JESSICA: Dance moves that could be
UNCLE TIM: Like a shimmy
JESSICA: Not a shimmy, like a I don’t know, a man move like the Roger Rabbit
UNCLE TIM: Running man in the corner
EVAN: We’re going to have to work on this Stacey. You started something but we don’t want people to finish it.
[Express Yourself Intro music plays]
JESSICA: This week, a Winter Cup recap, American Cup preview, all your NCAA news and your letters.
ALLISON TAYLOR: Hey gymnasts, Elite Sportz Band is a cutting edge compression back warmer that can protect your most valued asset, your back. I’m Allison Taylor on behalf of Elite Sportz Band. Visit elitesportzband.com. We’ve got your back.
JESSICA: This is episode 79 for February 26, 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. 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 by discussing Winter Cup because Uncle Tim was in Vegas for Winter Cup supplying his hilarious and informative quick hits as only he can do. So tell us everything.
UNCLE TIM: Alright, well we can’t talk about everything. But last week I said that floor was going to be the big event to watch on the men’s side and it kind of was. The top 10 floor workers averaged a 15.073, which is pretty darn good. Any guesses as to what the top ten pommel horse workers averaged at the Winter Cup?
JESSICA: 12? 13?
UNCLE TIM: Really close Evan. A 13.768. So yeah, Davis Grooms, a 15-year-old level 9 gymnast outscored several of the national team members on pommel horse.
JESSICA: Put him on the team!
UNCLE TIM: So yeah anyway, back to floor. So the big routine was Eddie Penev’s floor routine on finals day. He received a 16.050, but that’s with the US bonus system. According to FIG rules, he would receive a 15.950. The routine opens with a skill that’s named after him. It’s a Tamayo with a half out. And then he does a whip half into a Randi which for me is a crazy pass. I don’t understand how you can do that. Jess, what stood out to you about this routine?
JESSICA: I’m a convert. I was never a big fan of his before. I guess because he has a shuffly foot thing when he lands. But his form is so nice. I mean this is how it should be. The form should outweigh all else. And I just love his form. It’s the way gymnastics should be done.
UNCLE TIM: I guess one thing I also want to mention about Eddie. I feel like college gymnastics just wasn’t for him. I watched him for several years while he was competing at Stanford and his legs just always looked tired. I think he’s more suited for elite gymnastics where you don’t have to compete every weekend. So I think he’s looking a lot better than he did in college season. But that’s just my view. The other big thing on floor was John Orozco’s new skill. It’s a Lou Yun with a half out. So a Lou Yun is a double salto straddled with a full twist. So you basically do a side somi and then another three quarters while you’re doing a double back.
JESSICA: I feel like that’s super complicated. I feel like it’s easier if you think about it as a side flip with a front out right?
UNCLE TIM: Um not exactly because of the amount of twisting he does right? So he does more than just a front out. It’s like a side flip, front out with an extra full.
EVAN: It looks like a Hypolito at the end. That was my initial interpretation of it. He’s entering the skill in that Lou Yun fashion and then all of a sudden just kind of like brings it around and it looked very Hypolito to me. I thought it was definitely eye catching. In terms of refined, I’m not sure it’s there yet. Actually I am sure and it’s not there yet.
JESSICA: It’s the freaking coolest thing I’ve seen in a long ass time though. And side flip is so old school so I love that about it.
UNCLE TIM: All he needs to do is add a little rolly skill.
JESSICA: Like Stacey Ervin did in finals! Okay we can get to that later.
UNCLE TIM: But yeah John Orozco is doing that skill. If he does it at the American Cup he can have it named after him because men can have skills named after them at world cup events. The other interesting thing about floor, the juniors. So on the men’s side, it’s really for the seniors on the US men’s side, it’s really all about the double Arabians. Back in the 90s, double Arabians were really kind of a “girly skill” and that guys really didn’t do them. Because guys weren’t doing them. You think about it. Amanda Borden did one but like no guy was doing it, a double Arabian back in the 90s. Now it’s all the rage. However, among the US juniors, it’s really all about the double layout I would have to say. And I think it’s kind of awesome to see so many double layouts. One of the double layouts really stood out to me. You might remember Anthony McCallum from the P&G Championships because he had an unfortunate fall on his Tsuk double back at the meet. But he’s back And his double layout on floor was almost Kytra Hunter good.
EVAN: I think it was definitely Beyonce Kytra Hunter good. He might be Jay Z. And they are a modern day Bonnie and Clyde doing double layouts together. It was so well executed, the first thought that popped into my mind is that’s going to be the best double double I have ever seen. You can tell that whoever is telling him how to do that just has such great foresight especially with where he’s at in his career. Because you can tell that he knows exactly where is in both of those flips and it’s just so high that it’s only a matter of time.
JESSICA: I am a fan. Big fan. I could watch him do floor all day. Loved it.
UNCLE TIM: Jess, how did your Stacey do?
JESSICA: Well it’s the middle of NCAA season so I’m sure he was tired. So he did very well. He did fine. It just wasn’t his very best performance. He did have one of the funniest and most creative falls of all time. He landed short on a full or a 1.5 Rudi. And so he just went for sort of a front tuck but you know how on trampoline when you sort of do a front tuck and bounce on your back and bounce back up so you roll like three quarters of the way and bounce on your back and get up? So he just did that on the floor. It was so funny. He just played it off like oh yeah this is part of my routine. Kind of like, who was it in NCAA who used to do like a seat drop on the floor in her routine?
EVAN: Ashley Miles
JESSICA: Ashley Miles, like he did it like that. It was a backdrop basically. A front to a back drop. I loved it. So hats off to him because I think that a mistake is always an opportunity for comedy. And so hats off to you Stacey Ervin. And I think now he can just enjoy the rest of NCAA season, you know just concentrate on championships in August and worry about that then. Just concentrate on school for now.
UNCLE TIM: And while I was at the Winter Cup, I did a lot of interviews. And we have three of them on the website right now. Jessica what stood out to you about those interviews?
JESSICA: So the first is that Chris Brooks, wait is this where you wanted me to talk about the three, those three things?
UNCLE TIM: Yes you put them into the
JESSICA: Okay I wasn’t sure. So the first is Chris Brooks. We always hear about him sort of being the cheerleader of every team and that he’s just super positive. It was really interesting to hear him talk about, he basically thinks he would have been a thug hoodlum if it hadn’t been for gymnastics. That’s not something I feel like you often hear gymnasts say. And also his griplock. Oh my God! I had never read about his griplock before. I had no idea he had this. And every kid I’ve ever known who had griplock, that was it for their gymnastics career. I just think griplock is so freaky. I don’t know how we don’t have a solution for this yet. It was insane to see the scars, the pictures that you took of his griplock and the fact that the doctor told him you’ll never do gymnastics again. He was like oh hell no. You don’t know me. And he came back from that. That was a horrific, horrific injury. I was super impressed by that. Second, this is really funny that Jake Dalton used to get so nervous that he would throw up before meets.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah
JESSICA: That’s so touching. I think that if I was a young gymnast who asked for his advice, if I had heard that I would feel so much better knowing that Jake Dalton got more nervous than I did or as nervous as I did during meets. One thing that was disturbing is that he was talking about how he can feel when he gives Kayla a hug, it kind of freaks him out to squeeze her too tight because he can feel the screws in her back. It just brings home how serious that injury was. But I was really happy to hear that he said she’s working out a lot now, not gymnastics wise, but is able to do a lot of exercise now. And then Orozco, I’m just always touched by his openness and his sincerity. He really was open about his mistakes the first day and how he thought he was thinking about the wrong thing. Instead of thinking about his gymnastics, he was thinking about how other people were perceiving him, other people’s expectations of him, outside expectations and how that wasn’t the right thing to focus on. Also training in China! That was awesome! He was basically like I’m a ninja. He didn’t say that but I’m a ninja. Impress me. And how the numbers and level of skills they were doing in China just blew him away and he was like wow I really need to step up my game. It really changed his perception of what high level training and high level numbers were. So if he’s blown away and impressed, I can only imagine what the average gymnastics fan going to watch their practices would be like. So, loved those interviews. I love the stuff that you got. That was great!
UNCLE TIM: Thank you! Onto less great things, there were a couple of injuries at the Winter Cup. I don’t necessarily have the official diagnoses on these but we know for sure that Cameron Bach injured his right ankle severely on vault. Adrian de los Angeles hurt his leg on his final tumbling pass on floor, and Steven Legendre hurt his arm or shoulder doing a cross on rings. We wish them all speedy recoveries. The other news from the Winter Cup is
JESSICA: (whispers) Shocking
UNCLE TIM: Yeah shocking. The naming of the senior national team. And to list the names quickly, we have Brandon Wynn, Jake Dalton, Steven Legendre, Sam Mikulak, Paul Ruggeri, Eddie Penev, Alex Naddour, John Orozco, Josh Dixon, Sean Melton, Donnell Whittenburg, Chris Brooks, Jonathan Horton, Akash Modhi, Marvin Kimble, and you might notice there was no Danell Leyva. named to that team. Evan what are your thoughts on that?
EVAN: So Leyva, you know Winter Cup was obviously not a peak target meet for him but I thought he just looked a little bit out of control. And I wasn’t sure if that was just his athletic mentality, trying to keep up with his body and they just weren’t aligning. But really he usually presents that aesthetically pleasing line and even on floor, just very deliberate in anything and it just was not matching up. For the naming of the team, like we discussed last week, you have a couple of opportunities per year. At least this serves as motivation and won’t really affect major international assignments, I’m talking about Worlds later on in the year. But hopefully it just shakes things up a bit. I feel like so often on the men’s side of things, it can get really stagnant. And this is a really really good shakeup that I feel like is kind of a long time coming.
JESSICA: I also think a lot of people were shocked by this because they were like wait Leyva was on the world team. He should be named, anyone who was on the world team. But you forget that he decided not to. He was named to the team and then he bowed out. He said he had a shoulder injury but that makes a big difference for this team. And I’m assuming Horton was at camps or petitioned or something like that so that he got in. I was like having a little freakout like why is he on the team? Isn’t he on paternity leave? What happened? Did he petition? You have to show up. And then I was like oh he was probably just at camp and petitioned which is totally normal and he totally has the record to do so I’m sure it’s totally normal. I’m happy that he’s on the team. He deserves it.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah I agree with what you’re saying Evan about Danell. He didn’t look very sharp at this meet. And he didn’t look that way last year at the Winter Cup either. And then we saw him at the American Cup kind of skip, well he was sick at the American Cup. He didn’t have a good American Cup. I just hope that this snubbing of sorts is the swift kick in the rear that he needs. And one other thing that I was kind of thinking about is, he’s 22 right? And how would you feel if your dad were coaching you at 22?
JESSICA: Oh my God I would kill myself.
EVAN: A lot of times in elite gymnastics, you see those athletes who have been with their coaches for kind of the duration, especially through the Olympics or a couple of Olympics, Worlds one after the other, major international meets and you have to wonder how long can you keep a good thing going. And I feel like for lack of a better analogy, it’s kind of like a marriage, keeping the spark going. But in a marriage, you have a lot of other opportunities to do some crazy stuff no.
EVAN: To mix it up a little bit. But I feel like a coach/athlete relationship has certain parameters, that you get to a point and I feel like you know there’s a breaking point.
UNCLE TIM: I was going to agree with you Jess. Had my dad been coaching me at the age of 22, it would have been as toxic as Chernobyl basically. It would have been terrible.
JESSICA: I just feel like it’s so so hard though. Can you imagine if Nastia had left her dad and gone to train with someone else? When your business is built around your child’s sport and there’s such a close family relationship, I just can’t imagine no matter what that he would ever leave. But then again, who knows? Maybe it’s just overtraining because he hadn’t taken a break. Or maybe Yin will take a step back and be like you know maybe we need to totally change something up or you need to go try something else for a while. I mean you never know. But yeah he just seems stagnant which is a shame because he’s fantastic.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah he still gets a huge cheer from all the audience members and stuff. He’s still one of America’s top gymnasts at least in the audience’s mind. And the audience, I was sitting by a bunch of you know, I don’t know how old they were, but women. Some of them seemed to be mothers. And they were loving the fact that Chris Brooks during warmups did a handspring double front on vault without his shirt on. And they went crazy at the end of the meet when CJ Maestas let down his singlet as men tend to do. They were just whooping and hollering. I mean it’s Vegas so you don’t know if maybe they had been imbibing a little bit beforehand or what but yeah that was very very popular with certain women.
JESSICA: I love that part of your quick hits. Like every time the women in the audience would go nuts, you would give an exact description of what happened. Danell Leyva does the middle splits. 50 women next to me scream until they pass out. Oh my God it was fantastic. Oh I just want to give a shoutout to Josh Dixon for kicking ass at this meet. I just feel like in general, I don’t know if I’m imagining this because I’m looking at who has been at the OTC and who went there and the progress they’ve made. I feel like the OTC gymnasts are doing great. Sean Melton was there and now he’s at Ohio. Josh Dixon, Orozco, Josh Dixon I just feel like, made huge progress. I don’t know. Am I imagining this?
EVAN: I think Josh has always been super talented and really has always kind of had the skills there. It’s just kind of putting together two solid days and kind of finding his place within the national team and where he kind of fits in after the points and the scores shake out. I think that he definitely deserves to be among the top group of athletes that we have. So it was good to see him put it together.
JESSICA: I just love him.
UNCLE TIM: And I have to give out one little shout out to one of our listeners who helped me with quick hits when you’re trying to watch six events at once it’s very difficult. And so one of our listeners was there helping me out a little bit. His name is Chris Jordan so thank you Chris for doing that. And he’s going to the American Cup next week which transitions into topic two: American Cup.
EVAN: Oh my Gosh well there are many cups to be given out in Greensboro this year. First, the Nastia Liukin Cup which is kind of becoming, you know it’s really gaining steam. There are so many amazing athletes who we’ve seen in elite now and also become great college stars. I mean Gabby Douglas competed in the Nastia Liukin Cup back in the day. And a tiny baby Mykayla Skinner, when she used to use two hands on the vault was also a competitor there. So that shows you kind of how established it’s become. For those of you who don’t know, the day/evening/night, I’m not sure the timing. But the Nastia Liukin Cup takes place in the same arena as the American Cup. So they get to use the podium. It’s a really great experience for essentially, the top level 10 athletes in the nation to compete on a really big stage and to go out there and kind of have some pressure put on them at kind of a crucial juncture in their careers. So do you guys have any throwback Nastia Liukin Cup memories?
JESSICA: I just think she has the best trophy ever of any competition. I mean I know people like get guitars and stuff like that. Gymnasts don’t have time for that. But she has one, it’s a torch. Like the Statue of Liberty torch. It’s so cool looking. I think it’s hands down the best. And the leos. I love the event. It’s the whole package event. She designs the leos. I like the style.
EVAN: What if Nastia had to do all of their nails before the meet?
JESSICA: That would be even better.
EVAN: Now Nasta will do your nails!
JESSICA: Oh my God and then Nina Kim could do all of their makeup. Because you know they have like a red carpet for them. They get interviewed and everything before. It’s so cool. I mean I want to be in that meet now. That’s how this meet is. She really makes it special for the athlete.
EVAN: And sidenote: Mary Lou Retton’s daughter has qualified with a 10 on vault at competitions this season. So watch for her. And then the following day, the American Cup takes place. Again, in kind of this off quadrennium. We’re in the midst of the quadrennium, kind of in one of those off years of the Olympics. So some injuries happening, some people pulling out. The big news there is Biles and Iordache are out and Brenna Dowell has been put in for the US. So Elizabeth Price, Brenna Dowell, John Orozco, and Sam Mikulak will be representing the red, white, and blue in Greensboro. For Brenna, she does the Podkopayeva so the double front pike on floor. And there’s also guys doing that. Who’s the male athlete doing this skill?
JESSICA: Someone at Winter Cup did it right? With a half out?
UNCLE TIM: A double Arabian half out but not a double front half out I don’t think .
EVAN: Wait does Brenna do the double front pike half out?
UNCLE TIM: She’s trained it.
JESSICA: Which is crazy!
EVAN: So we need to watch for that Brenna. And for a lot of people, Brenna was kind of floating under the radar when she was named to the world team. Obviously things happened as they would and she didn’t compete at Worlds. So an opportunity like this really goes to show that you do have to be ready kind of whenever they might need you. So who knows? This might be some redemption, some justice for Brenna, as some famous headlines about Jennie Thompson once read. But who knows? It’s always a dice roll but the Americans’ dice are usually weighted a little bit at the American Cup so hopefully they just put some good performances out there, go out there, hit four for four and do what they know how to do. Have fun, hit four for four and do what they do in practice every day. Hit four for four and just hit.
UNCLE TIM: There’s no sarcasm in there at all.
EVAN: A mild dollop is what I would equate that to. So you can watch in a lot of different ways. USAG has been phenomenal in just giving us gymnastics. They’re giving it to you so take it. A lot of times you hear that fans are complaining or the coverage was this or the coverage was that. Things will evolve over time but I really really don’t think that anyone is in a place to be complaining about what kind of coverage they’re getting. Am I right? Am I right?
EVAN: Okay. So you can set your DVRS for the American Cup Saturday March 1 on NBC from 1-3. That’s eastern time. Eastern time everyone, listen to me now. You can also watch it online. The NBC broadcast comes in and you’re like I missed 3 guys events. I missed 1.5 women’s events. What is happening? So that’s still where they’re going to come in but you can watch it online from 11:30 am to 1 pm eastern time right before the actual NBC broadcast starts. And that will be live and it’ll start at 10:30. Oh sorry nope. Reading that wrong.
JESSICA: Evan’s sleepy. He just moved.
EVAN: I’ve moved every week in these listeners’ minds. It’s still the same move. I’m a nomad. Just visit www.attamericancup.com. You’ll find all the info there.
JESSICA: I can’t wait to watch podium training because that’s when all the speculation starts. Oh my God it’s tragedy. No it’s going to be great. It’s my favorite part.
UNCLE TIM: Who do you think’s going to win?
JESSICA: I’m going to say Brenna Dowell.
UNCLE TIM: And on the men’s side?
JESSICA: Who did I vote for? Because I voted in the poll because I have to vote every time. Who did I vote for? I think I voted for Fabian Hambuechen.
UNCLE TIM: Okay. What about you Evan? Who do you think’s going to win?
EVAN: I think Elizabeth Price is going to break through and take the title and then Sam Mikulak on the men’s side. I think he has a good base of NCAA going into it but not too much of a base. He’s obviously put some effort into preparing pretty seriously for this meet so I think Sam’s going to do it.
UNCLE TIM: I agree. I’m twins with you Evan. I’m going to go with Elizabeth and Sam.
EVAN: Yeah you are.
JESSICA: So let’s talk about NCAA this week. First of all, this story is terrifying you guys. This is what I’ve been afraid of forever happening to someone. Bri Guy who’s on the Auburn team. And if you guys have ever seen her. She’s like a tiny tiny little human with like a rocket butt. Her vault is so amazing. I was really wondering when she was level 10 why she wasn’t recruited for elite because she could do a triple Yurchenko no problem. Her vaults are out of this world. They are McKayla Maroney style vaults. So she was tumbling at the meet this weekend or last weekend, did a double layout and tore both of her Achilles at the same time. And of course she didn’t get the rotation so she crumpled onto her head and she totally laughed about it. She was like oh I’ve landed on my head a lot in this sport. It didn’t phase me. She has a great attitude. But people at the meet were terrified. I mean it was really really scary to watch. And I’m always afraid someone’s going to tear their Achilles and get hurt in a different way not being able to bail out. But she’s already had surgery and she’s planning to come back. She’s like I’m going to be at all the meets. But ohhh super super scary. We’re wishing her a great recovery. I hope that she has super bionic Achilles after this and that she will come back and vault for the US and become world champion because I think she could totally do it. Why not?
UNCLE TIM: Why not?
JESSICA: Why not? This week was the Nadia Perfect Ten Challenge meet in Oklahoma. This meet is actually like a big health festival. At the center of it, on podium is a club meet, an international meet, and an NCAA meet. I think it’s so great. There was a lot of controversy at this meet though because Oklahoma won with a score of 197.2 over Alabama with a 197.1 so by a tenth. But Michigan was not please. Bev Plocki, the Michigan coach said that it was really a shame that they were taken out of the meet before they even got started. They had some wobbles and they had a fall. Their beam scores were not great. But she said there was a lot of escalation in scores as the meet went on. It’s unfortunate if we had a different rotation we might have been able to have a different result. So she’s not the only one that complained about the scores. People thought that the OU beam scores were super high. But OU was ranked 1 last week but now things have changed and LSU is ranked #1. So now it’s LSU, Oklahoma, and Florida third. Meanwhile Florida has been posting, they got another, yet another 198 score. That’s just crazy! And Kytra Hunter got another 10 on vault. I think, some listeners who are not really familiar with NCAA might think this is crazy but I have to say that great thing about college gymnastics is that form is so important. That’s why I have to say, there’s a lot of elites that come in and they don’t really do well right off the bat because you can’t have sloppy form. And there’s so many elites now that have really poor form because you can have difficulty and it outweighs that and you can’t. So when a whole team is averaging 9.9 and 9.85s it’s really because they have beautiful beautiful form. That’s one of the things that people absolutely love about college gymnastics. On the bummer side, Air Force has announced that they are planning to cut the gymnastics team. Yeah I think it’s really too bad because if the government is going to pay for anything it should definitely be gymnastics. I mean come on. We don’t need all these spy ships and NSA stealing everything and spying. Gymnastics is where our funding should go. Tax dollars at work. In fantastic and exciting news, Temple, you know Temple’s men’s program was cut earlier this year but they are still fighting to keep it. And as a fundraiser, they’re doing one of my favorite things ever that every men’s program should do. They’re doing a calendar. I’m so excited! We’ll post the link so you guys can all buy this. You must buy this calendar. It is your gymnerd challenge of the month. You must support this team! They’re putting themselves out there so you can put a little cash out there. It’s a beautiful exchange. So this weekend, I was at the UCLA Stanford meet. And Jen Bricker performed at the end of the meet. She did like a circus, those things that look like giant curtains, she did a performance on those. If you guys aren’t familiar with Jen Bricker’s story, she was born with no legs, given up for adoption, adopted by a great family who told her she could do whatever she wanted so she started to do gymnastics. She became a champion in tumbling even though she had no legs, was competing against able bodied kids and went on to do gymnastics her whole life and her idol was Dominique Moceanu. Well her parents eventually figured out that the biological parents of Jen Bricker were Dominique Moceanu’s parents and they had given her up and Dominique Moceanu didn’t know about this, Jen Bricker didn’t know. And so eventually they finally met. She found out she had sisters and Jen Bricker found out her idol her whole life was really her biological sister. Crazy crazy story. The thing that was so impressive about her, first of all, I was totally wondering about her outfit because she can’t really wear a normal leo. How would it all look? Would it look like extended because she’s like half size? So I was really curious to see what she would wear and I love her outfit. It was beautiful. It was so well done. And then she also did an iron cross, like 100 feet in the air. And that’s really really really freaking hard.
UNCLE TIM: Yeah it’s not easy.
JESSICA: Yeah I really liked her routine. It was super cool. And she had like a line out the door to sign autographs. I left like an hour after the meet was over and there was still a line to sign autographs for her. She’s really cool. I really enjoyed watching her. On the Stanford side, my twins did fantastic in case you were wondering. Oh my God, and you know this is terrible. I can’t remember which one does beam but I think it’s Nicolette, she does a switch leap immediate rebound into a back tuck with perfect form. Perfect form. And I honestly think that Stanford doesn’t do as well as other teams on beam even though they should because the twins, the McNair sisters are so fantastic that they make their teammates’ errors stand out more, especially when it comes to doing a series. Because there’s another person that does a switch to a back tuck and I don’t think she got connection value because the other McNair went before her and literally rebounds out of her switch leap. Name one person who actually rebounds their connecting dance acro that you can remember in the last quad. Anyone?
EVAN: Oh I wasn’t going to say in the last quad.
UNCLE TIM: Nope can’t think of anyone.
JESSICA: Yeah it would be like 15 years ago right?
EVAN: Yeah I was going to say Quan Chin of China used to bounce that beam.
JESSICA: (laughs) bounce that beam. So the McNair sisters, if you’re not a fan, there’s something wrong! You must love them as much as I do or you are wrong, wrong, wrong. They are just the most fantastic thing. Seeing them in person just brings it out even more. And then you guys, Taylor Rice, I don’t know if you’re familiar with her background. But she is the daughter of Cassie Rice and Mike Rice I think of Vegas at Gym Cats. They were Tasha Schwikert and Jordan Schwikert’s coaches. So she has this like circus gymnastics background because her dad is a circus guy and she is a great performer. Love watching her, absolutely love it. She had the funniest fall, one of the funniest falls I’ve ever seen on beam. She’s great. If you want to know how beam should be done and how a performance should be done, Taylor Rice does it. She’s the example you should show kids in the gym. You should show them Sam Peszek, Nush, and Taylor Rice. I love her on beam. So she does her series, nails her series, perfect back handspring layout. Then she does a step backwards, misses her foot, flailing, falls backwards, boom, hit her tush, looks around like what happened and then just like strikes a pose. It was so funny. It was so hilarious. Literally the whole crowd started cheering and laughing. It was great. She handled it so well. See errors are always an opportunity for entertainment as Taylor Rice exhibited. The other things that really stood out at that meet are that Peszek did a dance through on floor so I think she’s going to be back soon which is exciting. And I think you guys will really like this routine. It’s my favorite that she’s ever done. Nush is back from her mono episode and she missed her longitudinal aerial to immediate full off the side of the beam so she just stopped after the aerial and just turned around and did a back handspring layout to full dismount. Like okay I’m just going to throw this little thing in here. Our friend Dom Palange as in Phalange made his debut as volunteer assistant coach and you guys will love watching him on TV because he has very strong…he communicates his emotions.
EVAN: Emotions. He has a lot of feelings.
JESSICA: He has a lot of feelings.
EVAN: And he handles it in such a good way.
JESSICA: He was a gymnast but he went into cheerleading and not the rah rah for boys cheerleading. But cheerleading that’s actually a sport where people cheer for you, you don’t cheer for other people. So he was part of a world championship winning cheer team where you like throw people in the air a million times and everyone on the team can do like a standing full. He’s very good at giving good face as they say in the biz, in the cheerleading biz. He brings that to the sidelines of UCLA meets and it’s very very entertaining.
EVAN: But what he’s also very good at is giving really good technical coaching advice. He is a personal friend of mine but in addition to that but watching Dom do gymnastics, it was like oh when I try doing that, it does not look that good. Like it probably won’t ever look that good. His ability to make every skill involve your whole body and I feel like he’s able to translate that into coaching.
JESSICA: Yes he’s a great get for UCLA and he’s been coaching with Chris Waller at his gym for quite a while which is where Gabby is training. She’s very lucky to have him there.
UNCLE TIM: To tie some loose ends together here for listeners who might have no clue who we’re talking about. So he worked out I believe at Universal which is where Danell Leyva worked out and he has competed in the Winter Cup in the past on floor. I believe he competed last in 2010. And he’s also, if I’m not mistaken, Travis Wall’s partner or boyfriend. I don’t know which term they use. And so that’s kind of why he’s famous. And he’s also perhaps got the world’s best standing Arabian on balance beam.
JESSICA: We do post his fantastic workout videos quite often. I personally request them from him every week and throw things out. He’s the kind of person you can be like hey Dom do a full twisting back handspring to an Arabian to a blah blah blah and he tries it because he’s like a unicorn that way. So we’re very excited. We’re all fans of his. And we really like him as a person too. And he’s a great coach. So we’re very very excited that UCLA has him and that he puts these great videos up. So if you guys want to follow NCAA, there’s some great sites that do really fantastic summaries each week. One is USA Gymnastics, they do a great one. They, also what I love about USA Gymnastics, their summary each week, is that they include the sport of tumbling and acrobatics because that is in fact a college sport now. So I really like that they include that. And The Couch Gymnast also does great recaps. And also a reminder that NCAA tickets are on sale now. They are in Birmingham, Alabama this year so you guys can get your fantastic seats. Quick news on the Master’s Gymnastics front. The British Veteran’s Championships are going to take place at Lilleshall this year. So if you guys don’t know about Lilleshall, it is this beautiful like country estate but it’s a place they hold events and it’s also the national training center for a bunch of sports including gymnastics. You have seen the videos when Louis Smith showed his room and it was an extra big room when he trained there. So that’s where the Veterans Championships are happening. All you have to be is over 18. It doesn’t matter your ability or experience level is. So if you’re in the UK or you want to go there for vacation just to see Lilleshall and compete in the same place as Beth Tweddle and Louis Smith and Jenni Pinches and all of our absolute favorites work out all the time, seriously considering this. It’s November 1st of this year so you have plenty of time to plan and oh my God tickets are super cheap that time of year. I’m seriously considering this! I need to go to this. It’s going to be so amazing! And then also the Brillington World’s Master’s Championships which are a really fancy name for a super fun adult gymnastics meet that’s happening in Canada. It’s coming up. There’s details on the adult gymnastics website so check that out. It’s Canada so the meet’s freaking awesome. They give out bonus fake money and there’s like beer for the winners. It’s just you know Canada. We love them.
UNCLE TIM: Well we also love our listeners and we hope that they love us so before we get to the gymternet news and your letters, here’s how to support our show. You can always review us on iTunes or Stitcher. In the past, you guys asked for a little button to help donate and we have that on our website so there’s a donate button and all money raised goes directly to the show to improving our sound equipment, covering competitions and paying for hosting costs etc. So we appreciate all donations. You can also shop 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. And with that, let’s go over to gymternet news. Full Twist this week posted a Ten Minutes with Rebecca Bross interview. And a lot of people on the gymternet have been excited about this interview because they’ve been wondering what’s been going on with Rebecca. And she doesn’t delve into too many details but she is coaching right now at the Dallas location for WOGA and she’s trying to decide where she wants to go to college. As you might remember, she gave up her eligibility, her NCAA eligibility because she went pro so she won’t be able to compete but she’s trying to decide where she just wants to study. Jess, what’s going on with Louis Smith and Dan Keatings?
JESSICA: Very exciting! So their gym just got this funding to do an expansion so to celebrate this funding and the beginning of the expansion, Dan Keatings and Louis Smith both performed on pommel horse. The whole gym had a little exhibition and they did pommel horse and Louis Smith just looked ecstatic. He looked over the moon to be performing again and having done well in his routine. And it was so great to see Dan Keatings back. You know, he’s one of the stars of British gymnastics. He’s one of the first ever to medal at a world championships for Great Britain. And you know he had the injury right before the Olympic selection and then didn’t make the Olympic team. He was heartbroken. It was in his home country. He was one of the greats for Britain. It’s just so fantastic to see them both back and looking really excited and happy to be back so yay for them. I’ll put those videos up for you guys to check out. Also in the public eye this week, Shawn Johnson, what’s happening with her?
EVAN: Well she’s commentating on the Big Ten Network. I don’t know. I feel like she holds the microphone with two hands and just smiling her smile and of course saying what she says. But props to Shawn for being pretty honest. She said I have a hard time being too critical. She doesn’t want to be too harsh which for a lot of viewers is probably fine. For me, why are you here Shawn? What are you even saying? I think critique is inherent in our sport. You’re being judged and as a commentator you’re sort of serving as a conduit to explain what the judges are seeing and why they’re scoring the athletes that they are. So I just want Shawn to step it up a little bit. I mean she’s great obviously, America’s sweetheart. Have you guys seen her commentate at all? Or heard her?
JESSICA: Yeah, she’s really really positive. And I think this is a problem that Nastia is having a little bit too is that they have been the victims of unfair commentary in a way, things that were just unnecessary and so I think they’re so positive because they never want to do what was done to them. So I think it’s going to take a little while for them to work out how to critique without making it personal.
EVAN: Right and it’s a very fine line to walk because Shawn Johnson also mentions in an interview she did with the Des Moines Register, she said she’s still best friends with some of the athletes that she is commentating about. And so I can understand how that would be difficult but you know, you got a job to do so hopefully they find that balance. And I do think that Nastia, and trust me I’m the first one to be like Nastia what are you doing? Her first gig, wasn’t it the American Cup last year? Was that her first big foray?
JESSICA: Yeah I think so.
EVAN: I felt like she was whispering the whole time and she was doing a really close talk into the mic. Am I right Tim, Tim, Al, Tim? Just finding her voice, literally, actually finding her commentating voice. But she’s had a lot of opportunities to kind of hone those skills so I think Nastia’s on the right track. Shawn will probably just need some time.
JESSICA: Yep exactly. And I think one of the great things is that Nastia has been doing this All Around Sochi during the Winter Olympics and she’s done a fantastic job. I love watching her pieces. And she’s so comfortable in front of the camera now. I really feel like this gave her the time to work out the kinks kind of and really get more comfortable in front of the camera. It has been so enjoyable to watch this. And one of the things she did that was directly related to gymnastics and gymnastics fans and questions we have is she did this thing about Russian culture. And one of the questions was why don’t Russians smile. And now just that question itself made a lot of people really angry because people were saying yes if you’re from the communist days of the Soviet Union, that was normal not to smile. People just didn’t run around smiling all the time. But if the younger generation now in Russia, they’re not Soviet, they’re Russians and they’re very westernized and it’s normal to smile and that’s not a weird thing. But she kind of explained that people always said that she was very Russian when she competed because she didn’t smile. It’s just interesting how we perceive things I think that Americans don’t travel a ton outside the country so it’s sometimes hard for us to take into account cultural differences and not through our own cultural lens and that’s just super difficult no matter what. I’m really glad that she did this because it explained a lot of commie bitch face which is one of our favorite things about the Soviet gymnasts and how they compete. What did you guys think about this? Uncle Tim, I know that you have very in depth thoughts about this.
UNCLE TIM: Well I just think it’s a silly question. I’m just sick of people saying, well it’s very essential. It’s like all Russians don’t smile. All Soviets don’t smile. I think it’s foolish to be like oh yeah Nastia you didn’t smile because you’re Russian. You inherited this not smiling because you’re Russian, I don’t know. I don’t think that when I’m working that I’m a person who smiles a lot while I’m working. I want to get my stuff done and get out of there and just be done and I’m not Russian. And I’m not even from a former Soviet country. I don’t know. I just think that’s kind of ridiculous.
JESSICA: But it is one of your superpowers to have commie bitch face though. Evan go ahead.
EVAN: I think it goes back to a topic we kind of covered on another recent show where we were kind of being exposed to the Russian media and what they were saying about some of the American gymnasts and how some of those things were unsavory to American listeners but for Russians, it’s very different. I can remember being a baby nugget gym nerd watching NBC broadcasts and it was like Svetlana Khorkina pissed about something. Svetlana Boginskaya made me afraid of what was going to happen because they were portrayed in that light. I can totally see those cultural norms or what’s more widely accepted kind of translate into what’s portrayed by the media. It’s probably like oh these American floozies just laughing and having so much fun when there’s kind of a serious matter at hand. I think I see both sides of it. I do think it’s a debate in which NBC was like we need something that Nastia can talk about and let’s try and make that happen. It might have been a cause of that. But interesting discussion nonetheless. Obviously it catalyzed something within Uncle Tim’s sexy data brain to boil in rage and lead us to this discussion.
UNCLE TIM: Speaking of things that are boiling, there’s a lot of protesting going on in Ukraine right now. In November, the Ukrainian president rejected an accord with the European Union and a lot of people were upset because they wanted to become part of the EU. So they protested and I think it’s on February 18th that the violence really escalated. Policemen were shot and they had to call in the riot police. As a result, Ukraine had to cancel its Stars Above the River meet which most artistic fans probably have never heard of but it’s a fairly famous acro meet if I’m not mistaken. On the artistic side, as far as I know, the Ukrainian men are still training. There have been many shirtless photos of Oleg Stepko and Oleg Verniaev on Instagram in the gym so I’m assuming that they are still training in spite of what’s going on in Kiev.
EVAN: Meanwhile the Ukrainian women have not been training for the last five years.
JESSICA: Can we get Igor on Instagram? What’s going on? If someone knows where Igor is, where his Instagram is can you please let me know as soon as possible? Even if I have to download VU or whatever the Russian version is of whatever I need
EVAN: We can put a Cyrillic keyboard
JESSICA: I will do it, to get videos and pictures of him, not a problem.
JESSICA: It’s time for mail call, your letters to us. So the first one comes from Stacy F. Stacy says, “Okay so I am by no means a MAG code expert. So I am willing to rely on Uncle Tim to correct the assumptions I’m making. But the code says pauses of two seconds or longer before acrobatic series or elements are not permitted. And in the table, this is listed as a tenth deduction. So they basically have the corner rule like women do although it’s not clearly enforced very well at all. I’d really like to see men get composition requirements like the women do. For example, you’ve talked on your show before about how men are not required to do double saltos. I know the technical committees are different but I think the addition of a couple requirements for different types of skills would make men’s floor more interesting and more artistic. Anywho, I love the show and I’m so happy I get to gym nerd out every week. –Stacy.” So gentlemen, what are your thoughts? Uncle Tim?
UNCLE TIM: Well I guess the question is what constitutes a pause? I’m guessing that our judges will write in and let us know what a pause is. Is the man wipe when you’re technically moving still a pause or is it not? We did notice some men pausing for a long, long time in the corner at the Winter Cup didn’t we Evan?
EVAN: That we did. It was almost like a wait for the bell. The bell was the warning but they were like I can’t go without the bell.
UNCLE TIM: Exactly. So I don’t know. I guess they do kind of have a corner rule. But it’s not the same as the women. With the women, as soon as you get in the corner, you need to move on. So when I asked that question last week, I was talking more about the fact that you had to get to the corner, turn around and do another tumbling pass. But yeah I do see the confusion. Evan what do you think? Is the man wipe technically a pause or not?
EVAN: I would say definitely no. It usually involves your whole body. And while it may look like a resting skill, you know I like Stacy’s thought process, but what I really feel like she’s suggesting to only be satisfied by an overhaul of the code and a lot of diversification of where skills are classified. So Stacy, to kind of answer your question, this is probably something that they’re trying to work toward and have tried to work toward but there’s just no happy medium at pacifying enough skills to translate into a requirement. Staring a new requirement group, there’s the group one elements which are not acrobatic. A big part of men’s gymnastics is strength. So you can highlight a strength element or something like a pommel horse element or something like an Endo which is when you jump up and then essentially pike your body and go up into a heel stretch position. That’s called an Endo and you can do things like that that don’t necessarily equate to women’s skills. So I think that men do try and satisfy those in a way but it just is different unfortunately but realistically.
JESSICA: Can I just ask for a second? Are there more variety of, I’ll the man wipe a dance kind of, it’s not acrobatic, it’s not a scale, it’s not a strength move so I don’t want to say it’s dance. But I’ve never seen anything else equivalent to the man wipe except the very slow half turn to putting your arms over your head. Is there another version of the man wipe? Other options? The forward roll to your knee?
EVAN: Yeah I mean you can do…I mean that was one of my favorite things to do is to make up stuff on how to get to the corner. You can do a simple roll to one knee, you can do a roll to both knees. Some people are like oh you have to do a press. You do not have to do a press. You can literally put your hands on the ground with your feet up straight and stand up and do another turn. Oh man the options are really limitless. Obviously those aren’t skills and might not look as stylized as other things but…you know when I competed in the NCAA a couple of times on floor, there was no time limit, like as in none. There was no time limit.
JESSICA: Oh that’s right.
EVAN: You could make your routine as long as you needed to feel rested, to feel set to go before your passes. It doesn’t stop me from falling a lot on floor, but I was probably more rested than if I was trying to cram all this stuff in like they are now. Thankfully I did not have a time limit to work with.
JESSICA: So could you like just legit do a grapevine and shimmy and do your tumbling pass?
UNCLE TIM: Shimmy
EVAN: I don’t know. You threw me off with the grapevine.
UNCLE TIM: You threw me off with the shimmy.
JESSICA: I mean why don’t we see that kind of stuff?
UNCLE TIM: Well men’s boobs don’t jiggle first of all. Let’s address the shimmying. I don’t know why. I mean there are certain transition skills that are more used like the chasse, also a cartwheel sometimes into the corner, sometimes a hitch kick but yeah. I mean there’s certain skills that people do. The other way I was thinking for gymnasts to catch their breath is via the splits. That’s also another way that gymnasts will catch their breasts, breath (Jessica laughs) is to raise their arms up and look up to the sky and then look back down and then hold it. I think that’s what some gymnasts also do for catching breath.
JESSICA: It’s all about catching those breasts, while you’re in the splits.
EVAN: I need to catch my breasts. I always let them drop.
JESSICA: I think Uncle Tim was just having a flashback to when Danell Leyva did his middle splits and all the women in the audience lost it. That was the Freudian slip that was really happening right there. But I just think there’s some very manly dance moves
UNCLE TIM: Like a shimmy
JESSICA: Not a shimmy! Okay that was just the first thing that, but like you know a….I don’t know. A man move like the Roger Rabbit
EVAN: Jessica’s going to have to work on this
JESSICA: I’m going to think of some things.
EVAN: You’ll think of something. But you do not need to finish it tonight.
JESSICA: Oh God okay. Let’s discuss a very serious wrong that is happening in the NCAA right now. Lindsey Cheek’s vault. One of our listeners, Marcus, brought this up on Facebook. And the fact that there is this 10 fest going on. Everyone is getting a 10 but Lindsey Cheek has not gotten a 10 on vault. We’ll put this video up. You guys tell us what you think. I am outraged. Outraged that she didn’t get a 10 on this vault. I mean unless sparkles flew out of her butt, I don’t know what else you could do on this vault to make it more perfect. It is divine.
UNCLE TIM: The only comment I want to add is the fact that the vault happened in I think January so it’s really before the 10 fest started. I’ll release the video that we have that he posted on our Facebook wall. And so I think it might have been a little bit before the judges really got loosy goosy and started giving out all their 10s.
EVAN: Yeah and also the angle. I know that Lindsey is a great vaulter. She has that Kim Zmeskal-esque technique where she flares out and opens up but it’s a really traditional, I was going to say maybe she has a leg separation coming on, but the replay shows that she did not. So I would say that could have been a 10. I don’t know that I would venture to say that it could have been a 10. But you know, on any given day, you could go with a 10 for that. I would be okay seeing that as a 10.
UNCLE TIM: I think it also depends on what the gymnast before her did. Often times in NCAA, it’s not a question of being perfect. It’s about being better than the gymnast before you. So if the gymnast before you gets a 9.95 and your vault is clearly better than that one, then you get a 10. It doesn’t matter if it’s perfect or not. So yes some people are outraged and Jess and I know that you’re a person with a lot of rage. So what’s on the rage-o-meter this week?
JESSICA: Emma in England, one of our favorite contributors who was on the show from Antwerp. You guys will remember her. She wrote in and told me about this girl Jasmine who’s a gymnast who’s 5’9 and people have been totally giving her crap saying you’re too tall for gymnastics. Who do you think you are doing gymnastics? You’re so tall. You’re never going to be good at this. Why don’t you give up? I was so upset about this! It makes me so mad. Like why would you ever say something like that to a person? People don’t think about the intention behind what they say. Aren’t you too tall for gymnastics? If you say that to someone, if you say that to someone, what you’re really saying is who do you think you are? I don’t think you can do anything and I don’t believe in you and you’re making a fool of yourself trying this. And why would you ever say that to someone? It’s just mean! It totally makes me pissed! So what did make me happy though was that Emma sent her our last couple of episodes where we talked about Sarie Morrison and Sarah Townsend at Iowa and that made her feel so much better. It encouraged her so the rage-o-meter has a happy ending this week!
UNCLE TIM: Yay!
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 using the code Gymcast.
EVAN: So contact us because we love being contacted. Who doesn’t? We’re like Jodie Foster in Contact. Come on. Give us something. We want you to review, discuss, and watch something that we post and you can give us feedback on that. What did you like? What did you not like? What should we keep talking about? You can also call or email us. We are here for you. So the email that you can reach us at is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also leave us a voicemail by calling 415-800-3191. None of us will answer. You might think it’s like a celebrity telethon where we all have a shift through the night and we might answer but we never will. So feel free to speak your mind and tell us what you need to say. You can contact us anywhere without fee from anywhere in the world by using Skype. Our username there is Gymcastic Podcast. Follow us on Twitter. We are very chatty. Uncle Tim does data. Jessica just loves man bodies and I am not into boobs.
JESSICA: Man pecs.
EVAN: Yeah sure that happens.
JESSICA: That’s going to do it for us this week. Remember to answer our gym nerd poll. Tell us who you think is going to win the American Cup. Later this week we will have the fantastic, this is like a wheeze a thon laughing episode with Jenny Hansen. I love Jenny and I know her and she cracks me up so much and we had so much fun chatting. So you’ll hear how she became the winningest NCAA all around champion three times in a row without a team to support her at NCAA’s so check back for that later this week. And until then, 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. Find me on Twitter @yoev.
JESSICA: Thanks for listening. See you later.