EVAN: The biggest thing from this meet was that there was a pantsing incident, like actually pants came off a competitor from Air Force.
[Express Yourself Intro Music plays]
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JESSICA: This is Episode 77 for February 19, 2014. I’m Jessica from Master’s Gymnastics.
UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim Talks Men’s Gym
EVAN: And I’m Evan Heiter. Find me on Twitter @yoev.
JESSICA: This is the best gymnastics podcast of all time bringing you all the news from around the gymternet. Let’s start with last week’s Boginskaya interview. Finally you got to hear the love story. We had one comment on our website. Maria left a comment and said “Svetlana Boginskaya’s love story is so sweet. I laughed when William said that she had gone out on a date with another guy. She went out though and she married him.” I liked that part too. What did you guys think?
EVAN: It’s a love story, baby just say yes is what I said. And I said yes. And so did Svetlana. So it worked out great.
JESSICA: There were a couple of parts that I left out. When they got engaged, he had traveled. He wanted to surprise her and flew out there and then she didn’t know what hotel she was staying at so it ended up that he flew to Paris and it took him another 10 hours to get to where she was. Then when he got there, she wasn’t there so he had to wait outside in the rain. It was just like this total comedy of errors. But when they did get engaged in Paris, they walked around the Eiffel Tower at night in the drizzling rain and had crepes with nutella and then he proposed. Very very romantic. So hats off to him. Let’s discuss Winter Cup. It’s coming up. It’s sort of the beginning of the men’s season and it features NCAA gymnasts of course because that’s where we get all of our male gymnasts. And it’s in Vegas which makes it even more exciting because you know how I feel about events held in Vegas. So before we get to that, I just wanted to give you guys a little heads up from Scott Bregman, the director of content and communications at USA Gymnastics and as you know, a fellow gymnerd, hardcore hardcore fellow gymnerd. So he wants to let you guys know to be on the lookout for a live feed Thursday and Saturday. They’re at a new venue though so there’s no guarantees about what’s going to happen necessarily with the internet there. So if anybody knows or are in contact with the person in charge of the department in Las Vegas of the mafia that controls internet bandwidth, give them a heads up.
EVAN: Celine Dion.
UNCLE TIM: And Vice President is Britney Spears.
EVAN: Recent addition.
JESSICA: I totally think it’s always Britney Spears. And then also, Scott just wanted to let you know Uncle Tim that he’s looking forward to seeing you and hopes it’s not awkward now that your feud is over.
UNCLE TIM: Oh it will be. I’m like a Real Housewife. You don’t mess with me.
JESSICA: Okay so let’s talk about Winter Cup. Can you kind of tell everybody what the point of this meet is. It’s sort of like the beginning of nationals. It’s not nationals but it’s the national team. Every year I forget and don’t understand. I need help with it.
UNCLE TIM: So the US men pick a national team twice each year. Once at the Winter Cup and once at the P&G Championships. And if you qualify for the national team at the Winter Cup, you are eligible to compete during the World Cup events held during the winter. And if you qualify for the national team at P&G Championships, you’re eligible for the big show, the World Championships. And so this is the first round. Our first nationals on the men’s side.
JESSICA: First, most important question is will my boyfriend Stacey Ervin be there?
UNCLE TIM: Yes he will. He will definitely be there. He will be one of the many guys probably vying for the floor title. Really the event to watch on the men’s side is going to be floor. You have Stacey Ervin whose Tomayo makes Jess randy. You have Jake Dalton who has lovely toe point. Eddie Penev who is a world finalist on floor for Bulgaria now competing for the United States. You have Chandler Eggleston who in the past did a double Arabian to a punch front full right away which is a cool pass. Bobby Baker also in the past who has done a full twisting double front. It’s really kind of going to be the big event, floor exercise. It won’t be pommel horse, unfortunately.
JESSICA: Which is exciting because floor is my favorite event of men’s to watch besides high bar and vault. But vault only if it’s live. Just so you know. So there’s a weird point system they have going on there. Can you explain how this works? It’s always changing so it’s hard to keep up with.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah it’s kind of confusing. So in order to qualify for the men’s national team, they use this point system. And it’s basically a giant numbers game. It is based on your placement. So let’s say I win floor during prelims day one, I get 11 points for placing first during prelims. Then let’s say I get second on floor during finals, I get 10 points for placing second during finals. So that means I would have a total of 21 points. And now let’s say I’m an okay all-arounder, my two day total places me 10th in the all around, and that means I get one point for finishing 10th. So I’m up to 22 points. I guess the key difference is the value placed on individual events versus the value placed on the all around. So for individual events, you get points on day one and day two. For the all around, you only get points for your two day total. So it doesn’t matter if I place first in the all around on day one, it only matters what my two day total is if I’m looking to get all around points.
JESSICA: So Stacey just needs to be consistent both days to get his points to be sent everywhere like he should be as soon as his NCAA season is over.
EVAN: Not only does Stacey, everyone needs to be consistent.
JESSICA: Well that’s right. Those other competitors, I’m sorry. So two of our favorites aren’t going to be there though. What’s up with them?
UNCLE TIM: I was going to say Jonathan Horton is not going to be there. He’s still recovering from shoulder surgery. Sam Mikulak is skipping because he’s training for the American Cup. And then Mr. Paul Ruggeri recently had knee surgery, kind of a bad timing for his knee surgery.
JESSICA: And I totally understand why Sam’s not competing. It’s the week before American Cup.
UNCLE TIM: Let’s pause here. Do you guys have anything to say about the point system? Do you think it’s fair or not? Does anybody have an opinion on it?
EVAN : I don’t.
JESSICA: Not really.
UNCLE TIM: Okay then we won’t talk about it. Last year, Jess you did. You were against it.
EVAN: But then Stacey Ervin succeeded with the point system.
JESSICA: So I’m like it’s great!
EVAN: I like it.
JESSICA: Pretty much! Apparently it was genius. So besides everything that Stacey Ervin’s going to do on floor and on the other events and how great he’s going to be and how he’s going to wow everyone like he did last year and how he’s going to use just a little bit of glue on his feet this time, what should we be looking forward to? There’s some people coming back right?
UNCLE TIM: Yeah so Chris Brooks is coming back. Last year he was out with a thumb injury. This year, he competed already at the Houston National Invitational on parallel bars and high bar. So it’ll be interesting to see how his comeback goes. Some other guys to keep an eye open for are I’d say Akhash Modi and Donnell Whitttenberg. Akhash is doing really really well in NCAA. He’s currently ranked first in the all around in the NCAA. Last year he finished sixth in the all around at Winter Cup so I’m curious to see what he does. And everyone should watch his dismount off parallel bars. It’s probably the world’s best Kato ever done.
JESSICA: Can you remind us who don’t remember what a Kato is?
UNCLE TIM: Well Jess you know what it is. Kato is one of your favorite gymnasts. So why don’t you tell people?
JESSICA: Full twisting double back?
UNCLE TIM: Yep!
JESSICA: Extra points for me! Extra points! Gold star! Also if you don’t love him already, his name sounds like an 80s new wave band. I just want to put some day glo and mismatched triangles on when I say his name. It’s so cool. Okay carry on.
UNCLE TIM: The other guy I’m kind of curious to see how he’ll do is Donnell Whittenberg. He is beef incarnated. He is this huge massive guy. He finished third at the Houston National Invitational behind John Orozco and Danell Leyva and he was only one tenth behind Leyva in the all around. The event to really watch him on is still rings. He was only 5/100s of a point behind Brandon Wynn on rings at the Houston National Invitational. So yeah it should be an interesting showdown between those two on rings. Evan, do you think there are any guys who might burst onto the scene?
JESSICA: He’s busy watching Katherine Grable.
EVAN: I think Katherine Grable is going to do great at Winter Cup! I think that it really is just going to be, the Winter Cup a lot of times, especially during these off years in the quadrennium, it’s just kind of a warm up meet. When you were mentioning Chris Brooks, we’ve seen Jonathan Horton come back, who trains with Chris at Cypress under Tom Meadows. I think they just have a really smart pacing plan. And so I think it’s really just getting your competition legs back under you and getting some competitive numbers back in there. I really like Chris Brooks and his gymnastics and where it got to up to 2012 and 2013 and then obviously has had to sit out for a bit. So I think that’s probably the most interesting storyline among all of them. I don’t think we’re going to see any new names rise to the top. But you never know. I could be surprised and just totally wrong which has happened like four times before. Ever.
UNCLE TIM: Four, only four. I guess for me the final storyline is kind of the question marks. The guys that you don’t really know how they’re going to do. So Danell Leyva for me is kind of a question mark. His gymnastics is kind of like my relationships, full of ups and downs and uncertainty. I mean last year, I feel like people had really high expectations for him. He was coming off a bronze medal at the Olympics in the all around. But he really struggled at the Winter Cup last year. He had a fall on high bar and he just didn’t look quite as crisp as he did at the Olympics. And it kind of set the tone and tenor for the rest of the year where he, he had a rough year last year. And so I’m curious to see if 2014 will be a better year for him. And then the other guy who kind of always has a question mark in my book is Steven Legendre because he has such high difficulty and I’m curious to see if he’s going to compete his huge vaults and if he will put them to his feet or not at this meet.
JESSICA: It’s always exciting to see what he is going to do because he’s one of those super human maniac gymnasts. Pretty much.
UNCLE TIM: Kind of like Evan Heiter
EVAN: Ohhh I was cray cray.
JESSICA: What was the hardest skill you ever did? Whether you competed it or not, like you just landed it one time, that counts.
EVAN: I mean I’m not going to impress anyone here. I mean I did an Arabian double pike.
JESSICA: That’s legit!
EVAN: That was probably the biggest E that I got to, E for Evan and effort.
JESSICA: I mean if Stacey Ervin does those in his routine, those are really really hard.
EVAN: Right yeah!
JESSICA: That’s the scale upon which I judge all other male gymnasts.
EVAN: Totally! Yeah it was good. I was great! If I could do just like one pass and then they were sick of them. If there was a one pass event, which don’t tell me power tumbling because I do not whip back like that. My whips do not back like that. Arabian double pike was probably the hardest. I did triple fulls once but then I got mono the next day
UNCLE TIM: So you got superstitious
JESSICA: That’s how hard triple fulls are.
EVAN: I was super swollen so I couldn’t do it.
JESSICA: Okay how long did it take you to come back from mono?
EVAN: Probably not the Danusia Francis plan.
JESSICA: Which is crazy
EVAN: I was out for, I think just as a precaution, I don’t think it was really serious. Like some people say they were like, I had tennis balls in my throat and I could barely breathe. I was so tired. When I got it in college, they were like are you tired, I was like yes. I’m always tired. So I think that’s a pretty funny question to ask a college athlete. Like are you tired. But I think I sat out for probably about a month just as precaution. It wasn’t like I felt super bad that entire time. I guess there are varieties of cases and obviously doctors with differing opinions on things so hopefully Danusia, Danusia Francis of UCLA was recently diagnosed with mono as many college gymnasts have been in the past. So it’s just a matter of listening to your body. One terrible thing about mono is that it’s pretty easy to relapse. You think you feel good just because your body has rested for so long and then you start doing something again and it’s like oh no.
JESSICA: And I think that the reason people often think for normal humans it’s not a big deal, but for athletes it’s really serious because the problem is that your spleen is swollen so just doing a normal landing or just falling over like you do a hundred times at gymnastics practice can rupture your spleen and then you can lose your spleen and/or die. So it’s very serious. Not having a spleen is not a good thing if they have to take that out because it cleans your blood. So it’s kind of super essential.
EVAN: So everyone should google where your spleen is. If you have your left hand and you put it on your rib cage, it’s under your left hand essentially. It’s under your ribs. Know where your spleen is. Because I was like ooh my muscles on the left side of my chest are just like hurting, like kind of sharp.
JESSICA: Weren’t you like I feel like I have a cramp in my side all the time? Why is that?
EVAN: That’s your spleen getting ready to explode.
JESSICA: Exactly! When I had mono, that’s exactly how I felt all the time. I’m not running anywhere! Why does this hurt? The worst thing is as an athlete, you are never trained to report when you have a pain or an injury unless it’s really bad. Excuse me I have a pain in my side. So it’s so hard when someone’s like you have to tell us when you feel you have this pain. You’re like screw that. I’m just going to do as much as I possibly can. Yeah it’s very difficult. So we wish Nush the best because we love love love her.
EVAN: We also received a report from the Rocky Mountain Open. Are you guys ready for this? Our judge friend Mr. Olympia, he’s coming through again in the clutch to give us a little bit of a report, some interesting tidbits from the meet. Obviously we don’t talk about the men that much even though it was entertaining and great and talented as they are. A lot of times, their more sparkly counterparts take much of this show. So for the Rocky Mountain Open, Oklahoma really ran away with this competition. As they usually do, Oklahoma’s looking very very good this year. I would say the echelon of the top three teams is really Michigan, Oklahoma, and Stanford. Uncle Tim, correct me if I’m wrong. Jump in and stab me.
UNCLE TIM: You’re correct. Continue.
EVAN: No stabbing. So the bad news from this meet though was that there was a pantsing incident. Like actually, pants came off a competitor from Air Force on the rings, had his pants fall down in the middle of the routine. Which Jess would probably argue if you had a dance belt on, maybe that would aid you in some type of pants help. But that actually caused Air Force to get third place. They were back from second place by Nebraska by less than a point. And when you have to get off the rings because your pants are falling down, you have to take a point deduction.
JESSICA: Can you imagine how bad it would have to be for you to stop your routine? I mean they must have been around his ankles. We’re looking for the video of this. So stay tuned. Check on our YouTube playlist later this week.
EVAN: And at that moment you think, because my mind was like does he need to take his legs apart? Because you really can do a legs together press, legs together planche. You can just do an L seat instead of a straddle L. So I was thinking would you just continue? But they say those, I don’t want to say dancers, but if a boob pops out, you’re just supposed to keep dancing. Like pretend like nothing happened. Like you’re just supposed to continue and go on.
JESSICA: And this is not as bad as a boob falling out.
EVAN: It’s definitely not! Obviously he probably had his dance belt on, as many people think gymnasts need to wear.
JESSICA: Honestly he’s in the Air Force. What if he was in a military operation? What if this was life and death? I mean you would keep fighting with your pants hanging around your ankles.
EVAN: I do see, because they could get caught. Things can go south pretty quick, including pants obviously. Those were the highlights and the lowlights from the Rocky Mountain Open.
JESSICA: And just to circle back to the dance belts, which we love, one of our commenters this week commented that it was so interesting to hear us discuss dance belts, which are like jock straps for dancers because he used to wear a speedo, underneath his, or over his singlet to hold everything in. We were like wow, we’ve never considered anything like that. I’m just glad that we have brought this discussion to the floor. I think it’s very important and now everyone knows.
EVAN: We’re bringing pants to the floor and discussions to the floor, per us.
JESSICA: So let’s talk about NCAA this week. Oh my gosh, so it’s another banner week for Florida. Kytra Hunter got another 10, so that’s three weeks in a row of 10s for Florida. Kytra Hunter, she does a Yurchenko 1.5 and she stuck the crap out of it. It was beautiful. It totally deserved a 10 as far as I’m concerned. And the interesting thing is, she sat out of practice all but one day the week before because she had a stomach illness. So perhaps, it’s the wave of the future as some of our Twitter followers have suggested. Like Sam Peszek hasn’t been practicing very much and then she’s just going and competing. So maybe these excellent incredible elites benefit from a little time off.
UNCLE TIM: Or just being sick. Wasn’t it Bailie Key who was sick at the Secret Classic maybe and then she won the whole thing?
EVAN: Shawn Johnson had a stomach ache before she won gold in Beijing
JESSICA: But then we think back to Shannon Miller when she had the 104 fever and competed in Worlds finals on beam and fell like 15 times. And then there was Carly Patterson at Pacific Rim
EVAN: 2001 Pacific Alliance
JESSICA: Pacific Alliance when she had the stomach flu and she fell like three times on floor
EVAN: Maybe it was the Goodwill Games
JESSICA: Goodwill, that’s what it was, back when we used to have those. Yeah so it could go either way. I mean stomach problems? Competing? Oh no no no. That just sounds like the worst. Write in if you’ve had this experience and tell us what happened.
EVAN: Share with us your experience of stomach ailment in gymnastics.
JESSICA: Tricia Woo had the most horrific story ever of being on tour with Cirque and having food poisoning and realizing it right in the middle of her act and having to run outside when they only had porta potties. So you can listen to that in Episode whatever that was with Tricia Woo. Please enjoy. But let’s talk about the meet of, I would call this one of the meets of the decade. I would say the last meet, besides national championships that were like this meet were a long time ago, probably in the golden era of Georgia and UCLA in the early 2000s. The meet at Metroplex in Texas. So Metroplex Challenge is a regular JO meet. It’s a club meet. It’s an invitational. But they have a men’s NCAA meet and a women’s NCAA meet at the same thing. It’s so brilliant. Every club should do this because you get to promote college gymnastics and education and going to school for free by getting a scholarship which is the best thing ever. You already have a built in audience with these kids who are competing. And this is a way to get NCAA athletes to compete in front of their hometown crowd because Texas only has one gymnastics team, I’m pretty sure only one women’s gymnastics team so this a way for all these hometown girls from Dallas and all these clubs in Dallas where kids are practically born with grips on their hands to compete in front of their home club, their home coaches, their families. I just think it’s brilliant. Everyone should do this. New rules. O’Beirne rules. Putting that on the list. So the meet starts off. This was a four way meet. Arizona and Kentucky were there as well. But it starts off, LSU leads off the first rotation a 49.6 on bars. A 49.6. Okay these scores are nuts. But that’s how good these two teams are. So OU is over on vault and they’re just knocking out the 9.9 pluses. They end up with a 49.475. So the second rotation starts, LSU goes to beam. Rheagan Courville has that monster truck sized Nadia-esque standing Arabian on beam that’s like the best one you’ve ever seen except Nia Dennis. Who I would like to see them both side by side beams and do Arabians next to each other. Because Nia Dennis is insane too. So anywho, Rheagan Courville. They’re on beam and over on bars, OU takes the lead back from LSU and they are at a 99.025 after two rotations. A 99! What! That’s crazy!
EVAN: Jess you texted me that. And I was not following the meet, that’s a sacrilege I know. But I was like a 99? What?!
JESSICA: That number doesn’t happen. That’s crazy. Everyone’s averaging 9.9s and above a 9.9. So this meet is crazy right? So then you go to the third rotation and LSU is like oh hell no, we’re not going to let Oklahoma take the lead. We have Lloimincia. She’s in front of her home crowd at Dallas and we’re going to win this motha. So Lloimincia goes on floor, she gets a 10, as we knew that she could do, her crazy floor routine. And she dedicates the routine to all the people who helped her in her career, the carpools, the coaches at Texas Dreams, her family was there. It was her hometown. She gets a 10. It was this epic moment. So LSU goes 49.45 on floor and then over on beam, future So You Think You Can Dance competition star Chayse Capps is first up on beam. So she’s first up on beam, she’s a freshman. You know how I’m in love with her. She gets a 9.975 on beam, as the first person up. That does not happen. I can’t think of another time. A 9.975, first up? What?! So the Sooners get a 49.5 total on beam which is no big deal, completely normal. So they’re leading going into the fourth rotation. This is where it gets freaking awesome. So LSU is on vault. Rheagan Courville goes and gets a 10. She has a gorgeous Yurchenko full. Seriously she lands, you know the guys get super distance and they measure the distance part of the elite score, that’s what her Yurchenko full is like. She is way out at the back of the mat, totally deserved a 10. It was beautiful. But then Oklahoma is going. You know how amazing they are on floor. Haley Scaman gets a 10 on floor. So it was just like back and forth, back and forth. Uncle Tim what were the final scores?
UNCLE TIM: LSU finished with a 197.875 and Oklahoma won with a 198.175.
JESSICA: And that brings us to the amazing thing about college gymnastics and why we love it so much. Because this was back and forth between teams and they were pushing each other. These people were getting season high scores and career high scores at this meet. And you have all these kids watching. This is why we love college gymnastics. It was one of the most exciting meets in a long, long time. So Uncle Tim, for people that aren’t familiar with how the regional qualifying score works and how you get to the national championships and of course I have to refresh my memory every year too on how this works, can you explain what this score means and why it’s so important?
UNCLE TIM: So the way they calculate it is they take teams’ six highest scores of the year of which at least three must be road scores and then they drop the highest score and average the remaining five. Yeah so it’s a little complicated but they use these scores to determine which teams, how many, 36 teams will qualify to the regional championships. And then from regionals, the top two from each regional go to the national championships.
JESSICA: Exactly. So the current team rankings, finally we’ve had enough meets that we have these rankings coming out. So for women right now, Oklahoma, and also for Oklahoma are the men number one coincidentally?
UNCLE TIM: We’re recording this on the 17th of February. And they haven’t updated the scores yet for the men.
JESSICA: Ok so they were number one. So that’s kind of-
UNCLE TIM: Yes
JESSICA: To be both, be number one that’s gotta be kind of rare I think. But that’s exciting. But we’ll see what happens. Ok so Oklahoma are number one, then Florida, then LSU, Utah, Alabama, Georgia. This is freaking exciting man. Like I totally think it’s going to be a competition between LSU and Oklahoma this year. I really do. I think those two are the teams to beat. Of course you know then we have the outlier like UCLA who of course they have, this is how they do it. They don’t start off crazy. They have this like long term plan. And they always rise up at the very end of the season. So you can’t ever count them out. But Oklahoma and LSU. I’m calling it right now. I think Florida’s starting too hot. They’re going to burn out by the end. What do you guys think?
EVAN: I think I said I don’t want to say that I said LSU first, but I think very early on in the season I said that they were kind of my dark horse for the season. And they’re, that horse is just kind of running to the front of the pack now. DD Breaux is my girl bro. And I want, I just love interviewing her. She gives really sassy side eye when she’s getting really intense. I think she has a great plan. And it’s just kind of happening.
UNCLE TIM: You know, I’m not going to go with Utah just because beam’s really a mess right now. I mean, I like Evan love DD so I’m just going to go with LSU.
JESSICA: Yes. I think Oklahoma and LSU. Which ok speaking of Oklahoma who are number 1 right now, they have the coolest thing they’re doing right now. Everyone must go to their website immediately. Soonersports.com. Go to gymnastics. They’re crowd sourcing leotards to pick for Friday night. Which leotard do you want them to wear? So they have three leos up. They named the leos. You can see the front and the back of the different gymnasts wearing the leos. Then you can vote which one they want to wear. I love this so much.
UNCLE TIM: I think this is a good way to do it rather than designer leotard and then you get like these hideous designs that you don’t like and you’re like oh now we have to choose one of these. So this is a good way of including fans and still using designs that your team wanted to use. Which one would you choose Jess? The Taylor, the Laura, or the Kara?
JESSICA: I like the Laura, the middle one. I think it’s the classiest. Even though it’s filthy with sparkles. And you know how I feel about that. But I like it the most. I’m shocked myself. But at least it’s not the boobitard. Although last, so UW I watched them compete this weekend. They have the boobitard. Which if you guys aren’t familiar, the boobitard to revisit the, did they wear this Olympic finals or did they only wear it in Tokyo? It’s that leo that has starburst on the front and it’s like see through two sections. Like half side boob and half on the side. Anyway Oklahoma wore and we named it the boobitard because it looks like it’s nude side boob. But, in black, like UW wears it, I really really liked it. I think it’s actually quite classy and subdued. It’s not the side boob isn’t so obvious. So, hats off to UW for finding a way to wear that iconic leotard in a classy manner.
UNCLE TIM: I feel like Oklahoma really likes the sparkles. I remember last year NCAA Championships I was practically blinded by their leotard one night under the lights because it was so bright and there were so many sparkles. So yeah. I also like the Laura. What about you Evan?
EVAN: The Taylor is where it’s at for me. I think that that’s probably most representative of the school. Like I think that OU really really comes through. And I think the pattern across the front of it is pretty interesting. I think they’ve worn that one before though if I’m not mistaken. And I liked it then too. So. I’m going with the Taylor. And I’m voting for it right now. Click. It happened.
JESSICA: When I talked about the UW meet looking at their leos, and I just want to give a major shout out to Elise Ray because I’m giving her all the credit because I’m sure it’s completely her. And I don’t care what the truth is, I’m sure I’m right. That their beam and floor routines have come so far. I mean they’re always like UW it’s alright you know they’re cool. But I mean there are two routines that I like slobbering crawling on the ground in love with on that team right now. And they are Janae Janack. Her beam routine. She’s just lovely. Lovely lovely lovely. Everything she does is extended, pointed, fingertips. Ugh I love it love it love it. I want her to model every single compulsory routine for every single country. That’s the kind of love I have for her execution of everything. Then Jackie McCartin on beam. Do you know why Uncle Tim? Can you guess why I love this routine so much?
UNCLE TIM: I bet she does a roll of some sort.
JESSICA: Yes! Yes she does! She does a front straddle roll, she does a side straddle roll. Oh my god there’s so much rolling in this routine. And it’s all in different places. You know how I love that. But it’s I just there’s something new about all of their choreography. And it’s really making them stand out. And it drives me nuts that every single team should have a choreographer on their staff. And if you don’t you’re never going to make it. That’s what I’m telling you right now. So having Elise Ray is just it’s going to put them up to the next level. I’m so impressed with them. Which brings me to Stanford and how upset I am with Stanford because Stanford has the most amazing gymnasts. They’re so good and their gymnasts deserve better. I finally figured out why I can’t stand their choreography. It’s because-
UNCLE TIM: Why’s that?
JESSICA: -it’s awful.
UNCLE TIM: There’s a dramatic pause-
JESSICA: There’s no rolls. No they do all their choreography completely stationary. They don’t move. So they’ll be on their knees and not moving, just doing choreography. They’re not moving across the floor. They stand up and they just stand still and do choreography with their arms. There’s no transition. There’s no movement. It’s all stationary.
UNCLE TIM: Ok I’m going to disagree because UCLA is famous for having extended laying on the floor sequences.
JESSICA: Yeah but they roll around. They’re moving.
UNCLE TIM: Oh my god it’s like I don’t know. Like Spanny’s child moving in his crib.
JESSICA: How dare you
UNCLE TIM: So I don’t know if this is really a theory.
JESSICA: Oh no it is the truth. Let me tell you because I watched each ones and I counted all the times. I will make a chart of this. And besides that, UCLA lying on the ground is 1000% better than what’s being done to those poor Stanford gymnasts. I can’t stand it. It drives me nuts. You know how I love those McNair sisters. Oh my god they are stunning. And it makes me so upset when I watch their routines.
EVAN: You can never talk about them as singular people.
JESSICA: They’re not, they’re a unit
EVAN: It’s like they’re conjoined
JESSICA: Even when they were kids I could not tell them apart honestly. I’m glad they do their hair differently at meets so I can kind of tell who’s who. They deserve better. I demand a new choreographer for them. I demand it.
EVAN: I think Taylor Rice does a really good job in her routine. I watched their meet earlier this afternoon and I thought she presented it really well. She looks really good. I think she had a minor ankle sprain so she’s on her way back from that. And maybe kind of a blessing in disguise because for last week we were talking this was kind of like this monotonous time where’s it’s not the beginning of season, it’s not the end of season, it’s just kind of somewhere in the middle. So hopefully she’ll be able to do some good things and move enough for Jess, move and roll enough to please Jessica O’Beirne.
JESSICA: The one thing I have to say about Stanford is every once in a while they have a gymnasts who’s unique and competent enough that they allow her to take control of her own choreography in a way and direct it. And I think Taylor Rice is one of those. And then-
UNCLE TIM: Allyse Ishino used to do her own routines.
JESSICA: Thank you. Yes Allyse Ishino was another one of those and I really liked her routines. They were very different. They were all her. And I think that that’s great that they’re allowed to take the initiative that way. Hats off. In that one small particular area. And Kristina Vaculik looks fantastic this year.
UNCLE TIM: I guess I just want to make one point. Not necessarily about Stanford but just gymnastics in general and especially NCAA. I think we take very sports fan perspective on things. And when something goes wrong we just immediate blame the coach. And so I don’t know I was thinking about this today. Can we really blame somebody like Miss Val for Cassie Whitcomb’s injuries? Can we really blame Miss Val for what happened with Mattie Larson? Can we blame Miss Val for the fact that Anna Li dropped from 4th in the nation as a freshman to 14th in the nation as a sophomore? I mean, like, I just feel like we make things so simplistic and we forget that often times these, they’re college students. They’re going through life. They’re falling in love. Freshman year you’re usually taking general ed requirements and those classes tend to be a little easier for you. Then your sophomore year you start taking classes in your major and life gets really hard as a student. And I think that we often forget that. And so we just expect them to be great all the time. And we expect them to just be perfect you know every single year. And we forget that they have other things going on in their lives. And the coaches are not just responsible for all those things.
JESSICA: And also they arrive with a bazillion injuries, especially when they’re elite and all that. And yes I agree with you. But I specifically was just talking about choreography which is 100% the coach’s vault.
UNCLE TIM: Doesn’t matter that they couldn’t dance when they were in JO. I don’t know if any Stanford girls could dance. But like-
JESSICA: We’ll never know. We’ll never find out. We need Allyse Ishino in there. Can she come in and do some- I just love, that team has so much talent and I just want to see it more.
EVAN: Allyse Ishino would come in there and be like do flip her hair around once and they’d be like we can’t. Because I know, because I’ve tried it. And it’s not easy to do Allyse Ishino’s choreography. So I can vouch.
JESSICA: Of course you tried it oh my god I love it. Ok. Last thing. Amanda Borden agrees with me that Sam Peszek should be getting 10s on beam. As she clearly stated in the broadcast that she does not know where, and I quote, the judges are taking these deductions. So. Gold medalist agrees with me. I have to have the last word on everything. Let’s move on to mail call, we’ll get to some of the letters from our listeners. Evan what do you have?
EVAN: So we got an email from Coach Reevus. He has something that he wanted to discuss. He noticed it on men’s floor exercise. So I will read his email that we received. I’ve not listened to every podcast, but as a weekly follower from the beginning, here’s my issue. Squatty arm criss cross move done before the last pass by men on floor. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, it is done in the corner right before the last tumbling pass. Guys bend their knees into a semi squat and swing their arms down enough to let them cross in front of their knees. Then you stand up with your arms up. Holy crap I never knew how much it annoyed me until recently. There has to be someone out there that this bugs too. I was watching a college meet on tv and I nearly lost my mind. I thought I don’t remember everyone doing this, but now it’s everywhere. I had to go back and rewatch floor exercise finals from the past Worlds. Ten guys went, three of them did this. Both USA men and Daniel Keatings from Great Britain. Maybe I’m overreacting, but that’s why your show exists right? Feel free to agree or disagree. Keep doing what you do, you guys put together a great show. First of all, Coach Reevus, thank you very much for all your compliments. Second of all, unfortunately I’m going to have to disagree. Because it is called something called, it’s called something that is called getting oxygen to your muscles so they work. And it’s not imperative or essential. And I can see how it would be annoying because it’s kind of a jagged movement. I mean sometimes it can look better than other times. But it’s really just kind of a rest you know. Some I think you know that’s all it is. Sorry.
UNCLE TIM: So I call it the man wipe. I don’t know why. It’s what- and I think that it’s very pervasive in college gymnastics. And it’s to a certain extent in elite. But it’s I guess it’s taking the place of where men used to do a scale. So before their last pass they used to do a scale and that’s how they caught their breath before their final tumbling run. And now we see the man wipe which is faster than doing a scale. And in today’s elite floor routines you have to get as many tumbling passes into one routine as possible. And you don’t have time to slowly lift your foot up by your head and do a Y scale and slowly let it down. So yeah, that’s I mean it’s kind of the consequence of doing a of the open scoring system.
JESSICA: I think it stands out so much because there’s no artistry left in men’s gymnastics period. It’s all totally gone. I think the only person doing something even close is Max Whitlock. He’s the only person that’s kind of bringing back what artistic gymnastics is supposed to be with his routine. And I think if there was more artistic component to the men’s routine, if it was required, even the scale, an actual stag jump instead of this halfass nonsense, then it wouldn’t stand out so much and this wouldn’t look so out of place if there was more artistry. So I agree it looks funky so I think all the men out there should try to do something different. But equally- I don’t know what you would do there. Do a scale!
EVAN: Do a roll
JESSICA: I mean what about a full turn?
JESSICA: What about a squatty ninja lunge hold?
EVAN: I mean you can kind of- you could do like a handstand roll out to one knee.
EVAN: And then hold it. There are other options. But sometimes you don’t I mean you really don’t have that much time.
JESSICA: Sit in a split with your arm up then look up to your fingers. That’s old school.
EVAN: But that’s also a lot of time.
UNCLE TIM: Mhmm
EVAN: To have to get- because you’re thinking about you have to do that movement and then you have to do some type of natural movement to get up out of that. And then probably make your way into the corner. So.
JESSICA: What would Justin Spring do? Because he managed to do his ninja butterfly roles and have enough breath to only need nine surgeries in his career.
EVAN: I don’t know. I’m pretty sure Justin Spring probably did one.
JESSICA: He probably totally did.
EVAN: So yeah I mean I think it’s you know you’re kind of in the minority if you haven’t. You can do some little variations to it where you’re just bring your arms up really slowly then kind of bring them back down and go. But I think it’s just that it’s a tempo in the ebb and the flow. While I do see why it disrupts kind of the aesthetic nature of a routine, it’s kind of the hand we’re dealt nowadays. So I see why it fits.
UNCLE TIM: Do you think we should have a corner rule for the men that they can’t sit there and do the man wipe and they have to get out of the corner as fast as possible like the women?
EVAN: I do not, just because I don’t want to say the level of difficulty for the men is that much higher than the women, but it is. But I understand there’s a balance between choreography and movement. So I think that would be interesting. There are certain rules that you- there was rules in place I’m not sure if it’s still there but you had to you could only move forward. So instead of just stepping back like we saw in the early 2000s. Land, step back into the corner, feet together arms up. You had to walk forward or do a rotating movement so you weren’t just stepping backwards. So I think that they’ve kind of played around with those types of rules changes. But I don’t think it’s had any legs to stand on overall. I think they’re just like oh we’re just going to worry about the composition of the routine rather than those artistic touches.
JESSICA: I think it is no coincidence that men’s gymnastics has gone downhill as artistry has been lost. Direct correlation.
UNCLE TIM: So we received an email from one of our listeners. And she says dear GymCastic crew, you have often spoke of your dream to have “score receipts” for the gymnasts. England is doing its part to make that dream come true. Insert Jess’ “eeeee!” here right now. The system used at this weekend’s British University Championships and several other competitions in the UK prints out a score summary for each gymnast that looks like this. Voila we’ll put that on our website so you can see it. As you can see, most of the gymnasts here are really eager to pick up their slips. And she includes a photo of a myriad of tickets that had not been picked up. Ok. So the receipts don’t really tell you anything from the scoreboard, but it is a start. So on the receipt they say they give your D score, and then how many deductions judge 1 gave you, execution deductions, how many execution deductions judge 2 gave you. They don’t really break it down and say ok bent knee here, pointed toe there, etc. like Jess would want. But it is a step in the right direction. And she says the technology with the score system also includes some bells and whistles for the spectators too. Spectators can sign up for the real time text alerts which are linked into the scoring system to follow gymnasts or teams of their choice. They can get a text alert when the gymnast is about to compete on an event. Great for parents reading a book at a compulsory level meet like my mother used to do. She used to read in the stands. And scores can also be sent directly to their phone as soon as they are entered in. The system also makes a video recording of each routine, which judges can replay if necessary to verify D score only of course. And offers live streaming of the videos for some events.
JESSICA: The website is gymdata.co.uk if you guys want to check it out. It’s basically as far as I’m concerned one of the greatest improvements in gymnastics of all time. What do you think?
UNCLE TIM: I understand why nobody’s really picking up the receipt at this point in some because it doesn’t tell you too much more than what you would see on the scoreboard. I mean you do get to see what judge 1 gave you and judge 2 which is kind of nice. But yeah I think it would be a step in the right direction for the O’Beirne rules of gymnastics.
JESSICA: Evan what do you think? If you had had one of those receipts and if you had more details, or if your family had access to be able to get a text message when you’re up, would they have been super stoked? Would you have picked up your receipt?
EVAN: That was many questions. I’m a big proponent of things moving more digitally. And for sports and athletics, I think that it’s kind of I don’t want to say the last frontier. But kind of introducing it. You think about going to a doctor’s office or I went to the optometrist the other day and all my check in was via an iPad like device and I just scanned my card. Literally just put it on the screen and it scanned it. So I think that technology is really kind of rounding the bend. And it can really develop into whatever is necessary. I probably wouldn’t take the receipt just because like Uncle Tim said it’s not really giving me much more than I think for a coach it’s almost more beneficial to have those things. For gymnasts it’s not like oh I really want to go back and review what happened. You just kind of roll with the score you’re given most times. So I think it’s interesting. I think it’s very very interesting. And I’m exciting to see where it goes.
UNCLE TIM: Over the weekend I noticed that Slate.com has something called “the rage-o-meter” in terms of NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. And I thought that Jessica O’Beirne should have her own rage-o-meter. And this week I want to know, Jessica, is there anything that makes you want to punch someone in the face this week?
JESSICA: There always is, how kind of you to ask. As a matter of fact, watching NBC all week, I am really really really sick of hearing them say “And she’s a mother,” or “And she’s over 30,” or “And she has two kids.” They don’t say that about any men. You don’t hear people talking about Bode Miller- they’ll talk about his age but they won’t say “how’s he doing this even though he has two children.” Nobody says that about men and I’m so disgusted it’s so freaking sexist and everybody that says that I want to kick them in the nuts. And also the thing is, if this 30 year old mother is the new Olympic champion, then she is the rule not the exception. So you guys all need to put that in your pipe and smoke it and then shut the F up because I’m tired of hearing you guys talk like that. How about you guys? Angry about anything this week? Never as angry as me. I had two cups of dark black tea today. Irish breakfast. Really feeling it.
UNCLE TIM: That’s why I go to yoga, to let out all that rage you know. Some of us to podcasts, others of us do yoga to let it out.
EVAN: Some of us do tea.
JESSICA: Tea is hardcore. How are you doing down there in Atlanta with this ice-mageddon. That’s what going to call it now. Another meet was cancelled, the Georgia/Mizzou meet was cancelled because of the weather. And Evan, you live right smack down in the middle of this. Are you holding up ok?
EVAN: I am. It’s a brisk 62 right now. So I’m barely holding on. The ice suffice it to say has melted. Yeah you know coming from up north where you’re just used to seeing salt trucks on the road and snow plows whenever needed and necessary, it’s just not you know needed in the south that much. So when situations like that do arise, it was literally a state of emergency 48 hours before the storm hit. So, and like just everything was deserted. Literal ghost town like walking dead. It was crickets everywhere. So I think it was probably smart for Georgia to cancel their meet. But also a bummer. But I’m safe. So.
JESSICA: As long as you’re safe. This is the most important thing.
EVAN: I am.
JESSICA: Ok good.
UNCLE TIM: Our listeners don’t need to send you large packages in the mail.
EVAN: I did just move and I think it’s exciting to get mail in new places. And old places. So I’m not going to give out my address. But if you want to send me something, maybe we can get a drone to bring it on over.
JESSICA: You can send us things that are GymCastic mail if you want the address just email us and I’ll give it to you and you can send us packages for Evan. If you want to send him love letters or love letters to Uncle Tim or packages with salt
UNCLE TIM: Marked mail package
JESSICA: Or a rose. What was it, a big bee? What was a big D? Yes. Remember that? The score? D score. I’m going to cut this out. Ok so yes.
UNCLE TIM: It was a big D yeah
JESSICA: So send your packages to us. Email us, we’ll send you the address. Anything else you need? Do you need like you know gift cards, decorate your new place, or?
EVAN: I actually just look- I’m a really great online shopper that never buys anything. I put stuff in the cart then I’m like can’t do it, nope.
UNCLE TIM: You can support the show by shopping in our Amazon store. Remember as long as you start through our Amazon link on our website, a little portion of what you buy goes back to us. You can also review us on iTunes and Stitcher. And also if you don’t really like online shopping like Evan, you can support the show directly. There is a donate button on our website. And you can just send us a little money via PayPal.
JESSICA: So you guys can contact us by emailing us. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org. And we also have voicemail so you can call us at 415-800-3191 or on Skype. So if you’re abroad you can call us for free on Skype. Our username is GymCastic Podcast. And, I try to put every week some kind of clip of what we’re talking about, just like if there’s a skill we’re talking about or something weird that happens at a meet. Like when Shawn johnson said at the Iowa meet when she was doing commentary that the beam is 4.5 inches wide, that’s up on our Instagram page. So make sure to follow us on Instagram. When there’s a really cool skill like there’s a girl from I want to say Illinois who’s doing a deltchev that is glorious, I put a little clip of that as well. So check out our Instagram page. Then we also have transcripts. So if you like to read our interviews rather than listen, check out the transcript tab on our site. And the transcripts usually take a week or two to go up after the show is posted.
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.
JESSICA: Next week, she won the NCAA all around three times in a row. Yes, that’s equal to Courtney Kupets except she did it consecutively. And all while qualifying as an individual to National Championships without a team to build up her scores. She worked as the North Dakota oil fields and as a Hollywood stunt woman. Who is she? Find out next week on the podcast. Until then 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. Find me on Twitter @yoev
JESSICA: See you guys next week, thanks for listening