Episode 44 Transcript

JESSICA: Yes! That’s perfect! Oh if there’s a riot we will know this whole thing has worked.[[EXPRESS YOURSELF INTRO MUSIC]]

JESSICA: This week: feedback from last week’s first ever LGBT panel, a preview of the US Championships, and Spanny is back from maternity leave with a review of Beyond the Routine with Chow.

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

JESSICA: This is episode 44 for August 14, 2013. I’m Jessica from Masters-Gymnastics

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

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

LAUREN: And I’m Lauren from thecouchgymnast.com

JESSICA: This is the number one gymnastics podcast in the world, bringing you the top news from around the gymternet.

[SOUND BYTE]

UNCLE TIM: Alright Jess so last week we had a couple of mistakes in the episode. What were some of the corrections we received?

JESSICA: Yeah so first I want to apologize for Alicia. She has 10 World medals, not nine. It’s 10 World medals. I’m so sorry. Totally my bad on the fact checking so thank god for you guys. You let us know right away that I made that mistake, so I’m so sorry. Ten-time World medalist. Second one, Josh Dixon is the first American elite gymnast to come out while still competing. I thought I said American, like I had it written down in my script American in his intro but when I re-listened to it I was like wait a minute, where’s that word US American is missing. Lastly, we had a lot of feedback that people were excited Alicia was on the show. But they were upset that she used the word lifestyle when she was talking about being gay. And so I want to read you this exchange

UNCLE TIM: Choice

JESSICA: Yeah what did I say? That it was a choice.

UNCLE TIM: Lifestyle. Yeah

JESSICA: Yeah that it was a lifestyle choice not a born this way. So I want to read you this exchange that she had with Martin on Twitter. So Martin tweets at her and says, “Alicia being gay is not a choice.” She responds, Alicia tweeted, “I know it is not a choice. Please forgive my poor choice in words.” And he responds to her and said, “It’s fine, I was just making sure. I know LGBT is still a touchy issue in gym. I’m just glad that it was discussed.” And so she responds to him and says, “Martin I just hope people know there is support within the gymnastics community.” And he responds and says, “It’s definitely a lot better than previous years but we still have a long way to go. We’ll get there.” And I know from talking to a lot of people over the last week that she personally reached out to some people in the gymnastics community and apologized. She was like I shouldn’t have used that word, that’s not what I meant, and I you know I know it’s not a choice and I just want people to know there’s support for them and I respect them. And so she definitely made a point of correcting that languaging and apologizing for it. And I think that is another sign of why she was chosen by the panelists. And that’s another point I want to make. Some people said she shouldn’t say she’s an ally if she’s using that word, whether it was an accident or not blah blah blah. And the thing is, I didn’t decide she was the spokesperson. I didn’t name her an athlete ally. The panelists chose her. I asked them who is someone in the gymnastics community who is walking the talk. Who is someone that you consider an ally, that you know personally who you’ve had communicated with, who you think is someone who would be a great ally who I should ask to be on the show. And they chose Alicia. And that says more than I feel like anything she said on the show. Because they chose her and that means that her actions are what makes her an ally. So the panelists chose her. We did not name her an ally. We didn’t decide on that moniker. She didn’t decide on that moniker. She didn’t have it tattooed on her chest. The panelists chose her. So I just want to make that really clear. And I just think you know, she did a fantastic job of going out of her way and reaching out to people and talking to them after the show. And that’s really what an ally does you know? She’s walking the talk as I said you know? What did you think?

UNCLE TIM: Of Alicia?

JESSICA: Yeah and about the word usage and the aftermath and then her reaching out to people. What did you think?

UNCLE TIM: I think that Alicia- I can understand why people got upset. At the same time I think that Alicia handled the feedback quite well and was very patient, very kind about it. And I think that generally speaking, the people who approach her on Twitter at least were very respectful. And so it was good to see that people didn’t just attack her, but rather just kind of gently corrected her. So that was good.

JESSICA: Yeah. I mean I think it’s a good point that you make there because the point of us doing this podcast is starting the conversation. This is the first public forum where there’s this conversation has happened. And in the interviews, you know Alicia wasn’t the only one that used the word lifestyle. And maybe the guys didn’t use choice but they said lifestyle. And but she was more attacked for it. And I think that this is part of the conversation and it’s so great that you mention that people reached out to her on Twitter and said this word upset me, here’s why. And that she could respond. Now you have a dialogue. Now you have discourse. Now you have a place where there is the opportunity for learning and an exchange and real communication instead of just you know reacting. And people getting upset without the opportunity for growth and change. In terms of making this a conversation, even we made mistakes in the language we used. I said that [inaudible] was- you know when they found out he was really a woman, you know really I should have said anatomically female. There’s lots of things like that that can be really upsetting to someone who’s transgender and even we made mistakes. So it’s the beginning the conversation and all the feedback you guys are giving is helping to move all us forward. Alright so yes. Discourse presents an opportunity for change and growth and that’s what we want to do with this show. Speaking of that. I know that the lambda symbol is not a triangle, but there’s no really easy way to make a lambda symbol where you throw your hands up in the air so I thought a triangle would work the best. I actually received a couple of private messages and text messages from people sent the little triangle hands and the emoticons. I thought that was pretty cool. So I hope we see some of those at Nationals. A couple updates on what’s happened since that podcast. Some more bad news in Russia. Some Dutch tourists were making a documentary were jailed under Russia’s gay propaganda law. They were interviewing some LGBT youth in Russia and the police said by interviewing them about being gay, that was propagandizing so they were jailed. Then a neo nazi group has been exposed for luring gay teens with an online dating scam. So basically tell this kids that they’re looking for a date, they want to meet up, blah blah blah, the kids meet up with them, and they then publicly humiliate them, some of which could be described as torture. Huffington Post has stories on these so you can see- I just feel like more and more that the Olympics need to be moved out of Russia. No we should cancel it. We should tell Putin that he can’t get away with this crap. And it is a big deal. And so we should move to Canada. Everyone there is super nice. I don’t know if you guys have heard [LAUGHS].

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] But how feasible is that? To move an Olympics that’s, what, a year away roughly?

JESSICA: Eh but it’s-

UNCLE TIM: How feasible is it?

JESSICA: It’s only the Winter Olympics. Barely have any sports.

[LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: It’s not like the Summer Olympics. I don’t know. I just, the whole thing just makes me furious and I just feel like we should teach them a lesson and move it out of there. Like Putin gets away with too much. He shouldn’t get away with this. I don’t know. Alright otherwise we got a lot of really really really incredible and great feedback. And I just want to read you guys two things. One tweet is from Liliana, and she said, “Great show. I think there is gender role preconception that makes the thought of a lesbian gymnast as hard as a gay football player.” You know why. We spoke about why we didn’t have any lesbians on the show and how hard it was to find them, and I think this might be why. Because you’re even, there’s such a stigma that being a gay gymnast is equivalent to being a gay NFL player. It’s just, there’s no one comes out till they’re totally far away from the sport because it’s so stigmatized. So.

UNCLE TIM: I was thinking about this a little bit more, and I know the average for LGBT coming out is a lot younger. It’s like 16. But I don’t know what it is for athletes. And I was wondering what age athletes usually come out, because it seems like it’s something that at least for our panelists happened toward the end of their college careers. And it just seems like you know, most female gymnasts, their careers end, a lot of theirs, not all, but a lot of them end around 21, 22. And it makes me wonder if they don’t come out until later on. And until their gymnastics careers are ending or ended.

JESSICA: That is a really good point. And especially when you think of the percentage of gymnasts who make it past- I mean most girls quit sports in middle school. Like I think 14 is the year that most girls quit sports. So when you extrapolate that to then gymnastics and then who actually stays through college, I mean it’s a very small percentage. But you know, my friends that were on college softball teams and soccer teams, they were like you know 85% of the team was gay and out. So I mean but in those sports I feel like they were the majority. So they- it was no big deal. You’re one of the crew. The basketball teams. Whatever. I don’t know it also might depend on where people went to school. I feel like- but then again that doesn’t either because people I know are Seattle and Nebraska. So. Ugh. We will investigate this further, get to the bottom of the lesbian issue. I also want to read a letter that we got from a listener, from Brendon. And this is why I feel like it was so important to have Trey on the show and for him to express his point of view and where he’s at. So, “Dear GymCastic. I just want to say thank you so much for doing this episode. As a gay guy who did gymnastics, this topic was one I had thought about often. I really appreciate the depth of the episode and the variety of people you interviewed. It was a bit weird for me, as Trey’s entire coming out story was almost exactly the same as mine. Although mine didn’t involve a sports team. I’d like him to know that he should do what makes him happiest. It’s ok to go to someone for advice, but their decision is not yours. I wish him the best. Please pass along my thanks to all of the panelists and interviewees. They gave some really great insight into the more personal side of gymnastics. Sincerely, Brendon.” That warmed my heart.

UNCLE TIM: As did it mine.

[SOUND BYTE]

JESSICA: Let’s get to the gymnastics news. Chellsie Memmel has decided to return to gymnastics as a tumbler. Perfect adult gymnastics sport. Masters gymnastics. What do you think about this Uncle Tim?

UNCLE TIM: I think she’ll actually be really good at it. She used to do whip backs, so in her floor routine, so that’s definitely something that helps. And she also did a double layout which is another big skill that a lot of power tumblers do. And I can see her being able to throw a full twisting double layout or a double twisting double layout on a rod floor. So I think this will be a good transition for her. What about you Jess?

JESSICA: I’m stoked. I think it’s perfect perfect perfect for her. And it’s also one of the sports you can just train and hour and a half, two hours a day and do for a long long time. So I think it’s great. And also will help promote this sport. More gymnasts who are elites I feel like could compete into their 30s if they would transition into this non artistic gymnastics. One of the branch sports, acro, tumbling, something like that. And I just think it’s fantastic, and I think she’ll be great at it. Speaking of tumbling, there’s some very sad news this week. Kalon Ludvigson he’s an eight time US National tumbling champion was injured. He suffered a neck injury. And it seems he’s going to have to have extensive rehab. He’s already had two surgeries. And some people are a little upset about the press release from USA Gymnastics. I think they wanted to get the news out there, wanted to get some- let the public know what was going on. But some people thought that the press release was misleading, making it sound like he was going to be fine. There’s been a fund established to help with his rehab. And we will put up a link to that. You can also go to the USA Gymnastics site to find that. And we wish him the best.

UNCLE TIM: I do have to say that I’m glad that USAG released something. I know that Oklahoma never released a statement on Kayla Nowak when she had a terrible back injury last December. I think it was Gymnastike and Aunt Joyce were the first to do so. But OU just didn’t really say anything, which didn’t sit well with the gymnastics community. But I mean yes there are issues of patient doctor confidentiality. But when a major injury happens, I feel like you have to say something. And yes, USAG probably gave us the happy go lucky version of things, but they at least said something.

[SOUND BYTE]

JESSICA: Let’s talk about the meet that is going on this week before Championships. We did not send a team, but the Pan Am Games are happening right now. So Uncle Tim, give us a little lowdown on who competed. I know our favorite Porn Stache was not there. But Tomas Gonzalez. But you know we can’t call him Porn Stache anymore.

UNCLE TIM: Porn Stache

[LAUGHS]

JESSICA: Senor Porn Stache to you. Yeah because we can’t call him Porn Stache anymore because we’ve all watched Orange is the New Black on Netflix and now Porn Stache has been ruined for us so we have to have a new name for him.

UNCLE TIM: And he doesn’t really have the stache anymore so we’ll have to think of something else. I don’t know what.

JESSICA: We’ll think of something good. Ok. You guys send us your suggestions. Ok. Let’s start with vault.

UNCLE TIM: So our favorite, one of our favorite people to talk about was there. Yamilet Pena, the girl who usually throw a terrifying horrific Produnova. But she didn’t throw it this weekend. Both days she just did a simple handspring layout. On the first day she landed it well. On the second day though she fell on it, which is kind of a sign that you know, when you’re falling on a 5.0 vault, a handspring front layout, a simple skill, you should maybe not be throwing a handspring double front, which is a 7.0 vault. That’s just my opinion. But I do have to say that her handspring front layout is quite pretty. I think it’s one of the prettiest vaults, one of the prettiest vaults with such a pretty tight arch position. What did you think Jess? You watched the video.

JESSICA: Yeah I was totally stoked. I was like this is better, I think it’s better with more height, amplitude, distance than Daria Bijak’s handspring front layout. So I think she should do this and try to go for a better execution score and not try to kill herself with the handspring double front. So I was happy to see it and I hope she continues to compete something pretty like this instead of what she’s been doing, which is commit suicide by vault.

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] Yes. The other person doing some new skills is Victoria Moors. She did her double twisting double layout both days. And on the second day she finally landed it without putting her hands down for the first time. But she did land with both feet out of bounds. But it was good to see her at least land it for once. And so it looks like the race is on between Skinner and Moors. What do you think Jess?

JESSICA: I’m so excited! And I know that she landed out of bounds, but honestly it was straighter and better than I think she’s done it before. And I think better than Mykayla Skinner’s. Just execution wise it was done better. And I think that she’s going to just have to work on actually changing her either running technique or her back handspring technique the same way Coach Rick was talking about how Kate Richardson and Kyle Shewfelt changed their back handspring technique as they grew, they had to do that to stay in bounds. So there’s going have to be something done about her technique so she can stay in bounds. Because it almost seems like she just added a hop in front of it so she could make it. [inaudible] that was out of bounds, because she never landed in bounds. But I’m excited to see it done cleanly and safely. I don’t really care where she lands [LAUGHS]. You know actually it’s interesting because AAI floors, this is actually dangerous to land out of bounds because you land on a little bit of a hill, which can mean that your ankles can be sprained a little. That you’re landing almost short even though you landed perfect because of an incline. But on the Spieth floors and the Gymnova floors they’ve been using in Europe, there has not been- they don’t have that angled edge. The floor actually extends another whole foot or two with the springs and everything. So it’s way safer if you land out of bounds. So maybe that will give her more confidence to land in bounds. I don’t know I’m just thinking. I’m just hypothesizing about people’s mental game.

UNCLE TIM: And the floor at Worlds is supposed to be a little bit springier according to Jake Dalton, so that could give her a little extra boost as well.

JESSICA: Yeah

UNCLE TIM: The other Canadian that was really exciting to watch was Gabriella Douglas. She had a little trouble during the event finals during the finals, but her beam routine on the first day was really something to watch. My favorite part of the routine was her aerial cartwheel to immediate back tuck. Yes a back tuck isn’t the hardest skill you can do on a balance beam, but she took it really really really high. And tumbling out of aerial cartwheel is really hard because you have to really square your hips to get, stay on the balance beam. Which is not simple. And I think that she might have the height to be able to do aerial cartwheel full, maybe. Tuck full maybe at some point.

JESSICA: Totally. And oh my god her turns are ridiculous! Are you kidding me? She does a double turn into a back turn perfectly and then she does a triple turn. Why can the Canadians do turning on beam and no one else in the whole freaking world can do a turn? And you know what else? She doesn’t have to stop for three hours in a prep position like she’s going to do a quadruple twisting back to crotch smasher on the beam. No.

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] What?

JESSICA: She just does it [LAUGHS] You know where you do a- you know where you do a back toss on beam? You know you do a back handspring roll down on your chest

UNCLE TIM: Oh like a full twisting Korbut? Yes

JESSICA: Yeah a full twisting Korbut. We call that, like

UNCLE TIM: Rufolva?

JESSICA: Crotch smashers. So you know she’s not [LAUGHS] It’s you know you can understand if you could break your pelvic bone if you land wrong, ok stand there a minute I’ll give you a sec. But for a turn? Even if it’s a double or triple turn? Like a triple turn you can pause too. But the Canadians don’t need to. Can the Canadian coaches please teach everyone else in the whole world how to do freakin full turns? And hello! Victoria Moors, her squat turn, it’s not ugly! Like her and Simone Biles. They actually do it and it’s pretty. It doesn’t look like they’re going to take a crap in the middle of it.

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: Oh my god the Canadians with their turns! Ugh. Bless them. That’s all I have to say about that.

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] Yes there was no arm flailing from Victoria Moors

[LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: And then she’s actually holding herself with her muscles when she does the turn. Instead of just hoping that her joints stay intact as she whips herself around the beam. I mean I didn’t know it could be done like that until I saw. It’s even better than the way Biles does it. And it’s not because she’s going fast. It’s because she’s engaging her leg and butt muscles, which is the appropriate technique. Ugh. Next.

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] Alright. And then one person I want to talk about is Manrique Larduet of Cuba. So Yin Alvarez if you’re listening, you need to watch out. Because you’re no longer the only badass Cubano on the gymnastics scene

JESSICA: Heyyyyyy

UNCLE TIM: Manrique is pretty much the Caribbean version of Yang Hak Seon. He does a Kazumatsu double just like Yang. And he does a handspring Randi. And it looks like he could maybe learn a handspring triple at some point.

JESSICA: Yep

UNCLE TIM: This guy could easily make a World final on vault. He has two vaults starting out of a 6.0 and he could also maybe make a parallel bars final. His difficulty on that event is a 6.7. But the problem is, Cuba needs to send him to the World Championships first. During the last quad, Cuba didn’t send any athletes to the World Championships. And I’m not sure if it’s for economic or political reasons, but it’s got to change. I don’t think it’s really fair to these world class athletes who don’t get to go to these World Championships and show the world they’re just as good as everyone else.

JESSICA: I totally agree. And I think he is the second coming of Charlie Tamayo.

UNCLE TIM: oh

JESSICA: Yes high praise from me because you know how I feel about Charlie.

UNCLE TIM: It’s true.

[SOUND BYTE]


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[SOUND BYTE]

JESSICA: So this episode was recorded before the very first podium training videos came out on the 13th. Alright this is a very exciting week because Championships start in just a few days. So let’s talk about who may be competing who we haven’t seen yet. So Lauren what is the update on Ohashi and Ebee?

LAUREN: Ohashi’s still dealing with injuries so she’s definitely not going to be competing at Championships. I think she was still considering it after Classics, and I think she maybe on Twitter has said she’s going to try but it didn’t work out. She just wasn’t ready after dealing with injuries and having surgery in spring. And Ebee apparently is back. She’s going to be doing all four events in podium training. She’s planning on competing vault, bars, and beam in competition. But I think with floor she’s going to see how it goes in podium training. And if it goes well, she’ll do it. If not or if she’s still dealing with injury things going on, then she’ll just stick to the first three.

JESSICA: And how about Biles?

LAUREN: Biles, I think she did an interview with IG and she said it was a pretty messy competition for her and so they decided not to go for vault just to play it safe I think.

JESSICA: Yeah she seemed pretty like nonchalant about the whole thing. Like eh, it’s Classics, who cares. Eh play it safe.

LAUREN: Yeah. I mean I don’t think her Classics really will affect how she does at Nationals. I think there’s no injury that was messing around with her or anything, it was just a messy competition for her. She’s probably glad she got it out of the way then and not this week.

JESSICA: So how about the battle of skills and upgrades? Some people have hinted they’re going to do something special and upgrade, what about Kyla Ross?

UNCLE TIM: So I don’t think anyone really knows exactly what Kyla Ross is going to do, but on balance beam she did a side aerial to layout step out at the Ranch a few months ago. And so we’re guessing that that’s going to be the pass that she adds on balance beam. Also we think that she might be doing a stalder directly out of her pak on uneven bars. But again nobody really knows. And my official policy on upgrades is I’ll believe it when I see it.

JESSICA: And Spanny what do you think about that stalder to immediate pak upgrade?

SPANNY: I think that’s got a little bit of the Mustafina in it. In the sense that that’s what she used to- she took that stalder out of pak and was able to go right back up using that same stalder move to transition from low to high, and that racked her up like 800 billion points. So if Kyla could do that, that would be the- really put her on top in terms of D scores.

JESSICA: So we could actually have someone who could possibly make bar finals. That would be exciting. I would like to see her get a medal. Ok how about Priessman?

UNCLE TIM: Well supposedly there’s going to be something special going on floor. I’m hoping that she’ll be wearing Nastia’s unitard from the…

JESSICA: [LAUGHS]

UNCLE TIM: …Tour earlier this year. But I don’t know, I think it’d be cool if maybe she also throws the double twisting double layout. I don’t know, what do you guys think her upgrade is going to be?

SPANNY: Normal skin.

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS]

SPANNY: I agree. I mean I think it’s the double twisting double layout. But her first, the single twisting double layout wasn’t really anything to write home about.

JESSICA: It seems like it would be pretty easy for her to do.

SPANNY: Right

JESSICA: You know? Just do that extra little twist.

UNCLE TIM: You know it’s easy, a little twist.

SPANNY: Just a little twist!

JESSICA: No biggie. Alright how about Skinner. Because there’s been some outrage like oh her D score, she wasn’t getting credit. Can we talk a little bit about that? Why her D score could be higher but it’s sort of doubtful?

UNCLE TIM: So she received a 6.3 at the Secret Classic, but some are saying that she could score as high as a 6.6 in her D score because she didn’t get credit for some of her leaps. And Lauren I know that you recently rewatched her floor routine from Classics. Could you describe her leaps for us?

LAUREN: Yeah. I watched her beam and her floor and she’s like maybe at 130 degrees on some of her leaps. Some look ok like she may be up to somewhat near 180 but not really. And then others, I think when she’s kind of lacking her endurance and losing her breath a little bit and losing her energy, it kind of [inaudible] a little bit, maybe gets a little pizza slice of a leap out of her jump and that’s about it. And I don’t see how they would ever credit most of what she’s doing in terms of leaps. So yeah I took a screenshot and I wanted to see if I could pinpoint her- where her leap should be going and it’s, yeah, it doesn’t work out. It’s not [inaudible].

JESSICA: So it’s something for Utah to look forward to fixing when she gets there.

UNCLE TIM: And the other upgrade for Skinner will be here Amanar I’m guessing. You know I secretly want to see Skinner be all like “psych I actually have perfect form” and blow us all away.

SPANNY: Here’s my Cheng, here’s my Amanar. Yeah.

JESSICA: That would be awesome. Just like she was doing every meet like a men’s warm up ration and all the sudden she’s going to be like Uchimura. Yeah. So Uncle Tim I wanted to know if anything has happened at Pan Ams that changes the rankings for the US women. Did anyone do anything that would change the rankings that you have up on your site?

UNCLE TIM: No. There were a couple women who will be added in terms of their D score, but they’re not going to change the upper echelon of the rankings right now. Nothing that crazy or exciting happened at Pan Ams on the women’s side.

JESSICA: Ok. That’s good to know because you know how I love the rankings. I love love love the rankings so I love it when they don’t change and I can rely on my memory of what they were two weeks ago. So. Do you guys think that anyone has a chance to take the all around away from Kyla or Biles for the seniors?

LAUREN: Umm. I feel like in theory yes. But no. Like, yes it could happen but I think they’d need to rely so much on Biles or Kyla falling or having really bad days. So.

JESSICA: Mathematically, if they hit, it’s not really possible for anybody else right? Like no one else has-

LAUREN: I think Lexie maybe could.

JESSICA: Oh that’s true.

LAUREN: If she could do the 2.5 on vault, I think she- and I mean Brenna has the difficulty but not really the execution yet. So I wouldn’t say she could. But I think Lexie could definitely challenge. Especially Kyla probably because Kyla’s difficulty was a little bit lower across the board I think at Classics. But her expectations were so [inaudible] I don’t think it’s going to happen. But yeah if anyone I’m going to bet on Lexie.

JESSICA: That’s true and she’s pretty money in competition and pretty unbroken. Let’s talk for a minute about the juniors. As we’ve predicted of course before, all the juniors we love did a fantastic job. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned 100 times that Laurie “Baby Shakira” Hernandez won floor. And I am wondering if you guys think that we’ll have basically the same kind of outcome that we did at Classics or if there will be any surprises in the junior ranks?

LAUREN: I think there could be a different outcome. I think Classics was just so [inaudible] for the juniors who had potential to reach the podium. And that includes Nia Dennis, that includes Laurie Hernandez, and possibly even Polina Shchennikova. But I don’t really see her making it to the podium if only because her vault is a full. So I think she’d have to fight a lot harder.

JESSICA: She’d have to pull a Nastia, baby Nastia would have to pull a Nastia at the Olympics and stick the crap out of her vault. Yeah.

LAUREN: Yeah. I don’t know I think Dennis and Hernandez really could- especially with Nica Hults. I love Nica but I think her difficulty is not quite where- I actually did this the other day. I looked at the difficulty of a few of the juniors just for fun. And mostly, I think Bailey, who came in second, Amelia, Nia, and Laurie, they’re all at like 23.3 or 23.4. So it’s like, that’s kind of the group that I see fighting for the top stops. I think Bailey and Amelia are the two that are the competitors and the two that Nia and Laurie are going to have to fight if they want to get on the podium. And if they do have messy competitions, that will give room for someone like Nica Hults.

JESSICA: But then Nia could upgrade. She could add another salto to her standing arabian and make it a standing double arabian front because it’s so freaking high. And then she could win it all [LAUGHS] and have like a 22.

LAUREN: Because that’s an automatic win if you do that.

JESSICA: Right exactly. They just give you the medal. They stop the meet, actually give you the medal right there.

LAUREN: [LAUGHS] Right.

SPANNY: This makes me way more excited to watch the juniors than the seniors.

[LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: Uncle Tim, in the men’s department, is it basically going to be Dalton, Sam, John Orozco, who am I forgetting? It’s going to be those guys. The camera only-

UNCLE TIM: What are we talking about? What event?

JESSICA: I guess I’m thinking like the all around. I feel like it’s only between basically Dalton and Leyva if Leyva shows up. Because or Mikulak. I feel like it’s those three. Like that’s it. Because Orozco’s not really doing all around right now? Or is he? He might be but maybe his skills aren’t up there. So let’s talk about all around first.

UNCLE TIM: Alright so I think for the all around you’re really looking at Sam Mikulak, Jake Dalton, Danell Leyva, maybe Adrian de los Angeles…

JESSICA: Oh yeah

UNCLE TIM: …from Michigan. Maybe Eddie Penev as well. He might depending on how everyone else does, he might get in one of the top spots.

JESSICA: But not win. He’s not going to win.

UNCLE TIM: I don’t think so but you never know. It all depends on how everyone else does. But yeah I would- my guess is number 1 is Sam Mikulak provided that he doesn’t hurt himself.

JESSICA: Over Dalton huh?

UNCLE TIM: Yeah

JESSICA: And Leyva. Because Leyva’s been having a weird year, let’s just say it.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah. He’s not doing so well this year. So I’m going with Sam Mikulak for my all around pick.

JESSICA: Alright alright. And de los Angeles we can’t count him out. I always forget he’s alway right there at the top. I always just think of him for his videos and not his gymnastics. I need to really think about his gymnastics. Ok so and what about, let’s talk about the exciting events. How about vault? Exciting events. I’m sorry. I just don’t care about pommel horse. I just don’t unless they’re going to show highlight reels of people falling off. If something’s exciting, you’ll let us know. I know you will. But let’s talk about vault first.

UNCLE TIM: Well in terms of vault there are several gymnasts who could potentially do two vaults. So I think that Jake Dalton is definitely one. Also Paul Ruggeri. Eddie Penev. Sam Mikulak. And then one gymnast who I don’t know if he’ll actually do two vaults but you should keep your eyes open for is Sean Senters from Stanford. He does an amazing yurchenko 2.5. I think that Kyle Shewfelt invented the vault and Sean Senters perfected it. It’s really good. Yeah. It’s beautiful to watch.

JESSICA: That’s the kind of thing I want to hear.

UNCLE TIM: So watch for that. Yeah.

JESSICA: And ok let’s talk about the other exciting event. There’s two more. Let’s talk about floor. Besides the fact that we know of course I think Stacey Ervin will win above everyone else, who do you think?

UNCLE TIM:Um, it’s so hard to say because there’s so many guys from America who are good. Yeah, there’s like a small village of floor workers in America. So you have Eddie Penev. You have Stacey Ervin. You also have Sam Mikulak. You also have Jake Dalton. You have Paul Ruggeri. We recently saw a training video of Paul and he was looking really good.

JESSICA: Amazing!

UNCLE TIM: Yeah then you also have Trevor Howard who placed first at NCAA Championships this year. It’s going to be a rat race. It’s really hard to choose one. But I’m going to go with Jake Dalton just because he has the best toe point and he has posted the highest score of the US men so far this year.
JESSICA: What’s going on with Legendre? Did he finally switch over to power tumbling or is he still around?

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] He’s also still around. He had surgery earlier this year and I don’t really know how well he’ll be tumbling.

JESSICA: And what about high bar?

UNCLE TIM: High bar? Well there’s Danell Levya obviously. He’s probably the favorite. His laid-out Kovacs and his piked Kovacs are probably the best. He’s easily the favorite. Then there’s also Paul Ruggeri who finished first at the Slovenia, he tied for first, at the Slovenia Cup earlier this year with a 14.975 so he’s also one to look out for. Then there’s Sam Mikulak who won the NCAA Championship on high bar. And Josh Dixon. He is not too shabby at swinging some pipe.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Ohhh I love that show. And we’re going to skip pommel horse because

UNCLE TIM: You have to mention, you have to mention Michael Newburger of OSU. You just have to mention him.

JESSICA: Is he like Artemev?
UNCLE TIM: He’s really good. He finished first at NCAA

JESSICA: (makes noise to interrupt UNCLE TIM) That’s not what I asked. Oh my God. I have been hanging out with my nieces and this is how they talk to me. So I just totally did to you what my little nieces do when I’m not paying attention. I’m so sorry.

UNCLE TIM: Artemev does have a skill named after him. Newburger could have a skill named after him.

JESSICA: Oh is he the one that does the flippy thing to the other side that looks cool?

UNCLE TIM: Yeah he travels from one end of the pommel horse to the other, doesn’t touch the middle of the pommels and does a half spindle. Yeah it’s really cool.

JESSICA: It’s not an air flare but it’s still exciting to watch. That’s how I remember it.

UNCLE TIM: There’s a video of it on Coach Rick’s website. We’ll link to it on the show page.

JESSICA: Ok well this is acceptable to me. If you can’t be as beautiful as Artemev, then you have to do something that’s exciting and innovative so very good. And now, P bars. Orozco, he was working on some crazy stuff when he got injured and he was always good. And of course, Leyva, world champion. So what’s happening there? Is Leyva still just going to wipe the floor with everybody?

UNCLE TIM: I think that he’s definitely one of the favorites. John Orozco has really big difficulty but he doesn’t have the execution quite yet. So Leyva’s definitely probably one of the favorites. Then Sam Mikulak is also another favorite. He won NCAA on parallel bars this year so he’s one to look out for and one of my favorites too.

JESSICA: And then other important subject on the men’s side is will Yin Alvarez come up with some kind of new clap and/or dance that he will be doing during Leyva’s routines?Or maybe like an extra, like he’s going to add a Tebow kneel after he does the cross and the kiss the sky thing before high bar? What do you guys think? Do you think he’s going to tone it down? Do you think he’s going to add anything? Thoughts?

UNCLE TIM: He’ll fall off the podium.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] cheering too hard. Cheering injury? Ooh he could have a cheering injury! That hasn’t happened as far as we know yet. This does happen eventually. You cheer too hard in gymnastics. We saw it one year at NCAAs. There was a girl who landed her beam routine and then sprained her ankle, leapt in the air to cheer and sprained her ankle. Oh and then of course we had that Oklahoma meet where the girl cheered and then remember she ran to the side and she fell and she tripped on the wires and face planted?

LAUREN: Oh yeah after bars!

JESSICA: And Bart Conner was laughing so hard. Oh that was the best! We can only hope.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah we don’t know what he’s going to do. I’m sure the typical clap will be there. That will be going on. Yeah who knows? Maybe some high kicks?

JESSICA: High kicks would be awesome. I think he should totally start a line dance on the side. And the towel? What about the towel? The towel will be back for sure. Right? I mean the towel’s been in effect. But you know what, the towel’s not working this year. It’s lost the power. Maybe that’s what’s going on. Maybe he lost his towel and somebody tried to replace it. You know when your goldfish dies and your parents put one in there and act like nothing happened. But you can tell it’s not really your original goldfish.

UNCLE TIM: So when I was at the Winter Cup, I noticed that he wasn’t using the towel as much as he did during the Olympics. Did you notice that Lauren, during the American Cup?

LAUREN: Um kind of yeah actually. I didn’t see him a ton at the American Cup. I think I only saw him once with the towel and it was after he messed something up and he kind of just hid under it. But it was like a shame towel rather than a happy towel.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] A shame towel.

LAUREN: It’s really the only time I saw him with it. It’s having like the opposite effect on him totally.

JESSICA: There has been the theory. Was it you Uncle Tim, who theorized on this or was it Blythe that the towel really has more to do with him being able to just be alone and have his own space and not be stared at when there are a lot of cameras. So he doesn’t really use it when there aren’t a lot of cameras around.

UNCLE TIM: That would make sense because at Winter Cup there were no cameras there.

JESSICA: Yeah there was barely anyone there.

UNCLE TIM: And at the American Cup, the cameras probably weren’t on him too too much, especially after the first rotation where he skipped across the floor for one tumbling pass. He was sick. But yeah, they probably knew that he was out of the running for first place and the focus was really shifted towards Jake Dalton.

JESSICA: Yes, Jake “The Eyes” Dalton. Moving on, from Jake Dalton’s eyes to artistry. Lauren, you did a really interesting interview. I am so excited about this company and what they’re doing and I want to know all about it. So tell us about this interview.

LAUREN: Yeah so someone actually contacted me. Her name is Nicole. She comes from Precision Choreography. She was a three-time Junior Olympic national team member and then moved out to California where she now choreographs for many gymnasts. She emailed me and said I thought you might be interested. I’ve been working with Kyla Ross on “artistry upgrades.” And so of course I was interested because I have no idea what you’re talking about. I didn’t know if she meant upgrading her dance elements or something or if she’s actually working with her on her performance ability. So I called her and we chatted a little bit yesterday. Apparently, USA Gymnastics was worried about the lack of artistry deductions on floor in the new Code of Points. So they were kind of looking around in the spring just to I think, get a sense of what artistry means on floor and how do they go about making sure their girls are credited with artistry at Worlds and major international competitions. Alicia Sacramone actually guest choreographed at Precision Choreography and she’s the one who recommended Nicole to USA Gymnastics. So they contacted Nicole in May of this year and they paired her up with Kyla Ross because Kyla has always been a proficient technically perfect almost gymnast, but she kind of lacks that, I guess performance ability in terms of selling your routine on floor. The goal is to get her more competitive internationally on this event with the specifications of the new code in mind. So when they were defining this artistry, in the code when they were trying to define it, and the FIG worked with consultants from Cirque du Soleil. So they helped determine that the number one thing that judges should be looking for in artistry is commitment. And Nicole kind of described this as the athlete’s ability to communicate a message with personality and motion throughout the routine.

JESSICA: YES! YES! YES! YES! We have said that exact thing on the show. Thank you gym gods! Bless you, Cirque du Soleil! Oh this is so exciting!

LAUREN: Yeah and we kind of talked about, because you know how gym fans are like that wasn’t artistry and everybody else is like shut up. Kyla’s very graceful. She has very beautiful leaps and turns and stuff but that’s not artistry. She doesn’t perform the routine.

JESSICA: She has elite dead eyes. That’s what we call those, elite dead eyes. When everything else is perfect, but it doesn’t look like anyone is living there.

UNCLE TIM: She needs to call Tyra.

JESSICA: She has to smize.

LAUREN: Nicole said the leaps and the turns are aesthetically pleasing because people understand what they’re looking at and it’s safe. But when you see a mysterious or intense routine performed maybe not as perfectly but can really commit, it comes out so much more. So what they’re doing with Kyla, the number one thing, is breaking her. Taking her out of her comfort zone, taking away the exactness of her performance and teaching her in perfection it’s more beautiful to look at something done perfectly than with elite dead eyes. Yeah, I think it’s an amazing, amazing development in USA Gymnastics. I really hope that it works and that they do it with most of the girls. They said Kyla, she’s going to be debuting a lot of this at nationals. So it’s like right now. They basically said you can’t teach someone artistry, teach someone how to perform. We can see that with, we were talking a couple of weeks ago about Laurie Hernandez and Sydney Johnson-Scharpf. They just have that naturally. So with Kyla, they’re doing a lot of little tricks with her to choreograph those moments of artistry in her routines, a snap of the head or something like that. The goal is to eventually get her feeling those moments naturally. So even if she may not be a natural performer, they’re trying to teach her how to understand, to internalize those abilities. They’ve worked with her three or four times I think. So nationals is going to be the first time she shows any of these artistry upgrades. They think it could take months to see real results. But they’re hoping that she kind of shows that she has a better grasp on it at nationals. They’re kind of going back and forth, saying she might stick to what she’s comfortable doing because she knows it will work if she wants to win. But she thinks Kyla is a very quick learner. She’s applying learning artistry the same way she’s learned all her other skills, just that complete mental focus, the robotic methodological attachment to what she does. They said they saw a spark light up in her, a light switch turned on and it’s so exciting to see. I hope that it has amazing results this week and if not this week, then maybe by worlds, she’ll have it a little bit more. I really think this is one of the most exciting things to happen to USA Gymnastics women’s program in a long time.

JESSICA: This is freaking thrilling! I am so excited! Oh my God! I totally agree that this is like the best thing to ever ever ever ever happen. Oh my God! This is so fantastic! Oh my God! And you know what, honestly, ok. This is the interesting thing I think. First when I heard Alicia was working with them, I was kind of like eh. Alicia’s not a good dancer. But Alicia definitely communicated, “I will kick your ass if you don’t give me the score I want” when she competed. And people remember her. So even if her choreography and her movement was not the most memorable, she definitely performed. And honestly, there’s a video that you guys should check out. I’ll put it up on the site, of Alicia working with Precision Choreography and working with kids. And I really liked what I saw. It was really unique. It was really different. She was definitely stepping out of that elite box.

LAUREN: Well they trained her. I think Nicole was saying….because Hollie Vise was supposed to do it too but they just weren’t ready to bring someone else on and I think Alicia has been kind of training with Nicole for years now. But they train their choreographers in a certain style. Not style of dance, but style of choreography. It’s very attuned to the athlete. It’s incredibly personalized. And what I saw from Alicia was great. I thought it was fantastic and I thought it was better than anything she did as an elite.

JESSICA: Yeah it totally was right?! I was like wait, where has this been? And maybe that’s because finally there’s really this push for something different. You know, I hope they work with the guys to do this too. That’s what the UK did. They brought someone in to work with the men on artistry. Stacey was saying how they do have a performance rotation for the guys, that they work on when they’re at camp. I’d love to see something like this the way that the UK did. Each guy had his individual style and honestly, it wasn’t just their gymnastics. It was how they looked too. If you look at somebody like Louis Smith and I think that’s no accident. You make yourself stand out when you have to make a name for yourself. If your gymnastics isn’t speaking for you, there’s other ways to do it. I just want to say one thing really quick. When I say elite dead eyes, I’m not talking about Kyla as a person. I’m not talking about anybody as a person. I’m talking about how when you have done the same routine three thousand times and you’re only thinking about hitting your specific marks and hitting angles instead of communication because that’s how you’ve been trained. So that’s not any reflection on a person. That’s just something that happens when you’re not trained to communicate, when you’re trained to concentrate on something different. So I just want to make that really clear. One other thing I wanted to say is that I’ve always felt like there should be some kind of…I just feel like if you want a choreographer, you have to ask around and ask someone and know somebody who knows somebody who recommends somebody or you see someone’s routine and you ask oh who did that routine for you. I just wish there was some organization where you could go and see a bunch of different styles and contact those people. I’m glad that there’s some organization that’s doing this now because the whole word-of-mouth thing limits you to who you know or who you’ve seen. And this should really open up gymnastics to a much wider variety of choreographers who have the same philosophy and that philosophy is really the thing that can change our sport for the better, having that good underlying philosophy and communicating message. That’s so fantastic.

LAUREN: Communicating a message, committing to your routine. She kind of said something that I thought was really interesting. When you get out of the compulsory program and you go into optionals, the thing that you’re most excited about is to get that personalized floor routine and to break away from what you’ve been doing, which is the same as what everybody else has been doing. And so it’s supposed to be very personal and individualized. She was also talking about judging and how yes judges may prefer certain styles of dance, but they’ve been trained with the new code to know that every routine is going to be different because every athlete is different. And so the hope is that the judges will not let personal preferences…their opinion of artistry is not what matters, seeing something that they may not like but that they know is good. I hope that the judges are able to do it correctly. I have faith in them right now. We’ll see, I guess when we get to worlds. But yeah I thought that was interesting. Because people do think ballet is pretty and therefore that its artistry. The judges may think that.

JESSICA: Yes!

LAUREN: and I’m sure that a lot of judges prefer Komova and her Swan Lake routine in 2011 to Jordyn’s routine. But Jordyn doing Swan Lake would look ridiculous. I think that being able to recognize that an athlete coming in with a routine that really fits her and really shows her personality is going to be what changes the sport. So hopefully we see that this year.

JESSICA: Yes! And this is exactly what Uncle Tim was saying two shows ago about the Russians and how people are like oh it’s so beautiful but there’s no dance. It’s just because they were trained and they have good balletic arms but there’s no artistry. There’s no message communicated. That’s exactly what you were saying.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah, and just to add to this conversation about ballet, I believe the last time that artistry was defined as ballet was in 1964. I think after the 1964 code, they removed the idea that ballet was artistry. So it’s been a long time since artistry has been defined as ballet.

LAUREN: I always freak out when people say that artistry is ballet. There was maybe a Soviet gymnast in the 80s who did a floor routine to the overture Russian Spring. If you’ve seen that ballet, it’s not what you picture for ballet and it caused uproar when it debuted in like 1911 or something.

JESSICA: There were riots! Literally riots! One of our listeners actually wrote in about this and told us about it and I’ve been meaning to spend like a whole segment talking about that. But yeah because people were like that’s not ballet. That isn’t artistic. But the thing is, it was an expression of something. Yes! That’s perfect! If there’s a riot, then we’ll know this whole thing has worked.

LAUREN: Yeah and the gymnast who did this in the 80s, I wish I could remember who it was. I’m sure if you YouTube it, it’s up there. She did the original Nijinsky choreography and it was gross. But it was amazing. It was stomping ,guttural, earthy realness, that’s how I would describe it. I feel like the ballet/artistry fans would watch that and be like that’s not artistry. But it’s ballet! But yeah that’s probably the best example I think.

JESSICA: Yes totally! We’ve mentioned this, it was Olga Strazheva who did the routine. We’ve talked about it a couple of times on here. It’s badass. It’s a perfect example, it’s a great example of what we’re talking about. Ok I want to remind you guys how you can watch this week. Podium training is going to be live streaming so check it out. It starts on the 14th at 9 am eastern and all day. They have the schedule up on the USA Gymnastics site and click on the live link and then you can see the whole schedule. Junior women’s competition starts on the 15th and the senior competition starts on the 15th at 8 pm eastern and that is going to be on NBC. I can’t wait to watch. I’m so excited!

[SOUND BYTE]

JESSICA: So Spanny is back from maternity leave. And if you guys may or may not know, she has nicknamed her baby Grumpus. Can you tell us a little bit about him and how your experience has been? I’m sure people want to know.

SPANNY: Well let’s start with how we came up with the name Grumpus. In the ultrasound, they do those creepy 3d, 4d ultrasounds. He was making these faces and the ultrasound tech said he just looked like a grumpy baby because he would sit and he was frowning and furrowing his brow. So that was his name, Grumpy and he makes the exact same faces now. If you see him, it looks like he’s so mad all of the time. So he’s the Grumpus. Also, because I didn’t have a name for him for about two days after he was born, so that was his name. We were not allowed to put that on the birth certificate. He’s fun. He’s a handful but he’s pretty cute. I’ll keep him. I’ll probably hear him screaming here shortly. But Dad’s here for that.

UNCLE TIM: How’s his gymnastics training going?

SPANNY: It’s going well. He’s….and I’m not just saying this because I want to brag about my kid, he’s freaky strong. From the minute he was born, he holds his head up and wants to look around. He’s already jumping in jumper, training we call it. I think he’s going to be a vault and floor specialist at this point, given the strength in his legs. He’s also going to be tall. He’s way up high in the percentile for height which he did not get from me. We’ll see how he works for that. Maybe high bar, I don’t know. Yeah it’s going well. He’s got some form issues. Real tight, I think it’s gas.

JESSICA: Now are you going to hang him from the clothes rack?

SPANNY: Not the clothes rack, but he can already support his full weight on his hands. I’m not going to tell you how we know that, but we do. He’s got fantastic upper body strength as well.

JESSICA: Awesome! Awesome! So this is going to be interesting to see how your review of the Beyond the Routine has changed and looking at these little kids and what they’re doing now that you’ve had this momentous experience of becoming a mother. And so with that, tell us how this first episode of Beyond the Routine at Chow’s with Gabby Douglas begins.

SPANNY: Well it begins with shots of cornfields, establishing shots you might say. I will say though that the visual aspect of these episodes is getting so much better. Later on, it kind of strays from that. But the opening bits in both episodes are really neat. They’re very artistic shots with some fancy music in the background. If the whole episode was just that, I’d be pretty cool with it. But yeah they very much establish that it is in Iowa. It is in the middle of nowhere, cornfields. So if you didn’t know that Chow’s was in Iowa, now you do.

UNCLE TIM: And it’s very symbolic too right? Like it’s not fully grown cornfields, like these young girls coming up through the ranks.

SPANNY: Who grow to become big cornstalks.

JESSICA: I was waiting the whole time just to see Chik Fil A. All I think about is Chik Fil A, when I think of Gabby Douglas and Chow’s. I thought for sure we’d start out with Gabby Douglas or Chow driving to Chik FIl A. The fields totally threw me off. Ok continue.

SPANNY: Chik Fil A? You think Chow, you’d be like no way he doesn’t like Chik Fil A. But he does talk later, I think in the second episode, he mentions that he was driving to get a hamburger and something about that just cracked me up. Chow getting a hamburger. Whatever. Ok. So along with the establishing shots, you get a few quick snippets from the latest Chow’s stars. Each teases their own moved away from home story, the likes of which would excite Joan Ryan to tears. They were straight like my mom wants me to succeed so we moved from California without ever having spoken to the coach and we just showed up there. But all those scary stories are very quickly negated by how much they love Chow and how wonderful and un-abusive he is.

JESSICA: Oh, gymnastics.

SPANNY: Yeah, so I don’t know if Joan Ryan would really be that interested. But they seemed really genuine too. They just seemed like they were young girls. They all three mentioned that he was serious when he needs to be and he motivates them, but he’s also fun and keeps things from getting boring and redundant. But they also say, speaking of redundant, how they saw Chow on TV and they know, oh this is the right place for me. I want to win gold, which sounds vaguely familiar because we were fed that bit of information a hundred million times in the past two years from one Gabby Douglas.

JESSICA: Can we talk about the real star of the show though? I mean Gabby, the girls, whatever, Chow but let’s get to the important part here.
SPANNY: That is all well and good. We show up with Gabby, Olympic champion, queen of the universe. But where is she? She’s at the Partons, home of Travis Parton, his arms. Oh, this is so inappropriate. But a girl’s gotta eat. Yeah, so we hear for the billionth time, the story about how Gabby stayed with them and it’s all great and I don’t care because all I can think about are arms, arms, arms. Arms. There was absolutely no new information other than Daddy Parton has two tickets to the gun show.

UNCLE TIM: And you’re going to be starting a Tumblr dedicated to his arms, correct?

JESSICA: Yes, do it!

SPANNY: Good idea! I’ll make my kid nap more just so I can do that. Gabby talks for a little while, and you know how much I love Dougie. I’m honestly just waiting for Travis to come back on screen. And then he’s back. And he tells the tale of the day before Gabby was supposed to leave for Texas for training camp before London and that she just wasn’t working out. She wasn’t vaulting. She was landing her vaults to her back, basic meltdown stuff. So Chow calls up Daddy Travis and Travis just like gets to business. He shows up. He yanks her out of the gym and all I can think is I will vault for you. I will vault to my back for you. Inappropriate. Second episode, more cornfields. Chow discusses coming home to Beijing and how well he was treated there. I remember loving that story back then too, in 2008, how neat it was for him to go back there. And just his demeanor, I wish I could bottle him up and sprinkle him on ice cream because I just want to name a flavor Chow because he’s just the cutest, sweetest thing in the world. Norah Flatley mentions how Chow, again all three girls mention how they have fun, but Norah mentions that they sometimes play games, which is just so much fun. This game, I don’t know. It looked like the three of them were lined up from one another and then they had to close their eyes and feel out one another and see who is who. That sounds like the worst game ever. But I guess upon rewatching it, they’re paired up and they have to root for each other or something. But blind touching is not my idea of a fun game. Maybe it’s just me. At other gyms, their games are probably like running with tires. So maybe this is fun. I don’t know.

UNCLE TIM: Ankle weights.

SPANNY: There were some ankle weights in this episode. But they seemed by choice. I mean I saw Gabby wearing them, but they were probably Nike brand, or I don’t know. She doesn’t need them. So next, Chow tells a fun story which I think was about meeting Martha the first time. It’s hard to understand. It doesn’t matter though because he does this impression of her walking where he’s like I’m at the ranch and there’s Martha walking and I took a picture and I took a picture so maybe I’ll post it on Twitter or something. He just does this imitation of Martha power walking. He’s got his nose in the air. But in all seriousness, many things stand out about Chow. But one thing that really stands out to me is how he refers to himself as an educator and his athletes are his students. I like that. They were asking him obviously oh not only is it physical preparation but it’s mental preparation and how do you do deal with that with your athletes. And he said well an educator should be able to explain that to them and teach them that. He kept saying skills and practices and things like that. And he referred to them as his students. Something about that is so less possessive to me than athletes. I just liked it. It’s very nice breath of fresh air coming from someone as successful as he is. So with that, I’m off. I’m going to make Chow’s laugh my new text notification sound. Now it’s a Zelda. Because that’s what you do when you’re on maternity leave. You search your phone for sounds because all you can do is play with your phone.

UNCLE TIM: I’m shocked that it’s not “Use your mind!”

SPANNY: [LAUGHS] It’s gonna be now! That’ll be like my snap chat notification. “Use your mind!”

JESSICA: So what did you guys think? A lot of people are saying that this is the best Beyond the Routine so far. They really stepped it up. This is next level documentary filmmaking compared to what they’ve done in the past. What do you guys think?

SPANNY: I agree that visually it is. In terms of content, I think I might have missed the last few of Jordyn’s episodes. I do remember of the one or two that I saw were very much, I thought they were still the trailer. There was no real information as much as it was just like here’s Jordyn. She went to the Olympics. I just did a dance. You couldn’t see it. Obviously, they are all steps up from Mary Lee Tracy’s episodes. It does maybe in terms of artistic storyboard. It did have a beginning, a middle, and an end of the episode.
JESSICA: it kind of felt like this one was much better, not only artistically but because they had access to all the people they needed to, to really tell a full story rather than just one person’s perspective or a fly on the wall perspective, since they got to interview so many people. Uncle Tim, what did you think?

UNCLE TIM: I agree that these are much better visually speaking. I think I tweeted @gymnastike complimenting them, even during the Geddert series. I think that there’s still some work to do maybe on the narrative side. But I also think it’s hard because they go to these places for maybe a week at most and so they don’t really get to follow these gymnasts for an extended period of time and therefore they can’t really create a narrative arc across all the episodes. But I do think that they have done a better job of focusing on different stories. The first one was very much focused on all these girls coming to Chow’s. The second one was very much focused on Chow’s story. I’m assuming the third one is going to be more focused on Gabby.

JESSICA: I just like the fact that this is someone, Chow did gymnastics in the 80s. He’s not one of the coaches who is leftover from the 80s. So he lived the dark era and so he is now a completely different kind of teacher. And as you pointed out, he is a teacher rather than a coach and you can just see that in his demeanor. You can tell that his gymnasts seem to really respect and love him rather than fear him. So it’s a big distinction. I think that these are just so revealing, these episodes.

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.
That is going to do it for us this week. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you to Lauren for being on the show and we’re so glad to have Spanny back. And we want to remind you guys that you can support the show by writing a review on iTunes and you can also subscribe on iTunes to the show. You can download the Stitcher app, which works on all devices including Android. They have the car mode now so you have giant buttons so you don’t have to look down and find your episode. It makes it really easy when you are driving. You can do it safely because you know Jordyn Wieber says don’t text and drive and that includes messing around and trying to listen to our podcast while you’re driving. You can donate to the show if you want to support us or you can shop in our Amazon store. We have Gabby’s new book up there and we also have Louis Smith’s book and every other gymnastics book you could ever hope to read is also there. We post all the routines and videos we possibly can on our website so you can check that out, augment your listening experience. You can find transcripts of our show and thank you so much to our awesome transcribers for helping with that. And if you want us to know something, if you want to talk to us, if you have feedback for us, if you have suggestions for us, we read everything. We are at gymcastic@gmail.com and of course you can call and leave a message for the show. It’s 415-800-3191. And our Skype username is Gymcastic Podcast, if you are abroad and need to leave us a message you can do so that way. You can also find us on Twitter. Next week, we will have a full recap of the US Championships and reports from Spanny and Lauren who will be there. Until next week, I’m Jessica from Master’s Gymnastics

SPANNY: Spanny Tampson from Spanny’s Big Fake Smile
UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym
LAUREN: And I’m Lauren from thecouchgymnast.com
JESSICA: See ya next week!

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