Episode 86 Transcript

AD: Gymnastics combine grace with strength, elegance with power, artistry with athleticism. Can they all strive for the same elusive gold? Absolute perfection. Experience it live at the 2014 NCAA women’s gymnastics championships. April 18th through the 20th at the PJCC in Birmingham, Alabama.  Hosted by the Alabama Sports Foundation and the University of Alabama.  Affordable tickets available. Visit ncaa.com/wgymnastics.

EMMA: And then, she moved on to beam and had, like a look of evil in her eyes, and was just like, even Michele commented and said “she is not falling off this.” Because she was like “you tip me off you beam and I will take a match to you” [laughter].

JESSICA: Someone needs to add that choreography into their beam routine.

EMMA: Seriously.

JESSICA: Like lighting the match, lighting the beam on fire, and then you run and dismount!


[“Express Yourself” – INTRO MUSIC]

JESSICA: This week- British championships, Doha World Cup, and more.

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.

This is episode 86 for April 2nd, 2014.  I’m Jessica from Master’s Gymnastics.

EMMA: I’m Emma from Moominwhisky Meet.

BLYTHE: And I’m Blythe from the Gymnastics Examiner.

JESSICA: This is the best gymnastics podcast ever, bringing you news from around the gymternet.  First I have some very serious news to break to you guys.  In case you didn’t listen to the very end, to the very important song that told you what was really happening in the last episode … this song [singing] April Fools, April Fools, Never [inaudible] are cruel. Now you know, yes, it was in fact an elaborate April Fools Day joke. We hope you guys enjoyed it as much as we did.  There is no eight skill max rule, there’s no deficit rule where the US is gonna start from a five-point deficit from everyone else, there’s no being disqualified if you balk on vault, there’s [chuckle] there’s no getting rid of rhythmic gymnastics in order to have ten man teams. Uhh, yes, so, I hope you guys loved that. Make sure, just in case you’re one of those people that doesn’t listen to the end, that you listen to the end of this episode because we will be announcing our Gymitation contest winners!

We hope you thoroughly enjoyed our April Fools Day episode, and if you appreciated it, John Roethlisberger and Justin Spring taking the time to be on our show, let them know on twitter and of course by tuning in to watch Men’s NCAA Championships on the Big 10 Network.

That was very fun to do. Ok. Let’s discuss, um, first let’s talk about the Doha World Cup before we get to British Championships which is like the main course.  Um, Doha was, I mean, it’s like fun to see who’s out there, but it’s not like a super, super competitive meet, but there were some exciting people to watch. Blythe, what did you think?

BLYTHE: Yeah, no I agree, I mean, you- you get people at the smaller world cups who, you know, if you’re going to compete against the number one, number two people in the world, you’re probably not going to win, but there were some really nice moments in Doha.  The three Armenian men had like the best results ever in Armenian gymnastics.  You had three guys who won pommel horse, rings, and vault.  And I remember especially Arthur Davtyan,the guy who won vault, he went to junior Europeans in 2010 and he did fairly simple gymnastics at that Europeans, which was in Birmingham, and you were there, right Emma?

EMMA: The sad part about Euros in 2010 is that there was an ash cloud-

BLYTHE: Oh yeah.

EMMA: And there was about no spectators. I was about the only one in the crowd-  it was probably about fifty people in the crowd.

BLYTHE: Yeah, yeah, that was an amazing Europeans as well, for that, like the entire Russian men’s team didn’t get there because they had to travel from three different time zones and it was just ridiculous, and I also remember also Fabian Hambuchen saying, somebody asked him how many hours of travel he had to get to Doha, or to get to Birmingham, and he said fifty seven.  [J laughs] And everyone stepped back and said wow.

JESSICA: From Germany! Oh my God he could have walked.

BLYTHE:  And Fabian was like, I know.  But anyway, what I remember , one of the takeaways from that Junior Men’s European Championship was this kid, Davtyan, from Armenia, and he had not difficult gymnastics but everything he did was perfect- like point perfect.  I think he was doing like roundoff back handspring full twist as his last pass on floor exercise, but it was so beautiful and so correct, more correct than anybody else there, that I wondered about this philosophy, if this was Armenian gymnastics and they don’t add difficulty until they can do everything that comes before you add difficulty just spot on. And that’s what I remember and it seems like it’s very true for their program. And I’m very sorry if that was an incredibly long tangent, um, so that’s Armenian gymnastics. You had Epke Zonderland, he tied with Marcel Nguyen for gold on parallel bars and sidebar on that is always that I know he’s got so much high bar credit but I can’t help but think even Epke’s a better gymnast on parallel bars, in a lot of ways.  He has better form, and he’s got these awesome, unique, original and super difficult pirouetting skills, and so it’s nice to see that parallel bars routine getting the credit that it deserves.  And of course he won high bar. You do the sort of release moves that he does, you have the start value that he does, you hit your routine more or less and you don’t bend your legs too much and, you know, you’ll win.

And then of course on the women’s side, Larisa Iordache, she was absolutely fabulous. She hit vault. She hit beam. She hit floor. She won all of that. Kristyna Palesova won uneven bars, and you know, it was also nice because you had the return of Lauren Mitchell who competed on beam and floor and …

JESSICA: Yes! That was a big deal! And people said that she, that they really thought that she looked burnt out before the Olympics and that she looks really fresh now, that she looks invigorated- you can tell.

BLYTHE: Yeah, yeah. Definitely. You watch the video and you get that idea. She has a new floor routine. It’s got some of her signature choreography in it.  And she just looks relaxed, and certainly the impression that she gave at the Olympics was not terribly relaxed.

EMMA: I agree.

BLYTHE: It’s true.

JESSICA: I was just happy to see in the last couple weeks, Olivia Vivian and all the Australians have been released from Aussie-

EMMA: Thank goodness!

JESSICA: Yes, gymnastics jail.

EMMA: Gymnastics Jail…

JESSICA: Yes, and Olivia Vivian- I never remembered her in Australia but I remember her at Oregon doing college gymnastics and I loved her. Her bars are amazing and I’ve been watching her videos, so I don’t understand the score she was given.  They made no sense to me because her bars are perfect. But then again I haven’t actually watched the routine so maybe she fell like three times [laughter] but-

I’m adding an editor’s note right here because I listened back on this and was like oh my God I didn’t mention the important guys, Uncle Tim’s gonna kill me if this isn’t in the show. So I’m going to give a special shout out to Paul Ruggeri who killed it at Doha. He did a great job. He came in second on floor with a 15.1 behind the Prince of Japan, on high bar he came in, he got the silver behind Epke, and, with a 15.3.  He also winked and waved at the camera when he was in the little seats they have, that was like a kiss and cry area but it was like fancier chairs because, you know, it’s Qutar. They’re the next Dubai. [end of edit]

JESSICA: Umm I’m glad to see her back and all of them.  Ok. Let’s discuss British Championships! I’m so excited! I love the British Championships because you know…

EMMA: Oh my God.

JESSICA: British gymnastics.

EMMA: They’re so good.

JESSICA: Yeah and they’re always known for putting on these events, you know? Like real events.  They do such innovative competitions. So, they did so many things. So tell us about how they, like, jazzed it up this year.

EMMA: Well, considering, you know I went to worlds and London and the Olympics and blah blah blah, and every competition with Great Britain, this one was like really special because at the start they have this really dramatic music and they switched all the lights out, and it was like the start of the X Factor. And they got, everybody marched out onto a stage and announced to the crowd. It was amazing!  And it was like a proper occasion, it was like the Queen was in the house.

JESSICA: And I love how they had the disability competitors come out and compete during finals with the elites, or the masters as you call them.

EMMA: That, yes, that was really good.

JESSICA: So cool!  I like that they have, I mean, I just think the British gymnastics does a great job. They have their whole app where you can watch stuff live, and you can see the live scores,

EMMA: Yeah

JESSICA: and they have their magazine for free, and they had the whole thing streaming live, and it’s archived so you can watch it, and they had Katy Steel doing commentary.

EMMA: Yep.

JESSICA: Who, sometimes listens to the show, so I was very excited to hear her, and um, you guys know we have this, um, Gymcastic gymmitation contest going on which the awards will be announced.

EMMA: Yes I entered it!

JESSICA: Yeah that’s right! And the show is, and so we’re going to announce the winners today,  on this show [woohoo!] and um I love that she did the imitation that Lauren Hopkins from The Couch Gymnast did an imitation of Nastia and all of her stuff out  commentating, and then Katy Steel did as well, oh my God.  And I just like, she’s very positive, um, while being critical. I think she did a good job with that. Like, she’ll say, you know, this gymnast could do with a little more expression, which I think is much more positive than the way I always say it which is always like [louder] she has dead eyes! Like there’s nothing there! You know, [laughter], so I enjoyed listening to her commentary.  So tell us why a couple of our favorites were missing. So where was Ellie Downie? We were excited to see her.

EMMA: Well,  I ran into Ellie in the stands, well, when I was stalking, umm, and she told me that she had landed on straight legs from her Patterson dismount in training.


EMMA: And that they told her she needed a couple of days rest. So I told her you must be really gutted about that, and she yes I am. Because that girl has fire. She’s just, she’s like raring to go.

JESSICA: And that dismount looks so easy for her, honestly, she like walks into it.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: It’s amazing how, and she’s not like a short little thing either, you know? She’s like a normal…

EMMA: She isn’t! I was actually shocked that she’s quite a bit taller than her sister, so yeah I thought they were around the same.

JESSICA: So what happened with Lisa Mason? She’s…we’ve talked to her…

EMMA: Lisa Mason, I met her after and she’s great. She’s really fun. She’s really great. But she said to me that she had her foot taped up and she said that she hurt her foot and they told her to kind of not compete but she said she was going to anyway.


EMMA: And then on event final day she had to withdraw because her foot was like elephant foot, and it was huge and black. So she had to withdraw from event finals, but that girl’s got some good skills going on, like both myself and Michelle, we commented on bars, she had like proper pointed toes. You know, she did a nice floor routine. You know, she deserved to be there, you know, it’s not like she just turned up and it’s a bit of a joke. She’s like, she’s fierce.

JESSICA: She’s definitely fierce. And I really like her bars. I think it’s one of her stronger events because of her form, which, there was a lot of form which was like ouhh.  So, the other person which we were so excited was Louis Smith, and he said that his goal was to um, get to the Commonwealth Games, so based on his performance here, how realistic do you think that is?

EMMA: Oooh, he’s on the cusp.  If you think, for the Commonwealths, that the GB team will get split, so that, the two Dans compete for Scotland, so then England you’ve got Max and Sam and a whole other bunch of guys whose names escape me at the moment.

JESSICA: Christian Thomas.

EMMA: But Louis is right on the cusp. Yes, Christian, he’s right on the cusp really because if you think Max can do pommels, and he’s great, and the other guys can as well, so I would say he’s kind of teetering on the outer section. He needs to pull a few more hits out of the bag I think before he would be on that team. He’s on the cusp I would say.

JESSICA: So speaking of hits and Scotland and everyone going to their respective countries for Commonwealth Games, is it Rebecca Tunney who, or is it Amy Tinkler, who, hits a golf ball in her routine? Oh no, it’s little Grindle. Did you guys notice that?

EMMA: Teal.

JESSICA: Teal, yes.

EMMA: Teal.

JESSICA: One of the adorable names, right? Is she golfing? [laughter]

EMMA: I don’t know.

JESSICA: There’s a part where she holds her hands up, and then it totally looks like a golf- I mean it can’t be baseball right, so it’s gotta be – Ive’ decided she golfs.

EMMA: I’ll need to check it out.

JESSICA: I’ve decided she golfs. I don’t know.

EMMA: I didn’t go to the Junior competition so I’ll have to check the video out. But have you noticed that nearly every time she competes she wears teal as well?

BLYTHE: Aww that’s cute.


BLYTHE: I love it.

JESSICA: Her little interview after – I love British Gymnastics for doing this- they didn’t cut the pre interview out so, she’s like “Don’t ask me anything hard!”

EMMA: She’s so cute.


JESSICA: She’s adorable, I love how we can see her personality. She’s looking at the guy like “I’m serious, I will cut you dude, don’t ask me anything hard.”


EMMA: I’ll tell you something that you do notice about British Gymnastics is that they are one great big happy family ‘cause it’s such a joyous event and everyone loves each other. And if you look on people’s instagrams and twitters, all the team selfies that have been posted and all the love for each other- it’s great, and it’s really evident.

JESSICA: It is! And the other thing I was noticing is when they talked about their- when they did their post meet interviews, they were so positive. I was shocked. At least the women, I didn’t listen, I didn’t watch all the guys, but the women were really positive, like “oh you know I fell, I was a little off, but I went for it anyway. You know, it happens some times, but, you know we’ll get it next time and I’d like to go to duh duh duh and win a medal” and I wonder if- so Blythe, this is what I want to ask you about. Do you think this is indicative of why the British gymnasts seem to have more longevity than some of the more competitive countries I would say, or do you think it’s kind of the attitude of “it’s enough to just make it to this level” and there isn’t this super drive to win win win and be the best? Or is it just being kind of healthy and realistic?

BLYTHE: Oh, that’s difficult. And I’d like to answer the question by sharing a story from Mitch Fenner.

JESSICA: The great Mitch Fenner.

EMMA: Oooh.

BLYTHE: The great Mitch Fenner.

EMMA: I love Mitch Fenner.

B: You know, and Mitch Fenner loves gymnastics. And one thing that he said during the London games in 2012. God, I hope I don’t get in trouble for telling this story, but he said “I really like the American guys” he said, “because you got a kid like Jonathan Horton, and it is so evident that he would cut off his leg to be the best and to be on the floor and you know he just wants it so badly.”  And he said, “and Britain, we don’t have guys like that. We have plenty of really nice gymnasts, especially the last few years, starting with Louis Smith and Dan Keatings, and snowballing. And they had a fantastic team that had a fantastic accomplishment. But Mitch’s critique was that we just don’t have guys who are gritty like some of the American guys.  And maybe I’m partisan for saying that, because I’m obviously not British, but that was Mitch’s comments. And that might have something to do with it, but British gymnastics still seems to me very young in a way.


BLYTHE: They are a fantastic program, but frankly they have only been that team and that program for the last 5, 6 years.


EMMA: I agree.

BLYTHE: And you have Many of the people who established that, that generation is still around. Someone like Daniel Purvis or Daniel Keatings, and it’s not that there aren’t great guys coming up. There are. You look at Nile Thompson. You look at Brinn Bevan.  You look at, oh I’m sorry, Nile Wilson. Nile Wilson and Jay Thomson and Brinn Bevan, and they are going to, if they’re not already, really start pushing sort of, they’re the Dan Purvises of the world. So it’s going to be very interesting in 2 years, who makes the Olympic Team and who doesn’t. I think we’ll see some surprises. But also, the guys just seem to have a really good, well rounded training program.  They’re not really injured, certainly not as much as some. They’re not always going in for a surgery, and they just look very well conditioned and very very well trained.  Props to their coaches. And for all those reasons, all this adds up to longevity, but I think they also realize they’re really part of something special here. And when you realize that, and you love your sport, and you do want to do your sport, why would you ever want to stop?

JESSICA: An excellent assessment.

BLYTHE: Exactly.

EMMA: Can I talk about a couple of the other guys?

JESSICA: Yes! I want to ask you about the other guys like Dan Keatings and..

EMMA: I feel like they need a mention.

JESSICA: Yes, yes.

EMMA: Well Dan Keatings was absolutely on fire, and he won bronze in the all-around, he won p-bars gold, and he won pommel gold, so he was absolutely on fire.  And it’s the first time I’ve seen him do All-Arounds since 2009 Worlds, and he was great. So if you watched his story on The Hard Way to Success, you’ll know how devastated he was on not making the Olympic team, and then he came back in Antwerp and then he fell on pommels.  It was just heartbreaking, so yay for Dan!  Also there’s a guy called Courtney Tulloch, he is really good as well. He just had, he’s just kind of like just below the Dans and the Maxs and everybody, but have a lookout for some of his videos because he’s really great. And also Reiss Beckford. Now Reiss has been competing for quite a while and he goes to the same club as Max and Brinn Bevan and he has the best toes of any man in any country.


EMMA: You watch him, you look at his toes, you watch him do parallel bars, you look at his toes. The guy has style.  He is just lovely to watch. But sadly he had a couple of mishaps, but he is lovely.  And also my new favorite guy. You must have a lookout for him. His name is Dom Cunningham and he competes just down the road from me in Birmingham, and he won silver on floor I think, and silver on vault, and he is the nicest guy.  I met him afterwards and he’s just an absolute doll.  So, big shout out to Dom and I hope he’s chosen because I was literally going around every single gymnast going “listen to Gymcastic! Listen to Gymcastic! We’ll give you a shout out!” [JESSICA giggles] so…

JESSICA: Awesome!

EMMA: So yeah, shout out to Dom!

JESSICA: I watched him during the vault finals and of course, ‘cause I was watching to see my man Christian Thomas.

EMMA: Christian.

JESSICA:  and his legs, and ugh, a lot of people just looked really tired or they just looked like, I don’t know if it was like they were tired, or if it was the pressure, but it was like a splat fest, seriously, and a lot of people I was like “oh my God please don’t let them be hurt, and it was just off, like the whole vault finals was a little bit off, but Dom killed it! I was like “oh man, everybody better be watching their back.”

EMMA: He’s great.

JESSICA: Yeah, Dom was doing hard vaults and yeah, he’s pretty bad ass so everybody better watch out. And speaking of bad ass, let’s talk about our little Ruby Harrold, who we just love, love, love on this show. We’ve been talking about her for a long time, she was wearing her bumblebee leotard, she’s going to LSU, she’s just, you know how much we love her bars, but ooh, rough meet, it was a little bit of a rough meet for her.

EMMA: She had a not very good time on bars at all.  She had a couple of, I don’t know if she had 2 or 3 falls because I was trying to film it and I kept buffering out with my ipad, but she fell twice that I saw, and then she moved onto beam and she had this look of evil in her eyes and she was just like- even Michelle commented on it and said “she is not falling off this” because she was like “you tip me off you beam, and I will take a   to you.”


JESSICA: Someone needs to add that choreography into their beam routine.

EMMA: Seriously.

JESSICA: Like lighting the match, lighting the beam on fire, and then you run and dismount!


EMMA: She would have lit the bloomin’ thing on fire because she was not falling off it. And then her floor was really good, her vault was really good, but the bars just had the better of her, which was such a shame because she should be at bar final, and it would have been better had she been in it.

JESSICA: Also on floor, you know, she looked really determined, she looked good.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: She just seemed like she was- in floor finals she had 2 falls, and it was weird because it didn’t seem like she didn’t have the power or was worn out.


JESSICA: Maybe it was just, I don’t know what it was, but it was unfortunate because I just love watching her, and I love that she wore yellow. She totally stood out.

EMMA: I did have a little chat with her after and she wasn’t, she was lovely and she signed my pictures and stuff, but she wasn’t particularly happy with her all-around, but, you know, it was the bars, and everything else was good. But I guess she’s known for the bars more than other stuff so I guess she wanted to smash it.

JESSICA: Yes, she’s a little competitor. She’ll be pissed for a little while that she didn’t.

EMMA: Oh yeah, she is. When she goes to college she’s going to be crazy mad.

JESSICA: Ha! Crazy Mad!

EMMA: No she is, if you think the British, we’re always calm over here, and once she gets to the WOAH!!! YOU’RE GONNA GET A TEN!!! She’s gonna be like- she’s gonna lap that up!

JESSICA: That’s totally true.  [laughter] Oh, beam finals. We must mention two people. So Kelly Simm who does a standing front tuck, which, HELLO, is the craziest thing ever, and then, my favorite, Laura Mitchell, who, she’s really making a name for herself this year.

EMMA: Oh yeah.

JESSICA: She has pizzazz and a presence and lights it up.

EMMA: She does- and can we just stop for a second and can we give a shout to anybody in America who wants a new firecracker on their team. Come and get Laura, because she needs to go to America.

JESSICA: NCAA coaches, that is a call to all of you. A call to action! Yes.

EMMA: Get on YouTube and look up her beam video and her floor video. She needs to go to America.

JESSICA: She’s made for NCAA. She’s one of the Heathrow Honeys.

EMMA: She is.  She is.

JESSICA: And she does that crazy beam mount where she does a back dive to a chest stand and she holds on with her biceps,

EMMA: That’s right.

JESSICA: It’s, ugh, I love her on beam.

EMMA: It’s crazy. I don’t know if you saw, she posted on Instagram quite a while ago, her practicing that mount. And there was about ten where she just fell off or splatted.

JESSICA: Yes! Oh my God. Terrifying!

EMMA:  It’s  so funny.

JESSICA: I mean, that mount is so scary! Because if you’re too close, you’ll literally knock yourself out. That’s it. You’re gonna be cold, on the ground. And if you, if she crashes on that, that’s the thing- she just learned it. I mean, she learned it a couple months ago, and it’s solid enough that she’s doing it in her meets, so I love her.

EMMA: Well do you want to know another thing I found out? I was talking to Lisa Mason, and she had told me that she had only done her beam combination for two weeks, and she choreographed her own floor routine.

JESSICA: That Laura did?

EMMA: No Lisa.

JESSICA: Oh Lisa choreographed her own.

EMMA: Choreographed her own, yeah…and she’d only done her beam for two weeks.

JESSICA: [whispers] Oh my God.

JESSICA: I mean, she talks about, she’s jokes on Twitter and stuff about the Mason genes, but honestly, she is a genetic freak.

EMMA: She is.

JESSICA: Her kid taught herself a double back.

EMMA: Seriously.

JESSICA: Who teaches themselves a double back? People don’t do that.

EMMA: I don’t know.

JESSICA: That’s not normal.

EMMA: And she’s, oh my God, she’s like so fricken pretty, and tall and beautiful.  She’s a freakin’ swan. She’s more of a swan than the Belarusian freakin swan.

JESSICA: Oooh take that!  All of Russia is gonna be emailing in now.

BLYTHE: That is quite the statement, Emma.


JESSICA: We’re gonna incite a riot. [laughter]  With that, let’s talk about the little, Katie Steel called her the “Pocket Rocket.”  That has other meanings, so I’m not going to use that when I talk about Claudia Fragapane.  I’m just gonna call her.

EMMA: I will tell you who she is.  She’s the love child of Gervasio Deferr and Chellsie Memmel [inaudible] in a bun if that’s possible.

JESSICA: That’s perfect.

EMMA: It is perfect!

JESSICA: She’s a little pocket Hercules.

EMMA: She’s so small as well.

JESSICA: She’s tiny!

EMMA: I met her after and I was like “oh my God! You’re smaller than Simone Biles!” She is tiny!  But she’s all fire.

JESSICA: Yeah she’s…

EMMA: She’s so good.

JESSICA: It looked like it was a little rough, like her form wasn’t up to her normal standards.  I think she normally has a little better form. Like she had flexed feet a lot on beam, even though her beam is crazy.  She doesn’t even have to jump, she just twitches her eyelids and she goes up 24 feet in the air. And she was out of bounds a lot on floor, but she did her double, she did her full twisting double layout on floor.

BLYTHE: What!?

EMMA: She did it as if she was like doing a little single back, she was that good.

JESSICA: She’s awesome, her power, it seems like she just needs to learn to control her power when she’s in a meet and when she’s excited and has that atmosphere around her, because clearly the skills are not hard.

EMMA: I honestly believe that it was her and a couple of others who just maybe they found that occasion just a little too much, because it was pizzazzed up, and she did say after the meet on the British Gymnastics YouTube that she was really quite nervous, so maybe that was the reason.

JESSICA: Sure.  And let’s talk about one of the veterans that we’ve known forever, Hannah Whelan.  She, I love what she does on floor and Princess Catherine of Europa does this too, before she starts her floor routine, she does a choreographed part into her starting pose, and then holds the position.  WHAT?!

EMMA: Oh! I love that! I love that, just look at me and stop what you’re doing now. It’s just, oh it’s just perfect.  I think, was it Daria Joura that started all that caper?

JESSICA: It probably was. Daria Joura is just the greatest, you know.

BLYTHE: She is.

JESSICA: Yeah. And an epic performer. Truly, a swan.


JESSICA: Hannah Whelan has really become a good performer.   I never really noticed her before.

B: She has.

JESSICA: She’s really doing- and so many- and I think that’s why we like talking about the British Gymnasts so much, you know they’re having this- British Gymnastics is definitely having a Renaissance, and, or it might be a first Renaissance kind of,  but it’s

EMMA: I think it’s the first.

JESSICA: Yeah [laughter] Who has a Renaissance for the first time? But they are really embracing the artistic side, even though they’re doing these difficult things.  They’re definitely keeping to the roots of the sport and you can really see it from the men to the women to the juniors.  Oh my God the junior girls on floor! I was like, these are like NCAA routines! I mean little Tinkler, she’s like staring down the judges  and smiling at them and giggling at them, oh my God. Love her.

EMMA: Jess, you must know Miss Val and these people. Get them over here! Get them over here! Like get them

JESSICA: I’ll just call everyone up.

EMMA: You call them all up. You’ve got contacts.

JESSICA: I honestly think that there should be a recruitables meet in Britain somewhere, or there is a recruitables meet in the US, I think it’s in the summertime and I think it’s in Oklahoma. I think IG has something to do with it.


JESSICA: And all these British gymnasts should get together and come to this meet and just show- you don’t even have to do your hardest stuff, just do super clean gymnastics. You know, throw one of your hardest skills, you don’t have to do these elite, you know, 15 tumbling passes. But it’s so fun and you guys would love it, and the college coaches go to those meets, so, or if you want to do it, send them your videos. You know, make them aware of you because we would LOVE to have all of you come to the US, and just have fun and do more gymnastics and experience having all these people screaming for you. Ugh I would love that.  So Blythe, I think you watched this, The Hard Way to Success, which is a program out of the Netherlands that’s doing these fantastic documentaries on gymnasts, now they’re really expanding to international gymnasts, not just gymnasts in the Netherlands. The quality is so good, it’s so professional, I love.

EMMA: It’s so good.

JESSICA: Oh my God.

EMMA: Can you actually get through an episode of that without tissues, because I can’t.

JESSICA: [laughs] Just by the name, um, right, the hard way.

EMMA: It’s that music! As soon as the music kicks in I’m gone!

JESSICA: [laughs] Totally! Blythe, did you watch this one on Luke Carson who competed this weekend?

BLYTHE: Yes, and it was excellent. I thought it was the best one they’ve done, and that’s really saying something because all of them are just wonderful- wonderful to watch. As Emma said, the quality is exceptional.  The interviews are great, and you get to see training footage, which is what we all really want to see. The lighting actually is really really good, and it’s been very well shot. And yeah, I can’t say enough good things about this series. Google The Hard Way to Success, go on their website, watch the videos. It’s excellent.

JESSICA: And Luke Carson competed this weekend.  So he’s the guy, remember, he’s in Ireland, and he competed, oh he must be in Northern Ireland, so he’s not in Ireland, he’s in Northern Ireland, and he competed.

EMMA: He trains with Louis Smith and Dan Keatings at Huntingdon.

JESSICA: And he’s the guy who had, like a compound fracture and then a couple years later, was it like last year around this time?

EMMA: No, he had this massive injury to his leg, and then exactly a year to the day, he smashed his leg into like a million pieces.  So how the guy can even walk is just beyond me.

JESSICA: And it was the craziest injury because he was just-

EMMA:  Yeah.

JESSICA: Vaulting, and it wasn’t the landing, it was when he jumped on the board that it happened.

EMMA: Yeah, yeah.

JESSICA: Ugh, so the fact that he’s back is just incredible. And he did well this weekend, right?

EMMA: He did. The guy’s a legend! I think if you haven’t watched it, please, just stop your business. Stop work. Go home immediately and watch it. [J laughs]  Because to be able to come back from two, I mean as well, he was talking about qualifying for the Olympic games. He went out and did qualifying, and they gave the spot to Kieran Behan.  He didn’t even make the team. And yet, the guy comes back from another injury and up to the level he’s at now, when the doctor said you may not even walk. He’s phenomenal. I can’t say enough good things about him.

JESSICA: Yeah, super inspiring.  When you have your coach and you have kids who have a rip and are like “I can’t work out today”, just sit them down and make them hold a push up position and watch the entire episode.

EMMA:  Yeah.  When you’re having a crap day, watch the Luke Carson episode and the Brinn Bevan episode and your day will not be as bad as you think.

JESSICA: Ok, can we talk about [squeals] Brinn Bevan! He’s so little! He’s like a little tiny Jonathan Horton.  He’s so cute! And I know he’s a grown man, so I don’t mean this to be that I don’t see him as a virile and handsome adult man, but how cute is he?!  He’s just a little thing!

EMMA: Aw he’s lovely. He’s lovely. And he’s great as well.

JESSICA: Yeah I’m excited to see what is gonna happen for him in the future.  And we talked a little bit about bars when we were talking about Ruby Harrold Not having a great time, but the person that stole the show who we were not, or at least I wasn’t expecting, you guys may have been expecting…

EMMA: Miss Twiglet herself.

JESSICA: What?! I literally yelled “holy shit!” while I was watching this routine.  I was just like “WHAT?! WHAT?!” at like the third connection she did.

EMMA: I think Twitter blew up. It’s like how is that even humanly possible?

JESSICA: And when she dismounts.

EMMA: No but she does it like it’s nothing!

JESSICA: And when she dismounts, she sticks her tongue out of the side of her mouth like you know when a dog is super tired they’re like “uhhh” like YES that was as hard as it looked! Thanks you guys, I’m gonna go take a nap. [laughter] So she does a toe-on piked tkatchev to immediate bhardwaj, so a full twisting pak. Then she does a toe-on shaposh, to a pak, to an immediate stalder shaposh half.  And then she stalder full to immediate half in half out. I mean, everything’s connected. It’s like exactly like it’s the Tweddle effect, you know? Exactly what we want to see.

EMMA: Yeah. Well she trains in Liverpool, which is where Tweddle used to train, so you know they’ve got some good coaches there.

JESSICA: Now while we’re talking about her though, we have to discuss the hair fashion that’s going on at British Championships. [EMMA laughs] OK, now you know how I feel about scrunchies, they’re hideously ugly but they work really well actually, which is why we can’t get rid of them.

EMMA: But Jess I know where you’re going. You’re going on this double scrunchie giant bun trip, aren’t you?

JESSICA: Yes. And they’re not scrunchied, they’re just set there- like a pancake with a hole in it.

EMMA: But at least it’s perfection, it’s not like you know, that…

JESSICA: Bed head?

EMMA: post-sex hair of the USA team with theirs scrunched up like “I’ve just rolled in a bush” hair. [JESSICA laughs]  You know, yeah it’s a

JESSICA: I just crawled to the meet through a jungle? Yeah. I give you that, you are correct.

EMMA: You know since the Americans did that hair in London, all the Italians are copying it.


EMMA: And a lot of the British girls were copying it.


EMMA: And I’m like no, don’t start that over here.  You know, nice tidy bun, but admittedly, like, I mean Rebecca Tunney has a long, long hair, like all the way down her back. She has long hair. So she puts it in a bun, and then she puts one of those bun donut things as well. It’s like the size of the moon for God’s sake.

JESSICA: It is, and it is perfect I have to say. And her bun is, you could put it in the dictionary for whatever, for those bun donut things- that’s what it’s supposed to look like [EMMA laughs] Like there’s no messy in it. She couldn’t wear that at NCAA.  All her teammates would be like “God, your hair’s perfect. Stop it right now! We have to get a rat’s nest going on in there, and some ribbons.” But it does…

EMMA: And then you’ve got little Ruby and Catherine Lyons and the little ringlets, and they look pretty.

JESSICA: Ok, but this is the thing. I mean, the ringlets are totally adorable, but I have to say that the shininess of the scrunchies, and they’re not being scrunchied up, kind of looks like some booty shorts from some gay pride parade fell or flung into her hair [EMMA laughs], like it’s too shiny. Like this is the problem.  Like a different material, like just a black scrunchie or something would be ok.  I mean, in case anyone was wondering.

EMMA: I think, I was a huge fan of when Shawn Johnson was trying to bring ribbons back, you know?


EMMA: I like pretty and simple. I’m not into overkill, but scrunchies aren’t that offensive.  It’s not like the Shannon Miller ruffles of the past.

JESSICA: Oh no, those were a bit much. I just think like you shouldn’t notice it.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: You shouldn’t notice it. But then again, when Peng Peng from Canada wore her flower in her hair, I was like “this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.”

EMMA: That’s- it was, it was beautiful.  What about Shantessa Pama with her bits of rope? I mean, they were pretty.

JESSICA: Uh, yarn? I mean you can’t do yarn wrong. If they did it in the Soviet Union then you can do it forever, yes. [E laughs]  Those are the rules.

EMMA: Let’s-can we just talk about Princess Catherine because…

JESSICA: Can we just!? My God! We haven’t talked this whole time.

EMMA: She was just wearing this silver, like no one in the world could wear a silver leo with all the cutouts and crazy going on it.


EMMA: But she looked amazing!

JESSICA: It did, that leo was-

EMMA: She looked freaking regal! She is a princess.

JESSICA: She is, and you can tell because it was a royal leotard. It looked like it was in a crown, a crown translated.

EMMA: The Queen’s tailor made that.  I’m telling you.

JESSICA: It was weird because, you know what, I really liked the leo, and then when it was up close I was like “oh my God it looked like a space suit from Aliens, like what is going on in the back of that?” But it was beautiful! She’s just, I don’t know. She’s, like I said, she could just get up there in her leo and burp and I would be like “it’s perfect! Give her a ten!” So, and of course she did a fantastic job, she took second or third? This is terrible when, you know, the meet-

EMMA: In the all-around I believe she was third.


EMMA: Because Amy was first, Amy Tinkler, Teal was second, and Catherine was third.

JESSICA: There we go.

EMMA: I believe she won the floor exercise.

JESSICA: Of course, because unless there was like an earthquake and someone pushed her off, of course she was gonna win. For crying out loud.

EMMA: Yeah, exactly. That floor routine is exquisite.

JESSICA: [whispers] And it’s so quiet and powerful.  Um, Blythe, you’ve been very quiet on the subject of Princess Catherine of Europa, what are your thoughts on her, how she’s gonna do in the future with this, she only has one more year I think of being a Junior and how she did in this meet?

BLYTHE: I think it’s too early to tell.  And I think the competition in Great Britain right now is extremely tough.  She is not a gymnast like Amy Tinkler or Teal Grindle, or Tyesha Mattis, or even Ellie Downie. She is, umm, the Kyla Ross of the group, shall we say.  She has elegance, she has artistry, she has incredible lines.  And added to that she really does have some amazing skills.  She’s working on a full twisting geinger, you know, on uneven bars.  She has a gorgeous beam routine.  Where she’s going to, if she wants to be an all around gymnast, she’s going to have to up her difficulty on vault a little bit- and I think she can do it.  But she’s going to have to do it in the next couple of years, or else she’s maybe kind of looking at being a bars/beam specialist.  But she’s really shaken things up, I think, in Britain, where, for so many years there wasn’t expressive choreography.  Yeah she’s nothing but expressive and she just oozes artistry, and you have to love that.  So that’s kind of my thought up to this point, she has competed in, not the junior- what’s the level below junior?

EMMA: Espoir.

BLYTHE: Espoir! Yes. She’s competed in the British Espoir and she’s really dominated. And she’s doing quite well in the juniors and I think we’ll see. She’s got one more year of being a junior and then she’ll be a senior? So she’ll be a senior just in time for Rio?


BLYTHE: And we’ll see.

JESSICA: If you guys are picking your teams for Commonwealth Games and Europeans, which is what the British Championships served as trials for, who would you put on your European team right now? ‘Cuz I think Europeans is going to be the more competitive one.

EMMA: Ooh, I would say Hannah, Beckie, Rebecca Tunney. Am I allowed five?


EMMA: Ruby, and who’s my other one? Ugh I can’t think!

JESSICA: Can you put juniors on the team, or does it have to be all seniors?

EMMA: No ‘cuz there’s a separate juniors, so juniors I would go for Teal, and Amy, and Ellie, and, oh God, Catherine?

BLYTHE: Catherine.

EMMA: Am I allowed Catherine?


EMMA: And maybe Tyesha as well. That’s five isn’t it?  God, my seniors! I’ve forgot every single senior. Umm…

BLYTHE: Raer Theaker?

EMMA: Ooh! Well you’ve got Claudia! I mean, she’s a possibility. I think the senior team is gonna be a tough call because you’ve got Ruby who’s excellent, but had quite a lackluster British, so, hmm, you know, and then Claudia was third all-around, so it’s quite tricky.

JESSICA: Before I ask you this question, Blythe, we totally forgot to talk about Becky Downie’s beam, which, talk about redemption right? Ohmygosh, so she does her all-around competition, and all of us are just cringing like “nooo not again! Why does this always happen to her?”  She falls on her double pike dismount, which is just like ARGH. So then she goes and does her finals routine for beam, and she’s up way in the beginning, because of course she fell in prelims, and her routine is so good! My God!  She does aerial layout as her series, and normally people do aerial layout and their amplitude is just a straight line.  You can draw a straight line from where their head is, right across the beam, right?  Not when she does it.  You have to draw a mountain, and then diagonal down to the beam, and then another mountainous line.  She has amplitude live I’ve never seen on that series.  I didn’t know you could actually do it with that much amplitude which is what makes me think everyone else should have gotten more of a deduction for no amplitude when they do that series.  And she almost stuck her double pike dismount, it was like “YES SHE’S BACK FOR REAL!” Oh my God I was so happy for her- so happy for her, and she wore a pink leotard. I loved how she has a pink leotard for everything.

EMMA: Yeah. Did you see her floor routine? It was lovely.

JESSICA: I didn’t. I haven’t gotten that far yet, I’m still watching everything.

EMMA: Oh, right.  Get on my YouTube channel because I video’ed it.  It’s good.

JESSICA: Ooh, excellent.

EMMA: It’s good, it’s lovely- nice music, nice choreography, lovely.

JESSICA: So Blythe, who would you pick?

BLYTHE: Uhh, seniors? Juniors? Men? Women?

JUDE: Let’s go with seniors, men and women.

EMMA: Do, yes, do that.

BLYTHE: And you get five or do you get six?

EMMA: You get five I think.

BLYTHE: Seniors men and women. Well, senior men, alright, umm, Whitlock, obviously.

EMMA: Yeah.

BLYTHE: Purvis, obviously.

EMMA: Sam.

BLYTHE: Keatings.

EMMA: What about Sam? Yeah.

BLYTHE: Kristian Thomas.

EMMA: Yup.

BLYTHE: Annnnd…

EMMA: Sam Oldham?

BLYTHE: Sam Oldham or Frank Baines.


BLYTHE: Frankly, if I could take Nile Wilson, at this point I would take Nile Wilson over both of them.

EMMA: Well can’t he compete on the juniors? Can’t he compete on the juniors?

BLYTHE: I think he will have to compete with the juniors.  He’s how old now? Seventeen?

EMMA: I’m not sure.

BLYTHE: He might be one year away from being able to compete senior. Although, you know they have seventeen-year-old worlds, so…

EMMA: Interestingly, Blythe, you didn’t pick Louis Smith.

BLYTHE: Uhh, for Euros?

EMMA: Yeah.

BLYTHE: Sorry, no. He’s a one event gymnast and Britain; pommel horse is their best event.  No.

EMMA: Yup.

BLYTHE: You know, he got snowed by Dan, and you know, Sam Oldham is not bad on pommel horse either.  Max Whitlock is, well, scores very well.  With all the respect in the world to Louis Smith, they don’t need him.  Commonwealths…

EMMA: I do think it’s gonna be, I do think he’s gonna have a really tough time trying to get on the Commonwealth team.  I really do.

BLYTHE: Well Commonwealths would be a little bit different because you will have Dan Purvis and Dan Keatings who go to Scotland, Frank will go to Scotland.

EMMA: Yeah but you’ve got a million other all-arounders snapping for those places.

BLYTHE: Yeah, and, it does give you more options. I think that Louis could sneak onto the team for Commonwealths.  And there is something to be said for his personality, for his leadership skills, he’s a wonderful man to have on the floor with the team.

EMMA: Yeah he did get the biggest cheers.  Yeah, he did get the biggest cheers.

BLYTHE: Yeah, so, right, but in terms of sheer gymnastics, and his pommel horse is amongst the best in Britain and in the world.  I think maybe right now Dan Keatings is stronger than him.  Max Whitlock may be stronger than him, but, you know, it’s still a world-class routine, and it would still, you know, be great.  But again, he’s a one-event gymnast.  And that’s why, and Britain has tons of depth right now.  There is no reason to take a one-event gymnast.

JESSICA: And that’s why Azerbaijan is going to snap them up!

BLYTHE: Even if, you know-

EMMA: [laughs] YES! Louis for Azerbaijan!

BLYTHE: Azerbaijan is about to have a line out the door with people wanting to sign up with them.


JESSICA: I mean those hotels! Where they live! The gym! I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s just beautiful!

EMMA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

BLYTHE: Yes!  And they’re constructing a national arena.  There’s an article in the press every week or so that we’re doing this! We’re doing this! And so that’s really cool. It’s gonna be really interesting to see-

EMMA: Well they stolen, oh, like Stepko now haven’t they from the Ukraine?


JESSICA: He’s there.

BLYTHE: And that’s a really, uh, how do you want to put it, a prized fish, or whatever.

JESSICA: Yeah! [laughs] A prized fish!

EMMA: He’s an…

JESSICA: Is that a Swiss phrase? Ooh look at him, he’s a prized fish.

EMMA: He’s an orange, what are those orange fish people pay hundred for?  The Koy of gymnastics .

BLYTHE: Because, unlike Anna Pavlova, unlike Yulia Inshina, no offense to either of them, their best days are behind them.  And we love- and I’m sorry that’s true.

EMMA: It’s true.

BLYTHE: And we are delighted to see them in international competitions, on the international stage, but, their best days are behind them.

EMMA: That’s very true.

BLYTHE: I’m sorry to say it but it is the truth.  Oleg Stepko’s best days are not behind him.  I mean, when Oleg was seventeen, in 2010, he went to the World Championships, and he was this little guy, on this big Ukrainian team, and his potential was just so obvious. It was like there is a walking future world champion.  No question.  And I still believe that.  So he’s going to do, as long as he, you know, doesn’t blow out a knee or anything, go and knock on wood, he’s gonna do wonderful things for this program.  The question is, is Azerbaijan going to be able to sustain this? What kind of infrastructure do they have in place for sort of home-growing their own gymnasts if they don’t want to keep signing from Russia and signing from Ukraine, which, they could do, you know? And then the next years we’ll probably see quite a lot more of that. But then, you know, there’s the question of are they establishing a national training center? Are they picking out kids when they’re five, six, seven years old? Are they brining in a national coach who can really develop the program?  Something like what Qatar has done with Razvan Selariu.  And what other countries are beginning to do as well.  So it’s a question for them.  But right now it is a really exciting time, just because, you know, we all love these gymnasts so much and we want to see more of them.  But yeah, Stepko is different because he is the prized fish, you know?

JESSICA: [laughs] They’re gonna put him on the wall after! And I mean, this is the thing that, it’s so interesting, that you bring up this kind of, what will sustain?  I mean as long as oil doesn’t run out in Azerbaijan, or, the world doesn’t self destruct from climate change before that happens, and they don’t run out of money.  The thing is that, it looks, it’s so perfect, it’s so amazing. The hotel they stay in, the training center, the food they’re eating, I mean, the elevator is gorgeous! But I mean it looks lonely.  It looks like such a lonely life.  Even though there are some people they know there and stuff, it’s just very cold, it doesn’t look like they’re interacting with other people. It looks like they stay in their hotel, go to practice, and go back. Almost like they’re in a golden handcuffs thing, you know?  So, and I wondered what effect that will take over the long term, because it takes more than just the right food and the right equipment to sustain someone long-term.

BLYTHE: Yeah, you’d have to ask the gymnasts, “are you happy? Are you feeling like you’re having a well-rounded experience? Are you out in the city? Are you making friends? Are you integrating?”  If that’s what you want to do.  And I’m sure that the long-term goals of each gymnast differ somewhat, what they want to get out of this experience for competing for Azerbaijan.  So it’s hard to say, yeah, and certainly that in gymnastics history, this is a way of sort of building from the outside in, whereas the programs that have been the grand programs have really built from the inside out, where, you know, they start this program like in Romania. They start this program and there’s no money but they’re doing really interesting things and they have new ideas, and they go to competition and they stun everybody.  This is taking a beautiful new gym and bringing in people who have already had quite a lot of success, and sort of seeing what can be brought from that. And if this is you know, planting the seeds of inspiring the new generation, or, really taking somebody like Oleg Stepko and saying you know, have the prime of your career please, with us, right here. It’s just they have to inspire the people that are going to come up next.  You know what I mean?


BLYTHE: And they need the coaches to do that.  It seems like they’ve got the equipment to do that but they need the coaches and they need the desire to do that. There are plenty of- you talk about not having enough money.  Yes this is a very oil rich country and financing this sort of thing is not going to be a problem, but there are certainly plenty of first world countries that don’t have excellent gymnastic teams-


BLYTHE: Because it’s not cultural, or, and more and more you have parents who are like, who would have put up with some ugly coaching techniques and things thirty years ago, and the quality of life has improved so that they are taking a different look at what they want their children to experience.  So they’re going to have to deal with that, perhaps, as well. Yeah, there’s just a lot of things, really.

JESSICA: So I think that’s all I have.  Do you guys have anything else you want to discuss or talk about?

EMMA: YES!  Yes I do!

JESSICA: OK! Tell us!

EMMA: Well, there’s two things.  One is the Russian, is it the Russian Cup, Russian Nationals, or whatever it’s called.

BLYTHE: Ooh! Yes.

EMMA: Well apparently Komova is going to that.

JESSICA: She is?

EMMA: There’s been photographs posted of her on the train on her way there.


EMMA: So the internet is rife with “it’s her big comeback!” And also there’s another rumor that Shang Chunsong is going to be the first woman do a quad twist.

JESSICA: Right! I saw that and I was like huh? [laughter] Do they have the wrong person? [laughter]

EMMA: Oh yeah.  Apparently so.  There’s a rumor that she’s got a quad twist in her floor routine.

JESSICA: Blythe, what do you make of that?

BLYTHE: Well, I looked at the video of her doing the three-and-a-half, and went “can she get another half twist in there?”  And the jury is out.  Certainly with the adrenaline and whatnot when you say to yourself “I’m going to go perform a quad” you know, it’s a bit different, certainly, from doing a three-and-a-half that you know you can make.  Her three-and-a-half does look good.  She looks like she could probably do another quarter twist and land on her feet, maybe jump that last little quarter rotation or something.  I’ll believe it when I see it, but it doesn’t seem impossible.  What do you think, Emma?

EMMA: Ummm, I think, you know someone’s gonna do one.  Maybe she’s gonna do one, I just hope that it’s a credible one, not one of those awful vaults that we see that people are just gonna die doing it.


EMMA: So, I mean certainly the smaller gymnast is obviously more able to do the crazier stuff.

JESSICA: But does she have the power?

EMMA: Let’s just see.

JESSICA: That’s the thing, because…

EMMA: God knows.

JESSICA: I wish Milosovici would have competed this back in the day.  Because she had a quad, and she never competed it, and it was probably for the best, but I still want her to be the first.

EMMA: Did you see the photograph that surfaced last week of – I’m not entirely sure what it is – but the Romanians have signed some deal for some sort of funding or something like that with, I don’t know.  But there’s an article out there anyway and it has-

JESSICA: Oh yeah.

EMMA: It has a photograph of all former champions, and there was Milosovici, there was Gogean, and Raducan, and Monica Rosu, so have a look for that because it- I always love seeing photographs of people from the past, now.

JESSICA: Oh so all of a sudden now they’re embracing her again?  Even though they said they would never-

EMMA: Showed you the door.

JESSICA: after she did floor routines in Japan in like lace underwear, big woop, and they were like “we’re never, you know, she has nothing to do with us.  We’re not gonna let her coach. She’s gonna be banned from the organization.” Ugh. Honestly.

EMMA: Ok, so I just found the picture, and the company is called OMV Petrom and they’re investing some money in gymnastics and they’ve got Chelaru, Racea, Sofronie, Stroescu, Cojocar– however you say that name, Izbasa…

JESSICA: I’ve never heard it like that.

EMMA: Amanar.

JESSICA: Wow that’s good!

EMMA: It’s a cool photo. It’s a cool photo. Because it’s always nice to see people that you’ve loved as a kid all grown up.  There must be something else.

JESSICA: We can talk about that horrific coach at – who ruined the African Championships by just standing there while his gymnast almost died.

EMMA: In fact we should make that guy do a bar routine and fall onto a bed of nails.

[JESSICA laughs]

EMMA: And see how he likes it.

JESSICA: Would that be punishment enough?  Blythe will you describe this routine for the people who haven’t – not the routine, well, yeah the routine, what happened?

BLYTHE: Well it was- and you know we’ve all sort of seen one of these videos every now and again.  Girl goes for her dismount and she releases too late, and her dismount looked like it was gonna be a double back.  And so instead of doing, of going up in the air and doing a double back and coming down away from the bar, she does basically a co-backs which is too short, bangs her neck on the high bar on the way down, and that, you can really hate to see.  And then as if that’s not enough, there’s, you know, the low bar, which sort of catches her as she falls down after banging her neck on the high bar, and it’s really just kind of a one-two punch.  And so, this happened and she collapses on the ground, and frankly the coach who’s standing there spotting her does nothing.  I mean just nothing at all, and, for a good three-four seconds and then he walks away, and meanwhile a trainer or two who has been standing off to the side comes running.  And while I understand the importance perhaps of letting a medical professional take over the scene, the fact that he did not even take a pace towards her, and he does appear to be her coach is just outrageous.

EMMA: It’s like he looked at her.

JESSICA: With his palms up. Like what are you doing?

EMMA: Yeah, there was venom coming out of him.

JESSICA: With his palms up.

EMMA: And it’s like he walked up to get some sort of torch implement to give her a good prod. Because, ick, he’s a horrid man.  Horrid, horrid man.

BLYTHE: It’s the sort of thing you really, really hate to see in gymnastics, and just  unacceptable behavior.

JESSICA: I think if your embarrassment, if your ego ever comes before the safety of one of your gymnasts, then you should never, ever coach again.  Ever.  Like, it’s totally unforgiveable.

ALLISON TAYLOR: This episode is brought to you by Elite Sportz Band. elitesportzband.com. We’ve got your back.


UNCLE TIM: It’s time to announce our Gymitation winners.  For those who don’t remember, the gymnerd challenge for the month of March was to imitate a famous gymnast, and we got some pretty great entries, but we were only able to choose four winners and here they are.  First up we have Anna Burnsy who did a gymitation of Kelly Garrison’s commentary complete with a back tuck and an “Oh, Boogers!” exclamation.  Next up we have Tandori Chicken who did a gymitation of Danell Leyva’s high bar face fail at the 2011 World Championships.  Another one of our winners is Kerry J who did a gymitation of Tan Sixin’s backhandspring headspring fail thingymabobber, umm, and if you can’t tell, we here at Gymcastic like gymitations that have to do with people failing at something.  Which brings me to the overall Gymcastic favorite.  The gymitation with the most votes goes to Charlie F’s Dad, who recorded a gymitation of Mo Hulian’s stepping out of bounds at the Atlanta Olympics.  During his big step he says “Here’s the gold medal, Lilia Podkopayeva.”  As Spanny said, one, it’s old school, two, it’s a dad, three, the dad knows who Hulian and Podkopayeva are, four, he knows how to say “Podkopayeva.”  There’s no other option.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner.  So winners, to claim your prize, please send us an email at gymcastic@gmail.com with your name and address. As you might recall, there are several prizes, and we’ll be doling out the prizes on a first come first serve basis.  So email us right now, and for the rest of our listeners, you’ll be able to check out these gymitations on our website.

The best college gymnasts compete for the ultimate title. Experience it live at the 2014 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships.  April 18th through the 20th in Birmingham, Alabama.  Affordable tickets available. Visit ncaa.com/wgymnastics.

JESSICA: That’s gonna do it for us this week. Remember to watch the NCAA conference championships this weekend, and until next week, I’m Jessica from Masters Gymnastics.

EMMA: I’m Emma, from Moominwhisky Meet.

BLYTHE: And I’m Blythe, from the Gymnastics Examiner.

JESSICA: Thanks for listening. See you guys next week.