Episode 96 Transcript

JESSICA: Remember this show is PG 13, so you might hear a couple of naughty words and I wanna remind you guys that we have a YouTube playlist, so if you aren’t familiar with the Australian gymnasts and you’re not familiar with the Russian men, then make sure to check out our YouTube playlist- you can watch it on your phone and watch while you listen to this episode. Ok, here we go.

JESSICA: I distinctly remember like running at recess and like being about to fall and just like one of those ones where you’re like 1, 2, 3! You know like when you’re gonna faceplant and then I just instinctively rolled then I just got up and kept running and everyone was like [child mimicking voice] ‘Oh, show off! Like, Oh, you do gymnastics!’, and i was like, excuse me for being a skilled acrobat!


JESSICA: This week, Ablyazin sets fire to the competition in Sofia, Australia commits HERESY, and Pavlova is a clutz just like us.

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 96 for May 28th, 2014. I’m Jessica from Masters Gymnastics.

UNCLE TIM: I’m Uncle Tim from Uncle Tim talks men’s gym

EVAN: I’m Evan, find me on twitter @yoEv

[News music plays]

JESSICA: This is the best gymnastics podcast ever, bringing you all the news from around the Gymternet. Uncle Tim, tell us everything that happened with the men at European Championships. We are so excited to hear about a certain Mr. and Mrs. Euros.

UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Well before we get to Mr. and Mrs. Sofia, umm let’s talk a little bit about the team competition. Russia came in first with a 267.959, Great Britain came in second with a 265.953, and Ukraine came in third with a 262.087. I guess not too many surprises there; everyone kind of knew that Russia and Great Britain would be vying for the top spots, you know, it was kind of between Germany and Ukraine for the third spot I would say, and so yeah. I’m extremely happy obviously as a Oleg Verniaiev’s fan that Ukraine came in third and hopefully that will give them a little bit of funding for future gymnastics endeavours, I’m hoping.

JESSICA: Can’t we just get like Nike or Adidas, or you know what would be even more of a coup? If we get- what’s the company Li Ning,

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]

JESSICA: and they would like swoop in and sponsor Ukraine. It would just be a great story, you know? And it’s not like they don’t have the money, it’s like the Nike of- you know literally, with the swoosh, of China. So, Li Ning, can we get him on the phone? Someone contact him and let him know, pretty please, save Ukraine?

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]

JESSICA: I’m so stoked for them, so stoked for them, and what a great story, like they like barely make it, they have to get help from the FIG and they they, you know, place and they just looked freakin’ so happy like the entire meet, just out of their minds, like they wanted it bad.

UNCLE TIM: It’s true. And, yeah we’ll get to event finals in a little bit here, but to give you some sexy data, Jess


UNCLE TIM: I feel like we need a sexy data like sound bite.

[Smooth jazz plays]

UNCLE TIM: sexy data… Alright so Russia performed the most difficulty, averaging a 6.367 per event during the team competition, during team finals. Great Britain had the second highest difficulty level, averaging a 6.261, so roughly one tenth lower than Russia per event. What’s interesting is Germany performed more difficulty than Ukraine- Ukraine averaged only a 5.983 and Germany averaged a 6.061. But Ukraine ended up with the bronze medal so execution trumped difficulty for the Ukrainians.

JESSICA: Oh yeah! So let that be a lesson to you Germans, get your legs together.

UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Exactly. Here’s a little pop quiz for you, Jessica, let’s see how you do with this. Alright, who do you think performed the most difficulty on floor?

JESSICA: Umm I’m gonna say… Russia.

UNCLE TIM: Ding ding ding ding ding! Pommel horse?

JESSICA: Umm pommel horse- Great Britain.

UNCLE TIM: Wow! Two for two.

JESSICA: I’m so good, oh my God I’m so good. Ok give me another one, give me another one

UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Rings?

JESSICA: Ukraine?


JESSICA: [sighs]

UNCLE TIM: Russia. So floor: Russia was 6.6, Great Britain 6.733, Russia rings: 6.667 average, vault, Jessica?

JESSICA: Ukraine?

UNCLE TIM: They probably would have, they to count a 5.2 vault, which is not really hard, so it went to Russia with an average of 5.867.

JESSICA: But Igor vaulted for Ukraine and so he trumps everyone else, didn’t you know about that bonus point? Like if Igor does a Dragulescu then you just automatically your team wins.

UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Ok.

JESSICA: New rules! O’Beirne rules.

UNCLE TIM: Ok. Every time he performs he gets extra points.



JESSICA: It’s because of the neck tattoo. I mean, what is that neck, did you see that tattoo? Oh my God.

UNCLE TIM: This just reminds me- I’ve been watching Orange is the New Black, and one of the characters has like a neck tattoo as well and it just made me think of that. Um so anyway, I thought you were gonna say, like, there’s some kind of bonus situation with the size of your thighs and like-

JESSICA: That, too

UNCLE TIM: The bigger the thighs, the more points you get.

JESSICA: Yes, like if your if your thighs and your butt are actually like wider than your torso and shoulders, then it’s an automatic bonus. And then a neck tattoo on top of that [laughs] and if it’s like cursive neck tattoo, so like Sacramone’s neck tattoo is on the back, and it’s more of an- it’s an image, so that’s only like a tenth of bonus but if it’s like the more ghetto gangster like, side of your neck in cursive, then that’s extra extra bonus.

UNCLE TIM: Gotcha.

JESSICA: Just so you know.

UNCLE TIM: So just to continue our little quiz- parallel bars?

JESSICA: Ummm… I’m gonna say… uhh…Great Britain?

UNCLE TIM: No, Russia- 6.367 average. High bar, Jessica? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not Russia.

JESSICA: What, Germany? I’m sucking at this now.

UNCLE TIM: No, the Netherlands!

JESSICA: So good in the beginning

UNCLE TIM: I know, the Netherlands. I mean when you have a D the size of Epke Zonderland’s it’s really hard to for other men to compare.

[Both laugh]

JESSICA: Oh, that’s…ok, carry on. I’m done now.

UNCLE TIM: [laughs] So let’s talk about some of the individual routines that we saw- we’re gonna mostly talk about ones from the event finals. So one of the big stories coming out of event finals was Max Whitlock beat Krisztián Berki, our big stud of the pommel horse man Krisztián Berki. So, Sam- Sam, pardon, Max actually out-executed Krisztián Berki- he had- Max had an 8.866 in execution and Krisztián had an 8.733. I’ve many times praised Krisztián’s execution on pommel horse, and-

JESSICA: Oh, so gorgeous. And he wear white pants, hello? White pants. That’s how you should do it, and his legs, my God he could be a Rockette.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah, I- his flair work is so pretty at the beginning and then even when he’s just doing like a simple leg cut, he like throws his foot by his head and it’s just like that little extra, and, I mean, there were some problems during the routine- Krisztián had a hop on his landing, he had some little leg separations on his Russian Circles, but, I don’t know, I feel like the FIG needs to do something about distinguishing between, I don’t know it’s almost like Berki has some sort of virtuosity in his circles like it’s it’s so much more- it’s so much better than Maxes’ and I feel like they have to find a way to distinguish between a real circle and then Max Whitlock’s, which doesn’t really have the most pointed toes or the most extended hips. What did you think, Jess?

JESSICA: Well, that’s the thing, like Berki is, like I always, you know, anyone with like perfect perfect form, I always compare them to, like Courtney McCool, and, ‘cos I just think she is the example of perfect form. Krisztián Berki, he is just, he’s other-world-ly with his form, it’s so beautiful. And, but, I mean you can tell, like, if you, this is the thing, if you come in off the street and you have never seen gymnastics before, you can tell why that guy’s good. And I don’t know that necessarily you would see that, except- I mean you would see that a little bit with Max Whitlock but with Krisztián Berki you don’t have to know, you know, shit about shit and you will understand that he is the best.

[Both laugh]

JESSICA: But also, like he did his dismount and could barely make his handstand then shuffled. I was like ‘Are you kidding me?’, but, I mean that should not negate the whole routine, but it’s like, you got- it’s just a like handstand pirouette, come on, dude.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah that was a little bit of a bummer. But I would definitely say that Max probably did deserve to win just ‘cos his difficulty score’s so much higher, so-

JESSICA: I agree, like, I think that it was it was fair, especially after Berki landed and I was like ‘What?’.

UNCLE TIM: [laughs] Yeah. So, but I guess this- goes back to talking about team Great Britain, a couple of weeks ago we were talking about Louis Smith’s little temper tantrum online about the fact that he wasn’t named to the Euros team and I really think that, I hate to say it but I think Louis Smith in terms of making a Great Britain team- a major Great Britain team it’s… is kind of irrelevant, he’s unnecessary. You might have someone who’s a very good all-arounder who has high chances for medalling in an all-around competition like Ma- Max Whitlock, and then you have the same person who can, so, probably win gold on pommel horse at major events and Louis Smith is a one-trick pony and, you know, he doesn’t really contribute that much to the team score anymore and Max contributes across all the events so I don’t foresee really Louis Smith really making a major British team. He might make the English team for the Commonwealths and stuff, but a major British team? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

JESSICA: Yeah. I think English team for sure but British team he’d like have to add another event or basically bust out like a way harder routine. But, I have to sidebar for a minute because me and my gymnastics husband had like an epic fight on Saturday night all about Louis Smith

[Both laugh]


JESSICA: So, yes, so my gymnastics husband Scott- oh it’s a different Scott than Bregman of course I’m talking about my Scott, my gymnastics husband Scott called and he was the first thing he says is like ‘Did you read what Louis Smith you know wrote on Facebook dadadadada and the chocolate starfish blah blah blah’ and I had forgotten about the chocolate starfish part and I was like, so he says ‘He should totally be kicked off the team, can you believe that?!’, so we totally got in this fight and I was like ‘His entire, you know, body of work is all negated just because he was upset one day and said chocolate starfish?!’ like, ‘You- like, that doesn’t matter like he was upset that’s what makes people great is sometimes they’re super-passionate about what they do and they’re really upset and that’s not really what he’s complaining about, he’s complaining about how he was told’. And then Scott was like ‘Why, what did they say? Like, how did they-?’, and then we had this like long, drawn-out fight and I was like ‘We already talked about it on the show, like you don’t even listen to the podcast! Like, [laughs] you’re not even a good gymnastics husband! He was like ‘Oh, you discussed it?’ and I like ‘Yes!’ and then he, you know, then we got into a fight about how he doesn’t have enough time to listen and dadadadada, but he doesn’t have any storage on his phone, like ‘That’s why I downloaded Stitcher on your phone! ‘Cos it doesn’t take up any storage space! And you need to get a better phone [inaudible] anyway because you need it dadadadada’ and he was like ‘Well, i’m in the car-’ ‘There’s a car mode on stitcher!’. And so, anyway, he promised that he would listen and then we could discuss. But seriously?! Kicking someone off the team? For, I mean come on, like that is ridiculous. Honestly, that’s too much. That’s he was he was out of his mind.

UNCLE TIM: Oh, you mean your gymnastics husband Scott?

JESSICA: Scott. Yes he was

UNCLE TIM: Out of his mind, ok sorry I got the pronouns confused for a second


UNCLE TIM: So, um, yeah I don’t think… I don’t think that was worthy of kicking someone off the team, maybe, I don’t know what British Gymnastics has in place, but maybe a probation or a [laughs] I don’t know.

JESSICA: Or just a phone call, like ‘Hey, will you call us first when you’re upset’.

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]

JESSICA: Or maybe they should reach out, like I just feel like you should have a meeting, like, you know like when the NFL when they kick people off the team they take everybody in and they talk through it and they talk through their feelings and, you know, you have a moment and then you know and so it all happens in an office and then, you know, so you have that, maybe that kind of thing. I’m sorry I cut you off, go ahead.

UNCLE TIM: No, I agree. I think they need some kind of system and I think there is some kind system in place, we just aren’t privy to that information. Or hopefully there isn’t, but if you’re in charge of a gymnastics federation and you do not have a system in place for airing your grievances, get on that now.

[both laugh]

UNCLE TIM: So back to European Championships, the, one of the big big big stories was the fact that Denis Ablyazin of Russia won three event titles and I was trying to think of the last time somebody did that and I know it wasn’t in the last ten years. I don’t know when it was but it was not the last ten years. So, Denis won floor, tied for gold on rings and then won vault. And…so, just as a side note, if you’re looking for- to watch one event final and you really want to watch a really close competition, watch rings. A lot of the event finals were kind of blow-outs, but this one was a really close one. I mean there were only two tenths separating first from fifth on rings during the event finals, which was a very narrow margin, so that was pretty exciting. But let’s go to Denis’ floor because we love to to talk about floor on this uhh podcast. Jessica, what was your favourite tumbling pass?

JESSICA: So I had to like check myself and just be like ‘is this pass real?’, but he did a punch double front full into punch front double tuck. The whole- the crowd went nuts too, it was awesome. He is super bad-ass. I feel like he’s one of the ones like everyone else who kind of gets overlooked in the major world competitions because everyone’s just looking at K?hei and, you know, he is amazing and also umm the other little cutie who looks like a little mini

UNCLE TIM: David Beliavsky?

JESSICA: Yes, him.

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]

JESSICA:Oh my God, they’re so amazing. So, yeah.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah, I’m, my- I think my favourite tumbling pass was his double double layout, just because last year he was trying to throw it and it really looked like he was struggling, and I think he was probably having some shin problems just based on the- the sheer amount of tape on his leg, it looked like they were like trying to keep his bones in place there was so much tape on his legs last year. And this year- at this competition at least- it was much better. I don’t know if it was the spring floor or you know his shin splints are gone or something but his chest was much higher and it looked just very very easy, and the same could be said for David Beliavsky’s full twisting double layout; it was just very airy and floaty and I was very impressed with both of their tumbling skills. Speaking of tumbling skills, a GymCastic favourite, Mr. Alexander Shatilov came in third with bronze, and we have to talk about one little moment on his during his floor routine, Jessica. So, he does basically a hurdle into a roundoff back handspring, two and a half punch Branny and then he does a jump into a prone fall, Jessica, did you think he was gonna land on his head

JESSICA: [laughs]

UNCLE TIM: when he was doing that side pass?

JESSICA: There is something so weird about what he did. I don’t know what happened but he is like- he does this, you know, he is six feet tall, which we talk about all the time because he’s so amazing and he’s- so he jumps up it’s so beautiful his chest is open he’s in this beautiful like swan dive position and then it looks like he like ducks his head and he’s about to totally land head first and flip over! I was like [gasps] [Both laugh]

JESSICA: And then he lands perfectly. It’s totally fine. I don’t know if it’s just the angle ‘cos he’s so tall or whatever, it’s like he’s fully in control of his entire body. But it was [laughing] very scary, it was very scary!

UNCLE TIM: It’s true, yeah. Yeah, and it’s interesting. So, one of the reasons that, going back to Denis Ablyazin for a second and one of the reasons that we sometimes overlook him is last year, for instance, at the 2013 Worlds he, if I recall correctly, went out of bounds like constantly and so he didn’t make event finals so he has struggles, he struggles to stay in bounds so Alexander Shatilov who’s like [gasps] a giant in gymnastics and he always seems to stay in bounds, which surprises me somehow.

JESSICA: ‘Cos he’s awesome.

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]. He is pretty awesome, so he, he came in third and he tied for third with Daniel Purvis and I was happy to see Daniel Purvis get a medal, I feel like he’s the guy who will always finish like fourth or fifth, just outside the medals, and he is just kind of like the guy who just plods along and goes with the flow and just kind of like ‘Oh…’ I don’t know, I picture him as kind of like an Eeyore figure from Winnie the Pooh

JESSICA: [laughs]

UNCLE TIM: Just kind of like [singing] duh duh duh dee duh, I don’t know that’s just how I picture him, he’s probably like completely different

JESSICA: He’s a little party animal

UNCLE TIM: Another thing from event finals was Mr. Epke Zonderland. He won the high bar title by a full point. Part of that is due to the fact that Fabian Hambüchen fell on his second Kovacs, so he did a Cassina full twisting double layout over the bar, caught that, then did a piked Kovacs and peeled as he was coming through the bottom and it was, I don’t know, I‘ve had falls like that and it’s kind of a scary fall.

JESSICA: It was really scary and his like head bounced off the ground, so like it looked like he he definitely hurt his back but I think he definitely had a concussion after that, too, so he stopped his routine.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah, yeah. And I’m- I feel like fans are like ‘oh, it wasn’t that bad’, but like as someone who’s done that and had to get like carried out of the gym on a stretcher, you know, it’s better just to stop, you know. I don’t know.


UNCLE TIM: So that’s part of Epke’s success. I would say that the other part of Epke’s success is the fact that he had less floppy hair.

JESSICA: For sure.

UNCLE TIM: It was not as much of a mane, I mean the top is still a little poofy but the back was a little tighter. It makes me wondering if like, wonder if he has like doctor job interviews coming up or something. I don’t know.

JESSICA: He look so much younger, though when you can see his face. I mean, I mean it looks like he- it took like, I don’t know ten years off of him with less hair.

UNCLE TIM: It’s true. So,

JESSICA: It’s very strange.

UNCLE TIM: So, yeah. And you know when you’re part of the high bar final and you know that Epke Zonderland’s coming up and he has a seven plus, you know, a seven plus routine and you, have you know maybe mid sixes, upper sixes for your difficulty score, you’re just kind of hoping he falls [laughs], like I don’t know, like.

JESSICA: [laughs]

UNCLE TIM: I feel bad saying that, though. Like, you know, [mocking voice] it’s a good thing Fabian fell! But like I don’t know

JESSICA: No one else has a chance against them! They’re insane! And, not only that, but like Epke has, and I don’t wish them to get hurt, obviously, but Epke has totally-his form has improved, and maybe it’s because he has less weight on his head from his hair,

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]

JESSICA: But he- it really is better. I mean, you think that guy can’t get any better and then you’re like ‘Oh my God, his form is better, like how did that happen?’ It’s just-

UNCLE TIM: Yeah it’s a little- I mean there’s still places where he can definitely

JESSICA: Oh it’s not great,

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]

JESSICA: I mean, you know, But, you know, his legs like come apart every single time that he catches the bar but it’s better, like he used to be a mess. I think.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah, I say, like 2012 Olympics when he did do the four releases in a row- or three releases, I can’t remember. Anyway, he… yeah it was just kind of a sloppy mess. Now… I mean, there’s still definitely areas for him to improve on. One person who was part of the German team, he, in the past, had a lot of success at the European Championships and that is Marcel Nguyen. He finished first on parallel bars at the 2011 Euros; at the 2012 Euros he also won the parallel bar title, this year he didn’t even make parallel bar finals. I’m starting to wonder like how much of his heart is really in gymnastics anymore. You go on his Facebook page and he’s always in like Hong Kong and just like I don’t know how much he’s really training anymore and, but I guess he’s like some part of MTV German video that they’re making about gymnastics. Jess, did you watch that video and can you tell us like some of the German language highlights?

JESSICA: Yeah, it looks like- well basically they were talking about, uhh I don’t know if we saw the end product but I put it in the YouTube Playlist this for week so you guys can tell us and my German is like rusty, but they basically did like a special photo- like a video shoot with the kids that train in Stuttgart and they did like a special super-high frame rate so that they could do like these epic super-slow motion videos of their releases and their tumbling, and the- God, the director’s totally funny, he’s like ‘Yeah we want to have them in just like their normal street clothes; so we could get to know them as people, not just athletes’, and you know what normal street clothes means; that means men in jeans with no shirts. Because of course, that’s what everybody wears. So, so they talked about, you know, they kind of went around and asked people about how did you started gymnastics and asked each other like what do you think of so-and-so? And, there was nothing really big in that but they did say, one of them, Kim Bui, it’s interesting, she is studying biology at the University of Stuttgart. Damn, that’s no joke to be studying a- a real science, not that there’s a ‘non-real’, well, you know, there are, you know there are some fake-y majors that athletes take, but I don’t think they really do that in Germany. So that was pretty impressive, she was probably the most impressive person to me and she really talked about how much she loved gymnastics like the artistry and the uhh the beauty of it and all that but the thing is I don’t really consider her that kind of gymnast but you can see that she definitely respects that part of it, so that was pretty cool. And then one guy, oh my God I’m totally blanking on his name, they were like ‘what do you want to do in the future?’, and he was like ‘Well, I want to be President of the World, but that doesn’t exist, so

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]

I’m just gonna try- I’m gonna try’ he’s like ‘I wrote that down this year, for my for my goals, but I’m just gonna, you know, concentrate on World Champion.

[Both laugh]

JESSICA: It was very cute. So, it was like a twelve hour photo shoot and of course umm Marcel was there with like some super-hot chick and you know she looked to be- they were like off in a corner having like a snack together and uh so yeah it was cool I I wonder if this was like, the video is already up and we already posted it, it’s just like long- it’s just like them in slow motion doing gymnastics and like they’ve framed them all together so you can see four of them at once doing the same skill, kind of like how we did in the Olympics with the Maroney/Uchimura vault comparison. And… but I’m not really sure if this was like a making of you know behind the scenes and something else came out on MTV, but the German…where’s Supergymmie? Supergymmie, tell us about this! Do we have it all? Do we have it up on there or is something else missing? Are there are there important points that I missed? We need Supergymmie’s input. This is very important. So, yeah it was fun to watch, though. I enjoyed it.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah. I, I mean I even enjoyed it just watching, umm and not really [laughs] understanding anything that was going on! Umm you know they didn’t order a beer or anything or any of the expressions that I actually know how to say in German, so. For the sake of time, we don’t have too much time to talk about the junior males, unfortunately, but it was really a competition that was dominated by Great Britain, which speaks highly of the program’s future. It bodes well for them, definitely, and they kind of just dominated everything. So they won the Team Competition then Nile Wilson won the all-around. They won pretty much almost every event; they did not win vault and they did not- yeah vault and rings were the two events that they did not win. They did have a gymnast place- take silver on vault but I guess, looking towards Great Britain’s future where the team really really needs to improve is on rings. No juniors made event finals on rings and their senior team that is their weakest event. And so if Great Britain is going to eventually challenge China and Japan, I would say, for a team title, um I would say that they need really to find a way to start working strength and

JESSICA: Start taking Kriotine

UNCLE TIM: [laughs] They need to do something. I don’t know exactly how they’re going to do that, you know, and it’s always funny to look at the junior scores. Like, when you are a women’s gymnastics fan, you’re used to seeing like double twisting Yurchenkos and stuff from the juniors already. The men, on the men’s side, it’s really not that way. Your D scores are gonna be roughly at least a point lower than the senior’s if not more and it’s largely because they don’t have their man strength yet, [laughs] I don’t know.

JESSICA: Yeah, totally true. Thats why Kriotine, I’m telling you guys. Kriotine is like the greatest thing ever. And obviously, consult your whoever and make sure you drink tons of water. When you take Kriotine you have to drink tons and tons and tons of water. But- and you’ll be you’ll feel all bloated but that’s the only real danger is like you know if you get too dehydrated, but I swear to God it’s like the greatest thing ever, like if- I would just I would take Kriotine every day of my life if I was working in strength- I can’t say enough good things about it. Did you ever take it?

UNCLE TIM: I did not, no. It didn’t really become that popular until I was kind of ending my gymnastics career, I wanna say and I have a Dad who’s very anti-supplements and everything, so I don’t think he would have ever let me do that, for sure.

JESSICA: Hmm. Well the reason it’s so popular is ‘cos it freakin’ works. It totally works and it’s not, you know, there’s really not, I mean it’s not gonna have the side effects like human-growth hormone where you can’t control what grows and all of a sudden one of your ears is way bigger than the other ear or your intestines have grown and not your biceps. It’s umm, it’s- yeah it doesn’t have any of those weird side effects. Except for you have to make sure you’re super super hydrated: that’s the danger but I- it’s the greatest thing ever as far as I’m concerned. Can you tell that like I love it and it’s awesome?

UNCLE TIM: [laughs] I can tell

JESSICA: Ok. Alright.

UNCLE: And it’s not banned by the IOC or the NCAA so it’s, you know, fair game.

JESSICA: Yeah. I ha- I mean you know who probably takes it? Our entire men’s team, I bet takes it.

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]

JESSICA: Umm, Ok so I have a very serious question for you.

UNCLE TIM: Oh yes?

JESSICA: Yes. There was- as all of my questions are extremely important and very serious. Umm so, the Eur- so this meet, this Euros meet they had an award for Mr. and Miss Sofia? And I don’t know the full, you know, explanation of what this is but it seems like it’s a pageant-type award for

UNCLE TIM: I don’t know

JESSICA: We have no idea. We have no idea what this is. But it wasn’t the elegance award, it wasn’t it didn’t have anything to do with scores. Maybe it was like a congeniality award, maybe it was really like who’s the hottest competitor?

UNCLE TIM: [laughs] I feel like it went to the hottest competitors.

JESSICA: [laughs] Right?! I kind of think it was, it was like sexiest gymnast but were gonna call it ‘Miss Sofia’ I kind of think it was a- it was a beauty contest award.

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]

JESSICA: But no one knew they were entering the beauty contest. So my question for you is my very serious serious in-depth, practically like a, you know, 20/20 question, is do you think it’s appropriate to have a beauty contest award at a gymnastics meet? Like is gymnastics not hard enough while also worrying about if you’re, you know, the hottest?

UNCLE TIM: I wish that I had been practicing by Barbara Walters voice, ‘is this appwopwiate?’

[both laugh]

UNCLE TIM: So, let me think. Do I think this is appropriate? No. Umm that’s the short answer. I I…why? I just don’t understand why, like, I guess maybe, I get like elegance, I get, you know giving out an award for like execution. I feel like if you start going into like hotness factors, like I don’t know, like we said, we don’t know what this was totally based on. But if you start going into like hotness factors or even congeniality, I feel like that opens a door for… I don’t know problems. Because you want all judging at a meet to be, seem objective and you don’t want things like a gymnast’s demeanour or a gymnast’s look to influence judging, and when you put out an award- an official award to Mr. and Mrs. Sofia based on whatever criteria just seems ridiculous. Umm but that’s just me. What about you, Jess, what do you think?

JESSICA: No I don’t like this at all. I don’t like anything that has to do- I mean gymnastics is already- it’s it’s already focused enough on appearance. It’s already hard enough. I just, I feel like anything else is I mean the congeniality award is ok, like I think it’s cool to have an award for somebody who’s basically the one that cheers the most for every competitor who’s- like the Fabian Hambüchen of the meet, you know, like constantly you know

UNCLE TIM: [laughs]

JESSICA: Um, that’s kind of cool. That doesn’t seem like that was- I mean let’s just say look, Larisa won this, Iordache, and Shatilov.


JESSICA: The hotness from Israel won. Six foot tall. So yeah.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah. I feel if- I don’t know. And if you’re gonna do congeniality it should be called sportsmanship because


UNCLE TIM: It’s something that the Code of Points does talk about. And so who was- If you want to kind of… support people being good sports and stuff, I would say that that would be the way to do it is having a sportsmanship award or something. Although, like, I feel like sportsmanship awards usually go to the team that, you know, finish like fourth or something and didn’t get like really pissed off and throw their grips across the gym. So I don’t really know how effective sportsmanship awards are. But anyway, that’s a different topic.

JESSICA: Ok, so next we’re gonna talk to Brigid from the Couch Gymnast, we’re gonna talk about Australian Nationals. And I just want to preface this interview with her, by saying that you know I’m a huge fan of Georgia Godwin, as you know. But one of the things I think a lot of people saw her videos from the Nationals in Australia and also from the Nadia Cup when she was here in the United States and I think that one of the the things people were like ‘eh she’s like a level ten, like oh her form’s ok’, but there’s a video of her at practice before, oh was it last year’s Nationals or Worlds? Um, a couple of months ago, where she does her beam routine perfectly and it’s one of the most amazing beam routines I’ve ever seen in my life and her form is absolutely gorgeous, her [clears throat] execution is fantastic, the routine is super-hard, and I realise that, you know, what you do in practice is- doesn’t matter as much as what you do in competition but I want to say that my- my view of her potential is based on that and so… and she’s also been injured since then. So I would just like to say everyone just watch her with a little grain of salt; she’s been injured, she hasn’t been able to work out like she had in the past since that original practice video came and I just want to say that’s where my extreme love and emotion for her [laughing] comes from. I believe in her! Ok, let’s talk to Brigid

JESSICA: So we have Brigid from the Couch Gymnast here with us. Brigid, thank you so much for joining us on total short notice.

BRIGID: It’s a pleasure.

JESSICA: I’m so glad we can finally have you on the show because all of us are huge fans of the Couch Gymnast, we of course have Lauren on. And for our listeners if you don’t follow the Couch Gymnast, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life, first of all.

BRIGID: [laughs]

JESSICA: So, make sure to go follow the Couch Gymnast. It’s like the International Gymnast for all international news. We get the special updates about Australia, which we’re always dying for. So, Australian Nationals were this weekend, so can you tell us about there were some really exciting things that happened and a little bit of controversy as well. So, first of all let’s talk about Lauren Mitchell and her triumphant return

BRIGID: Absolutely. Of course we’ve seen Lauren on the international scene a little this year but I think that it was all timed towards these championships and towards the Commonwealth Games announcements. So, she returned this weekend doing her two events, she’s only working- well she’s actually working three events but beam and floor was what we were all waiting for, and she is back, baby! It’s, [laughs] it’s quite incredible. She’s got all her floor tumbles back, her beam is looking solid as a rock, um really really impressive. Little bit of fitness maybe, still trying to achieve it, but the Western Australians atime beautifully, they’re not timing towards these Championships; all Lauren had to do was get on that team and they’re timing her towards July, towards the Commonwealth Games. But yeah, she’s looking fabulous.

JESSICA: This is terrible because all I can think of her as is Stella Umeh’s sister but I know she has her own actual first name. Is she still doing her choreography?

[Both laugh]

BRIGID: Stacey Umeh

JESSICA: Thank you

BRIGID: No, that’s ok. I believe Addie Popa’s actually been doing Lauren’s


BRIGID: Floor choreography. I’m fairly certain she did the last one.

JESSICA: Exciting, ok

BRIGID: Yes, I blieve-

JESSICA: That’s kinda a big name. In the choreography world.

BRIGID: Yeah, absolutely, and I like Lauren’s new choreography, actually. I’m really…I’m really into it, surprisingly into it, actually. I sort of turned to my photographer, after the fi- I was like ‘there’s some really good moments in there. Probably better than I’ve ever seen, from her.

JESSICA: But we still have the squat turn of infinity, right?

BRIGID: Oh that’s never going, and it’s it’s it’s become the thing that Australian gymnasts do. And I’m ok with it on the beam, I’m ok. But the floor? I’m not so sure.

JESSICA: Yeah, that’s how I feel about it ‘cos on beam, you know, that’s hard but on floor it just never looks good, I- there’s maybe some day like a rhythmic gymnast like this Elisabetta from or Elisabett from Hungary.

BRIGID: Vasilieva, yeah.

JESSICA: Will come along and make, you know, something with her leg backwards over her head and it’ll actually look good, but like.

BRIGID: One of our girls is actually connecting it to a standing turn. I want to say it’s Kiara Munteanu ‘cos she has the leg strength to do it and that actually looks quite good.

JESSICA: That is the way to do it, and that sounds way hard, too, to stand up from that position on one leg. Hmm I like it.

BRIGID: Oh, yeah. ‘Cos you know the back-story of Lauren doing that turn is the fact that Peggy Liddick once said that Lauren actually couldn’t do any other turns? And even though it’s actually the hardest ‘cos it needs- especially on beam, anyway, the most core strength, for some reason was actually the only one that Lauren could manage, ‘cos she’s actually quite un-coordinated apparently.

JESSICA: [laughs]

BRIGID: Just stunning in itself

JESSICA: So let’s talk about Larissa Miller, who is on all accounts is the story of the meet. Can you give her background for those people who aren’t really familiar with her?

BRIGID: For me Larissa Miller was probably the most impressive thing that came out of this National Championships. So, if you go right back to 2008, Miller was actually in the mix for that Olympic team, but unfortunately sort of had a bit of a meltdown at National Championships, and I think at the camp, subsequently and wasn’t selected. Kept plugging away and I think the world sort of got to know her in 2010 in London at the World Championships when she qualified to the uneven bars finals with what some people sometimes described as the longest bars routine in the world.

JESSICA: [laughing] Yes!

BRIGID: And, yes, and for a young gymnast acquitted herself admirably, come 2012 she’s on the team, ‘cos basically she complements Lauren Mitchell beautifully with her bars, and I think at the time- oh no Larissa was just doing floor and bars. Larissa’s never been able to do beam very well [laughs]. So that’s ok because ‘cos we have Lauren Mitchell for that and she’s come back this year. So after London Larissa took some time off. And I’d spoken to her at the Championships before London and she was like ‘If I keep doing gymnastics after this, I just want to do it for for fun. I just want it to be sort of a good time.’, and she came back and she’d had a big break and she went on a cruise with Emily Little and she had a holiday, and then of course Larissa got bored, didn’t she?


BRIGID: And um she started training a bit, stopped again, and since just this year- she’s only just this year been training completely solidly. She’s moved down to Melbourne ‘cos she was in the Queensland programme. She’s working with John Hart at Waverley Gymnastics, who, John Hart produced Georgia Bonora and Emma Nedov. Not Emma Nedov, Emma Dennis, sorry. And she’s got all of her skills back, like Lauren Mitchell. Her bars is just beautiful and her floor is fantastic. It was- she was the only one you looked at and went ‘you are on this Commonwealth Games team with Lauren Mitchell’, there is not a doubt in my mind.

JESSICA: And just to remind people is- ok, tell me if this is an urban myth ‘cos you know how we love busting gymnastics myths on the show, so

BRIGID: Yes [laughs]

JESSICA: So, yes, do you have to train at one of the training centres to be an elite, like you have to be in the elite programme but do you have to actually train at one of the official like the QLD or one of those places?

BRIGID: Uh, not necessarily, no, because if you look at somewhere like Victoria, we have several high-performance centres. Most of them train within a high-performance centre but there’s no- there is the Victorian one, and they produce most of our top Victorian gymnasts. But no, not not necessarily. But we do have the sort of independent um sorry the international stream of levels, which the girls move up in.


BRIGID: But sometimes you’ll have all of a sudden a gymnast popping up from Nationals or State Levels and becoming an elite.

JESSICA: Let’s talk about, I mean for us, for the Americans, seeing Olivia Vivian come back is a huge thing because we got to know her and love her here when she was doing college gymnastics I think even more than when she was an elite and Oregon State has a history of having so many fantastic, beautiful Australian gymnasts come to that programme and so to see her come back, to see her kick ass at umm in, was it uh the Korea Cup?

BRIGID: Yeah, Korea.

JESSICA: Even though her hand was like the size of like a like friggin’ globe

BRIGID: [laughs]

JESSICA: And then, and then have such a great meet, tell me how she did and what’s happening with her hand?

BRIGID: Her hand seems to be absolutely fine at this point. Um, Olivia’s just she’s just delightful. She is delightful to have at a competition because, I mean gymnastics is great, let’s not forget that. But she’s a total lamb, she plays to the crowds, the personality of the meet, which, you know, comes from that collegiate background of course, you know they’re so used to playing it that way. She looked good. She particularly looked good on bars, obviously that’s sort of her strength. Um… and floor, surprisingly better. You know, she ended up coming- getting a silver in event finals on floor because she, you know, a few people faltered who should have done better than her really. And beam, she’s put together a decent beam routine that can be used in a team lineup, as well. So, she’s made herself very useful, it’s been sort of, in terms of, with people like Larissa Miller around, she couldn’t just rest on her uneven bars laurels and she really hasn’t, you know, which is fantastic.

JESSICA: Do you think that after she did her floor routine she felt like, you know ‘I gave it my best’ and that Olivia, Olivia she kind of waved to the crowd and she was like ‘well, I did everything I could’, and she kind of thought that she wasn’t going to make the team?

BRIGID: Well there’s two things there. I honestly don’t know. And I have to say that, you know, she was the surprise member of the team in some ways. Um… on- only because of what other gymnasts had to offer more than what Olivia presented. So maybe there was a little bit of, you know, that’s the best she could do, you know I think there wasa few gymnasts who might have been surprised to be on that team, in a way. Including her.

JESSICA: Ok. So you know how I am, which is immediately when my favourite gymnast doesn’t make it, it’s because there’s a conspiracy.

BRIGID: [laughs]

JESSICA: And it’s because, you know, someone is against her and nothing makes sense in the world and it’s straight to Twitter to talk about my outrage, and then I have to back I have to go back and be like oh maybe there’s a reason, and maybe it’s about where there’s team finals, where there’s, you know, and then I have to listen to people and calm down.

BRIGID: [laughs]

JESSICA: [takes deep breath] So let’s talk about, and I’m trying to be calm now, my favourite new Australian gymnast, Godwin, who- I feel like her beam could- she could be a world champion when she hits that beam routine.


JESSICA: It’s the- it’s so ridiculous and insane. She is the all-around champion from this weekend


JESSICA: But she was not named to the team

That’s right. And you know, I… cannot lie and I was standing there going- and because I was with my photographer, Nadia, and we could see the girls who had come out to watch the announcement, and when we saw Georgia Godwin standing there in her tracksuit pants not hiding down the stairs with the rest of the team, we pretty much knew who’d been named by who was absent. We were like ‘what is Georgia Godwin doing over there? What is she- why is she standing there? Why does she look like that?’. Actually she was being very classy and smiling, which, I would’ve been flabbergasted if I was her. Look [sighs], the only- there’s two ways. You know obviously, who knows what goes on in the minds of these people who make the decisions, but the only explanations I can think of for not putting Georgia Godwin on the team is that- the all um…medals. The number of medals is more important at this point so Peggy is going for event finalists. That’s some… you need people like Mary-Anne Monckton who could easily win a beam medal in a beam final. Because she’s the other person who was a slight surprise on the team. Or, she’s going for the tried and true what she did with the London games and she went for experience because all of those girls have been on Worlds teams, and they’ve all been or Commonwealth teams or Olympic teams. Now, that method would surprise me because that is the method she used in London and it didn’t work because it was actually the most experienced veterans, the two-time Olympians, it was your Georgia Bonora and your Ash Brennan who actually had mistakes they made in qualifying, not just that they didn’t qualify into team finals, so it’d be strange to think that’s why she would overlook Godwin. But really I’m not sure. It’s very surprising because she’s very competitive D scores and she’s also capable of a double-twisting Yurchenko. She’s been actually stopped training for six weeks because she’s also- I’m not sure what the injury is; but she’s had some sort of injury but she’s actually can pull in our highest vault score.

JESSICA: [indignant voice] And this is the thing that’s killing.

BRIGID: [Laughs]

JESSICA: So I’m glad I’m not, completely, you know out of, you know the far-left field with being completely outraged. Because you know the first thought is, ok she’s the all-around champ so she can really help us just get in the qualifying.


JESSICA: You know ok, maybe we’re not gonna win as a team, Australia, you know, it’s, because really who’s competition it’s gonna be the the British… and Canada.

BRIGID: Yeah it’s gonna be England and Canada. Yeah. I mean, even the Welsh could give us a run for our money, I can’t know how many of their little wonders are still juniors, though. They’ve got a solid little team up there, as well, so it it it’s a tricky one. The other thing that strikes me about um the Godwin factor is that, I mean the thing to remember is Georgia Rose Brown pulled out in the second day of the all-around. She probably would have been the National Champion had she not made any significant mistakes

JESSICA: Right. Because she was head by like a point something

BRIGID: Yeah, one or two points, I think. And yeah if they hadn’t pulled her out after, when did they- after did they pull her out after beam? Before she went up on floor, and she was sort of limping around down on the floor. Um, you know, Georgia Godwin would have actually been second. But at the same time, it’s the vault factor as well, and that high beam D score as well. And bars. Godwin’s actually got surprisingly great bars. I mean, all of which Georgia Rose has, but.

JESSICA: Yeah, and I think the biggest question was of course who’s gonna vault? And that brought me back to umm… I mean so many people were talking about this yesterday, when everyone was like shocked by who was selected on the team. I mean, I’m so happy for the gymnasts who made it and obviously I always want to re-iterate this has nothing to do with the the people who were selected, we’re so happy for them


JESSICA: We just always want, we always want our favourite to make it and always wanted to know what was the rationale. So some people were saying, you know, perhaps they’re saving some people for Worlds

BRIGID: Mm-hmm

JESSICA: and they want like Godwin to be back to full strength because she does have this potential. But then again, there’s the whole experience factor but the other thing was that people were like do they even have three people who could do a vault that’s-

BRIGID: Yes. But-

JESSICA: Ok, so who’s gonna vault?

BRIGID: It’s it’s well it’s [laughs] it’s not your most desired vault lineup by any means, so you know it’s a 4, 3, 3 I believe for Commonwealth Games so I’m assuming Peggy’s just putting three up on vault. That’s the risk she’s taking. So Georgia Rose Brown has a quite remarkably improved full-twisting Yurchenko. Sadly I think about a year ago she had a one and a half but I think she’s just got a single again. Mary-Anne Monckton is capable of a full-twisting Yurchenko, as well, she’s always been able to pull out a reasonable one. And then the other the third one’s gonna have to be Lauren Mitchell. Because she did vault. She’s only turning a Yurchenko at this meet but I’d say they’ll have it ready a 2/1 by July. They just wouldn’t have made her do it this weekend; it’s not worth risking any injury at this point.

JESSICA: And what’s happening with Australia with vault? Like I feel like when we look at the British, they all of a sudden everyone’s doing a a double-twisting Yurchenko, like they have totally upped their game. But Australia, I feel like are totally stuck on vault.

BRIGID: Yes. We we we do seem to be. It’s a real problem and we see girls come through the programme, who you go ‘You should be doing a DTY. Like there’s no reason why you are not’, [laughs] to be honest over, you know over the last sort of five years particularly that just aren’t getting trained, and I remember, you know, when Nikolae Forminte told the media he’d come to Australia and interviewed for a job; possibly for the top job, and I remember thinking ‘Ooh! Forminte! We’ll have a vault coach! You know, he he’s he brought Simona Amanar to Bellu, you know! But sadly he you know hasn’t come over. Um, yeah it it is a lack. And it’s funny, because we can produce tumbling, but we can’t produce vaulters.

JESSICA: Hmmm. We’re gonna (Inaudible)

BRIGID: I don’t know- I don’t know where the deficit is and I don’t know if we’re doing to improve it, but that is a problem.

JESSICA: So there were a couple of injuries, can you just give us an update on how people are doing and what happened?

BRIGID: Oh, sure. So the the two main ones were Georgia Rose Brown, obviously. She’s got this ongoing problem with it’s her Talus, apparently; I was in trouble for calling it her toe, which a naughty judge told me. Um, yeah it’s her talus, it’s a connecting bone in the foot. It’s an ongoing thing and I think they just didn’t want to push it with her as she was in a little bit of pain. The other sad one was Alex Eade, who um who came up sort of flew up the junior ranks and had some really impressive skills really early, but she’s been injured long-term. It was in the all-around final where she nailed her double layout on floor, like drilled it into the floor it was spectacular. Unfortunately really really hurt her- I don’t know whether it’s an ankle or foot injury to the point where she had to stop competing. She was she was sort of in the corner but I was sitting umm- but you could see her go ‘I can’t do it. I can’t do it.’, and you could see the judges going ‘Don’t do it! Don’t do it!’ [laughs], you know, in their eyes. And she stopped; she had to come off the floor, which was really sad.


BRIGID: Because she hasn’t really had a chance to work as a senior much.

JESSICA: And how are the- how did everyone react to Tsukahara? This was the first year that he was actually able to compete as an Australian, right?

BRIGID: I believe so. I actually did not- look ‘cos the problem was they had the MAG and the WAG on at the same time


BRIGID: Like, it was kind of awesome, for a fanatic but I could not watch any of the men’s gymnastics because I- it was on at exactly the same time as the all-around final and I’m furiously writing notes about the women and then even during the event finals, you’re sort of trying to catch up with your notes and stuff, but people are very excited by him, obviously. It’s it was, you know, it was it’s great to have him here and, you know, people were really excited about the men’s gymnastics, which was great ‘cos sometimes, you know you get smaller crowds.It was good to have it mixed in.



JESSICA: Yeah, I like that too. It’s so hard to watch but I always wish I could watch both of them at the same time and I have to say, I mean there must be something about the Australians because we have Umeh sisters I think who have both married Australians now and now we have Tsukahara married an Australian

BRIGID: [laughs] Yeah

JESSICA: Good work, whatever you guys are doing over there, maybe you have-

BRIGID: It’s great having the Umeh sisters around too because of of their artistry, and I mean that’s one thing i’ve got to say, that’s the other highlight of these National- these Nationals is: we have artistry in a lot of our gymnasts especially on floor- it’s a bit [sound cuts out] unique, it’s a bit different. And that is owing to people like Stacey Umeh, Lisa [sound cuts out] down in Victoria; she really likes to finesse the gymnasts, which is really fun to see, especially when you see someone like Georgia Rose Brown, like yeah


BRIGID: You know, they’re milking that flexibility and that body type for all it’s worth; it’s it’s fabulous to see. Basically I guess the other thing I’m waiting to see is what happens with Worlds because…if…Godw- the only thing I- the only thing I’m- my only hope is that Godwin is being preserved for Worlds, um and that they’re leaving her to get back her skills, like if she’s got her double-twisting Yurchenko in place and I believe she’s working a double layout they’re things that’ll be very very important come Worlds. And also Madeline Leyden, as well. I know that- I’m pretty sure that that was a decision to keep her safe as well, because there’s been injury issues with her and she’s another sort of very important all-arounder for Australia, so I’m- I’ll be interested to see how the World team different- um differs from the Commonwealth Games team, certainly.

JESSICA: Well this is excellent, we’re so happy we could finally have you on,

BRIGID: [laughs]

JESSICA: really. And I have to tell you guys, we have been trying to like plan some time when Blythe and Brigid can be on the show at the same time so that they can tell all their crazy stories

BRIGID: [laughs]

JESSICA: From travelling around the world, and, you know, seeing like cats run underneath the you know press area in Russia

BRIGID: [laughs]

JESSICA: And all kinds of crazy stories. But with- with the Switzerland and Australia time zone and then me trying to record in the United States, it hasn’t quite worked but we’re gonna try and make it happen because they have crazy stories and thank you so much for being on and we are going to make this happen very soon, with everybody. The Couch Gymnast, and you can also follow them on twitter and on Facebook, it’s just a great great great site, coverage everything and thank you again

BRIGID: My pleasure.

JESSICA: Before we get to the Gymternet news, I’m gonna let you guys know how to contact us, we love reading your feedback; we read everything even if we can’t always get to it. So, if you want us to review something, discuss something, if you want to tear us a new one about something, do it very nicely, email us at gymcastic@gmail.com, leave us a voicemail on Skype for free our username is gymcasticpodcast or call us at 415 800 3191, and follow us on twitter.

JESSICA: Gymternet news. First of all. Very important. The 2015 World Championships tickets are going on sale. You know it’s in Scotland. And, I don’t know, Evan, do you know how much I love Scotland?

EVAN: Not uhh… I don’t. I can’t even. How much do you love Scotland?

JESSICA: I love Scotland. I feel like in my bones… how much I love Scotland.

EVAN: Like you call your yard at home Scotland Yard just because you love it that much?

JESSICA: [laughs] No but I have a Scottish- there’s a Scottish woman that I work with and I’m constantly harassing her and hanging around with her just so I can like hear her accent and stuff. She loves it.

EVAN: Nice. Yes

JESSICA: Let me tell you.

EVAN: Yes.

JESSICA: Evan, you can imagine. Who wouldn’t? I mean, who wouldn’t want me hanging around with them?

EVAN: Fanclub!

JESSICA: So tickets are on sale umm… May 27th, actually, so yesterday that would have been. But, you can get, those are for the people who already registered, which I hope all of you registered like good Gymnerds already registered to get your tickets and again this 2015. Not China, Scotland. Next year. But the regular sale is June 10th, so if you haven’t already registered, make sure you do so, so you get your awesome tickets and get the best best best seats. So, in other news, we found out that, just like us, Anna Pavlova is a giant clutz. Evan, have you ever injured yourself such that you could not do gymnastics or needed surgery for something that, you know, was not gymnastics-related?



EVAN: [laughs] I am very safe. I don’t know- yeah I’m I’m super-cautious.

JESSICA: [laughs] I don’t think- did I ever uhh no I think skateboarding was- I hurt myself the most non-gymnastics and I only ‘cos was a giant wimp. Like I went to go off a ramp and you know balked basically, and then just slid down the side of the ramp umm against the wood and just tore the back of my leg up from like the middle of my calf all the way to my butt and my gymnastics coach was not happy. I was like ‘oh I can’t do this level five compulsory bar routine ‘cos look at the back of my leg, I guess no bars for me this week’ [smug laugh]

EVAN: [laughs]

JESSICA: I hated bars

EVAN: I used to go really hard in gym class I don’t know, maybe like during some prison physical fitness testing, when it was like ‘oh, like just do as many pull-ups as you can’, and I was like ‘I can do that ‘till exhaustion! Um, I can’t straighten my arms now!’

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: Umm probably that. But uhh yeah, I’d say never never really bad injury. One time I fell on ice though

JESSICA: [gasps]

EVAN: I was like carrying my drum set to middle school and I fell down the stairs but I think gymnastics like inherently just like gives you better body awareness, like also my body- knock on wood- is like well structured to like take trauma and not be injured

JESSICA: [laughing] to fall down stairs?

EVAN: So, right? Yeah! It was just like ‘oh, nothing happened!’ Like I I was always that kid who was like ‘I think, I think I need an ice wrap, it’s really bad, oh gosh!’

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: And my Mom, who was a nurse, was like you- go go upstairs, you’re done here.


EVAN: Yeah.

JESSICA: I distinctly remember like running at recess and like being about to fall and just like one of those ones where you’re like 1, 2, 3! Like you know like when you’re gonna faceplant and then I just instinctively rolled then I just got up and kept running and everyone was like [child mimicking voice] ‘Oh, show off! Like, Oh, you do gymnastics!’, and i was like, um excuse me for being a skilled acrobat. I’m sorry.

EVAN: [laughs]

JESSICA: Hello, just because I didn’t fall on my face like you klutzes. Like, I’m trained, thank you very much.

EVAN: Well that’s bringing back some traumatic memories of the youth, when you’re just like out of control falling and-

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: Injuries eminent.

JESSICA: And knees covered with giant black scabs. Yes.

EVAN: Yes. Yes.

JESSICA: Ok, back to Pavlova. So, an interview came out with her this week and she talked about how her second knee injury happened because she, oh my God [laughing] this is funny but it’s horrible but she laughed about it in the interview, it’s I think it’s ok for us to laugh. So, she is recovering from her first knee injury, her first ACL, she falls out of the- slips coming out of the shower and fell down a flight of stairs.

EVAN: [laughing] Why are the stairs that close to the shower?

JESSICA: Right?! Who designed this place? Clearly-

EVAN: Russia.

JESSICA: Russia, what is going on? This is-

EVAN: That is why she got her ass out of Russia, she’d like ‘I need to get to Azerbaijan, where the stairs are more than two feet away from the shower exit’, thank you.

JESSICA: They actually follow building codes, thank you very much.

EVAN: Right.

JESSICA: Oh my God, so there’s a-

EVAN: A stray dog pushed her down a flight of stairs by the shower.

JESSICA: [laughs] There was a whole row of stray puppies were crossing

EVAN: Right.

JESSICA:in front of the shower before the stairs and she didn’t want to step on them.

EVAN: She had no choice.

JESSICA: Oh my God, so this reminds me of a story that one of our listeners wrote in with, which is that- we asked for your most embarrassing moments and I can’t remember if I’ve ever told this but I’ve been saving it forever. So anyway, most embarrassing moments related to tripping in the gym, which we’ve all done. So he said, um I I was just getting back from vaulting and I was running back from the vault to get back in line and some rec kid, oh horror, left a hula hoop, a HULA HOOP, I mean come on, right next to the vault runway and he didn’t see the hula hoop until he was running back from vault to get in line and he stepped on one part of the hula hoop, which flipped the [laughing] other part of the hula hoop up and then he fell flat on his face and he said that he face-planted and I was laughing so hard and my coach laughed so hard at me, she nearly died. I love that story so much, I could envision the entire thing in my head how that’s happened because I have totally done that with a hula hoop when it like smacks you in the stomach or smacks you in the shins. I appreciate that story, thank you for sending that in, our listener with the unfortunate hula hoop incident. Now, the most adorable floor routine that we have come across in a very long time. There is a kid, a little British kid, I- her name’s Ellie, it might be Haverfield, I’m not sure what her last name is, um from South Wales Gymnastics, I think, and she does this floor routine and [laughing] I’ve never seen anything like this before. It is a cross between, um I think Laurie Hernandez and Lloimincia Hall. Even has a seat drop but it is like different than both, in that there’s a lot of points when this little kid with glasses and little buns in her hair stops, like looks, like angrily into the crowd and then shimmies her shoulders. So, Evan, what are your thoughts on this routine? Did you love it? Did you hate it? What did you think?

EVAN: I had a lot of thoughts and it was hard for me to sort sort them all out. Well first I had a lot of questions,what like, is this some sort of like open programme? But it’s kind of an optional routine so I was just like, how does this, you know, is it like an exhibition or what? But the YouTube video also says her first floor routine?

JESSICA: [laughing] Yes!

EVAN: So I’m thinking that maybe she’s a dancer who was like, ‘What can I do? Oh! We’ll do some tumbling!’ and then it happened. So I think she might be one of those over-achiever kids

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: Who is trying to be the Tyra Banks of gymnastics and just do it all. That being said, I liked it. I thought her movement was really quality, she’s obviously like.. uh stepping up to the street umm and bringing her B girl A game, uh…which is great but it’s kind of in that realm of college- college gymnastics, where you kind of expect to see in that that fun arena, whereas at a compulsory meet, I don’t I don’t think the judges would evenknow what to do with that!

JESSICA: I thought it was so-

EVAN: But I liked it.


EVAN: But I liked it.

JESSICA: I just assumed it meant like her first routine of the season, or something. But I just-

EVAN: I think ever. I think ever.

JESSICA: Maybe it was. If that’s her first routine ever, you’re a total badass, first of all. Because who’s first routine ever looks like that? Oh my God, my first routine ever, I think I just like looked like I had to go to the bathroom and I wanted to run away and hide and kept like just glancing to the side to my coach like [gasps] ‘oh what’s going to happen next?’, um but this girl was bringing it. I think that that’s a good theory, that maybe she’s a dancer. I have just never seen anything like this and I- if I was the judge, I would just be beside myself with smiles, like my cheeks hurt after I watched this, like it is just so cute and she’s really really performing, like you are feeling something during this routine. Like I couldn’t get enough of it. I want to hear from you guys and tell us what you think of this routine. I just- I’ve never seen anything like it. I can’t wait to see what she does next. And can you imagine her beam routine? Oh my God, I bet there’s a head spin in it! New skills that were submitted at European Championships, so I just want to clarify, these are skills that someone’s doing and it’s not in the code so they need to know what it’s gonna be worth when they actually do their routines, so this is not ‘I’m submitting this to have it named after, you know, myself.’ This is what, you know, this is different. So let’s talk about some of the skills that were submitted. The one- the one that I loved- it’s not the one, it’s like the four or five. But is it six skills submitted I think total? Ok we’ve been talking about this girl for a while now; her name is Elizabet Vasileva and she’s the one from Bulgaria who used to be a rhythmic gymnast and now she’s switched to artistic and um she submitted like [laughing] every skill that’s in rhythmic that she’s added and I think she has come up with lovely ways to incorporate her rhythmic skills into gymnastics. I can’t get enough of it. And one of my favourite skills that she did was on floor; it’s a triple or double arabesque scale turn. Right? So you do like an arabesque and then you grab your foot and yank it up by your head and then spin around three times and she does it on beam, too, like a one and a half. I loved those and then the other one, is this is the thing is this girl, this Bulgarian girl is gonna kill it because her skills except the like leap into a scale, they didn’t give it anything, that’s like a B, but she’s gonna kill it because her skills are worth so much and she’s gonna dance the crap out of this, and she’ll just do like a double back and win because her her dance skills are worth so much. The other thing was we were talking about last week was Germany’s Pauline Schäffer, how she did that crazy-ass like half front side- you know like quarter flip quarter flip thing on beam, remember we were discussing that?


JESSICA: So, we discovered that this one was evaluated as a E on beam! What! Huge, so good for her. What were your favourites that were submitted, Evan?

EVAN: So, I have to kindly disagree with Vasileva’s skills.


EVAN: And your love- and your love of them.


EVAN: Though innovative, I think that we’ve seen them before because they’re rhythmic skills

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: [laughing] I just knocked something down because I was emoting with my body. Um… it’s it’s interesting. I I think it brings a new dimension, but do we really want to stress those type of skills for like up and comer- you know for future generations to be like, yeah, like you can learn this triple turn in, you know, over-stretch you know back arabesque or… like a three and a half.

JESSICA: Who the hell else is gonna be able to do these skills? No one’s ever gonna do these again! Like once in a generation!

EVAN: Yeah… I just don’t umm… I struggle with them. I struggle with them, but I acknowledge them and think they’re beautiful, so.

JESSICA: Ok, hold on. I have to stop you for a second. Do you have- ‘cos this is what it sounds like to me. It sounds like your headphones are rubbing against your chin and you have a little bit of scruff. This is the sound I’m hearing.

EVAN: Ok. Ok. I’m gonna hold I’m gonna hold it up like this.

JESSICA: Perfect. Ok.

EVAN: Sorry.

JESSICA: I’m sure you look adorable with your scruff, though. Carry on.

EVAN: But I also really liked Lady Catherine of Genovia

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: Which- that is from Princess Diaries, which is what I think about when I hear you guys refer to her as that, so she’s in the Princess Diaries- the gymnast Princess Diaries.

JESSICA: I love this movie!

EVAN: [laughs] And she does the switch to um cross… what do they call it? Cross leg split on beam. So, pretty simple but I think she does it really elegantly and I- that’s what I enjoyed the most. If it’s not gonna be like huge acrobatics, like innovation… um… I also struggle with Schäffer’s skill a little bit just because I don’t think anyone can really make sense of it. But, you know, for an acrobatics skill, I mean you look at a front aerial and that’s what- a C.

JESSICA: I’m looking at it. I think so. Yes

EVAN: Am I right? A C? Or a D, I mean, so something like that is a bit more complex has to be- you know it it it should be an E. But again, I don’t think anyone can really emulate that technique very easily.

JESSICA: All the more reason for it to be worth all the points, Evan.

EVAN: Right. And she will, she’s pro- she’s in the running to be the next all-around World Champion, so I can’t wait to see it broadcast all over the world.

JESSICA: [laughs] Oh I love that we disagree on everything. Oh my God

EVAN: That skill is gonna enjoy YouTube for a long time.

JESSICA: I will say that I have to agree with you that Catherine’s- Princess Catherine of Europa, her skill was-

EVAN: Genovia.

JESSICA: Genovia, excuse me. Her skill was by far… well I’d say three that were totally effortless and done performed perfectly, which her switch leap to land in split looks really effortless. Schäffer’s crazy-ass half flippy thing and the other one was- it’s just a straddle back on beam, which is- I thought that was in the code, I’m like, how’s that not in the code? But.

EVAN: Yeah I feel like I had seen that before, but there’s some, you know, you look at the list of of things that were submitted and there’s no video of this but it’s literally five Ukrainian girls submitting like the same A mount, so it’s like, ok the FIG, like they feel compelled to like, you know the FIG like loaned them the money to get there, so they’re like ‘oh, better make some shit up’.

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: Just like submit it to the FIG, like oh ok let’s do like- let’s just like

JESSICA: This is our contribution!

EVAN: Some spastic movement, like ‘we just have to be here! We’re submitting so many skills!’

JESSICA: Oh my God, Oh poor Ukraine. [banging sound] Ouch!

[both laughing]

EVAN: I don’t know.

JESSICA: We’re a mess today. I’ll try not to hurt myself while we discuss this next part. Ok. So, of course, you friend. And ours. Mister Scott Bregman has put up some videos from- I tribute anything good that happens at USA Gymnastics is his responsibility

[both laugh]

JESSICA: Because I know that’s how he likes it! It’s all for him.

EVAN: No doubt. No doubt.

JESSICA: So, there’s some Ranch videos that came up, so the first that I’m so excited because you know how I love her, is that Laurie Hernandez is [sings] back! Laurie Hernandez! Baby Shakira! She’s back from her- I just did a lot of dancing while I was talking about her. She’s back from having a broken wrist and she looks great and I’m so excited that she’s back. So I hope that this means that we’re going to see her at Classics in Chicago. And then, MyKayla Skinner, now alright there are two sides to this and I’m gonna I’m gonna play the angel and and Evan can play the Devil’s advocate. ‘Cos that’s how it is- angel and devil’s advocate. So [laughs]

EVAN: There’s two sides to this. The My and the Kayla. Alright, you take the My.

JESSICA: So, MyKayla Skinner has clearly been working on her form, if- and she puts two hands on the vault in her, her Amanar now, like pretty legitimately. It’s not just like, you know, just for the sake of getting credit one, you know, there’s a hand there it looks like there’s actual repulsion happening. I mean, I wouldn’t recognise her except that her Cheng is still done with one arm, if I hadn’t, if I had just saw that video I wouldn’t know that it was her. And that’s how much her- her form has improved and how incredible it is, like what a huge difference it is. Evan, what are your thoughts?

EVAN: So, I- before I get all devil H E double hockey stick in here, you know I think that the the cards are stacked up against MyKayla just because of what she’s presented in competitions of the past, um in the past, excuse me. You know I don’t think it’s completely her fault. I know it can’t be. Those are her coaches, you know, making the active choice to be like ‘we’re gonna be the ones chucking skills out there at Nationals’. So, you know a lot of people unfortunately have kind of, not passed judgement but they kind of have an impression of her. She’s going to have to rise to the occasion; win the US some medals or, you know, do something crazy to get people back on her side.

JESSICA: And I also think if it- if it wasn’t for the changes in her form, we wouldn’t be talking about her. Which is is a bad- I mean it’s hmm what am I trying to say here? It’s not good-

EVAN: If there-

JESSICA: Yeah [laughs] Go ahead.

EVAN: I get it, I get it. You know, it’s you know, doing something- form shouldn’t be, you know somebody getting form or improving form shouldn’t really be a a talking point in the first place [laughs].

JESSICA: Right. Especially at this level.

EVAN: You know, it’s part of gymnastics. Right. That’s part of gymnastics. So seeing differences in athletes like this is not really that common because you really rarely see, you know, huge improvements, especially from an established senior, who’s you know been competing. You know if anything, you’re just trying to maintain it, maybe upgrade but you know she’s kind of taken the weird road less travelled, that’s like gravel and half like not road-

JESSICA: Scraggly trees

EVAN: Like impassible. Right, yeah

JESSICA: It’s like the Diagon Alley

EVAN: [laughs]

JESSICA: Version, route.

EVAN: You know who’s, who we should talk about though, from camp?


EVAN: Maggie Nichols and her full twisting Shaposhnikova.

JESSICA: [squeals]

EVAN: So we saw this earlier in the year from uhh Mustafina doing, now it’s it’s the half and it’s kind of a late delayed extra half to a mixed grip in Shaposhnikova. Maggie does it from a toe-on and it’s smooth. It’s really nice. I mean, I think that this is going to become a trend, especially with what value it’s given. The other thing that I really liked from her is she does a front aerial and steps into a full turn and I think that connection is so smart.

JESSICA: Love it.

EVAN: And it really speaks to the coaching that she’s getting on beam, to kind of- doing something just a little bit out of the box.

JESSICA: And that’s freaking hard, too. I mean I know it’s only a full turn, but that’s hard.

EVAN: Right and it wasn’t an immediate connection but it’s almost that you know, the front aerial’s one of those skills that’s like- it’s like a gateway drug [laughs].

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: It allows you to do so much! Especially the way you do a you know like ‘I’m not gonna put my foot down, so I can do a… side somi’ and then you’re… you [inaudible]. Has anyone ever done that before? I don’t think so. That should be a, that should be a Twitter answer.


EVAN: Be sure to tweet us if you’ve ever seen anyone of note connect a front aerial to a full turn

JESSICA: So have you noticed that the FIG has changed their website? They updated it. They did a whole re-design.

EVAN: [cautiously] I had. Unfortunately I can’t say I perused too terribly much throughout the site. But it’s fresh, you know it’s it’s one of those like ‘oh hey, what what happened there?’.

JESSICA: Right? It doesn’t look like it’s like it’s the 1990-92 anymore on the website. It’s very exciting, I think. It’s- they’re also doing like lots of interviews and they don’t sound like they’re written by like a Soviet robot who was giving a speech in the 1930’s. [laughing] Some of their weird translations have in the past. I’m very excited about that. They just put an interview with Steve Butcher who’s the men’s Technical Committee Chair and some of us heard about the meeting which he talks about, which is aligning the men’s and women’s roles and were like [shouting] ‘What the hell? Like this is the worst idea ever!’ like ‘All you guys want to do is destroy gymnastics!’ But he gave an example and I was like ‘Oh. Well, now I feel bad for throwing a fit when I heard about this’. Which he was, he was like, well, here’s an example, it’s like you know a tenth to step out of bounds for women; they go to men’s and it’s three tenths. I’m just using this as random examples ‘cos I have no idea what it is in men’s, it’s probably like seven tenths. So, um he was like, you know if you’re watching on TV, it doesn’t make sense why for women it’s way less than it is for men and those are the kind of-I was like oh that totally makes sense. Like that’s the kind of, you know, aligning of the rules that I can get behind. And the other thing I liked about this interview is he said, the motto for my Technical Committee is: The coaches and athletes don’t work for us; we work for them. Hello? Who else has said that on this very show? Moi. That’s right. You know, that’s exactly the mentality of what the FIG should be and any governing body: you work for the athletes and just period. That’s who you work for. You’re supposed to make their lives easier; make things better for them; serve them. So, I like, you know, I just, you know I’m totally biased because I really like Steve Butcher so I probably shouldn’t be allowed to talk about him. Did you have any thoughts on this interview?

EVAN: Yeah. I mean, he’s a great guy, yeah. I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone or cared to meet anyone with nothing less than a positive impression of Steve Butcher,


EVAN: So I also agree that he is awesome. And good to just drive the sport in a new and fresh way, you know, I think it’s only a matter of time before uh technology in gymnastics, you know, you’ve seen where it took tennis, and you know soon we won’t need line judges because you know the floor will just have sensors in it- we’ll know- we’ll know if someone’s stepped over the line. So, in most cases-

JESSICA: Do they have that in tennis?

EVAN: Yeah, with the Spot Shot technology is basically like a grid set up with a camera so, you know, if somebody- they have a challenge system and if the challenge system goes into place. The the technology shows you exactly where the ball landed off the court.

JESSICA: Oh my God. Why don’t we have this for vault like I’ve been saying so like height and distance should not be a thing that any human has to measure. It should just be a computer and a camera. Period. Grid. Done.

EVAN: Right. I mean there would be, there would be automatic automatic readings and this is so far off topic; Steve Butcher has nothing to do with, with these ideas that are coming out of my mouth right now.

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: But I do think that, you know, pushing the sport in in new directions, um, aligning the rules, that’s kind of bringing us full circle, isn’t it? ‘Cos I feel like when I was competing in gymnastics, the deductions and structure was pretty similar, like-


EVAN: The compulsory base routines, like both started I think it like what was it an 8 2 and you build from there. Or optional routines, excuse me. And then, you know, five tenths of a point for a fall, a tenth of a point for out of bounds. You know that was pretty much all you needed to know. That’s why, you know fan fan growth was probably so drastic and and sustained throughout the decades from the 80’s up to the early 2000’s. So yeah, I think I think those were good changes, good thoughts.

JESSICA: And hats off once again to the FIG and all the- you know we complain a lot about the FIG I just feel like, you know these

EVAN: I don’t.

JESSICA: It’s- no. Evan never does.

EVAN: [laughs]

JESSICA: It’s only me, actually. But no, I feel like the Gymternet does and I feel like I don’t want like the the worker bees who actually like do all the work. These are the people that do all the day-to-day work, they put on so many meets and put out so much information and I never want them to think that we’re criticising them because when we’re criticising someone we will call them out by name [laughing]. That’s right!

EVAN: Mm-hmm.

JESSICA: [laughs] And it’s inevitably someone on the Technical Committee!

JESSICA: So, a couple of letters this week [laughing]that we got this week. The first one, uh we talked about in our last little episode we brought you an extra episode last week. We had Emma on and Blythe and they talked about some behind the scenes goings on at Sofia, at the European Championships and of course Yordan Yovchev was one of the organisers, as was Krasimir Dunev, who I only remember- and I mean, I know he won a medal [laughing] at the Atlanta Olympics and that’s like a huge deal.

EVAN: His poster.

JESSICA: But I only remember his poster.

EVAN: The poster. Me too.

JESSICA: Because it was so out of character for International Gymnast Magazine to have this uh gratuitous male like sex symbol, like he was in a

EVAN: From like a Playgirl test shoot from back in the day.

JESSICA: [laughing] right! He was-

EVAN: That’s what I thought as like an eight-year-old boy, I was like this is probably what it is. That’s what I’m looking at.

JESSICA: He’s like in a cave and he’s wearing jeans and no shirt, I was like ‘What is this?’. [laughs]

EVAN: I was also like ‘What is this?’, never stop doing that.

JESSICA: [laughs] More of those.

EVAN: Never get out of that cave

JESSICA: [laughs] So, anyhoo, oh Emma met him, of course. He let her on the floor and then afterwards of course he was like ‘did you enjoy yourself?’, and of course she fell into a heap and was like ‘I must marry you immediately!’

EVAN: She was like ‘Take me to the nearest cave!’

JESSICA: [laughs] Of course, she didn’t recognise him with his clothes on! ‘Cos I was like ‘I’m pretty sure that’s him’, and she was like ‘No no no that couldn’t have been him’ and I was like ‘Yeah, I think it is!’ [laughs] Oh, about the cave and the jeans and the no shirt. Ok, anyhoo, we digress. So, back to Yordan Yovchev, who she said looks exactly the same except he has a little more grey hair. So our comment was Yovchev deserves all the credit for making these championships successful as they were, he should be made FIG President, please can we make this happen, oh my God, let’s do it! Yordan Yovchev hashtag FIG President! Do you think- who would, who would win? Do you think he has- he would want to do it or do you think our next President will be Steve Butcher or Nellie Kim or Shannon Miller?

EVAN: [laughs] Uh… well I think that it’s great to see a country like Bulgaria host a successful meet just because it gives some more options throughout the world. I don’t think we should necessarily say that he’s ready for FIG presidency yet. He’s very established in the sport but I think the history of the FIG is to take somebody who, though Yovchev is very seasoned, somebody with a little more presence previously on Technical Commi- Technical Committees etc, so I think Steve Butcher’s probably, you know, one of the, one of the great hopes but, you know, other people in USA Gymnastics who have been around for a while, you know you can never be surprised when, you know, somebody, I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was like

JESSICA: Luan Peszek?

EVAN: Kathy Kelly [laughs]. Well, I would be surprised about that. Kathy Kelly or Ron Galimore [inaudible] heard for years and years and years


EVAN: And aren’t quite sure what capacity they work in.

JESSICA: [laughing] No one knows what they do!

EVAN: Right. Just like, oh yeah Kathy Kelly, yeah, definitely. I totally know what she does. not a clue. Forever.

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: Like, who knew- yeah, I have no idea. So… I think- I think Yovchev is doing great for Bulgaria but not so much the World yet, and that’s an ok- that’s an ok place to be.

JESSICA: I would elect Paul Ziert for FIG President.

EVAN: Would you?

JESSICA: Mm-hmm. I would. I think he’d do a great job.

EVAN: Why?

JESSICA: Because he’s super

EVAN: Want more posters?

JESSICA: Well first of all the posters, but he’s like super-outspoken yet he maintains somehow he’s like in bed with the FIG except he can also can also publicly criticise them, with this impunity. Umm… and has this incredible network like if anyone’s doing a lot to build up gymnastics presence in the World, like he puts on these shows and gets them on freakin’ TV. You know, like,

EVAN: Mm-hmm.

JESSICA: That’s kind of a huge deal and he’s been doing that for years so… I don’t know, like not like I agree with everything but I’m just like here’s someone who’s been an Olympic coach, like runs all these successful enterprises, has been doing it forever, has been kind of in all rounds management production, you know.

EVAN: You know, I think in an ideal World, there would just be some type of like cabinet in place.


EVAN: Where… you know one doesn’t have more power than the other but they function as- they function as a group. When you have things like marketing, you things- you have things like technical skills, you have things like artistry, you know, possibly, where all of those aspects are discussed um and you know obviously you have someone dedicated to furthering the mission of the sport in that area, um which seems a bit more concentrated a bit more doable, in my place, than what’s currently in place.

JESSICA: You know who would-

EVAN: And maybe they do have that but I also don’t know about it. Maybe that’s what Kathy Kelly’s doing.

[both laugh]

EVAN: She’s… marketing the FIG.

JESSICA: Well no matter what, they should have a fan advisory board.

EVAN: Great.

JESSICA: Right, and we should all be on it.

EVAN: [laughs]

JESSICA: So, next letter. This letter is so nice, Evan, oh my God. This made me so happy. Ok, so here goes. Uh… this is an email we got. Thank you so much for your podcast, I listen at night after the kids are in bed and my husband is asleep. I laugh so hard at times I have to mu-muffle my gasping for air in the pillow. Love love love your podcast, particularly since my only continuing personal contact with a gymnerd after a gymnastics career after the 70’s and 80’s, which is now over, was my long-deceased mom, who incidentally loathed Shannon Miller’s wrists! Ha! Thanks for being there, thank you so much for doing the podcast and keep them coming, Mrs C.

EVAN: I love that we’re her- well not dirty little secret, like

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: She has to sneak us into her life after hours, which I’m ok with.

JESSICA: I love that. I love her listening to it and like giggling away and trying not to wake up her husband. I love that we can be like be your gymnerd best friend that you don’t have in your regular daily life. I love it.

EVAN: Well… and it’s it’s furthering her, you know, her fandom of gymnastics, you know, to to ‘cos I Icould see how easy it would be for people to just fall off of it.

JESSICA: Mm-hmm.

EVAN: So to give anyone that opportunity, that’s awesome to be a part of.

JESSICA: Next letter comes from Zoe. Zoe said- and this is after we did our NCAAs show. So she said: after hearing the Epke story and the love for Sammy Shaprio on this week’s show, I wanted to share a similar story about her, um so we were talking about how great Epke was with the fans and how he made a point of coming up to people and I think he gave his flowers that he won with his medal at one of the World Cups to one of the fans that came to see him, so she says: I went to the 2012 U- 2010 Visas with my friend and after awards, alongside tons of other girls, we stood in line by the floor to try to talk to some of the gymnasts. None of them would stop and talk to us because they were all being rushed away by the media people except Sam, who stood there for probably ten minutes talking to us while USAG people tried to get her to leave. She was signing autographs but couldn’t get to me and my friend by the time they pulled her away, so she gave us her flowers that she had just won for placing at Nationals. That was one of the- she is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met if you ever had any doubts, Zoe. Oh! I love that! See, these little things that you can do, you know, just to thank the fans for coming, it makes such huge impressions on people.

EVAN: It- it’s a humbling experience for the athletes, I think, um… that that people want your autograph, you know it’s kind of- that’s very like celebrity, or like Disney character

JESSICA: Disney character! [laughs]

EVAN: You know that’s what that- that’s that’s reserved for, in my mind. Um but you know to to have people, I mean it was my Mom a lot of the times, a lot of the moms were like ‘I just need more posters, yeah, I need another one.’ I love it. But, you know, but the little guys who- you can tell are kind of growing up with the sport and, you know, coming every every opportunity they have, that’s great to see. So, I think speaking personally, that was just something that you never really even expect going into the College experience was like people knowing you.


EVAN: Or at least I didn’t.

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: So, um it was super-cute. Super-cute and memorable.

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

JESSICA: Visit elitesportzband.com, that’s sports with a ‘z’ and save $5 on your next purchase with the code ‘gymcast’.

EVAN: Everybody, you need to know how to support us because you are like the bra for our two large bosom in this leotard we call the Gymternet, so you can use our Amazon bookmark. If you shop Amazon through us, a little portion of what you buy goes back to supporting the show and our figurative large breast increases.

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: We’ve put a bookmark link in the about page of our website, so just go to the link, add it to your bookmarks and use the bookmark when you shop. You can review us on iTunes or stitcher- either or, but definitely not neither. And then, you asked for it, so we created it- it’s that donate button, also on the about page. All the money raised goes directly to the show to improve equipment and make everything better for the experience, as we’re swiftly approaching episode one honey- one hundred.

JESSICA: [singing] oh yeahhh

EVAN: One hundred episodes. I know! So take action because we love bringing this to you week after week.

JESSICA: That’s going to do it for us this week. Remember this week are the Canadian National Championships- Ellie Black. Who, if you go to out Instagram, you can see her sporting the prize that photographer Gracie Choo won from our gymitation contest. Yes, that’s right, the Canadian national champion is wearing one of our awards from our gymitation contest. So, Ellie Black and Hugh Smith will try defending their titles this week [music starts] in the Canadian Championships, so look for videos, we will discuss it next week and until then, remember to check out our YouTube playlist and our transcripts. Thank you so much for listening. I’m Jessica from Masters Gymnastics.

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

EVAN: I’m Evan, find me on Twitter @yoEv

JESSICA: Thanks for listening, see you next week.

JESSICA: What would you do?

EVAN: I don’t know. I would just want like a cup like a like a holograph- like a cup with a hologram of Shannon Miller on it

JESSICA: [laughs] A hologram where she’s doing like one of her tumbling passes? Or beam?

EVAN: Preferably beam. Preferably her back extension rolls.

JESSICA: [gasps]

EVAN: I could see that working really well.

JESSICA: [whispering] I love her back extension roll.

EVAN: Right, yes.

JESSICA: Have you ever tried a back extension roll on beam?

EVAN: Nope. Sure havent.

JESSICA: Hmm. You should try it some time. Maybe we could get Dom to try it. Maybe that should be his assignment for this week.

EVAN: [sighs] I don’t know. I think. I think that’s- I mean that would be like asking him to to like a Rufolva.

JESSICA: No! He doesn’t have to actually like straddle the beam and smash his crotch.

EVAN: You have to! If that’s what you’re-

JESSICA: No! He can start on his butt. He doesn’t have to start laying down like she did.

EVAN: This would be some weird Valdez, not back extension rolls.

JESSICA: No you just tuck your butt under

EVAN: I don’t know about all that.

JESSICA: [laughs] What I’m just saying this so confidently, like I have nuts. Like, no no no this is how it’s done [laughs]

EVAN: Right, yeah. I have like too much butt and like nuts present, so

JESSICA: [laughs]

EVAN: There’s no tucking anything in this hypothetical back extension roll