Episode 70 Transcript

EVAN: Her double layout is probably like this new album that dropped. We’ve had albums before, we’ve seen double layouts before, but this one just was earth shattering. There’s time to like raise a child in the middle of it and it was amazing.




JESSICA: Today, Finnegan back competing, Iordache to the American Cup, and NCAA has finally begun.


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JESSICA: This is episode 70 for January 15, 2014. I’m Jessica from masters-gymnastics


UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym. And we have Evan Heiter with us




EVAN: I was muted and there was a really big delay in my clicking




EVAN: And I was scrambling


JESSICA: Evan is fired already.

EVAN: I’m Evan and I’m from Michigan, but you can also find me on Twitter @yoev


JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Alright. This is the number one gymnastics podcast of all time, bringing you all the news from around the gymternet. First thing this week, I want to remind you guys that our listener survey is up. We always want your opinions so we can make the show better. It only takes about five minutes to take the survey. And there have been some great and hilarious responses on there so please please take time to take the survey and let us know what you want more of. There’s always some questions in there for our sponsors so we can help pay the bills. Like the new equipment we are trying out on this episode. So let us know if you notice a difference. Hopefully it’s much much better because we use all of our proceeds and put it right back in the show to make it better for you. So let’s discuss the first bit of news. Olympic alternate Sarah Finnegan is back in competition. She competed this weekend in Hawaii. She did, it seemed like this was kind of a tester meet from what she did in her routines. She’s coming back from a pretty serious elbow surgery I think. And she competed almost a full beam routine except for the dismount. She did a triple wolf turn on beam which is that ugly squatty turn that only three people in the world can make look good. It was a little rough, that turn. But she did it pretty well. She did a triple. She’s training a bhardwaj in one of the videos, a full twisting pak salto from high bar to low bar. I’m describing all these because in the feedback you guys have said that sometimes you need help remember what all these skills are. So it’s when you do a flippy from high bar to low bar and do a full twist. And oh my god it was beautiful. Did you guys watch that bhardwaj?


EVAN: I did. I thought it was really well executed. I mean she gets her toes up I think really early in the skill. And then almost stalls it out so the twist happens independently. As opposed to when the bhardwaj originated there was kind of and we’re turning and we’re letting go and we’re flipping. So I thought she segmented the skill really really appropriately.


JESSICA: Yeah I thought it was really pretty. Like she almost, she completes it almost in a vertical position instead of as she’s moving through which is so rare. I really liked watching that. I don’t know if she actually competed it. And then one of our listeners said that if she added a double pike dismount to her beam routine it would have a 7.1 start value. So it’s exciting to see her back, seeing her kind of testing out her elbow again and just going to kind of a fun meet in Hawaii. Who wouldn’t want to go to Hawaii for their first meet back in competition? Evan what are your thoughts?


EVAN: I thought she looked good in general. Like you said this was just kind of a tester meet, so it’s a bit hard to gauge her overall fitness level. I thought she looked a bit taller and more mature. She actually looked to me like a 2006 Chellsie Memmel. Just her gymnastics has changed and developed I think along with some years going by. I did think it was interesting though about her elbow because I remember Terin Humphrey also from GAGE had really major elbow issues as well. So hopefully Sarah’s is taken care of and they’re keeping their thumb over that one because I was like oh connection, hm.


UNCLE TIM: Well I guess I don’t necessarily like the composition of her beam routine. So I mean as we discussed she’s competing this new skill on the bars. And you know it’s hard because the word hard is in the name bhardwaj right? Her beam routine on the other hand, it just doesn’t look hard. Like if she had a 7.1 start value just doesn’t seem hard. So if you put Larisa Iordache’s beam routine up against Sarah Finnegan’s obviously Larisa’s would look harder because she would be doing the two back fulls even though she would only have a 6.9 in difficulty. But you know I guess it’s chalk it up to code whoring. She does that long connected sequence of leaps into tumbling skills. And so yeah. It seems like that’s where she gets a lot of her difficulty connection. So good for her for figuring out how to break the code and code whore in a different way.


JESSICA: That’s interesting because I like her routine because I feel like she does everything except a full. Like she has every kind of flip. She has an arabian, she has a side flip, she has a front aerial, she has a back flip, she has a series of back tumbling, she has stuff connected to leaps and jumps. Whereas I feel like Iordache, she’s doing really hard stuff but she does the same thing twice.


UNCLE TIM: I can see that. Yeah.


EVAN: But, let’s draw the Memmel comparison even further. That’s totally the Memmel approach to beam and gymnastics. Albeit I think Finnegan has much more presentation on her side, but I think that’s how Memmel established herself on the even in years past as well.


JESSICA: I want to get back to this when we talk about NCAA because I think there’s some teams who are doing exactly this. They’re doing everything but a series. And it’s difficult but they’re doing like totally side flips and individual difficult stuff compared to a really hard back skill kind of. Anyway. Alright we’ll get back to this. Let’s talk about the American Cup roster. This is so freaking exciting. I feel like this meet just got last year was good and now I feel like it went up like 100 degrees better.


UNCLE TIM: Alright, so on the men’s side just to name a few of the competitors we have Sergio Sasaki, who I believe is one of Jess’ favorites. He’s 21 now. Is that correct Jess?


JESSICA: That’s right, so I can say all the things I’ve always wanted to say about him because he’s 21. He’s so hot. Oh my god.


UNCLE TIM: And then we also have Fabian Hambuchen of Germany, Daniel Purvis, the man who vaulted onto the judges’ faces at one point, Max Whitlock, the man who we want to do airflares on pommel horse. From America we also have Sam Mikulak and John Orozco. On the women’s side we have gymternet favorite Victoria Moors of Canada, then Italy’s Carlotta Ferlito and Vanessa Ferrari, and Jess you were super excited for Larisa Iordache to be there. And then from the United States we currently have Simone Biles and Kyla Ross. And as we know in the past, you never know if those are the two US athletes who will actually compete. I guess I’ll start the comments by saying I’m kind of dreading this meet because the gymternet never forgets. And all we will hear about is Carlotta Ferlito’s racist remarks. USA Today already ran an article about it. And it was written by Nancy Armour. And I really love Nancy but when I saw this article it made me roll my eyes so hard that I sprained my face. So I mean what do you guys think about that? Do you feel like there’s a better way to frame this meet rather than the racist vs the African American girl?


JESSICA: I defer to you Evan.


EVAN: Well. I do think that it’s kind of a moot point. But you know looking at it from a pure media standpoint, I feel like you know it’s the year, a couple years after the Olympics, there’s no real story behind it at this point. So you know in the world of sports and the world in media, you take what you can get. So unfortunately as you know follows Paula Deen around at every turn now, when you say stuff like that, it’s kind of you know sticking around. Whether or not it’s been resolved or rectified, I didn’t even care to go that far. But I do feel like you know looking at it like well we gotta say something, might as well. You know I understand.


JESSICA: I mean that’s the argument is is any publicity good publicity? And in some cases, for a sport like ours in a non Olympic year, hm. And she brought this upon herself. It’s her own damn fault. If she didn’t, too bad if she didn’t want this kind of publicity, whatever. The thing that I don’t want is I don’t want Simone brought into it at all because she has nothing to do with it. Zero zero zero. So if anyone asks her about it I’m going to want to punch them in the face. Ok. Which is a good thing I’m not going to be there because everyone’s going to ask her about it. But the good thing about this being framed this way possibly is it’s an opportunity for Simone to show how freaking awesome she is and for Carlotta to show that she was an idiot and made a mistake and show how sports can bring people together and be about something more than ancient stupid comments made in ignorance. And hopefully that’s what we’ll see out of this. And those two can rise above it and bring sports to a higher plane where it should be.


UNCLE TIM: And do you guys think Simone and Kyla will be the two US female gymnasts who will represent the United States?


JESSICA: I hope so. But you never know. Who would you want to see if it’s not them? If for some reason they can’t compete, which hopefully they’re super healthy and it’s not going to be any problem.


EVAN: That’s interesting. I would generally say I don’t think it’s going to be them unfortunately. I, although I mean who are new seniors this year? Is Dennis a senior this year? Nia Dennis?


JESSICA: I feel like she is. I think she is. She would be amazing.


EVAN: I don’t know. I feel like I’m still starting the year and I’m like I don’t remember anything, I don’t remember anyone, whoever shows up will be there. We’ll move on. I’m a bad answerer for this question.


JESSICA: We’re going to have to look at the new list and figure out who we want. I mean Elizabeth Price I think would be a great one to go and she’s proven herself recently. Who else.


UNCLE TIM: So Nia Dennis was born in 1999 so I would say that let me think she’d turn 15 this year. If I’m doing the math- yeah, 15.


JESSICA: Alright. Nia Dennis and Elizabeth Price. Oh my god Nia Dennis is just. Is Norah Flately- no Norah Flately, she’s like two years to go right?


EVAN: I think she’s like seven




JESSICA: We have so long to wait for her. One more thing about American Cup. I am just hoping that it’ll be Sam Mikulak’s airflares versus Max Whitlock’s airflares and that Max Whitlock will give Sam even more pointers. Because if Paul Hamm and Max Whitlock both give him pointers then he should end up having the best airflares in the history of the world and then easily translate them right over to pommel horse.


EVAN: You’ve done it. You’ve solved the equation


JESSICA: I’ve solved all of men’s gymnastics problems with one comment, one sentence. Moving onto NCAA quiz. So we have some international listeners to have been asking a lot of questions about NCAA. They’re like we want to get excited but we don’t know what the hell you guys are talking about. We don’t have that here. So Jimanez Himora from Mexico wrote in and she was like I have a whole bunch of questions and I was like write them down and we will answer them for you. So I’m going to do a quiz based on her questions. To answer you have to wait till I finish the whole question, no buzzing in early. And you’re going to say your name to answer. So you wait till I finish then you’re going to yell out “Uncle Tim” and then I’ll call on you. Then there’s three bonus questions. And I will give you extra points for the bonus questions if you answer them in a creative way. So I saved the funny ones for the end. So are you ready?




JESSICA: Ok first question. How many, ok these are all based on division I, only division I. It’s too complicated to go into division II and division III. So. How many full scholarships can a division I team offer?




JESSICA: Uncle Tim


UNCLE TIM: 12 on the women’s side and 6.3 on the men’s side


JESSICA: Really? Men only get 6.3?




JESSICA: Oh I didn’t know that. Next question. How many athletes can be on a team and do they all have to compete?


EVAN: Evan. You can have unlimited athletes on a women’s team. Men, I believe is kept at 24. And I don’t believe there’s a requirement for competition.


JESSICA: Number 3. You’re all correct so far of course. Number 3. If you are a regular student, can you apply to be on the team?


EVAN: Evan. Yes.


JESSICA: And what would that be called?


EVAN: Walk on-ing.


JESSICA: That’s right


UNCLE TIM: Is that you Evan? Were you a walkon?


EVAN: Yes this was my life


JESSICA: And can you talk about that for Ms. Amora in Mexico and tell her how that worked?


EVAN: Yeah so obviously walkons are affiliated with gymnastics before showing up to campus. You know there are some sports that just kind of recruit people based on hey you look pretty athletic or pretty strong, but gymnastics takes a lot of time to develop. So most times, you know you can begin to talk to coaches or other athletes when it is NCAA compliantly appropriate of course, and just start forming those relationships. For me, it was never like I’m gunning for a scholarship. You know it was just something that happened through existing relationships in the gymnastics community. And I was fortunate enough to kind of capitalize on that and stick around for four years. So that’s how that went.


JESSICA: And some people, what happens is like they a team will have a whole bunch of injuries and they’ll be like what are they called, intracollegiate squad who just practice for fun or maybe they compete with other colleges but they’re just a club team. And a team will have so many injuries that they’ll go and watch that practice and say we really need good vaulter and you can do a tsukahara so do you want to compete for us and they’ll have someone walk on for a semester just to fill a spot. Who was just on that said they recruited a cheerleader?


UNCLE TIM: Jill Hicks


JESSICA: Yeah Jill Hicks was talking about that they needed a tumbler and were like hey you can do a double full? Walk on to our team. Ok next question. What is a redshirt year?


EVAN: Evan




EVAN: It is a season that you do not compete due to injury. And it has to be officially accepted and approved. And it’s based on percentage. So if you compete, I believe it’s less than a third of the season, you’re eligible for a redshirt.


UNCLE TIM: 20%. It’s 20%


JESSICA: Perfect. So that’s how Ms. Amora asked how can you compete part of the season but not the rest of the season. That’s a redshirt. So basically as long as you get hurt in the beginning of the season in the first 20% of the season, your year doesn’t count and you get a redshirt year.


EVAN: But don’t get hurt anyone. No injuries.


JESSICA: Anyone ever. Exactly. Right.


UNCLE TIM: You’ll mess up my fantasy gymnastics team.


JESSICA: Oh my god mine’s so messed up already.


EVAN: I can’t. I can’t even.


JESSICA: If you are injured can you lose your scholarship because you got injured?


UNCLE TIM: You can be- Tim. You can be medicalled and you don’t necessarily lose your scholarship per se. But that scholarship then becomes available for another gymnast if I’m not mistaken.


JESSICA: Yeah that one’s kind of tricky because it’s like you still get because you were hurt doing your sport, you still they’ll still pay for you to go to school. But technically you don’t have a gymnastics scholarship anymore, you have a medical injury scholarship. So technically if you get hurt they can’t be like sorry sucker, no college for you, go back home and work at McDonalds. They can’t do that. I bet that does happen at some schools but it’s technically against the NCAA rules. Do you like how I answered that one?




JESSICA: Because that’s what happens. If you don’t finish, that’s the-


EVAN: Did you say your name?


JESSICA: Why can some athletes join the team later like in January when school has already begun like Aja Simms at Alabama?


EVAN: I just want to say there is no rule limiting that because sports are looked at as pre-season and competition season. So there’s no requirement to fulfill both. I also don’t like that question.


JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Why don’t you like it?


EVAN: There’s just a lot of things that can happen. I’m speaking very hypothetically. There’s just no rule I believe for all intents and purposes.


JESSICA: Yeah so who knows. I don’t know. Will someone who’s done that, we’ll have to ask them why did you decide. Because they were just like being in college is so much better than being in high school, I can’t wait to get out of here, duh.


UNCLE TIM: I love how we don’t really have answers to any of these questions.




EVAN: I am not the NCAA query house. I do not know.


JESSICA: Why don’t athletes lose their- ok this I’m going to make a bonus question. Why don’t athletes lose their eligibility posing in leotard advertisements?




EVAN: Evan


JESSICA: I’m going to give it to Uncle Tim


UNCLE TIM: Because it’s modeling technically and they’re not getting paid for their sport to perform in their sport. They’re getting paid as models.


JESSICA: Is that why we never see them upside down or doing a flip or in a handstand in those modeling pictures?


UNCLE TIM: Perhaps


JESSICA: Next one. Is there a limit to the number of foreign athletes a school can have?


EVAN: Evan






JESSICA: Good answer. Is there a backlash from the general community when there are a ton of foreign athletes on a team? My own question.




JESSICA: Go ahead


UNCLE TIM: Yes in tennis there is definitely a backlash because there are no like maybe 30-40% of NCAA athletes are international. And so a lot of people feel that the American tennis players are not getting are getting overlooked.


JESSICA: And is there government funding for those scholarships that go to foreign athletes? Or do scholarship money come from fans? Should I answer this one?


EVAN: I don’t understand that question, yeah


JESSICA: A lot of people say when there’s a foreign athlete they’ll say I can’t believe our tax dollars are going to pay for that Swedish gymnast to do her yurchenko. No, scholarships are fan funded. They are totally outside. They’re not government money. So there you go.


UNCLE TIM: The problem though is if you have many international students, international tuition is usually much higher than national student tuition. I can be.




UNCLE TIM: It depends


JESSICA: It can cost a lot more. I mean just in California it’s what is it it’s like USC is $22,000 a year? Is that what is now? And then out of state’s like double that. So. Yeah. It can be incredibly expensive, cost a lot more to have an international athlete. Ok how many routines count toward the team score?


EVAN: Evan




EVAN: Five


JESSICA: Very good. And so you compete six, drop one. Can you change from one college and compete for another?


UNCLE TIM: Yes but I don’t know the rules


JESSICA: I think you have-


EVAN: So can I just assist him? This doesn’t have to be a competition right now.




EVAN: When you transfer within your conference, you have to sit out a mandatory year. When you would like to transfer out of your conference, as long as the program you’re with releases you of your essential obligation to that university and your scholarship, you’re able to compete immediately the following season for another school. If you’re not released you have to wait a year.


JESSICA: So one school could technically hold you hostage from going to another school and competing. You could go you just have to sit out a year and lose a year of eligibility.


EVAN: Right and you, yeah. And I actually agree with that because you know although it is unfortunate for the athletes, I do feel like a lot of time and investment are spent by the coaching staff and the athletic department to bring athletes in. And that’s why it’s you know a big undertaking making your college choice is so big. So that’s why you see a lot of people kind of wavering with that official commitment and national letter of, or signing day and you see some switching going on. Because I think they realize the magnitude of what’s going on.


JESSICA: Yeah I agree. And also college is supposed to be, it’s supposed to be about studying and education, not about athletics and competing. So technically this should be secondary to your academic choices if that’s really what happens. What is an all american? [LAUGHS] Nobody? Isn’t it like you’re in the top 10


UNCLE TIM: There’s a problem with the quiz when the person asking the questions doesn’t know the answers.




JESSICA: I thought you guys would know! Between the three of us we would for sure know the answer. Isn’t it you’re the top 10 in the country? Or the top-


EVAN: In women’s I feel like you can be top 30 or something. It’s like fourth team all american on beam last year


JESSICA: Oh that’s right there’s first team, second team. I don’t count first or second team. Oh wait I have a call-in from the couch. And Coop, in wrestling it’s top eight. So basically it should be top eight for everybody because- just so you guys know, if there had been women’s collegiate NCAA wrestling I would be an all american because I was fifth at nationals. Just so you guys know. So. None of us know the answer to that question, but in wrestling it’s top eight. It means you’re in the top.


EVAN: In men’s gymnastics I believe it’s top six. Top eight make event finals. In women’s, I want to say it’s top eight from your session. So that’s why it sometimes results in like 25 gymnasts on vault in NCAA event finals. And then somewhere in there, there’s a breakdown of first team and second team, which I cannot go into.


JESSICA: Oh good lord. Ok that makes sense. Because vault finals in women’s NCAA gymnastics is ridiculous. Ok bonus round. Double points for this round. Alright. Ok. Some athletes don’t compete, like Britney Barlington in Florida. Now these questions are from Jiminez by the way. But she earned a championship ring. Why is that? Evan I feel like you should answer this.


EVAN: Evan. So just because you’re not on the competitive lineup for championship meets doesn’t mean you’re not part of the official team roster. So you know it’s basically just being a part of the official team rather than competing. And that’s my answer.


JESSICA: Ok. I accept that. I accept your answer. Next one. Why is Marissa King not competing this year and still taking classes and living in Florida? Why is she still in school? But she’s done competing. How can this happen?




EVAN: Evan.




EVAN: You know, you don’t have to graduate as an NCAA athlete you don’t have to graduate in four years. You get your four years of eligibility and then you can essentially keep attending school as long as you need to to finish your degree if that’s what you’d like to pursue.


JESSICA: I would add to that that it is virtually impossible as a student athlete to graduate in four years unless you take summer school or intersessions every single session and never take a break. It’s almost impossible. Would you agree with that Evan?


EVAN: I would. I took at University of Michigan we had spring and summer semesters, and I think it was no mystery you needed to fit a few of those into your four years if you wanted to graduate within those.


JESSICA: Yeah and in general in the US it’s almost impossible to graduate in four years anymore because the schools are so crowded and unless you do AP classes which is like taking college stuff in high school or other stuff, it’s very hard to graduate in four years. So. Which is why it’s so freaking expensive, which is why everyone needs a scholarship, even if it’s for cheerleading. Number 10. Final bonus question. [LAUGHS] Can the athletes become part of a sorority? Ha ha, too many movies.




UNCLE TIM: Tim. Yes. You can be a sorority girl. Or a frat boy.


JESSICA: Do you guys know anybody that’s done that?


UNCLE TIM: What become-


JESSICA: A student athlete and be in a what are they called? Greeks.


EVAN: I do know, I know athletes who have been involved in Greek life, yeah.


JESSICA: There you go. The movies haven’t lied. Ms. Amora from Mexico, thank you so much for your questions. And this was very entertaining to test our knowledge. Oh wait I have to calculate. Ok I’ll do that and I’ll get to that in the end and I’ll let you know who won the quiz. Very serious quiz. [LAUGHS] Alright, Evan let’s discuss what happened in NCAA this weekend.


EVAN: So a lot of great things were already put on display, especially it seemed like the floor game has really kind of raised and we’re seeing some different things out there. Jess I know you had some questions and thoughts about where the bar is set essentially at this point in the season.


JESSICA: Yeah I feel like so I went to the UCLA Florida meet which was amazing and I watched some of the Oklahoma Georgia meet and a little bit of Alabama as well. And this, I just feel like if you want to make floor finals now, from what I saw this weekend, you need to have one or even two Es in your floor routine, like a double layout or double arabian. Or some really creative series like Lindsay Mable is doing who’s leading floor right now number one in the country after this first weekend or second technically. Second weekend of competition. She has like these really creative series where she’s doing a 1.5 stepout to a something else to a straddle jump to a front tuck. And the thing is her form is perfect. Like she’s landing like a stick and then taking a step back because she can just use it in her dance, not because she needs to. The most perfect landings you’ve ever seen. And I feel like you have to dance your ass off too if you’re going to get into floor finals. Like no one is going to be able to half ass it and just have the tumbling. From what I’ve seen this weekend, like Kytra Hunter’s double layout is mind blowing. It is earth shattering. It is, it will take you to a whole different world when you watch it live. It’s just so beautiful. I was just super impressed with what I’m seeing from floor. If you don’t have an E, forget about it.


EVAN: Right. I just want to say that Kytra Hunter’s probably the Beyonce of women’s collegiate gymnastics. Her double layout is probably like this new album that dropped. We’ve had albums before, we’ve seen double layouts before, but this one just was earth shattering. And people were just like yes Kytra. There’s time to like raise a child in the middle of it and it was amazing. So Kytra was really impressive. Otherwise though I think Florida looked like they were having some issues with the timing of the floor. That’s kind of gymnast speak. But it just looked like the bounce was not working for them. They looked like they were buckling a lot, especially Mackenzie Caquatto. I think that was just kind of a flukey thing. It just was not working for her against UCLA.


JESSICA: Yeah she just could not get her feet under her. At first I was like she injured? No she was not timing it correctly and she just couldn’t get her feet under her and couldn’t get the second flips around. It was really really weird because she’s usually a total rock. Then she went to beam and was amazing. So I don’t know what was going on there. Floor’s just, ugh. Then we have to talk about Kayla Williams because we’re back to the whole achilles problem and I’m like oh my god we need to change all the floors so we can stop the achilles massacre that’s going on in NCAA and in gymnastics as a whole right now. So do we have confirmation that she tore her achilles or is it just, it looks like it’s the achilles still?


EVAN: I had not heard that. I know that Kassandra Lopez from Utah had injured her Achilles so that was unfortunately the only one I had heard about up until this point.

JESSICA: Do you guys think Lindsey Mable can keep her spot?

EVAN: Okay here’s the thing. Right, here’s the thing. I also agree that Lindsey Mable had really great landing positions, some fun composition but unfortunately it just fell a little flat in the grand scheme of floor routines for me. Do I think that she deserved a 9.975? No. Plainly, I don’t. I think it was a great routine. But where are the judges at Minnesota hoping to push her to? Because unfortunately, I think that routine is almost identical to what she competed last year at Nationals. So by giving a 9.975 at this point in the season, I just feel like it’s a bit unrealistic. Not to knock Lindsey Mable at all, because the presentation, and she has some cool intricate horizontal turning choreography and it’s really pleasant in general, but I just feel like it’s not the time and it was unfortunately not the routine to get a 9.975. What do you guys think?

UNCLE TIM: I’d agree. I think it’s really early in the season to be giving out a 9.975. With that said, I’d have to go back and look at the rest of the routines to see what they got in comparison because one thing, especially under the 10, it’s really a ranking system rather than a scientific evaluation of execution I would say. And so if somebody, let’s say, got a 9.9 and didn’t have quite as great of landings, I think a 9.975 would’ve made sense in the overall scheme of the meet. But if were looking at the routine in general, it doesn’t really get me that excited. Like I said, neither did what’s her name, Hollie Vise’s routine back in what 2010 right? Was it 2010 that she competed floor again?

EVAN: Mmhmm

UNCLE TIM: She did quite well on floor that year so I don’t know.

EVAN: But probably not in the first meet of the season. Is that fair?


EVAN: Probably not. Right, so I think it’s just a little early. But we had another 9.975 this weekend too. Olivia Courtney on vault at UCLA. Jess, in person, let’s get your evaluation.

JESSICA: Yeah it was redonkulous in person. Yeah it was beautiful. That’s the thing. I was thinking they were going to give her a 10. It was a home meet. She stuck the crap out of it. It was late in the lineup. I think it was very fairly scored. She lands with her legs apart a little bit so I can understand that, that’s all the technique to stick it. But yeah it was a really, really nice vault. Kytra Hunter’s vault was insane and amazing and harder, but she took a little hop out of it. But that vault, if she sticks it, it should get an 11. But I think Olivia Courtney’s was totally fair and a really nice vault.

EVAN: Bridgeport, I didn’t see, they were at the Arkansas tri-meet correct between Arkansas and Western Michigan and Bridgeport. And they’re a DII team and they finished second behind Arkansas at that meet.

JESSICA: Yeah they’re one of those teams that I just feel like is, the way Oklahoma is just pushing it by having those ninja level 10s who are doing, like they are pushing the difficulty the same way that Florida pushed their difficulty way beyond everybody else to get over that hump, I feel like Bridgeport, they’re just doing a great job. I think we’re going to see them be a DII team that actually breaks in, which we’ve never really had a team, we’ve had individuals but a team that’s done that, I can’t think of a whole team. Something special is going on there. I’m just going to keep an eye on them.

EVAN: Is it Bridgeport or Brockport that I’m thinking of because those are both, and I would hate to mislead someone and not give credit where credit is due but Bridgeport, big ups to you. Something-port, you’re all doing great.

JESSICA: Bridgeport is the one that has the daughter of, Sasha

UNCLE TIM: Tsikanovich

JESSICA: who’s just amazing and should be in NCAA finals this year.

UNCLE TIM: She’s on my fantasy team and she didn’t score as well as she did last year. She was really in the 9.6 zone.

EVAN: Back to that meet, where someone, a couple of teams, when Arkansas competed, Katherine Grable rocked the house. She was at 39.475 or .445, just immaculate gymnastics. Katherine Grable is someone I can watch and will enjoy watching every weekend that they have a meet this year because her gymnastics is so Patterson-esque effortless. How’s that for ya?

JESSICA: Yes and her difficulty, shut up!

EVAN: Right? She’s raising the game. She’s halfing out of everything.

JESSICA: She did an Arabian half out on bars and she’s doing an Arabian half out on floor?! Like oh my God!!! I love her. I can watch her all day. You know how I love that she does that Barani step out and a Barani step out’s not hard but the way she does it, it makes your eyebrows go up and you look around like did everybody see that? Oooh what was that spiffy thing? It’s just oh I can’t get enough of her. I could just watch her all day long.

EVAN: Agreed. Agreed. Now can you watch Georgia’s floor routines as choreographed by Cassidy McComb this year? Russell Warfield, who I came to find out, didn’t do the choreography this year? Question mark eyebrow raise?

JESSICA: I was totally shocked right? Because he’s been there forever. He’s basically like one of the coaches there. For years, he’s been there. He would travel with them. He helped with recruiting. I mean he’s a staple of Georgia and I’ve seen two broadcasts this year where they’ve talked about how McComb is the choreographer and she gave specifics on each of the gymnasts. From what I’ve seen, she’s doing all of the choreography. Someone correct me if I’m wrong about this but that is what the two different broadcasts that I watched this weekend said. I was pleasantly surprised you guys. And I’m not saying I have huge, huge expectations for Georgia when it comes to choreography but there were no moments when I covered my eyes or looked incredulous or had to get up and run around the house screaming. And McComb’s hair is like totally normal this year too.

EVAN: She McCombed it?

JESSICA: She’s looking very professional. I don’t know. But Uncle Tim, you watched some of that meet too right?

UNCLE TIM: No I did not. It was not broadcast, no.

EVAN: Sadly, ruin my Sunday evening why don’t you Stanford? I was ready.

JESSICA: Give us an update. What just happened with Lindsey Mable?

EVAN: Lindsey just scored a 9.9 on floor at Washington tonight. So there’s that 9.975, 9.9 somewhere in the middle is where she’s at for this week. We’ll see. We’ll see.


JESSICA: And just to give some context for everybody so UCLA was competing against the reigning national champions Florida, let’s see who else did we talk about? Georgia was competing against Stanford and they also competed against Oklahoma. Alabama competed against Mizzou. And LSU was competing against Centenary. So that’s to give you a little context for our discussion tonight.

EVAN: But I guess kind of drawing a line back to Georgia, did anyone see the LSU highlights? They showed some of Ashleigh Gnat, some of Lloimincia Hall, and of course Rheagan Courville and one of my personal favorites, Jessie Jordan who I think is kind of a dark horse, unsung hero. But awesome gymnastics there. I really feel like LSU kind of looks like the great Georgia teams of a few years ago. And I think that’s a testament to not only DD Breaux and her gym and trying to take LSU to the next level but also Jay Clark, hello? He was at Georgia. He was preparing those teams. And they just look really good, really good.

JESSICA: They’ve got as the kids say, “swag.” They walk around like Georgia used to walk around, like no one can touch us. And they have such confidence. They have the kind of confidence that Oklahoma is competing with right now. And you know, Georgia doesn’t look terrible. They just don’t have that inner knowledge when you can just look at someone. Like when Bridget Sloan goes or when Sam Peszek compete, they have that look on their face like yeah I got this.

EVAN: Right.

JESSICA: And LSU has that. They’ve had it since last year.

EVAN: I think so. They’re bringing the April Burkholder beat box swag back. Uncle Tim, how many April Burkholder mix tapes do you own honestly?

UNCLE TIM: Zero actually.

EVAN: What???

UNCLE TIM: I know. I know. You’ll have to make one for me.

JESSICA: You don’t have the Alazae on like constant replay? I actually really like her song.

EVAN: April Burkholder, I mean you’ve got to give her credit, she turned about. You mention Oklahoma and how can we overlook a 197 the first meet out, what was it, a 197.7. We left out those seven tenths. Those are important. So here’s the thing about Oklahoma in my perspective. I think that they are definitely that talented for a 197.7. I will be absolutely thrilled if they go on the road and they also put up a 197.7 somewhere, consistently. Not saying that they’re not capable of it, but as history has shown, they usually score that well at home and usually don’t on the road. So take it for what you will.

JESSICA: I agree. I mean I watched them at that meet and they are vaulting like amazingly. They are turning up the difficulty. They’re using the Florida strategy, I’m going to call it the Florida strategy, this is the strategy of every team that’s broken through and finally won the first of their school’s NCAA championships which is you have to do more and harder difficulty than everybody else. Because when all things are the same, you have to have that extra something. Minnesota has that extra something in that their execution and their creativity and uniqueness is unparalleled. But they don’t have the extra difficulty that a team like Oklahoma has right now. They have like three double backs off beam. They have multiple series like we were talking about earlier. They’re doing like back handspring back handspring layout. They’re just doing harder stuff than everybody else or they’re on par or higher than the top teams. I feel like even if that score seems really high, which you know they did finish second last year even if their scores went up and down when they left home, they’re definitely adding that extra something that pushes that score above the average.

EVAN: I agree. I shouldn’t be too critical because what they’re doing is really raising the level and the difficulty that they are putting out there is awesome. So I guess it’s more of a hope for me that they continue to do that on the road because I feel, like you said, they’re putting together those intangible parts that just help you attain a new level in sports. So not to rain on the Oklahoma parade because I’m in it, I’m waving a Boomer Sooner flag. And then so I have to make a public apology to Danusia Francis and maybe the whole United Kingdom and the queen of gymnastics Miss Val because when that floor routine started, I was like this is going to be this schticky, cutesy, but I was wrong. I was so wrong because she like blew up Pauley Pavilion to a new level of greatness. I was literally captivated. I loved it. I loved it. I loved the whole routine. And you know, on top of it, her tumbling was really great too. Which you know, I think we’ve seen in a few UCLA routines in the past, they’re throwing in the casual Rudi. But she was doing the 2.5, double pike, and whip through to double tuck which I’m all about. What did you guys think of Danusia? Did you just know it was great from the beginning and I’m just an idiot?

JESSICA: Uncle Tim did you watch?

UNCLE TIM: I did. I would say that in terms of doing a lot of dancing, she doesn’t really do much but I do think that the routine is very entertaining and especially for a crowd full of college boys and the fact that she puts her foot behind her head probably attracts a lot of college boys and gets them really excited so I think that’s good. I mean she pulls of the burlesque very well. She should have starred in Burlesque with Christina Aguilera instead of Cher is my personal opinion. So yeah.

JESSICA: I mean I think the genius of that routine honestly is that regardless, I mean I think it was freaking fantastic and the crowd went nuts. And the thing about it is when you have a routine like that, it’s the kind of thing that creates a major buzz, just like her dismount on beam. People lost their shit when she did that. She was crying afterwards. People were standing up. People were just like what is this? I’ve never seen gymnastics like that before you know.

EVAN: I think it was a collective nationwide face fanning moment. Everyone was like Danusia did it. Oh man. We’re all there with Nush.

JESSICA: Yeah it was pretty magical. There were some boys in like the front row of the side where she puts the foot behind her head. They literally were falling out of their chairs. I don’t know if they were totally drunk or just completely beside themselves. They just could not contain, they were jumping up and down. They were like little kids in a candy store. It was the most exciting thing. And the little kids too. There was a little kid afterwards who was running around saying the fuzzy haired girl, the fuzzy haired girl! I love her!

EVAN: And you knew who he was talking about.

JESSICA: Exactly! Who else would it be? Yeah so, and of course she did her dismount which is now, as far as we know is first in the world to ever do that dismount, longitudinal aerial to a full off the side of the beam laid out.

EVAN: I hope she’s the first. But I’m giving her all the credit. Speak now! Speak now, horizontal aerial do-er of the dismount.

JESSICA: I have to bring one thing up because I was sitting by my friend who is an NCAA and JO judge and she was watching….I just want to say I’m totally biased for UCLA. I’m putting it out there right now. I hope you guys recognize that I appreciate other teams but obviously they’re my hometown team, not my hometown. I don’t live in LA. I can’t stand LA. They’re my nearby


JESSICA: Local, thank you. But anyway, you know if I lived in Oklahoma I would go to all of their meets and I would totally support them too. So I’m sitting there next to her and I’m watching these routines and there’s three people who do a single flip dismount, the dreaded gainer pike or someone from Florida, the gainer layout which was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. Like my entire section threw themselves sideways. It was really scary. But not because it was actually dangerous but it just looked scarier than the gainer pike does. Anyway, so we’re sitting there watching and she’s like I don’t understand these scores. Why are the scores for the gymnasts who did the single C dismount like this? So she was hypothesizing that they were taking the JO rules. In the JO rules, you can’t do a single C but in NCAA…we actually looked this up. Because I was talking to Uncle Tim about this. I was like can you check this out? I don’t know about this. We looked it up and in the JO rules, you can’t do a single C dismount with nothing else attached to it but someone asked in the most recent newsletter about this for judges. Is that the same for NCAA because NCAA uses the JO or level 10 rules. And the newsletter specifically said no you cannot take a deduction in NCAA for doing a single C dismount. So people can still run over to the end of the beam and just do that hideous gainer pike off the end of the beam. Anyway, so she was hypothesizing and she thinks they were taking that dismount which of course would have changed the final score. And there were a lot of inquiries that were accepted so the judges were catching up I think a lot, this being the first meet of the season. So we’ll see. I’m wondering if that’s going to come up in other meets or if it happened at other meets. Of course we’ll never know for sure if that’s what was really going on. I think it would have changed the final outcome of the meet. But you know, it doesn’t really matter. The meet is over. But this just brings up the point again that Uncle Tim pointed out that if we had iPads and receipts and instant scores online, we would all know the answer to this question.

EVAN: One more thing. Alright so this is kind of my wish for NCAA gymnastics this year, specifically women but it can be just in general is chest position. On floor so often, on so many skills, on vault even, chest position is widely ignored especially at schools that might be doing and what Oklahoma is on a lesser scale, trying to bring on those big scores and create a buzz and generate these things. But chest position. I mean are you guys with me on this?  Like there are so many low chests, lurches that are seemingly erased by this massive flourish of arch back and jumping around salute. I need better chest positions, just in general.

JESSICA: I agree. I feel like that’s one of the things that should be applied from the JO and level 10 code. There’s some things they don’t need to be so strict on but that is definitely something that could differentiate things especially on vault. Hello!

EVAN: Right. And I feel like the judges do, they keep it in the back of their minds essentially until nationals. So what you’re doing is setting a lot of teams up for not failure but at those regional and conference meets, a lot of times, teams seem to be surprised by not getting the scores that they might have been getting at their home meets all season long. And all of a sudden, one of the top programs is landing with improved chest positions and probably less steps as well but just completely dominating. So I would like to see a bigger emphasis on that.


EVAN: Amen. I think that’s it for NCAA. I mean there’s always more so if you guys want us to talk about a routine, feel free to send links, tweet me @yoev, tweet at everyone, tweet @gymcastic, and Uncle Tim what’s your Twitter? I could say Uncle Tim with two m’s, Uncle Tim with two I’s.

UNCLE TIM: It’s @uncletimmensgym. Uncletimmensgym.

EVAN: It’s like a cute little prose when you spell it that way. It’s like oh we’re flowing. Alright so hit us up with NCAA questions because we obviously like to talk about it.

JESSICA: Yes! So much to cover! One more little tiny piece of news. I just want to let you guys know that there is a master’s meet happening. I love my master’s meet. Oh and congratulations to Dr. Mike Canalas who just competed in his 19th alumni meet at Ohio, is it the Ohio State or just Ohio State

UNCLE TIM: The Ohio State

JESSICA: The Ohio State thank you. 19 masters meets basically he’s done and he’s doing really hard stuff. Like did he do a double double or a full in off rings, something ridiculous. And one of those flippy things from your armpits to your armpits on p-bars, whatever that’s called

EVAN: It depends. Marsue, Dimitrenko

JESSICA: One of those. So he’s doing hard stuff. Of course he’s also Mr. Dominique Moceanu so bonus that he gets every day. So  congratulations to him super master’s gymnast. And then the master’s meet that’s coming up is at the Oakville Gymnastics Club. I think they call it the World Master’s Championship. It’s Saturday March 8. And this is one of those really fun meets. It’s in Canada so I think they give out like beer for awards and stuff like that. So check it out if you want to do that!

[Sound Byte]

JESSICA: In gymternet news, if you guys were watching the Golden Globes last night, did you notice who was in the audience? Did you see? Anybody?

EVAN: Bono!

JESSICA: More important than Bono! Hello! Gosh! Bart, Nadia, Nastia, Mary Lou, Jake Dalton, Kayla Nowak, Carly Patterson, all at the Golden Globes!

EVAN: That’s pretty awesome! I mean I texted one of my friends, I was like why are so many gymnasts going to the Golden Globes? Instagram was like I’m a gymnast! I’m in a limo! I’m going to the Golden Globes! I’m wearing a dress! I’m going to the Golden Globes! I’m like what? So I think it was the P&G sponsorship. Correct?

JESSICA: Oh yeah the mom thing? This is fantastic! P&G, if you can get our gymnasts on TV at these Hollywood things, be our sponsor forever please. I’m going to buy your toilet paper, whatever else and think of you every time. And makeup and all the other things. This is so exciting! I just love seeing them there. And they all look super glamourous and fantastic! And they were with that hottie skater with the butt from Seattle


JESSICA: What’s his name?

EVAN: With the butt and the face

JESSICA: What’s his name? He’s really good.

EVAN: Bonnie Blair?

UNCLE TIM: (laughs) She’s female, not a man.

JESSICA: They go really fast

EVAN: Apolo Anton Ohno

JESSICA: Thank you! Thank you! He was there with the gymnasts as he should be because you know, he’s hot enough to sit with the gymnasts and accomplished enough. Okay, so we’ve heard that Mustafina is taking a break from gymnastics. Do we know why? Is this confirmed or is this just a gymternet rumor?

UNCLE TIM: It’s just a rumor.

EVAN: I’m not allowed to do anything in Russia so I don’t know.

JESSICA: They banned you because of your tweets?

EVAN: Right yeah all of the above.

JESSICA: Oh and speaking of that, Pussy Riot is finally out of jail right before the Olympics just so they can I’m sure put everyone back as soon as the Olympics are over. There’s a really great interview on NPR Fresh Air, one of my favorite shows, about the whole Pussy Riot thing and what’s going on. We talked about them last time you were on the show so I just wanted to give everyone an update that Putin is trying to make it look like everything is fine. And then I’m sure as soon as the Olympics are over and no one’s watching, they’ll put everyone back in jail. On a happier note than what’s going on in Russia, Louis Smith has announced that he’s returning to gymnastics! YES! Best thing ever!

[Buzzer goes off]

JESSICA: Oh no that was a bad sound to do. I’m really going to work on my sound effects you guys. I’m going to practice.

UNCLE TIM: That was appropriate. That was a cartoon sound for when your eyes pop out of your head and I do believe that’s what happens to your eyes every time you look at a picture of him so it’s appropriate.

JESSICA: Yay! So he says he has unfinished business which you know, we’ll see. I feel like everybody says that when they come back even though they’ve been….I don’t know. Do you think his thing is like gold in Rio? Do you think that’s what he’s saying?

UNCLE TIM: No, Commonwealth Games is his goal for 2014. They’ll be in Glasgow and yeah he’s hoping to compete.

JESSICA: That’s good. Keep it small. Keep it fun. Keep it local.  I mean they’re in Glasgow, it’s going to be awesome. That’s going to be so fun! I think we should all go!

EVAN: Fine, I’ll do it!

JESSICA: And you can live tweet it too. The Gabby Douglas Story, the movie has an air date. It’s going to be on Lifetime on February 1. So run over to your DVRs and set it right now, February 1 on Lifetime. I’m looking forward to watching that. I’m sure we’ll do an extensive recap. We will need an entire episode just devoted to that. Beth Tweddle is competing on Dancing on Ice again but this time with a new partner. I’m kind of glad about this because I’m sure her other partner was perfectly fine but eh he just didn’t do it for me. He was a little too smiley all the time. And not like in a good way, I don’t know.

UNCLE TIM: And if you’re a figure skater, you should be depressed all the time.

JESSICA: But I mean they were very good together obviously. Shawn Johnson has just launched The Body Department. This is a website where she’s kind of aggregating different stories and videos about like fitness and healthy eating and she wants it to be like a safe healthy place. One of the articles that she put up is an article from Huffington Post I think about the danger of the thigh gap thing which is supposed to be a trend. Like you’re supposed to be hot if you have a gap between your thigh, I don’t know. So I think it’s well intentioned and to provide that safe base for girls to feel good about their bodies and stuff like that. So that’s cool. That’s her new endeavor. Let’ see. Aaron Cook did a standing double back. That’s nuts. You know that guy? He’s the Parkour guy

EVAN: I saw the video of it. I don’t his other work but it was well executed. It wasn’t just like chucking it on the sidewalk even though he probably could.

JESSICA: No he’s the cheerleader tumbling guy. I’m getting him confused with the English guy. He’s amazing. I’m going to have to find out more about him. He does it like a regular back.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah he’s from Michigan right? He’s part of the US tumbling squad, power tumbling squad.

JESSICA: Ooh there we go. Even better.  Yeah okay, I didn’t know what I was talking about. I was thinking he was someone else. Okay. And of course, in dreams do come true news, Leon Purvis, Gabby’s little stalker who was always asking people to the prom, like didn’t he ask Justin Bieber to the prom too?


JESSICA: He has finally met or talked to Gabby Douglas. So kids, just keep trying and someday, your dreams can come true. It’s a very happy ending. That’s very nice of Gabby to do that. I mean that kid was not giving up so you know, she had to at some point. Later this week, we have our interview with the fabulous, he is such a sweetheart you guys. So genuine, very honest, told us exactly what he was thinking, whether it was positive or negative, just very refreshing, loved talking to him. Like seriously I want a poster now of John Orozco on my wall because he’s just the sweetest ever. He is going to be up like Thursday or Friday I’ll have his interview up. So look forward to that later this week. And then next week, we’ll be back with more NCAA discussion.

[Sound Byte]

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.

Remember to take our survey please. And of course, like Evan said, contact us with your comments, questions, routines that you want us to talk about. We’re at 415-800-3191. Our Skype username is Gymcastic Podcast. You can leave a voicemail. Don’t worry. None of us will answer the phone. Just leave a message. It’ll be fine. It’ll get to us. Our email is gymcastic@gmail.com. You can support the show by shopping in our Amazon store. You can go directly and you can donate and hopefully we will be able to use the proceeds on new equipment like this. So tweet us or Facebook us and tell us what you think of the new sound. Tell us if it’s improved. And you can always support us as well by downloading the Stitcher app. It works on all devices including Android and of course, rate us and review us on iTunes. Remember later this week, we will be back our John Orozco interview. Until then, I’m Jessica from Master’s Gymnastics

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

EVAN: I’m Evan again from Michigan but also on Twitter.

JESSICA: Thanks for listening! See you guys on Friday with John Orozco!