CHARLOTTE: The passion in my heart just kind of faded a little bit. I decided that this just wasn’t for me anymore. I wasn’t willing to push myself through this anymore. So then, I had heard of trampoline and I was like, well I love trampoline. I’ve always loved bouncing and jumping off the walls and stuff like that. I mean, don’t get me wrong. It was not an easy decision to make the switch. It was hard. I mean I thought my life was over for a little bit. But I found myself again in trampoline. That’s what I want to share with everyone else. There is life after gymnastics. There is always going to be something for you even if it doesn’t seem like it.
[EXPRESS YOURSELF INTRO MUSIC] JESSICA: This week, the missing link, the secret member of the elite three. Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney’s lifelong friend, training partner, and fellow national champion Charlotte Drury on her way to the trampoline world championships.
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 58 for November 6, 2013. I’m Jessica from Master’s Gymnastics.
BLYTHE: I’m Blythe from The Gymnastics Examiner
UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym
JESSICA: This is the number one gymnastics podcast in the cosmos bringing you all the news from around the gymternet. There were a lot of exciting meets. We have so much to talk about. Let’s talk about the Arthur Gander Memorial first. You know, what’s so interesting to me about this, and I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Why are all these meets right after worlds? Like aren’t you exhausted and don’t want to compete in these? Oh but you’re going to have the answer about this so tell me.
UNCLE TIM: Well you can earn a significant amount of money for doing these meets. So for just showing up, let’s say if you won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics or at the 2013 Worlds, you automatically got $3000. It didn’t matter if you won or lost at this meet, you automatically got $3000 for showing up. If you won silver in London or silver in Antwerp, you got $2000. If you won a bronze medal in London or Antwerp, you automatically got $1000 and everyone else, regardless of their standings got $500. On top of that, you get money for your final rankings. So if you finish first in the competition in the all around, you receive $2500 US dollars. If you finish second, you receive $1500. If you finish third, you receive $1000. If you finish fourth, you receive $700 and it goes down from there. And then on top of that, you receive $500 for each apparatus you win. So for someone like Larisa Iordache, she got $1000 for showing up, $2500 for finishing first in the all around, $500 for winning vault, and $500 for winning floor. So she ended up with $4500 US dollars, which is a decent amount. Not as much as she won at the Swiss Cup but it’s still a significant amount of money.
JESSICA: Especially, I imagine in Romania, that would go you know, a little farther than it would here.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah
JESSICA: Interesting, that’s exciting that there’s money. That’s exciting that there’s enough prize money to attract people. I mean, I would have totally gone to this meet. This meet looks so fun. It’s the kind of gymnastics that’s going to be really pretty and interesting to watch, not necessarily the most difficult in the world, with some exceptions obviously. There’s some great competitors there. But I would have loved to have watched this. I mean, it looked super fun.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah and the other good thing is, let’s say you’re not the world’s strongest all arounder, you don’t have to compete on every event. So the women competed on three events and the men competed on four events. So there’s a little wiggle room for them.
JESSICA: So who are some of the standout competitors at this?
UNCLE TIM: Well coming in first on the women’s side was Larisa Iordache who competed on vault, beam, and floor. Second was Giulia Steingruber who competed on vault, bars, and floor. And then in third for the women was Elisabeth Seitz who competed on vault, bars, and floor. On the men’s side, the names might not be quite as familiar. Coming in first was Pablo Braegger who finished 16th at Worlds in the all around. Second was Andrei Muntean of Romania and in third place was Oleg Verniaev of Ukraine. Those were some very good gymnasts. Oleg, once again was on the struggle bus especially on pommel horse. But yeah, what can you do?
JESSICA: I don’t know. But he made up for it because at the Swiss Cup, let’s discuss the Swiss Cup, wasn’t it the Swiss Cup? Yes oh my God. He did the most amazing awesome thing ever, which is like pretty much hands down my favorite move ever and named after one of my favorite Japanese gymnasts of all time, even though the Brazilian commentators got it wrong and said that it was named after Tsukahara. Hello, giant fail. Kato was the most adorable, awesome, and cheery gymnast you’ve ever seen in your entire life. I was extremely offended. Anywho, tell us about what he did on the p-bars, the event that is always the make it or break it.
UNCLE TIM: For him, well one of them, yes. I think you’ve already kind of revealed it.
JESSICA: I did, well not everyone’s going to know. Not everyone’s going to know.
UNCLE TIM: He did a full twisting double back of parallel bars, which is the hardest dismount being done right now. Very few men do it. Marcel Nguyen of Germany does it and then a relatively unknown gymnast from the United States also does it, Akash Modi of the United States. Akash’s is probably the best in the world, even better than Oleg. It pains me to say that.
JESSICA: Oleg’s was good.
UNCLE TIM: It was good.
JESSICA: I think it was better than Kato’s. Kato’s kind of looked like he might die but it was so exciting that you don’t care. It was really pretty. He just did it so cleanly, which you always expect it to be like half the time you’ll probably completely wipe out, just one of those landings where your hands are still on your thighs when your face meets the mat. You know those landings?
UNCLE TIM: Yeah I got rug burn from one of those once.
JESSICA: Hmm hmm yep. It was so adorable when he landed too because he totally did like a Hambuchen meets Mikulak you know threw his hands up in the air like yeah. And it made it even better of course because it was like a movie because the Swiss Cup is the meet where they turn the lights down and they put a spotlight on each routine and everyone goes one by one. And then they have the music playing in the background and it’s the mixed pairs competition. You sit in the kiss and cry area like ice skating to get your score. The judges sit in the dark the whole time. Did you see how dark it was for the judges? They don’t even give them little lights like a conductor for an orchestra. I was like um so are you trying to say that like eh it’s for show. We don’t care. But I have to say I do love the Brazilians for putting every single meet online. Bless Brazil for buying the license for all these and putting them up on YouTube. Thank you Brazil.
UNCLE TIM: The little pirates in Brazil who are putting them on to their computer and upload them to YouTube, thank you for doing that.
JESSICA: Yes, thank you from all of us, from the bottom of our hearts. So what about, Iordache also did a kick ass routine. Hello, Romania in grips. Clearly this has been the problem all these years.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah so her uneven bars routine was the highlight of the meet and I never thought I would say that about Larisa Iordache. But honestly, it was probably one of the best routines. Everyone was making a lot of mistakes all over the place. But she hit her bar routine. She did a full pirouette out of her Stalder to an immediate van Leeuwen which is quite the impressive combination. I mean, okay yes this was not Aliya Mustafina on uneven bars. But for Larisa, this was AMAZING. Wouldn’t you have to agree?
JESSICA: Yeah it was beautiful and I really enjoyed watching her routine. She stuck the crap out of her dismount too. It was great. I just love to see a country flourishing and especially someone that has so much promise, just flourishing on this event that hasn’t historically been a strong point since Nadia. So yeah it’s great. I’m really stoked for her. So what is the draw for this meet? Tell us about the money. Piles of gold they give you in the kiss and cry area?
UNCLE TIM: Pretty much. You just go swimming in the nicest champagne you’ve ever bought. So last year, I don’t know the totals for this year were. But last year, there was a total of $100,000 US dollars on the line. And Fabian Hambuchen and Elisabeth Seitz took home the Swiss Cup last year and they won $30,000 US dollars total in prize money. So I’m guessing that Larisa Iordache’s doing pretty well this month. She and Andrei Muntean won the Swiss Cup so they probably have a few US dollars coming their way.
JESSICA: That’s awesome. I love hearing about that. And I love that the Swiss are like the Gringotts of gymnastics and so they just have their piles of gold and those bags and that they can afford to put on meets like this that have great prize money. And hello, every meet should have a kiss and cry area. I did it again. I cannot say anything. My mouth is still on vacation. Kiss and cry area. Because you see they have the kiss and cry area and they sit there and it’s all sponsored by the co-op whatever it was. Someone pays a lot of money for that. So we should have that at every meet. I mean, what would be wrong with that? You have to sit there for twenty seconds, big deal. Like then you can win more prize money. I think it’s awesome. Good job Swiss Cup. I think this meet looks super fun too. I love the idea of the theatrics of it all and the drama. I feel like this is what gymnastics should be more like. And that brings us to the most exciting thing that happened in all of these European tournaments of the winter or the fall. Fall right? The Tournoi Schiltigheim. Two different teams and Paul Ruggeri finally finally, we’ve been waiting for this for so long. Tell us what he did.
UNCLE TIM: He did his uneven bars routine for the first time in competition. I believe he was up against Elisabeth Seitz, so not a very even match. But yeah he did his uneven bars routine which featured a Gienger. And then he did one of those Kerri Strug dumpy little shoot overs. He upgraded his…
JESSICA: That’s an old school bail thank you very much. Old school, not dumpy.
UNCLE TIM: You just kind of dump it over the bar.
JESSICA: You just shoot over. It’s harder that way.
UNCLE TIM: It’s not harder. I could do that.
JESSICA: I know but you’re flying away from the bar. So you have to catch it. You have to have very strong hands so you don’t keep flying away from the bar. I mean it’s scarier to land in the handstand and it’s harder. But I’m just saying, it’s not dumpy. I mean it’s old school. It has flair. It’s classic.
UNCLE TIM: Ok whatever you say. And he also did his full twisting double tuck dismount which was awesome. So he did have a D dismount. Unfortunately though, I don’t know how this happened. His team, with Oksana Chusovitina, Paul Ruggeri, Anna Pavlova, Vanessa Ferrari, and Svetlana Boginskaya as their coach, they lost.
JESSICA: Clearly, these judges were also judging in the dark and it was all a set up. Because how is that even possible? I mean the other team did have Porn Stache.
UNCLE TIM: The other team did have Millousi and Giulia Steingruber and Fabian Gonzalez of Spain who’s also terrific.
JESSICA: I mean they’re okay I guess.
UNCLE TIM: I think Millousi listens to our show because she took out her little interesting floor sequence shall we call it where she gives a little (inaudible) you know, you and Jenni were talking about it two weeks ago. Yeah she took that out. It was no longer in the routine.
JESSICA: I wonder if she got a scandal deduction.
UNCLE TIM: I don’t know.
JESSICA: An artistry deduction for it. She might’ve been the first one all year where the judges were like no it’s too much. It made Pinches feel uncomfortable. That’s where we draw the line. It’s the Pinches rule.
UNCLE TIM: Nellie Kim in 1978 did a similar move. Just going to throw that out there.
JESSICA: Hmmm interesting. Well, we’re going to have to talk to her all about this. You know what she really needs to take out though, when she does in her beam routine, she does this lovely arch back over the beam and she lays back with one knee bent and one knee straight. It’s a beautiful move but she holds on to the beam. What? That doesn’t count. You can’t hold on to the side of the beam. It’s like hooking your feet on the beam like a little kid if you’re on a see-saw and then hanging over the side. No, you don’t do that. You can hold on to your foot. You can hold on to another body part. You can hold on to nothing. But you don’t hold on to the beam. No. This is against the rules. Everybody knows that. That should be a deduction. In the O’Beirne code of points, it’s a deduction.
UNCLE TIM: I can’t wait to see the full O’Beirne code of points.
JESSICA: Oh my God, it’s going to be fabulous. I mean when you open it, a unicorn bounces out and runs around the room. Glitter flies out. It’s like a 3D experience.
UNCLE TIM: It sounds very gay as well actually.
JESSICA: Well it smells like Louis Smith and it performs like Pavlova.
UNCLE TIM: Nice!
JESSICA: What more could you ask for?
UNCLE TIM: If Philipp Boy asks you to marry him or something
JESSICA: Yes! Yes! That is what happens. And you ovulate at the very end. The best egg ever
UNCLE TIM: TMI! TMI!
JESSICA: You don’t need anything else.
UNCLE TIM: Alright let’s move on.
JESSICA: Anyway, so clearly Boginskaya’s team should have won. That’s all we’re saying. I mean we’re not biased. Let’s discuss the US news. Now this is the business right here. So as you know, Al Fong has a blog and he, he’s a little bit, he does a lot of stuff about training but he’ll also post about his gymnasts. And you know that during Worlds, he posted that he wasn’t happy with Brenna Dowell being made the alternate instead of being allowed to compete on her two events and splitting it with Maloney.
UNCLE TIM: Maroney
JESSICA: Maroney. Oh my God you guys, brain still on vacation. Sorry it was awesome you guys. Seriously. I had the best time. Let me tell you guys, ten year old, six days, Disney World. I could sleep for like a week honestly. I pretty much did sleep the entire weekend. But I had a great time. Totally worth it. Now back to Al Fong. He said that Brenna took a little bit longer to get used to the equipment, especially vault because there was a wall right behind the landing mat and that kind of freaked her out. He also thought that wasn’t very safe. It just took her a little bit longer. But she was asked to do all around which he thought was ridiculous because there was no way she was going to compete all around and that wasn’t what they had prepared for so he was already upset about that going into it. Like why is she being asked to do four events two-a-day workouts when she’s only going to compete two and that’s what they’d been expecting. And then McKayla gets the spot and does all around instead of them splitting it and letting McKayla do two events and letting Brenna Dowell do two events. So he just wrote in his latest blog post basically USAG you can suck it and you don’t get her now because you had your chance and you lost it.
UNCLE TIM: Well I think that the most poignant phrase in the entire blog post is “Sorry USAG. You had your chance to let Brenna represent you proudly. Now it’s time for a much needed break.” So I think that kind of summarizes his attitude towards it. I think that it’ll also be interesting to see what happens in the future, if the powers that be will just say you know what, okay. You’re human. You’re reacting. You’re frustrated. And that’s what you need to do to get through this situation, or if they will kind of punish Brenna and Al Fong in the future. I’m not sure. I’m not sure what will happen and it will be interesting to see what plays out in the next year or so.
JESSICA: She was offered two World Cup assignments to Mexico in November and another one in December which I’m assuming is the one that Elizabeth Price totally dominated and kicked everyone’s ass last year. You know, he’s basically like we turned them down. So it’ll be interesting to see if, I mean I don’t know. There’s nothing in there about whether this is Brenna’s decision and she was like I’m too tired. I can’t do it. Or she was like I’m too burnt out right now. I feel like I was totally up for this. I was so excited and now I feel. You know or if this was his decision. I don’t know. In other news, Jordyn Wieber’s mom Rita Wieber, author of Gym Mom, has put up a new blog post and she basically talks about why Jordyn chose to go pro and her being at UCLA. She lets us know she’s enjoying it and she plans to wait until 2014 to go back to serious training. So we were wondering does that mean in 2014 we’ll see her again in competition or in 2014 she will make herself eligible to go back to camp. What do you think?
UNCLE TIM: I don’t know. It’s hard to say because I haven’t really seen her train so I don’t know at what level she is. Based on the Beyond the Routine videos from Gymnastike, it looks like she could be on her way to going back to camp in 2014.But it’s also hard because you’re a former world champion. And Martha’s attitude is usually you’re an Olympic champion and you don’t want to go out there and make a fool of yourself. You usually want to go back out there when you’re at the top of your game again and so we’ll have to see what happens with her. I think she could be back by June of 2014 for nationals and the other big competitions. What about you Jess?
JESSICA: I mean I’ve just seen her train and in person recently and oh my God, she’s so freaking buff in person. If you saw her walk into a room of other gymnasts, and you’re like who’s the Olympic and world champion in the room, everyone would point to her. She looks like she could just walk through a crowd and just crush people’s skulls with her hands. She’s so insanely strong. It’s just ridiculous. Her work ethic is insane. She just gets up and does you know ten of one of her skills, ten in a row, doesn’t get off the beam. No basics and she’s like ten in a row of this. Never gets off the beam. Never takes a break. She just does the entire assignment. If anyone can get an entire workout done in, I don’t know how much time she has to do her workouts in the morning or whatever, two hours or something she has. Because she can’t work out once the team gets there. I mean she’s a work horse. You can see why she got to this level. I have no doubt that she can totally come back and be at the level that she was before. She’s just, she’s a beast. Like I can see why her brother is probably jealous of her body. He’s probably like someday I hope to be as buff as my sister. Yeah, she’s like super badass. You can tell from a mile away why she has achieved what she has. I’m very impressed with her. And you know how I like it when people look so buff that they can crush people’s skulls. That is the measure of strength in my mind.
UNCLE TIM: She can come back as a gymnast. She can come back as a wrestler.
JESSICA: Right, which is also my dream. Someday this will happen. I’m telling you, one of these days. It’s going to happen. So what else is in the US news?
UNCLE TIM: Well a few weeks ago, Simone Biles had surgery on her ankle to remove a bone spur. That was quite a while ago. And then also, we found out last week that Nastia is going to join the NBC Olympic broadcast team for the Winter Olympics this year. What do you think about that Jess?
JESSICA: I’m stoked. I’m super happy for her. I really think this is a genius move on her part because the more she can establish herself as a good commentator, especially since she speaks Russian hello. I mean she was born there. She knows the culture, it will mean more for her career. And so I think it’s a great, great, great move on her part to establish herself now and also for us for the Olympics. I mean we’re going to have someone who’s young, who knows the current athletes, who has relationships with them to, and I didn’t mean that, I mean friendships. So I think it’s awesome. I can’t wait to see her. I really like her. I always judge how people like commentators by the gym moms who I’m friends with say about the commentators. And Nastia is the first one universally where people have said I really like her. Please let her stay as a commentator. She’s exactly who I want my daughter to hear on TV. This is the voice that I want her to hear. She’s educational without being mean and critical. She’s positive. I just think she’s a great ambassador for the sport. Oh and then ranch party hello. I guess this is what happens when the gymnasts are away. What happened at the Karolyi ranch?
UNCLE TIM: When the gymnasts are away, the Karolyis will play. So the Karolyis, Martha and Bela, celebrated their 50th anniversary party at the ranch. They had a bunch of their former gymnasts there. I’m trying to remember who was there. Kim Zmeskal, Rhonda Faehn, Kristie Phillips, Mary Lou Retton was there. I think Chelle Stack was there. So just a bunch of their former gymnasts there and everyone was smiling and looked happy. So it was good to see that all these gymnasts are willing to go back and support their coaches.
JESSICA: There was also a lot of orange. I’m just saying. There seems to be a little bit of fake tanning with the winter going on. Let’s talk about Russian news and former Soviet Union news. The first of which is that they had that Gala de Estrellas in Mexico and our favorite, our favorite, what is she our favorite of, Afanasyeva. She’s our favorite legacy of the bitch face gymnast. She carries it on. It’s a great tradition. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this.
UNCLE TIM: I don’t either. I was not expecting that.
JESSICA: It’s a compliment, not a diss. In the great tradition of Produnova, of Khorkina, of Boginskaya, she will let you know with her look that she is about to beat you handedly and you will enjoy it. So she went to the Mexican Gala. It’s kind of like an exhibition. It’s not a meet per se. People do like fun routines. They’re a little bit more watered down. They do dancy stuff. But the weird thing was you know, she did her floor routine with pants on. I mean like shorts. Like workout shorts with something written on the back in glittery. It just looks like she was warming up. What is your take on the outfit here?
UNCLE TIM: Well I wasn’t that surprised because I think Sandra Izbasa also did her routine in shorts. So yeah that wasn’t really that big of a surprise. And I’m trying to remember back to the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions. I feel like some people were also in shorts when they were doing the cross tumbling. They weren’t just all wearing leotards. So it didn’t really surprise me that much.
JESSICA: No but they weren’t wearing long sleeve competition leotards with shorts over them. They were wearing tank tops with shorts.
UNCLE TIM: Oh ok. I see your problem. Alright.
JESSICA: Yeah it was the competition leo. And so all I could think was like there’s some kind of waxing problem that happened before. Well I mean seriously. If you don’t know the person that’s going to do it, you end up with like a giant rash or something. I don’t mean like a rash but bumps or whatever. Did she have sponsored shorts? Did she get like $100,000 to wear those glittery shorts because I would totally wear shorts with a competition leotard if I got $100,000. So it’s very curious about the shorts. We’ll have to get your thoughts listeners. Please tell us what you think. I mean I always wear shorts when I compete so I think hats off to her.
UNCLE TIM: Uh who else was there? Oh Doctor, Dr. Andreea Raducan.
JESSICA: Yes I had no idea!
UNCLE TIM: Yeah she was there and she performed. She didn’t do any tumbling besides a cartwheel and some donkey kicks but it was glorious because it was Dr. Raducan performing.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Donkey kicks oh my God. Oh and speaking of fabulousness no matter what he does, sexy Alexei Nemov, jumped up on the high bar at Dynamo. He’s a dynamo. It was at Dynamo in Moscow and there was some kind of exhibition going on and he hopped up and did giants. He still looks good. He’s a little plumper but I don’t care. He’s hot. Nemov forever. That’s all I have to say about that.
UNCLE TIM: So you think he’s still sexy?
UNCLE TIM: Good. I asked Shannon Miller that question on Twitter last summer and she never responded to me so
JESSICA: Shannon, these are important questions. We need to know the answers to them. Okay and then we have, ok well so Chusovitina showed up in Japan. So what happened here?
UNCLE TIM: So she competed at the Japanese Team Nationals. And from what I understand, she is a member and coach of the Osaki life team. She was offered this position kind of since April. And so I don’t know exactly what she’s doing but yeah she was some kind of guest and competed for Japan. So she just keeps bouncing all over the place, competing here there and everywhere.
JESSICA: Isn’t Asahi a beer in Tokyo? I swear to God this happened when we were in Tokyo. My friend was like oh yeah everyone talks about that. That’s the sperm building. It’s like a giant golden sperm. Look it up you guys.I’ll try to find a picture of it, on top of a building and they tried to make it look like the foam on top of a beer I guess. But the way it turned out, yeah everyone calls it the sperm building. My friend just thought that was the funniest thing ever, which of course then I did too after he pointed that out. So Asahi beer. Yay for all these awesome sponsors. And then there’s the interview with Boginskaya. Boginskaya’s all over the news right now. She went back home after like fifteen years. She hadn’t been back. She posted all these pictures. You guys have to go look on Instagram. So exciting. And then tell us about the interview.
UNCLE TIM: Well I think we kind of already know this about Boginskaya. She talked about her training and how she worked her guts off like hell in the gym. They would say do a thousand v-ups and she would do 1200, speaking kind of hyperbolically, I would die and do it. And then after that she said “I was a bitch in gymnastics. It must not have been easy for others around me. Now I can only ask for forgiveness for everyone who came in contact with a gymnast named Boginskaya for her antics. But who knows? Maybe the only way to reach the top is to burn yourself in the fire of self-improvement.” I mean she didn’t say it in those words during her interview but the fact that she used to bite other children so that they would go home and she could be the best at her gym, I mean yeah, it doesn’t really surprise me what she said.
JESSICA: Yeah I just love that she said that about burning herself in the fire of self-improvement. It just reminded me. When we see a gymnast become iconic, they are usually teenagers or in their early twenties and that is a period of time where people totally change. You know, you’re not the same person you were generally when you are a teenager. I just thought about like God if I was the same person I was when I was a teenager, I would be saying the same thing.
UNCLE TIM: I was a terrible human being.
JESSICA: Oh I was just a nightmare. Nothing was my fault. Nothing. It was everyone else’s fault. Nothing had to do with my own choices.
UNCLE TIM: But also, what I like about the interview is that it shows her ability to be very loquacious and to be almost poetic with her words which you don’t get to see too often from gymnasts. That, I found very interesting. I didn’t really see that aspect in her before.
JESSICA: I think that’s also something that is great about what Rewriting Russian Gymnastics does. They have a really incredible top, top, top, top level translator on that site so we actually get, instead of these weird translations like we get from Bruno Grandi, we get something that can actually translate the beauty and eloquence of a language into the true meaning in English.
UNCLE TIM: Alright, Jess. Your favorite season is coming up! NCAA season is coming up! And that’s really exciting but we also have some bad news to report. What’s going on with one Miss Peng Peng Lee?
JESSICA: Oh my God, this is so upsetting. I had to take a nap after I found this out, that’s how upsetting this was. I’m not even kidding you. I just laid down for like three hours. Why? I will tell you why. Alright here’s what happened. So Peng Peng, she tore her ACL. She had reconstruction. She used an allograph which means you get graph from a cadaver body. So they’ll take out a ligament from someone who’s recently died and donated their organs and you put it in your knee and you hope that your body accepts it and your body falls in love with it. It regenerates and vascularizes and becomes really strong and works just like your ligament should. She had the surgery but can sometimes happen in this surgery and what happened with her is that her body basically rejected the graph. So it did not accept it and her body ate it. I have another friend who had the same thing and she just had surgery like a week ago. They did her MRI and they were like yeah there’s nothing there anymore. Literally it’s gone. So with Peng Peng, I think that’s kind of the same thing that happened. Basically she started to have some problems in practice and she started to injure herself on really easy things like a leap on floor or easy simple skills. It just shouldn’t have been like that. Basically what happened is her surgery failed and she needs a new ligament. The ligament was gone. It wasn’t stabilizing her knee anymore. So of course you know, I have many opinions about this because you know I have many opinions about everything. Let me just state the fact that the most recent studies show that an autograph which is when you take some graph from your own body, which could be your hamstring, they cut a little bit of your hamstring away or they cut a little bit of your patella tendon away, and they use that, a piece of your own body and use it as the ligament. The success rate is 95% with that. So I would highly highly recommend to everyone, even though I feel like doctors totally push, and of course I’m not a medical expert. This is just my opinion. I feel like doctors totally push the graph and don’t tell people, oh it will be so much faster because you’re using a graph and you’re not using your own body so it’s like so much faster to heal. But the thing is, they don’t tell people oh but if your body rejects it, you’re going to have to have this entire surgery again. And then like for Peng Peng, you’ve lost two years of competition of your whole life. So my personal opinion, I would always have the autograph, using your own body. But whatever. Some people it totally works and they have no problem. That’s my opinion. The thing about Peng Peng is that she has been through something like this before. She had a really serious back injury and the doctors told her you cannot do gymnastics for like a year or a year and a half. I mean she wasn’t allowed to do anything. All she did was condition and make her whole core super strong for a full year. And then she had to start gymnastics from scratch, all over again. In her interview about this she said never underestimate the power of the human mind. She’s come back from stuff like this before. She’s like I still have another two years before the Olympics and I’ll be back in time. I’ll be fine. She totally has confidence in herself. She has a freaking amazing attitude which explains why she’s such an incredible gymnast and has been able to come back before from something really serious. But it’s very depressing. I’m very depressed. I’ll be fine but ugh.
UNCLE TIM: So Jess, other bad news from a Georgia fans perspective. The Georgia exodus continues. Earlier this fall, Lexie Priessman announced via Instagram that she’s going to LSU instead of going to Georgia which was originally her plan. And now Brianna Brown, a senior elite who finished 12th in the all around at nationals in 2012 has decided to go to Michigan instead. Heather, one of our followers on Facebook asked us why we think this is happening and what needs to be done to fix this. And Jen, Jen. Jessica, I don’t know why I called you Jen.
JESSICA: We are a wreck. We may never take a week off again. Okay really it’s mostly me but yeah okay. Jessica, yes that’s me. Okay I’m ready.
UNCLE TIM: Okay let’s try this again. So Jessica, as our NCAA expert, why do you think this is all going on? What’s your opinion?
JESSICA: Well there’s a couple of factors. Number one, all of these commitments weren’t real letters of intent. They were just a verbal commitment and verbal commitments mean nothing which is why people can commit when they’re twelve years old. They didn’t but I think they committed when they were like freshmen in high school. The thing is, you’re a totally different person from the time you’re a freshman in high school to when you’re a senior. Some schools, I think Minnesota just gave an interview about this. They will not accept verbal commitments from people when they are freshmen and sophomores. They won’t do it. They want a real letter of intent and they want to know who you are the year, year and a half before you’re actually going to come to the school. So I think there’s a couple of problems. Number one, there’s pressure from schools for people to commit early. From what I’ve heard from people who’ve been recruited by multiple schools is that they’ll go on a visit and they’ll put three gymnasts in a room and they’ll say okay. We only have three scholarships available and we have four more people coming next week. If you don’t commit right now, we can’t offer you a scholarship anymore. So people are getting really really really heavily pressured to commit early. And then the other problem is that with UGA, they’d had this established coach who’d been there forever. A coach can be so important. In gymnastics, you are so close to your coach. They literally have your life in their hands and I think that when a coaching change happens and now they have Danna Durante there. It’s just not the same for someone. They may not have that same connection. So I think it’s no wonder that Priessman ended up committing to LSU with Ruby Harrold. So exciting, oh my God! I’m so excited about Ruby Harrold going to LSU. And you also don’t know if there’s some interpersonal problem, if someone is like I can’t stand so and so and I don’t want to be on the same team with them or people with different club members and they want to have a different experience in college. They don’t want to have the same teammates. Don’t anyone get their hopes up until someone actually signs their national letter of intent because that is the only thing that is actually official. The NCAA can’t regulate any of these other verbal commitments because they don’t mean anything. I mean I guess they could write a rule that says you can’t verbally commit. So maybe they need to do that. I don’t know. What do you think?
UNCLE TIM: Alright so one thing. Lexie Priessman committed while Durante was already there. She didn’t’ commit to Jay. Jay was gone by the time Priessman had committed or did her verbal commit. She did it last fall I want to say. So Durante was there. It wasn’t Jay who was there. So yeah. But I have a couple of hypotheses.
JESSICA: Tell me.
UNCLE TIM: One, I wonder how much Courtney McCool had to do with their original decisions especially with Lexie. When you’re a teenager, you want to be exactly like the people you look up to. And I’m sure McCool like a good alumna was spoon feeding the Cincinnati gymnasts the Georgia go-go juice. And now that McCool’s no longer at CGA, she’s at Texas Women’s University, they’re no longer getting the rah-rah Georgia kind of message. And then second, I also think you have to kind of think about how the college programs brand themselves right? So on the one hand, you have the legacies. You have Alabama who has Sarah Patterson and her legacy. Utah has the Greg Marsden legacy. UCLA has the Miss Val legacy. You go to those schools to be part of the legacy. And Georgia no longer has the Suzanne legacy. Besides winning, the Suzanne legacy entailed a rather posh existence.
JESSICA: Hmmm that’s the truth
UNCLE TIM: Because of their huge football program, the SEC athletic departments aren’t usually hurting for money. With that said, Georgia was known for quite extravagant expenses
JESSICA: Which they got in trouble for
UNCLE TIM: Allegedly this included taking seniors to New York on private jets to celebrate their graduations
JESSICA: Well not that allegedly though because they did get punished for that and lost a scholarship for a year. But anyway go ahead.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah and that doesn’t seem like something that Durante is going to do. A third factor is also education. When you’re competing with other schools like UCLA or the top public universities, Florida’s up there too. Michigan is one of the public Ivy League schools and then there’s Stanford, one of the top schools in the world. Georgia’s known for its obscure biology departments but it’s not necessarily a university that can compete academically in terms of perception. I’m not saying it’s a bad school. But it’s also not perceived as a top school and there’s nothing Durante can do about that. She can’t really change that. She can’t go to the university and say you need to hire better professors or whatever. She can’t do that.
JESSICA: Yeah when you compare Michigan, which Brianna Brown committed to Michigan, compared to UGA, I mean clearly Michigan is the winner academically.
UNCLE TIM: And then another factor is mystique. Certain programs just have a certain mystique. You go to UCLA and you get a coveted Miss Val floor routine, which you know Danusia Francis mentioned in her interview. You go to Oklahoma and you know that your beam routine is going to be one of the seven wonders of the gymnastics world. They’re that good right? Honestly, Durante doesn’t really have that mystique. She has a reputation of fixing programs which is exactly what athletic directors like. But that reputation isn’t going to attract the top recruits. You don’t want to go to a school that’s in the process of being fixed. And so I guess my question is so what can Georgia, just setting aside these two instances but, in the future what can Georgia offer these kids? Quite frankly, I don’t know what it is that they’re going to be able to, how they’re going to be able to set themselves apart. The legacy’s gone which was one of the big attractions in the past. The posh lifestyle is pretty much gone and so I don’t know. Durante has Brandie Jay and Brittany Rogers and so they could potentially become known as one of the best vaulting teams. I don’t know. What do you think Jess? What can Georgia offer future recruits?
JESSICA: You know it’s interesting because you know, when we had Tricia Woo on the show, she talked about how Durante was at Nebraska. She was there and she completely gave her the confidence to know that she could be one of the best beam workers in the NCAA. I think that from what I’ve seen of what she can do is give people the confidence to know that they can win and that is how Georgia became what they were. Winning, winning, winning, winning over and over and over and over and being super consistent. I think that that is a possibility of bringing that legacy back. The other thing is that I know that when Danna was at Cal, she did some really cool beam routines. They’re actually really unique and really different and a lot of people didn’t know. Cal doesn’t get a lot of coverage but they were really cool. She had a way of bringing out that uniqueness in each individual athlete and really showing that off and that’s something that gymnastics fans love. So those are two things: I think the consistency and getting people to really believe in themselves and know that they can hit and also having people stand apart in terms of their special unique abilities is another thing.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah I agree with that. I think that Shayla Worley last year probably had her best NCAA season ever. So I think there is some kind of ability to make Shayla believe in herself and help her really see her potential and realize that potential. I think that last year she kind of had a huge barrier because she had to get everyone’s trust and build all the relationships. She has kind of an uphill battle right now and she has to get everyone on board. I mean it’s hard for a coach. It’s hard to one the one hand be fixing and building chemistry within your program and then to have recruits come and feel chemistry with a group that’s trying to build its own chemistry. Do you see what I’m saying? Does that make sense? And so I’m guessing it’s really hard to do recruiting right now when you’re going through this process of building things back up.
JESSICA: At least they still have the fancy leftovers. They still have the incredible amazing training facility and they have their super locker room where they have their own makeup mirrors like Cirque du Soleil has.
UNCLE TIM: (laughs) Yeah
JESSICA: People like that kind of thing. Okay so in other news, we found out that the leotard wars are real. Very very real. So it seems that allegedly GK has poached some of Alpha Factor’s top gymnastics salespeople and Alpha Factor is now suing two of their former employees for breach of trade secrets is what it sounds like. This is serious man. I mean Alpha Factor is like home brew made from the trenches of Pennsylvania and they are serious about protecting their brand and making sure that none of their secrets are stolen. It’s getting heated. So we will keep you abreast of all the latest in the leotard wars when we find out what happens with this lawsuit.
[Sound Byte] JESSICA: So you know, one of the best things about having Blythe on the show is that she’s always traveling the world doing something fantastic for the world of gymnastics. There’s sometimes drawbacks to that. Like in the last two times you might have heard there’s a little background noise, which is very unusual. But of course it’s all worth it because we get Blythe and all her gymnastics expertise. So Blythe, are you allowed to say where you are right now?
BLYTHE: So at the moment, I am in Lausanne, Switzerland. And I really want to apologize for the background noise in this. I’m in a cafe and it’s been a little bit tricky with the internet so far. So that’s why I’m having to do a lot of work, including interviews for GymCastic, from a cafe. And there’s people all around. And they’re talking of course. And so I really do want to apologize. I’ll get things sorted out eventually.
JESSICA: So next week you’re going to be in Sofia, Bulgaria, for trampoline Worlds?
BLYTHE: That is correct. I will be there at trampoline Worlds.
JESSICA: Awesome. So we’re hoping maybe we can do some mini episodes like we did for Worlds. And I just got the most awesome news ever. Live coverage of trampoline Worlds on YouTube just like they did for P&G Championships. And who’s the most awesome European commentator in the whole entire world?
BLYTHE: That would have to be the incomparable Mitch Fenner from Great Britain.
JESSICA: Exactly. And he will be doing all the commentary on the free YouTube stream of World Championships.
JESSICA: Oh my god. If you guys haven’t heard him before, he is like- who’s the ice skating guy who is so hilarious? It’s like him. He’s just awesome. If you aren’t even interested in trampoline, listen just because Mitch Fenner is going to be doing the commentary. He’s that good. So we are so stoked. So we’ll bring you all the details on that. And look forward to some special coverage from Blythe from World Championships.
UNCLE TIM: This interview with Charlotte Drury is brought to you by Tumbl Trak. Alright so in July my adorable little gymnastics nieces went to the Secret US Classic. And the oldest came home and said to her mom- Jess guess what she said to her mom.
JESSICA: I want a tumbl trak in my house.
UNCLE TIM: Not exactly. Mom, we’re going to start working on my handstand pirouettes.
UNCLE TIM: She’s three
JESSICA: Of course she’s your niece.
UNCLE TIM: My friend, the little girl’s mother, responded with oh, are we now? And the little girl said yes. And she grabbed her mom by the hand and dragged her downstairs. Now in their basement they have the Tumbl Trak junior bar. So for the past three months, this little three year old has been doing bars nonstop. And she just got her hip pullover all by herself, which is awesome. But there’s one little tiny small problem. My youngest gymnastics niece is jealous. And she wants her own bar. So I’m thinking about buying my gymnastics nieces another bar for Christmas so that each can have their own bar. And so you know, if you want these magical bars that will make your youngsters want to become bar enthusiasts just like my gymnastics nieces, you need to head over to Tumbl Trak right now. You have to go over to tumbltrak.com. That’s tumbltrak.com.
BLYTHE: Charlotte Drury began gymnastics at age three at NGTC in Aliso Viejo, California, before transitioning to Gym Max in Costa Mesa. As a child, she palled around with McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross. And when they’re not traveling around the world to different competitions, the three are still inseparable today. Charlotte however took a gymnastics path less traveled, transitioning from artistic to trampoline at the age of 13. She’s excelled, made the US National team, and is getting ready to compete at her first World Championships, the World Trampoline and Tumbling Championships next week in Sofia, Bulgaria. She joins us today from the Karolyi Ranch between workouts, the final national team training camp before the team departs for Bulgaria. Alright so Charlotte, thank you very much for taking the time to do this. I understand that you are training camp right now?
CHARLOTTE: Yeah I’m actually at the Karolyi Ranch right now. We’re here for World Championships training camp. Pretty exciting.
BLYTHE: Awesome how’s that been going?
CHARLOTTE: It’s going really good. Training’s been great for everyone. I’m so proud to be on team USA here and everyone’s just looking really strong, so it’s good.
BLYTHE: Can you just tell us a little bit about your story and about your decision to switch from artistic to trampoline?
CHARLOTTE: Yeah I think the decision to switch from artistic to tramp was a huge decision in my life, probably the biggest I’ve ever made. But I started artistic when I was three years old, so it was literally my life. I loved it for so long and it was all I ever wanted to do. And then slowly I just started to grow up, and the passion in my heart faded a little bit. I decided that this just wasn’t for me anymore, that I wasn’t willing to push myself through this anymore. So then I had heard of trampoline and I was like I love trampoline, I’ve always loved bouncing off the walls and stuff like that. I mean don’t get me wrong it was not an easy decision to make the switch. It was hard. I thought my life was over for a little bit. But I found myself again in trampoline, and that’s always something that I’ve really wanted to share with everyone, is how much trampoline kind of became a part of my life after gymnastics. And that’s what I want to share with everyone else is there is life after gymnastics. There is always going to be something for you, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
BLYTHE: I see. And how old were you when you made that decision, when you felt the passion for artistic start to dim a little bit, you thought hey maybe trampoline would be a good thing to start?
CHARLOTTE: I think I was 13 when I kind of decided that I was going to be done with artistic. You know because that’s when you start growing, you start mentally maturing and making your own decisions and realizing you start questioning everything. That’s when I decided maybe this isn’t for me anymore.
BLYTHE: I understand. And I understand that there was a coach at Gym Max when you told them you didn’t see yourself in artistic anymore who told you you weren’t done with the sport yet.
CHARLOTTE: She actually told me she was like I can see it in you. I had told her that I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m done. I just can’t do this anymore. She’s like no you’re not, you’re not done, I can see it in you. Just trust me you’re not done. And she was so right.
BLYTHE: I’ve got to ask. You’d been training with Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney at that time as an artistic gymnast. And the three of you guys seemed like looking at the pictures and everything from before you were very much inseparable. And so what was their reaction to your kind of deciding hey, I’m going to go this different path?
CHARLOTTE: I know. Yeah you’re very right, we were inseparable. I mean we were attached at the hip. We’d been through everything together. Of course them being so close to me they saw me starting to lose passion for it. They saw me not wanting to come to workouts and not wanting to be at workout once I got there. And that stuff. So I think of course they were torn about me quitting, but overall I think they were happy for me because they knew it was the right thing for me to do.
BLYTHE: What was it about artistic, if you don’t mind my asking, that you just sort of lost the passion for? Obviously you hadn’t lost passion for gymnastics in general. But, you know.
CHARLOTTE: I can’t even tell you. It’s like when someone asks Kyla and McKayla why they put themselves through everything. It’s like, you just do. It’s just what you do. It’s because you love it. Then eventually for me I stopped loving it for some reason. I started to hurt, I started to grow, and I got older. And it just wasn’t for me anymore. And that happens to a lot of girls and a lot of guys. And I’m just very thankful I found trampoline. So yeah.
BLYTHE: Do you know any other people who have sort of started in artistic and ended up as trampolinists, rhythmic gymnasts, in another discipline of the sport? Have you been able to convert anybody over to trampoline?
CHARLOTTE: Well people sometimes message me on Twitter and stuff and say you’ve inspired me to take a trampoline class at my gym. And that makes so happy. That’s the only thing I can really think of. A lot of girls on team right now started out in artistic. And then their gym would have trampoline so when they were younger they would make the switch or they would do both for a little while. There’s girls at my gym right now who do both. They do artistic and trampoline. So that’s kind of what I think trampoline or acro or rhythmic is kind of a really great outlet for kids that don’t have the passion for artistic.
BLYTHE: Definitely. And did you always have, as an artistic gymnast, did you always have an affinity for trampoline?
CHARLOTTE: Always. Like, always. I remember when we were little we would sometimes get scheduled for trampoline for some random reason. I would be happy for weeks afterward. We would be bouncing, and one of the coaches there when I was seven taught me a double back and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I don’t know why I didn’t realize I love trampoline this much sooner.
BLYTHE: When you made the switch, what was that like to actually start training trampoline after doing artistic gymnastics? Can you talk about some of the differences between the two sports and anything that surprised you about the new discipline?
CHARLOTTE: Yeah. Well I remember my first day in trampoline. I remember just I couldn’t get this silly smile off my face. I was just having so much fun, which I hadn’t had in artistic in a long time. So I mean it definitely, we train less than I did in artistic. The hours were cut down. There was less conditioning. So it’s better for my body I feel. But mentally it’s the same game. You still gotta be focused. You still gotta go into the gym ready to train. You still gotta be in shape. You just gotta have a different kind of physical ability that you do in trampoline. But for the most part it’s not that different. It’s a little easier of course because artistic, I mean, they’re machines. They’re a little crazy [LAUGHS]. But trampoline is great. It’s kind of like an everyone sport. If you want to do it you can do it.
BLYTHE: How many hours a week are you training for trampoline?
CHARLOTTE: I actually don’t know. Probably 16. I’m not really sure. That seems right.
BLYTHE: Sixteen hours I mean that’s something. But it also seems like if you want to go to the occasional party or school dance you can.
CHARLOTTE: [LAUGHS] Yeah my coach can be pretty flexible. So he’ll let me have a Friday night off. Like I went to homecoming last week so that was really fun.
BLYTHE: Awesome. And what’s something that you wish people knew about trampoline gymnastics? Like it seems like artistic gets all the attention. Although people who follow artistic kind of say oh artistic doesn’t get the attention that football gets. But I feel like as far as gymnastics goes, it’s all about artistic right?
CHARLOTTE: Yeah, I guess. But I mean artistic definitely deserves all the attention they’ve got. They’ve got the best in the world right now. And trampoline, we’re building up our program. I just want everyone to know about trampoline. To know that it’s there and that it’s a great opportunity for a lot of kids to grow up and to get older and be active and get involved in a team. And just I think it’s an amazing thing but I just wish more people knew about.
BLYTHE: Does the height scare you? Did it ever scare you?
BLYTHE: I’ve bounced on the trampoline and those-
CHARLOTTE: They height is my favorite part. I just love bouncing high. It’s so much fun. People ask me that a lot. They’re like that’s just way too high for me. I’m like it’s not high enough, I need to keep going higher.
BLYTHE: What for you is the hardest thing about trampoline?
CHARLOTTE: The hardest thing about trampoline for me is going to be the mental competition part. It’s like competing beam basically. You’ve got one shot. And if you fall, you’re done. You don’t get to get back up and start again. Your routine is over if you fall. So that’s definitely one of the things that’s keeping your nerves under control when you’re bouncing and making sure you have the right bounce between enough power and not enough power. And it’s all about timing in trampoline, it’s all about timing. And it’s just one of those things you learn how to do over time.
BLYTHE: I see. And what do you find easy about trampoline? What’s the easiest thing for you?
CHARLOTTE: Going to the gym is definitely the easiest part about trampoline.
CHARLOTTE: I love going to gym every day. It gets me through the day. I’ll be in school and be like ok I get to go to the gym later, it’s all good. I get to go bounce on trampoline for my sport, how cool is that? I mean come on.
BLYTHE: That is pretty cool. I’ve got to ask, are you ever afraid that you’ll go flying off the trampoline? Like has your coach ever had to step in to save your life?
CHARLOTTE: There’s been some moments where you get to the top of your flip and you’re like I’m going down and I’m going down hard and there’s nothing you can do about it. And that’s the only time you’re ever like oh gosh this is not good. That’s like the only time. But that doesn’t happen very often.
BLYTHE: And you know, like in the middle you could be at the apex of the height and you know this isn’t going to end well.
CHARLOTTE: You know from the take off. You know that you can just feel like if your hips go out to the side or a little bit or your arms don’t get all the way up. You know you’re going to fly off. And you’re like at the very top just watching the ground come closer and closer, boom. [LAUGHS]
BLYTHE: Oh man. Have you ever gotten injured?
CHARLOTTE: No, not too bad. I mean of course there’s been some tweaks here and there. but for the most part my coach has kept me pretty safe. Trampoline is very good to do drills before you do the real skill. So by the time you get to the skill, it’s like you’ve already done it because you’ve done all the drills. And my coach, he won’t let me try anything that he knows I won’t hit. So when he tells me to do something, I know I can do it for sure.
BLYTHE: When we’re talking about the World Championships that are coming up next week, who are the teams to watch and the individuals to watch? Who will you be looking out for when you’re there?
CHARLOTTE: I’m definitely going to be looking at China and Great Britain and Canada because they’re three powerhouses in the sport and their lines are so beautiful and they jump so high. And I just want to be like them so bad. And that’s kind of what drives me in the gym every day is I’ll watch a video before practice and I’ll be like ok so they hold their positions longer and they keep their arms by their sides and this is what they do so I’m going to try to emulate them and become a better athlete through that.
BLYTHE: In artistic right now the US women are totally on top of the world. But as far as trampoline is concerned, where is the US in comparison to Russia, China, Canada, those teams?
CHARLOTTE: I think the US is definitely coming up through the ranks. We’ve got a huge team that’s going to definitely explode pretty soon. But right now I feel we’re kind of in the middle. We’re the higher up in the middle. But I’m pretty new at this. So I’ve never really been to a World Championships before. So I’ll have to get back to you on that question [LAUGHS]
BLYTHE: And are you like YouTubing I don’t know Rosie Mclanahan? Are you looking at your competitors’ routines and going wow that’s amazing, what can I take from that?
CHARLOTTE: Yes for sure. They do these routines that are crazy difficult and crazy high and just stunning. They’re amazing to watch. And it’s hard to believe that I’ll ever be able to do that. But you know that’s what you go into the gym for is to be able to be like them and be able to hopefully one day be better than that and set new records and new goals and reach new heights.
BLYTHE: Understood. And you do individual, so you’re on the trampoline and it’s just you. And you also do synchronized trampoline where you’re with a partner. Do a lot of gymnasts do both?
CHARLOTTE: Yeah. Most trampolinists, if you’re in the higher level or the lower levels you’ll have a synchro partner sometimes from another gym, sometimes from across the country. But I do synchro with a girl that lives in Texas. So that’s kind of tricky. We train when we can together. We’re not on the same trampoline. There’s two trampolines that are next to each other. And we organize a routine that we complete and you get scored on synchronization and then on addition to time of flight, execution, and difficulty.
BLYTHE: I see. And how does that work when you’re synchro partner is training in Texas and you’re training in California? How do you guys manage to stay synchronized?
CHARLOTTE: You pair together people who bounce similar. So me and my synchro partner, we bounce similar. And you listen to them when they hit the trampoline it makes a sound and you listen to that sound so that’s how you know when you need to adjust. You can kind of see them out of the corner of your eye. So it’s not too hard. But we train when we go to competitions and we train here at training camps. So we make it work.
BLYTHE: I see. And what’s your synchro partner’s name and how long have you guys known each other?
CHARLOTTE: Her name’s Shaylee Dunavin and we’ve known each other since I think 2011. So not as long as some people have known each other in the sport but still pretty long. We’re really good friends.
BLYTHE: Oh that’s good. And you guys and you have the same sort of similar bounce?
CHARLOTTE: Yeah we do
BLYTHE: So you were put together by your coaches.
CHARLOTTE: Yeah. We have similar bounce, times, similar skill set. So we’re a good pair.
BLYTHE: When you talk about bounce, are there different styles of bounces? Or something that’s kind of subtle that would be hard for casual fans to see, but for people who are really into the world of trampoline they say oh they bounce like this or they bounce like that?
CHARLOTTE: Yeah there is for sure. I mean if you watch the Chinese bounce, they’re pencils. Some people when they bounce they’ll get to the very top and then they’ll kind of pike down so they can get extra explosion at the bottom. So they’re like pike and then they open up super quick at the bottom. But if you watch the Chinese they jump and it looks so effortless and elegant. But it’s because they don’t bend. They just go straight to the trampoline.
BLYTHE: Talk about getting to the elite level in trampoline. What level were you in gymnastics when you stopped? Or in artistic gymnastics, excuse me, when you stopped doing that and switched over?
CHARLOTTE: I stopped right at the beginning of my level 10 season. So-
CHARLOTTE: I was pretty far along in artistic. So when I came to trampoline, it was definitely a shock to try and learn all these new levels and new routines and stuff like that. But my first season I competed level 9. So that was a very good baseline. I learned all the basics and I learned basically how to stay on the trampoline and how to flip and stuff like that. And then the next season I went junior elite. So I don’t think that happens very often. But most people go through the levels from 5-10. They’ll spend a year or two at each level just like they would in artistic. And eventually they make it to junior elite. And then eventually furthermore they go to senior elite.
BLYTHE: I see. And were you always very serious about getting to senior elite? Was that always in the back of your head?
CHARLOTTE: It was, but it kind of terrified me to be completely honest. Like I remember when I was a junior, my first year junior, and I stayed and I watched the senior competition. And I was watching them and I was like oh my gosh I’m never going to be able to do that, that’s so scary. Like look at what they’re doing, that’s so scary. And all the sudden I was just here. I don’t even know how it happened. I just kind of got here all the sudden.
BLYTHE: And you have two great friends who went on to become elite gymnasts, went on to be on the national team, went on to the Olympic Games. And I’ve got to ask, did that push you? Did that give you motivation? Seeing them do it and be like yeah, I’d like to do that too, that would be cool.
CHARLOTTE: When I was little, we’ve always known that we wanted to go to the Olympics and go as far as we can in our sports. But I don’t know if them making it to the Olympics gave me the motivation. But not so much as just them being there for me, being the motivation.
BLYTHE: Ok. And today, do you guys joke about partying together in Rio? Or maybe it’s not a joke.
CHARLOTTE: It’s not really a joke. I feel like if we all made it to Rio we’d have to have some pretty great party afterward.
BLYTHE: And at what point did the Olympics become a reality for you? Right now, you’re absolutely a 2016 Olympic hopeful. And at what point did that stop being like just a notion and start being like wow I could really do this?
CHARLOTTE: When you just said that, that kind of gave me chills. I never really thought about that I’m actually an Olympic hopeful. So I guess kind of right now.
BLYTHE: Ok, right now! And did you ever play around in the gym on the trampoline with Kyla and McKayla? Are they doing double backs and being like-
CHARLOTTE: No I’ve actually never taken them to the trampoline recently, except for when we were really little. I probably should, that’d be a good idea.
BLYTHE: Yeah, yeah. And take some video please. We’d all like to see that.
BLYTHE: Can you talk a little bit from having so much experience hanging out with Kyla and McKayla, talk about them in training. Are they serious? Are there moments when their personalities show through? What sort of shenanigans did you guys get up to as kids in the gym?
CHARLOTTE: Well the normal shenanigans like the chalk bucket. We use to have chalk fights and normal little kid things. But once we were up if we were standing on the block ready to start our bar routine or we saluted to do a floor routine it was all seriousness. It always has been. I think we’ve all always had that very focused mentality toward gymnastics, even from a very young age. And that’s probably the reason we’ve come so far, is that. But you know we finish our routines and we go run around and we laugh and we go sneak to the back trampolines and we bounce on the trampoline.
BLYTHE: [LAUGHS] And have they given you any advice about competing at Worlds? Having been through the process themselves.
CHARLOTTE: Yeah I mean they came over last weekend so they were telling me about what happened at Worlds and everything that went on and stuff that they did and stuff that they wish they could’ve done. And they basically just told me stay focused, focus on what you’re doing, and you’ll be good. Just rely on your training and don’t let anything affect you mentally or physically and just get out there and do what you know how to do.
BLYTHE: Can you talk a little bit about conditioning and trampoline versus conditioning and artistic? We have an interview from Karen Cockburn of Canada who said that she did powerlifting and ballet as part of her conditioning. So it really kind of two ends of the spectrum. And do you do those things? Or do you-
CHARLOTTE: We did ballet here at camp just this morning. We were doing some ballet. So it’s very different than artistic. There’s not so much- you don’t need as much arm strength that’s for sure. You still need some arm strength so we do the normal pushups and pullups and all that stuff. But for the most part I try to keep it no weights, just using my own body to avoid injuries regarding that kind of stuff. But you definitely have to have incredibly strong core, just because you’re bouncing from 25 feet and you’re getting close to five or six Gs of gravity pushing on you when you hit the bottom of the trampoline. So you’ve got to be able to withstand that. So being strong is very important.
BLYTHE: Gotcha. Do you miss artistic gymnastics? I’ve got to ask. Are there ever times where you get a bit nostalgic for the balance beam or something like that?
CHARLOTTE: Yes I do sometimes. I really do. I didn’t start to miss it until a year ago. And then I realized dang I wish I could still do that sometimes. I could still do some stuff on bars and I can do some things on beam. A couple weeks ago I went up and did a side aerial and that was fun. Now I wish I could just do it for fun sometimes.
BLYTHE: Sure. Is there any way to put an artistic flare into trampoline? Anything that you do that you feel sets your routines apart artistically? Is there a way to incorporate more of that into trampoline you think?
CHARLOTTE: Yeah there’s definitely is a certain flare I guess you could say. You can- it’s kind of just the way your hold yourself I guess and your kickouts I suppose. You can put your arms behind you, you can put your arms glued to your side, you want to open up your hips as much as you can and let your feet float behind you. It’s just toes pointed and knees straight kind of thing. And of course it’s just the confidence and the vibe you give off before and after your routine as well.
BLYTHE: And is it- oh just a quick sort of side question actually. Is it a rule that you have to wear socks on trampoline because you can catch your toes because the weave?
CHARLOTTE: Yeah you have to wear either socks or trampoline shoes.
CHARLOTTE: I wear both.
BLYTHE: You wear socks and trampoline shoes?
BLYTHE: [LAUGHS] Just to be doubly sure?
BLYTHE: Oh but we do want to ask two things about a) your favorite childhood gymnastics memory, and this might be the same question but and b) favorite Kyla and McKayla story. Story of the three of you.
CHARLOTTE: Oh gosh. Favorite childhood gymnastics story. I don’t know. Actually my favorite one is probably my first day of trampoline. And I was just I mentioned this earlier I was just bouncing on the trampoline and I couldn’t keep this goofy smile off my face. I was so happy to be on the trampoline. And I just felt so happy. That’s probably one of my favorite memories is my first day of trampoline. But then oh, one of my favorite memories is when we got to do a slip and slide when we were younger. And that was with Kyla and McKayla so that counts. So that’s my favorite Kyla and McKayla memory. We were at NGTC and we were supposed to go to Wild Rivers that day for some gymnastics summer camp but it got rainy in the morning so we weren’t allowed to go. And we set up a slip and slide with panel mats and soap and bubbles. And our coaches would launch us down these slip and slides together. And afterward we went and bounced on trampolines to dry off together. That was just really fun because we were just laughing and our leotards were covered in soap and water. It was really gross. It was really fun. So that was a good memory.
BLYTHE: [LAUGHS] Oh that’s pretty great. Never thought of bouncing on a trampoline to dry off after going on a slip and slide.
BLYTHE: But actually it’s incredibly logical.
CHARLOTTE: You should try it sometime!
BLYTHE: I think I will, thank you! What do you think needs to happen to put trampoline and tumbling more in the public eye?
CHARLOTTE: I think what needs to happen is I think we need to become a stronger team. I think we need to improve and start medaling on world stages and hopefully eventually Olympic stages. And once that happens I think trampoline’s going to get a lot of the attention and tumbling and double mini. So even less people know about double mini. We’ve got to talk about that next time.
BLYTHE: Did you ever try double mini yourself?
CHARLOTTE: Yeah I did. I was on national team for double mini that first year. In 2011 I think. So I did do double mini but my passion is definitely trampoline, so I eventually quite double mini and focused on trampoline. And that’s been a good decision so far.
BLYTHE: Is there anything else you want to add? We promised we wouldn’t go over 30 minutes with you because you probably got a workout to go to.
BLYTHE: So yeah just last thing really?
CHARLOTTE: The only thing I want to add is that there’s a team competition at Worlds that there’s a huge emphasis on. So just I just basically want to say how proud I am to be part of team USA and how hard that all these other girls are working right now and all the other guys on the team. And it’s just amazing to be here basically and I’m so thankful for trampoline and for team USA and to have the opportunity to compete at World Championships is just really amazing.
BLYTHE: Fantastic. Well Charlotte thank you so much for coming on the show.
CHARLOTTE: Thank you so much.
BLYTHE: All the best to you in Sofia. And yeah
CHARLOTTE: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
BLYTHE: You’re absolutely welcome. Thank you again for taking the time.
CHARLOTTE: No problem, thanks.
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: Alright new segment on the show this week. We’re going to talk about gymternet highlights. And before we get into that I just want to remind you guys if you are interested in T&T as they call it, tumbling and trampoline, be sure to check out Marina Mizzour’s interview with national power tumbling champion Brandon Krzynefski and his coach Sergio from Capital in Virginia. There’s a great interview with them on Gymnastike. And also funding is always an issue with sports like T&T because it’s not the super sport that artistic gymnastics is. So if you enjoy this sport and if you guys take advantage of watching it on YouTube and watching this live stream, let us know what you think of Mitch Fenner. Let USA Gymnastics, let T&T, let people know on Twitter or Facebook. Tell your friends about it. Because it’s important for sponsors to know that there is an audience and that people watch this and that there is value in supporting the sport and it will really help fund those athletes and make things easier for them. So. Let’s get to the gymternet news. Now, there is the craziest story. Like there were pictures of male gymnasts with cheetahs and we’re like what the hell is going on. So Uncle Tim can you tell us about that?
UNCLE TIM: Alright. So Arizona State has a men’s club gymnastics team. And so since they’re a club program they have to raise all their own money for travel and everything because they aren’t officially part of the University Athletics Department. And so they have to do a lot of work. And they raised a lot of money last year which allowed them to go to South Africa to compete in the South African National Championships. And while they were there, they obviously cuddled with adorable cheetahs and did back flips on rocks and stuff. There’s a video of it on YouTube. We’ll link to it on the show page. But they also went and taught acrobatics to little children from Zulu tribes and stuff. And it’s kind of cute to see the little kids jumping on trampolines and learning how to do forward rolls. They just absolutely loved it, it was so adorable. Jess, what can you tell us about Luke Carson?
JESSICA: Ooh well, Luke Carson obviously has been listening to the show, because he’s as you guys know he’s the Irish National Champion and he’s the one that he broke his leg, then it healed, then he was vaulting and he was taking off and his leg shattered. And totally bizarre injury. And so he has this blog up where he is talking all about his recovery. And he has pictures of his leg throughout everything. Right after the accident, after his surgery, how it’s going now. It is gnarly. It is gruesome but it’s also super inspirational. Because he’s like hell no, this is not going to stop me. I’m going to come back and compete. So he has this machine fitness, I’m not sure what machine fitness is, but they’re doing a sponsorship for him. So if you pledge a little bit to his recovery and fund and sponsor him, there’s all these prizes you can win. And one of the prizes is one of our glorious ideas we’ve had on GymCastic for many years, and that is he has fantastic photos of him in his underwear. Yes. Framed in all of their gloriousness. Very artistic. Very artistic. They’re all in black and white. They could be in a gallery somewhere. I’m sure you could impress your friends. Maybe put it up at work.
UNCLE TIM: Put it up at work?
JESSICA: You don’t know!
UNCLE TIM: Work?
JESSICA: I mean it depends. I don’t know [LAUGHS] You work at an underwear store or something. Yeah so I would just like to encourage everyone.
UNCLE TIM: Just put it on my desk.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] No one will think that’s weird. That’s not sexual harassment of anyone else at your office. Someone’s like can you please take those pictures of gymnasts in their underwear down, Jessica that’s enough. We’re trying to concentrate on work here. So anywho. We at GymCastic endorse this method of raising money, and we think it’s fantastic and would like to say hats off to you Luke Carson, Irish national champion. Thank you for your contribution to the gymternet this week. And you guys should check out machine fitness and his blog, Luke Carson, to find out more about how you can support his recovery, look at his pictures, and you can buy one for yourself to put on your desk at work. So in other gymternet opinion news, [LAUGHS] because you know my opinion that this is a fantastic trend and we should have a calendar. Should we do a gymnastics calendar of gymnasts in their underwear? I think Justin Spring would approve of this. It could be like a fundraiser for Illinois Gymnastics. I’m just saying. I’ve totally lost my train of thought now. I have each month laid out in my mind. [LAUGHS] Ok so back to yes, gymternet opinions. Polls. We have been putting up the most fantastic, and by we I mean Uncle Tim, has come up with these fantastic polls and we have these amazing infographics. They’re so cool. And you know how I love data? I also like pictures. So it all works out perfectly for me. Infographics. You can mouse over them. They tell you- oh they’re so fantastic. So tell us the poll results from the last two weeks.
UNCLE TIM: Alright. So one of your biggest pet projects is real time iPads for judges and stuff. So the question was should we see the judges’ marks, their scores, in real time? And 32.5% said that we must see everything in real time, 5.2% said eh we don’t really need to see the judges’ marks, stop being paranoid, and then 62.3% said that they don’t really need to see it during the competition, but they like to see it afterwards. Do you feel vindicated Jess?
JESSICA: I do. I do. Because afterwards is ok with me. That’s alright with me. I’m ok with that. So yes I do, thank you. Because you know I think my opinion is the opinion of everyone else. Or should be. So you know. One of those special things about me. [LAUGHS] Ok so what else what else?
UNCLE TIM: Was Mai Murakami robbed of a floor medal? This one was pretty close. So 56.5% said she was robbed, and 43.5% were ok with the floor results and said Biles, Ferrari, and Iordache were better than Murakami. So it’s pretty close to 50/50 on that one.
JESSICA: Vindicated again.
UNCLE TIM: Then what was the most accurately scored event in Antwerp? Number one was women’s bars, number two was women’s vault, which I don’t agree with, number three was men’s floor. So. Those were those results. And then let’s go over to the last week’s gym nerd poll, which the first question was who is the gymternet’s favorite commentator? Number one was Shannon Miller.
UNCLE TIM: Two was Mitch Fenner, and three was Christine Still.
JESSICA: I’ve never heard Christine Still. I don’t know who that is.
UNCLE TIM: She is Mitch Fenner’s partner for BBC.
JESSICA: Oh that’s who that is.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah
UNCLE TIM: I think the British are generally winning right now. But yeah. And then perfect 10, Jess, do you miss the perfect 10 or are you ok with this new system?
JESSICA: I am ok with the new system, because we do technically still have the ability to score a perfect 10 even though apparently the code has decided they will never give a perfect 10 to anyone, even if it is perfect. So.
UNCLE TIM: Oh that’s not the answer I was expecting. I was expecting you to be like PERFECT 10 OR DIE. Interesting.
JESSICA: I like to surprise you now and then. Keeps you on your toes.
UNCLE TIM: So 66% said no, get over the fact that the perfect 10 is gone, and 34% said yes I miss the perfect 10 and gymnastics just is not the same. So. The majority though is ok with the new system. Which kind of surprised me just because I feel like a lot of people are nostalgic for the past. And then when was the last time you saw an artistic beam routine Jess? Your options: in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, or between 2000-2005, 2006-2012, or this last year, 2013 being this past year?
JESSICA: Well this is the thing about this poll question is I feel like we should have clarified more specifically if we meant elite or NCAA. And of course I assume everyone assumed it was elite. So if we’re talking about elite I would say 2000s. The 2000s. Was probably the last time. And then but if you include NCAA then this year because NCAA season, tons of artistry in NCAA. What about you?
UNCLE TIM: I don’t know. I feel like first you have to define was artistry is. And so in my extensive research about the past few weeks if you haven’t read my blog post about-
JESSICA: Oh my god everyone has to read it. Oh my god oh my god. It’s the best thing ever first of all. He’s going through all of the codes from the beginning of time and talking about how they define artistry. Oh my god it’s so juicy because it’s scandalous. You won’t believe the things that they said, wrote it down in the code. Oh my god it’s like my favorite thing ever. Ok go ahead. Everyone has to read it.
UNCLE TIM: So the weird thing is though, artistry was really a big deal on the men’s side. Women’s side it wasn’t such a common term for a long time. But I would say that artistry has to do with two major things. They saw artistry having to do with the idea of something speaking to your soul. So it’s executed to the point where it speaks to your soul. And then it also is a question of originality. So two prongs. And originality isn’t just doing a double layout off beam. That was considered risk. Originality was doing new connections and giving them kind of your own little flare and making them so beautiful. And so I’m trying to think if there’s anything that has given me stirrings in my soul in the past year. I would say no. I think maybe the last time I was like oh my god this is gorgeous was maybe Tatiana Lysenko’s 1992 beam routine. I don’t know.
JESSICA: I think McCool doing beam was soul stirring.
UNCLE TIM: Hm, ok. So like 2004 for you?
JESSICA: She’s ethereal on beam. There’s never been anyone like her ever. Even in NCAA, she was just magnificent.
UNCLE TIM: Except for that one year where she wobbled all over the place and got second place still. Anyway.
JESSICA: No! She’s always perfect!
UNCLE TIM: So what our listeners said was 46% said that they have seen an artistic beam routine this year, and then 25% said in the 90s. So those were the two most common answers.
JESSICA: Odd. Very odd.
UNCLE TIM: Anyway. Well Jess we also had, it’s been a while since we’ve chatted and we had some feedback about the preventing abuse show. So what have we heard from our listeners?
JESSICA: So it was very interesting because I kind of thought this would be one of those shows that was listened to a lot but people wouldn’t talk about it very much and they especially wouldn’t talk about it publicly. And that’s pretty much exactly what happened. So I didn’t get a lot of, there wasn’t a lot of social media discussion about it. But there were a lot of personal emails and text messages that I got about the episode. So there were a few parents who talked about how much they appreciated the episode because they just couldn’t believe what other parents would put up with and what people would let their kids go through in the name of sport. And I think our episode was all about preventing abuse, it wasn’t just sexual abuse. It was it could have been physical abuse or mental abuse or being yelled at like crazy or letting yourself be super injured over and over. All that. So that was really interesting to have some parents come forward and be like thank you for putting that out there. I think the thing that I’m most proud of about us doing that show is that there was a woman who emailed and said that after listening to the episode, she has been inspired to come forward and do whatever it takes no matter how long it takes to get her coach banned from coaching. She said that he abused her 18 years ago. And because of our episode, she’s going to make sure he is no longer a gym owner and no longer coaching. So that’s huge. That’s really really really huge. So I feel really honored that we could help her in that journey to come forward and make a difference for other gymnasts and hopefully prevent abuse in the future. So I’m pretty stoked about that. I’m very honored to be a part of it. Uncle Tim who is our international shout out of the week going to this week?
UNCLE TIM: It is going to Florence Lestian of Belgium. She did a lot of the social media stuff for the World Championships this year, and she has been an avid tweeter with us. So thank you Florence for listening.
JESSICA: Yay! Yay Belgium.
UNCLE TIM: And in other great news we have a few entries in our Halloween costume contest. And Jess, who is our winner this year?
JESSICA: Our winner is zombie gymnast. Miss Maddie has won the poster of her choice from our friends at Cloud and Victory. And we’ll put a picture up of Maddie’s costume. It’s adorable and hilarious and extremely creative. So congratulations to Maddie and we hope you enjoy your poster. And if you enjoy this show, you can- Uncle Tim did you know you can leave us a voicemail?
UNCLE TIM: No! And if I call will I have to talk to one of us?
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] No, you will not! We do not answer the phone. It is a voicemail system. So you don’t have to worry about hearing one of my rants about my opinion. No one answers the phone. It’s just a voicemail. So you can call us, leave us a voicemail. Leave us a message about your opinion, a question for us, something you want the gymternet to know. You can call 415-800-3191 or if you have Skype and you’re abroad you can call us for free. Our username is Gymcastic Podcast. And have you thought about any holiday shopping yet? I mean it’s only the day after Halloween and so I feel terrible even asking that, but have you?
UNCLE TIM: Yeah. Duh.
JESSICA: Yeah so
UNCLE TIM: I’m the world’s best boyfriend, I have to start now.
JESSICA: I already know what I’m getting Coop too, I’m so excited about it. So did you know that you can do his holiday shopping if you’re buying anything on Amazon and a little portion of what you buy goes back to supporting the podcast?
UNCLE TIM: No
JESSICA: You can! Are you buying something on Amazon? Do you know?
UNCLE TIM: Probably, I’m lazy.
JESSICA: Yeah everyone buys on Amazon right?
UNCLE TIM: …go to a real store anymore.
JESSICA: No it’s better to just have it all delivered to you. So yes so yeah you can buy something. Just go to our Amazon link on our site and shop as you normally would and a little portion of what you buy goes back to the show. And you guys can also support the show by downloading the Stitcher app. It works on all devices including android. And do you know who just got an android phone?
UNCLE TIM: You!
JESSICA: No. I would like to have both. I have an android tablet but I mess it all up. But, our very own Blythe Lawrence. I’m so excited she got a big girl phone.
UNCLE TIM: Aw yay!
JESSICA: I know! So you can also subscribe to the show. You will get an email and it will have everything that’s on the website in the email and then you can link and listen to the show so you never miss anything and you can see what’s on the site. And what kind of things we link to. And also what videos we put up there. And you know on the website we put up all the routines we possibly can so you guys can augment your listening experience by watching while you listen. You can also support the show by recommending it. Share on Facebook, share on Google+, tell your friends about it, follow us on Twitter. You can rate us or write a review on iTunes. And thank you for our recent British fans who have written reviews on iTunes. Thank you so much to you guys. And you guys asked for other ways to support the show so we also have a donate button. So if you would like to give us cash, go right ahead and donate some [LAUGHS]. You can also send us an email because we read everything that you guys write. We appreciate your emails. And we have a long running list of things that topics that you guys have suggested for the show. So you can email us at email@example.com. I want to thank everybody who answered the researcher’s question on her survey about masters gymnastics. She’s really excited she got almost 200 responses and she was expecting to get way less than that so she’s really pleased. Thanks to everybody who did that. Blythe has reports up from all the European meets and she will be at trampoline World Championships so be sure to check her out at Gymnastics Examiner. Spanny has done a Make It or Break It where are they now update, and she has also written her first children’s book, which is something you will not want to miss. So check out the Spanny Tampson update on her site. And Uncle Tim what have you been up to?
UNCLE TIM: I’ve been writing about artistry, starting with 1964 and I’ll eventually get to the present. But I’m looking at how the evolution of artistry has been defined. And I found some interesting things about how your routine was supposed to correspond with your body type in women’s gymnastics. And yet, you were supposed to also be light while you were doing gymnastics. I don’t know, it was interesting. Check it out.
JESSICA: It’s been so fascinating. I love it. I just appreciate all the research that you’ve done, and it’s so exciting. Ok. So. Until next week, I’m Jessica from masters-gymnastics
UNCLE TIM: And I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym
JESSICA: Thanks for listening, see you next week!
UNCLE TIM: And there will be a question, let me throw in the question. Alright. Here we go. In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1