, and as a gymnast, you really have to compartmentalize some of these feelings and thoughts and really focus on what you’re doing, and while you’re doing it, nothing else matters except for you and that event and exactly the skill you are competing on. So that was my mentality, no matter how much I was insecure or maybe I was unhappy, it did not matter to me. It was very detached. You just had to do it. There was no other choice. Sorry, I get very amped up talking about it because it reminds me of that whole time, even though I say I’m insecure. [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: Well, I think that—even though you didn’t get to shave your head and you didn’t get to make that final that final year, I feel like one of the reasons I loved your gymnastics so much was because, you know we always talk about the artistic component and it’s called artistic gymnastics, but it’s kind of losing that…

TRICIA: Right, right. Sure.

JESSICA: …And these feelings that you had, I feel that I could see them in your gymnastics, and that’s one of the reasons I, despite your incredible skills, your acrobatics were so artistic I feel like what you’re describing, I saw. So even if you didn’t express it with your outer body, it was expressed through your gymnastics.

TRICIA: Yeah, and it’s totally a great outlet for me. And I feel like, you know you’ve got people who need to sing because they’ve got emotions that they got to let out, or they’ve got to write music or they’ve got to paint—well, this was my outlet for emotions that I could not express so well, for sure. It let me have a place to be Tricia, the gymnast, who needs to be a little bit crazy, and I feel that used my gymnastics to tell a story, and—someone had told me about telling a story, and I’m not quite sure who it was, when you do your floor routine, and it’s not just poses, and—I’m sorry, right now I’m going to go off on a tangent and say this…


TRICIA: But some of the routines I’ve seen—hip hop? And leotards? No. I just, I can’t watch it. Dubstep, hip hop, leotards, no no no no no. It’s not—I mean, I’m sure if you do it correctly it’s a great expression, but I think there is a trend, and correct me if I’m wrong, because like I said, I contract myself all the time, I say and I don’t do—I don’t watch gymnastics. But the gymnastics I have watched, either online or if I happen to go to a meet—there’s too much of that, like booty-popping stuff in gymnastics…

JESSICA: Oh, yeah. There’s—you’re right.

TRICIA: I feel like that, because we’re in compromising outfits, I would say, you really have to be confident, and it’s not a strip club, it’s not a pole. There should be none of that allowed in gymnastics. You should be able to perform to a crowd, and bring them into your routine, and interact with them, without shaking your ass. That is my own two cents on that whole thing.

JESSICA: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I could not agree more. Oh my god, we have said that so many times on this show, that is so good to hear you say that. Yeah. You’re totally right. Yeah.

TRICIA: And I think people forget that, like you said, it’s artistic, but the presentation is a lot of it, and if you do hip hop—hip hop looks good if you have the right, how do I say this, if you have the right look, if you have the right movement and fluidity, but if you’re trying to do a routine and you do hip hop and you drop your character, or your style, because if you have this move in the corner, and you put your arms down, and then you do a tumbling pass—you break the story, you know? The whole object is to keep the story going, and to keep the crowd engaged, so it’s like, if you do something, whatever, popping and locking and then you have to a gymnastics finish, it breaks everything. And it’s hard. Some people—I won’t say everyone is bad at it—but there are some people who are good at it, but you can almost see when they get tired that they lose the hip hop as well, and that type of dance takes a lot of energy. A lot of energy. I’ve tried it, and I am complete shit at it. I cannot do it. I’m no good at it. So the last thing I want to do is focus on dance that is worth nothing and mess up my tumbling dance. I mean, not even worth nothing. It’s not even a skill. It’s not a requirement. It’s not anything. But if somebody can do it properly, they can really do it well, and I can’t think of anyone I have seen off the top of my head. I remember there was one girl, maybe in my year, she was at UCLA—Anna Berlin?

JESSICA: Ariana Berlin.

TRICIA: Ariana Berlin, sorry—I’m so bad at names. I thought that she did a pretty decent job at it. And she really danced it. I thought, oh, that’s really cool, that’s different. And there were a couple of other girls who had really strong routines with really specific dance at UCLA, like I said, I can’t think off the top of my head. But there’s now a massive trend of it, that it’s just like, oh my gosh. I can’t even look at your tumbling because I’m marveling at how bad the music is and how bad your dance is. You know? Like, ew.

JESSICA: Totally, oh yes! Oh I hope all the little gymnasts out there are listening to this, and everyone who’s in college take notes. Take note, everyone. This is going to go into our – I’m making a quotes that should go into our t-shirt collection and posters for later, this is totally going in there. This is important! [LAUGHS]

TRICIA: It should say: Dubstep, Hip Hop, and leotards do not go together. Don’t do it. No.


TRICIA: No booty popping!

JESSICA: Okay, let’s move onto your Cirque career because we’ve now moved into the discussion of artistry and you have been trained for this now.


JESSICA: So tell us about like, did they recruit you? Did you apply? What was that process like?

TRICIA: Funny story actually, well maybe not that funny, interesting story. This kind of actually is a result of the end of my gymnastics career. When I finished, I’m not gonna lie I was depressed. I was sad because I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do. The last year that I competed as a senior, we actually hosted Nationals at Nebraska, so there was a lot of, “I can’t believe we didn’t make it, and we are hosting it! And I have to sit here and watch these other girls compete? I deserve to be there” You know, kind of ironic because before when I was competing in Nationals I was like, oh my gosh, I don’t deserve to be here! But anyhow, I decided that I need to accept that this is the end, I’m done. I can never compete in college gymnastics; you know I did my four years, I never red-shirted so that’s kind of the end. It was really, really, really, really, really hard to accept. It took me a while, and every time I thought about it I would get very sad, actually. I would cry a little bit. And it’s just a part of life, and it’s part of things that happen. There’s nothing I could do about it. That was a big learning experience. So I was like, okay I’m going to focus on the next part of my life. The next part of my life is going to be my career of whatever it will be. At that time I had decided to apply for med school, so I was taking my MCATs and all my academia stuff, which – I’m not the greatest student, but I thought you know what, I proved to myself that I worked really hard in gymnastics and I was able to get to the point where I was very good. So why not try to apply that concept to my next academic challenge? So I, I guess you would say retired. I cut my hair into a mohawk actually, after I finished because I was like, screw this I’m done! Went to the hairdresser and said I want a mohawk and I want it to be pink. So, I did that, then sat down and studied for the MCATs for good six months. Then I took the MCATs, which I decided that I absolutely hated. Like, it was like torture to sit down still, and I couldn’t do it! And I was like oh my gosh, I know I can do this, why can’t I do this? It was another one of those learning experiences, like maybe I’m not meant to do this right now. So I went back to the old gym that I had trained at in high school, West Valley Gymnastics, and you know, I went to go play. And I literally did one giant on strap bar and I was like, oh my gosh I love this, I can’t not do this! Why am I trying to be a doctor or going to academia when I’m healthy? You know, I wasn’t injured when I finished, I love doing this! There’s so much that I want to do! Why can’t I be upside down all the time? At that moment I had a friend, actually one of my former teammates, Kathryn Howard just go into formation for Cirque Du Soleil. She had just left and was doing the summer training there, and I was like, huh I should ask. So I contacted my old coach Dan, and I was like, “Hey, Dan. Do you have any information about this? I think I’m kind of interested.” I know Cirque has come to recruit at our school like once a few years before, and it was kind of known through the college gymnastics community that there are girls who finish and then go off to cirque. I mean, I didn’t really know so much about it. There are a lot of former gymnasts actually from Nebraska, Richelle Simpson, A.J. Lamb…

JESSICA: Mm-hmm.

TRICIA: …who are actually still at Cirque, and so I kind of knew about it. So Dan put me in contact with one of the people that he knew who was a talent scout or recruiter, and I asked her, “Hey, I’m interested. What do I need to do?” so she kind of directed me to the website which had a place for me to read all the requirements that they wanted. So they were looking for either an audition, if you couldn’t make it to an audition because they have them all over the world and at different times of the year – I had just come back from gymnastics after I would say a year and a half of being out, so I was nowhere near ready to go to an audition. So I trained for a bit and put together this demo video. I didn’t have to do any sort of audition; I think I was a little bit lucky on that. They asked me, “Would you like to do this formation for this show called Saltimbanco?” And I was like, “um okay, sure!” They’re like, it’s not a guaranteed contract, but you would be invited to do the training camp in Montreal for ten weeks.” And I was like, “Heck yeah! Like why not? I’m not doing anything here that is holding me back.” I was working as a personal trainer and I was coaching gymnastics, so I was like working jobs that I didn’t fully invest in, I guess you would say.

JESSICA: Mm-hmm.

TRICIA: I like to do them, but I don’t want to make a career out of them. So I agreed to go to Cirque, and I went there. While I was there they taught a variety of things, for me specifically I learned Chinese Poles, Bungees, and Russian Swing, and that’s all for Saltimbanco. Actually, if you’re more curious about the process there’s a documentary called “Getting into Cirque” on YouTube, and it’s by this Canadian television company that’s kind of like a U.S. 20/20, it’s called 16:9. “Getting into Cirque” is the name of the documentary, and they happened to be there filming when I was training, so you can see kind of my struggles, I would say.

JESSICA: I think that people love seeing anything behind the scenes with Cirque Du Soleil. I think that’s why – I mean I sat down in front of the computer and watched that whole thing, because it’s just fascinating because it’s like when you watch Cirque you’re like, this is a miracle. These people are not human, how did they get like this? And I think especially for gymnastics fans, we want to know how do you infuse so much artistry into these people, and how could we do that in gymnastics? So tell us about that part of learning. You know, we see the classes they put you in, like an acting class and that stuff, but how – is that like the fundamental of everything, is the artistry? Or how do they get you to do that?

TRICIA: Um, I would say that – okay I’ll start with it’s a crash course in artistry and acting and things like that. So that general formation is like, they know you’re an acrobat. My teacher, or clown coach, yeah he was a clown. That’s kind of weird to say: clown coach. He would say you need to take that voice inside your head that’s like you need to do a perfect 10 and you need to kick it out the window. He’s like, you need to do everything stupid, you need to do everything as stupid as you can, and more and more and more stupid. And I was like, okay so is that stupid you want us to do, or stupid? [LAUGHS]


TRICIA: It’s kind of like they need to break you – they need to break that part of you that is, okay I need to do this, I need to point my toes, I need to stay in the lines. There are no lines; you just need to be completely ridiculous. I can’t tell you how many inappropriate things they have to have you do to break you. I’m sorry for all of the young listeners out there, but one of the clown [inaudible] classes that I had to take you had to do everything the guy said. The instructor had this drum, and when he hit the drum, he could tell you to do anything he wanted. So one of the things that he said – he was like, “Freeze!” and everyone was in some awkward position, and he’s like, “When I hit my drum the next time, you’re going to break out into the space and pretend like you’re having the best sex you’ve ever had.” And it was like, “What!? You want me to do what?”


TRICIA: I mean, in the beginning it’s really hard to do that. It’s really hard to do something especially like that, but you get to point where you’re like, if I just don’t do it full out then I look even worse than I would if I was completely pretending to have the best sex on the ground right now. [LAUGHS] It’s really weird, they have to break that mindset, that whole artistic thing. And it’s hard because in gymnastics you have all these rules, so it’s a fine line of being crazy, and you really have to be crazy, and still following the rules. It’s kind of like trying to find these loopholes; I’ll use my beam routine as one example. In my choreography I had two claps in my routine. There’s no music to a beam routine, so it’s dead silent and I’m clapping in my routine. But I think that was one of the ways that I could be crazy and make everyone remember me, like, “Why does that girl clap in her routine? It’s so weird” But there’s no rule that says you can’t clap. There’s nothing that says that. So you as artists, as gymnasts, you have to find what makes you feel the routine. I’m a very big advocate on if this is comfortable for you, then you find the best pose that feels comfortable. And I’ll tell you if it looks ugly, or people will tell you if it looks ugly, but try different things. I don’t think I did the same beam routine for an entire year, I think it was my sophomore or junior year. I had a different beam routine every single meet because either one skill was out, or they wanted to put something in, or I had a back-up in case something happened. So a lot of times I had to improv my routine and make stuff up, so that actually really helped me. If I ever had a wobble I could fake it and be like, “Nope! I was supposed to wave my arm like this. Don’t take a deduction, or take less of a deduction”, you know? So it’s really hard because you’re spending time in gymnastics – I say you being coaches and gymnasts, are trying to be like, “I need to be perfect. I need to do this. I need to do this.” But at the same time trying to get them to be artistic, it’s like an oxymoron, like you can’t step out of this line but you need to express yourself. It’s very hard for gymnasts to grasp, I think. Well, I guess that I’m speaking more from myself and what I see, that a lot of gymnastics is a straight line, it’s pretty black and white. But when you go to the circus, the artistry and everything becomes blurred and everything is great. You don’t even know what the rules are; they just kind of give you a general thing. So you have to really think outside the box, like they said this, but they did not say I could not do this, so I’m going to try it.

JESSICA: So what are some of the crazy things that have happened, either on stage or interacting with the audience?

TRICIA: Um, let’s see. There’s been a lot. One of the girls was doing a – we have a final tumble where the focus is just on this person, and she was doing something and she lost her headpiece, it came off and she fell on her head, and she was so embarrassed! And she was just holding her head piece and didn’t know what to do, and then she ran off stage. I was like, oh my gosh, what do we do? Another – oh there’s tons of them! There’s a part in one of the numbers where a girl does a back salto off the Russian swing and lands on a guy’s shoulders. The guy is actually standing on a pole that another guy is holding, so if you can picture that. There’s a big, big dude at the bottom with this like three meter pole, in a harness on his [inaudible] like he’s holding onto. And the guy at the top on a little stand, and then the girl flips, and flips onto his shoulders. Like she’ll land on his shoulders and then the Velcro or the zipper at the bottom of her shoe will catch on the guy’s head and pull his headpiece off. So it looks like, you can see as she’s coming down there’s a headpiece flying and this guy has, he does not wear a hairnet so it’s just like his hair, and you’re just like, “Wow. Like, what do we do?” We just stand there laughing. Another time somebody tripped and fell and tried to stand up, but tripped again. It’s just like, you can’t help that stuff. It’s like it happens in slow motion. Those are more of the funny ones. Oh! Another was somebody was supposed to run up the stage and they’re supposed to run down in these white capes but he stepped on his cape, and instead of running down the stage he just [inaudible] slid all the way down because it was a slope. So they’re in these white capes, and there are two of them. The only thing that’s happening on the stage is that they run out and do something with the white capes and run off, but you just see this one flying down the stage. It’s pretty ridiculous. People fall of the stage all the time, things like that. I’ve almost fallen off the stage, too. There are so many silly and stupid things that can happen.

JESSICA: So one of the shows that I’ve seen, they were doing the teeter-totter thing, whatever that’s called?

TRICIA: Okay, so teeter board I think you’re talking about.

JESSICA: Teeter board, yeah. And just like you were saying, one person would fly up and land on a stack of other people and she missed, and so they redid it like five times until she made it. And of course the crowd went nuts! So, is that what you’re always supposed to do? If there’s something like that you have to do it until you get it right, is that a general rule?

TRICIA: Um, in certain acts there’s got to be room for error if you miss a certain thing, and that’s planned out before. So you kind of accommodate for these errors, that they need to either do it again, and usually the coach of that – well okay I’m speaking for Saltimbanco because that was the show I was on…


TRICIA: So the coach is usually the on stage for that specific apparatus, or circus apparatus, and she will say “again”, or like, “no, move on.” And we have had some times where they do it three times and then if they don’t get it on the third time then we have to continue, we can’t just keep doing it all day. So, for other shows it might be five, it might be three, it might be two. And then it makes it harder for the band to follow us because they have to watch what is going on, too. So if we miss, then they have to loop their music because it’s playing live. It’s actually quite a big challenge for them – for the band leader because he has to watch every single thing, like what’s going on. If somebody misses they have to change the music. They also plan in case something happens. Even though we put on a production that’s supposed to look seemingly impossible, we are human and there are going to be mess ups. It kind of also, like you said the crowd cheers. But it shows the crowd that we’re not invincible either. This is hard and there are going to be mistakes, but we’re going to persevere and try and do it right. And if you don’t do it right, it’s the whole like well there’s another show, it sucks that we can’t do it right now, but we’ll go back in training and we’ll figure out what’s the problem and then when we go back in show we correct the problem.

JESSICA: So how does it work with, just in terms of the nuts and bolts of training and practice and having a coach, is there a coach for every apparatus? And how do you guys practice, and stay in-shape, and do the shows?

TRICIA: Okay, again I’m speaking specifically from my experience because I’m not sure how it is on other shows in Cirque or even other shows generally. Because we were a traveling show, and we did x amount of shows a week, it’s difficult to get training in. So you spend all the time in formation training, basically. Specifically for Chinese poles there’s only a certain amount of things you can learn because there’s only a certain amount of things you can do in the show. Once you learn all that, it’s not something that you can forget easily, especially if you’re doing it every day. So there’s less training and more shows, which is a giant flip flop from what I was used to, I was used to training all week for one meet. But now it’s like you have one or two training and then you do shows for the rest of the week. So the more shows we do, the less training there is to be planned because they don’t want you to get tired. So the first day there’s always a big training, especially with the lights to make sure everything is okay in the arena and there’s not any problems with the rigging or the stage. So it’s a long training and you just make sure that everything is right. Then you have usually one show. Then the next day if something needs extra training then you do it, but other than that it’s mostly just the show. Backstage there are places to train, so we have two little mini Chinese poles in the back, we have mats, we have blue carpet for people to stretch and do things on, weights. We carried the gym with us, so everywhere we went we’d have a couple bicycles, we’d have big heavy dumbbells, a Pilates machine, things like that. Specifically speaking about staying in shape, that is a responsibility that rests on each individual artist. And because each artist has worked so hard up until that point, whether in their own circus training, or for myself I was an athlete and a gymnast so I know I have to stay in shape. All of the responsibility rests on me, so I need to be responsible for my warm-ups and my cool-downs. If I feel like I need to get stronger, then I need to do that. We had people that can help, too. Some people were certified personal trainers, I myself was one so I didn’t need to enlist the help of others but it is there if we need it and we can always ask other people. Training together kind of motivated everyone to be like, okay I want to do this, I want to do that, so people would stay after the show and they would train. Or they would train in between the show because for a show like Saltimbanco there’s times, like we have an intermission, we have two clown acts. So you could do, I don’t know some weight lifting or resistance, a little bit of cardio in-between if you so desired. In the beginning there was no freaking way I could do any extra exercise because I was so tired from the show! It is so hard to be a character and be 100%, because you end up getting into these weird positions that you’re doing in the show, and then after you come off stage you’re like, “Ow! What did I just do? Was I contorted in some way? My character was doing something and now my back hurts!” There’s a lot of foam rollers and little Pilates balls to keep us loose. And for the coaches, we had an artist coach on each circus apparatus. So we had one for Russian swing, one of Chinese poles, and one for bungees. And then we had a head coach who kind of oversaw everything. The individual acts in the show, the solo artists or duos, they train themselves basically, or they had some former training. So they know exactly what they need to do, they know that if they’re not strong in some way or they’re not doing their act, they need to figure it out. So my friend who was a handstand contortionist on the show, she knew exactly what she needed to do to warm up and cool down, and to stretch. She would get in all these bendy positions and things like that, and you’re like, “How do you even stand up straight?” [[LAUGHS]] Turns into a pretzel! But because everyone has such a different background, I felt like I had the most fun time training and exercising because some nights I would stay after with my friend and he’d teach me some things on tissue. We had a cerceaux, or aerial hoop, so sometimes I would try that. We also had practice handstand canes, so I actually spent a good deal of time on these handstand canes trying to learn things and stretching with my contortionist friend. She was like, “You’re never going to get to be as flexible as me but you can quite flexible, you’re already pretty flexible.” So she kind of helped me figure out how I could work with my body because I didn’t grow up being a contortionist. So there were all these great people that had all these great resources that could help you stay in shape, or do other things, or if you didn’t want to do other things you could just do exactly what you needed to do to stay in shape and that was that. So the amount of training is not so much because of all the shows that we had to do.

JESSICA: And in case they hadn’t seen the show, which acts are you in? You do Chinese pole and what other ones do you do, besides your character?

TRICIA: I do Chinese pole and I do Russian swing. Because when I got to the show I was actually only a temporary contact, so they had all the people they had for bungee and they were like, well we’re not going to train anyone else because they had their bungee team, and because they didn’t know if I was going to be on the show permanently. I mean I trained it, but they weren’t going to integrate me into that because they didn’t need me there. They needed me more for Chinese poles and a back-up floor jumper for Russian swing.

JESSICA: I remember watching you learn Russian swing and I just have to say that it’s freaking insane. You don’t actually ever land on the ground ever, right like that’s too high in the air? Or do you actually land on the ground?

TRICIA: No I land in the arms of two really big either Russian or Mongolian or English dudes…

JESSICA: Excellent.

TRICIA: on a kind of big gymnastics mat, like it’s a big soft mat. So they do a lot of the catching.


TRICIA: But yeah, it’s a little bit crazy. The first time I went up in Russian swing I was like, “There is no f******* way I’m doing this! This is way too high! I am not doing this! There is no way!” No matter how much I’m kind of like gung-ho about it, the first few weeks of being on that swing I was like, “There is no way. There is no freakin’ way.” But…

JESSICA: Because when you did it on the show it looked like you went up the first time and then jumped off, I was like, “Oh my god, she’s amazing!” That’s how it looked like on the TV show. ]

TRICIA: Oh on the Cirque…? Yeah, no, no, no. They wanted to film the first time that we jumped out of the safety harness, and actually we didn’t go too high for that one. There have been times that I’ve been launched so high that they’re like, we cannot catch you because the higher you go the harder it is to catch. They’re like, you’re so fast coming down, you can’t push so hard on the swing. But I get nervous so I push a lot on the swing. It was something that I was like, “I can’t help it! I’m so nervous!” If I don’t get tension in the swing then I’ll miss the pop, or when they push me. It’s difficult because as a gymnast, you can jump by yourself, you can land by yourself, but being a flyer and an acrobat you have to wait for other people to do this. And it is the most difficult thing to grasp, well for me it was the most difficult for me to grasp because I wanted to jump on my own and I wanted to land on my own, it’s not possible because if you try to jump off the swing you will go face first into the ground. So you need to like, waaaaiiiit, wait, wait, and then literally all you do is lift your arms and let go and the momentum throws you.

JESSICA: I have a couple questions about behind the scenes sort of stuff. I feel like Cirque is one of those places where they are never wardrobe malfunctions. I feel like you never hear about it, no one ever speaks about it. Tell us, is this true?

TRICIA: Um, no. It’s not true. There are definitely wardrobe malfunctions. On our tour we carry four people in wardrobe and they specialize in all sorts of things. And literally something will rip or some shoelace will break and they will have to sew up your crotch. There has been so many times where some guy’s crotch in his costume rips, and they’re like sewing it up right? Like five seconds before we go on stage, and they’re like trying to sew it really fast. It’s pretty funny. For sure there are lots of things that they take care of. I actually learned how to sew up my own stuff, they were really good in teaching me, I’m really proud of that. No, when I was there, there was no female problems, like no bleeding through the costume.

JESSICA: Nobody’s boob fell out or crotch fell out or anything?

TRICIA: Um boobs have almost come out because usually we know our costumes well enough that if something were to happen, that it would be taken care of in the training or when we try on our costumes, or if we do acrobatics or if we have to do something and they’re like well put on your headpiece or put on your costume so that we know if something happens. I know I’ve heard on other shows that there was a girl that was laughing and almost peed herself in a costume. I know that somebody’s pooped in a costume. And it’s like you know things happen. Oh my gosh, so poop, that’s a funny topic nobody likes to talk about poop or pooping themselves or peeing themselves or being sick and having diarrhea. And I will tell you. I’m going to be very honest, when you start traveling the world and you start eating and drinking different things and different foods and if you’re not used to it, there’s always going to be somebody who’s sick and that week is throwing up because they ate something bad or they’re not used to it or they’re having diarrhea. It’s like man I had the worst diarrhea. Yeah I had so much gas. You just become so close with everyone because like you can’t hide if you get sick. It’s just not a possibility.

JESSICA: Ok so I have two more questions for you. I hope we’re doing okay on time. This is fascinating. I could keep going all day. Looking back from where you’ve come from and where you are now, what do you want young gymnasts to know and those in the NCAA? What message to tell them? What should they know?

TRICIA: I think they should know that it’s so so so important to be yourself and be happy. Because as a gymnast, you’re going to be told that you have to do all these things and fall into the line and be the little character in the box. If you lose yourself, you become very sad. You shouldn’t be sad about something that you love to do. It’s so important to find something that makes you happy and be yourself and be happy with yourself because no one is the same. No one has the same body type. No one is going to have the same gymnastics. So if you’re happy with what you’re doing, then that’s fantastic. Because if you’re not happy with what you’re doing, then maybe you have to re-evaluate what you’re doing. Maybe change your attitude. Change your outlook on it. If you become unhappy, it’s going to make it so much more difficult to return later in life without gymnastics.

JESSICA: When you’re comparing yourself to other people, like if they’re thinner or if they have more defined muscle and all that stuff

TRICIA: Well for me, I always had a big problem with it because I would always look at other girls and be like oh man their legs are skinnier than mine. Oh man they look better than me. No, you have to focus on the things that are good on you. What am I good at doing? What do I have that’s really great that other people wish they had? I need to focus on me and my happiness and what I can do because that’ll make you special. If you focus on the things that make you just enough different to make you stand out that would be the most important thing. Don’t compare yourself to other people because you’re not the same. It’s the most difficult thing because in our sport, that’s what basically the whole thing is. You are comparing yourself to other people. You’re trying to have a competition to see who the best is on the event. Yeah you’re trying to be the best but you need to be the best while still trying to be unique. I mean I can’t tell you how many times where you see the exact same beam routine or the exact same floor routine. Well the subconscious in the judges mind is going to be ok well this girl looks better so she’s going to get a higher score. So if I do a different routine that nobody can compare me to then the judges have no way of being like well this girl looks better doing this skill. They’ll be like wow that’s different. That’s unique. That’s special. I’m not bored here. So be yourself. Be original. Do something crazy. Do something that scares yourself every day. You just can’t get bogged down in people telling you no no no or you’re not this or you’re not that. Hey, I’m not doing this but what can I do? That’s an important focus point.

JESSICA: So are you going to be in another show? Where can people see you next?

TRICIA: Well currently, I finished my contract last November. I’m working on some other projects. I’m sure I’m going to be in the circus world somewhere. I just don’t know where.

JESSICA: Yay, well I’m glad to hear that. Well let our listeners know where they can follow you and where they can find information on you, like tumblr, twitter, any of those places that you’re at.

TRICIA: Oh yeah. I have all of the above. Although I feel like I must give a warning that I usually don’t put a filter. I try not to swear and say too many inappropriate things but if you were to follow me, you might be a little bit shocked.

JESSICA: So R rating

TRICIA: You know, I don’t care. I just kind of put it out there.

JESSICA: Thank you so much for doing this interview. This was fascinating. I loved talking to you.

TRICIA: Oh no problem! Thanks, it was a pleasure!


JESSICA: One of the reasons so interested in talking to the Woo, as I call her, is because I had trouble with conformity in my youth as you can imagine. I know right? Me. There was just some things I could not deal with. I couldn’t stand it. Did you ever struggle with that and being part of a team?

UNCLE TIM: I think that I didn’t really struggle with conformity in the gym. I feel like gym was the place where I was most comfortable, where I felt the safest. It was one of those places where I went to and the gym was always going to look that way and the bar was always going to feel the same way under my hands. It was a certain kind of familiarity to it that, I don’t know, was exceptional. And I loved it. I felt like I was a little more out of place at school which is weird because I did very well at school. In terms of social life and stuff, I think that I felt a little more out of place at school because you know I was training after school and so I didn’t really get to go and go to all the basketball games every week or go over to my friend’s house to study. I didn’t really do those things. So I think for me, yeah gymnastics not so much but it did bleed into other parts of my life.

JESSICA: I think now, I mean the first thing I did when I quit gymnastics was shave the side of my head, dye my hair. I didn’t do that in gymnastics. But looking back, I totally think it would have been fine. I don’t think anybody would have cared. I don’t know why I felt like it probably would have been a problem. I mean it might have been. They might have said something. But they’re not going to stop me from competing you know? I loved gym. I loved it. I think there wasn’t a lot of communicating about feelings. In college, that is like 90% of coaching is talking about feelings. So it’s interesting. It made me reminisce about wow what would it have been like if I had had coaches who coached me more about how I was feeling? If I was able to articulate it more you know? She talked about comparing herself to other gymnasts and body image and that kind of thing. Did you ever struggle with that in gymnastics?

UNCLE TIM: I mean I definitely compared myself to other people, not necessarily in terms of body image. I think that it’s part of being a competitor. You’re naturally going to compare yourself to others and think about how you can improve so that you are either more like somebody or better than somebody else. But I really like what she had to say about kind of knowing what you bring to the table and capitalizing on that. I thought that was a really healthy way of looking at it.

JESSICA: Yeah I remember. It made me think of two things when she talked about that. It made me think about when I transitioned to a different sport, how I really learned to appreciate different body types. In wrestling, every single weight class is competitive. So you could be 6 foot tall and 180 pounds and be an incredible athlete or you could be 100 pounds and everybody was on the same playing field and the same value. And I think in gymnastics, I had that same experience where I was always like the tallest and I had this experience of really appreciating my power when it came to floor and vault. And I would sometimes compare myself but then we’d go to floor and vault and we would do drills where you hold on to the person in front of you and you have to try and stop them from running with like a bungee. Did you ever do those? They put a bungee around your waist?

UNCLE TIM: Yeah yeah

JESSICA: Like no one could hold me. And I was so proud of that. I was just glad she was so open about that. I mean it’s her reality you know. And if I had had to be in a leotard when I was 20, that would have been harder for me I think than when I was 14. I was just appreciative of her willingness to talk about that. Because you know, it totally goes on.

UNCLE TIM: Now that I’m thinking about it, something that was hard for me, not necessarily with gymnastics or school related like I was talking about earlier, but actually something that was hard, coming out as gay was actually hard because one of those things that kind of tripped me up a little bit was the fact that I was kind of reinforcing the stereotype in the sense that yes he’s a male gymnast. Yes he’s gay. And for a lot of people, I was the only male gymnast that they knew. And so it was one of those situations where well Uncle Tim is gay. Nobody calls me Uncle Tim in real life. But Uncle Tim is gay, therefore that probably means that all male gymnasts are gay. You know, terrible logic but unfortunately that’s the way the world works. That was difficult for me because a lot of my life has been spent fighting stereotypes and helping people realize that stereotypes aren’t always true.

JESSICA: You know, when you talk about stereotypes, it makes me think of another thing you mentioned which was adjusting to the culture. And people saying oh how can you go from the super liberal place to a place like Nebraska? And I so totally related to that. Because I live in a place that is ultra ultra conservative that I never wanted to move to and being here has made me have to embrace people that are very different from me. It’s not necessarily culturally. It’s mostly politically. But I had to learn how to get along and embrace the people that are around me and it’s really helped me grow as a person. I just love that she had that college experience where you get exposed to people who are different from you and a culture that’s different from you and you can learn to embrace it. It’s really difficult to do and it can be really lonely and hard to do but if you can learn how to get past those things, it’s so rewarding.


ANNOUNCER: Their athletic power excites.

SUZANNE YOCULAN: She’s coming on strong right now.

ANNOUNCER: Their artistic movements inspire. And no matter what challenge awaits, their goal remains the same.

SUZANNE YOCULAN: Winning is critical.

ANNOUNCER: Perfection.

KATHY JOHNSON CLARKE: That was fantastic.

ANNOUNCER: Experience it live at the 2013 National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships April 19-21 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. Hosted by UCLA. Tickets start at $32. Visit ncaa.com/tickets to make a date with champions.

JESSICA: Ok it’s been a slow week in NCAA because everyone is just getting ready for regionals. Two things to note: every single region that’s hosting, has to provide a live feed for that region. So if you want to watch regionals, go to the host’s website. So if you want to watch the Ohio regional, go to their website. Go to the gymnastics page, and the will have a link to the live feed. Another thing to note is that Gymnastike did a behind the scenes show with Mrs. Val so definitely check that out. We love it when they do these. Let’s talk about predictions and what we think is going to happen. Who has the easy regional and who doesn’t? Who do you think, Uncle Tim, is going to make it out of the Columbus regional?

UNCLE TIM: Right, so in Columbus it’s UCLA, LSU, Arizona, Ohio State, Central Michigan, and North Carolina State. And honestly, I’m going with UCLA and LSU. What about you Jess?

JESSICA: Yeah pretty much that’s who is going to make it. I don’t think there’s any way….I mean you never know. Crazier things have happened before. There was one year where UCLA had three falls in a row on beam and didn’t qualify out of the region. So it can happen. That was the year that Arkansas made it nationals for the very first time since the inception of the program. Which meant that the freshmen were first freshman ever to compete for Arkansas gymnastics, made it to nationals as seniors which was incredible. The other teams stood up and gave them a standing ovation, the other teams that didn’t make it, because they were so happy for them. You never know what’s going to happen but I think that one’s pretty much in the bag.

UNCLE TIM: Ok and what do you think about the Corvallis regional which has Georgia, Oregon State, Arkansas, Boise State, Arizona State, and Cal.

JESSICA: Yeah I pretty much think this one is……I mean Arkansas could sneak in there. Oregon is incredible. They have incredible talent but you never know when they’re going to show up. They have a team that could be in the top 3 this year, but they’re all over the place. If they’re super consistent, they could beat Georgia easily and take the first place slot. The top two teams go. But then again, Arkansas, they’re incredibly fierce. They have a good team too. I would love to see Oregon State qualify in first place. Georgia has been looking better and better all through the season. I think that has to do with them finally kind of embracing their new coach and them getting all in and seeing some changes based on that. But I’ll be looking forward to watching Boise State because they’re usually pretty artistic.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah I’m going with Georgia and Oregon State too which kind of sucks because Katherine Grable of Arkansas is a pretty good all arounder but I don’t know if she will end up winning the meet and qualifying to nationals. I wish that there was another way for people to qualify to nationals on an individual basis. I wish that the top 15 automatically qualify.

JESSICA: I agree. I hate hate hate the system of how you have to win to make it. Because why? Nobody else has to win to make it. They just have to be on the team that made it. They don’t even have to compete. They can just be on the team that made it and then compete once they get there. I totally think it should change. Don’t like it.

UNCLE TIM: And so what do you think about the Gainesville regional? It’s Florida, Minnesota, Auburn, Maryland, Bridgeport, and Pittsburgh.

JESSICA: This is so exciting. It’s so freaking exciting! Because Minnesota is going to qualify. Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota! I just love them. And they’re totally going to make it and I don’t want to say anything else about it because I’m crossing my fingers right now and I don’t want to jinx it so you can talk.

UNCLE TIM: Sorry I should have been more exciting about it. I should have been like [EXCITED VOICE] Florida, Minnesota, Auburn, Maryland, Bridgeport, and Pittsburgh are in it!

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] My palms are already sweating just mentioning this. That’s how excited. This is more exciting to me than nationals. I can’t talk about it anymore. I’m getting- I’m schvitzing over here.

UNCLE TIM: I mean Florida should qualify Minnesota and Auburn….I want Minnesota to qualify but Auburn stands a good chance I would say. Sorry to break your heart but there’s a chance. Although Minnesota with those almost Kim Zmeskal like Yurchenko fulls could definitely pull it out I think.

JESSICA: As Mustafina would say, I think it was her, that said we will win with beauty. Wasn’t that her that said that before the Olympics? How they’re going to beat the Americans? That’s how Minnesota is gonna win! Yes something very Russian like that.

UNCLE TIM: Although Spanny’s not here, I think she would agree with you. It’s really 2-3 maybe. It’s 2.5 to .5. I’m on the fence there.

JESSICA: So the next one is Morgantown, West Virginia. It’s Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Who do you think is going to make it out?

UNCLE TIM: I’m going with Michigan and Nebraska.

JESSICA: Yeah I don’t think this one is going to have any surprises. Like Illinois has been pretty exciting in the past, but this season isn’t their banner year. How about the next one is Oklahoma? It’s Oklahoma, Stanford, Penn State, Washington, Iowa, and Southern Utah.

UNCLE TIM: I think Oklahoma for sure and Stanford I wanna say yes but they’re also very inconsistent. They seem to pull it together for the end of the year but if they don’t, I think Penn State could qualify. I think Sharaya Musser, she’s very good on beam and vault and she could maybe help the team to a second place in the regional.

JESSICA: And just so we clarify, the top two teams make it to nationals right? We said that ok. So the next one is in Tuscaloosa.So Alabama’s hosting. So it’s Alabama, Utah, Denver, Kent State, Brigham Young, and Iowa State. What do you think?

UNCLE TIM: Well I’m guessing Alabama and Utah unless the gymnastics gods are very mad at Utah for what happened during the Utah Florida meet. But I’m thinking it’s probably going to be Alabama Utah. What about you Jess?

JESSICA: Yeah I’m thinking that one is pretty much settled. One of the things I love about Boise State and Denver is that they are teams that concentrate on artistry and they do very intricate and interesting skills. They also are the teams that pick up that unique foreign gymnast. I mean this is where Jessica Lopez came from who’s such a standout around the world now for Venezuela. I love to see that kind of gymnastics so I really like those teams but I don’t think that Denver has it this year to overtake Utah or Alabama. I mean one of them would really have to fall apart. But I do really enjoy watching those teams so I’m excited just to check out that region. Ok so listener feedback. I hope everyone enjoyed as much as we enjoyed making it, our April Fools Day show. We had so much fun you guys and one person said, “They started off so seriously and then they could barely hold in their laughter.” And really, we had to stop so many times and start over because we were laughing so hard. Someday, I will put out a blooper show and you guys will be able to hear all the behind the scenes laughing that was going on. One thing I want to mention at the beginning of that episode, it’s actually Casey Jo Magee who’s talking about doing the straddled Gaylord not Anna. What was weird was they have like the same voice. Chris Saccullo made a beautiful piece of art based on the picture we put up with Anna Li jumping in front of Abu Dhabi scenery in sort of an outfit. It’s absolutely gorgeous. You guys can check it out on our Facebook page.

UNCLE TIM: And speaking of Chris, he was a little bit busy. He made a Forward Roll gym blog logo, a gym blog that I made up in honor of all the gymnastics skills and he had one of Steve Penny attempting a forward roll. It’s quite entertaining. I think we retweeted it on Twitter and it’s probably also on our Facebook page. So it’s worth checking out if you like snarky things.

JESSICA: Forward Roll gym blog. Every time you said that, we had to mute ourselves or stop the show because we could not stop laughing. Someone told us that they were actually listening to the show and were like what, the forward roll gym blog? And then went to look it up and they were like what is this blog? What are they reporting? So awesome! Thank you everyone for the feedback on the show. We loved doing it and especially thank you to our three guests for participating. So our international shout out of the week goes to Turkey. Thank you to everyone who’s listening in Turkey and especially to Ashoon Begun. I googled that and listened to it so I would know how to say it.

UNCLE TIM: And last week, we were talking about our it can’t be that hard embarrassing stories. And we posed the question to you guys, what are some of your embarrassing gymnastics stories? And one of our Facebook listeners wrote, her name is Laura Lynn and she wrote about an interesting back handspring moment. There’s the wheezing again. It’s that funny folks. So she wrote, “I rebounded out of a round off back handspring and in the air, I kind of piked and my butt went through the wall.” Yes you heard that correctly. “The wall was thin and on the other side was a dance studio. I got stuck in the wall and my coaches had to pull me out.” I’m picturing this little girl in a piked position with her butt through the wall. People on the other side of the wall on the dance studio are doing plies and releves are looking over being like what just happened? Why is this butt on our side of the wall?

JESSICA: This is straight out of a cartoon. Oh my God, I loved it. That is the best. If you guys have any stories about oh that couldn’t be that hard please share them with us. Tell us what happened. So we enjoyed these very very much.

UNCLE TIM: It’s April. It’s spring. It’s time for a new gym nerd challenge. And this month, we want you to create the best gymnastics meme possible. And so that’s your challenge. Create a meme. Tweet it to us. Put it on our Facebook page. And at the end of the month, we will vote on our favorite one.

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 sportz with a z, and save $5 on your next purchase with the code Gymcast.

JESSICA: That’s it for us this week. Remember that we are announcing the NCAA contest winners on Friday April 5 so we will put the names of the winners on our website. 5 of you are going to win two tickets to NCAA’s, every single day of NCAA’s. So excited for you guys! Remember you can contact us with your feedback, your suggestions and comments at gymcastic@gmail.com. You can call us at 415-800-3191 or you can find us on Skype and leave a message. The username is Gymcastic Podcast. You can also find us on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus. Remember you can find a transcript of each and every episode on our site. Remember that you can support the show by recommending it to a friend or teammate, tweeting about it, putting it up on Facebook, tell someone that you love it. Support our sponsors. We love our sponsors. We couldn’t do the show without them. You can rate us or review us on iTunes. You can download the Stitcher app and listen to us from there. And of course, you guys asked for other ways to support the show so now there’s a donate button on the website and thank you to all of those who have donated and especially thank you to the people who have asked for a monthly way to donate, or on a recurring basis. I’m working on that, and trying to figure it out. So thank you so so so so much. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate that. Until next week, I am Jessica from masters-gymnastics.com

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

JESSICA: See you guys next week!