MARCELINE: And so really it’s not uncommon to see in their 30s performing high acrobatic acts. And it’s pretty impressive when you really get to see oh my god they’ve been doing it for 15, 20. I mean we did have an acro sport mixed pair flyer in really late 30s, early 40s. And we have some catchers that were well in their 40s.
[EXPRESS YOURSELF INTRO MUSIC]
JESSICA: This week, the winter meet rosters, Ohashi is PO’d, and what it’s like to be a recruiter for Cirque. Dream job!
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 in behalf of Elite Sportz Band. Visit elitesportzband.com. We’ve got your back.
JESSICA: This is episode 59 for November 13, 2013. I’m Jessica from masters-gymnastics
UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym
EVAN: And I’m Evan Heiter from the gymternet
JESSICA: This is the number one gymnastics podcast in the world, bringing you all the news from around the gymternet. So let’s start with, Evan I’m so glad you’re joining us again.
EVAN: I’m back!
JESSICA: Where are you these days? Are you in super Atlanta?
EVAN: I am. I’m reppin the dirty south in the ATL and putting up a bunch of letters with my hands right now.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Fantastic
EVAN: It takes up the majority of my day, but I’m liking it.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] So Uncle Tim, tell us what’s happening. We had Charlotte Drury on last week. And oh my god don’t you guys think- I thought she was an amazing ambassador for the sport. So well spoke. So passionate. So excited. Such a message. Uncle Tim what did you think about her?
UNCLE TIM: I actually really liked listening to the interview last week. I wasn’t on the call when you guys talked to her, and I thought she was probably one of the more entertaining 17 year olds that I’ve ever heard speak. 17 year old gymnasts I should say, speak. It was quite good.
JESSICA: So how’d she do at trampoline and tumbling Worlds?
UNCLE TIM: She did pretty darn well for it being her first World Championships. She got 7th in the synchro finals, and then she got 12th in semi finals for individual tramp. And she was the second alternate going into semi finals. And Jess, how do you feel about that? I know you have many thoughts.
JESSICA: Well you know I like what ifs, of course. That’s like my favorite thing. So I’m just saying she was the second alternate. But if a bunch of people crapped the bed in finals, which is a fantastic trampoline pun and I would like to pause here for everyone to acknowledge how fantastic that was. And I don’t know whatever they got like 50s whereas the winner got a 56 and Charlotte got a 53 something. And so I’m just saying had she been in the competition, she would’ve placed like 6th because she’s super consistent like her buddy Kyla Ross. And I think this is just it’s proves that she totally has the scores to be in finals. And so it bodes well for her. I’m saying Rio, serious possibility. That’s what I think.
UNCLE TIM: She was super popular. Everyone wanted to take a picture with her at the competition. All the famous British gymnasts and everything. Everyone was taking pictures with her. I was quite impressed.
JESSICA: Yeah she was extremely popular, which I’m pretty stoked to see that because I think she’s a great ambassador. I think if someone’s going to put trampoline on the map, this is the girl. So. Stoked. So let’s talk about the US roster for the winter meets that are coming up. Let’s talk about all the rosters. First of all we have the Mexican Open coming up. This is super- I would just really like to go to this meet because first of all, it’s in Acapulco which is like eh. But it’s at the Fairmont. And the Fairmont Hotel is one of my favorite hotels in the entire world. I would like to live in a Fairmont hotel just like- what’s the name of the little girl that lived in the, she had the book written about her. New York. Famous. Totally blanking on it. Anyone? Eloise! Like Eloise. I would like to live in a Fairmont like Eloise and have a turtle that I walk on a leash. So have you guys not read Eloise?
EVAN: No I missed that
UNCLE TIM: No but my neighbor has a-
JESSICA: The movies to not do- no. It’s not the same at all. She does good and all this crap in the movie, which is bull. Like Eloise was actually written by this female performer who was like a total brat and so she wrote about her she would be if she was a kid. And it’s all about just tearing up the place and harassing her nanny and harassing the people that live- she lives there because she’s super rich and her family pays no attention to her. So. She is just a terror in the hotel. And it’s just excellent. Orders room service at all hours, refuses to take a bath, colors on the walls. I mean everyone has to read Eloise. The original book. Not that Disney-fied crap. So anyway. Enough about me aspiring to be Eloise. The Fairmont. Fantastic hotel. Like if you’re going to pick the best place ever to have a gymnastics meet, Fairmont Hotel. Podkopayeva is going to be doing a clinic there with Mister Yesso himself. Yesso! I should say it like that. Yin Alvarez. Chusovitina and her sidekick Svetlana Boginskaya are going to be there. Chusovitina’s competing. It’s just oh, it looks so awesome and so super fun. So the roster international roster is Jade Barbosa, Afanasyeva is going to be competing, Josh Dixon, we’ll finally get to see him in an international meet, I’m so excited about this. Because he didn’t make the national team this year right?
UNCLE TIM: He was added later.
JESSICA: Oh that’s why. Awesome. Because I was like they just recognized his fabulousness and they put him on because he has beautiful form. Oh that’s exciting. So he’s competing. And then for the US junior we have Bailey Key, Lauren Hernandez, Amelia Hundley, and Nia Dennis which is fierce. They’re going to wipe the field. I mean those four, forget about it. I was kind of surprised that Norah Flately isn’t competing though. What do you guys think of that?
EVAN: I think they’re giving her some time. You know she’s one of those, I mean this crop of juniors that are competing, they’re basically seniors for lack of age if not anything else. So the skills they’re competing right now, they need to get out there and get that international experience. Norah, there’s time for you, don’t worry.
JESSICA: This is true.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah I think they just took the top four all arounders from Nationals too. In that order. Bailey, Lauren, Amelia, then Nia. So that seems to be the logic behind that decision.
JESSICA: So International Gymnast originally reported Elizabeth Price or Ebee as she’s known as was going to go to the Mexican Open and to the Stuttgart Cup, but then of course realized that she’s not in fact going to the Mexican Open because those meets overlap. So Ebee is not going. So now there’s two US senior spots that are open for the Mexican Open. And they have not been named yet. So the question is, and our listeners wanted to know, who should the US pick from the seniors to go to that meet? So Evan, I’ll start with you.
EVAN: I am a big proponent of Abigail Milliet. As much of a meltdown as she had this year at P&G, I think she’s beautiful and she brings a ton of great skills to USA Gymnastics. And I think she needs to be tested. Unfortunately a lot of times in domestic meets, there can be overshadowing of other athletes and more storylines. So I think maybe sending her to a smaller event like this one would bode really well for her confidence. And I enjoy her balance beam tremendously. She’s great on bars as well. Do we know if Madison Kocian is better? I don’t know?
JESSICA: I don’t
UNCLE TIM: I don’t either
EVAN: Well if she is, I’m willing that to happen, and I would love to see her compete too. I think she’s going to be a goddess for UCLA. Like the second coming of Yvonne Tousek for them. So if we can see more of her, of course being healthy, I would love to see her out there. Otherwise, there’s still a ton of viable options. I’m going to go with Maggie Nichols. She’s been to a few international meets before, so looking at her, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see her down there.
JESSICA: Uncle Tim, what do you think?
UNCLE TIM: Well, Martha’s attitude is always you want the gymnasts to be on the podium. It doesn’t matter if they win, but you need someone to keep up with Afanasyeva and Roxana Popa of Spain. And I’m guessing that they might send Peyton Ernst. She finished third at was it third at US- third or fourth at US Nationals. And they’re also sending Kim Zmeskal so you might as well send the Kim Zmeskal and the entire Texas Dream litter while you’re doing it.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] litter!
UNCLE TIM: Might as well send them all.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] the littler like she’s like the mama bear? Cat?
UNCLE TIM: Exactly.
UNCLE TIM: Bring her little babies along
JESSICA: I agree I mean I think top of my list first of all- can you guess who’s top of my list?
UNCLE TIM: Kennedy Baker
JESSICA: Of course. Because first of all Kennedy Baker’s going to go down there and smack everybody in the face with her Patterson. And that’s how it should be done. You should go to a meet like this and you should smack everyone in the face with your fantastic skills. Just being really good and blowing everyone away. No no no. We need to set fireworks off on one of the events. So obviously, Kennedy Baker and her Patteson should go to this meet. Peyton Ernst definitely should go. She deserves it. And I think her placement and her consistency- she had minor problems, minor. I mean compared to all the wobbly routines from the Russians, I’m not worried about Peyton Ernst. Then I have as my alternate if those two want to go, Abigail Milliet. She’s beautiful. I totally agree with Evan. She’s just fantastic. So I would love to see her because she is like the- she would be the complement to Laurie Hernandez I think in the artistry realm. Really bring to show the world that we haven’t forgotten it is in fact called artistic gymnastics. So. But we’ll see what happens. I mean do you guys think it’s too late now since they had two people just say they weren’t going to go, that it might not happen? They might not find two seniors who are ready to compete in a couple weeks?
EVAN: Well I think in the wake of Brenna declining and going or choosing not to take whatever [inaudible] were offered to her, I think will probably send out the message that if it wasn’t already broadcast loud and clear, you need to be ready whenever, wherever, as Shakira said. And [LAUGHS] just be at Martha’s beckon call. Truth be told, the Olympics aren’t next year. So when are you going to prove yourself? How are you going to get these opportunities? You need to seize whatever you can take.
JESSICA: Uncle Tim what do you think?
UNCLE TIM: I could see them not sending anyone. International Gymnast updated their webpage and it’s only one spot designated to America. I could totally see them not sending anyone, just because if no one’s ready and no one looks like they’re going to be on the podium, I think Martha might say no, no one’s going, too bad so sad. And that’s that. And will focus on winning medals at Stuttgart and Glasgow.
JESSICA: Ugh I hate that strategy. So let’s talk about Stuttgart. What comes first, Stuttgart or Glasgow? Stuttgart’s first?
UNCLE TIM: Stuttgart, yeah.
JESSICA: Ok. Let’s discuss.
UNCLE TIM: It’s the same weekend as the Mexican Open. And basically my question for you guys is who do you think’s going to win? So I’m going to list off the competitors on the women’s side first. So let’s go with the women are Carlotta Ferlito, Vanessa Ferrari, Ruby Harrold, Larisa Iordache, Elizabeth Price, Elizabeth Seitz, Guilia Steingruber, and Briannah Tsang from Canada. Aliya Mustafina was originally slated to compete but she withdrew. So who do you guys think is going to win? Let’s start with you Jessica.
JESSICA: Ok. Well Ruby Harrold’s obviously going to win bars and everyone’s hearts. I think that probably it’s going to be Price and Ferrari. They’re going to be 1-2, 2-1. They’re going to be at the top for the women. Then I’m going to vote for my favorites in the men’s department. I’m going to say that John Orozco and Daniel Purvis are going to clean up, win everything. You never know. Orozco could be totally ready. He could have learned a totally different technique. Or he could be embodied by someone else. Legendre could take over his body when he does a takeoff then he could take over again on the landing and he could just be a whole new person on vault. Purvis though, he’s coming up.
UNCLE TIM: You read to much sci fi lately. Watched Freaky Friday or whatever that movie is.
JESSICA: Oh my god I’ve been watching Long Island Medium and The Witches of East End and all these shows. And I’m rereading The Hunger Games. It’s too much. I’m just you know. But a girl can dream. Let’s just say that. So yeah.
UNCLE TIM: So on the men’s side the list is Fabian Hambuchen, Sergio Sasaki, Daniel Purvis, Andrei Lichovisky, Fabian Gonzalez of Spain, John Orozco, and Oleg Verniaiev. What about you Evan? Who do you think’s going to win the women’s and the men’s all around titles?
EVAN: So I feel like Iordache is kind of coming into her own. As long as she’s been around and as highly touted as she’s been, I feel like now she’s kind of riding the wave of alright, I have all these skills, I have kind of that swagger going on, and I think she’s really the next wave of the top of Romanian gymnastics. I think Ebee’s still coming back. Obviously she’s healthy enough to be out there competing. But you know it’s not last year. So I’m going to give Iordache a little bit of an edge over Ebee this time around. But I’d love to see Ebee come out and compete and just bring it back. On the men’s side I would say Sasaki. He’s a really consistent all arounder. And I think his consistency is going to be key at this point. Like I said before, the Olympics aren’t next year. So people are probably going to be trying some new stuff. In terms of Orozco I think it’s great he’s back out there, he’s going to be competing, he’s competing all around correct? Only all around. So he’s back out there on everything.
UNCLE TIM: Mhmm. Jess I’m surprised you didn’t choose Fabian. I know how much you like those hugs.
JESSICA: I do. But I can watch him hug everybody. So I will win either way. It’ll happen. So it’s all good.
UNCLE TIM: Ok. I’m going to go with Elizabeth Price, just because I wanted her to win something this year for a long time. So I’m just going to go with people I want to win, no matter what my mind tells me. And then I’m going to go with Oleg Verniaiev just because I want him to win something as well. It’ll probably be a disaster. He’ll probably fall five times. But I will keep supporting him and his pointed toes till I die.
JESSICA: So speaking of the Eastern bloc, Romania. So there was a report by Bea, who you guys might remember. She was on the show during Worlds when we did our little mini-sodes. She writes for The Couch Gymnast and covers Romania. And she put up breaking news that I mean as usual, Bitang and Bellu, the head coaches for Romania have left the national training center. And they’re in contact about their demands with the Romanian Gymnastics Federation. So I feel like this is what they do every couple years. They leave, they wait somewhere in the sunshine sipping mimosas till their demands are met, and then they return to save Romanian gymnastics. So it’s like breaking news, but seriously this happens all the time. I don’t know. I just- is anything ever going to change there? I mean the report says that they realize that Romanian gymnastics doesn’t have any depth anymore and they really need to restructure the whole system and that’s kind of the part of the contract they’re waiting on. But I don’t know. What do you guys think?
EVAN: First of all, it sounds like the village of Deva needs to get together at dusk, have a processional with plastic cups around candles and like lead Carmen Ionescu and Claudia Presecan into a cathedral. They all need to kiss a crucifix. Then things will be better. That worked for them back in the day. Can’t we go back to these festivals? Rather than lifting demands. I don’t know, that’s the Romania I have in my mind. I know that it’s become so much more sensationalized and commercialized, but I just want them to be having late night parades.
UNCLE TIM: I don’t know how to respond to that.
JESSICA: You just want to put a handkerchief over your head and tie it under your chin.
EVAN: You could agree.
UNCLE TIM: But wasn’t that fluff piece of something completely else? Some festival unrelated to gymnastics, even though they made it look like it was related to gymnastics?
EVAN: Does anything else happen in Deva?
UNCLE TIM: I don’t know, I’ve never been there so I wouldn’t know. But in terms of the sensationalism, I think the title of the Couch Gymnast post was a little on the sensationalized side of things, just because it’s like ok they’re not there, but from the sounds of it doesn’t really sound like they’re leaving. And there’s an update on the Couch Gymnast news page. And it basically said I have not gone anywhere. So they’re just really taking a vacation, which they probably deserve. They’re getting up there in years and it’s not easy to train all these young little girls anymore. And yeah I think they deserve a little break.
EVAN: Do you think there’s an FWB situation going on? There’s a little Bitang is Bellu’s side piece and they’re just they go off on their jaunts together?
JESSICA: Aren’t they married?
EVAN: Are they?
JESSICA: I have no idea [LAUGHS] I always thought they were just because they’re an inseparable pair.
EVAN: I’ve never heard that
JESSICA: I just assumed. I really have no idea.
EVAN: Maybe that’s what the festival was about. A wedding!
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] We’re going to have to ask Bea and get to the bottom of this.
UNCLE TIM: According to Wikipedia they did get married.
UNCLE TIM: In 2008
JESSICA: They just got married in 2008?! So it was a scandalous affair for years!
EVAN: Yeah this was [inaudible] coming full force in terms of a wedding.
JESSICA: This week’s interview from Marceline Goldstein is brought to you by Tumbl Trak. In honor of a circus-related interview, let’s talk about slacklines. They’re like a tightrope but about a thousand times bouncier and super wiggly. They’re also flat, so they don’t hurt your feet as much as a tightrope. Tightropes are ouchy. As we know, nobody likes to do conditioning. But, everyone likes to try to walk the plank over an alligator-filled pit. This is where the slacklines comes in. Slacklines are fantastic for developing core strength, balance, and confidence. What’s even better, they are portable and easy to set up. So your alligator-filled pit can be in a new place each week. Check out the slacklines at tumbltrak.com. That’s tumbltrak.com.
JESSICA: Marceline Goldstein began her career in trampoline and represented Canada at the senior national level. She actually started going to a circus trampoline school when she was 11 and started doing shows at the age of 13. After she was done with her competitive sports career, she toured Korea, Europe, New Zealand, and Singapore doing special events and festivals doing trampoline. She was also- this is crazy. She was the national director for the hip hop group Culture Shock in Canada. If you guys love Jabbawockeez, you would love Culture Shock. They’re amazing. I’m just so impressed with that because Culture Shock is the Cirque du Soleil of hip hop as far as I’m concerned. I love them. She is a senior acrobatic talent scout at Cirque du Soleil and she’s here to tell us all about what it’s like to do her job and how she picks people who will fit well and advises them on being in Cirque du Soleil. This interview was recorded at the NCAA Championships in April 2013.
JESSICA: What if you have someone who’s like- there’s been some great elite gymnasts or great, I’m thinking Kristina Baskett who was absolutely amazing. But as an elite, she could not hit to save her life because she was doing stuff that was way too hard. And then when she got to college, she was amazing. But had she gone to you or had you seen her, she was just incredible but could not hit. If it’s someone who’s like that who’s amazing but is not consistent in competition, is that something that worries you?
MARCELINE: Occasionally, but it’s a very very different context. And you have a lot of support so not all the pressure is on your shoulders. You’ve got a lot a group of physiotherapists and coaches and even artists that are around you to help you succeed. And it’s not all about you. And sometimes it’s maybe the fact they’re in a character that they can succeed and it’s not all the pressure on them. So it’s something I would look at if they’re never performing, but definitely I wouldn’t only focus on that. Because the true desire to want to learn and be on stage and really have that experience with Cirque is more important than what you’re doing in competition. And also we all know people that crack under pressure, being specifically competition pressure. And I can relate to being one of those that either did phenomenally well or phenomenally terrible. So I was actually a very consistent athlete any time in training, any time in shows. But in that moment there was always something that was either way and those were amazing or not. But it’s not my only focus.
JESSICA: So totally sounds like you really understand the difference between performing and competing. I feel like they’re totally different. Because performing you have the ability to cover your mistakes, the ability to make a change on the fly, the ability to create as I like to call it it’s an opportunity for comedy sometimes if something happens so that people shouldn’t worry so much if they’re not- if they haven’t hit every single routine.
MARCELINE: No not at all, not at all. And I think the opposite sometimes I think an Olympic champion who has gold, it’s not really their focus to be within the group and share. They want the spotlight. And it’s totally the opposite at Cirque. You’re sharing it whether you want to or not. And it’s not your show. It’s really 60 people plus techs, plus everyone behind stage that’s really helping making it happen. So you can’t expect all the limelight on you. A lot of the other skills come into play a lot more. And also competition you’re never doing your maximum. You’re trying to just hit once. And at Cirque it’s going to be 470 shows a year so it’s really not at your maximum and trying to maintain that level and mainly stay healthy in the show.
JESSICA: And that perfectly goes with my next question which is kind of if someone has their own- how do I phrase this. Sometimes I wonder if people go into Cirque thinking I’m going to be the centerpiece of this show and it will be created around my magnificence. And I feel like there are some people who maybe do something so incredibly unique, like I’m thinking of there’s the Chinese act who does the ballet on the light bulbs. Something that you’ve just never seen before that maybe yes. Because you’re the only one in the world that does this, yeah that’s a possibility. But do you ever go into it with that- do you ever recruit someone based on one single thing you know is going to be in the show?
MARCELINE: Sure we have a lot of acts in our shows that are called guest acts. And if you want to think of the show that had the ballet on lights, that’s Dralion, Victor Key was in it. So he’s a juggler. He was kind of the main juggling act in Dralion and a big attraction from the show. So now he’s in Amaluna, which is another touring show that’s going to be making their way around the states. And he’s a world renowned juggler and really great mover so he offers something unique in the show. He’s a main character and does a lot throughout the show, but he’d be considered what’s a guest act at Cirque. So that’s something that’s probably a very high level, would’ve reached a lot of different prizes in different competitions really featuring circus acts. And so we do hire people based on those skills. But as far as athletes are concerned, often not because they have to learn a whole bunch of things to even integrate it into the show from acting, dancing, moving, because they’ve been trained for a certain movement that’s really correlated to sport. And there’s other skills they need to compliment in order to do an act in Cirque. So a little bit of a different way that we recruit in sport than in circus.
JESSICA: Has there ever been a situation where I’m thinking about Isabelle Severino who went- she competed at the top level, then she went to Cirque, then she went back to top level competition. Do you ever have anybody who’s gone back and forth? Who’s been like I’m done with sport then they do Cirque then maybe their federation needs them to save does that just happen? We need you to compete again to save our funding?
MARCELINE: I mean in the USA and tumbling world championships we had an artist from La Nouba, a tumbler joined the American team. And she was phenomenal. She was in great shape and really was a great-
JESSICA: Is this the one who’s like 26 or something?
MARCELINE: Yeah, yeah. So that’s a similar story to that. We don’t often have them come in and out. Often once they go to Cirque there’s a lot of examples. People are I wish I did this sooner, or it’s really everything that compliments what I did before and it’s where they want to be. Often even I can say from knowing people I can say this person won’t from communication last year so often I’ll have an artist come back to me and say thanks for guiding me in that direction. But it’s definitely done very respectful which like I mentioned. But often when athletes do come to Cirque they’re definitely happy to be there for a variety of different reason from stability, where they are in life, they’ve already passed through sport and that system and they’re ready to move onto something new. And the first years you’re in Cirque you’re learning a lot. How does this system work? What do I have to do in this show? What’s the balance around that? Because it’s very different when you’re an athlete and you’re doing your own thing versus you’re doing a career. So what’s your life transforming into and I think that’s normal for any collegiate student after university or college life.
JESSICA: I always wonder if there’s anything that for clues in athlete right away. Like that you can’t they’re excluded, they can’t compete, like an injury that’s just you’ve had- or does it totally depend on what they’re doing to do in the show?
MARCELINE: It does depend what they’re doing to do. Everyone who comes through Cirque does go through a medical before they go on a show so they do need to pass that. There is a wear and tear in sport that is normal and it happens in Cirque as well. And so they have adjusted guidelines. It also depends on the job they’ll be doing. So if someone’s a flyer they’re not so much on their legs. And if any kind of athlete has done a really good job on rehab and is back to 100% and full range of motion, everything, there really isn’t too much of a limit. So as long as they pass that, they’re all fine. We’ve only had some random cases where people showed up in a cast without mentioning it. So obviously they could not do the job. But there’s not really anything that excludes someone to being able to do anything.
JESSICA: Cool. I have to ask this, and we mentioned the tumbler from La Nouba who was on the-
JESSICA: Marina yes that’s right. Because I did a profile on my- I have another site, masters-gymnastics, it’s all about adult gymnastics. And I write a lot of profile on older gymnasts. A lot of people think you can’t do gymnastics or do sport when you’re not- when you’re over a certain age.
MARCELINE: You have to look at the 86 year old in Germany or like in Japan actually what’s awesome is I do work with a casting partner in Japan. [inaudible]. And I’ve gone over a couple times. And at their different non student championships they have different divisions. And what’s amazing is they have seniors, still doing giants, I think one even did a tkachev. And so it was a standing ovation and I think that’s something that’s remarkable about that country. It’s like how can we spread that so that even after college gymnastics or even if you’re just doing a rec program you stay active. You stay involved. And that’s something in some countries, Japan does a great job. Also Denmark has a lot of participation in gymnastics. So how can we spread that. And even us and health and wellness spread it. Although Cirque does recruit a certain high level for our show specifically, but really to encourage that whole lifestyle and everything because it’s beneficial to all.
JESSICA: Yes exactly. I wholeheartedly agree. So in that vein, I wanted to ask. You guys have a show in Zumanity, there are two athletes who’ve got to be 60s or 70s. They’re rollerskating. I don’t want to give it away. Am I allowed to say that? Oh my god. Am I giving away the whole show?
MARCELINE: No no no no no no. People will forget anyway, there’s a lot of shows in Vegas to see.
JESSICA: Ok yeah. When they came out on stage I just about fainted. And it’s super acrobatic what they do. And especially for their age. So did you recruit them?
MARCELINE: I personally did not. But there’s a lot of really great talent. I think one of the things in Cirque that’s amazing is that they’re not all 20. So although there are some going on the arena tours that are a little bit younger, party because of the lifestyle. They want to see the world and that’s also the nature of an arena tour. There’s a lot of quite older ones that are sometimes with the company 15, 30 years and I think that’s something that’s really inspiring is even if you apply and you don’t get in your first try or you don’t pass an audition, there’s often feedback given so you can try again. And also once you are in, it’s not just for one or two years. Ideally it’s for a long time. So it’s not uncommon for catchers do their roles for 15, 20 years and really be excellent at it and not break down just because there’s certain maintenance. And a sidebar to that is Cirque really has a low percentage of injuries. So there’s a lot of back stage coaches and physical trainers that really keep things in check and keep athletes in the top of their shape so they can go on stage day in and day out. And so really it’s not uncommon to see in their 30s performing high acrobatic acts and it’s pretty impressive when you really get to see oh my god they’ve been doing it for 15, 20 years and they’re still doing it. And they’re healthier and in amazing shape. So.
JESSICA: That reminds me too that what’s so back to that age thing. What’s the oldest athlete you’ve ever recruited?
MARCELINE: Oldest athlete, good question. I mean we did have an acro sport mixed pair flyer in early, late 30s early 40s. And we had some catchers that were well in their 40s. But with a lot of experience so they come in really solid in their skill. And that’s something that’s really important. As a catcher you want someone who’s responsible, mature, really is there and has that vision. Not someone who’s young and distracted or too motivated to show their own skills that they’re not taking care of the safety of the other ones. So that’s something when you’re in an audition you try to get to know the people to see those skills that are not so concrete and technical but really soft skills. And that’s one of the reason our auditions are so important. It’s really the time with the person. Because anyone can send in a demo. And it’s not uncommon to be recruited only by the demo. But our auditions really are a long full day with a lot of different challenges, artistic and other, to get to know what the person is all about. And for surprises too. Because it’s not uncommon people not to put their full skills on a demo and to explore in a day and you learn they’re also this and this and this. And even when they’re in their 40s that’s great their skill, but a great mover could be a potential for Cirque. It just depends on the fit and the needs of the company and what they’re able to do.
JESSICA: I mean everybody has a different training circumstance but for a lot of elite athletes, and especially depending on the country that they’ve come from, they might have had a really difficult training situation. And it might not be till they are free of that training situation that they’re able to deal with the issues that happened to them. So you might have someone who quits their career then they have an eating disorder they have to deal with. Or they turn to alcohol or drugs because of to deal with now that they’re away from the situation. Do you guys have any kind of programs to support athletes who might be facing those kinds of problems when they come to Cirque?
MARCELINE: Yeah we do have sports psychologists that are on staff. And they have a lot of experience dealing with high level athletes and high levels of pressure. And also nutritionists, athletic therapists, and really there’s quite a bit of support staff to help people if they have any issues that are either they’re coming with or develop along the way. So that’s something I think is part of what even brought me to Cirque is the support staff because you see the coaching expertise is there that accompanies them. Not just in the studio but on the show as well. And the higher level really of management that’s there that ensures people are happy and healthy to be able to perform. So with everything that’s there, the sports psychologists that are understanding that on a Russian bar it’s not maybe something you’ve ever done before and you’re going to be doing a triple with these two guys that need to catch you on a thin bar, there may be a certain level of stress and there’s certain exercises and things you can do because you have the technical expertise to do it. It’s just getting to that skill and feeling confident that you can do it day in and day out. So they definitely accompany along and it’s something really nice to see. Same if someone gets an injury there’s a really solid program to help people get back to 100% and back in the show so they’re back doing what they were doing and moving on with the life they had before.
JESSICA: And so you talked about ethics in sport and maintaining good relationships with sport. And this is one of the things that’s really fascinating to me is you guys have a great relationship with the FIG and you just released your art in sport videos which I love. And I loved seeing the emphasis on that. I was like yes yes everyone pay attention, this is how it’s supposed to be, artistic gymnastics. It’s not gymnastics, it’s artistic gymnastics. So that’s how I feel about that. But one of the things that’s really interesting is how you can recruit out of sport but maintain that relationship. So how do you do it when you see someone you’re interested in or maybe they come to you but maybe they’re not done with their career yet. Like how do you negotiate that say their country still wants them to compete but maybe they’re ready to be done and I can see that being a difficult situation in that.
MARCELINE: Definitely, definitely. And if you look at all over the world, I can take artistic gymnastics in each country there’s a different set of rules and a governing body that operates in different ways. Russia is very different than Canada for example. And what draws gymnasts to stay in sport are very different things. So what casting and Cirque has done is really put out a big transparency to the federations, to coaches, and to athletes in how we recruit in what we’re looking for and the criteria. So what’s most important is when we talk often we’ll have an athlete just apply online is to get the conversation going with their coach, with their federation, so everything is very transparent and out in the open from the athletes wish to the message that we send. So it’s not uncommon to have everyone around a table sometimes at a competition. When we attend a competition for example me being here, I’m very respectful and distant to the competitors. This is their last big meet of their career in college gymnastics. So it’s their moment. And I talk mostly to their coaches. And we have quite a few NCAA female gymnasts come to Cirque in the past few years and that’s because the strong relationship with the coaches. So really our goal is while athletes are in sport to inform them what it’s all about because again it’s not for everyone and really help guide them. If it’s something they’re interested in, here’s the timing they should apply. Which is often before they retire. So to think and also with their coaches involved in that communication they can say this athlete’s more suited to Cirque and might guide them even to that direction. Or this one not at all, they’re interested more in books and pursuing a traditional life or not Cirque performance after. You’ll see on floor some of them that shine are really great for Cirque because they love to put it out there and gymnastics is their passion. And often after college gymnastics they’re not sure where to go. So that’s a specific situation. And different countries you have different ways you operate because there are different laws and rules within the system. So it’s kind of a touchy subject but for us transparency has been the most important thing keeping everyone in the loop. Also there’s lots of people that are vying for a position at Cirque so there’s no one person that we need to take at any given time and putting out that message and making it very clear is something the company’s done. And it’s been really good for them because it keeps a certain trust in the community. And also even as far as laying grassroots and different sports to keep them alive to keep them motivated and often we’ll show videos of the athletes at Cirque to motivate youngsters to stay in sport. Because it’s kind of that ongoing relationship with the federations. If they have good number of gymnasts and then eventually get to elite they may be interested in Cirque after. Maybe not but definitely there’s a codependent relationship.
JESSICA: And do you have like you mentioned helping some of the teams struggling financially right now. Like Ukraine is one they’re kind of bankrupt and they’ve sent athletes home and we on our show were talking about how we should start a fundraising campaign. Like if one of our favorites shaves his head and gets a mohawk then for every time he appears in a meet with a mohawk everyone donates $5 or something. So we’re very concerned about this on the show. We talk a lot about international listeners. So can you give an example of a way where that symbiotic relationship has worked and where maybe you’ve helped out in a situation where a federation or a specific gym or something was struggling?
MARCELINE: Sure. What’s also challenges a lot of people do request Cirque’s help because it is an international platform. And there’s a lot of different ways they do it from a financial donation to different relationships in federations to even implanting a coach even in a place to help them bring the level up. Or even in acrosport for example they’ve done a lot of grassroots program because we saw it becoming a little more extinct and it was something really important not only for Cirque’s survival but also for that sport to survive. So we see it a little bit in tumbling and right now we do have a conversation with them on things they can do because we are a very in tune to what’s going on outside and we do see different things that are possibility that sometimes when you’re there you may not see. So really a lot of the conversation we have is what’s in the best interest, what’s also fair, because we don’t want to favor one over another. And what’s the best way to stimulate the sport because sometimes it can be to a specific area or coach or supporting a federation by perhaps donating a power trak. It’s been done before. Or different expertise that even within the company. And sometimes it’s easy as motivating the youngsters to stay in sport because they’re kind of not sure what they want to do. And they’re almost at that elite level and distracted by things going on. And eventually want to come to Cirque but we tell them stay a couple more years then you’ll have a better chance than right now where you’re not at that level yet.
JESSICA: Right. I love that you mention acrosport because it’s so cool. Growing up I didn’t even know that was a sport.
MARCELINE: It’s awesome
JESSICA: I would’ve totally stayed in gymnastics forever if I had known that was a sport.
MARCELINE: And we have like here part of my present also to help organize, we have a surprise for Sunday’s opening ceremonies. So there might be a little Cirque in that final. So definitely keep your eyes open especially if you like acrosport because there’s a lot of home grown talent that’s really phenomenal in the state.
JESSICA: Yeah. Oh that’s so exciting, people are going to love that. That’s the end of my formal questions for you. Is there anything else you want to add or anything you think people should know?
MARCELINE: I mean what’s interesting is still in this time of where the economy is a little more unstable I think what’s great to see about Cirque si they have the Cirque du Mont program that’s still going on where they do circus in underprivileged communities. So there’s a lot of those different programs going on in focus. So there’s some in South America, and all over the world. So I think that’s something that’s still interesting and held to heart in the company. Not just shows and making a profit. But really helping out underprivileged communities and seeing what they can do with the skills that are there. So that’s something they hold to heart. Then also there’s the One Drop program which is to give healthy water all over the world. And that’s something Gee the owner holds to heart. And there’s quite a bit of efforts there. And I think that’s something. You can check out online on the website at cirquedusoleil.com and there’s a lot of really interesting information that shows even in a time where there may be some struggles here and there, there’s still an important message of helping people out and helping the world and being present that I think is something really remarkable in any given company. So definitely check that out. Then you can also look online. There’s a ton of information on cirquedusoleil.com/jobs. There’s tons of videos on the acts if you’re interested in ever joining. Or seeing what gymnastics can bring you to and coming in contact with any one of the scouts or audition schedule. There’s tons of information. You can be all day on that site. And take in a lot.
JESSICA: Now let’s talk about the gymternet news. First, Katelyn Ohashi got pretty pissed. And she posted a little note on Instagram. She basically tells everybody to back off. So this is what she said. “There are many different rumors going around and I don’t know where the information has come from. I understand that I haven’t competed in a while but injuries happen and it doesn’t stop people from their goals. I’ve not said or decided anything. So I don’t know where people have got their assumptions from. So I would appreciate it if they stopped.” Mhmm. So. What assumptions do think she’s talking about and did something happen to trigger this? Did someone post something like she’s going back to level 7 that really pissed her off?
UNCLE TIM: I don’t know that anyone posted anything. I’m assuming it’s the talk about her dropping down to level 10. That’s a rumor that’s been going around for quite some time. The other rumor, again I have no confirmation of any of this, but it’s a rumor. People are saying that Valeri has stopped coaching her and so I’m assuming that’s what she’s talking about.
JESSICA: Interesting. Well you know how I love when people say exactly what they’re thinking. So I appreciate that she put it out there and was like, you don’t know what’s going on so shh it. So I like that. Another reason to love her, and her crazy comedy Vine videos. In other fantastic fantasy gymnastics dreams coming true unicorns and rainbows, Nastia posted photos of her and Travis Wall, THE Travis Wall doing choreography for her for the Gymnastics and Skating Spectacular on NBC January 5. Tune in because it’s going to be the best one ever because I don’t know if you just heard me but I said Travis Wall choreography. Yes! Oh my God! Is anyone else as excited about this as I am? Did this thing just get a thousand times better than it’s ever been in the history of it ever happening?
EVAN: It looks pretty good from what I saw. I mean obviously, they’re two mega powers of gymnastics and dance colliding in rhythmic unison. So it looked good! I’m intrigued. I’m definitely intrigued.
JESSICA: He did her elite routine and then she ended up not competing floor so we never got to see it. And then we sort of got to see a dance through that she released a little while ago. I mean we might finally see like a full- AH! I’m so excited! You know, I never watch this thing because I can’t it in general. But I mean, I’m going to be glued to the TV. So whoever’s genius idea this was, Nastia, Travis, if it was the producers….doesn’t Zert put this on? Is he a producer? Am I imagining that? Paul Zert? Does he have something to do with this?
EVAN: No idea
JESSICA: I could totally be imagining that. If this has nothing to do with him then never mind. Whoever decided that, you’re a genius. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. In other news, Nastia has resigned as the athlete rep. We knew there was an election for athlete rep and it was Sacramone vs. Beth Tweddle and Beth Tweddle won at World Championships, that position. And so Nastia has resigned as athlete rep because of a conflict of interest. So I’m imagining this is because she’s an NBC commentator. Is that what you guys think? I don’t know what the conflict of interest is but I’m assuming that’s what it is. Let’s talk about Movember. The Mo, this is what people call mustaches. It’s a thing where men grow their facial hair. You guys know how I feel about facial hair, except for chops. Why can’t we have chops November? I would be totally for that. But anyway, it’s a good cause. You see a guy with a mustache, you’re supposed to reach down and do a self-exam really quick. That’s my understanding of the movement. So Uncle Tim has made the most fantastic infographic in which we identify trends in facial hair in gymnastics. And then we gave our pros and cons for each. And it is fantastic. And one of the people who recognized that it is fantastic is Chile’s own Tomas “Porn Stache” Gonzalez. We have mentioned him many times. We are big fans on the show. He retweeted it because we’re awesome. And he was also in an H&M ad, looking all ready for the- what are the mountains down there in Chile? The famous mountains?
UNCLE TIM: Andes?
JESSICA: The Andes with the alpacas. Alpacas right? Llamas, alpacas, some kind of large animal that spits when you shave the fur off to make things out of.
UNCLE TIM: Mustaches, you make mustaches out of them.
JESSICA: Anyway, he’s looking very rugged. Very rugged. Ready for the Andes. Okay. So check out the infographic. We’ll put up his excellent H&M ad where he’s looking very chic. And then, also speaking of mustaches, Oleg Stepko posted a video of him doing a triple full, triple back of p-bars. A triple back. That’s nuts. That’s insane. Nuts, see? Movember. Evan, what’s your take on the triple back?
EVAN: I can’t even. Oh gosh.
UNCLE TIM: Sorry, I thought you were going to say what’s your take on nuts?
[Laughter from the group]
EVAN: She’s contracting.
JESSICA: Okay carry on. Just ignore me.
EVAN: So a triple back off p-bars is one of those great, I don’t want to call it an exhibition skill but what is he going to put before this triple back? I think it should be peach, back toss and then like five seconds of just breathing before going for a triple effing back. So I think it’s a cool skill to have. I think it’s good to engage people on the internet and create conversation but if you’re going to chuck that in competition, I have a hard time believing…better start preparing for Rio right now just doing the same repetitions over and over again. I don’t know if we’re ever going to see that.
JESSICA: Uncle Tim, what do you think?
UNCLE TIM: We also don’t know how high the parallel bars were, if they were above regulation size. So I don’t know. The skill just scares me. I think he’s the only guy who’s ever thrown a triple back off parallel bars. It just always looks like the guy’s kneecaps are going to go through his eyeballs. That’s what it always looks like. I don’t know. I agree. I don’t think it’s a skill that we’re ever going to see in the near future. I mean we don’t even see triple backs on floor anymore.
EVAN: It’s at the end of a trampoline routine when they absorb all of their momentum and that huge recoil goes through their body. I’m like how is that ever good? And it’s like required of them. Can we like just gently land? No. Like abrupt.
JESSICA: The one thing I thought when I saw this was obviously, it’s awesome. If I ever did a triple back, I would of course post a video of it online. But I was wondering if this is one of those things that I feel like male gymnasts do way more than female gymnasts, which is if you’re doing a double back you train a triple. You know, you always do something harder than what you’re actually going to compete. Or do you think this is just too insane? You would never do this just so you would have an awesome double back?
EVAN: I don’t know what kind of Communist regime you’re taunting but I always just did the hardest stuff I could do and just prayed that it somehow came together. So in terms of being like oh no, I’ll just do this obscurely, insanely hard skill so I can do an easier one later, that isn’t happening. I’m going to say no. I’m just going to say no on that.
UNCLE TIM: I can just hear Jess coaching “No you can’t do a backward roll yet in your routine. You have to master a double back before you can do a backward roll, child. What are you thinking?” Mykayla Skinner’s the same way. She’s training some crazy skills and she only competes much easier skills. It’s not just a dude thing. Or she trains like a dude. I don’t know how you want to look at it.
JESSICA: Well that would explain a lot. Well I would just like to say it was Coach Rick, who coached in the gym with Kyle Shewfelt who pointed this out and was talking about this. So when we talk to Kyle Shewfelt next time, we will ask about this. What particular skills did you do that were an example of this? We’ll get to the bottom of this. I will not be mocked! Alright I will. So what’s happening in video news on the gymternet?
UNCLE TIM: Well besides the triple back, we have found some old videos of Simone Biles from 2011 doing a Yurchenko double back and a double layout full out. Jess, what were your thoughts on those videos?
JESSICA: Well I love watching them because you almost never see, it’s so rare. I think I can think of two other times I’ve ever heard of a woman or seen a video of a woman doing a Yurchenko double back. The last one I’m thinking of is London I’m forgetting her last name. London, she went to SCATS.
JESSICA: Phillips yeah. And this is of course totally true for men but it’s a totally unforgiving skill. Once you go for it, that’s it. There’s no way to bail out. So it has be so perfect. And he was like oh it’s totally not worth it. The other person who did it was a Yurchenko double pike which was….who was at UCLA with Jamie Dantzcher and she got kicked off the team and then she was back on? Always wore short sleeved leos?
EVAN: Shavahn Church?
UNCLE TIM: Jeanette
JESSICA: Jeanette Antolin
EVAN: I thought she did a Tsuk, it was a Tsuk double pike.
JESSICA: I thought it was a Yurchenko double pike. Was it Tsuk? I could be wrong.
UNCLE TIM: It’s a Yurchenko yeah.
JESSICA: Yeah she did those too. I mean I think it’s totally a possibility. It could totally be done. I mean clearly McKayla Maroney could do it right now. No problem. The thing is, is it going to be worth it? Is it worth it when you have that moment where you don’t land well? I mean obviously she’s not like close to doing the Yurchenko double back here but if anyone could do it and if there’s going to be a race between Biles and Maroney, it would be very exciting to see someone throw the double back. I was excited to say the least.
UNCLE TIM: And Liz Tricase also threw one back in the day and hit a couple times I know. So yeah. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone actually competes this on the women’s side. It’s not like there are too too many guys doing this on the men’s side. Evan did you ever try one?
EVAN: My time with Yurchenkos was very short and not productive so no. No I did not. The one thing I did notice about Simone and the video was I know that it wasn’t done in any seriousness. But she looks out of control. It was like touch the horse and pull and just keep pulling forever. So I think that’s kind of the caveat to these flipping skills. Until you can earnest that power and you almost need to come out early every time to start seeing the landing. But with coming out early, you also risk landing severely short. So like Uncle Tim mentioned, with the amount of guys doing it now and still doing it unsuccessfully, I would say women are going to go the route of twisting more so than flipping.
JESSICA: Meh. You’re probably right but I also like to see that there’s a gym where someone with her talent can play and play with really fun stuff. And it doesn’t have to be after you’re done with your career. It can just be like hmm today let’s play around with new skills.
EVAN: Right and out of control comes with the asterisk of it’s still beautiful technique and impeccable form. It’s done well.
UNCLE TIM: And then the other big video that we’ve seen was Danusia Francis’s transverse aerial, her Pelaez into a full off the side of the beam. Not a Gainer full, just a full off the side of the beam. Jess why don’t you start with this one.
JESSICA: I lost my mind when I saw this. I was so excited. Literally, I got tears. Like tears of joy. I know ridiculous. And it’s not even, it’s not like a Yurchenko double back. But first the transverse aerial, who is it named after again, Pelaez?
UNCLE TIM: Yeah of Florida
JESSICA: Yes Pelaez. And there’s another gymnast at Florida who did it too. Was it Eaton? Eaton she had like two last names.
UNCLE TIM: I think you’re thinking of Alabama, Geralen Stack Eaton.
JESSICA: Oh yeah. No that’s not who I’m thinking of. Ugh anyway, there’s a gymnast I’m sure. Who is it? I will remember her name right now. Blonde, she got in trouble for accidentally stealing sunglasses. Didn’t she do one?
JESSICA: Remember the one
UNCLE TIM: This is what I have to deal with Evan.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Because I can never remember anyone’s name. Like if you could look into my head, you would recognize them right away. I can’t remember anyone’s name. You know the one that was blonde and she had a really cool floor routine and she’s very thin.
EVAN: Corey Hartung?
JESSICA: Yeah! Didn’t she do one? I will fact check myself. Corey Hartung. Note to self. Back to Danusia. Tears of joy. It’s not even that it’s so incredibly hard. It’s so unique and unexpected. It’s just so original and cool and you know how I love that kind of thing. Anything that makes me go *gasps* and watch it fifteen times is my favorite thing ever. It’s just great. I’m so excited. What did you guys think? Did you cry too?
UNCLE TIM: No.
EVAN: No tears were shed as of yet. I don’t know. There might still be time. I agree with you. It’s so different. Like why the heck hasn’t anyone done that? Why have we waited so long to see this dismount, even a full standing off the side of the beam instead of a gainer whatever whatever. But I think it’s a really cool setup. The one thing that entered my mind and I want to say that Danusia will hit it 10 times out of ten, any situation. But if you’re off at all, you’re left with very little option. So I was like whew. Hopefully we see that in her competitive routine but we do know that she has a lot of other options for dismounts. So I hope it makes it in but it’s a big risk.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah I would not throw that on podium because I would end up on the judges’ faces.
JESSICA: Do a Purvis.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah I’d have a little Purvis incident. But then again, I’m not Danusia. I don’t have the guts she has. I mean I don’t start my floor routine with my foot behind my head. So you know, we’re very different people. The bad thing though is guess how much connection bonus she gets for doing this in NCAA?
JESSICA: Four tenths, four tenths!
UNCLE TIM: NOTHING!
JESSICA: What?! Shut up!
UNCLE TIM: No connection bonus. The only way to get connection bonus in NCAA is through a flight series with three skills. So you have to have three skills to actually get connection bonus in NCAA for the dismount.
JESSICA: I protest. I protest this in the strongest way possible. I’m offended. There should be an exception. Isn’t that like a D?
UNCLE TIM: It’s an E into a B.
JESSICA: An E into anything should be a giant bonus. The judges should just throw their pencils into the air and walk away. You should win! That’s all there should be to it. Well, I’m going to have to put this in my letter to the NCAA. Corey Hartung did do the transverse aerial and she did go to the University of Florida although I’m not sure she competed it there. But we will find out. The gymternet will tell us. Gymternet, please give us the answer. But anywho ok. What else happened in video news?
UNCLE TIM: One second sorry. Oh wait what happened to Maroney’s
JESSICA: Oh yeah I took those out.
UNCLE TIM: Alright. And then also in video news, we have Utah’s leotard reveal. Yeah they just wore their leotards and had dramatic lights. I mean deep down inside, I’m just a grumpy old man and so I find this completely obnoxious that they’re doing this. I mean I don’t care about leotards. I just care about what they do in the leotards so I would have been okay with this video had they actually done gymnastics instead of showing me close ups of their thighs and their boobs where they have a giant U. What about you Jess? You’re very big on the leotard fashion.
JESSICA: Well number one, genius marketing. Genius marketing. I bet they got a ton of hits on that video. And it’s a leotard reveal. And people love fashion. People love leotards. You know there’s kids on Instagram that have the entire Instagram account dedicated to adjusting people’s leos and doing different colors and getting people’s feedback on it. It’s a huge deal. So I think it’s genius marketing. It’s another one of Greg Marsden’s great ideas. Now I did feel a little uncomfortable watching the video because they zoomed in on their chest. Now gymnasts on this team, the people they used were not super well endowed so it wasn’t that uncomfortable but it was definitely uncomfortable. I mean if I was on that team, I would have been like forget it. I’m not going to be in that video. Like no. It’s exploitative. You’re zooming in on sex parts so i will not be doing this. But that’s just how I feel about it. Evan what did you think?
EVAN: Meh. Meh in general is my thought on the matter. I mean I can look at a leotard and be like yeah it’s nice, whatever. I, like Uncle Tim, would rather watch what they’re doing in the leotard gymnastically. But none of them are really even that exciting. So it’s not like they’re bringing anything new or interesting to the table in terms of their fashion choices. I’m shrugging. I’m shrugging repeatedly over here.
JESSICA: What if men had more exciting leos? Your leos are just blah. Would you guys be excited if they were cooler?
EVAN: I think there’s probably some options to customize and stuff but it depends on who your school has an agreement with, the manufacturer for your uniforms and stuff. But I was always happy with what I wore. For me to get very nostalgic, it’s all about what you’re representing. I guess for guys you almost take a bit of a back seat to the flash and the rhinestones and the retina-tearing sequins and all that stuff. So that’s where I sit with that.
JESSICA: Ok so speaking of retina tearing sequins, or as we know that Oregon gymnast got a rhinestone injury, a cut down the side of her cheek last year. Have you ever suffered a leotard related injury? Either of you.
UNCLE TIM: What? How would that, no! It’s not something you wear in practice. I mean I have seen coaches grab a girl by the leotard and they get a giant wedgie. But since it’s not really something that I wore on a regular basis, no I never got one. I mean I had my coach smack me in the junk doing spots but not leotard related.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] smack you in the junk. Oh I kicked my coach in the balls so many times. I felt so bad.
UNCLE TIM: doing handstands
JESSICA: What did you say?
UNCLE TIM: testing to handstand
JESSICA: It was more like a squat through for me. Very dangerous. Very dangerous skill. Evan how about you?
EVAN: I avoided in any type of…I actually called it either a step in or a body suit or a uniform. I never referred to mine as a leotard. I think that’s also like a regional thing, like some areas of the nation call it different things. But no. I was always just really, put it on. I mean sometimes at practice, we would wear them but it was usually for like intrasquads or something a bit important. Yeah they weren’t really tossed around all that often.
JESSICA: A step in?
EVAN: Yeah a step in. It’s also a verb.
JESSICA: A step in. I’ve never heard that, unitard.
UNCLE TIM: No they called it a singlet so that little boys would not think it’s girly so they called it a singlet where I was from.
JESSICA: The shortest cut singlet ever. Another question because I was just noticing this when I was watching trampoline. The guys, ok so I feel like the bottom of your singlet should be the same color as your shorts so that your underwear part isn’t as noticeable. The guys, like when they would sit on the couch if they had a different color than their shorts, it was like super obvious we were looking at their underpants. So don’t you guys agree with me as everyone should that the shorts color and the unitard color should match?
EVAN: I don’t really have a thought on that. I guess looking back, that’s very much so kind of not the norm at all. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a really well matching crotch area. So I think you’re alone in wanting that or wishing you could see that.
UNCLE TIM: When you’re a little boy, that’s not what you’re thinking about. Yeah you just wore whatever underwear you had and you were totally oblivious to the fact that you were wearing white pants and the entire world could see your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underwear or whatever you were wearing that day.
JESSICA: Oh my God. Well I never really noticed this before until trampoline where basically, their knee is at the same level as the camera. I was like um excuse me. I’m trying to see his reaction, not up his shorts.
EVAN: Were you? Were you?
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] yes!
UNCLE TIM: Stacey Ervin
JESSICA: I don’t know what you’re talking about. So moving on, let’s play guess which country this gymnastics story comes from. So a man was jailed for slandering a gymnast. The 47-year-old man was sentenced to six months in prison, two years of probation and 80 hours of community service for posting unfounded malicious comments about this gymnast on the internet eight times. He also alleged underhanded dealings in her university admission. Any guesses?
UNCLE TIM: I’m going with North Korea and rhythmic gymnastics. It just seems like a rhythmic gymnastics scandal because yeah. There’s so many scandals on that side. And it seems like North Korea to me.
EVAN: I’m going to go with Russia. Good ole’ Russia.
JESSICA: Like he’s in jail with Pussy Riot?
EVAN: Yeah except Pussy Riot all of a sudden disappeared on a train to some other prison.
JESSICA: Right? God, we’re going to find out that they were poisoned with uranium cake and they’re going to end up like that reporter. I’m telling you. Putin-gate all over again. Well, the winner is Uncle Tim. Rhythmic gymnastics and not North Korea so I have to take a point away but South Korea.
UNCLE TIM: Oh so close.
JESSICA: Now the question is if it was this easy to sue for slander in gymnastics here, would we the gymternet have to cease to exist? Are we not a big enough sport to have these kind of lawsuits? Will we know we’ve made it when fans are being put in jail for slandering gymnasts?
EVAN: It’s an interesting thought. I see the process in terms of professional sports. You see it happen a lot I feel like. And even broadcasters of professional sports and things that happen to them. It’s kind of another universe and if gymnastics could ever catapult into that, I feel like it would be a lot more commonplace. There have been situations with Shawn Johnson and that incident where she was being stalked pretty soon after the Olympics. I think it was while she was on Dancing with the Stars. There was some prosecution involved there. I think that’s a lot of what will be associated with the sport in terms of legal matters. In terms of slandering online, I think that’s just the first amendment protects my internet speech as well. I think we’re okay there.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah in America it’s so hard to win a slander lawsuit because you have to prove that the statement was false. You have to prove that the statement was made to others. And you actually have to prove that the statement caused you harm which is probably the hardest one of those prongs to actually prove. And so, I don’t know what you would have to do in order to actually get in trouble for slandering an athlete. It would be really hard.
JESSICA: So let’s go from slander to our gymnerd survey results. And we have to hear how Evan would have voted. So what happened in our poll?
UNCLE TIM: First question Evan. Who would win in an arm wrestling match? Last week, Jess was talking about how buff Jordyn Wieber was and said something to the effect that Ryan Wieber was probably jealous of her body growing up because she was so buff. So who would win in an arm wrestling match Jordyn or Ryan?
EVAN: I think Jordyn. I think the forearm, yeah I think she’s got this one on lock.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah the gymternet definitely agrees with you. 88% said Jordyn and 12% said Ryan. So not much faith in Ryan. Hmm oh well. So the other question was so how much did you love Paul Ruggeri’s routine on uneven bars? One being no just no. Five being oh my God best thing ever. What about you Evan? How much did you love it?
EVAN: I loved it! I loved it. You spend so much time gripping high bar. You go over to girls’ bars and you’re like what the heck? How does this work? For him to kind of pick it up naturally and he’s just such a talented trickster in every sense of the word. For him to be able to do that and execute skills well and make it look good and have some flow, I mean more power to him. Go for it!
UNCLE TIM: So five oh my god best thing ever was the most, the highest, can’t speak. So five, oh my god the best thing ever
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] See what I have to put up with?
UNCLE TIM: It was the number one answer. Which makes me wonder whether Make It or Break It was right? Do the gymnastics fans secretly want to see the guys try the women’s events and vice versa? What did you guys think?
JESSICA: Yes without question.
EVAN: Yeah I think it’s a pretty novel idea. I think it would just be, I don’t know. I struggle with that. it’s interesting.
JESSICA: I mean it’s vice versa, to see the women do p-bars and high bar, that would be awesome. Plus that’s where we’re all going to have to go eventually anyway because it needs to be gender equal and men have too many events and it’s not fair. We’ll discuss that at a later date. That’s a whole other topic. Let me just drop that bomb one more time.
UNCLE TIM: Let’s put it out into the gymternet ether and let’s move on. Alright so the next question was do you think all gymnastics meets should have a kiss and cry little booth and Jess definitely does. What about you Evan?
EVAN: I think it’s a really cool concept. I struggle with the meet organization. You saw Secret Classic this year with the junior women’s competition. How many were there, like 48 competitors? So it’s like okay when do we do this? Is it only senior competitions? Is it only finals? I think there’s a lot of technicalities to be worked out. And if people want to get moving, I just think that the drama can be held to the very very end.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah it’s a lot easier with something like ice skating where there’s only one rink and everyone has to wait for the next performer whereas gymnastics, it’s a four or six ring circus. Our listeners thought that, 54% said that yes this is a great idea. So 54% were on Jess’s side and 46% said no.I don’t want to see gymnasts waving at the camera all the time. It’s kind of almost straight down the middle.
EVAN: Don’t we already see gymnasts waving at the camera? I feel like it’s pretty unofficial. I feel like we get some good personality in those fleeting moments of camera time between events. I’m satisfied.
UNCLE TIM: Jess, any comments because this is your big moment.
JESSICA: My moment. I just think it can be done selectively for finals. Obviously yeah meets with like 48 kids is way too many. Someone made a really good point on Twitter. They said wouldn’t you rather see someone sit there and talk to their coach than run over and take off their grips and put their butts toward the camera? And that’s the thing. They follow them around and wait for their reaction anyway. Why not get some more money for the sport, get some sponsors and sit them down and have them wait for a sec? I mean, we know who the leaders are. It doesn’t take that long, except when you have to rotate because the last person up has to totally run. I don’t know. I think it could be done for finals.
UNCLE TIM: So I remember this Twitter conversation from a little while back. Michael Buckley did the US Figure Skating Nationals and he was in the kiss and cry booth. And then he’s tweeted at USAG and Scott Bregman and said oh you guys should have me do it. And Scott said we’re thinking about it or something to that effect. Or we’ll think about it. So that was around US Nationals time. So yeah it might happen. Who knows?
JESSICA: Or it could be Evan. That would be okay with me too.
EVAN: I like that idea better.
JESSICA: Maybe you guys could test out. They could do some with you and some with Michael Buckley. And then you could have like a handstand contest to decide. Have the gymnasts vote. Or the gymternet vote. That would be even better.
EVAN: I would be humbled. He’s hilarious.
JESSICA: He is hilarious. A little spazzy though. But he’s awesome. I love him. If you guys don’t follow him on Twitter or his videos, they are so funny. I wanted him to do a recap video for gymnastics for so long. I hope he does it because he’s hilarious. His dogs and his drinking in the morning. I enjoy him very much.
UNCLE TIM: He did it for the Olympics during 2012. So if you go back in his archives, you can find them. And finally, our last question is besides artistic gymnastics, which gymnastics discipline would you like to see more coverage of? Acro, aerobic, rhythmic, trampoline, or tumbling? Evan?
EVAN: I’m going to go with trampoline purely because I was watching, I was as bad gym fan and I only watched very randomly the women’s semi final of the trampoline competition. And I was legitimately hanging on the edge of my seat. You don’t know if they’re going to land. Four of the girls didn’t land on the trampoline. You’re just sort of like nope you fail. Get off. You’re out of there. And I kind of admire that. That drama and it’s almost like a one shot deal. Just getting back up on the pommel horse or getting back up on the beam, you get off the trampoline and you go and look at that 22.4 instead of your 54 or whatever. I thought that was really intense so I’m going to go with trampoline.
UNCLE TIM: What about you Jessica?
JESSICA: Well I voted because I vote in the polls. I love voting. I want my voice to be heard.
UNCLE TIM: How very American of you yes.
JESSICA: Yes it’s very important to me. Even though I get to talk about it all the time, I still need to vote. I feel really good when I get the thank you and that it’s been counted. So I voted for acro because I love acro so much. I should have done acro. I would have loved it. But I was just like Evan, watching trampoline. Oh my God. It’s gripping. It’s exciting. There’s some fantastic crashes but I’m so much less worried about them getting hurt in trampoline which sounds totally ironic since they’re already four feet in the air just on top of the trampoline bed, let alone flying in the air. Because there’s all those spotters and the extra mats and the have the person who throws the mat in to stop your crash. But it’s so exciting to watch. And now I’m like oh my God should we make a new rule that a fall in gymnastics, you’re done? That’s it? You shall leave the podium like they do in trampoline? Now it’s all I can think about. Evan’s totally changed my mind.
UNCLE TIM: What about double mini though? That is some scary crap!
JESSICA: You just said double mini and my palms are sweating immediately. Literally they are sweating.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah.
JESSICA: Yeah that’s a different sport altogether.
UNCLE TIM: So our listeners, 41% said they’d like to see more power tumbling, 24% said trampoline, 18% said acro, 16% said rhythmic, and 1% said aerobic. I think aerobic only got one vote. But yeah I guess it doesn’t really surprise me that people say tumbling and trampoline. Not only are they cool but they are two sports that are very easy for artistic gymnastics fan to understand. Because you know what a double twisting double layout is. You know what a triple back is. So yeah it’s a little bit easier for us to understand. So our international listener shoutout goes to Anna Isbake from Sweden. She is one of our active Facebook followers. So thank you Anna for following us and being so conversational, is that the word?
EVAN: Yeah that’s good.
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 sports with a z and save $5 on your next purchase with the code Gymcast. So I want to let you guys know how to support the show if you enjoy listening. You can leave us a voicemail. Remember no one will answer the phone. Don’t worry. It’s just a voicemail system. You can call us 415-800-3191. Our Skype username is Gymcastic Podcast. That’s how you can call us for free from wherever you are in the world. You can shop our Amazon store. Evan have you done any Christmas shopping yet or any Thanksgiving shopping?
EVAN: Not as of yet. I’m holding out. I’m a really great last minute holiday shopper.
JESSICA: Oh excellent. Well when you do your shopping, if you just click through our Amazon store through Gymcastic, a little portion of what you buy goes back to supporting the show. It’s fabulous.
EVAN: I know that. I know Gymcastic is looking to stuff a lot of stockings this year.
JESSICA: That’s right. Also to support the show, you can download the Stitcher app. It works on all devices including Android. You can subscribe to the show and have it delivered directly to your email with a little blurb about what we talk about that week and also any videos that we discuss. I find this very nice. I would like to, if I was not the person who already put it together and redo it ten times when I was editing, I would subscribe that way. We also post all the routines we can on our website so you can watch while you listen. You can recommend the show to a friend. You can like us on Facebook. You can rate us and write a review on iTunes. You guys also asked for ways to support the show. You can donate directly. There’s a button the website so you can donate. You can email us email@example.com. We read all of your emails. You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Google Plus. Next week, I’m so excited about next week you guys. Like so so so excited. Do you know who’s going to be on next week?
JESSICA: I’ll give you a hint. It’s someone who has been essential in deciding who was on the last Olympic team and the last World team.
EVAN: Steve Rybacki
UNCLE TIM: Jessica O’Beirne
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] No. Olympic medalist.
EVAN: Terin Humphrey
JESSICA: YES! I’m very excited. We’re going to ask her who was the person she threw all her papers up in the air and demanded that they were put on the team. I’ve been wanting to know that so bad since she gave that TV interview. So totally excited to talk to Terin Humphrey and find out all the background on what happens with deciding who makes the team. So until next week, I’m Jessica
UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim
EVAN: And I’m Evan
JESSICA: See you guys next week.
JESSICA: Uncle Tim made this fantastic, I need to start this whole thing over. Let me start that over. Like the hairy nuts thing
EVAN You got so upset for a moment.
JESSICA: [LAUGHS] I know.
JESSICA: Did I just offend over 90% of all humans on earth? That’s my goal. Alright let me start that over. Thank God we never do this show live.
UNCLE TIM: Alright so that’s enough of the internet gymternet poll. Now let’s talk about international listener shoutout. It goes to Anna crap where did I put her name in my life.
EVAN: Anna f my life from Poland.
JESSICA: That needs to be a Tumblr name