JESSICA: I know there’s a little tiny bit of background noise in this episode, but just bear with it. It’s just part of dorm life. I’m blaming Jenni’s roommate, sorry. I’m just going to because I don’t know where it came from. So anyway, bear with it. It’s a great episode and I hope you guys like it.
JENNI: Like negatively interpreting things out of context, like we were observing after the competition, blah blah blah. And I sent this email. And since then, he’s been good so I sorted him out.
[EXPRESS YOURSELF INTRO MUSIC]
JESSICA: This week, the state of gymnastics after the 2013 World Championships, Halloween costume contest, Dvora on Ferlito-gate and our favorite Brit is back!
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 55 for October 16, 2013. I’m Jessica from Masters-Gymnastics
UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym
JENNI: And I’m Jennifer Pinches from the newly updated jenniferpinches.com.
JESSICA: This is the number one gymnastics podcast in the world, bringing you all the news from around the gymternet. So Jenni, last time we talked to you, you were retired and doing stuff on BBC broadcasts and now all of a sudden, you’re in the NCAA and unretired. How did this happen?
JENNI: Yeah! Okay, I finished my school exams which went quite well. I got two A’s in my A levels. And then I got an email from Ms. Val at UCLA and she said how would you feel about you know, going to UCLA to do college gymnastics. So obviously, that was a big deal. I didn’t even consider doing college gymnastics but Danusia Francis is obviously on the team, the Bruins team for UCLA as well and it sounded like fun so I thought about it. I researched a lot into it, thought can I come back to gymnastics and start training again and I went to visit and I couldn’t say no. I couldn’t say no to living in Los Angeles and taking on this new adventure. And yeah, so now I’m doing college gymnastics and it’s a new chapter in my career and a new chapter in my life.
JESSICA: Exciting! So how do you like it so far?
JENNI: Oh I really like it! I love it. Well, especially the weather, obviously. It’s freezing in the UK right now and it’s beautiful here. And getting back into gymnastics, I forgot how much of a ninja I feel like in the gym. Seriously, I’m relearning all my skills mostly and it’s so cool. I feel like I’m becoming a superhero again compared to the last year where I just haven’t done anything. So that’s really fun actually in the gym and obviously I’m doing university, college as you call it in America classes and studies. Yeah, it’s exciting!
JESSICA: Awesome! Well, we’re so happy that you’re here and doing that
JENNI: Yeah thank you yeah. And thanks for having me back on the podcast!
JESSICA: Oh you’re very welcome! The UK is the home of all great reality shows before they come to the US and apparently the UK is working on something very exciting having to do with gymnastics. Can you tell us about this?
JENNI: Yes! There might be a reality show just like Dancing with the Stars or Strictly Come Dancing as we have in the UK originally but for gymnastics. There’s talk of it being called Strictly Come Gymnastics. How cool would it be if there was a reality show to raise the profile of gymnastics in the UK and worldwide? People being interested in gymnastics and that’s definitely risen since the Olympics and people watching it on TV and enjoying it and having more role models like Louis Smith and Beth Tweddle to look up, rather than what we usually have, just singers and like models maybe. So yeah there’s going to be a Strictly Come Gymnastics show hopefully. And isn’t there going to be maybe one in the US as well?
JESSICA: Yeah the word is that John MacReady has pitched this show Celebrity Champions and it’s going to have Mary Lou Retton, Paul Hamm, and Shannon Miller who will like coach people doing gymnastics. It sounds like it’s going to be exactly the same because we copy everything the UK does when it comes to reality shows. But they’re developing it right now so we’ll see if it actually happens. But it would be so fabulous. I would love it. It would be the greatest. Yeah it would be really cool. They have to call it something other than Celebrity Champions. It needs to have gymnastics.
JENNI: Maybe they’ll change the name. Because otherwise it’s going to be exactly compared with Strictly Come Dancing which is our UK version of Dancing with the Stars. Yeah how are you going to get celebrities to actually do it because in the Strictly Come Dancing show they become quite good dancers. And if you saw Louis Smith on that show, he was great. I mean he won it. But he really learned to dance by doing it. I don’t know how much celebrities will be able to learn technical gymnastics skills.
JESSICA: Yeah that’s the thing, or get them into leotards either. This is the thing. I think they’re going to have costumes which I’m all for.
JENNI: Like ice skating costumes? Yeah maybe. That would be fun.
JESSICA: Okay, Uncle Tim. Tell us what’s happening with Komova for the Komova-philes out there.
UNCLE TIM: Well there are quite a few on Tumblr. We’ll get to that in a second. But Komova is reportedly still not training after what her father calls a serious case of meningitis and that’s coming from International Gymnast. They did a little article on her. However, Tumblr is blowing up right now because there are pictures of Komova sitting on an exercise bike, not peddling or anything, just sitting on one. So everyone’s saying she’s back. And then there’s also a video of Komova playing on some playground equipment, like this is a legitimate NBC fluff piece happening right before your eyes on Tumblr and so people are getting really excited about that. But still, I haven’t seen her go upside down or anything. But we’ll see. Hopefully she will be able to make a comeback from her illness and actually compete in 2014.
JESSICA: It’s going to be very exciting.
JENNI: Well from the pictures, it looks like have you seen those playgrounds that look like playgrounds but they’re not actually playgrounds? They’re like outdoor exercise gyms?
UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] Yeah
JENNI: Yeah it looks like she’s kind of messing around or stretching or something on one of those.
JESSICA: Uchimura did a rare, rare, rare English language interview with a guy that you know, Ollie at the BBC. Can you tell us about that interview?
JENNI: Yeah, Uchimura, the absolute legend, dominating men’s gymnastics over the past few years I think it’s fair to say. And then some interesting questions that he was asked by Ollie were does he think he’s going to be able to carry on in the future the way he’s been dominating the sport at the moment. I think it was Louis Smith who commented on this, saying that the Japanese team is so strong at the moment, that Uchimura’s spot is still not guaranteed even though he’s four-time world champion and Olympic champion. The Japanese team is so strong. Were you impressed by the other Japanese gymnasts as well? It wasn’t just Uchimura that won medals at the world championships.
JESSICA: Yeah when he said in his interview that he really wants to win gold to make up for his pommel horse handstand flub in London, I was like they could totally win. They could for sure win right now, the way the Japanese team look. They look incredible.
JENNI: It sounds like he’s more thinking about the whole team now as well. Because like he said, he was embarrassed in London because when there was that whole deal with them appealing and moving up to second place in the team after the pommel horse dismount mess up that happened, he said he was kind of not bothered about moving up to second from fourth position because for him that was still, they hadn’t achieved gold and that’s what he wanted. But he was embarrassed by the fact that he thought that in London because he wasn’t thinking about the whole team. He’s had many gold medals himself, but he said obviously the rest of his team wanted to win medals too and now he wants to think about the whole team together and think about the whole team winning medals for Rio rather than just himself, which I think is a really nice change of perspective for him.
JESSICA: I totally wondered during this interview if he’s a paid spokesperson from Longines because he talked about how he’s obsessed with watches and now that he has a baby and a wife, he can’t be buying watches, spending all his money on watches. But then he talked about how he loves, it’s more important for him to be recognized for elegance and winning the Longines prize than a gold medal. I was like dude. They could make a poster out of that and sell it. It’s like the most perfect advertisement ever. I was like that is why he’s so great. That right there. That is what you want people, I feel like I have perfect elegant form, execution to the inth degree. I just love that he said that.
JENNI: Yeah I’m glad that he won the Longines award as well because he needs to be recognized I think, his beautiful gymnastics.
JESSICA: Yeah I think a lot of the time, the Longines prize, you’re kind of like hmm really? But this, I think they got it right.
JENNI: Yeah sometimes, I’m like oh. Like why did they give, who chooses that prize? But this world championships, I was satisfied with who they gave the prizes to. It was Kyla Ross for the women and Uchimura for the men.
JESSICA: Yes and Kyla Ross, who got a smooch by Philipp Boy which of course is the best thing ever.
JENNI: (gasps) I didn’t see that!
JESSICA: Oh yes a congratulatory smooch on the cheek like you do in Europe, where you’re from.
JENNI: Well yeah [LAUGHS]
JESSICA: It was one of those. It wasn’t anything like, she should’ve grabbed him and like bent him over and whatever. What do you call that, she should have dipped him and planted one on him. I mean that’s what I would have done.
JENNI: Hey wait, hasn’t Philipp Boy just had a son?
UNCLE TIM: In July he had a baby girl
JENNI: Baby girl
UNCLE TIM: And nobody knew about it until now.
JENNI: Oh okay. Well maybe he wanted to not disappoint his many admirers
JESSICA: I think so. I think he kept it hush hush on purpose. But yeah he looks pretty adorable. He looks like radiating with happiness with the baby in his arms. It’s so cute.
JENNI: I know, it’s so so cute.
JESSICA: So let’s talk about the Aimee Boorman interview. She gave an interview with
UNCLE TIM: Triple Twist
JESSICA: Triple Twist, thank you, right after she got back. And she is of course Simone Biles’s coach. And we were thinking about this and we’re pretty sure that Aimee is the first female head coach ever to coach a world all-around champion.
UNCLE TIM: From the US
JESSICA: From the US of course. I think the Soviet Union did this. But yeah, that’s a pretty big deal in this day and age I think. Because all of the other head coaches have been men. Chow, Nunno, Bela, Geddert, so it’s a pretty big deal. So she said some interesting things in this interview. One of them, she said that the team, the girls train for 22 days without a full day off and without complaint, which is always shocking to me that anyone can just change their workout schedule and train for that many days in a row.
JENNI: That’s got to be tough.
JESSICA: I don’t understand that strategy though. I mean I guess it works if you don’t break.
JENNI: Yeah you have to be young to do that.
JESSICA: Yeah that’s the thing right? I guess it’s the kind of thing you can do when you have an army of gymnasts who can fill anyone’s spot at any time. But if you had to really keep your gymnasts healthy, I don’t think
JENNI: No, that doesn’t seem very wise. I mean you need rest. You need days for your muscles to recover, if not your mind as well.
JESSICA: Right? Yeah that’s the other thing. You’re sequestered basically the whole time. That’s the way the US system works. They’re not allowed to talk to friends or family. You’re not allowed to see them. You can talk to them on the phone, IM or whatever. You’re not allowed to see them. I would lose my mind. I would need a brain break from gymnastics, mental rest.
JENNI: Maybe they’re doing mental strength as well.
JESSICA: That might be it, that you’re so used to it that it’s like
JENNI: Yeah, you do it every day, repetitively, then I guess when it comes to competition, it’s just another day. You’ve done it that many times, it’s like ingrained within you.
JESSICA: That’s totally true. I haven’t thought about it that way.
JENNI: I think Martha said after the world championships that she was pleased with their consistency. Maybe that’s what she was hoping would happen and pulled off.
JESSICA: Yep and it definitely works. So I wanted to ask you guys about this and Jenni if you’ve ever seen this before. I heard that the guys use honey on p-bars. But I’ve never heard of it used on any female, women’s apparatus. But Aimee talks about how one of the funny things that happened was that she thought there was like a wet spot on the mat that Simone was going to land on on bars. And then when she went to wipe it off, she realized it was honey. So then she went to turn the mat over. Honey on the bars mat? That’s crazy. Did someone put it there so like I’ve been recommending to the men so their feet won’t slip? Have you ever encountered that? Ever?
JENNI: I thought you were going to say someone had put it there as like a practical joke like to make someone you know….
JENNI: No actually I’ve heard of it. When I went to Romania when I was like what 10 years old, maybe, obviously we just used chalk on water in the UK. But then when we went to Romania, they all had honey on the bars. They used no hand guards and they just used honey with their hands. I think maybe honey and a mix of water. But definitely women’s gymnasts do it as well but particularly the ones that don’t use grips.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah I was going to say, she was in a rotation with Yao Jinnan and Larisa Iordache and Shang Chungsong. So one of them was probably using honey I guess.
JENNI: Yeah definitely. The ones that don’t have the full grips, the full protection for their hands, I think it just makes them stick better because they don’t have the leather. So like China, Romania basically.
JESSICA: This is fascinating. I never knew that any women ever used honey on bars. My whole world has changed.
JENNI: I just remembered as well. You know Imogen Cairns from the UK?
JENNI: Of course you do.
JESSICA: Of course!
JENNI: She uses honey for bars.
JESSICA: She used grips though right?
JENNI: She doesn’t use only honey. She uses chalk more. I’m sure I’ve seen her carrying around a bottle of honey. So there’s got to be something said for its stickiness.
JESSICA: Very interesting. I’m going to have to get to the bottom of this.
JENNI: I wonder if different types of bees do better type of honey for bars.
JESSICA: Yes! It’s gotta be. Who’s the best on p bars? And it’s gotta be the Chinese. The Chinese honeybees are the best.
JENNI: This is why the bees are doing out, because everyone in China, they’re not actually dying. They’re keeping them in a secret hideout to make special honey for gymnasts.
JESSICA: We’ve gotten to the bottom of it. So the other interesting thing that Aimee said in this interview was that she had to skip the basics and make gymnastics really fun for Simone because she knew she would quit if it was not fun. And then when Simone was mature enough to understand that the rewards of hard work can be as fulfilling as doing things just for fun, then they can concentrate more on the basics like form and artistry and that kind of stuff. Some people have read this and just been like oh my God. That’s the worst kind of coaching. To me, I felt like this is how a great coach, why a great coach is a great coach because you understand the individual and you coach each individual differently. So like Simone would never have made it in the Soviet system where you don’t do anything but conditioning for the first like two years of your life and then you’re allowed to play. And then all of a sudden, it’s fun because you can do tricks. This is somebody who understood her athlete and motivated her with the things that she needed. What did you guys think of that?
JENNI: I thought that was fantastic. I think all coaches should use that kind of philosophy. It’s obviously worked for Simone. She seems to love her gymnastics when she’s out on the competition floor. She’s always smiling. Everyone loves her bubbly personality. Obviously, yeah it’s worked, the way that she’s seen that Simone wants to have fun in her gymnastics and allowed her to do that until she realizes that hard work can bring even more fun as well. And looking at each athlete and each not even just gymnasts, I think all athletes should be treated and coached as individuals. And I think that’s what’s going to bring the most successful results. So maybe other coaches have something to learn from her. Like you said, she wouldn’t have done so well maybe in a Soviet system kind of thing.
UNCLE TIM: For me, it was reminiscent of how a lot of guys are coached, at least in the United States where you learn the big tricks first and then you go back and kind of refine them. I think it can be a good technique. I don’t know if it’s always the right technique. Because some people will end up learning skills the wrong way and bad habits are hard to break as we have seen from a certain person in the United States’ Cheng which is very wrong and takes off of one arm. So I don’t know. I feel like its….I don’t know. It has to be done right for it to work.
JENNI: I think you can still probably do it right though. I mean you can still do things and chuck skills and have fun without learning bad techniques as well.
JESSICA: This is why I feel like coaching boys’ gymnastics is always, as you know, I feel like it’s hurting cats but also really fun because you can just like throw them around and it doesn’t really matter, I feel like until they’re way older that they have to point their toes or anything. You see how their warm ups are.
UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] Yeah
JESSICA: I just feel like it’s a lot more fun than having to be perfect from the time you put yourself in a leotard.
UNCLE TIM: While we’re on the topic of warm ups, Jenni can you walk us through how podium training goes down at the Olympics for instance. What are the judges doing while you’re doing podium training?
JENNI: I don’t think it’s any different at the Olympics than it is at World Championships or even a European Championships. Basically, so it’s like a mini competition without the audience. You go up. You start on the rotation and you warm up except you decide how long you warm up for obviously within an allotted time. But you decide how long you need to warm up, when you’re going to go, and then each person salutes to the judge, shows their routine, so the judges can kind of get a sense of what each gymnast is going to do. They write some notes down I think, on your difficulty values and probably things they are going to look out for in execution. I haven’t talked that closely with the judges. But yeah, we always used to treat it as basically a pre-competition. And then afterwards, if you have time, you can repeat maybe skills that went wrong in your routines that you saluted to the judges. Maybe you know, if you failed to prove that you can do it and yeah you just go around all the rotations and just show what you can do and then march out again but without the audience and without the atmosphere etc.
UNCLE TIM: I’m curious because there’s also an interview with Rodionenko and he said in it that Aliya Mustafina was kind of surprised during podium training because she doesn’t usually like to train her routines 100% during warm up but she had to do it and she’s not used to that. She was called for “equipment testing.” Can you imagine, he asked. She’s not used to that. They gave her a score and later during the competition, the details of her routine were stored in the computer. Does that sound right?
JENNI: I don’t know. Who asked her to do a full routine if she wouldn’t have done it before? I mean, there’s no one who says you have to do your full routine at podium training. I can’t think, maybe just another coach or something. Unless they wanted, the judges specifically requested to see her shaposh full twist or something. So they wanted to see that element so they could then be prepared to judge it in competition. But yeah, I think it’s difficult to translate that from Russian.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah because I was thinking, if you’re going to do a new skill, you have to actually perform it before the judges during podium training, correct? Do you know?
JENNI: I’m not sure. I only know that you have to perform it in competition to get it named after you. I’m not sure how the podium rule works.
UNCLE TIM: Okay, alright. And there’s also an interesting thing in the article about the fact that gymnasts do not know what their skills are going to be valued when they’re working on an original skill. And I’m guessing that he was talking about the toe-on full which she caught in mixed grip rather than catching it in regular grip like Elisabeth Seitz does from Germany. I think that must have been what he was alluding to in the interview. I guess that just seems kind of ignorant on his part. I feel like if you’re going to do a new skill, you should talk to the Brevet judges in your country and see what they think that skill will be valued as. And if they don’t know, you should compete the skill at like a minor competition or something to see what the judges give you because that’s how Victoria Moors found out that the double double layout was going to be an I because she competed it at the Pan Ams and they gave her a provisional I at that meet. And so I don’t know. I found that part kind of ignorant. What did you think Jess?
JESSICA: I mean, the thing about this is I agree with his point actually. He said in here that he thinks that gymnastics should have a table of elements the way that diving is, which is basically like if you have this many flips and twists, then you know by way of progression what each thing is going to be worth. You could do that to a certain extent in gymnastics. In another way, you can’t do that at all in gymnastics because there are skills that you couldn’t possibly put together every combination and not everything is linear the way it is in diving. But I think that his point is well taken in that you should be able to know what a skill is going to be worth without performing it first. I don’t understand why that’s so hard to do. Why couldn’t you just submit it on paper and say if this is ever done, this is what it will be worth. Why do you actually have to perform it? Now knowing what it will be worth ahead of time is not the same as if you’ll be credited with it which is exactly what I think happened to Mustafina because she was doing it like a three quarter catching in mix grip and then swinging out with a quarter turn. And that’s why I think they didn’t give her a higher rating or have it named after her. By the time she was in event finals, she did a full Seitz and caught it in mixed grip. But I kind of disagree. I think you should be able to know ahead of time what it’s going to be worth. I don’t know see why you actually have to do it to know unless it’s something no one has ever seen before.
JENNI: Yeah I agree. That makes sense if you, like you know what they’re going to do if you can describe accurately, surely you should be able to work out what it potentially would be worth if you performed it correctly.
UNCLE TIM: Maybe that’s a problem with the women’s code because on the men’s side, it’s pretty straightforward. You know, every extra twist is just one letter up. On the women’s side, it’s very, the letters jump a little bit more. There’s a little more space between letters.
JESSICA: I think the other thing that he said that was interesting was you know, he was also complaining about how many petitions there are. The thing he made a point of saying you know this is something that needs to be taken to the judges and fixed. He didn’t call out other gymnasts and complain. He talked about how it’s a problem of the judges aren’t getting it right and there shouldn’t be so many petitions. But I also think there should be way more transparency because we don’t even know how many petitions were submitted and how many were actually, were the judges actually admitted yes our D score was wrong here. We’re going to fix it. I mean, we only know about this in the big routines. This is another thing I feel like we need to, that should be something you can tell. There should be a list somewhere. You should be able to see it during the competition.
JENNI: Like when somebody makes a petition, you want there to be a signal or something?
JESSICA: Yeah I think you should know. Instead of just saying, oh the score was changed. I think we should have a statistic each day. You should know, okay there was like 70 petitions submitted and 69 of them were accepted. That means the judges are messing up a huge percentage of the time and we don’t even know that. And maybe they’ll do their post Worlds report, they do come out. They do give a lot of statistics but like that’s way after the fact. You should be able to know that during the competition.
UNCLE TIM: Well so if you follow the live scoring and an asterisk appears by the gymnast’s name when they file a petition, but you have to be following the live scoring to know that.
JENNI: On the live streams, it came up and told you some of them but not all of them.
JESSICA: That’s why we need iPads and receipts.
JESSICA: So let’s talk about the interview that Nellie Kim gave. So whew people are not having it. I feel like Nellie Kim is kind of tired of being the butt of everyone’s anger and jokes about the code. She just laid it down. She basically said you know I’m sick of Russia complaining about me and their top gymnasts slandering me. And she said that there’s too much in-fighting in the Russian system. They don’t have unity. They don’t have a unified goal. They’re not working together and that’s what they need to focus on, not focusing on complaining about her and complaining about the code. One of the funniest things that she said, I don’t know if it’s just the way it was translated or this is how Russians talk but she was just like, in talking about Russia and how they feel like they’re not being recognized for their artistry and innovation, she said instead of taking ownership of their failures. Oh wait, I’m sorry. I’m reading the wrong part. Okay. So she says, you know the artistry that the Soviets have created has been lost. And now the Canadians from Cirque du Soleil teach the whole world about artistry. I just thought that was hilarious. She’s just like ugh the Canadians have taken this over. Ugh Cirque du Soleil is in charge. They’re not even gymnasts. Well where do you think all the Soviets went? All those great gymnasts and all those circus people, yeah, that’s the pro league for gymnastics now. So she kind of seemed also upset that that’s how it’s gone but also like it’s exactly how Jenni just said. That’s how the rules are and you have to play to the rules. The thing that I thought that was totally disturbing that she said, and I’d like to know how you guys feel about this, is she said “the Russians, the Ukrainians, the Belarusians lose to their rivals from other countries because they are weaker physically. Current gymnastics has become a very dynamic strength based sport. Frankly speaking, I feel uneasy when gymnasts with an athletic, not gymnastics body become world champions.” She seems to contradict herself there. But I find it very disturbing that she says I don’t like it when someone with an athletic, which would be stronger body, not a gymnastics body becomes a world champion. Uncle Tim, how do you read that?
UNCLE TIM: I mean I kind of find it funny since she was more of a power gymnast herself [LAUGHS] back in the day, but I guess that, I mean, I don’t think that it’s entirely true just because you think of someone like Produnova who was probably one of the strongest people ever to compete, just because she actually put the handspring double front to her feet. But I think that generally speaking, there is an ounce of truth to it. This year, we watched the Russians struggle with conditioning on their floor routines. They were, for the most part, huffing and puffing during floor. So I think there could be some truth to that first part. As for the last part about body types, I don’t know. I feel like it’s problematic that she, at least how it’s translated, it’s problematic because a gymnastics body can be many types of bodies. It doesn’t have to be the, how do I want to put this, the balletic style, we’ll just call prima ballerina style body. It doesn’t have be that. I’d be interested, I wish that I could ask her follow up questions. So like, what would you say about Kim Zmeskal in 1991? What would you say about and just go through the list, Shannon Miller in 1993 was she the gymnastics body or not? I don’t know. What do you think Jenni?
JENNI: I don’t think there should be, almost like discrimination against body type. If you can do gymnastics, then you should be rewarded for it whether you look muscular or not. If you’re getting to the splits, if you’re doing artistic dance, if you’re performing difficult tumbles, it shouldn’t matter what your body type is. I mean your body type is just going to make it easier or more difficult for you to do different aspects, like the artistry and leaps compared to the tumbling. I don’t think she should be saying she doesn’t like it when athletic gymnastics bodies become world champion because it’s not to do with their body type. They did the better gymnastics routines so it’s kind of irrelevant.
JESSICA: One other thing she said which I totally agreed with and I feel like I have said this a million times in not these exact words but with this intention, is she said that someone like Komova does beautiful movements on floor, looks elegant on the podium, but she performs apathetically. “Stooped shoulders and dull eyes, she doesn’t perform. She works. But judges don’t give her high scores. I don’t know what happened to that girl. Maybe she burnt out before the Olympics.”
JENNI: What would she think about someone like Simone Biles then? Because you can’t deny that she performs right? She’s not, she has alive eyes. And she dances to the crowd and to the judges. But she has an athletic body. So would she like her or not? She can’t make up her mind about what she’s looking for in a gymnast.
UNCLE TIM: I think the Komova part was referring to 2011 and the fact that Komova during the all around pouted while she was doing her floor routine. There’s no other way to put it. And so I think that’s her way of responding to everyone claiming that Komova should have won. I think that’s her way of responding to that in a very subtle way but also a very planned way I would say.
JESSICA: Oh that would make sense. I haven’t thought of it that way. Because that’s also her way of explaining artistry versus performance. Yeah the Russians might think oh we have the perfect body type. We’re so innovative and we’re keeping artistry alive. But if you can’t sell it, if you can’t perform, if it doesn’t register anywhere on your being except in your limbs, that’s not a performance. That’s not artistic gymnastics.
JESSICA: Dvora Meyers is back to talk about Ferlito-gate, the comments that Carlotta Ferlito of Italy made after all around finals and then again after event finals. Dvora has written two pieces on this subject. One can be found on her blog at Unorthodox Gymnastics. The other can be found on Deadspin. And her Deadspin piece was selected by The Atlantic as one of the pop culture pieces of writing of the week, a great honor for Dvora so we’re very proud of her for that. And that article is called “Are Black Gymnasts the New Black Quarterbacks?” Okay, so Dvora you’ve written two articles, a blog post and an article this week talking about Ferlito-gate as we’ve started to refer to it. Can you just give everybody kind of a breakdown to follow the whole thing, a timeline of exactly what happened?
DVORA: So Carlotta Ferlito is an Italian gymnast. After the all around finals, when speaking to the Italian media, she mentioned a conversation that she had had with Vanessa Ferrari. She said, “Vanny if we also paint our faces black we could also win”, referring to Simone Biles, who was the winner. And then I believe, it’s two days later because it’s the second day of event finals after beam finals. It was a little bit controversial what happened. The Americans put in two appeals and they both were accepted and Simone Biles’s score was increased by two tenths. Her start value was increased by two tenths and she went from fifth to third ahead of Vanessa Ferrari and Ferlito. Ferlito was pretty upset about this which is understandable. She was closer to the podium and now she’s a little bit further and she complained that you know the Americans and again really focused her energies on Simone Biles saying that it just wasn’t good. She didn’t deserve to have her score raised. It was because of the Americans’ influence that this happened. So that’s the timeline. I think what’s confusing to a lot of gymnastics fans is that those comments, I think the beam final comments, they were immediately known. And the all around final comments were in Italian and it took a little while for us to know what she said. People at first thought that she was just upset about what happened to her in beam finals and misspoke, when really she had spoken about Simone Biles before there was any dispute over scoring. I think it’s a really important chronology to get straight before we start parsing about what she said about Simone.
JESSICA: Yeah I think the stuff she said after beam finals were in Italian but the people that said oh if you think this is bad, you should have heard what she said after all around finals and it was then that it became more widely translated and known what she said after all around finals. So alright, let’s break this down. You did a great job of this in your articles, as you always do. Before we get into the big implications of how this affects gymnastics, can you talk about specifically what happened that made this so much worse after Ferlito made her comments, then what the Italian Gymnastics Federation said and what they really implied with their comments?
JESSICA: Chiarelli yeah
DVORA: Well basically what he talked about was not just what Ferlito said but tried to explain what she said in terms of gymnastics as a whole. First of all, any time someone tries to explain racist comments instead of apologizing for it, you know it’s about to get really really awful. You know you have nowhere to go but down. At least Ferlito apologized. So basically what he said was that she was talking about what she thinks is a current gymnastics trend that the Code of Points is creating chances for colored people as he put it and penalizing the European elegance, which when gymnastics was supposedly more artistic allowed Russia and Romania to dominate. And then he ends with a question because this was on their Facebook page, the Italian Gymnastics Federation Facebook page. It was meant to inspire discussion. And he said is gymnastics suiting colored features more and more to the point that athletes wish they were black? He’s saying, I mean there’s so much implied here. There is a trend, opening up chances for colored people, meaning consciously or subconsciously the people who are writing the Code of Points are trying to be more inclusive supposedly of colored people and penalizing, so again it’s not just that we are trying to create opportunities for supposedly one type of gymnast. Others are getting punished. The classic sort of affirmative action way that people who are against affirmative action view it, that by creating opportunities, you punish another group of people who are deserving. And that’s kind of implying that there’s an affirmative action in gymnastics?! It’s kind of a little bit crazy. And then he kind of tried to make it sound okay like no, no, no. It’s really just a question. Is gymnastics just so much easier for women of color that a white gymnast would want to be black? I want to break this down a little bit more but every time I repeat it, I kind of repeated it to a friend what was said. You kind of have to take a breath because it’s kind of breathtaking what was just said in the year 2013 about a world champion and black athletes in general. I mean does this not drive you a little bit crazy?
JESSICA: Yeah I can’t even believe this was said. I mean knowing about Italy and their history of their soccer games have been stopped because of fans doing disgusting racist things, black soccer players. There have been incidents where they had their first black minister in the government and she’s just had to endure disgusting things. So knowing what goes on in the government and what goes on in Italy in general, it’s not totally surprising that this happened. But just to think that the people in the federation didn’t know better and aren’t more educated, it just totally makes me sick. But let’s go back to, what he implies too is that the Russians or Romanians were not acrobatic at all
JESSICA: and that they were just totally elegant and won just on split leaps.
DVORA: Yeah, because the sport of gymnastics is really just dance. And it’s always been dance. They dominated. Olga Korbut was known for her dance. Wasn’t she? Nadia Comaneci
JESSICA: Yeah exactly. They didn’t know flips.
DVORA: Yeah so what he’s doing there is he’s basically saying, he’s equating Eastern European, meaning white with elegance and artistry. And he’s equating powerful and athletic and all of those other terms that kind of are synonymous with that with black people and he’s pitting them against each other. He’s setting them up as mutually exclusive categories. We know that you can both be artistic and powerful at the same time. But he’s saying you can’t. That’s also tapping into I think the gymnastics, fan, judges, coaches, athletes’ anxiety about the direction of the sport. He’s basically saying listen. Artistry is white people and power is black people. This is what he’s kind of setting up. And we’re all concerned that the sport is going in an acrobatic direction. So do we want the sport going in that direction where only black gymnasts can succeed, meaning that white gymnasts will no longer be able to succeed?
JESSICA: So I think that elite gymnastics specifically, I mean in the US club gymnastics is not like this and NCAA is certainly not like this at all. I mean we have a history in NCAA and club of having many African American champions. That’s what I mean. I’m not saying that no one in the NCAA has ever experienced racism. I’m talking about there’s a history, a long history, a 20 year history we’ve had of African American national champions in the NCAA and in club. But we are just now, elite gymnastics is breaking down a color barrier that other sports have long passed. Like the NFL for example, there have been black head coaches for a long time. There’s been black quarterbacks. You know, head coaches and quarterbacks have the same kind of prestige as an all-around champion would in gymnastics. In those sports, there have been studies about how commentators and about how people in the media talks about white vs. black athletes. And you talked a little bit about that. Can we learn something from what those sports have gone through and what the media and commentators have said there? What is this trend?
DVORA: Well in those other sports that you mentioned, studies have shown that the black athletes were more frequently described as powerful and athletic. And white athletes were described as hard working, intelligent etc. And you’re thinking, well why is this bad? So the reason that the language we choose to describe athletes is important is because it creates expectations. So instead of just expecting that anyone who makes it to the NFL and gets named to be a quarterback can probably do the job, we were questioning those guys, whether or not an African American could be a quarterback. And I think it’s the same thing here.
JESSICA: I want to thank Dvora so much for being here today and remember to follow her on Twitter at @dvorameyers and also on her blog over at Unorthodox Gymnastics. Thanks again Dvora. This week’s Worlds wrap up report is brought to you by TumblTrak. Have you ever had an assignment to stick so many routines, you did an awesome routine, you stuck it and all of a sudden, the mat slips and you end up looking at the ceiling? Or you’re doing dismounts and every time before start, you have to look around and ask someone to come over and hold the mat for you because if you don’t, you’ll end up face planting because the mat slips? Well if you’re tired of constantly being the one who has to push the stack of mats back in place, you know who I’m talking about. The people who never put the mats back in place, there’s a solution for all of this. Smart mat sheets from TumblTrak, they have nonskid material on the both sides, so you can put them on one mat or you can put them between mats and they stop mats from slipping. Smart mat sheets are affordable, fantastic and most of all, they work. Check them out at TumblTrak. That’s TumblTrak. Tumbltrak.com.
JESSICA: So let’s start with our Worlds wrap up. We’re going to go through our favorites and the things that really stood out to us. We’re going to kind of talk about where we think gymnastics is at this point, what changes are needed and where gymnastics is going in the right directions. But first of all, Uncle Tim, tell us about the data that you have collected and what interesting trends you’ve found after this World Championships.
UNCLE TIM: So one thing that I noticed in both the men’s and women’s all around competition, execution mattered a lot.
UNCLE TIM: So the top three gymnasts in the all around were also the top three executioners, as I call them. So they had the highest execution scores. In the men, it was actually Kohei Uchimura was the top, and then Ryohei Kato was second, and Fabian Hambuchen was third. In the women’s it was Kyla Ross was on the top, and then Simone Biles and then Aliya Mustafina.
JENNI: Do you think that’s a good thing? Should the gymnasts who perform what they can do be more highly rewarded? Or do you think people who dare to try more difficult routines should be up there?
UNCLE TIM: So to talk about the D scores, Simone Biles threw the hardest difficulty. So she had the hardest difficulty and the second highest execution and then Kohei Uchimura had highest execution, second highest difficulty and so I think that, I mean, for both Simone and Kohei, you had a pretty good blend of both execution and difficulty.
JENNI: Ok well then that’s kind of how it should be, I think.
UNCLE TIM: Then another thing that was a little bit surprising, but I’m not too surprised by this, but you how I’ve been keeping track of the highest scores, well only two gymnasts posted the highest scores in the world for 2013 during Worlds and that’s Kohei Uchimura in the all around with a 91.990 and McKayla Maroney’s two vault average of 15.724 during event finals. So only two gymnasts posted the highest scores in the world which either means everyone did a little bit worse than they have in the past or the scoring at other meets has been a little bit easier. I don’t know which one it is. But yeah I found that interesting as well.
JENNI: I was just wondering whether you were glad that McKayla Maroney tried the all around or sad because, her name slips my mind, what is her name
JESSICA: Brenna Dowell
JENNI: Yes, didn’t get an opportunity to compete.
JESSICA: I do not think it was the correct decision to put Maroney in the all around at an individual world championships. Individuals should be given a chance to medal or make finals on the events in which they are best. There was absolutely no reason to put someone in the all around when they have basically no shot. I mean you never know what’s going to happen but honestly, there was no shot for her to make the all around, especially when she’s falling on beam all week. I was disgusted by that choice. Maroney’s fantastic. Don’t get me wrong. But Brenna Dowell was robbed.
48:56-end (starts with Jenni “Yeah I just thought it would be nice…”)
JENNI: Yeah I just thought it would be nice if everyone who had worked hard and trained for the World Championships was given an opportunity to compete at the World Championships.
JESSICA: Amen to that. Another quote for our tshirts and bumper stickers.
UNCLE TIM: To play devil’s advocate though it depends on how you look at Worlds. Right? So is it really just about the individual Worlds? Or is it trying to build a team in the future? And what kind of role will Mckayla Maroney fulfill in your team? And to say that she had no chance of making all around finals is not true because she finished sixth during qualifications.
JESSICA: But she wasn’t going to beat the other two people from her country though. That’s the point. The rest of the world doesn’t matter.
UNCLE TIM: True, but like-
JESSICA: Bring it! Bring it I am ready right now
UNCLE TIM: Well if somebody had a meltdown right? Like yeah. A huge meltdown.
JENNI: And didn’t I hear that she was kept out of floor final because of some kind of technical music issue? Did you hear about that?
JESSICA: Oh yes. That is on our list. Yeah she went overtime. Overtime. At World Championships. How does that happen?
JENNI: That’s shocking
JENNI: Who allowed that to happen? Who didn’t time her music correctly?
JENNI: I mean I know that you can- so the maximum time limit for a floor routine is 1:30. If you perform for longer than that it’s a deduction right? You can have a piece of music that’s longer than 1:30 if you don’t start moving as soon as the music starts moving. You can only move within that music for 1:30. So whether maybe she was supposed to finish a little bit earlier or maybe start a bit later and she was a bit eager? But still that’s a ridiculous reason not to make a final. That shouldn’t be happening.
JESSICA: Yeah and she was one second overtime.
JESSICA: I would be so pissed
UNCLE TIM: You’d think you would just cut your music shorter so that you wouldn’t go overtime.
JENNI: So there’s no chance
UNCLE TIM: Yeah
JESSICA: Yeah. I’m just saying if I was her, I would be firing someone.
JENNI: [LAUGHS] I don’t think she has the power to fire people, but
JESSICA: She picks her coaches. That’s all I’m saying.
JESSICA: That’s- I would be like, ugh.
JESSICA: Anywho. Ok. So- oh our medal predictions. Who won our medal predictions?
JESSICA: We all predicted-
UNCLE TIM: No one
JESSICA: We all failed. That’s right. Because we won like eight or something crazy.
UNCLE TIM: You came the closest though Jess
JESSICA: Oh yay me! That’s nice. But the men blew away our predictions. We totally didn’t think and then they did really well. Yeah.
JESSICA: Oh yes I’m so interested in fashion [LAUGHS]. I’m so interested in fashion- I’m not interested in fashion at all except when it comes to accidentally seeing people’s butt cracks during a gymnastics routine. So ok I just feel like we need a new wedgie rule. This is out of control. There was a wedgie so bad at Worlds I was afraid I was going to see some vajayjay during her routine. And this is- I’ve never seen that bad of a wedgie at a World Championships before. And so I feel like we need to allow the gymnasts to pull their wedgie out. There just needs to be a rule. So basically I think because it’s not good for the sport. We’re in a day and age where someone will take a picture of that or take a video of that or and it will exist for the rest of that girl’s life. And it’s not fair to her. This isn’t like the 50s. That wasn’t going to happen. It’s everywhere now forever. And it’s almost pornographic. It’s just not ok. So I feel like to alleviate gymnasts of the pressure to not pull their wedgie out of their butt, we need to just say if you get a wedgie, it’s a .1 deduction no matter what. And you can pull it out of your butt like 10 times during the routine if you want to. But it doesn’t matter what you the gymnast do to correct it. It’s just if your leotard goes up your butt, it’s a .1. So you allow the gymnast the freedom to alleviate themselves of humiliation. What do you guys think? Will this fix?
JENNI: The judging of how good your gymnastics is- should you really judge it based on how well your leotard fits? Is that fair? I don’t think that’s very fair. So yeah, maybe they should change that rule.
JESSICA: Yeah or how well you can resist- how well you can still compete while resisting the urge to not show your butt to the entire world. Literally.
JENNI: So uncomfortable. So if you get a wedgie like that, it’s just, it’s unnatural. It goes against all of your instincts to just not touch it. So yeah.
JESSICA: And not to mention like seriously I was afraid for her safety. I was like this distracted. I was like doing the kind of skills that people are doing, if you have that kind of distraction [LAUGHS] I think there just needs to be a rule. It’s just .1. And that’s it. And just let the gymnast pull it out of their butt.
JENNI: She could’ve- I think that if they don’t kind of notice they won’t deduct though. So maybe there just needs to be some dance worked into her routine where she swings her arm down and has the opportunity to pull it out without being noticed.
JESSICA: You should just work it into her choreography like, DUN DUN and pull it out from one cheek the other cheek on beat.
JESSICA: Yes. So let’s talk about-
JENNI: I can imagine that happening in college gymnastics.
JESSICA: Yes. Yes. Oh there have been some bad leotard- like people get their leotards at the last minute instead of having time to try them out or make sure they fit. God.
JENNI: That’s not going to happen to me.
JESSICA: No it will not happen to you.
JENNI: I’m going to use so much leotard glue.
JENNI: Maybe honey as well.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Only the Chinese honey though.
JENNI: Yeah I’ll fly to China. I’ll find the secret bee store. I’ll take the honey. It’ll be cool. I’ll be [inaudible].
JESSICA: Imported. Ok so Uncle Tim, what was your favorite- or what do you think the best single skill performed in all the World Championships was?
UNCLE TIM: Well I mean it’s a tie between Oleg Verniaiev’s straddle plange on high bar and Sam Mikulak’s autoasphyxiation chin stand on high bar.
UNCLE TIM: Just kidding. I really have to agree with Blythe. It was undoubtedly Kristian Thomas’ yurchenko double pike.
JENNI: Yes Britain
UNCLE TIM: Yeah it was a gift from the gymnastics gods. It was so good.
JENNI: Mhmm. And he’s just so- he’s fantastic at vault. I’m so glad he got a medal.
UNCLE TIM: Do all the girls have a little crush on him?
JENNI: Oh Kristian?
UNCLE TIM: Yeah. I mean he’s the tallest one out there, so
JENNI: I’d say that all of the men’s team are crushable.
JENNI: In the UK. Crushable, is that the right word? Fanciable? We say that in the UK. We fancy them. Yeah we have a good looking team and a talented team. Basically we’re the best. But I’m biased.
UNCLE TIM: So those were mine. What about you Jess?
JESSICA: I was going to say Dan Purvis. He’s definitely- the older he gets, he’s getting more and more handsome. I noticed.
JENNI: See more British talent.
JENNI: We’re not just pretty faces.
UNCLE TIM: That was your favorite skill?
JESSICA: Oh yeah my favorite skill. Oh yeah. Ok. [LAUGHS] For me it had to be Kenzo’s quad. It’s just- he has better form than people in this competition who were doing double twists. And he was doing a quad. And the other thing that made that skill even better was King Kohei smiling out of his mind like a cheshire cat while he was watching Kenzo do his quad. And that made the whole thing even better. Because even when Kohei wins he’s so stoic and like I have to be humble. And to see him totally nerd out while Kenzo was doing his routine made it even better. How about did you guys notice anyone pull a move like Croatia did that year? Where I’m from a country where nobody really knows me so I want to really stand out and be noticed. She wore that- I feel so bad I’m forgetting her name. But she wore a purple leotard with a giant neck tie down the front. And so she really like everyone noticed her. Did you guys notice anyone doing a move like that? Standing out in that way from a country you wouldn’t normally notice?
UNCLE TIM: On the men’s side, a guy from Egypt Ali Zahran did the opposite of what Fadwa did. The scary handspring double front.
JESSICA: Oh no
UNCLE TIM: No he did something really great. So he does a victorian. And it’s pretty much the hardest rings strength skill in the entire world.
JESSICA: This was thought to be impossible for a long time right?
UNCLE TIM: Yeah and he does it really well. And he also submitted a skill to the FIG using the victorian as a strength skill. And so that was a good thing. A good way of a person from an unknown country standing out. Unfortunately they didn’t show the routine on the internet, and I haven’t seen a video of it yet. But I think according to the FIG’s list of skills that were approved, he actually did his own skill. His eponymous skill.
JESSICA: That’s awesome. Is he one of the guys- I hate to be totally American centric right here but I’m just going to do it anyway. There were so many guys who competed in the NCAA at Worlds that I had no idea they were living in the US competing in NCAA. Is he one of them?
UNCLE TIM: No.
JESSICA: Ok. Just in case I could claim some national pride for Egypt and him, I was going to do it. But. Jenni, anybody stand out for you?
JENNI: Well I wouldn’t say she’s from an unknown country, but-
JENNI: Well ok. But Vasiliki Millousi, did you see her interesting leotard in the all around final?
JESSICA: The pink one with the dominatrix X?
JENNI: Yeah what did you think?
JESSICA: I’m torn. Because I feel like she can wear that, whereas anyone else wore it I would be horrified. But I have a special soft spot for her. I liked her all around finals way better. The one that was white with the gold.
JENNI: Yeah that one made me feel a bit weird. When she’s doing her all slow kind of fancy dance on the floor. I don’t really know how to feel.
JENNI: Kind of seductive like I don’t know.
JESSICA: So she made you feel something though? As opposed to nothing-
JENNI: Well yeah. That is something to be said. But I don’t know if it was a comfortable feeling.
JENNI: Maybe for the male viewers, I don’t know.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Felt like you should cover your eyes a little bit, like you shouldn’t be watching. Yes. I understand.
JENNI: Yeah. Mhmm.
JESSICA: I liked her routine. I thought she could pull it off because it was authentic to her. Whereas opposed to-
JENNI: Only she could pull it off.
JESSICA: Yes. Whereas opposed to other gymnasts who would try to do something like that and you would just be like oh my god. Yeah.
JENNI: Yeah. But good for her. She’s like 29 isn’t she now?
JENNI: She’s 29 and she’s putting Greece on the map.
JENNI: Good for her
JESSICA: How about most improved choreography or best choreography for either men or women in this competition? Uncle Tim?
UNCLE TIM: I’m going to have to go with Kyla Ross on this one for best choreography. I mean comparatively speaking, if you look at the entire history of gymnastics, maybe not the best. But for this meet I think that I really liked the little section right after her second tumbling pass where the little woosh woosh sound comes in which sounds a little like a whip. And she flicks her wrists and she usually has this little haughty face going on. And it just reminds me of like an evil queen or something and I love that. On the men’s side, there was a guy named Michael Makings of South Africa. And he submitted a skill that did not get accepted. But he really submitted it so that the FIG would allow him to compete it. And it’s basically almost like a very big version of the worm on your back. So you jump from your feet to your hands in kind of an arching motion then roll down.
JESSICA: It is so cool I love it.
JENNI: I haven’t seen that. Is it like breakdancing?
JESSICA: Yes except like 10 feet in the air. Ok it’s not that high but it looks so huge.
JENNI: What I love is what Max Whitlock does when he does a handstand and spins round and round in circles on his hands. Like jumping.
JESSICA: Air flare
JENNI: Is that what it’s called?
JENNI: Yeah I love that. He can do I think he did it in training gym once. He did like 50 in a row.
JENNI: Mhmm. And he does like four in his routine.
JESSICA: We keep saying that someone needs to do that on pommel horse and pommel horse will be the most exciting event there is.
JENNI: Just counting up and up just how many they could do.
JESSICA: Just one
JENNI: A tenth for every extra one you do in a row. Imagine how long the routines would be then.
UNCLE TIM: Can you suggest this to Max for us? Could you text him or something?
JENNI: [LAUGHS] To just add it to his pommel horse routine? Just at the end. Just like keep spinning and spinning and spinning.
JESSICA: Just one. Just one air flare and he will win everything on pommel horse forever for the rest of existence. He can just keep doing pommel horse until he’s 70 years old if he can put the air flare in.
JESSICA: It’ll be worth like a Z
JENNI: Well maybe. Ok. I’ll have a word, I’ll have a word.
JESSICA: Ok yeah let him know what we think. Let him know. Ok I was going to say my favorite choreography actually was Max Whitlock on floor. He brought what men’s- the artistic part of men’s gymnastics. He didn’t just do tumbling because there’s a sport for tumbling. It’s called tumbling. He actually did artistic gymnastics and he brought the air flare. He did a jump 1.5 turn to prone. He added something that is supposed to be there and I totally appreciated it. And the other one it’s not really choreography but Becky Downie’s bar routine construction I also totally loved. I feel like that’s the direction women’s gymnastics on bars should go. And I just want to give her and her coach a shout out. I’m pointing to England right now. Giving them a shout out.
JENNI: Britain! Britain! This is why we’re called Great Britain.
JESSICA: Ah ha!
JENNI: Ah ha! See? There’s a reason.
JESSICA: So if you had to pick a hottest gymnast or coach at Worlds, Uncle Tim who would you choose?
UNCLE TIM: Oh my gosh. That’s so hard. Let’s see. So there was a Romanian doctor who was so hot. He was Dr. McDreamy.
UNCLE TIM: And then if I were straight it would totally be Vasiliki Millousi. She makes me want to be straight.
UNCLE TIM: And then also-
JENNI: This is why she makes me feel so uncomfortable.
JENNI: I just don’t know how to feel about her. She just, she’s great but I need to be male to enjoy it.
JESSICA: Girl crush. It’s just girl crush.
JESSICA: There’s a name for it. There you go.
JENNI: I’ll just go with it.
UNCLE TIM: There’s an Instagram hashtag for it. It’s woman crush Wednesday, WCW. Just FYI. And then also I have to say that Ryohei Kato. I don’t find him sexy in the sense that I want to jump his bones, but rather I think that I don’t know, he just looks like a porcelain doll and I want to put him on display because he has such a pretty face.
JESSICA: He just looks like he’s not real. And his hair as we talked about, whoever sells that hairspray totally needs to sponsor gymnastics forever. Because his hair never moved. Unlike some surfer boy medical students from the Netherlands whose hair was all over the place the entire time.
JENNI: Ahem Zonderland
UNCLE TIM: But when you have abs like that you can do whatever you want.
JENNI: And a high bar routine like that. Hello. He has- doesn’t have have a Madame Tussauds wax figure of him now as well?
JENNI: He does. I saw a picture and I thought it was him. It’s identical to what he looks like. And he was so cute in the high bar final anyway. Hugging Fabian Hambuchen, who I call Hamburger as a nickname. They were so cute weren’t they? Waiting for the scores. Hugging for quite a while actually. Little bromance.
UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS]
JESSICA: Exactly. I have to say there wasn’t anybody specifically because you know Igor wasn’t competing so no one can hold a candle to him. But Fabian and his hugs. I just feel like there’s something for everybody when Fabian does those long lingering hugs with all the men and the men are all mushed together with all those biceps. I really enjoy his hugathons.
JENNI: You want to be in the middle there don’t you?
JENNI: I can tell.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Well you know, wouldn’t hurt. Ok top three code changes that are needed. If you were going to change something right now, what are the top three things that need to be changed? This has to be addressed to save all of gymnastics.
UNCLE TIM: Save all of gymnastics.
JESSICA: Save all of gymnastics.
JENNI: Maybe the corner rule on floor. You know where everyone has to stand on one leg looking in the opposite direction looking like a flamingo before they start their tumble because they’re not allowed to stand on two feet to hesitate. Because every gymnast just does it. That’s the workaround. Instead of just waiting in the corner, now they’re just waiting in the opposite direction standing on one leg then doing a 180 degree turn straight into their run. Probably getting quite dizzy before their tumbles as well. So I don’t know maybe there needs to be an extra second added you’re allowed to wait so no one has to keep doing that. Because I agree floor routines should be a performance. Like Larisa Iordache, or Iordache as she’s supposed to be pronounced, does hers so energetically and she keeps going and going and it’s great to watch. But I don’t know, with the whole gymnasts who don’t have as much energy as her, just kind of wait on one leg which looks a bit awkward.
JESSICA: I agree. Flamingo rule needs to be changed. Uncle Tim do you have a fix for this?
UNCLE TIM: A fix? No. What about you Jess? I know you do actually.
JESSICA: Yes. Thanks for asking. Well. [LAUGHS] I think we need to go back to the code where you had to connect your dance elements directly into an acrobatic or running for a pass. So basically if you’re on beam and you’re about to do two back handsprings, you have to dance into your back handspring without stopping and go. No standing. And the same on floor. So if you’re about to tumble, you have to actually keep moving and dance. You can’t stand there and wave your arms like the Russians. You have to actually dance into it and go. You know?
JENNI: Yeah but see that’s acceptable. If you’re going to dance then tumble, yeah. But I think that’s what they tried to do with the no pausing in the corners rule. What they actually ended up doing is make people stand on one leg. Yeah they need to dance like, again, like Larisa Iordache. They need to dance and keep the artistry going and then tumble straight away but not just play to the code by just standing on one leg. Like this is like some kind of detail needs to be changed there to achieve that what they’re trying to achieve.
JESSICA: Yes this is why they need to have the spirit of the code. They can call it the O’Beirne rule if they want. And it has to be that you can’t just play to the code. It has to be the spirit of the code. So if they put something in here like you have to stand on one leg or whatever but you know the purpose is they want you to dance into it, if you just stand there like a flamingo then psht, deduction. Because it’s not in the spirit of dancing to the code. I feel like this has to be- this is my super cure.
JENNI: That’s a great way of putting it.
JESSICA: Thank you. I mean that exists in law, so why not put it in the rules? I mean, anyway. So the other thing I think is we need to go back to two tumbling passes. Seriously.
UNCLE TIM: Three. Three?
JESSICA: Three. Oh sorry what did I say? Two? Sorry no three tumbling passes. Three. There’s too much tumbling. And look at Ferrari’s routine. She does a double double, then a full in, then a double back. Like if you can do a double double, we know that you can do a double back. Thanks. We don’t need to see the double back. It’s just you should do your three hardest passes. One of those should have a front skill in it so we don’t have all these random front aerials and side flips just randomly thrown in.
JENNI: A little side somi just here and there.
JESSICA: Yes right? They don’t fit. It should be three passes. Throw your hardest stuff. Then the other one is on the beam. We should have the low to the beam requirement should be an actual element that has to be done low to the beam. Not just oh you have to touch your leotard to the beam at some point. You have to actually do a roll or a chest stand or a- it has to be an actual skill of value low to the beam.
JENNI: It’s so true that people and gymnasts and whatever literally touch their leo to the beam and get back up again to fit with that as well. And they’re not doing the O’Beirne gymnastics. They’re just filling the requirements.
JESSICA: They’re not doing the O’Beirne gymnastics! Yes! Yes! Love that. Yes it’s not the spirit. They’re just trying to get away with it. No good.
JENNI: Mhmm. That’s going to become a commonly used term now. O’Beirne gymnastics. There we go.
JESSICA: Oh my god that’s the best thing ever.
JENNI: Makes sense
JESSICA: How about any other rule changes that you guys think are absolutely needed? What about on the men’s side?
UNCLE TIM: I would say 1) double salto for men on floor. You need to do a double salto. 2) also I think that this yamawaki half and tkachev half skills on men’s high bar, they really suck. Nobody really does a half twist and catches the bar because they’re trying to catch in L grip and it’s really hard to do that skill and catch in double L grip. And so I think that they need to figure out something to do with that. On the women’s side I also say that the vault tables need to be fixed. When it comes to all around competitions, the scores are very high on vault compared to the other events. And so I think that they either have to find a way to come down harder on execution, or lower the start values on vault. And then I also on beam- I have a lot of problems with beam right now because I feel like all connections should be dynamic. So there should be no arm swing connections anymore. I’m sick of them. For instance, Sasada of Japan, she can do a straddle jump punch wolf jump. And if she can do that, everyone else can. And I don’t know I’m also sick of aerial front walkover to back handspring. This isn’t the first time that we’ve ever really seen that pass. In 1981 there were a bunch of arm swing acro connections too. And they eventually got rid of them. And I think we need to get rid of them again. That’s just my opinion though.
JESSICA: I agree. You should have to rebound into something for it to be a series.
JENNI: While we’re speaking about Worlds and beam, I was so sad that Sanne- is it Wevers or Wevers from the Netherlands?
JENNI: Yes, right? You feel my pain. She fell straight away. Gets on the beam, falls off, pressure got to her. But her routine is so unique and different and exciting. And she just keeps spinning like a top. And it’s really cool. And I wanted her to get in the final and maybe even medal just to mix things up a bit. But yeah, she fell off on her mount. And then I think she fell again after that. So.
JESSICA: It was heartbreaking. I was almost in tears.
JENNI: I know
JESSICA: So sad
JENNI: But there’s still hope.
JESSICA: Yes. I hope she’ll be like this will never happen again. Very distressing. So what about things that you guys liked about the coverage?
JENNI: Yeah one thing that was great for me watching on my laptop was how they did the slow motion replays afterwards. Because gymnastics in slow mo a) looks so impressive because you can see every tiny change that’s made in a split second that with the naked eye you can’t appreciate. And also I could get fantastic screenshots from the videos, so that was great for my blog as well.
JESSICA: Yes. Screenshots are so important. What would the gymnastics fandom be? What would the gymternet be without screenshots?
JENNI: What would Tumblr be?
JESSICA: Tumblr would just cease to exist. Uncle Tim how about for you?
UNCLE TIM: 1) Bart Conner. 2) Bart Conner. And 3) Bart Conner. He’s my favorite commentator and we got to hear his lovely voice on Universal Sports.
JESSICA: I know I wish I had Universal Sports just so I could hear him because he’s fabulous and positive. So I loved that after I tweeted to the FIG that they should stop showing slow motion replays of women doing kips on bars directly in line with their crotches so you could see it all in slow motion, they stopped that. And I’m sure it’s because I tweeted at them. I appreciated that. That they stopped the slow motion crotch shots.
JENNI: You’ve got the power girl
JESSICA: I’m telling you, it’s all because of me. I’m just going to say. And then I love the, exactly the slow motion replays were fantastic. And I also like that instead of- they showed the scores, they showed the standings over and over, you always knew the D score and the E score and the final score. And they also showed actual gymnastics continuously. We only saw people standing on the sidelines cutting their tape off or hugging when it was appropriate for a second while we were waiting for something else. They didn’t waste time with all the sideline stuff. We just saw gymnastics routine after routine after routine after routine. And I just love that. I thought they did a great job. I was really happy with this.
JENNI: I thought they illustrated what was going on, the story, a little bit better of the competition. They only showed the relevant bits. They didn’t show people just sat with their coach. And they get those long shots where the gymnast doesn’t know what to do because they know they’re being filmed and they just kind of sit there and then they wave and then they’re still being filmed so then they just kind of look away, trying not to look at the camera. So yeah there wasn’t as much of that so that was good. Then they showed just little bits that were relevant. Like Aliya Mustafina writing her scores down when they were showing how there had been petitions and stuff. So yeah.
UNCLE TIM: Although the best part of the entire meet was the Sam Mikulak dance cam and the USAG little footage of the dance cam and Sam dancing. I thought that was great too.
JESSICA: It was genius. It got on one of the talk shows here. Andy what’s his name? Where Oprah was on and had cocktails and talked about- I don’t know what the show is called. Andy someone. Anyway. Oprah’s been on so it’s a huge deal even though I can’t remember what it’s called. So it was a genius marketing move and totally enjoyable worldwide.
UNCLE TIM: So what do you guys think- were there any places where you thought the judges got it wrong? I know a lot of people on the gymternet are saying Mai Murakami should have won bronze. Also there’s the whole question of whether Simone Biles, her petition should’ve been accepted and she should’ve received connection bonus for her leap series into her back tuck. What did you guys think? Were there any places where you thought the judges were wrong?
JENNI: I hate becoming a judge myself because I know obviously firsthand how hard gymnasts work. And I like to appreciate all the different gymnasts and appreciate what’s good about what all of them can do. But yeah Murakami on floor, the little Japanese girl, she’s so adorable. I mean she does this amazing routine with difficult tumbles. She does double double and double layout and she nails them and she dances like- I want to just hug her she’s so cute. And then she’s quite serious in the routine and then she’s not afraid to just be herself and just jump up and down and squeal with glee when she’s done. Run off and wave. So I think she’s endearing to people watching and that’s maybe why people would’ve loved to see her win bronze. But I can’t- I’m not a judge myself so I’m not going to debate with particular scores and things.
JESSICA: Luckily, I have no problem with that and I think she-
JESSICA: was absolutely robbed. And I am offended. And I want to apologize to the entire country of Japan for her not winning the bronze because she totally should’ve got it. Because if you watch that routine, her form in the air is perfect. It’s perfect perfect perfect. And then we have Ferrari who I love Ferrari, she’s did a great routine. Her deductions in the air like nobody’s business. Everything she does in the air has multiple deductions. Mai Murakami, perfect in the air. How she got an 8.2 in execution while Ferrari got an 8.4 and Iordache got an 8.5? Mmm. No. I do not understand this. And I totally agree that she was robbed. Uncle Tim what about on the men’s side? Anyone robbed? Any injustices we need to right right here on the air now?
UNCLE TIM: I think maybe Kristian Thomas. I could see him switching Kristian Thomas and Steven Legendre on vault. So Kristian Thomas would end up with the silver and Steven Legendre maybe ends up with bronze. Because I do feel like Kristian Thomas’ first vault was maybe a little underscored in execution. But I don’t really have any huge complaints for the most part on the men’s side. My biggest heartbreak though for the men’s side was the fact that Oliver Hegge of Switzerland broke his grip and then did not get his new grips in time to mount the high bar. So once you hit the mat and once you stand up, you have 30 seconds to remount the high bar. And he- so had he stayed on the ground, not gotten up, and his coach brought him a new pair of grips, it would have been all fine. But because he got up, he didn’t have 30 seconds. And I guess what really bothers me is that they enforce this rule. But then there’s this rule in the code of points which says you have to have skin colored bandages, otherwise it is not appropriate. Did they enforce that rule? No.
UNCLE TIM: Nope
JENNI: Yeah that was so mean
UNCLE TIM: So it’s like, which rules are you going to enforce, FIG? Are you going to enforce all of them or just some of them? You have to enforce all of them, otherwise you look like a giant hypocrite.
JENNI: Mhmm. Mhmm. And I know- why should you get 30 seconds if you stand up compared to if you lie down? That’s just- again with these technical rules, like the music rule and the pulling the wedgie out rule. These aren’t- you’re not judging gymnastics. You’re just judging all these technicalities and it’s not fair. He should’ve been given a chance to finish his routine. And I think didn’t the crowd boo? When he was not allowed-
UNCLE TIM: Yeah
JESSICA: Booed the judges
JESSICA: And the other thing is, who can put grips on in 30 seconds? No one can put their grips on in 30 seconds. It’s not a 30 second operation. There’s no way. And I just feel like there should be a special rule for equipment failure. If it was the high bar that broke instead of his grip that broke, there would be a special dispensation. But because it’s his equipment, not the FIG’s equipment, he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt? I don’t agree. Because even if your grips break- and everybody knows there’s been a lot of talk about problems with grips breaking right now. And a lot of people have been questioning why is this happening and is the quality going down. Something that’s a worldwide, I don’t know, cowhide problem.
JESSICA: But it’s like you know there’s been discussion- maybe it’s like the bees. You know it’s I just feel like it’s not fair when it’s not the gymnast’s fault that the grip broke. And no one’s going to purposely do that to their grip. I’m going to-
UNCLE TIM: Yeah
JESSICA: cut it a little bit. Because you’re risking your life if that happens. So it’s just a ridiculous rule. This is going in my letter to Grandi too.
UNCLE TIM: My other rule change-
JENNI: I al-
UNCLE TIM: Oh sorry
JENNI: Carry on
UNCLE TIM: I was going to say my other rule change is that Philipp Boy must be present at every major international gymnastics meet. And if he is not, he must go on a date with one of the members of the GymCastic crew.
JENNI: I’m up for that
UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS]
JENNI: I mean I might have to check with my boyfriend but I’m sure he’d be fine with it.
JENNI: Oh while we’re on heartbreaks as well, I am heartbroken for- well I’m so pleased for Rebecca Downie- well all of Great Britain. I think they did a great job. But I’m especially pleased with how Becky Tunney and Ruby Harrold made it into finals in their first World Championships. Was great. Then Ruby and Becky specifically making it to bar finals. Two out of the eight gymnasts in the bar final from Great Britain. That’s amazing. But it makes me so sad that Becky Downie didn’t- wasn’t able to do her routine the same as she can do in qualification. Because she works so hard and she can do that routine like 100%. She can do it. And it’s so- like you said you love the new routine and the combinations and connections. And I just wish she can pull it out in a final and get the recognition she deserves and get a medal or something. Because my heart breaks for her when she does it so well and she got so close to the end and didn’t quite make it.
JESSICA: Uncle Tim any other heartbreakers for you?
UNCLE TIM: Krisztian Berki not making pommel horse finals. It’s not a rule problem, he just fell off and he messed up. But that really kind of sucked.
JESSICA: That was like a shocker.
JENNI: And Dan Keatings
UNCLE TIM: Yeah him
JENNI: It can happen to anyone. He was European champion. And then- him, Berki
JESSICA: So what is the FIG doing right? What’s right in the code right now? What are you guys happy with and want to see more of it?
UNCLE TIM: Nothing
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] There’s got to be one thing
JENNI: Well I like that they’re trying to put more artistry in floor routines. Although they need to do it the O’Beirne way.
JENNI: You were right about that. What are they doing right-
UNCLE TIM: I think that they- one thing that I really liked was the fact that you could go online and see which judging were judging which events. And so it takes away a little bit of the, how do i-
JESSICA: Cloud of secrecy
UNCLE TIM: Skepticism, secrecy, the whole paranoia surrounding judging. And “oh my gosh you know this Russian judge was judging balance beam and” you know whatever. And I think that was nice. And I found it interesting just a little tidbit of information that Donatella Saci of Italy was the supervisor for balance beam. And so she would’ve had a role in deciding whether Simone Biles and Kyla Ross’ petitions were accepted.
JENNI: What do they accept petitions based on? Do you know?
UNCLE TIM: D scores. It has to be D score. You can’t do an inquiry for your E score so it has to be D score. But I don’t know that we for sure know why they filed them. I think for Simone it was a question of her connections with her leaps into her back tuck. But as far as Kyla, I don’t know exactly what. And for Mustafina we think that it’s her turn. Because she did a 2.5 turn rather than a double turn. And so I think they were petitioning to get more difficulty for that skill.
JESSICA: So do you have to write down what you think the judges got wrong? Or do you just say D score overall?
UNCLE TIM: I do not know.
JENNI: I do not know.
JESSICA: It seems like it would have to be D score overall because you don’t know what they didn’t give. Until we have live iPad scoring, we won’t know. But when we have that- when Jenni creates the app for live scoring for the judges-
JESSICA: When you can just see, then yes.
JENNI: You want me to create an app for that?
JENNI: I’ll move on to puzzle games to gymnastics scoring.
JESSICA: Yes exactly.
JESSICA: So everybody can see. And the fans at home can follow along. You can score as you go. There will be like a live app so you can test yourself against the judges. It will all be out in the open so people don’t have to have these conspiracy theories about who’s slipping people wads of money under the judging table while routines are going on. It’ll all be, yeah. You could totally do this. This will be easy for you.
JENNI: If someone wants to contact me, fund me, FIG, make this app.
JESSICA: Yeah you could launch it at Glasgow World Championships. Be perfect time to try it.
JESSICA: Ok. It’s all settled. We have our plans.
JENNI: Yeah ok sure, just like that.
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: Let’s get into listener feedback for this week. First I want to announce that we are having a Halloween costume contest. Like we did last year. Oh my god I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see the stuff that people come up with this year. So send us a picture with you in your costume by November 1 to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it at us or post it on our Facebook page. But make sure you send us an email with the picture so you can be entered. And just like last year we are giving the winner of the contest your choice of a poster from Cloud and Victory. If you guys haven’t checked out Cloud and Victory’s site, oh my god, I love them. They are the only company making gorgeous clothes, sweaters, tshirts, jewelry, and posters for gymnastics fans. Iconic, beautiful graphics that will just live forever. They’re so incredible. Cutting edge design. This is not chalky handprints on the butt shorts. That is not the kind of stuff they make. They make the kind of stuff you want to frame and it’s art. It’s beautiful. I can’t say enough about them, I love them so much. We’re so happy they’re back sponsoring our Halloween contest. Jenni did you ever have any gymnastics contests? Gymnastics Halloween costumes? Did you ever dress up with a theme or do something at your gym?
JENNI: No. Maybe I should enter the GymCastic Halloween contest.
JESSICA: Yes you totally should.
JENNI: [LAUGHS] Ok.
JESSICA: Ok very good
JENNI: I’ll think about my outfit
JESSICA: Ok excellent.
JENNI: Maybe Vasiliki Millousi
UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] Only if you do the dance moves!
JENNI: Maybe not
JESSICA: Your boyfriend would be so excited. The other thing that we did based on last episode, we asked who your fantasy, your absolute dream choreographer for Simone Biles would be for her next floor routine. And we created a little poll and we put it on our website. Uncle Tim will you tell us the results of the poll?
UNCLE TIM: Drum roll please
JESSICA: [drum roll noise]
UNCLE TIM: So number one was Dominic Zito with 33% roughly. Number two was Svetlana Boginskaya with 25%. And in third was Sonya Taya with 20%. And so we’ll put up the results on our website in a little pie chart for you to look at.
JESSICA: Very divided. I think they’re going to have to fight it out to win her over.
UNCLE TIM: Between- yeah.
JESSICA: Put your bids in to Simone, why you’d be her best choreographer.
UNCLE TIM: Who do you think would be in a fight, who do you think would win in a fight, Dominic Zito-
UNCLE TIM: or Svetlana Boginskaya?
JESSICA: Boginskaya would kill them all. There would be no- there wouldn’t even be bodies left, no bones. Everyone would be gone.
UNCLE TIM: She’d bite them all, yeah
JESSICA: Ok so we had a bunch of letters after Worlds. And one of the ones that we picked- because we really wanted to hear Jenni’s thoughts on this. We had brevet judge write in, and she posed an interesting question. And that is, there’s judges from all over the world who judge at World Championships, but there are also judges who don’t have elite gymnasts in their country at all. So the question was kind of how are these judges prepared? Do they have enough practice? Do they have enough practice really judging competitions going into this? And maybe this is of course everyone has to pass the same test so of course they have the same qualifications. But her question was really how much practice are you getting on a regular basis when you don’t have access to the athletes in your home country to practice judging them. And so we wondered, Jenni have you ever noticed kind of a difference in the scoring when you go to different countries? Did you notice variations?
JENNI: It’s difficult to notice variations in scores between competitions because each competition is kind of- there’s a new base level. Like when the first person is judged, the rest of the gymnasts are judged based from that as a higher or lower or like it sets the standard. So you can’t really compare scores between competitions.
UNCLE TIM: Did you ever find that your national scores were higher than international scores?
JENNI: I think some countries at their national championships, they put their scores higher than they would internationally to make kind of a good impression on other countries ahead of other major championships. I think that the British system is pretty accurate in that we judge based in the same kind of standards as an international system. So we have a good idea of what we will score before we go out. We’re not going to score lower on an international scene and be shocked or disappointed.
JESSICA: Uncle Tim do you have an international listener shout out of the week this week?
UNCLE TIM: Sure. One of our Twitter followers is Periclistus Silva. And he is from Brazil. So yeah, it’s awesome. I think it’s our very first shout out to Brazil.
JESSICA: Yay. So, just a reminder you guys, if you have any questions for us, if there’s something you want us to answer, or if you have any comments for us, you can write us an email at email@example.com. We’re also on Twitter and Facebook and Google+ and Tumblr. And if you want to support the show, you can write a review on iTunes. You can subscribe to us on iTunes. You can even subscribe via email which is kind of awesome now because when you subscribe via email you get an email when a new show is up and it basically has all the same info we have on our website up except the videos. So you can check that out. You can download the Stitcher app. It works on all devices including Android. And you can of course donate to the show if you want through the donate button. Or you can shop in our Amazon store. You can buy one of the fabulous books we have there like Louis Smith. Fabulous, another Great Britain who we love. Who you know what, Jenni we think he should have his own fragrance. The Louis Smith fragrance.
JENNI: Oh he should
JENNI: I wouldn’t be surprised if he just releases one next week now.
JESSICA: Right? Ok so after you text Max Whitlock and tell him about the air flair on pommel horse, you should text Louis and tell him about how he should launch his own fragrance.
JENNI: Ok let me get a pen and paper and write this down.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Our full GymCastic wishlist for all of your friends. So everybody don’t forget the Halloween contest. Send us your costume pictures to be entered. And next week we will be talking to- we’re going to have a really special show next week. Next week we are going to have a representative from Safe 4 Athletes on and also Orange County Register reporter who’s covered a lot of the abuse cases in gymnastics. And they are going to come on and talk about preventing abuse in gymnastics. And talking about what you can do as a parent, as a gymnast, what to look out for, and different programs you can ask your gym to implement. So I’m excited for that. I think it will be a very positive way to look at this issue. And what you can do, what power you have as a coach, as a gym owner, that kind of stuff. So until next week, I’m Jessica from masters-gymnastics
UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym
JENNI: And I’m Jennifer Pinches, British gymnast. And my website iswww.jenniferpinches.com
JESSICA: See you next week!
JESSICA: And don’t forget to buy Jenni’s awesome awesome awesome game which I’m totally obsessed with and I love and I’m now playing it for the second time in a row and I love it! Laser Chambers. Laser Chambers. There you go.
JENNI: Thank you, yeah. Laser Chambers woo! Olly?
JESSICA: Yeah Olly right?
JENNI: Yeah he’s called Olly, yeah. Olly Williams. Yeah we used to not like him, now we do.
JESSICA: He got into an awesome Twitter fight with Simone’s coach, this-
JENNI: Oh really?
JENNI: He’s feisty
JESSICA: Oh yeah
JENNI: Yeah I basically I can’t remember what it was actually. He wrote an article, something about after a competition we ate Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to celebrate. And then he wrote all these comments like British gymnasts aren’t taking their gymnastics seriously, look at them eating ice cream, and what is this unprofessionalism, and this is why they don’t win medals and stuff.
UNCLE TIM: Oh woW
JENNI: Right? So I sent him a text message I think it was just saying I think that your comments on the BBC website are inappropriate and just in a formal professional way I think you need to realize the positive side of what we are doing and not focus on publishing things that- negatively interpreting things that are out of context. Like we were celebrating after the competition, blah blah blah. Anyway I sent him this email. And since then, he’s been good. So I sorted him out [LAUGHS].