Transcripts: Episodes 101-110

[expand title=”Episode 101: Olivia Vivian”] Forthcoming[/expand]

[expand title=”Episode 102: Classic Episode with Louis Smith”] Transcript Archived[/expand]

[expand title=”Episode 103: Ranch Classic and Acro Worlds”] Forthcoming[/expand]

[expand title=”Episode 104: Gabby Missing in Action & USA Championships”] JESSICA: This week: Gabby leaves Chow’s, again; USA Championships; and a cry for help!


ALLISON TAYLOR: Hey, gymnasts. Elite Sportz Band is 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 We’ve got your back.

JESSICA: This is episode 104 for July 23, 2014. I’m Jessica, from Masters-Gymnastics.

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

ELIZABETH: And I’m Elizabeth Grimsley. You can find me on Twitter @AllFlippedOut.

JESSICA: This is the best gymnastics podcast ever in the history of summers! Because it’s summertime right now, and it’s making me happy. Bringing you all the news from around the gymternet! So, first you guys, we have a very serious cry for help. I got a message from a listener who was like, “I would, you know, I’d donate or whatever it costs to get these done faster.” But you know, it’s really expensive to hire like a full time, someone who does this, like, professionally. It’s like, a dollar a minute. So, yeah, our show’s pretty long and that would cost a lot a lot of money. So what I, what our cry for help is, and especially for the deaf population that enjoys this show but has to wait a long time for the transcripts, I would love to ask any of you out there who have a passion for typing and a passion for gymnastics and for Gymcastic; if you would like to volunteer to be on our transcription team and have your name mentioned at the end of the show. Or you can pick a pen name, a pseudonym to use at the end of the show, we would love, love, love to have you on our transcription team, and we would love to be able to serve this population more and get these done faster for them. So, e-mail me at if you want to be on the transcription team, and I’ll hook you up with our transcription team captain, and it’s incredibly fun. Another was to contribute to the gymternet.

Let’s discuss USA Championships. Scott Bregman was on last week to tell us about how you guys can watch this. Lots of people watched and tweeted us their favorite moments. And we have Elizabeth Grimsley here this week, we’re so excited. She was at the USA Championships, also known as the Everything-But-Artistic-Gymnastics Championships–rhythmic, trampoline, acro, mini tramp. Mini tramp? Double mini, that’s what it’s called. All those sports there in one place. Power tumbling. So, I want to ask you first, Elizabeth, what do you think, I mean the format of this meet is kind of cool, because everything’s put together. And I think, like, there were no breaks. It was one sport, then another sport. What did you think of the format? The commentary, the overall? How did the meet work? What did you think of it?

ELIZABETH: I mean, personally I really liked it. I think it was cool to see all of the lesser known disciplines all in one place. I know a lot of the athletes enjoyed watching the other events that they didn’t really get to see that often. I mean, one of the problems was that the JO competition was at the same time. So the people that came to watch would only come for the discipline they interested in, and then they would leave. So, had a little bit of a spectator problem with the stands not being filled. But overall I think it was a well-run meet and a great idea to have all three together. During the night sessions they had the senior elites, so you had trampoline and rhythmic kind of switching back and forth for the first two rotations. And then for the third rotation it was only acro, and got all the acro competitors out of the way, because there’s only, like, seven pairs and groups competing. There weren’t very many senior elites for that. And then the final two rotations were trampoline and rhythmic alternating again. Double mini and tumbling were held at the convention center, which kind of sucked for those athletes, because they didn’t get to be in the big arena in front of everyone. But there just wasn’t enough space to fit all that equipment in there. So the for future…

JESSICA: Unacceptable.

ELIZABETH: Yeah. So for the future they’re looking for a place that will fit all of the equipment in there.

JESSICA: Ooh! That’s good to hear. Wait, what happened with Elise Ray? Did anybody know who she was, or were they just, you know, “Arthur Davis! Woo!” And then Elise Ray everyone’s like, “What sport is she from?”

ELIZABETH: Yeah, there were huge cheers for Arthur Davis, and the rhythmic girl, and the trampoline national team member, and everything. And then they were like, “2000 Bronze Medalist at the Olympics, Elise Ray!” And I mean, there was polite applause, but I don’t think the people really know who they were [LAUGHTER], who she was, so I kind of felt bad for her. [LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: I was going to say. I was listening to at home, and Elise Ray totally carried that broadcast. Peter Dodd. I don’t even know how to put it. Like, how, in high school I had this chemistry teacher, and my lab mate lit his sweater on fire with a Bunsen burner, and [LAUGHTER] our chem teacher was like, “Oh, Andy, your sweater’s on fire.” And just completely calm, just like… [LAUGHTER] And that was Peter Dodd. If this stadium were on fire, he’d get over the loudspeaker and say, “[MONOTONE] Guys, I think we need to evacuate.” Just very monotone. And Elise was just like, on it, fiery, she had all the NCAA experience, and then there’s Peter, just very, very calm. [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: I was like, “Wow. She’s really good at this.” And, oh! And then when they showed Arthur Davis, who for everybody at home who doesn’t know him, like, oh my God. He’s like a bazillion time world champ, and he does, like, tons of choreography. You should totally follow him on Instagram–you get little snidbits of his choreography. I love it. I’m just like, “Can we please move him to artistic, directly to the ranch, and get some performance quality out of everyone?” Like, he draws you in. His choreography is so good. But anyway, he’s a giant! I had no idea! I always thought he just looked that big, like seven feet tall and built like a Greek god, because he was next this diminutive woman, but he’s like, oh my. How tall do you think he is? Was he, did he dwarf everyone in that place?

ELIZABETH: He was definitely over six feet. And more than the average six feet height. He’s very, very tall. And not, like, the lanky tall either. He’s big.

JESSICA: Yeah. I mean, I don’t know if you saw a close up. He literally was ripping through his shirt. [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] Which I appreciated very much. Okay, so, on to the important things. Let’s talk about results. There were some first timers, there were some repeats, who were the surprises this year?

ELIZABETH: Well, I mean, to me, even though Jeff Gluckstein, for the senior trampoline men, won last year, I said, “He’s always a sleeper.” You hear about Steven Gluckstein, you hear about Logan Dooley, you, I mean, recently we’ve been hearing about Neil Gulati, but Jeff has just been consistent, flying under the radar. He does his thing, he does his routines, he gets down, and he wins. So I mean, he’s just been solid. And then Charlotte Drury won her first senior trampoline title [JESSICA CHEERS], yes.

JESSICA: So excited for her!

ELIZABETH: [LAUGHS] And she pretty much was in a league of her own. A lot of the other girls didn’t really have the difficulty to stay up with her. Shaylee Dunavin, who’s also her synchro partner, was in second. And they were kind of really the two who pushed themselves out in front of the rest. They also, the both won the synchro title as well. Dakota Earnest, she messed up a little bit, so she finished third, but she’s also one of those big names that people hear about all the time. For rhythmic, Rebecca Sereda won last year and she won again this year. She tied with Jazzy Kerber, who got silver last year.

JESSICA: [GASPS] A tie in rhythmic?

ELIZABETH: The first tie ever. They were actually tied after the third event as well, so they kept the tie. They both got 16.7s in the final event to finish it off.

JESSICA: That’s interesting. Mm hmm. You know I suspect a conspiracy, ’cause it’s rhythmic. [LAUGHTER]

ELIZABETH: And then of course the world bronze medalist from last week in acro, Kiley Boynton and Ryan Ward took that title as well. So it was a lot of back to back champions. And then on the double mini and tumbling side, that was at the convention center, so not as many people got to watch that. But you have Yulia Stankevich Brown, whose, I mean she’s been around forever, she’s 38 years old, so she’s got a lot experience under her belt. She won her second title in row. And then on tumbling for the men Austin Nacey won. He was a world competitor last year. He won gold in the team competition, I think it was for double mini that they won that. But he won the tumbling title, and that was the first title in eight years, I think, that someone new had won? Since Kalon Ludvigson had won all those past years. But since he’s hurt they needed to have a new champion. So.

JESSICA: It was interesting watching–oh wait! Did everybody hear that? 38 years old is the tumbling women’s champion? Yes, 38. That’s right. Mm hmm. This is the sport for you. You know who should really do this sport, I think, is Alyssa Pritchett. She’s one of the gymnasts that was college gymnasts going for elite right now. She would totally be a national champion if she did this sport. Like, right now. She’d be going to Worlds, she could go to World Cups. Like, I totally want her to switch into this. And you know who else should do it? Is Kat…


JESSICA: From Arkansas.

UNCLE TIM: Oh, Grable.

JESSICA: Grable.

UNCLE TIM: Katherine Grable.

JESSICA: Yes. She should totally do it too, because she would also be winning all the things. So, yeah…


JESSICA: Go ahead.

ELIZABETH: Alyssa Pritchett was actually there coaching her gymnasts at the junior competition, the Junior Olympic competition, because she, she coaches trampoline kids, I think. So I saw her there.

JESSICA: Halfway there. Right now. She should just move over. [ELIZABETH LAUGHS] Yes, okay.

UNCLE TIM: Have either of you tried, tried, have either of your tried double mini?


ELIZABETH: I feel like I would kill myself.

JESSICA: Like, do you mean actually doing flips? Or just like, run and jump and see if you can jump on the next part of the trampoline?

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] I guess that counts. I haven’t even tried that. I feel like–can we agree that they’re kind of the craziest people on earth, in the world of sports?

ELIZABETH: Yes. Yes. How do you even train for that? [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] I have to, I mean, you can’t go into the pit, because then your timings off and you won’t land on the trampoline again. So, I mean, you just, you just chuck it.

JESSICA: It’s terrifying. They’re, seriously, it’s like a whole different world. That, it’s like, not even, I don’t want to compare it to X-Games, because it’s even scarier than that because, I don’t know why I think it’s scarier than that, but I do. [LAUGHS] Maybe because I’ve flipped, but I haven’t ridden a motorcycle. But I would like to. But you, you run as fast as you can. And then you do that stuff. It’s not like you, you know, control, stay as low to the ground as you can. It’s like, ballistic. That’s the part that’s so crazy. I told you guys about that thing I went to in Vancouver, that World Cup where the double mini guy fell. They had it on the vault runway on the podium, and the guy fell off the podium. [NERVOUS LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: Oh my gosh.

JESSICA: Yeah, it was…

UNCLE TIM: I can see that happening.

JESSICA: It was almost like a Daniel Purvis onto the judges, but no one was there. So he just like, “Plop.” And then he was gone, into darkness. You couldn’t see anything.

ELIZABETH: I think it’s the worst idea to put something like that on a podium, considering the podium adds more bounce, and they’re already getting extreme height in the air. That just sounds like it would end in disaster.

JESSICA: Which it did, exactly. [LAUGHTER] Wise words, Elizabeth.

Okay, so we love our wipeouts and our crashes, and, because you know gymnastics is the best sport for wipeouts and crashes. But trampoline has a really good way to deal with this. How, can you describe for people how trampoline and double mini, kind of the safety precautions that they have, and how it’s different from gymnastics?

ELIZABETH: Yeah, so with trampoline, there’s four spotters. There’s one kind of on each corner. And they have to be there, it’s not like, “Oh, I think I’ll be fine, you don’t have to stand there.” They have to be there. And then one of them, there’s one on the side, and their job is to hold this little four inch mat so that if the gymnast goes off to the side, or looks like he’s about to fly off the trampoline, you just slid the mat in and it stops the bounce so you don’t have a Stick It moment where the coach just, like, flings off [LAUGHTER] onto the concrete.

UNCLE TIM: “Did you hurt your weenis?” [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: You guys, this is totally my kind of sport, were you don’t, it’s not like you ask the coach to stand there, they have to stand there at all times. Because I would always be the one like, “Can you just stand there? I don’t need a spot, but can you just stand there?” But in this sport it’s required. I mean, ooh! What could be better? I love it!

ELIZABETH: Yeah, so, I mean, at one point one of the kids was way, way off and one of the spotters–I mean, you have to be on. He caught this kid in midair so he wouldn’t go crashing to the ground.

JESSICA: And what happened with the guy…

ELIZABETH: Spenser Reed?

JESSICA: Yes, thank you!


JESSICA: What happened with him? [LAUGHS] Exactly.

ELIZABETH: I mean, it wasn’t even his optional routine when he was doing all of the crazy difficult skills. He was doing his compulsory routine, I think he had just done a like double back or something, and he must have just been way off to the side. And he jumped where the springs were, and his foot went through that area and in between the springs. So once he pulled it out they had to replace it. And I don’t know if it was just a precautionary thing or if he had messed up one of the springs or something.

JESSICA: Seriously, it looked like, from the video, which you guys can see on our website, because we always put the playlists up, you, it looks like he just goes through the bottom of the trampoline. I didn’t realize it was springs until sort of afterwards. I mean, I actually thought his foot went through the bottom. [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] I was like, “How is that possible?” Oh my God, it’s so funny, like seriously, I’m so glad he’s okay. Like, they have very good safety precautions I feel like in this sport.

ELIZABETH: Yeah, I’m actually surprised that more people don’t get hurt with some of the crashes that you see, but, because if you’re sitting high enough up you can see exactly where they’re about to land and when they’re going to go awry. But it still scares you because, I mean, it’s crazy.

JESSICA: Because they’re like a hundred feet in the air? [LAUGHTER] Oh my God. So speaking of a hundred feet in the air, which routines or which skills totally blew your mind this weekend?

ELIZABETH: I’d say most of the routines that just made my jaw drop were on double mini. Austin White did a triple pike half out onto the first part of the double mini and then a triple pike half or something like that off. It was just insane. I mean, you don’t see that, ever, in artistic gymnastics. It’s just, I mean, crazy. And then Austin Nacey, did basically same thing. He, I mean he, he might have done an arabian something with triples and halfs out, and it’s actually hard to tell what they all do because they twist so fast and they flip so fast. And Austin Nacey stuck his, so I mean, it was just insane. You have to do all those flips, and then you stick it? I mean, it’s crazy.

JESSICA: The amount of sticking was so impressive to me. The boys…

ELIZABETH: Yeah, and I have to mention for tumbling, Jerrett Jensen–the first day of prelims, so there’s no video of it–but he did all these, like, I think he did round off back handspring double layout, and then like five whips, and then he did a double twisting double back, and then he just stuck it. And the crowd went wild. That was one of the times when the crowd was like, really into it. I think he even was surprised that he had stuck that pass. [LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: Did he do a huge smile? I was so impressed with how the boys smile. Like, it’s NCAA girls’ smiles at the end of their routines. I was just like, “Wow. You guys are so smiley compared to the men, who are…” At least in NCAA mens are like, “Grrr! Hulk Smash!” [JESSICA LAUGHS]

ELIZABETH: Yeah, I think you could tell that these guys were just here to have fun. I mean, obviously they wanted to win, they wanted to make the national team. But it was way more relaxed than an artistic meet. There were, you could tell that the pressure wasn’t as high. I mean, they were just joking around, they were having fun. People wolf whistled to Drew Collins, and he wolf whistled back, and… [LAUGHTER] I mean, it was, it was just a fun atmosphere.

JESSICA: [LAUGHING] Speaking of whistling, why, what’s with when the people are running down their ridiculously long runway to then hurl themselves into double layout, and then another double layout, and then like a triple back flip, in the tumbling sport, they, there’s just like all this whistling going on in the middle! Like when their hurdling. Like, what, who, who’s whistling? What’s happening?

ELIZABETH: Okay. So this is Alex Renkert. So at first I thought it was the equipment or something, when he was running it was squeaking, but I realized that it’s him when he runs. I think that he, it’s the way he holds his mouth, and when he breathes, because he’s running so fast it just comes out as a whistle? [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: That is the weirdest thing.

ELIZABETH: But I don’t really know. Maybe it’s a thing that he does to calm him down, or, I don’t even know. [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: People have, which I can totally understand, because as everyone knows I’m a totally scaredy-cat of everything, People have like, the most elaborate preparations before they start their tumbling run. Like I have never seen before. Like, nothing compares to this. Can you describe Kristie Lowell’s preparation before she runs?

ELIZABETH: Yeah, hers is definitely the most unusual that I’ve seen. She does, she puts her foot out like a normal person would do, preparing for vault or double mini, or whatever. And then she scoots back and forth like, three different times. And then she prepares again, and then she goes. And I mean, I guess it works because she’s a world champion in the event, but it’s definitely a little bit strange.

JESSICA: It’s like how the triple jump people do all, do their stuff in regular track and field; combined with a nervous level five; combined with the regular, oh my God, this sport is insane, like, pumping yourself up look on her face.[JESSICA and ELIZABETH LAUGH] I loved it. I loved it. Because I’m like, “Yes. It’s that hard. That’s how you have to get ready, right there. That’s how scary this sport is.” [LAUGHTER] So I always brag about how these sports are so great for adults because you can be, you can have a full time job and do one of these sports. You can kids and do one of these sports. You can be a regular adults and do these sports. They are, and as Charlotte Drury said when she was on the show, “There is life after artistic gymnastics.” And all of these sports represent all of the other great sports that you can compete in. Can you tell us about some of the older competitors that you saw there?

ELIZABETH: Yeah, so Yulia Steinkovich Brown is 38 years old. She’s in Chusovitina territory. She’s been going forever, I think she’s Russian born, but she moved to the US. She got married, like, five-six years ago, and she’s still going. In tumbling world. And it’s not like she’s doing easy skills. She’s doing full in double layouts, she’s doing double pikes and other fulls in, full ins, and I mean, it’s not easy stuff that she’s doing.

JESSICA: And how about the different body shapes and sizes in these sports. I feel like you can have Beyoncé hip and Nicki Minaji legs and do these sports. There isn’t… there weren’t… Like, in gymnastics, I feel like when you get to elite gymnastics, like everyone kind of has the body shape where they have zero hips. They’re just, like, from shoulders to hips is just like the same width. And here there was so much variety.

ELIZABETH: Yeah. In rhythmic especially, the stereotype is stick skinny Russian girl, or Russian born who is able to bend her back into and touch the back of her legs. But there was one girl, Hannah Walter, who was normal sized. I mean, next to a stick skinny girl she would have looked bigger. But I mean, she’s skinnier than me, she’s normal. And she, I mean, she’s obviously good, she’s made it Nationals, she’s an elite rhythmic gymnast. But she used that to her advantage. She did more dynamic skills, she did like, straddle jumps and those, like, butterfly kick things in her routines, rather than all of the flexibility moves. And I think she finished twelfth, so it obviously paid off.

JESSICA: There was another girl too who I was watching, who had, like, totally buff legs. Like, I know they’re, it’s kind of like the acrobatic ballet put together, and ballet totally has this type. But it was just great to see body types outside of what you see at the World Championships and Olympics, and that they’re being successful, and that they’re doing great. And just to see that variety. I thought it was really encouraging. So if you’re someone out there who thinks you don’t have the right body type for gymnastics, watch USA Championships and you will see every kind of type that there is. It was very inspiring, I thought, to watch.

So, very important question as we get deeper into rhythmic gymnastics territory. Rebecca Sereda used “Happy” by Leona Lewis for her ribbon routine; it was very dramatic. So, what do you guys think, because this has lyrics in it. So what do you guys think of using top 40 music, with lyrics, for rhythmic routines?

UNCLE TIM: I don’t know. I feel like rhythmic is the summer Olympic version of figure skating. And so I just expect, like, big, dramatic from like operas. From Carmina Burana or something. And I don’t know. I personally, it just doesn’t really fit my image of rhythmic, and so it seems a little weird for me.

ELIZABETH: I liked Rebecca’s routine. I mean, some of the other ones… Like, someone used some Jennifer Lopez song, I don’t remember what it was. But that just didn’t fit. But with something like this, it was nice. It seemed to go with her routine, it was her ribbon routine. I think it fit well. At first I didn’t realize that that was the song she was using, because they started to play the music before she was ready, so they had to start it over. And I was like, “Oh, that’s embarrassing, they used that pop music for her ribbon routine.” [LAUGHTER] And then they played it again and she started going, and I was like, “Oh, that’s her actual music!” But, I mean, I heard it like four different times while I was there, so it grew on me.

JESSICA: So, I’m totally torn about this. On one hand, I’m like, “No! Tradition! Should never change it!” But on the other hand, I think it can work. Because there were definitely moments in this where she was dancing to the lyrics, not the music, and it was really beautiful, and it went so well, and it was really powerful. And other times, I feel like it could be a disaster. Like, it could go so badly. So I just feel like, as long as Arthur Davis is in charge, it would be fine. So, and I know this is rhythmic. But he should choreograph everything, I’ve already decided. So there’s that.

Now, let’s talk about fashion. Oh! So we talked a little bit about the acro last week, with the fashion and how the US also rocks some pink, and the men wear their–they’re not tights, they’re not like the men’s tights, they’re like pants–boot cut pants, they don’t have the stirrups. Let’s be clear. So, Catherine Gonzales in rhythmic, she wore a kind of like leo skirt, like… I don’t know what these are called. You know, like a leotard with a skirt. Like a skate.

ELIZABETH: Yeah, a lot of the rhythmic girls have it. I think Jazzy Kerber, one of hers was like a sheer skirt on it, so you could see through. It was weird. But I kind of liked it. I don’t know.


ELIZABETH: It was intriguing.

JESSICA: And this, this skirt on Catherine Gonzalez, her skirt was something I’d never seen. Normally they’re very flat and they don’t have any, like, lift in them. They’re not, like, ballet-tutu at all, but this one, it was totally different. I don’t know… I don’t have the right kind of vocabulary.

ELIZABETH: It kind of reminded me of a grass skirt.

JESSICA: Yes! Thank you! The thing that came to mind with me, because it looked like it moved in separate pieces, but also all at once, so it kind of reminded me of, like her music and her skirt reminded me of, oh. I had her name, right before. Uncle Tim, you’re going to have to help me with this. Oh! Josefine Baker, and how she used to perform with the banana skirt. That’s what it reminded me. She had that sort of like jungley music. And I actually really liked it. At first I was like, “This looks weird.” But then it totally added something where normally I feel like the outfits are so over the top that they take away.

UNCLE TIM: I didn’t necessarily like the colors of her outfit, I was more focused on the colors. So the top was this kind of pastel hot pink, and the bottom was this kind of neon sea foam green, and it just reminded me of the snap bracelets. The slap, pardon. Slap bracelets that I had as a child in the late ’80s early ’90s, whenever we had those. I was just kind of like, “Eh. I’m not really a fan of these colors.” But I mean, it’s rhythmic. It always looks like a bax, box of Crayola crayons has thrown up [LAUGHTER] on the girls. So I really don’t know what to say.

ELIZABETH: [JESSICA LAUGHS] I mean, what got me was that the pink underneath her skirt did not match the pink on the top part of her leotard.

JESSICA: It was like an umbra fade of a leotard, but then the skirt, it looked like it was a separate piece. And when you were talking about the kind of watermelon effect, I felt it did have, does have, it did have the watermelon colors.


JESSICA: Like, from the rind to the inside. [ELIZABETH LAUGHS] I had delicious watermelon yesterday.

UNCLE TIM: She just needed some seeds. [LAUGHTER]

ELIZABETH: Well, I mean, with all the rhinestones you can just consider those the seeds.

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] There you go!

JESSICA: So, Uncle Tim, there is a picture that you have been obsessing over on the USA Gymnastics Facebook page. Everyone should go to check out the great–they put up so many pictures. So, describe this for us and tell us why you’re obsessed with it. Because you’re obsessed with acro now. Like out of control.

UNCLE TIM: I am. I’m obsessed with all the acro photos on the USA Gym Facebook page. But this one in particular is of Diana Tatevossian and Donna Tatevossian and Alexandria Alaman. And I don’t know who’s who in this photo, but it doesn’t really matter. The base is basically doing a lunge, and she has her arms stretched over her head, and she’s holding up a girl in a handstand doing a straddle split. That’s kind of normal. But! And I was like, “Oh, whatever, whatever.” And then I look, and there’s another girl on the back of the base’s leg, so the leg stretched behind her. And she is doing a one armed handstand on this girl’s calf. So this girl is holding up two gymnasts. One in her hands and one on her calf. And I’m like, “How can you even so that?” Like, what if you get, like, an itch or something? What are you going to do? I don’t know, what…



ELIZABETH: I think the girl’s other hand is on the shoulder of the base to kind of hold her up.

UNCLE TIM: I refuse to accept that. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: What, do you think this sport, acro just looks, like, so painful. Can you imagine having someone’s entire weight on your calf muscle for like, a minute? That would so hurt!

UNCLE TIM: Yeah. I couldn’t do it.

JESSICA: I was noticing when we were watching that little comedy bit, which is hilarious, where John Macready tries to balance one of the girls. [LAUGHTER] Oh my God, you guys have to watch this, because his, he’s so good at this. Like, his face, I was totally laughing. So he’s trying to balance her, like, and then I was noticing in the picture their hands are at angle. So they’re, you’re not holding your wrists flat when you balance someone, you’re holding them at like, a forty-five degree angle. And Elizabeth, you were telling me that the way they practice is this way too.

ELIZABETH: Yeah, they, a lot of the girls had these, I guess they’re made out of wood. It’s like a piece of 2×4 up straight and then there’s a base to make it be able to stand on the ground. And then there’s a square piece of wood that’s tilted at an angle, kind of like the girl’s hand. And they have two of them. So I guess is emulates being held up, and I guess that’s how they practice holding their handstands and their different balance elements.

JESSICA: Well, we’re going to have to get to the bottom of all of this next week when we talk to Kristin Allen and Michael Rodriguez, world champions. So…

UNCLE TIM: You know what we’re going to have to ask them? How many times he got kicked in the man area doing this.

JESSICA: Right? And I want to ask her too, “How do you get used to going to practice and just straddling some dudes face?” Like, over and over and over and over again and getting thrown in the air? [ELIZABETH LAUGHS] Like, you’re all sweaty, and like, if they just, like, we just come to know each other, and just…

ELIZABETH: Especially since there’s such a big age difference between most of the people. Like, Kiley Boynton is 15 and Ryan Ward is 24 or 25. I mean, it must have been awkward at first.

JESSICA: Right, and then I wonder, well, maybe it’s just really not like that. You actually are just like, it just looks like that but you’re actually like, you just, like, duck your hips under and it’s more like a dance. I don’t know. We have to get to the bottom of all of this. So many questions. So many inappropriate questions. We have to ask.

UNCLE TIM: So in MAJOR NCAA news, it was a big surprise for all of us. Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson has retired, and it’s kind of surprising given that she has–I don’t even remember how many wins–and how many seasons, over 30 seasons, and I think over 3,000…


UNCLE TIM: 36, yeah, 36 seasons. I think over 3,000 wins or something. It’s just kind of crazy. She has retired, and it’s largely due to her knees. And her physicians told her, “Hey, you need to stop walking for a little while and get knee replacements.” And David, her husband, will be retiring as well. Which means Dana Duckworth will be taking over. Dana competed for Alabama in the late ’80s, and she was an NCAA beam champ, and she’s been helping the team for quite some time now. And what did you guys think of this transition? Let’s start with you, this time, Elizabeth. Because you’re at Georgia, the longtime rival of Alabama, so tell me what you think.

ELIZABETH: Well, going to the video where Dana Duckworth gave that first interview, she was talking about how their situation is completely different, how they’re keeping basically the same staff as they had last year. And what I’m thinking when I’m watching this is that Georgia kept the same staff, the years after Suzanne Yoculan retired. They still had Jay, they still had Doug, they still had Julie. So nothing changed, and it went downhill. So I’m not really sure where she was getting the whole, “Our situation…” I mean, I’m sure most of the situation is completely different, but in that aspect it seems pretty similar to me. So, I mean, I don’t know if she’ll be able to hold the reins and kind of be a stronger head coach and lead them to more success, as opposed to what Jay Clark did. And he struggled and had to resign. But I mean, I just, I don’t know how that will pan out.

UNCLE TIM: So, The Balance Beam Situation wrote a post about the difference between Suzanne and Sarah, and he basically said that there is a difference between the two. Suzanne was very much the cult of Suzanne and the fact that she–I don’t think he said this, but it’s implied–the fact that she would do almost anything to win in the whole, focus was on winning. Whereas with Sarah, it’s much more kind of a, “Yes, there’s winning.” But there’s more focus on the girls and the fact the girls are ladies and good southern belles kind of thing. And therefore he doesn’t know that Dana will have as many problems, just because the focus wasn’t as much on winning for Alabama. What do you think of that, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH: I mean, from what I’ve seen from a lot of the girls, they’re very open to the change. And they love Dana, and they love everything that she’s about, and, I mean, she’s been there for forever as well, so they know her coaching style. So, I do think it’s different. I don’t think it’s the same as when Suzanne left. Suzanne kind of left on top, and she was like, “Yeah, I’m going to leave.” And she took pretty much all of her best gymnasts with her because they were graduating. So, I mean agree with that.

UNCLE TIM: And what do you think, Jessica? I know you probably have many opinions. [LAUGHTER] But let’s say, if you were a freshman committed to Alabama, would this change your mind about going there?

JESSICA: I think unless I was a student who was going to Alabama specifically because they had a major that I could not get at a gymnastics scholarship and get that major in the same place, if that were the case, then it probably would change my mind. Or if I’d gone on my visit and I’d loved the program except that I couldn’t stand Duckworth, then that might change my mind. [LAUGHTER] But I really think, you know, it’s supposed to be about education so it shouldn’t matter, but the head coach is the program. I mean, the head coach sets the tone. It’s so important. And this, this is they’re losing two coaches. Basically, you know, two head coaches they’re losing, the technical coach and the head cheese. So it’s, I don’t know, it’s even a bigger deal than I think of, exactly like Elizabeth said, then what happened at Georgia. Because there basically only one person was leaving and they were keeping the technical coach. This is like, all new. Oh, so maybe Dana is like the technical coach, I don’t know actually. That might be not that much of a change. But…

ELIZABETH: She does a lot of beam and choreography stuff. I mean, I don’t know what else she does, but I know those were her main focuses.

JESSICA: Yeah. But I have to say, like, for me, if I just loved, loved, loved that head coach, and that was the reason I wanted to go there, then I might stay because I might feel that they were going to, that their legacy was going to be strong and it would be the same kind of place. But I don’t know. I don’t think it would be…

UNCLE TIM: Where would you go?

JESSICA: Where would I go?


JESSICA: Instead of Alabama?


JESSICA: I mean, I guess if that was the kind of, I mean guess Georgia or Florida, I think, are kind of the programs that are like that. I feel like LSU is totally different. I feel like LSU is more like the California of the South. I don’t know why I think that, but I think politically and otherwise it’s totally different from the rest of the South. I don’t have any basis for that other than all the HBO shows I watch. So… [LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: What do you think, Elizabeth, as someone who’s lived in the South? [LAUGHTER]

ELIZABETH: Oh, well, I mean, I’d say Georgia and Alabama are more similar, but Florida is a lot different. If you were signed on to go to Alabama, I don’t know if you would pick either of those. But I mean, it brings up the whole Simone Biles situation, where she’s choosing between Alabama and UCLA. I’m curious to see if this coaching change affects her decision.

JESSICA: And what do you think about the whole Georgia, what they talked about in this whole Suzanne and…and…and… you know the SEC…


JESSICA: Sarah, yeah. You know, the SEC show when, where they cut out all the juicy stuff because they kept threatening to sue each other. So, when they talked about how it was the Southern Belles versus the Bad Girls, I was like, “What?! Who thinks that?” That’s like, I have never heard, I was like [LAUGHTER], somebody just make that up? Is that like something Suzanne just made up just to have a marketing pitch against Alabama? I was like, “Southern belles? People still say that?” I clearly am completely ignorant about this entire SEC situation. [ELIZABETH LAUGHS] So, is that a real thing, do people really talk about that?

ELIZABETH: No. I mean, I could see Georgia as the, like, the hard core team or whatever. But Alabama, in my opinion, are not the southern belles. I would not, that would not come to mind when thinking about Alabama.

JESSICA: Is there a school that has the southern belles?


JESSICA: Right? I was like…

ELIZABETH: I don’t think of gymnasts as being southern belles. I think of southern belles as being prim and proper and not hard core anything. And to be a gymnast you have to be tough, and I don’t associate those two things together.

JESSICA: Right? I think of that bratty chick in the movie, that’s like the longest movie ever about the South and the Civil War. [SIGHS] It’s so… there’s like rape scene. And it made me laugh, which is terrible, [ELIZABETH LAUGHS] but apparently people didn’t think it was a rape scene, but it totally is, because she likes it in the end. Gone with the Wind. [ELIZABETH LAUGHS] That’s it. Gone with the Wind. That’s how they define it, in like… that’s what all the review say. That’s what I think of southern belles. Like, a brat. A total brat. And I…

UNCLE TIM: See, I think of pearls. Which gymnastics team would be more likely to show up in a pearl necklace? And I would say it’s Alabama still. I think that Sarah Patterson crafted the image of them as southern ladies, and I would say they’d be the most likely to show up in a pearl necklace.

JESSICA: Well, we’re going to have to compare the photos of what they, both teams wore when they went to the White House. And decide. [LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: I, so, I think, going back to this whole, “Would you leave to go, I don’t know, to go to another program,” and I think, I don’t know, I’d give it a shot. You know, one of Sarah Patterson’s favorite stories about Dana Duckworth is the fact that she failed her first round of tests in every class at Alabama her freshman year. [LAUGHTER]

ELIZABETH: How did that even happen?

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] I don’t know. But, by the end of the semester she had all As. [LAUGHTER] So I don’t know, I feel like Dana might’ve had a party girl in her or something at the beginning of her freshman year, and she, she knew what college experience was like or something, I don’t know. But I feel like there’s a little something there to her. And I feel like there are a lot of similarities between Dana and Sarah, because if you listen to the interview with Dana, it’s very deliberate. Very, every word is very well chosen. And to use the French expression, she’s looking for the mot jus, and she, that’s very Sarah, if you’ve ever been in a press conference with her. She doesn’t just kind of say whatever’s on her mind and talk about random things and her female cycle helping her choreograph better, nothing like that. [LAUGHTER] It’s much more…

JESSICA: LACK of a cycle. The LACK of it.

UNCLE TIM: The lack of… whatever. [LAUGHTER] And yeah, I think she, you know, she’s very much in that same line, and just in general I’ve enjoyed watching the Alabama girls kind of comment on it. And one of the interesting comments on Twitter was, “Like the man who hired her, Sarah Patterson ain’t never been nothing but a winner.” We’ll just ignore all those double negatives. [LAUGHTER] And, but “Sarah Patterson ain’t never been nothing but a winner. And she did it in heels.” And I don’t know why I like that, it’s just kind of like, yeah. Yeah, she accomplished as much as the men in her athletic department, and she was a woman, and take that world. Because she came up in the South where things are a little different back then, I’m assuming, in the ’70s.

JESSICA: Yes. I would say her accomplishments are much more noteworthy than any white man in the South really, because, or anywhere, because for her in the ’70s to build a program to what it is, it’s not even comparable to what a man would have to go through. Like, it’s, like, it’s a hundred times harder and more incredible that she built what she did. But I have to remind you, if you wanted to stay at that school and you wanted to try it out, the SEC has that two rule where you can’t transfer. And if you do transfer without the head coach letting you out of your transfer, then you have to sit out for two years. Does that change your mind?

UNCLE TIM: Hmm. I don’t know. I don’t think so. I mean, if I’m going to Alabama I’m probably going there for reasons. It might be the culture, it’s probably, it might be the tradition. You know. I don’t think that Sarah had the same, like, “We’re going to win at all costs” attitude that Susan Yoculan. Yes, she has the tradition of winning, but I think it was a very different culture. You know. If I was in Simone Biles’ case, situation, I’d be asking myself, “Would I want a former ballet dancer as my coach?” Because that brings a whole different level to your coaching and what it means for your body, and yeah. I don’t know if I, as a human being, could handle that.

JESSICA: An interesting perspective. Which brings us to the next segment. We got tons of letters, and we’re going to answer a lot of them. And we got the weirdest voice mail we have ever, ever got. You guys, I could not stop laughing when I listened to this. Oh my God. So, one thing I wanted to let you guys know about our letters, we really read everything. And seriously, there are some letters that I keep thinking about, and I haven’t responded to yet, or none of us has had time to get back to yet. But like, there’s this guy, I’m talking to you, the guy who’s the lawyer in Texas. Who wrote us, who did the backflip in court. I, [LAUGHS] we think about you all the time, and we talk to you, and we talk about you when we’re chatting. “What do we say, what do we ask him for? How can we use him? Oh my God.” So we’re thinking about you. We’re thinking about you all the time. And everyone who writes us. We’re just, you know. It’s not like we have a giant staff here. So, you know, we’re going our best. And thank you, and we will get back to, you will hear from us. I promise you eventually. So anyway, before we get to the gymternet news and your letters, we got to pay some bills. So to remind you guys how you can help us pay our bills here at Gymcastic, you can donate, yes, just like five dollars a month. One dollar a month. A thousand dollars a month. Whatever you’d like to give is okay with us. Which someone asked me to make it bigger and more prominent, and so I will be doing that. Thank you, to the person that asked me to do that. I felt like, “I should make it really small, because you know…” But now it’s going to be gigantic and I’m going to put it right at the top. So the donate button, you can do that. You can review us on iTunes or Stitcher, so just log in there and say, “I love this show, I couldn’t live without it,” or give it five stars, or pass it on to your friends, and all that stuff. And of course you can shop through our Amazon link. And you can shop for whatever. You can buy a refrigerator or one sock in there, and a little portion of what you spend comes back to the show without any cost to your product. So, or you can buy the Louis Smith book. Because we’re doing our book club. You could buy the book there and send in your questions for Louis Smith, because he will be here in August. Have you bought your book yet? Elizabeth, are you in the club? Have you read the book?

ELIZABETH: I got the book for Christmas.

JESSICA: Awesome! Okay.

ELIZABETH: But I have not had a chance to read it yet. [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: Now’s the time. Now is the perfect time.


JESSICA: In the gymternet news. The major, major, major news, of course, is that Gabby has left Chow’s once again. She went back for about three or four months. Went to camp, looked great, Marta was raving about her, we saw the video from USA Gymnastics. But as we were reported last week on the show, we had been hearing that she wasn’t at practice for a while and that she had moved on, and unfortunately, that is the case. So Chow said that she was there for a trial period, and then they were going to reassess, and then she had to make a decision to train there or go somewhere else. And she… well, he doesn’t say she. He says, “As I talked to her, I respect her opinion on her decision.” Gabby didn’t give any details, but she said, “I am committed to Rio, I’m not going to let anything get in the way of that.” There’s a lot rumors going around about what’s happening and what went on with this decision. So my question for you guys is: Number one, how do you think this, what do you think this means for Gabby’s success this year? Do you think we will see her at Championships or at Worlds this year?

UNCLE TIM: I’m going to say no. I don’t think we’ll see her at Championships this year. It’s how… I mean, it’s what? Roughly ten days away from the US Secret Classic, a couple more weeks after that is the P&G Championships. I’m guessing that when you’re switching your gyms this close, it’s not going to pan out for you this year. That’s just my guess though. You know, whether we’ll see her next year, that’s a different question. But I’m going to say no. What about you, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH: Yeah, I’m going to have to agree, and on the off chance that we do see her, I think she would pull a Nastia and just compete one event, watered down routines. But I, I don’t see it happening this year.

JESSICA: I don’t know, I’m thinking one event is, one or two is probably the most likely, I figure that’s probably what she’s most working on anyway. In my heart of hearts, because you know I like to tell people what to do, I would like for Nastia, Chellsie Memmel, and Dominque Moceanu to invite Gabby, Gabby alone, nobody else–not her agent, not her lawyers, not her mom, not her sister, not her best friend, not any of her coaches. I would just like Nastia to invite all of them to her apartment in Manhattan. And with the glorious views that she always Instagrams, which I enjoy looking at. And I would like them to just chat, I would like them to have a moment to ask Gabby, “So what’s going on? How are you feeling? Nothing leaves this room.” And I want them to just share how they became champions and what went wrong, and what went right. Because I think there is a very clear distinction in their lives about what led to their success and what led to their downfall in certain areas. I think they have a lot of wisdom to give on this. And I think they could really help her, and I think they know the right people that could help her. And I just feel like, and they also should hire an arbitrator if that doesn’t work. Because you know there’s people who just, this is what they do for a living. They get paid to go when two parties can’t agree on something, they go in and hear both sides and help them come to an agreement. Like, I’m sure USA Gymnastics has one on staff. Like, get an arbitrator and just go in there and solve this with Chow. Because Chow is your dream coach. Like, somehow you have to make it happen. Whatever the problem is, someone can solve this for you. Like, just get someone in there who can make it happen. Because, it’s Chow! You love him, you want to be there! There’s got to be a way! There’s always a way.

UNCLE TIM: [SIGHS] Yeah. I mean, none of us really know what’s going on. Like you said, there are many rumors. I just wonder what’s going on on the business level of Chow’s Gymnastics. We know that he was great for Gabby, helped him, helped, pardon, her get to the Olympics and everything. But we also know that earlier this year there was a noncompete issue. He makes his coaches sign a noncompete contract at their gym, and he actually took it to court, and you know, maybe it’s just the Des Moines Register, get, you know, making local news and everything. But you know, it’s kind of the first time I feel like we really heard about gymnastics coaches and their noncompete clauses in their contracts. And so, yeah, I don’t know what’s going on in terms of business at Chow’s.

ELIZABETH: I don’t see her making any sort of worthwhile comeback without Chow. I just, I can’t picture it happening. I just don’t see her really having the drive or the ability to make that comeback without him, but I mean, prove me wrong. That would be great. [QUIET LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: Plot twist: She goes back to Excalibur. [LAUGHTER] Could you imagine, like…?

JESSICA: Oh my God, no. She buys Excalibur. Changes out all the staff. [LAUGHTER] Yes. That would be awesome.

UNCLE TIM: How, I mean, what other gym would she go to? What do you guys think?

JESSICA: I would like her to go to Kelli Hill at this point. Someone who’s just, like, totally neutral.

UNCLE TIM: Is she even still coaching, Kelli?

JESSICA: Yeah. She was in the–didn’t you see her in the background of the videos? You were watching Mihai too much!

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] I just felt like she kind of checked out, though, of coaching elite gymnasts. I don’t know. I feel like she’s not at the peak anymore of her career and is just kind of enjoying life and coasting until retirement. But I don’t know! I’ve never talked to Kelli. I don’t know.

JESSICA: I don’t understand how you could handle, just the schedule in gymnastics of being an elite coach for that many years. I mean, the burnout. I mean, your athlete gets up at six am and then works out, and then has a break, and then goes back and works out you know in the afternoon, the evening, and that’s your schedule too. And all the travel, ugh, God. But then again, it’s not a nine to five, so it might be more life affirming. But I don’t know. I could not do that schedule. Ugh. You know I need my sleep.

UNCLE TIM: Who do you think would be able coach her on bars, right? Because if she’s making a comeback it’s definitely going to be very bars focused, and Chow’s probably one of the best elite bars coaches. I mean, yes, there are probably some problems. People don’t like his technique at all times, but yeah. He’s one of the best. Kelli Hill is also one of the best bar coaches in the US of all time. I would say, and you know, Valeri, can’t, I don’t think, really take her on anymore because of his position on the junior national team. So who do you think would be a good coach? I mean, it’s hard. What about you, Elizabeth. What do you think?

ELIZABETH: I mean, my first thought is someone at WOGA. I mean, they all have good bars, it wasn’t all just Valeri, could take her in. Or Nia Dennis’ gym. I mean, I, I just don’t know. There aren’t very many that, number one, could help her bars and number two, could handle a world class athlete like that. I think that’s one of the big problems as well.

JESSICA: I kind of feel like, for her bars, other great Chinese bar workers who made history recently would be to go to Legacy Elite. I mean, if you can coach an adult athlete back to that level, especially on bars, I mean Anna and Gabby were the main competition for each other on bars for that team. So I think they would be awesome coaches for her on bars.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah, and she’d be in Chicago or close. I mean, close to an airport, a major airport. Which would be convenient for endorsements and stuff. Because being in Iowa is probably not the easiest place to get flights if you have to go fly to Portland or wherever for Nike stuff. It’s probably a lot easier to fly out of Chicago.

JESSICA: [SIGHS] Well, Gabby, just call us and tell us what’s happening. Chow, just keep us in the loop. Let us know. [LAUGHTER]


JESSICA: Time for mail call! First up, from Twitter. GtotheNtotheG asks: Do you think pro gymnasts delay retirement to milk endorsements, or are they just keeping their options open?”

ELIZABETH: [SIGHS] This is tough one. I think some of them do delay their retirement to kind of keep that option out there. Like, “Oh, I might be coming back.” I mean, obviously the idea of a comeback is something that gets people talking, as we see with Gabby. I mean, I don’t know if Anna Li is pro, but with someone like her, I think she really is. Because she isn’t officially retired. I think she is someone who is keeping their options open. I could see her coming back at any time if she really wanted to. But I think it just depends on the person.

UNCLE TIM: I think that it does depend on the person, I agree. And so I don’t want to say that there are gymnasts who just kind of are milking the options. I think they really do consider coming back. Because it’s a sport that you grew up, and it’s a huge part of your identity if you started doing it when you were four until you’re 18, 19, 20. And once you walk away, you’re kind of like, “Who am I?” And it’s hard to really just walk away officially. That said, I’m just going to go ahead and say it. I did feel like Shawn Johnson’s comeback was very orchestrated, and it felt like a giant marketing campaign. I’m not going to say that it was, but to me as an outside observer, it just kind of felt like everything was very timed. And it was like, this happened, it was calculated, and then this happened this many months later her book came out, and then she announced her retirement. And I don’t remember the order anymore of events, but it did feel like everything was very precise. It was like, marketing automation in real life. It was weird.

JESSICA: I think this… [SIGHS] On the one hand, I think no one should ever announce their retirement because you should milk it as long as you can, because there are not the same kind of opportunities for gymnasts as there are in other sports. So good for you, just keep working out, look good in a leotard, so that you can keep selling whatever it is that you’re selling. It is your identity, and it’s heartbreaking to admit that you’re done with something. So to ever assume that someone is keeping, is not announcing their retirement because they’re milking an endorsement, it’s, you don’t know how they’re feeling inside. It’s just, it’s so hard. I mean, some people will never ever say they’re retired because you don’t want to ever actually admit that. You want to think, “Well, I could get back in shape, I could, you know.” But on the other hand, I agree about Shawn Johnson’s. I don’t know what the intent was, but that definitely felt like that to me. Like, announcing the day of Nationals that she is retired when it was obvious that she was already retired. I don’t think that it was an insincere comeback. I mean, she came, she looked amazing. She went Pan Am Championships, she looked great. But I, I think that was like, ugh. I didn’t like how that was handled. On the other hand, I can understand it, because you have to milk the media when the media is there, and the media is interested. And Championships is when they’re there and interested. So, as far as I think her agent I think was brilliant for doing it that way. As a fan, I’m kind of like, “Mm.” So. Yeah.

ELIZABETH: And even on the lowest level, it’s weird to say you’re retired from something when you’re 20 years old.


ELIZABETH: I mean, when I retired from gymnastics when I was 18… I mean, you think of 65 year old men being retired from their jobs, not retiring from a sport when you’re 20 years old.

JESSICA: Totally. So, now it’s time for the part of the show where we talk about “What mistake did Jessica make last week?” So our first correction comes from our friend Emma Bailey in England, and she reminded me that the British gymnastics team was not in, wherever I said they were, but they were actually in Barcelona. Thank you, Emma. I will remember that. Correction number one. Correction number two, ooh, this good you guys. There was like a major Twitter debate going about how this today. Everyone wanted to know what was going on about this. So last week talked about what the age limit was for men, and we looked up the rules, and we saw that rules said 18, but we had heard that the rules had changed after London, but why was Kenzo allowed to compete when he was 17, and there was a lot of confusion, but w said the rules said 18. So, a fabulous listener wrote in with this explanation. Nico wrote on our website in the comments section. He said, “I wanted to correct you guys on the men’s age limits. Senior male gymnasts have to be 18, which is a change since London. Last year, however, they allowed a temporary transition period for 17 year olds. So guys like Kenzo Shirai, Mr. Quad, were able to compete at Antwerp Worlds. But they have to 18 now on the calendar year.” So, you could be 18 after World Championships, but it Kenzo was 17 through the rest of the year, he wouldn’t have been able to compete. So my question, for you guys is, first of all, Nico, thank you so so so so much for writing in with this explanation. And my question for you guys is, was, you know, it’s not all the time that we see the FIG be like, “Oh, we’re changing the rules, so we’ll allow a whole year to get used to these rules.” Especially when it comes to the age limit thing, which is, you know, everyone has freaking different age. So, do you think that they made this exception with Mr. Quad in mind? Or it just was a nice thing to do?

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] I think that it’s just that it’s kind of a nice thing to do. You know, you need to give people a one year grace period when you change the rules. I feel. Although, I mean, when you get a new code you don’t really get a grace period, but I think they just were being nice. Although, I don’t know. How do you feel about this discrepancy? Now for the women, I mean, it used to be even: the women had to be 16 and the men had to be 16. Now it’s 16 and 18. What do you guys think of that? Is it sexist?

JESSICA: Yeah, it should be the opposite.

ELIZABETH: I mean, wasn’t there something with 2007 Worlds where they knew for the next year you had to be 16 for the Olympics, but you could be 15 to compete at the 2007 Worlds?

UNCLE TIM: Yes. Yes.

JESSICA: So there’s a precedent.

ELIZABETH: So I mean, it’s kind of similar.

JESSICA: I would just like to point out that there’s a precedent for this happening in the past, and a precedent for conspiracy. So anything possible. But yes, of course I think it’s sexist. Because I think that, and I have no foundation for this, but I think the reason for changing these rules is so that here is no abuse of children. And whatever form that abuse takes. And that children shouldn’t be professional athletes. And so I think that women are more targeted, which I have no proof for, and I think that probably men are probably even more targeted, boys are more targeted or are victims of this, but they talk about it less. And I’m probably sexist just for saying that, “No, it’s girls.” So, I don’t know. I kind of think that it should be the same for both of them, and that it should be 18 for girls too. [GASPS] What do you think of that? 18 for girls too?

ELIZABETH: I think some people have been pushing for that for a while. I mean, most people you hear talk about the age limit want it to be lowered, but there’s the other side of the spectrum as well.

UNCLE TIM: Right. I mean, it’s hard because I’m looking at it through an Americanized, my American eyes, where I’m like, if you can drive a car at 16, and be that responsible, and hold somebody’s, I mean, hold your own life in your hands and other people’s lives in your hands while you’re behind the wheel, part of me feels like you should be able to compete in the Olympics. I don’t know. But we also don’t allow you to vote until you’re 18. So we don’t really let you hold the nation’s future in your hands until you’re 18. So, I don’t know. I feel like 16, I feel like 16 is a good age. And I feel like it still prevents a lot from happening. That said, I feel like you know, I don’t know that raising the age to 18 will suddenly just make sexual abuse or anything disappear, because if you’re training for the Olympics, you start training when you are ten, and you start viewing your coach, not in all cases, but in some cases, right, you can start viewing your coach as a kind of God figure when you’re very young. And so that’s not just going to suddenly going to stop if you raise the age to 18.

JESSICA: True. Because you still have to start training as a little pup. Hm. Tell us what you guys think, listeners. Do you think, what if we raised the age limit, the women’s age to 18 as well? Would that ruin the sport or would it make it awesome because everyone would just stay around for another ten years, of course. [LAUGHTER]

ELIZABETH: I think it’s hard as well, because a lot of the time you don’t see men who are younger competing at the Olympics. I mean, I don’t know the actual average ages, but they’re definitely older, versus the women, and you have to, and you have to be a little bit older, have a little more muscle mass. So, I think just for demograph and the different male and female’s slightly different as well.

JESSICA: The other thing we talked about last week was if Sydney, the Sydney all around finals were done all over again, right now, in 2014, with all of the Olympians in the finals at their current ages. Raducan, Khorkina, Elisa Ray. Then who would win? And I refused to acknowledge that certain people who I said would win weren’t actually even in the all-around finals. But a couple people pointed out to us, they were like, “Hello! Chusovitina would have won.” But was Chusovitina in the finals?

UNCLE TIM: I don’t think so. I think she qualified like in 37th I want to say? So I don’t think she qualified for finals.

JESSICA: Yeah, I don’t think she, would have made it in those. Then someone else wrote in and said, “Duh! Lisa Mason totally would have won.” But I don’t think Lisa Mason made it to all around finals either. Is there anyone else we’re missing? That we have completely overlooked who is still doing gymnastics today? Besides Chusovitina and Lisa Mason who were at those, at those games?

UNCLE TIM: [LAUGHS] I’m looking up Lisa Mason. Where she qualified. Oh, Lisa Mason qualified in 22nd.

JESSICA: Hm! There you go!


JESSICA: So Lisa Mason, probably be our current champ. I say we should hold those ceremonies for fun. [LAUGHTER] Okay, now we have the weirdest ever voice mail, that I could not stop laughing about. Let me play it up for you guys right now. “[COMPUTER VOICE] Hi Gymcastic. I want to know, why is a sheep jump called “sheep jump?” And also, for the longest time, I really thought Princess Catherine of Europa name was really “Princess Catherine.” That is all.” [LAUGHTER] And those are the kinds of voice mails that we get here at Gymcastic. Maybe the Korean news agency was listening to the show and created the voice mail message for us. Maybe it’s animated when they play it back on the news station. So you guys, anybody know, [LAUGHTER] anybody know why a sheep a jump is called a sheep jump?

ELIZABETH: Because it hurts yours BAAAAck. [LAUGHTER] That’s what they always told us. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: I love that! I mean, because sheep don’t bend like that. I have no idea. And it’s called something different in, what was Princess Catherine calling it? She called it a… We will to have to research this answer and get back to you. Perhaps our listeners will supply an answer. Maybe we can collect all the names that it’s called and decide on the right one for each skill.

UNCLE TIM: I just think that it’s kind of interesting though, that the sheep jump is kind of the reverse of the wolf jump, right? So the wolf jump you’re jumping, you’re bending forward, the sheep jump you’re jump…bending backwards. So there is some kind of logic to it. I just don’t necessarily know why those two animals.

JESSICA: That was a…

ELIZABETH: And then there’s stag jump too. That’s an animal.

JESSICA: That was a very PhD answer. [LAUGTHER] Wolf and sheep. And then we have, like, I, we used to call the wolf jump a fish jump.

UNCLE TIM: Hmm. A fish jump?

JESSICA: A fish jump. Mm. Because it’s ugly?

UNCLE TIM: Did you call the roll where you rolled backwards and kind of arched down and splashed down a fish flop?


UNCLE TIM: Huh. I know that in cheerleading the name’s much more logical. It’s the C-Jump in cheerleading. Which, just looks like a “C.” It’s much more logical. I don’t know.

JESSICA: It totally is. Maybe it’s a kind of connection ballet, where things are named after French deities, I don’t know. I’m making that up. Gymternet, please tell us why this is named this, because clearly we do not have an answer.

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

JESSICAL Visit, that’s “Sportz” with a “Z,” and save five dollars on your next purchase with the code “gymcast.”

UNCLE TIM: So, dear listeners, you can always contact us. We love reading your feedback! If you want us to review, discuss, watch something, or if we can solve some important gymnastics crisis for you, call or e-mail us. We’re here for you, we’ll do our best. Obviously we can’t answer all your questions, like, “Why is it called a sheep jump?” We don’t know. But, somebody, we have a very good network of dedicated gym nerds who always know the questions to all of our questions. So they will answer us. Anyways, so you can contact us at, you can leave us a voice mail by calling us at 415-800-3191, or to call us free from anywhere in the world, like, you know, let’s say Korea, or let’s say you’re, I don’t know, sitting on a bus waiting to go on a date with Kenzo Shirai, [JESSICA LAUGHS] you can call us using Skype. Our username is GymcasticPodcast. You can also follow us on Twitter. We are very chatty, and we post pretty much all the news going on all the time in gymnastics. So follow us @Gymcastic on Twitter.

JESSICA: That is going to do it for us this week. Thank you all for joining us, and Elizabeth, thank you so much for joining us. We’ve enjoyed all your contributions to the gymternet and we love your voice. So please come back again sometime.

ELIZABETH: Thank you, I loved being here.

JESSICA: Yay! Remember to check our YouTube playlist, and of course we have transcripts up that you can check out on our website. Until next week, I’m Jessica from Masters-Gymnastics.

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

ELIZABETH: And I’m Elizabeth Grimsley. Find me on Twitter @AllFlippedOut.

JESSICA: Thanks for listening, see you guys next week!


JESSICA: Kenzo Shirai were able to compete…God damn it! [SIGHS] You’re fired. Why is Skype always open on this damn computer!


JESSICA: Oh my God, oh my God, you don’t even have your updates done. Now I have to do the updates.

JESSICA’s HUSBAND: No, no, no! Don’t do the updates.

JESSICA: Aw, Jesus Christ.

JESSICA’s HUSBAND: It works for me!

JESSICA: I’m signing out of freaking… all right. Let me just write that down on my little time stamp. [LAUGHTER] Dealing a Coop for ruining my podcast.

UNCLE TIM: Only the highest broadcasting standards on Gymcastic.


[expand title=”Episode 105: Chicago Secret Classic Preview, Cuba is Back & Nadia Promotes Adult Gymnastics”] SPANNY: But then you could say Aunt Flo came at about, ’96. [JESSICA and UNCLE TIM LAUGH] But, you’d argue that maybe, I can think of two members of the Mag 7 who probably hadn’t gone through it yet? The rest almost undoubtedly had. And that team did okay.

JESSICA: They weren’t bad.

SPANNY: They had a smidge of success. It’s a hurdle, I mean, but it’s certainly not the finish line.


JESSICA: This week: Who will win the Secret Classic in Chicago, US Qualifier for the men, Kim Zmeskel’s Beyond the Routine, and Nadia and Shannon Miller team up to promote adult gymnastics.

ALLISON TAYLOR: Hey gymnasts, Elite Sportz Band is a cutting edge compression back warmer that can help protect your most valued asset: your back. I’m Allison Taylor on behalf of Elite Sportz Band. Visit We’ve got your back.

JESSICA: This is episode 105 for July 30, 2014. I’m Jessica, from Master’s Gymnastics.

SPANNY: Spanny Tampson, from Spanny’s Big Fake Smile.

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

LAUREN: And I’m Lauren from The Couch Gymnast and

JESSICA: This is the best gymnastics podcast ever bringing you all the news from around the gymternet. I’m so happy you guys are here this week. Let’s talk about the important, important book club that we have going on first. Then a little news, and then we’re going to talk about Classics with Spanny and Lauren and Uncle Tim! Ee! [LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: In the book club news we have Louis Smith. We will be all reading Louis’ book. And, you know, the premise is you read the book, you submit questions about the book, and then we ask Louis the questions, and you get all your questions answered. You can buy the book via our Amazon link or on the website at In this week’s show notes, you can send your questions to us at or leave a voice mail on Skype, at username GymcasticPodcast. Or by dialing 415-800-3191. Make sure that you submit your questions by the first week in August, and we’ll ask Louis when he’s on the show in August. So, I expect at least 25 questions from all of our listeners.

JESSICA: Yes, a minimum. Just as many questions as we had response for transcribers. I asked for transcribers last week, oh my God you guys, we got so many people volunteering that we’ve literally had to turn people away! [YAY! SOUND EFFECT] So if you guys haven’t heard from me, it’s because we already have, like, 12 people. Already. Like, in the first couple hours of when Wednesday of the last show.

SPANNY: It was way more than 12, it was like 25…

JESSICA: It’s so many!

SPANNY: It was a lot of people.

JESSICA: It was so awesome! So, our team captain, Katy, she has all the people she can handle and manage right now. And already we have three new transcripts done since last week. So you guys are freaking awesome, and I will put you guys who’ve e-mailed in, if you haven’t heard back, I’ll put you on the reserve list. You can our alternates in case someone drops out, we’ll get back to you, and thank you so much, you guys are freaking amazing for volunteering, and thank you for all your e-mails, and yeah, okay. So, speaking of Louis Smith, going back, non sequitur, to Commonwealth Games, they’re having, Louis Smith competed pommel horse, he took second to Max Whitlock. And word on the street is that, and probably the E-score would tell you this, but I don’t have it right in front of me, Max won with the difficulty. He had a little bit of problem, but Louis Smith definitely had the cleanest routine, but he doesn’t have the highest difficulty. But right now they’re one-two going into finals. And it’s interesting how they’re doing this. Did you guys know they’re…it’s not like Olympic format at all. It’s like, team finals are over two days. So the woman did bars and vault today, and the men did three events. And tomorrow they’re doing another…by the time this comes out this is all going to be over, but isn’t that awesome? Wouldn’t you rather have team finals spread out, as a gymnast? You only have to do two events instead of four in one day.

LAUREN: You know what to prepare. If you really screw something up one day, you know what you need to work on for the next day. It’s not like you have to think about from routine to routine. You have a whole day to be like, “Oh yeah, let me really work on this so I can make up for what I lost yesterday.” Which could really benefit Canada.

JESSICA: Mm hmm.

LAUREN: Because they kind of had crappy day. So I think they’re probably going to come back pretty strong on beam and floor.

JESSICA: Right, because, oh my God, they sent Victoria Moors home. Well, who knows, they sent her home, she wasn’t ready. The release said, in French, [SPANNY LAUGHS] that she, she basically, they had a preparation camp there, and she wasn’t really, they talked to her, and she wasn’t really prepared, so then the put Victoria Woo?


JESSICA: Yeah. On the team. The one that has the very interesting dance which I like so much on floor.


JESSICA: So, argh. I’m so sad. It looks like Victoria’s, like, fine. She posted a video of herself practicing her archery today. Because she should [LAUGHTER] of course be in the Hunger Games movies. But I’m totally bummed because I just think, you just have to put her in. But who knows, maybe she’s sick, maybe she’s injured. You know, whatever.

LAUREN: Well, her coach isn’t there. She, Saadi…

JESSICA: Oh, Saadi’s not there?

LAUREN: Yeah, she didn’t travel with the team. So I don’t know if maybe it just she wasn’t doing her best because she didn’t have her coach with her, but, I think that might have something to do with it. But I know, like, Grace Chu on Facebook said something like, “It’s going to probably take a while to get all of the info together.” And it’s, like, they just kind of came out with the press release to kind of, calm people’s fears about whether or not she was injured.

SPANNY: Do you think maybe, like, I, so, Uncle Tim, maybe you can speak more to this. Maybe the format, I wonder if that has anything to do with it? I was reading on Twitter…I’m going to butcher his name, I’m so sorry, Seek Caesar, the Michigan gymnast?

JESSICA: Syque Caesar. Yeah.


SPANNY: Syque Caesar, okay. I’m so sorry. Syque Caesar, awesome. But he wrote, he said, “Pretty tough first day. Had to compete three events in less than thirty minutes–not ideal.”


SPANNY: And I noticed too, I mean, I wasn’t able to watch live the woman’s today. But I noticed the blocks of time were really short amounts of time which would be rough even just to compete only two events, I would think. I mean, I guess that’s how it is normally in team finals, I don’t know what I’m talking about.

LAUREN: Well, I think it’s like also, it’s, they had so few competitors. Like, the first subdivision had two female competitors.


LAUREN: Like, okay let’s do vault really quick, and then do bars, and then we’re done. Like, it went really fast. Some, the ones with actual full teams went a little bit faster, but even then they only had three or four people, so it’s moving way faster than when you have two teams doing vault in a World’s final. Team final.

SPANNY: Right.

LAUREN: And then, you know. So I think that’s probably, it, it could definitely have a lot to do with it.

SPANNY: Interesting, it’s different. I know like, the men are obviously three, pack would be three, whatever, but it does seem a lot, to be a lot of intensity for a short amount of time.


JESSICA: It’s… one of the things that’s crazy is, I mean, with thirty minutes to do three events, that’s not even enough time to warm… What you’d normally get to warm up. We’ll talk about Commonwealth’s more, but in case you guys want to watch, which you definitely should, the way to watch in the US is to, or wherever you are in the world, go to TunnelBear. Download TunnelBear. Turn on TunnelBear. And then go to the BBC website, or whatever website you’re watching it in your country. I recommend BBC because they seem to have really good gymnastics coverage. And then you should be able to watch it from there. So it totally works, TunnelBear absolutely works. Just don’t go to the website and then try to make it work. Go to TunnelBear, downloaded it, turn it on, and then go to the website and you should be able to watch live. So, more on Commonwealths later. Let’s talk about the most exciting meet, the basically Olympic preview, Olympic team preview, World team preview, this is place your bets now. The Secret Classic in Chicago, which we love. Which Lauren’s new site, has fantastic guide up for this. So you can check it out there. It’s And awesome guides, just like she’s done for The Couch Gymnast in the past. And let’s talk first about the bad news, let’s get it out of the way.

So, who’s out right now?

LAUREN: Bailie Key is out. I guess she had a minor arm procedure, according to the Texas Dreams Twitter. And from what I hear she is still planning on going to Nationals, like staying out for Classics was just kind of her way to make sure she doesn’t injure herself further before Nationals. So that’s not really a huge deal, I think, unless she doesn’t make it back. But hopefully she will, and it looks like she’s going to. And then in terms of juniors, Vanasia Bradley, I think like two weeks…


LAUREN: …ago tore her ACL.

JESSICA: So sad, I love her.

LAUREN: Which really sucks, because she’s really great. And then Grace Waguespack, she was okay last year, she was one of the younger juniors. And she, I think people might remember her because I think her floor routine music was like a combo of Game of Thrones and then Jordyn Wieber’s 2012 music. [LAUGHS] So it was like, really bizarre. But I don’t know what happened her to, [LAUGHTER] she’s just not on the list anymore. So.

JESSICA: [SIGHS] Oh, okay. So, from your research, and thinking about looking ahead for the future, for Worlds or the Olympics and what we’ve seen in the past, which juniors are you most looking forward to seeing?

LAUREN: Like, a lot of the really young ones who aren’t even Rio-eligible, if we’re looking towards the future. Adeline Kenlin has, like, one of the best beams, or the better beams of the juniors. She did it at the US Challenge last year, and she just has a lot of really big skills, and she’s pretty clean with everything she does. And I think she just added a double layout off bars. She’s like, 12, or like, just turned 12 or something.


LAUREN: So she won the Challenge last year, and now this is her first year as a, like, a real live junior international elite. So, there’s also an 11 year old coming this year named Olivia Dunne, and I actually just interviewed her today. I’m kind of really excited about her just because she doesn’t really have huge difficulty, but you can, like, see the potential in her. She’s from a little gym in New Jersey, like literally right over the river from me. And she has so much presentation on floor, her beam and bars are really great. So I think I’m just really excited about her because you may not get it this year, but I think she’s one who may come back in the future and just be huge. Bailie Ferrer, she, I think, just turned 14. I remember actually talking about her when we talked about the Nastia Liukin Cup, because she had, like, an amazing floor routine at the Nastia Liukin Cup. And I know I brought it up when I was on Gymcastic when we talked about that. So her floor’s awesome. She also got her amanar at 12.


LAUREN: She…yeah. She’s a…I don’t know if she’s going to compete it this year, because she’s, I think she’s been doing the double. But there’s a video of her on YouTube. I’ll link it to you so you can post it, but it’s her landing her amanar, I think on a resi. When she’s 12. And it’s a really good one. So I’m, I just kind of love her. She actually is Rio-eligible, I think. And then my BFF Morgan Hurd, who I think…

JESSICA: Morgan!

LAUREN: I talked about on the Nastia Liukin Cup Twitter. She’s tiny, she’s amazing. Not a lot of difficulty, but she’s just really fun to watch because she has glasses and… [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: And when she jumps, just from the low bar to the high bar it looks like she’s jumping the Grand Canyon.

LAUREN: [LAUGHS] She’s maybe three feet tall. She’s a tiny, tiny child. I love her. And then Gabby Perrera, who went the, the Classics last year, didn’t make it to the Nationals. She trains at Legacy Elite. Her beam, I think like recently she got like, a 15.2 on it. And she’s 12.


LAUREN: Yeah. So she’s, those are like the girls of the future, I think just in terms of potential. Like, Morgan Hurd doesn’t have the difficulty, but she’s super, super clean. Her basics are great. So all of those girls, I think, are huge for the future. And then yeah, like the usual suspects. Like the MG Elite girls are looking good this year, although Laurie’s not competing. But Ariana and Jazmyn both looking really good. Norah Flatley, Nia Dennis, and then all the Chow’s girls, aside from Norah. So yeah, those are my favorites.

JESSICA: Excellent. So how about the seniors? Who do you think is going to win each event, and then the all-around? And if anyone else has thoughts on this, please let me know. I want to hear.

LAUREN: I’m in. The all-around I think is Biles, just because she has, she won the last camp and I think she has just been looking really good, from what I’ve heard. Unless she, I don’t know. Her Classics tend to be not as good as her Nationals end up being, so I could see something like a Kyla or Brenna or, like, even Madison Kocian I think came in second at the Ranch last month, so I could see someone taking it from her. But I think if she’s competing at like, her highest ability she could win by probably a sizable amount. Vault I’m going to say Biles, just because she’s the only one with two vaults who’s really competing them both, like, super clean, super consistent. And then Skinner will probably come in second. Unless Skinner has like, a triple or something, which she’s going to unveil. But yeah, I think it’s going to be Biles. Bars, I’m going to say Ross just because she’s the cleanest. I would really like to see Hults or Kocian win, but I think it’s going to be Ross. Beam. Beam’s tricky, because I think there are a few that I would want to win. But I think I’m going to go with maybe Alyssa Baumann. Just because that’s kind of who I’m hoping will win.

JESSICA: Mm hmm.

LAUREN: I don’t know if she will. I think she has one of the nicest presentations on beam, and she as a little more difficulty than Kyla, so that’s who I’m going to go with. But it could be Simone. So, you never know. Floor, I’m going to go with Skinner just because she’s my favorite person in the world, and I could see Biles winning. I could also see Lexie Priessman just showing up and being like, “Oh yeah?” And then just doing the best floor routine you’ve ever seen and just winning. [INAUDIBLE]

JESSICA: Right! How do you guys think she’s going to do, now she has a new gym, and it’s only been like, a month or so that she’s been at the new gym. Like, what are you thinking?

LAUREN: I think…


LAUREN: Go ahead.

SPANNY: She’s going to like, tear the place down. She seems so excited, like, “Oh you’re watching? Here we go.” And she’s will just smite everyone. She will light that place on fire. [LAUGHTER] In a good way.


SPANNY: A fantastic way.

LAUREN: Well, based on her floor routine last year, too, which was amazing. Like, I feel like the tumbling that she showed in May at the Ranch–like, that was when she was still with MLT, and she still had a little ways to go, but she looked really good. So I don’t know. I think, like, a gym change to could have like, rejuvenated her, sort of, and put that fire into her to show, to show people, like, what she’s made of. And she’s not just, I don’t know, done. I think people consider her done a lot, and then she comes back, and she’s always like… Like, Classics in 2012? I was like, she’s not looking good. And then she won the National Title for the juniors. So I think we could probably be surprised by her. But my hope is Skinner because she’s awesome.

JESSICA: Well, Skinner’s cleaned up her form a lot.


JESSICA: Which is so interesting, that Gymnastike is doing the Mykayla Skinner story and how her coach is like, “Well, Marta told her from the very beginning she better start pointing her toes and straightening her legs. And she’s been so hard on her, but she wasn’t willing to work on it. And it’s just now dawning on her.” Marta’s like, “YES! Oh my God, the form!” Like, seriously.

LAUREN: And the whole like, news right now, is like, “Oh my God, her floor’s 6.5.” Like, her floor always should have been 6.5, but she never got credited for like, 90% of her leaps. So it’s like, I think she got docked, like, her difficulty would get docked a lot based on leaps. And I think if she’s hitting them, like if she’s finally cleaning that part of her floor up, then I think she’ll start getting that. And from what I’ve heard she’s looking a lot, lot better on like, the little things.

JESSICA: Yeah, and like, in the video they’re saying she has a 6.8 and that’s supposed to be the highest in the world right now. We’ll see. But it’s, I totally agree with you. It’s like, but yeah, but when your execution score’s, like, in the 7s, then yeah. That happens.

SPANNY: I’m really excited to watch that, the series of hers.


SPANNY: I think of all the, like, I’m the most intrigued by it? Even the preview, I was excited. Because I did open gym at Desert Devils, like, once or twice, when I went, was down as ASU. And it was the most like, terrifying experience of my life. And… [LAUGHTER]



SPANNY: Because, well, it was just really, it was, now, I think they know to separate, like “Okay, we’re going to have the kids in one open gym and we’re going to have the adults later on.” And this was just like, this was a free-for-all. And from what I…they had…and this is just maybe like, it was just the layout of the gym was really bizarre. Where like, a tumbling strip would be like, just arbitrarily placed in the middle of everything, or, and there would just be kids sprinting full…


SPANNY: Full force from A to B. You’d just be close to death and even the strap bar was in a weird spot. It was just… it was indicative of Skinner’s gymnastics. [LAUGHTER] It was just chaos. It was pure chaos. And it was fun, I had a good time. But I was terrified for my life. [INAUDIBLE]


JESSICA: That’s what they say in that video, that she has no fear. Which is how she’s able to just do this stuff.

SPANNY: Now I know why. [LAUGHTER] She can do a double double over like, seven kids sprinting. [LAUGHTER] Here you go. A+.

JESSICA: Oh my God.

UNCLE TIM: So what do you guys think’s going to happen with Brenna Dowell? So she’s accepted to Oklahoma, you know, she’s kind of on the bubble. She didn’t really have the Worlds she wanted to. What do you think is going to happen with her in 2014?

LAUREN: I actually talked to her about that at American Cup, I think, and she said she’s definitely going to pull kind of what Mackenzie Caquatto did in 2010, where she’s going to defer the first semester for sure and try to make the World team. And then she, I think she’s going to try to take it from there. Like, if she makes the World team and it looks like she has a future she’ll kind of hold off and defer Oklahoma. But if she doesn’t make the World team I think she’s just going to have a moment where she thinks about her future and if she’s going to stay elite or go to Oklahoma. So I think this summer is going to really kind of tell us what her future’s going to be. But yeah, I think, I don’t know, I think it’s smart that you don’t say like, “I’m definitely going to the Olympics,” and then you put off college for two years when you have no idea. So I like that she’s kind of taking it one step at a time and not really releasing a snap decision to either go to college right now or to wait to 2016.

JESSICA: I think she needs to get pissed or it’s not going to happen for her. She needs to do some angry gymnastics. She’s broken up with against her will, and so she needs to have some, like, serious angry makeup with the floor gymnastics.

LAUREN: Yeah. She has a double layout now, which I’m really excited about.

UNCLE TIM: I think that her strategy’s a smart one. That’s what I was going to suggest and I didn’t know that was her strategy! [UNCLE TIM and LAUREN LAUGH] We’re on the same wavelength, Brenna Dowell.

JESSICA: Are there any skills or upgrades that you think people will be testing out at Classics?

LAUREN: I don’t even know. I know Gowey, Rachel Gowey, has like a bunch of stuff. Like, she did the amanar at camp, and it was kind of like, people on Tumblr were calling it a “chowmanar” because it has, like, some similar [JESSICA and LAUREN LAUGH] block and early to get the two and half twist around. But I mean, Gabby got better really quickly, and I think maybe like, Gowey with some time could figure it out. So that’s definite. I know she has like, some beam and floor stuff she’s working on too.

JESSICA: Wait, is the chowmanar when you do, like, a quarter turn onto to the…

LAUREN: Oh, yeah. [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: Okay. We’re good. That is the secret.

LAUREN: And the kind of thing when you’re landing, your knees being bent at all different angles and your…


LAUREN: Yeah. You’re twisting into the ground. But Shawn Johnson, like, is like “Mahh,” amanar landing where her leg is in half.


JESSICA: But isn’t that like, the raismanamar?

LAUREN: That is the raismanamar as well. [LAUGHTER]

SPANNY: That’s the “Everybody but…”

LAUREN: Pretty much everybody but Maroney-amar.


LAUREN: But Chow has like, I guess…

SPANNY: A secret.

LAUREN: …a special skill for teaching them a poor block.

SPANNY: I think Classics, I think, like that’s the Classic. And speaking of the raismanamar, I remember just seeing her kind of throw one, and it was like a one and a quarter fall to the ground terrifying moment.

LAUREN: That was at Classics like, three years ago, right?

SPANNY: Yeah, yeah.

LAUREN: Or no, four years ago, four years ago. I remember that.

SPANNY: Four years ago. And it was terrifying. But I feel like I remember that Classics was always the meet where you see those upgrades that are usually downgrades by Nationals.


SPANNY: I remember Maroney doing a bunch of stuff that I don’t…we either never saw again or… because it’s like, if you’ve already qualified for Championships you might as well go all out and throw this stuff to see if you can make it. And like you don’t end up making it. [INAUDIBLE] …so much fun.

LAUREN: Oh, and one really cool kind of, it’s not really an upgrade, but it’s a new floor routine. Felicia Hano, who did…she was a junior last year, she’s a senior now. She has a new floor routine and its Miss Val choreography.



SPANNY: Why, why did Miss Val do elite choreography? Is she going to UCLA? Or is she…

LAUREN: Yeah, she goes to Gym Max.


LAUREN: So she’s like, nearby. She’s like, well, why not? So I’m excited for that, probably more than like, any upgrades.

JESSICA: So if you guys were going to pick from this, just going into Classics right now, if you were going to pick your Rio team from age-eligible, and you could pick, like, two juniors and two seniors, is it five? How many do we get? We still get five, right?


JESSICA: Or are we back to six? All right. So…


UNCLE TIM: We’re down to two, Jess. [LAUGHTER]

LAUREN: Something happened.

JESSICA: Oh, something horrible happening with it, I don’t know! [LAUGHS] Who would you take? Like, for sure they are going to be on the Rio team?

UNCLE TIM: Why do I have to go first? [LAUGHTER] I’m going to say, let’s see. Bailie Key will be on my team. I’m not going to put Laurie Hernandez on my team. Well, I’m just thinking she placed second last year at P&G Championships, but I’m not going to put her on my team. I’ll put Mykayla Skinner on my team, I feel like she could be the Aly Raisman of this quad. You know everyone was kind of, very anti-Aly at one point. Even up to the Olympics, but she made the Olympics and did quite well. So Mykayla Skinner’s my Aly Raisman. Let’s see. I’ll put Simone Biles on there. I feel like that’s a good enough start for me. What about you, Lauren?

LAUREN: Okay. I also have Skinner, but I see her like, an ASac where she comes back, like… She was a senior, a first year senior in the earlier quad, but like, wasn’t, didn’t have her shit together, basically. And then she comes back and she does okay–well, ASac didn’t do okay, she did great. But Mykayla does okay during that quad and then in 2016 she’s just going to be the one who’s like, leading everybody else. Like, “Look at me, I’m the best, and I’m leader.” And yeah. I think she’s going to be my Alicia in this quad. I’m also going to go with Ragan, because, I don’t know. I think, like, Marta has a weird, secret plan for her. And I think, like, she’s been training at the camps, or like attending the camps since before, I think like two years before we saw her in an elite competition. And I feel like Marta sees something in her that will make her a successful senior elite. So even though she’s not, like, doing really huge upgrades or anything, I’m going to go with Ragan. I don’t even know. Probably Simone. I kind of really like Norah a lot. I think, like similar to Ragan, like, she has something there. Chow’s just waiting, like he did with Gabby, just waiting to bring it out. And then I’ll just go with Kyla, because she’s just always there, doing stuff. And she’s never not going to be on a team.

SPANNY: She’s like a halo.

UNCLE TIM: She is.

SPANNY: She’s on every single Classics since 2009, up until now. So she’s never going to stop. [LAUGHTER] Just going to keep going. Yeah.

JESSICA: Spanny.

SPANNY: I think, well, I agree, with I think Biles and Bailie are my 2014 locks. Well, I mean… you know what I mean. Biles and Bailie. Nia. I think she’s got…I think she is built… what was I going to say? Built to last. But I mean, like, I see her continuing to upgrade and not being like injury prone. I would love it is Norah made it. Just because the pretties. And I agree, Lauren, I think that Chow’s got secrets there that she’s going unveil and it’s going to be like the night before all-around finals and she’ll have like a million different skills.

LAUREN: Like, she’ll beat Bailie, like the day before.

JESSICA: Mm hmm, mm hmm.

SPANNY: Right, right. And on that note, I’d like to say that Gabby will be there. Because I’m Spanny.


SPANNY: That’s what I want.

LAUREN: Somebody said you deserved 75% of her gold medal. [LAUGHTER] Someone on Tumblr said that.

SPANNY: If we’re giving away, if we’re giving medals out based on, like, who’s wanted it the most, then yeah, I do.

UNCLE TIM: You deserve that gold medal more than anyone. [LAUGHTER]

SPANNY: You can send it to: Gymcastic’s PO Box and I will go get it. [LAUGHTER] ‘Cause that’s how gymnastics works.

LAUREN: Right.

SPANNY: Whoever wants it the most gets it.

LAUREN: Well, ’cause like, this came about because someone said Alicia deserved her 2011 gold more than Anna Li. And Anna Li deserved it more than Alicia. So someone said Alicia deserved it the most because she, like, wanted it the most for herself or something. I’m like, “Um, okay, that’s the answer.” And then, like, Spanny gets 75% of Gabby’s gold. [LAUGHS]

SPANNY: Like, we could argue that every single gymnast on the planet deserves a gold medal, because they do.

LAUREN: Right.

SPANNY: Because they’re working their asses off every minute of every day. Like, you could take your most hated gymnast, and you could be like, “That gymnast deserves, like, a million dollars and a hundred golds,” because they do.


SPANNY: And it’s just not the way it works, so… Shit on that. [LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: What about you, Jessica?

JESSICA: Okay, well…

UNCLE TIM: Who’s on your Rio team?

JESSICA: Norah Flatley and Bailie Key are on the team. Like, psh, done, over. Okay, I think that, is it Alyssa Baumann or Rachel? Which one is a senior?


JESSICA: Alyssa. Everyone I’ve heard from who’s been to camp has talked about her. So, something’s up. Like, she’s going to be the WOGette of the future. And then Priessman, because I think she has the fire. Like you were saying. Like, she wants it. So she would have all the imaginary medals if that were how it worked. And then Nia Dennis for sure. Like, I think Nia Dennis and Simone Biles–I don’t know how many people I have on my team right now, but I’m going to keep going. [LAUGHTER] Nia and Simone…

UNCLE TIM: It’s a lot of people.

JESSICA: And then Ragan, because she looks–there’s just something about that girl, you’re totally right. Like she, and she looks, she has that little face like she’s ready for, ooh, she’s ready for some cheese. Just like Shawn Johnson. Like, something with her teeth and her little mouth. Like, she looks like a little mouse, like a door, like Fivel kind of? [LAUGHTER]

LAUREN: That’s my favorite!

JESSICA: Like, so cute! So, I think there’s something about that girl. And then being in the gym every day with Bailie Key, like obviously everybody in there’s going to push them up. And I don’t know what I’m up to yet, [LAUGHS] but Kocian, Madison Kocian, is another one

UNCLE TIM: The United States of Jessica gets twelve entries into the Rio Olympics. [LAUGHTER]

LAUREN: Brings seven teams.

JESSICA: That’s right, that’s right. So, there’s that. All right. To conclude: How to watch the Secret Classic. So first of all, you should buy tickets and go because it’s awesome, and it’s like a small meet so you get to see all of your favorite gymnasts and coaches, everybody is there. And it’s going to be The schedule’s there and you can watch there. And the hashtag, the ever-important hashtag, you guys, is #secretclassic. And you know that’s a really long hashtag, and that’s annoying, but you know why hashtags matter? Because sponsors pay for these meets, and sponsors really want to see that people are thinking of their product while they are watching these events that they shell out a lot of money for. So, use the hashtag because the more you use the hashtag, the more sponsors will be bringing us these meets free–remember this is free!–and live. So throw them some love, #secretclassic. All right.

SPANNY: Speaking of, sorry, real quick, about free, free broadcasting–per our USAG media maven, Scott Bregman, they’re also going to be, we’re also going to be able to watch juniors’ podium training and HOPES streaming live on the UC…or the USAG YouTube channel.


SPANNY: I feel like I’ve never seen streaming of HOPES before.

JESSICA: Me either.

LAUREN: Like, never.

SPANNY: This is hours and hours and hours and hours. Like, the HOPES meet usually goes on for like, a hundred hours.


SPANNY: And it’s basically an entire weekend of binging. It’s a gymnastics binge, really.


UNCLE TIM: What weekend are we talking about? I don’t think we’ve mentioned that yet.

JESSICA: Oh, it’s this Saturday. Right, isn’t it? [LAUGHS]


UNCLE TIM: This Saturday, August 2nd.

SPANNY: And Friday is the Challenge meet and podium training.

JESSICA: This Saturday. So you all know what you’ll be doing right now, Friday and Saturday. Tell everyone to leave you alone and get off all the computers, and all the screens in the house so that you can use them all to watch this. And we will all be on Twitter discussing at length. [LAUGHTER]

LAUREN: Very sexual.

JESSICA: Speaking of that, let’s talk about the men’s qualifier in Colorado Springs. High, high up in the mountains where it is the worst place to try to compete ever in your entire life. Uncle Tim, can you tell us how everyone fared at that meet?

UNCLE TIM: Well, it wasn’t anything very impressive. It was a giant mess. So, I think maybe we should just talk about the good things and not belabor the bad points too much. So first up, we need to talk about Donnel Wittenburg, who did a huge dragulescu. He did a handspring double front half out on vault, and it really looked like he did a handspring front half out. It like, he had so much height, it was way too easy for him. And I think he could probably do like, a full twisting double front. He’d have to do probably the twist on the second flip, but I think he could do that. What about you, Jess?

JESSICA: He’s my new Dragulescu. Like, he’s my new, he’s going to eat everyone’s lunch. He’s going to eat, like, he’s going to Leyva’s lunch, he’s going to eat Horton’s lunch, he’s going to eat Mr. Bootylicious–what’s his name, he’s married to the trampolinist? With the “L” in his name?

UNCLE TIM: Legendre?

JESSICA: Legendre! Thank you, thank you. This is the portion of the show where we play trivia. [LAUGHS] Legendre. He’s going to–have you seen his tumbling? It’s insane! Like, I don’t know about his stick ability, but my God. Dragulescu wishes he should see Mr. Donnel Wittenburg. Oh yeah! I said it. Uh.


JESSICA: I love him. Love him.


JESSICA: He’s just, amplitude city, dude!

UNCLE TIM: Amplitude… wow. You’re turning into Tim Daggett.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] I know! So cheesy!

UNCLE TIM: Right before my eyes.

JESSICA: Gymnastics 101.

UNCLE TIM: Amplitude City! Yeah! [JESSICA LAUGHS] So, Jessica, a while back you wondered if John Orozco needed glasses because he couldn’t see the vault. Tell us a little bit about how his vault went down at the OTC.

JESSICA: Oh my God, his vault is so much better! Like, he’s actually hitting the board in the right place, for maybe the first time ever, or since we’ve been watching him. I mean, it’s like a whole different Orozco. He’s totally got it down. I don’t know if it’s just like, they worked, went straight back to basics. Like, hurdle and hit the board in the right place, or if he worked on, he got over his fear, because he’s not twisting now, or what happened. But it’s, he’s like a different vaulter. It’s not scary, he goes way up in the air. I mean, they’re not like the best vaults in world, but I mean, they’re so much better.

UNCLE TIM: Yeah, so he went from doing a handspring double twist to a handspring double front. And yeah, it was a lot better. And then also, he, after the meet he posted some videos on Instagram of him doing the same vault, and it just looked five hundred times better, so we’ll see. It just looked like he’s keeping his chest up a little bit longer when he hits the springboard as well, instead of just kind of nose diving straight into the vault and rushing everything. So that’s good to see. Now, Brandon Wynn. We know he is a world medalist on rings. Jessica, you hate rings and you hate pommel horse. [JESSICA LAUGHS] What goes through your mind when you watch rings? And Lauren and Spanny, this question’s coming to you next. [LAUREN and SPANNY MURMUR IN THE BACKGROUND] So be ready.

JESSICA: Well “Beefcake” is the first thing I think, and then I repeat that a couple times in my head when I watch him. And then I look at how very straight he is when he does his crosses and whatnot. And he doesn’t look like he’s cheating. Which I feel like everyone looks like they’re cheating except like the top three people in the world. And then I’m impressed. And then he bends his knees, and then I get upset with him. And I think, “How are we ever going to beat the Chinese with this nonsense?” But I realize that this is, you know, the guys just seem to do things differently. Like, they just, you know, they only throw their super great form out there when it’s ultimately necessary, at Nationals or at Worlds. So I think he’ll be nice and clean. All cleaned up with those silver pants [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] by the time we get to Worlds.

UNCLE TIM: What about you, Lauren and Spanny? What do you guys think as you watch ring, ring routines in general, not just Brandon Wynn for example. What about you, Lauren?

LAUREN: In general, I don’t know. I just get scared. ‘Cause I’m like, their arms are going to fall off. [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] This is how bad I am with MAG. It’s like, I just look at their arms and I’m just like, “I don’t know what they’re doing.” I don’t know. I like dismounts, I like when they hold themselves up for a really long time on the rings. [LAUREN and UNCLE TIM LAUGH]

UNCLE TIM: What about you, Spanny?

SPANNY: Rings. Impressive. I, I can kind of try fathom the strength needed. Biceps are fun. [LAUGHTER] Yeah. I always think about, I don’t know. I always think about when I coach, like, preschool gymnastics and little kids just like run full blast and jump on the rings and everything. Uncle Tim, were…I’m trying to ask… Am I making this up that rings… No, just delete this, that’s dumb. Because it’s always been still rings, they’ve always had to be still, right? Like, there was no element…

JESSICA: No, there was swinging!

SPANNY: Were there?

UNCLE TIM: Yes, flying rings back in the day. Yeah.

SPANNY: I feel like that would be so much more fun.

LAUREN: Yeah, that would be really fun.

SPANNY: Not just fun, interesting to watch. [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] And, also gymnastics-y. Because now, now you watch and it’s all slow and everything’s in high def so you just see these, like, grunting, struggling straining. Like my child when he needs to go. [LAUGHTER] But he’s like straining and you’re trying so hard not to move, but you’re actually shaking a lot, and the ring tower’s vibrating. [LAUGHTER] But…

UNCLE TIM: Sorry, just picturing your son shaking. [LAUGHTER]

SPANNY: That’s…

UNCLE TIM: His face turning red.

SPANNY: I’m going to send you a video. And you’re going to think I’m making it up or I’m exaggerating.

JESSICA: Can we have a picture side by side of like, Brandon Wynn on like, no, someone who’s really struggling. Because he doesn’t struggle hard enough. Someone who it’s like their worst event. And your son when he’s grumping…

SPANNY: Pooping…

JESSICA: …side by side pictures, so we can show how hard it is.

SPANNY: Let’s refocus…

JESSICA: For toddlers to poop.

SPANNY: I am, I’m obsessed with… we’re moving soon, and so the house we’re moving into, the whole upstairs is going to be Grumpus’ play room. And of course I’m already like, “Playroom/His own workout gym.” [LAUGHTER] And I want to do, like you know those little kids’ rings, you can just mount them from the ceiling. And I’m like, “This is how it starts, and it’s going to be awesome.” And then I’ll probably be sent to jail for, like, pushing my child or I’ll be on Dr. Phil.

LAUREN: Well, there’s that video of like, the Russian little boys. [JESSICA GASPS] And they’re like four and five, and they do like a thousand press handstands and they have eight packs, and that’s what I want Spanny to do. [LAUGHTER]

SPANNY: It’s gonna happen. He’s already got kind of, yeah, I don’t know. I’m going to make sure that when he gets really good at rings that he, that everybody’s going to know how hard he’s trying. [LAUGHTER] There’s none of this like, “Eh, it’s so easy for me” crap. Like, people are going to know he’s going to be tooting and grunting and drooling, probably. [LAUGHTER] As he holds an iron cross or… [LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: Awesome. As long as he’s better than Baby Horton I’ll be proud.

SPANNY: Yes, his nemesis is Baby Horton. [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS]

UNCLE TIM: All right. So, moving on, this, Scott Bregman I do not believe was at the OTC, yet USAG still had videos. And there were some interesting moments. Perhaps my favorite is before Jake Martin does his rings routine [JESSICA LAUGHS] there’s a sudden zoom…

JESSICA: [LAUGHING] Go ahead. Tell this. It was the worst. I laughed so hard when I watched that. [LAUGHS]

UNCLE TIM: It’s like…

JESSICA: [LAUGHING] I can’t believe that they adjust that. Awesome.

UNCLE TIM: The camera suddenly zooms in on his, I think it’s his right nipple? and his armpit hair as he’s saluting. And we get very up and close and personal with Jake Martin’s armpit hair.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] It’s like the best. I hope they do, like, blooper videos at the end of the year. This has to go in there. Oh, we’ll put it up so you guys can watch it. This was not up to Bregman’s standards, for sure. [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS]

UNCLE TIM: And then the other moment that I love. So last week we were talking about the US Classic and how Mihai was in the back, you know, being like a big papa during Ariana Agrapides’ beam routine when she fell, and was like very, very dramatic about it. And then you have John Orozco on floor and you can see Kevin Mazeika in the background. And John’s kind of struggling on his press handstand a little bit. And Kevin Mazeika was the opposite. The antithesis of Mihai. Kevin just like, moves his lips a little bit, like, “Mm. It’s okay, you’re struggling, it’s okay, no big deal.” And then, you know, I feel like Mihai probably would have falling out his chair, like “Come on, John!” kind of thing. Very Bela-ish, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a Romanian thing or something. I don’t know. I don’t know. So the big news is also Danell Leyva, right? So 2012, third at the London Olympics, 2013 he finished seventh at the P&G Championships in the all-around but was still named to the World Championship team. Then he withdrew. And now we’re in 2014, and he’s fifth in all around in the United States at a qualifying meet. This isn’t Nationals or anything. So it feels like he might be on the downswing a little bit. I don’t know. We’ll see. He did quite well on parallel bars. He did not win high bar though, Paul Ruggeri won high bar at this meet. I don’t know. It’s hard to say. His parallel bars is looking pretty good. His double front dismount always scares the crap out of me because it looks like he’s going to rotate so slowly and never make it to his feet. I don’t know. But, Jessica, what you need to do now for me is choreograph Danell’s routine. Because he does this round off whip two and half twists that’s not very pretty. After watching the Texas Dreams’ Beyond the Routine I feel like Chris should probably coach Danell on twisting in general. But after this he does this littlefrolic into the corner and it’s just, it’s not very cute and I feel like he could do better. So Jessica, what should Danell do into the corner after that pass?

JESSICA: Well, the, oh geez. I’m just rewatching it right now. So he just does like a little, it’s not even like a hitch kick, it’s just a kick, what he does. It’s just so sloppy! I just feel like, God, his, like, tumbling seems so much faster but it’s just out of control and sloppy. But then again it’s men. They’re like, a mess until it counts. So unless you’re Paul Ruggeri or like, Josh Dixon, who always look to me like cleaner than everybody else. Or like Paul, the Hamm brothers always looked super clean no matter what they were doing. So, well, what he should really do is he should do a fouette with a full turn in the middle. Like Baryshnikov could, used to do. I don’t know what it’s called, because we don’t… maybe we do have that in gymnastics, but I don’t know what it is. So you do like a hitch kick and then you turn yourself all the way around, and then you land. I think that would be fantastic. Or, even better, he should do a little Cuban salsa into the corner. A little, like, hunched down, get his hands out, do a little step to the side, uh. With head out, you know? Do a little uh with the shoulders. I’m doing all the choreography right now.

UNCLE TIM: I can sense that. I’m sure the listeners really appreciate it.

JESSICA: And that would be… [LAUGHS] I think that would really make him stand out, and it would make everybody start talking about him, which he needs to raise his… I feel like he needs a little, he needs a little spark in his corner. Other than the USO team, he needs a little buzz, you know what I mean?

UNCLE TIM: I feel like USAG should make a video of the US men’s team trying to do the women’s leaps on floor. I feel like it would be the most hilarious video ever. Like a bunch of dudes trying to do a ferrari. Just like, it would be the best. Lauren, what jump do you think the men should try?

LAUREN: Oh my God, sheep jumps, all day. [LAUREN and UNCLE TIM LAUGH] That’s what I want to see. A bunch of guys doing sheep jumps. [LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: I would love it too, it would be the best. Scott Bregman, write that down. I know you’re listening. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: Put it on the list. At least Michigan men will make it happen. Or, like, Illinois, they haven’t done any. I know they’re all there working out, but they haven’t done any of our request videos now. I feel like we should have them all try sheep jumps and ferraris, please. [LAUGHTER] Justin Spring, that’s for you.

UNCLE TIM: Awesome. So, one meet that we didn’t really talk about that happened in July was the Festival Pan Americano. [LAUGHTER] And basically what we come out of this meet with was the fact that Cuba’s really awesome and they should send a team to Worlds. Which they haven’t done in a long time. And so on the women’s side you had Yesenia Ferrera Nunez. She won gold on vault over Yamilet Pena of the Dominican Republic. She scored a 14.6625 and Yamilet scored a 14.2375. And as far as I know–I haven’t seen any videos of her vault–but there are videos of her bars, which she won. And she won floor with a 13.800. What do you guys think of this floor routine, Lauren and Jessica?

LAUREN: I loved it. I just watched it today, and I was screaming. I love her tumbling, I love her–how into it she is. The only other thing I can like reason that I absolutely loved was someone doing a Beyoncé routine, and I forgot who that was already, but it was crazy. But yeah, this one was probably my favorite in a really long time. And yeah, I like her energy. I like–she opens with like full twisting double layout, and then she does a double layout in like, her second or third pass. And so her tumbling’s really on point. Yeah, I don’t know choreographically what to say about it, but I don’t know, I thought it was a really fun, high energy routine.

JESSICA: I love her so much I can’t even stand it! She is like–I’m in love with her! Oh! She’s everything! She’s so fantastic! She’s totally into her dance, she can dance, she actually dances to the music. And it’s not just like standing and stuff, she shows extension and has great presentation. Oh my God, her leaps are like all over split. She shimmies and does a little samba in the corner, and it all looks good and it goes with the music. And she does this crazy backwards spinning leap thing off from her knees. I love her! Oh my God, her tumbling is so freaking good, too! Like, her landings are a little bit, they’re not like perfect stuck, but that’s bad for you anyway so we’re just going to ignore that. But she’s, I’m totally obsessed with her. I’m obsessed, obsessed, obsessed. They have to go to Worlds this year because hello! No one’s going to defect to another communist country. Like, Cuba, come on! They’ve got to send a team. [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] I love her!

UNCLE TIM: So to go back to Beyoncé, that was Rebecca Andrade of Brazil.

LAUREN: Yes, that’s it, from Brazil. Yeah. I love that routine. I was like, “What is happening? This is my new favorite thing in life.” It’s like a remix of several Beyoncé songs. It’s awesome.

UNCLE TIM: It’s pretty fantastic. We’ll also link to that in our show notes. And then on the men’s side we have Manrique Larduet, also of Cuba. He’s doing crazy stuff, he’s really awesome. I think that he had an 89 or a 90 in the all-around, which is an exceptional score. Very well contend at the Worlds on several events–parallel bars, floor, all around. His floor routine had a little bit maybe, a little bit of the old school Cuban flare that you love, Jessica. What did you think? There’s a little transition in the corner that I thought maybe you’d like a lot. And maybe Danell Leyva could take some notes on.

JESSICA: I just, this…God, Cuba, I just. This makes me yearn for the days when Cuba was at everything. Because they’re just, their style is just so beautiful. Like, their tumbling is huge, and they actually include the artistry. Oh my God! His form, it’s just so nice! He does like a thomas, or is it like a one and half thomas? And his legs just look like they go on for days. And I love his little thing in the corner. I don’t know, it’s like a twisting hitch kick. There’s probably some Frenchie ballet name for that, but I don’t know what it is. The only thing that’s distracting is that he is so taped up that his legs look like he has casts on, which is worrisome. But I just love him. Like, I love the Cubans. Bring on all the Cubans, they are just, they’re, they’re exactly what I want on the artistic side and the power side married together in perfect harmony. They’re like a team of Produnovas. You know how I feel about her.

UNCLE TIM: Nice. So what was going on in master’s gymnastics news, Jessica?

JESSICA: Well, I don’t know if you guys watched The Extreme Weight Loss on ABC, which sounds like the most horrible name for a show ever. But it’s actually, it doesn’t have to do with their making them lose weight in an extreme way. It’s that they have an extreme amount of weight to lose. So, that’s a little bit reassuring. But anyway, this one was this woman Georgiana, who was–or Georgeanna, I guess her name was, Georgeanna. And she was a competitive gymnast, and she always loved gymnastics. You know, she had the posters all over her room, and her daughters grew up doing gymnastics. But she went right from being a competitive athlete to having two kids, and then she just didn’t…she completely focused on her kids and did nothing for herself, so she gained all this weight. And she like, now she had high blood pressure and all these problems, so she wanted to get back. And you know, her family’s totally supportive of her, like, losing the weight. And like, her, you know, her passion was gymnastics. So the trainer she worked with was like, “Okay, we’ll use that as your goal for losing weight.” And so the very first workout, she was 315 pounds, she does cartwheels all the way across this field. That’s her first day of boot camp. I was like, “Yes!” And you can see, like, she has great flexibility and strength. Like, despite all this weight she’s gained, can you imagine strapping on a weight pack that’s, you know, 215 pounds and doing cartwheels with it? You have to be really strong to do that. So like, she definitely had, like, a great base that she’s working from. It was so cool to watch, so like at each milestone she had something she had to accomplish, and she had to get to a certain weight, and then sort of she had a reward. And one of the rewards when she had lost 117 pounds was she got to work out with Nadia. And Nadia choreographed a floor routine for her. Oh my God, and Nadia. You guys know how Nadia is. Like, we never get to hear her do commentary anymore, but she says exactly what she thinks. Like, she has no filter. I’m sure she does, but she doesn’t use it very often, which is my favorite thing about her. Because I am very much the same way. So she’s like, “She lost 117 pounds. That’s a whole gymnast. She’s already lost a whole gymnast.” It’s amazing. She’s like, “Can you believe this? That’s a whole person.” So Nadia works with her, she’s cracking up, she’s like matter of fact. And Nadia’s like, “Oh, okay. You can already do your back walkover.” Like, they spotted her on her back walkover on the low beam. She weighs, I don’t know, one…what would she be then? Still, what’s the math? She was 315 and she lost…she’s like 200 pounds and she’s doing back walkovers on beam. She’s amazingly strong and has this incredible flexibility. So then she’s like, “Oh, let’s take you to the tumble trak and we’ll try some back handsprings.” And she’s totally doing her back handsprings with a spot. It was so cool! She cried when she saw Nadia, and then at the very end when she’s lost pretty much all of her weight, she’s, like, down to 181 pounds, she does this performance in front of–are you ready for this? Like, how nervous would you guys be? She–like, even if you were in the best shape of your life, how, even if you had, like your 12 year old body, how nervous would you be? She does a routine, a floor routine and a beam routine, in front of Bart Conner, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes–who’s pregnant at this point in the show, and Nadia’s there to help coach her in her corner. Oh my God! So she does her beam. It’s just, like, basics, but you can see she has good basics. And Bart was so complimentary, the way he always is. And he said, “You can tell that you have this background and you were a gymnast because you have your, the way the technique you used, the way your arms are.” He was just so complimentary. And then she does her floor routine, and she has a round off back handspring in it, and a front handspring. She’s terrified to do the back handspring by herself. So her coach goes out there and gives her a spot for it, and she kind of, and then she, like, fell on her front handspring. But she did the whole thing, right? And she went for it. Because she was terrified not to do it perfectly. And this is the other thing. So Mary Lou Retton comes on the show, halfway, and she coaches her. And Mary Lou Retton’s like, “I had the same struggles. It’s like, as a gymnast you want to be perfect all the time. Like, if you can’t be perfect than you don’t even want to try it.” You know, do you guys ever have that? Where you, if you can’t do it with good form, even if it’s like, learning some new thing in the gym. Like, if it’s going to be ugly, why even bother trying? Do you ever have that?

UNCLE TIM: I just have impeccable form all the time. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: I feel like when I learned, like, Olympic lifting and stuff, I was like, I don’t want to do it with any heavy weights. Like, I want to do it with just the bar until it’s absolutely. And then I will add the tiniest bit of weight until I can do that absolutely perfect. Which I know is a bad example, because you should do it with perfect form, Olympic weight lifting, or you’re going to blow your back out. But I can, I can relate to that.

UNCLE TIM: I have a good example.

JESSICA: Okay, go.

UNCLE TIM: I’m that way in yoga. I have to point my toes, I have to have 180 split when I’m doing different things, and yeah. I’m that way in yoga.

JESSICA: Good. So, Mary Lou Retton also talks about… So this woman, Georgeanna’s telling her her story about how she didn’t pay any attention to herself and just put everything into her kids and her husband and whatever, and Mary Lou Retton’s like, “I can totally relate. After I had my kids I totally struggled with body image, because I was like, ‘I have to get my body back.'” And she’s like, “How insane was that? I’m not ever going to get my 16 year old body back, let alone my 16 year old elite gymnast body back. That’s totally unrealistic!” So she really opened up about struggling with that, just as an athlete and having that idea of, “Oh, my perfect body is how I looked at my peak.” And that’s just totally unrealistic, you know?

SPANNY: It’s impossible to get over that, too. Like, I’m not going to claim that I was ever anything near an elite, because clearly that is not the case. But it is every single day you have to remind yourself. You know, whether you believe in science, or God, or the juju bee, or whatever like designed the female body to distort in such a way to prepare for this baby, to deliver this baby. And not all those bodies go back. I deal with it every single day. Because even though I lost the weight, my body is a whole new body. Like, it’s, that’s just how it is. It never, like, I have to remind myself every day. I’m never fit into those jeans anymore, because my hips are on another planet [JESSICA and SPANNY LAUGH] than they were before. And that’s just how it is. And it’s frustrating and at the same time extremely empowering. You’re like, “You know what? Nope, can’t do that. But I can do this, I can create the miracle of life. Wonderful! Life that doesn’t know how to poop without me helping it.” [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: That’s a thing, I think, like, I totally struggled with that too. Because I’m like always going up 20 pounds, down 20 pounds, up 40 pounds, down 30 pounds–like, my weight’s all over the place.

SPANNY: Mm hmm.

JESSICA: And I really, like, one of the things I have to remind myself is when I go to gymnastics, like, sometimes I’ll look like I’ll weigh 165 pounds. Sometimes I’ll weight 190 pounds when I go in there. And I’m just like, because I’m so self-conscious about that.


JESSICA: But you know what, I’m just like, doing this because I love it and because it’s fun for me is what helps me get back in shape.


JESSICA: But doing this because I love it is what helps me get back in shape. And so I have to, I just have to go in and be like, you know, “I don’t care what anybody thinks, and I’m just going to do this. I’m going to start on trampoline, do my conditioning, and slowly I’ll get back to it.” But like, having that passion about something is just so helpful to motivate yourself to workout.

SPANNY: That, and what a high. Like, it is a physical and mental high. I just this past weekend, with my nephews were in town. We went and, we went to the gym and I did back handsprings and back tucks for the very first time since I had… Since 2009 I’ve had two knee surgeries, a hip surgery, and a uterus…a baby extraction from the uterus. [LAUGHTER] And so it’s been five years, over five years since I’ve done anything, anything like that. And it was kind of like you mentioned. “Okay, I’m going to get up on trampoline, I’m just going to bounce here a little bit, just chuck it.” And it is the most exciting. Like just, my air sense is so out of whack I was caught off guard. But yeah. I left, like, I was floating. I wasn’t walking, I wasn’t even human anymore. I was dead and I had ascended into the heavens. Because I was so happy just to be able to do, just do that again. Or for the first time. I imagine that it’s the first as had I done it before when I was you know mother doing it for the first time. I, there’s something magic about gymnastics.

JESSICA: There is! And just like, leaving the gym with chalk on you, and the sweat, and just like the feeling…

SPANNY: Mm hmm.

JESSICA: I love it. I feel so accomplished, even if I go and I’m like, “Okay, I haven’t been here in a while, I’m a little overweight, I need to go just work on basics for a while so I don’t kill myself.” Which basically means trampoline. And what’s more fun in the entire world than trampoline onto the resi pit? Oh my God, my favorite thing ever. And doing a lot of handstands. It’s just like, it’s the best, oh my God. And so I love that they pick this woman for the show, to show that yes, you can still do gymnastics even if you’re overweight. And not only is it–I mean, she’s not doing crazy stuff. But she used it as a goal to lose weight, and it was super fun for her, and she had these like very concrete markers that she could reach. So the first thing was that she was going to do her front handspring by herself. And then she did her back walkover on beam. And then she did her back handspring. So the very final step at the very end of her final weigh in and all that stuff. You know, like, makeover and she has her extra skin cut off and all that stuff. Which, they did a fabulous job with, by the way. You couldn’t even tell, there’s like no scars. And I have some friends who did that and have like huge scars, so make sure you go to this clinic, wherever they did this show, because the plastic surgeons there are magical. So if anyone needs that surgery, just by the way. So she does her final test, she does her weigh-in, and they’re like, okay, you’re going to do your back handspring right now, by yourself. So she weighs a hundred and…what did she weigh then? 165 I think, something like that? Or was that…I think it was 165…she ends up at 1…yeah, around there. So she does her back handspring by herself, totally does it, no problem. Stand back handspring, by herself, she’s 44 years old, she has two kids, and she does a standing back handspring by herself. And the coaches were just like, “Yes, that’s it! You’re a gymnast!” Like, you just did this skill by yourself, you know. And it was just like the best, best thing ever. When she’s did it on the show, I totally yelled. I was like, “Go, block, she did it, she did a back handspring!” [LAUGHS] And that’s like, when you can do any kind of flip or back handspring, that’s when you feel, “I’m a gymnast.” You know?

LAUREN: Yeah, yeah.

JESSICA: Even if it’s on tramp or whatever. It was so great, and so motivational, I just loved that these judges, you know all these great gymnasts participated and promoting adult gymnastics. That’s what they did. It was a whole masters gymnastics show, and hats off to all of you who participated in this. It was just so inspirational. And it was great to watch and feel, I feel, like, motivated. I feel like every woman in the whole entire world can relate to this woman. You know, you have ten pounds you feel like are overweight or you know, 300, or whatever. It was just, she, they sent a great message, it was wonderful.

SPANNY: Yeah. Like fitness through playing is…I feel…in my… for me, for my body it is the best way to attain any sort of fitness goal. Right now my fitness goal is to be able to play, like really play in the playgrounds with my son. We’ve been having a lot of fun with that this summer, and my fitness goal is always to be able to do that. Is to be… if I can’t fit in there, and he’s like, “Mom, no you’re lame, go away.” Like, I want to be able to climb up there, and I want to be able to do the monkey bars with him, and I want to be able to, you know, play on all those toys. Because that’s what they seem to me, they’re like toys. Healthy fitness goals that are tangible as opposed to ideals, I guess.

JESSICA: Yeah, exactly. Not the ideal of perfection, just like… yeah, and don’t you feel like you play… Every time my nieces are here, or small friends are over–like, my friends bring their kids over–I find myself pushing myself way harder to workout. When I’m like, trying to get away from a little kid in the pool…

SPANNY: Oh yeah!

JESSICA: …and I’m like, “Of course you’ll never catch me! I’m amazing, I’m an adult, I’m way faster than you!” But then, you know, I have to let them catch me eventually. But I, like, work so hard.

SPANNY: Yeah, it’s, you know, playing with children is such a workout. It’s an energy suck. And it’s worth it.


SPANNY: Because, you know, from a fitness standpoint as well. To just keep going, going, you know, at the children’s museum today, crawling. Lots of crawling. Crawling is hard. [JESSICA LAUGHS] It is hard for me. And I did it. And there were like…because they whole thing was like, anthills. So you were an ant–sorry, I forgot about your ant problems. [JESSICA LAUGHS] But I was an ant today. And you crawl through these ant hills, which–good thing I’m not claustrophobic, because I probably would have like, lit the place on fire. But yeah, it was just fun, fun. And that’s what master’s gymnastics is too. It’s just fun. It’s fun exercise.


UNCLE TIM: Before we get to gymternet news and your letters, here’s how you can support the show. To donate, there’s a donate button on the About page. All money, or I should say in my Wisconsin accent…

SPANNY: Yes. Although that was not a Wisconsin accent.

UNCLE TIM: I know it wasn’t. About. I can’t do it anymore. About and Aboat.



SPANNY: [WISCONSIN ACCENT] There’s a donate button on the about page. All money raised goes directly to [LAUGHTER] the show. To improving our sound equipment and paying our bills. [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] We have an Amazon bookmark. Remember, if you shop on Amazon from us [LAUGHTER] a little portion of what you buy goes back to supporting the show. Yeah.


SPANNY: [WISCONSIN ACCENT] You put a bookmark link on our About page. Just go to the link, [LAUGHTER] add it to your bookmarks or favorites, and use the bookmark when you shop. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: I feel like you’re wanted in Fargo.

LAUREN: That is drop dead gorgeous, the whole movie.

UNCLE TIM: I feel like I’ve gone to Piggly Wiggly or some grocery store.

SPANNY: [WISCONSIN ACCENT] Plus, on iTunes, review us on iTunes or Stitcher. [LAUGHTER]


UNCLE TIM: I just got one upped by Spanny Tampson. [LAUGHTER]

SPANNY: The Midwest won.


JESSICA: Okay, speaking of Spanny Tampson, let’s get down to some Midwest news and talk about Gabby. Because it looks like Gabby is training with–okay, last week we talked about how Gabby had left Chow’s, and we didn’t know what was going on, and I suggested that Nastia invite her over to her apartment and have a, be an arbitrator for whatever’s happening because Chow and Gabby are meant to be together. But right now it looks like Gabby is training with Fernando, who is one of the coaches who coached her at Waller’s Gym Jam when she was living in LA. But Fernando is now at Buckeye, where Nia Dennis trains. You know, Nia Dennis with the highest standing arabian ever, Nia Dennis. And so it makes sense she would go work out where Fernando is, because he was coaching her before. So, Spanny, what are your thoughts on this? Do you have any insight?

SPANNY: [WISCONSIN ACCENT] Well, I–now I can’t stop doing it. [WITHOUT ACCENT] My initial thoughts are sadness, because, you know, consistency in both gymnastics and but also in your home life, family life just outside of gymnastics, like real life, is important. And it’s sad that everything’s always kind of up in the air for her. Knowing very little about her, her departure, I don’t know. As long as she is happy and she finds a place that she is comfortable at where she can stay for some time, without any of the drama. And I feel terrible too. Like, once it was kind of announced that, I think it was Nia, someone wrote on Nia’s askfm and she’s like, “Yeah, Gabby’s training here.” And people are like, “Oh God. She is there to steal your family and your pets, you better run!” [JESSICA LAUGHS] And just really bad, mean things. Like, I hope that, I don’t know. I hope Nia, and Nia does seem strong enough to know that, for her to know that this doesn’t affect her training in any other way. Anything other than it pushing her.


SPANNY: She’s now training with the Olympic champion, going neck and neck and that’s why, and that’s kind of why I see them both on the team, is I can’t think of one situation that Nia would have come across that Gabby hasn’t already dealt with. Mentally. And yeah, it’s, I just hope she stays there for a while.

JESSICA: I’m pretty stoked that Nia has her to train with, because exactly, getting pushed. And Nia’s already amazing…


JESSICA: …so I hope that there’s things that will push Gabby too. Like, it’s good to have all these training partners who push you. So Lauren, tell us what’s happening with The Couch Gymnast. You’ve been a part of The Couch Gymnast for a long time, and then we were all really sad to see that the site was just down for a while. So can you just give us an update on what’s happening?

LAUREN: Yeah, so the servers were down for a few months. Basically everything was lost from the original website, which is a shame because it was six years of work. They started it right before the 2008 Olympics. So I think, like, Bridget put a lot of time and money into getting the servers back up. But once it finally happened, just everything was gone. So it’s back, it’s slowly getting its feet back on the ground. There are a few articles up now, and yeah. It should be going strong, hopefully, again soon.

JESSICA: Awesome, good.


JESSICA: Glad to hear it. And then, Spanny, you’ve been watching Beyond the Routine…

SPANNY: Mm hmm.

JESSICA: …the one about Texas Dreams.


JESSICA: Give us a little review.

SPANNY: All right, yeah, I have been watching. And they, it’s interesting, they progressively get better. So it’s broken into four episodes, which I agree with because there’s a lot of interesting… I mean, I will say that they’ve been doing them for, just over a year now? Maybe a year and a half they’ve been doing this series?

LAUREN: A year and a half, yeah.

SPANNY: From that first one to what they do now, it’s unreal. Like, just the artistic value, the subject content, everything, the editing, everything else it’s wonderful. Okay. The first episode basically focuses on Kim and her haunting eyeballs. Just basically talking about how, well, they touched for just a minute on how she never understood the importance of having been the first American World all-around champion. Or if not the importance, at least, maybe she didn’t know that she had been the first. And then that kind of tied into her, which, quote, massive air quote, you know, quote unquote, her failure at the ’92 Olympics. And she said, and she got her haunting eyes, being like, “I…it…you have to, you know, learn that the stars do not align like that more than once.” Like, it’s not often that they align like that way more than once. Which is so true. I mean, lightening doesn’t strike twice, and it’s not every meet that you’re going to be so far ahead of everybody that you’re going to win, and you’re going to do it again next year. It’s, that makes this year’s Worlds more interesting in a Simone, all around…we’ll go back to that, okay. More about Kim, she talks about going to coach down with Mary Lee. And at that’s where she met Chris. Fast-forward a bunch of years, now they want to start their own gym. And you know, they have, they waited to have children so they could really get in there and develop this as a business. Chris is, his coaching philosophy, he’s more the good cop to Kim Zmeskel’s bad cop. He, he’s very open about the way he pits the girls against one another.

JESSICA: Really?

SPANNY: Yeah. And he’s really, “It’s all good. They get it. They laugh about it.” I don’t know–I feel like a lot of it’s like, really condescending?


SPANNY: I know, right? Where it’s like, “Nanana.”

UNCLE TIM: Are you going to start in a Sea World or something… What was the comment? Something about starring in a Sea World show or something. I was like, “What?”

SPANNY: Yeah, just really, like, passive aggressive. Like, underhanded just snark. I don’t know. That, I’m aware that he, I believe that he doesn’t believe that there’s any harm in it. But I don’t know. That gives me the willies, just a little bit. And then it’s well, it’s been well documented that Kim, before her children, was kind of a Bela clone. And then she had her kids and she’s like, “Maybe kids aren’t bad, maybe we should not scream at them.” End of story. The second episode is all about Bailie. She’s, I, you know, I like her. Just as a person, from what I can tell from a couple of minutes of video, I like her. She’s so soft spoken. At the same time is very confident in what she says. I feel like she doesn’t say words that she doesn’t need to say. Unlike myself. Macy and Bailie, they share an apartment. They are with Macy’s parents and Bailie’s grandmother. Well, they split the guardian duties. And just offhand, they’re like, “It’s been, well, four years.” So Bailie’s been doing this since she was ten. Like, living in an apartment with her friend with alternating parents, basically. That’s, that’s a thing. But it’s worth it, because she has her amanar, and we saw that. And it’s been giffed all over the gymternet. The entity, not the thing. Yeah. I think it really was just kind of a generic one, with like, “Oh, Bailie’s fantastic. Here she is at Pac Rims. Oh, she’s winning, she’s wonderful.” Now as I said, they get better. The third episode is mostly about Peyton. And we really got to see her tenacity in that, she came in as just a very gifted girl. Where, she was insanely flexible, and I know those kids get pushed in get pushed through the levels. They’re pushed, you’re in your preschool class and you’re like, “Oh my God, this kid is insanely flexible.” You’re like, “Okay, boom. Preteam.” That sort of thing. She didn’t, it was unclear as to whether she didn’t have the drive, she did not have the focus, she didn’t want to be there, but for whatever the general consensus–being Chris, Kim, Marta–basically thought she was never going to get very far. And then suddenly she just was. Now I can’t remember which meet it was. Sometime last year, she just, maybe it was Nationals. She just was fabulous. And they, from there they sent her to three international meets in a row. She went to Jesolo, Germany, and then to Japan. Came home and then she was sent; she went to fill in for Simone Biles at Pac Rims when Simone had to leave. And that’s a lot for someone they just didn’t really believe in. And she showed them bitches wrong. [LAUGHTER] She showed them ladies wrong. I don’t know. Yeah.


SPANNY: What’s that?

UNCLE TIM: Sorry, can we talk about her story about what happened when she was in a hotel?

LAUREN: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah! [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] This is probably why Marta likes her now. So apparently there’s this hilarious story where they’re in…I can’t remember which meet it’s at. But they’re at the hotel, and it turns out that Peyton sleep walks a little bit. So she slept walked herself right out of the room and right down the hall and right over to Marta’s door. And started banging on her door. [JESSICA LAUGHS] Banging on her door! And then Marta comes out, and she says, “What, what, what? Did you sleep walk?” And she’s like, “I don’t know, I’m… am I awake? Where am I?” And then Marta’s like, “Oh dear God.” Yeah. So she basically came to with Marta’s face in her face asking her what she wanted. [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] Which is obviously also your nightmare, but in her, that’s a messed up situation. So Bailie’s just, like, cackling in the background. Now they, now she has to sleep with room in key in her bra. [LAUGHTER] Which sounds terrible. Who has to sleep with their bra? But [UNCLE TIM LAUGHS] whatever, yeah. Lest she go and she roam the dorms.

UNCLE TIM: It seemed like a plot line out of Make It or Break It.


JESSICA: Oh my God, I can’t believe they don’t have like one of the trainers sleeping in front of the door. So that she can’t open it or something. Like, that seems like it would be serious hazard. I mean, sleep walking to the point where you open doors and walk around in hotels at night in your pajamas? In foreign countries?

LAUREN: Yeah, please.

SPANNY: Yeah, that’s awful. That’s serious.

LAUREN: Yeah. So, hilarious, good. I love her eyebrows. And then my favorite episode–the title was something like, “Who–The Famous Ones” or whatever and I was like, “Really?” But it was mostly about Nica, and it was, it was touching. It was. Like I, curmudgeonly, dead-hearted me, was like, “Oh my God, this is really great.” It’s on about how her entire life has basically–she’s only wanted one school. It was always going to be UCLA UCLA UCLA. And so when Kim was like, “Okay, we need to start thinking about schools and some ideas,” she was like, “Oh, I’ve got it for you. U-C-L-A.” And then Kim’s like, “Oh. Well. Okay then. UCLA.” And they went there. Her family took a trip to go visit. And Miss Val and Chris Waller pulled her into the office just to chat, and at the end went over all of her accomplishments and followed that with offering her a scholarship. Which she verbally committed to. But not before just, like, breaking down and sobbing. Like, hysterics. Like, hysterical tears. And you might think, “Oh, it’s because she’s emotional little girl.” And no. Like, when they went back there they were talking to her, they were interviewing her. Even just the way that she starts to tear up when she was interviewing, I just think, “This girl, she could be an actress.” She really could. Because she has the most beautiful face that can emote so much emotion. Not always, not just crying. But when she was talking about Miss Val and UCLA, just the light. Like her face was illuminated. And then when she was talking about the scholarship, when she was so happy that she cried, like… And the reason wasn’t just like, “Yeah, I got this thing!” It was, it was, “Why’d you cry?” Or, “Why did it make you emotional?” And she says “It’s, it’s because Miss Val read off all of my accomplishments. You know? Maybe it’s just that come to Jesus moment, where you’re like, “This is what I’ve done. And Miss Val thinks it’s awesome. Or it’s just, no one has to think it’s awesome. You can just hear back, like, like, your credits of all the things you’ve done in your life. That’s amazing. And she’s 14, so…FML. [JESSICA and LAUREN LAUGH] She’s 14. I don’t know, that was really touching. Just how, you know, most of these episodes are so focused on Worlds teams, Olympic teams, glory, glory, glory. And here’s Nica, hysterical, sobbing over an athletic scholarship. And that’s, you know, that’s absolutely a service to the sport.

UNCLE TIM: No, oh, the one cute moment was, the other cute moment was in the final episode, Ragan Smith is showing her room and her grandmother gave her a book. And the book, of course, is Kim Zmeskel’s biography.

LAUREN: And every…those books, like, got me through my teenage years. My teenage, 12-13 year old years.


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

JESSICA: Visit, that’s “Sportz” with a “z” and save five dollars on your next purchase with the code “gymcast.”

Let’s get to mail call. So, last week we talked a little bit about the whistling noises that go on in T&T. Tumbling and Trampoline. And we asked kind of, why this is, and why people hurdle, and then we hear a whistling sound coming out of their mouth. So, one person, let’s talk about Jim on Twitter told us that these sounds happen because the gymnast is doing a line out, which is when you come out of a tuck or pick position into a straight or like, a layout position. And that they’re exerting so hard that their breathe comes out in a whistle.

UNCLE TIM: When I exert really hard, sounds come out the other end. [LAUGHTER] Is what I was just thinking, so you know. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: There has to be a lot of farting in tumbling and trampoline, right? [LAUGHTER]

UNCLE TIM: Probably on rings too, I’m guessing. You know.

JESSICA: Yes! Stalders, rings, and tumbling and trampoline. We’ll have to talk to them about this. We also got a letter, because last week we discussed this and we discussed if the age rules were sexist. And so one, the first thing CR wrote in, and she says, “Regarding the whistling while running for power tumblers, it’s because you need the breath for tumbling while running before tumbling because the tumbling passes are so long. However you want to time your breathing with your run, so it’s not distracting and doesn’t throw you off, resulting in quick, intense breaths during the run.” So, that’s…I never thought about them being so long you had to take a giant breath. I always thought, like you would breath like you do in a bar routine. But who knows? So the next thing she says, which was… Okay, here’s the thing. So then she’s talking about the age differences for men and women, and it’s not sexist, and it has to do with your body, and when you go through puberty, and optimal time for women is before you gain body fat, which is before puberty, and the optimal time for men is after they gain muscle, which is post puberty. And that the optimal body type for women is prepubescent body type, and yes, there are women who have succeeded–Beth Tweddle, and on and on–who have normal female bodies, which would be hips, wider hips for example, breasts, all that stuff. And then she says, you know, the contrast is the male is ideal after this age and the women are ideal before. So the, you know, and she’s like, it’s not sexism, it’s that it has to do with when it’s optimal for you. And, you know, it’s just biological. And we totally, yes, we totally that, and we totally understand that there is the, you know, body fat changes for women and that is why it’s more optimal when you have a better strength to weight ratio, which is before puberty for women and not necessarily so for men after puberty. So that’s all, but I feel like we’re talking about this, and very good point, and your points are all true, are all correct, but I think the thing we’re talking about here is, can you really have a sport that people can get behind and believe in and can really be good for the sport if you can only do it when you’re, before you go through puberty? That’s the age-old question. I mean, I don’t think that’s a healthy sport, if you can only do it before you get your period.

UNCLE TIM: I mean, I’m trying to think if there are any comparable sports besides gymnastics. I don’t think there really is, I think the closest would probably be professional ballet dancers. And you know, that’s, I know, I don’t think I would ever let my daughter be a professional ballet dancer, ever. You know, one of my friends’ former roommates danced with the New York Ballet growing up, and just her stories, I don’t think I could let her do that. And so I think in ballet there’s still a need, I mean it’s changing in certain companies, but in certain circles there’s still a need to have that prepubescent look. I mean, yeah. So I guess that would be the most comparable. And it’s not necessarily… right, is ballet a sport? Or is it just performance art? You know, that’s a different question.

SPANNY: Situation, you know, in other sports too. I was thinking diving. Might be one that, I don’t know, your ability might drastically change once the Big M comes.

JESSICA: Is it the right thing to have a sport you can only do before puberty?

SPANNY: No, because it was sport before, when people did it after puberty.

JESSICA: Mm hmm.

SPANNY: The way that the current rules are don’t…They really… It’s confusing, because you need this difficulty, you need a lot of it, you need to do it in this amount of time, no. Prepubescent bodies are going to be best to do that. But they want the older girls to do the things that the prepubescents can. And not get hurt, which older girls do. Older women. No, it’s not, it’s simply, I understand that, you know, from ’76 to even to ’94, I mean ’92, it was. That was all very prepubescent. But then you could say that Aunt Flo came at about ’96. [LAUGHTER] And, yeah. Even, I mean just look at that group of people. Look at the Mag 7. Sure, you could, I think it’s arguable, that two, and I feel icky even just contemplating other girls’, women’s, their, you know, their ovulation, and blah blah,because it’s just none of my business. It’s not my place to judge based on looks anyways. Because there’s going to be someone like, Amy Chow let’s say. She’s never going to be a big, busty, hippy lady. She’s always going to be kind of straight framed, because that is her body. And awesome. But you would argue, I could think of two members of the Mag 7 probably hadn’t gone through it yet. The rest almost undoubtedly had. And that team did okay. They were all right.

JESSICA: They weren’t bad.


SPANNY: They had a smidge of success. Yeah, I think it’s, you know. It’s a hurdle, I mean, but it’s certainly not the finish line. And that’s all I have to say about that.

UNCLE TIM: I was trying to remember. I think it was Dominque Dawes who didn’t have her period until she was 18 or 19. I know Kathy Johnson was kind of one of the more extreme examples, she didn’t have hers until she was 23, I want to say. Or 25.

SPANNY: But that was like, forced, whereas I think Dawes was just naturally, like, that was just her body, and you know. Yeah.

JESSICA: Yeah. Because Kathy Johnson was just like, totally developed except for that, which is so weird.

SPANNY: Mm hmm.

JESSICA: But maybe it’s because her body fat was so low all those years.


JESSICA: So yeah. Anywhoo. Let’s talk about sheep jumps. So last week we asked, or a weird Korean news agency asked, “Why is a sheep jump called a sheep jump?” And the great photographer and judge Grace Chu told us on our Facebook page, “The leg positions are supposed to resemble a set of horns on a big horned sheep. Think British Colombia. Kind of like this.” And she showed us a picture, which I’ll put up for you guys on our Instagram. “I think in Rhythmic the feet can be apart, so you don’t kick your eyeballs out.” And then she put a picture of a rhythmic gymnast doing a sheep jump that looks totally different from when artistic gymnasts do it. So she’s far bent back that her head is actually between her ankles. And her arms are out to the side. So if you look at it like that, you can see how her arms and her legs make like circle, like a big horned sheep. But I really can’t tell if Grace Chu is pulling our leg or if she’s serious about this. If she’s serious then it would make sense that if this is the sheep, then the wolf would be jumping forward and the sheep is jumping back. I don’t know. What do you guys think? Is she kidding, or is she serious?

UNCLE TIM: I don’t know. When I saw the photo, I was like, that’s not a sheep, that’s a ram.

LAUREN: Mm hmm.

UNCLE TIM: But then I googled it, and I guess it’s a real sheep, I guess.


JESSICA: It was like the Canadian ballet, that came up with these names? When did this first come out? [LAUGHS] I have no idea. I kind of think she’s kidding, but at the same time it kind of makes sense, so. I think we should just call it a C-jump from now on. But then are we denigrating the legacy of the great sheep horned, what is this thing called? It’s a…

UNCLE TIM: It’s a big horned sheep. Big horned sheep. It’s not that complicated.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Thank you.


JESSICA: If you have an further comments or if you have an important life crisis that you need us to solve, like why is a sheep jump called a sheep jump, or you want to ask out that cute boy or girl on your gymnastics team let us help you. E-mail or send us a voicemail, at or call 415-800-3191, or on Skype we’re GymcasticPodcast and let us know how we can help you and solve this crisis for you. Or let us know what we’ve totally mangled this week and what you completely disagree with, and we will read it here on the show and discuss. Remember this weekend you can watch the Commonwealth Games, this whole week actually, watch the Commonwealth Games. Download TunnelBear to watch it. And you can also watch the Secret Classic on the Secret Classic website. And check out Lauren’s new website, The Gymternet, and Spanny is writing there to, and remember The Couch Gymnast is back up and running. So you can visit them once again. And their Facebook page is always very active. And as always we will have a YouTube playlist up so you can watch the routines and the people we are talking about as you listen to this show. And thank you everybody again for volunteering for the transcription team, you guys are the best. Gymcastic is produced and edited by Jessica O’Beirne, sexy data by our content and social media director Dr. Uncle Tim. Audio engineer is Ivan Alexander. The theme song is mixed by Chris Seculu, as performed by NWA. Transcription by Katy, Katie, Alex, Amanda, CeCe, Danica, Emma, Jillian, and Kristy! Thanks to you all! I am Jessica, from Masters-Gymnastics.

SPANNY: Spanny Tampson, from Spanny’s Big Fake Smile.

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

LAUREN: And I’m Lauren from The Couch Gymnast and The Gymternet.

JESSICA: Thank you all for listening, and we’ll see you next week.



[expand title=”Episode 106: Biles and Ross Dominate the 2014 US Secret Classic”] Forthcoming[/expand]

[expand title=”Episode 107: Acro World Championships Kristin Allen & Michael Rodrigues”] Forthcoming[/expand]

[expand title=”Episode 108: The Commonwealth Games”] EMMA: Which yes, she won four gold medals, yes she’s amazing, I love her, she’s fabulous. But they’re almost touting her as if she’s the best gymnast the world has ever seen, ever.


JESSICA: This week: Our full recap of the Commonwealth Games, complete with behind the scenes tidbits.

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 We’ve got your back.

JESSICA: This is episode 108 for August 11, 2014. I’m Jessica, from Masters Gymnastics.

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

EMMA: I’m Moomin Whiskey from Moomin Whiskey Meets.

JAMIE: I’m Jamie, and you’ll find me on Twitter at @JamieKDay.

JESSICA: This is the best gymnastics podcast ever, bringing you all the news from around the gymternet. I’m really happy to announce that Emma and I, plus some special guests, will be doing a podcast about the BBC1’s new show Tumble, starting this week. So look for that later this week. Make sure to check out last week’s interview with acro world champ, Michael Rodrigues, and his partner, Tumble star, Kristin Allen. You’ll hear even more details about the making of Tumble and what went down. And if you want to find our episodes, like if we’re doing extra episodes and you want to get them right when they come out, make sure to subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher. Or, also sign up for our newsletter. So you just put your e-mail into the little panel on the side navigation of our home page, and you’ll be e-mailed as soon as the show comes out. And next week we’re going to have our regular preview of the US Championships, and then I’ll be doing mini shows from Pittsburgh during Championships, so there’s so much Gymcastic coming up, it’s so fantastic. And remember to send in your questions for Louis Smith for our book club.


Today’s recap of the Commonwealth Games is brought to you by TumblTrak. One of my favorite things about summer time is learning new skills before season starts. It’s so fun, you get to try new stuff before the necessary, the monotonous months of endless routine repetition begin. We’re always building mat castles at my gym. Like, drill castles. My coaches would have us create these massive structures that took almost the whole rotation time to construct, but the results were so super fun. One time we made this giant downhill tumbling strip that was sloped. Like, it was so high that you could do several back handsprings. We were doing front tumbling down it. But we had to get like, a boost to get to the top because it was so high. And then TumblTrak came along and created everything we ever wanted, so you didn’t need any more Ikea-esque instructions [LAUGHS] for assembly of these drill castles. My favorite all-in-one solution that’s available this month for sale at is the T-Trainer. It’s like a mini slanted tumble track that can be used as vault top, a bar drill station. It can be used as a springboard, you can use it like a mini tramp, you can use it like a launch pad for back tumbling. You can do shaposhnikova drills on it, which is what I totally want to try, because that looks so fun. I’m like, “I will never be doing a shaposh on the real bars, but I totally want to try the drill. Because I think I can do the drill successfully for sure!” So I want this thing in my gym so bad, check out the T-Trainer. Go to That’s TumblTrak. Do it again.


And then today we’re going to start with our European Division, discussing the Commonwealth Games that happened last week. And it was a huge deal. The British gymnasts won 11 out of the 14 golds available for artistic, and New Zealand won a medal, Australia lost its team position. I didn’t even know this; they’d won for like, the last sixteen years, the last four or five games in a row. So, can you guys just tell us firstly, Jamie and Emma, what a huge deal this is. Just how big a production this is? Just the size and scope for the Commonwealth Games for those of us in the US who aren’t really familiar with it?

EMMA: It’s a huge deal, and it’s a huge deal for the home nations because Team GB, you know, you have five or six slots for Worlds and Olympics, and you’ve got so many great gymnasts who will never ever make those teams. So to compete for home nations, it’s just, you know, just opens the door for, particularly a team like Wales, who won a bronze and got a bronze on beam, it’s amazing.

JAMIE: With the volunteers, it’s kind of on the same scale as the Olympics. There were 15,000 volunteers, and the competitors come from 71 nations and territories around the world.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: That’s gigantic, yeah.

EMMA: I actually thought once I’d been to London that it couldn’t be bettered. And I’d only ever have that experience once in my life. But I’m telling you, the Commonwealth Games, you know, you might not have had China or USA or Russia, you know, the huge sporting nations. But the atmosphere and the enjoyment was on the same level. It’s like an Olympics with some crazy sports and you know, the Queen still comes. Prince Edward gave out the pommel horse medals. You know, it’s a big deal. William and Kate were at the gymnastics with Harry.

JESSICA: And you have old-school sports like throwing logs and stuff, right?

EMMA: No, they do crown green bowls or something. Which is like, bowling, sort of.

JESSICA: Oh, I thought there was, like, Scottish, like the old-school Scottish.

EMMA: Oh, that’s the Highland Games.

JESSICA: Oh man, I can’t remember it.

EMMA: Where they do, like, caber tossing and stuff like that.

JESSICA: Yeah, throwing trees. Caber tossing. [LAUGHTER]. Okay, let’s get to the gymnastics! Okay, so bad news out of the way first. Tell us, Emma, who were some of the gymnasts who were out in the very beginning, who were injured or sent home. Let’s cover that first.

EMMA: Oh, first of all, before it even started was Moors got sent home. Which was just rubbish, and the Canadians put out a pretty pitiful statement on why she’s been sent home. That, you know, I don’t…as a gym fan, I wasn’t satisfied with that explanation. [QUIET LAUGHTER] But as well as Victoria Moors there was Courtney McGregor, who’s the big deal from New Zealand, who–I actually spoke to her, and she told me she’d a hyperextended knee, whatever that means in English.

JESSICA: Ooh, ouch.

EMMA: Also…

JESSICA: Your knee goes backwards, the wrong direction.

EMMA: Oh really. Ooh. See, I wasn’t a gymnast so I don’t know these technical [INAUDIBLE]

JESSICA: Oh good, you’ve never done that. I hope it never happens to you.

EMMA: [LAUGHS] MacKenzie Slee, who, there’s a little bit of a film about her, she’s also from New Zealand and her nan and granddad sold their house and moved across New Zealand to support her gymnastics. She competed, first day and I believe on the second day she got, her toes were bad so they didn’t count a team score in the end.


EMMA: Also, India McPeak, she had to withdraw from the floor because she also had a bad leg. And let me tell you, she is so nice, and her mum and dad so sweet. Also Raer Theaker, she sat out Day Two. I asked her what was wrong with her, and she just said she wasn’t sure yet, she had to go for some tests.

JESSICA: Okay, so the competition was split into two parts. So the team was over two days, instead of team being one day. And it was men and women together over the two days, right?. Okay, so what did the gymnasts think about this? Because we talked about Syque Caesar last week saying he competed on three events in like, less than thirty minutes, which is nuts. So what was the feedback from the athletes?’

EMMA: I spoke to a couple of athletes, and they seemed to quite like it. Obviously from a fan’s perspective you got to see both men’s and women’s, which was great. However, if you couldn’t get tickets for both days, if I couldn’t have got tickets for Day Two, I would have been really cross because I don’t want to just watch vault and bars, no.

JESSICA: That’s true. I hadn’t thought of that.

EMMA: But one comment I did hear from certain athletes was that they were in the arena for a long time before they competed. And by the time that they’d actually got to the equipment and competed, you know, they were sort of past competition readiness, if you know what I mean.


JAMIE: Yeah…

EMMA: They’d kind of… you heard that as well, didn’t you, Jamie?

JAMIE: Yeah, lots of the volunteers were saying it as well, because it made the competition quite a lot longer than it would usually be.

EMMA: It was so long.

JAMIE: Also there was lot, people in the audience were struggling because it was just such a long day. Volunteers were just kind of like, “This isn’t normal, we just want to get on with it, keep going.” And some of the athletes were coming in and out, like, “Is it my turn yet, am I ready?” Getting quite annoyed sometimes.

JESSICA: Oh, that’s awful. I didn’t think of that, how long it would have extended it.

EMMA: Yes, some of it, some of the sessions were so long.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: Because even though they were, especially on Day Two I noticed this. Even though there were, two events happening at the same time, they kept cutting and making, say the floor competitor wait for the beam competitor to finish. I guess that was for TV, but so there was only ever one person on at a time.

JESSICA: [GASPS] They went one at a time?

EMMA: Yeah, it was so…

JESSICA: Six events, five events…? Oh my God.

EMMA: I actually, I actually skipped rings, I just lost the will to live by then. [JESSICA LAUGHS] And I skipped the end of the men’s all around, and that’s just a dreadful thing to do as a huge fan, but I just couldn’t stand it. It was too long.

JESSICA: Let’s talk about the pommel horse, like, show down, between…

EMMA: The pommel horse show down.

JESSICA: The pommel horse show down. The only time pommel horse is interesting.

EMMA: That needs a drum roll.

JESSICA: That is the best in the world.

EMA: That needs are drum roll.

JESSICA: Blythe, will you remind us about the characters that we have here, so Dan, Louis Smith, everybody.

BLYTHE: Oh, absolutely. Totally. So in terms of pommel horse competition… Now normally, everybody likes pommel horse. There’s some exciting falls, you’re always wondering, “Are they going to fall off or are they not going to fall off?” But this competition might have been the most anticipated, hotly debated pommel horse competition in the history of gymnastics. And it was Daniel Keatings, you know, who has such a great story behind him as well, just from 2008 Olympian, not being selected to the 2012 team, he’s said for four years that he could not wait to compete for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, and he finally gets his opportunity. And he gets into the pommel horse final, and he’s got to go up against Max Whitlock, you know, your Olympic bronze medalist, who’s just gotten even better on pommel horse and really as an all-around guy. You could maybe consider him number two in the world in the all-around right now. Maybe. We’ll see. And then, and then of course you have Louis Smith who has made a comeback for the Commonwealth Games especially, although now we’ll see if he can continue for 2015 and maybe even try to challenge for Rio. And just these big three British pommel horse workers, and you did not know how it was going to shake down. And their difficulty is also incredibly high, and they all said, “Yeah, we watered back a little bit in the prelims and in the finals we’re going to do everything.” And they did everything. And it was fascinating to see how it all played out.

JESSICA: So Emma, how did it play out?

EMMA: Well, was Louis up first or Max? I don’t remember. Anyway, Louis was great right until the very end of his routine, where he struggled on his dismount, so obviously he got a slightly lower score. But the crowd love him. They absolutely love him. He sort of plays up to the cameras a bit. Well, a lot. [LAUGHTER] And Dan, oh my gosh. He got like, 16 something? 16.25 or something like that.

JESSICA: Huge score.

EMMA: Huge. And being in Scotland, the crowd were nuts. They just went absolutely nuts. And he was very convincing because he had is disappointments at Euros, and there was all that controversy with Louis, should he have been selected over other team members, ect. Max did a great job. And it really was super exciting. I wish Louis had just have got his dismount, just to make it a little bit more exciting. But, you know, Dan was a very worthy winner, and he got his medal given to him by Prince Edward, which probably was quite exciting, I would have thought.

JESSICA: Now is that queen’s husband?

EMMA: No, the queen’s son… come on Jess.

JESSICA: I don’t know, I’m sorry! [LAUGHTER] Oh, that’s the guy, wait, but that’s not the one who was married to Diana. That’s another son?

EMMA: No, that’s Charles. She’s got four kids.

JESSICA: Really?


JESSICA: I didn’t know.

EMMA: Andrew, Charles, Edward, and Anne.

JESSICA: Oh, that’s right, because the one was married to the redhead one, they got divorced too. Is this one still married?

EMMA: Fergie. Yes, he’s married to Sophie…

JESSICA: Oh, look at that.

EMMA: Of Wessex. And they have two children.

JESSICA: Excellent. [LAUGHTER] Okay, so. This wasn’t pommel horse…oh wait, pommel… But Louis Smith also did another event, so he was training…

EMMA: At team competition, he did parallel bars because there was an injury to Sam, so he had to, he was down to do parallel bars anyway, but this format means four compete and three scores count. Whereas, because Sam had got injured and couldn’t continue, Louis’ score had to count. So he pulled it off, he did a great job.

JESSICA: So he did it for the team. He came through for them.

EMMA: He did it for the team. And he made a few people surprised that he could actually do something other than pommel. And you know, he did a good job.

JESSICA: And what happened with Luke Carson, who’s had the two compound fractures, from Ireland, and he trains with Louis Smith? So he did pommel horse, but like his leg was hurting him? What happened?

EMMA: Oh my goodness. He… I wasn’t there for his session, when he was there the first day, but he posted on Twitter that he really wanted to apologize to all the fans, he had an awful day and he’d fallen from the pommel horse. But he said, “I’ll be back tomorrow, stronger than ever, to parallel bars. That’s my favorite event, and I’ll bring my A game.” Or something along those lines. And the whole of the audience was willing him on. And he fell from the parallel bars. [GROANING] Someone who knows him very well tweeted later that evening, “Please, can everyone send their love to Luke because he’s feeling terrible and his leg is absolutely killing him.” [SYMPATHETIC SOUNDS] So I hope he’s not done his leg in again, I really do.


JESSICA: Okay, so let’s talk about the ladies. We have, so this was team prelims, when they were there for a million hours, and they were only doing two events. So we have some really great bar workers from England. And I couldn’t believe that Olivia didn’t make bar finals, Olivia Vivian from Australia. So how did the ladies do?

EMMA: They did… having been to Sofia, where the GB girls were absolutely on fire–I’ve never seen them better than Sofia, ever–they weren’t the sharpest on bars. During prelims, Becky did a good job, but again it wasn’t Sofia style. Hannah struggled on her dismount if I remember correctly, and Ruby, when she did her bhardwaj down to the lower bar, she hit her knees on the floor, so she had break. They did great vaults. And then the Australian girls were lovely on bars. I thought Miller was superb. Georgia Rose Brown, just so pretty.

JAMIE: Hannah Whelan on bars, only competed the double pike dismount. Normally she does a double straight, but I think she did that all week as well. Cause indeed, like, her feet were hurting. So I think especially in warm ups she was taking it quite easy as well sometimes. Like, she was still working really hard, but she wasn’t pushing the dismounts like sometimes she does.

JESSICA: And how about Olivia Vivian? I thought for sure she was going to make finals. I thought that was one of the reasons they sent her, you know? Because the whole strategy was to send event, people who could win a medal. On an event.

EMMA: She actually ended up doing all around in came fifth.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: Which, that was a surprise to me, I had no clue she was doing all around. But she did a nice bars routine. It just, she was just picked by her team mates.

JESSICA: You know, I don’t think she’s vaulted since, like, NCAA. I was shocked she did all around. I was like, “What?”

EMMA: The Australians, the Australians, I mean they, people were saying that they’d failed because they won silver. However, for me, they didn’t fail. Now, Peggy had made quite a controversial team selection in the eyes of some, because they obviously didn’t take their all-around winner. But if you think they had an awful showing at the Olympics, they didn’t even go to Worlds. She’s put together a team of specialists who have had just the most horrendous luck. You know. Some of them had surgery, like, eight weeks ago. Larissa, when she won her silver, she was telling me that if you’d have told her that a few months ago, that she’d have had a silver medal on bars and a silver medal from team, she would have thought you were crazy. Because, you know, she only just got back into training. You know, so they did a phenomenal job, and they were incredibly happy with what they came out with.


EMMA: I suppose their only disappoint was the fact that they had a bit of a poor showing on beam, and Mitchell fell in beam finals. But other than that, you know, they were delighted with what they achieved.

JESSICA: So the biggest thing that made the news all around the US was of course, Dipa from India doing a produnova.

EMMA: Ugh.

JESSICA: The prelims produnova, which she did–so during, we’re still on the team prelims day–oh my God. Terrifying.

EMMA: It looked like–it looked like she was going to die.

JAMIE: Mm. She didn’t ever do it during warm up.

JESSICA: [GASPS] Seriously?

JAMIE: She did it in podium training, but like, on finals day, it was podium training in the arena, like two hours before the competition. And we never saw it. The most we saw was a handspring pike front.

EMMA: I think we should point out that Jamie was behind the scenes.

JAMIE: I was. I’ve got a lot of behind the scenes information. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: Yes! Tell us everything!

JAMIE: Okay, I’ll start with the large. If I get boring, just tell me and I’ll move on.

JESSICA: Okay, don’t worry, I will. [LAUGHTER]

JAMIE: Okay, I…

JESSICA: It won’t happen though. You cannot, no detail is too minute.

JAMIE: We’ll see. Okay, so the athletes’ lounge–it wasn’t, like, a massive room, cause it was made as a temporary corridor. So you had, like, the warm up, which was in the SECC, and then the main arena, which was in the Hydro. So to connect them was like this tunnel they’d set up, which was two and a half minutes’ walk between warm up and arena. So you had some of the gymnasts doing, like, really different things as they walked down, and the floor boards were really creaky, so some of gymnasts who like to stay silent would, like, scowl right down at the floor every time it creaked, which is quite funny to watch. Because we got told that when the athletes came by, we had to, like, stand right by the like, down by the edge and walk to let them walk through. So that was that. And then we had, so the athletes’ lounge was halfway down this temporary corridor between the arena and the main hall. There was one funny thing in the athletes’ lounge, actually. But there were like, sweets on the side. And one of the coaches came in and told us, “You can’t have sweets out, because it’s too much of a distraction for the athletes.” So we had to spend the morning, like, giving out these sweets to like, all the security guards. [LAUGHTER] And the people working the doors, and then we had to eat them. It was a tough day’s work. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: Oh, people, you’re so rough.

JAMIE: Yeah, it was really tough. And then, like, some of the things that were funny in warm up. Well, they weren’t funny, but some of the Welsh girls, when the Welsh girls came in you have like set time of the first mat, so it was like 12 minutes they had on the first mat, and the Welsh girls had this choreographed warm up they all did together. When they came in they’re like they’re here, they’re ready to fight for this medal. They’re all in time with each other, they’re stretching together. So they looked really like sort of on they’ll work as hard as they can. [INAUDIBLE] The Scottish boys were lovely, they always made the effort afterwards. As a volunteer, you couldn’t ask them for a photo, but if they asked you, then you could. So all the Scottish boys asked us to come over and be like, “Oh, I really want a photo with the volunteers.” Like, “Have a picture with me.” [JESSICA SQUEALS] And if you said yes, they’d be like, “Okay, let’s do a line and work through.” So they were really nice.

JESSICA: Oh, that’s so sweet!

JAMIE: Yeah, they were lovely. Actually, everyone was lovely. So it was a really good experience. Then you had, like, the New Zealand girls who were really worried about the big arena, so they came in like two days earlier just to have a look around and see what it was like. They were like, “Oh, it’s so big,” like “I’m so excited!” and stuff like that. And they got us to take pictures of them doing handstands outside of the Hydro. I think you saw that on my Twitter feed. So they were really nice. And they stopped to converse as well with us. Comparing the difference between the rhythmic and artistic competition. So, just how different it was. And if you get the opportunity to go to a rhythmic competition, I would definitely go. You get really into it! You see how much, like how difficult it is. And, I don’t know. It’s really impressive.

JESSICA: What kind of premeet rituals or things did they do, compared to the artistic gymnasts? Like, did they just, like, get held, carried into the arena holding a split [LAUGHTER] down the two and half minute walk?

JAMIE: Oh, they would stand, they would get to the–like, you had to stand in this tiny like, box area before the doorway opened up the curtains and you like marched out. And they would stand like, they would ignore everyone else around. They were so focused. And like, suddenly they would just, like, kick their leg above their head and hold it there, like, “I am in the zone, I am ready.” And like, even if someone’s behind them, they would just like kick anywhere without even realizing. Whereas like, the artistic ones would just try to keep warm. They were like, jumping the whole way. And very focused, but just more trying to keep warm rather than still stretching out. Yeah, and the boys, the boys were just so chill the whole way through. They were just relaxed. I don’t know how they do it.

JESSICA: Seems like that. The guys are always, like, joking around and super chill, and…

JAMIE: Yeah.

JESSICA: Yeah. Okay…

JAMIE: Max Whitlock looked a bit nervous at some points. Like going out before the team finals, he looked a bit nervous. But then he went and nailed everything, so must’ve been fine.

JESSICA: So Dipa never did her produnova.

JAMIE: No, not before finals. All she did was a handspring piked front.


JAMIE: And her first vault.

JESSICA: Oh my God. So, let’s talk about that landing. Like, her knee? That’s exactly the same landing that What’s-her-name did in Tokyo, oh, and at Worlds. Why am I totally blanking on her name? Who’s the other one?

EMMA: Pena.

JAMIE: Pena.

JESSICA: Yes, Pena. Basically, she lands, but she’s so, like, well, the first day–oh no, that wasn’t the first day, that was finals. The first day, like, she hits the board, she hits the vault table and is already tucking, and then she never comes out of her tuck. She just basically rolls out of it, almost like the Egyptian gymnast does. Like, no opening, no finish. Very scary.

EMMA: Well, the first one I saw her do, which was the qualification one. Which–it was just awful. And then the one she did in finals, she did it as a second vault rather than her first. And she’s really cowboyed, and she kind of landed on her bottom, but on her feet at the same time. And as a spectator, I don’t want to be seeing a botched job that nearly might be stood up. I want to see Elena Produnova smashing it out of the park. You know? I just, I’m sick and tired of all these botched job produnova vaults. They just don’t…the gymnasts look like they’re going to die.

JESSICA: And that’s the thing, it’s exactly what Pena did in Tokyo. She landed basically–her feet landed first, then she sat on her butt and stood right up.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: But it’s a fall. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a fall, because…

EMMA: For me too. You should not medal with an abomination like that.

JESSICA: And it doesn’t seem like… She got a 15 something, right? So they didn’t take the fall, which I feel like they should have.

EMMA: Yeah. I think the vault final–can we just talk about the vault final for a second? Because as much as I love Frags, and she is wonderful, I believe Ellie Black should have won.

JESSICA: Yeah. Agreed.

BLYTHE: To take absolutely nothing away from Claudia Fragapane, she is wonderful gymnast, and certainly earned a medal in that vault final. You know, a little bit sloppy. Not a lot of pop off the horse. You know, a little bit loose in the twist. Whereas Ellie Black, especially on that second vault, you know, that tsuk one and a half, that was just perfectly done. Yeah. I thought she earned it. And Fragapane was maybe riding a little bit of the wave of being the all-around champion, being team gold medalist. And, and I don’t blame the judges for being besotted with her. But in all fairness, yeah, I think Ellie Black should have won and Fragapane should have had the silver.

EMMA: I agree.


EMMA: And it’s certainly not anything personal about Frags, I absolutely love her. She’s amazing. But it’s just on that occasion, Black was better.

JESSICA: So let’s go on to day two of the team finals. So that was again, two women’s events, three men’s events. Sam Oldham. Because this was so incredibly sad. I just couldn’t believe that it…

EMMA: It was hideous, and I was sitting right at the end of the vault runway, which was just horrible. He, like, it was like Kerri Strug all over again, where it was almost like he was injured before he started, and he did this crazy dragulescu, and it wasn’t high enough. And then he landed on one foot.


EMMA: So he… it was, it was Kerri Strug all over again. You know, down on the mat, for having medical attention for like–ugh. It seemed like forever.

JAMIE: We got a photo of it, because we were sitting–we got to sit in with the athletes, whe we all, when we were done, our role, before we had to go check the ice and such. We got to sit in with athletes, so when he came round you could hear some of the other boys, and we got a picture of his foot. And if one foot was square on, the other foot was twisted round 45 to 90 degrees? [GASPING] It didn’t look great at all.

EMMA: From what his dad has written on Twitter–and you need to follow him, Bobby Oldham–it’s like as if he’s going to be out for the rest of the year.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: But there’s no sort official press release or anything like that.

JESSICA: Ugh. That’s so sad.

EMMA: Honestly, when, when the boys got their medal, Louis and Christian, they carried him on the podium. It was so emotional.

JESSICA: I can’t believe it was like, totally Kerri Strug all over again.

EMMA: It was Kerri Strug all over again!

JESSICA: Except, thank God, his teammates took him instead of, you know, a boisterous coach that wanted the spotlight. [LAUGHTER] What, did I say that? I like that much better, that they carried him…

EMMA: [BAD HUNGARIAN ACCENT] Wave to the people, Kerri, wave to the people! [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: I mean, not that Kerri Strug’s teammates, let’s give them credit. Like, obviously, I don’t think they knew, like where she was even at the time to even help her out there, so. You know. To give them credit.

EMMA: I don’t think those girls back then would have said boo to a goose, would they? You know.

JESSICA: It was just a totally different time, different time. [LAUGHTER] This was, this explained everything about gymnastics has changed. Also men’s gymnastics is different.

EMMA: Yeah, it was quite funny actually. They were trying to pick him up onto the podium, and the crowd kind of gasped and was going, “Aw!” and the Louis motioned at them to cheer. So, it was sort of tongue in cheek, heartbreaking, lovely, all at the same time.

JESSICA: Aw. Love that. So, just to be clear, this is England, the men who won, not Scotland, the team medal.

EMMA: England.


EMMA: But the exciting thing about the Commonwealth Games, it is if you think that the Olympic team were five members. Well, if you add in Frank Baines and Daniel Keatings and Daniel Purvis, you’ve got three Scotland team members. And if you look on the England side, you’ve got Max, Sam, Christian, Louis. And Nile. So there’s a couple of newbies in Frank and Nile, there’s a few Olympic medalists on either side. And then you’ve got Dan Keatings, who was silver all around to Kohei in 2009. So it was a, it was a fantastic competition.

JESSICA: And let’s talk about the bright side of Sam’s story that we alluded to earlier.

EMMA: Awww!

JESSICA: Tell us everything.

EMMA: Well, one of our friends on our little Facebook gym group posted the other day, “Is there something going on between Sam and Hannah?” And then sort of throughout the week they were always sitting together, and there was lots of flirty tweets and Instagrams and all that sort of stuff. And then by the end of the week it was confirmed that they are an item. So. It’s so lovely. They’re both so sweet and lovely. So good luck to them.

JESSICA: And I just have to say, you know, I always think that Sam is like, 15, but he’s actually 20, right, almost 21.

EMMA: He really is. [JESSICA LAUGHS] No, she’s 22 and he’s 21.

JESSICA: Very age appropriate relationship. [LAUGHTER] Perfect. But we remember him by–he’s the one who looks really young, and Whitlock is the one who does the, with the hair. And then Whitlock’s the one that does the air flares. This is how—not that they, they don’t look alike at all either! I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I can’t tell… [LAUGHTER] I have to give myself little cues.


JESSICA: If you love the show, please support us by using our Amazon link. A little portion of whatever you buy, as long as you start through our Amazon link, you can bookmark it so you always remember to use it, like put it in your favorites, and a little portion of what you buy goes back to us, and it helps us pay our bills. Review us on iTunes or Stitcher. If you listen more than like five times, you totally have to review us. Like, that’s the rule. Just so you know. And you can also donate, and thank you so much to everyone that’s donated this summer! You guys are just the best, and our hearts swell every time we see a donation.

So do you guys think that England knew they didn’t have to be as sharp as they were for European championships…

EMMA: Well…

JESSICA: And that’s why they could do this level, not be as clean and sharp, maybe, just not as…

EMMA: I think the men, I think the men were better than they were at Euros. Because if you remember, at Euros they finished second, whereas the previous Euros they had finished first.


EMMA: I just think the women weren’t as sharp, but the women got better as the week went on, so the women in the all-around were better, apart from a couple of errors on beam. And then in event finals, with the exception of Becky on beam, who had a terrible time. But obviously saw the funny side. They, they sort of got better throughout the week.

JESSICA: Right. Can you tell us about Becky’s beam routine? Because she got a ten, right?

EMMA: Oh, poor thing. [JESSICA LAUGHS] She’d been limping throughout the week. She fell three times on beam, and at the end of it all she could do really was just laugh. You know, she’d been on fire the day before and hit her bars and won gold, and she’d obviously got team gold as well. So, you know. I’m sure she would have wanted to go out on a high and win a medal, but she saw the funny side.

BLYTHE: Becky gave a wonderful quote in the mixed zone after the competition on beam. And she said, “After the first mistake, I just thought, ‘Never mind, try to do the rest the best that you can.’ And then the second mistake was a bit unexpected for me, and I was like, ‘Aw, here we go.’ And then I tried to keep the routine going, but once I came off the third time I was like, ‘For God’s sake!'” [LAUGHTER]

EMMA: And Raer Theaker, the day before, had had a similar experience on the bars final, where I think she counted two falls and then just didn’t dismount in the end. I mean, she was carrying a foot injury, but you know, sometimes it’s best to just sort of finish and have a laugh about it and just move on to the next day. You know?

JESSICA: So Blythe, what did you think of the men’s all around? Do you think that it came out correctly? Do you think that Max’s going to…


BLYTHE: Max, Keatings, and Wilson. Yeah, I think that that was fair. Max has so much difficulty, and he performed so well, that he absolutely deserved it. He’s gotten a bit better since last year, which is nice to see.

EMMA: He has.

BLYTHE: Just in term of form, in terms of kind of carrying himself with his shoulders back and his chin up, and things like that. And that, little things that sort of make a difference in your execution score. And he seems a bit calmer, more comfortable in his skills also. For Dan Keatings, you know, since he tore his ACL in 2010, he’s not really been the same guy on floor and on vault, and those are really the things that hold him back from being, like, a major, a major force in a world all-around competition. And you know, on both of those events he sort of did what he could do, and then just let himself be carried by high bar and parallel bars and pommel horse, which is kind of what he does. Yeah, you know, the thing about Dan Keating’s performance in Scotland was that it, it–I don’t want to take anything away from him, but it has marked him out to me, I think, as a fairly inconsistent gymnast. A lot of mistakes in the prelims, and then the mistake in high bar finals. He pulled it together for pommel horse, but when it comes to the World Championships, and the people selecting that team are going to take into account, just a lot of mistakes here and there. Although he did put it together when it mattered for the all-around and event finals, and that’s going to count as a positive for him. And Nile Wilson is so impressive.

EMMA: He’s amazing.

BLYTHE: So impressive.

EMMA: He is! I think he’s pretty much written his own ticket to China, don’t you?

BLYTHE: Yeah. Yes, absolutely. It would be very difficult to see Nile or Christian or Max not on the world team. You know, the other places kind of up for grabs, and you know Dan will absolutely be in the mix. I think that he’ll make it for worlds. Absolutely

EMMA: I think, yeah, me too. And I think Dan Purvis as well.

BLYTHE: Yes. Yes. And maybe… Dan, to me, I thought he was not perhaps in the most optimal shape, but he’s thinking about October. He had a few mistakes in the competition as well. Although, like you said, you know in event finals on parallel bars, that routine, amazing.

EMMA: Mmhmm.

BLYTHE: But he seems to be preparing, perhaps, shooting for October.

EMMA: Yeah.

BLYTHE: And using this as kind of a warm up competition maybe.


EMMA: Yeah.

BLYTHE: And Frank Banes, what a lovely gymnast.

EMMA: He’s absolutely lovely. I felt a bit sorry for him that he had a few errors, because he was clearly gifted when he had falls and stuff, but he’s really lovely, yeah.

BLYTHE: Yeah, beautiful form, beautiful swing on bars. Great parallel bar work. And that’s nice to see, especially since he had a really catastrophic injury in 2013. And it was like, “Is he going to be able to do gymnastics again?” He said the first time he tried to do a handstand after coming back from his injury, he fell over, like he was six years old. And he’s climbed back up from that, to…

JESSICA: Oh my God. What was his injury?

EMMA: It’s just amazing.

BLYTHE: [SIGHS] What was his injury? He took a bad fall on high bar. Like onto his head.


BLYTHE: I don’t know. Something spinal. Like, you know, crushed vertebrae or what have you.

JESSICA: Oh my goodness.

BLYTHE: And, yeah, very scary, career-ending type of injury. But for him, no, it hasn’t been.

JESSICA: And then over to the women’s side for the all around. England swept the medals. So you can win three.

EMMA: Oh yes.

JESSICA: There’s no limits.

EMMA: There’s no limits. It was so great. Again, not the cleanest, most perfect competition I’ve ever seen. Franks had a fall off beam, and so did Ruby Harrold. But it was so enjoyable. I’d have to say the whole competition, the enjoyment level of the gymnasts is probably something I’d never seen at that level before.


EMMA: You know, you had the three girls absolutely delighted. You had the Welsh girls the previous day absolutely delighted. And then you’ve got other competitors, such as the team from the Isle of Man, who were just delighted to be there. The Scottish girls were delighted to be there. You know, there was a lone competitor, the lovely Charlotte from Jersey. She was just over the moon to be there. And you know, that was the great thing about the whole games, that some people say, oh you know, “It’s a waste of time.” And blah, blah, blah, “What is Commonwealth Games? I don’t even get it.” If you’re in it, and you’re competing in it, it’s everything. And just to see the people that went round the crowd with their medals after and were having pictures with everybody, those medals meant everything. It wasn’t a half-assed event for them by any stretch. So you had the three English girls one-two-three. So, Claudia Fragapane, Ruby Harrold, Hannah Whelan. In fourth was Ellie Black, who got better as the week went on. They had a bit of a shaky start, and then she just got better and better. And in fifth place was Olivia Vivian, who had the time of her life, you know? And delighted to be fifth!

JESSICA: And, Jamie, who was freaking out the most after they won a medal, or the team placed, or whatever? Who, behind the scenes, was like ecstatic?

JAMIE: Oh, the Welsh girls after winning their team medal just couldn’t hold it together, they were so happy. They were–I’ve never seen a group all together. They were like, hugging, cheering, especially Raer. Yeah, because lots of the Welsh girls train together, so it’s really nice to see them come out together.

BLYTHE: Mmhmm.

JAMIE: And Raer looked really good, actually. She didn’t get to see much, didn’t get through to many finals. But in qualifying, I think she looked really good, I think she’s one to watch.

EMMA: I think too, I mean two Welsh girls in the beam final–granted, not the most difficult, but just polished and beautiful, and…

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: You know? Hats off to them.

JESSICA: Love polished and beautiful. The world needs more of that. Tell us the story about Mitch and Beth!

EMMA: So, after the all-around final, I was loitering, trying to get a few photographs, I’m not going to lie, [JESSICA LAUGHS] because I usually do. And I had a lovely conversation with Mitch Fenner, and I said to him, I said, “Oh my God. It was like, the most emotional thing I’ve ever seen.” I said, “Were you crying?” and he said, “Yeah, we were all crying the commentary box.” And I said, “Well, we were all crying.”


EMMA: I was sitting in the same stand as all the GB families. So they were all crying and screaming and everything else. And then the following day, I met Beth. And I said to her, I said, “What did you think of yesterday?” She said, “Oh, it was great.”

JESSICA: Beth Tweddle, we’re talking about. There’s no other Beth.

EMMA: Yeah, of course. There’s no other Beth. She, she needs one name, like Madonna. So I said to Beth, I said, “Wasn’t it amazing yesterday?” I said, “I mean, one-two-three. Who ever thought that would have happened?” And she’s, “Oh yeah, it was great.” And I said, “Did you cry, Beth?” And she went, “As if! I didn’t cry when I won my own medals!”

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] She’s like, “Please. I don’t cry.”

EMMA: She’s like, “As if!”

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] I love that.

EMMA: And like, the whole commentary team was crying, all the families were crying, and there’s Beth not crying.

BLYTHE: She’s too tough. She’s too tough for crying.

EMMA: She’s tough. She is too tough for crying.

JESSICA: So tell me about the women’s and men’s floor finals. That’s one we haven’t covered yet. Fragapane just freaking killed it.

EMMA: She’s amazing. One thing that slightly concerns me about Fragapane is not Fragapane herself, but it’s what the media are portraying her as.

JESSICA: Mm, yeah.

EMMA: And all the articles that I’ve read have been, “Golden Girl! Pocket Rocket! Blah blah blah.” Which yes, she won four gold medals, yes she’s amazing, I love her. She’s fabulous. But they’re almost touting her as if she’s the best gymnast the world as ever seen ever. And it’s like, you know, to the casual observer who would only watch a Commonwealth Games or Olympics, they would then watch Worlds, and if she didn’t win gold they’d be like, “Well, what’s she playing at?”

JESSICA: Yeah, the article…her coach also was quoted–and maybe it’s a misquote, maybe she really said this, you know, who knows. You know, not that I don’t totally trust the British media, but I’m just saying. So her, I mean it wasn’t like Ollie wrote the article, you know, or any of our standard people. It was like in Star or something. But she was quoted as saying that Fragapane, like, “No one in the world can do what she is doing,” and I was like, “Actually, there’s several people who have higher start values than she does.”

EMMA: Well… You know, just her floor routine is amazing. I love it. I love the choreo, I love her tumbles, and she sells it, and she is dynamic, and she’s capable of making a world final. However, you’ve got, in that world final you’ve got Simone Biles, who at Classics, oh my goodness! Ridiculous.


EMMA: You’ve got Ferrari, who’s getting better with age. You’ve got Iordache, Bulimar, Mitchell’s come back. You know, and she’s going to be even better for by the time October rolls around. You know, and there’s so many other people out there that are at a higher or sort of equal level. You know, you’ve got Popa as well, and Fasano. You know, so the media needs to just simmer down. And actually, British media, please get people who actually like gymnastics and know about gymnastics write these articles. [LAUGH] That would be really nice.

JESSICA: Yeah, that’s what I was a little worried about, that her coach was feeding into this. Which was good, you should totally pump up your gymnasts. You should be their biggest, biggest marketing team. You know, but…

EMMA: She tote, she tote–I don’t want anyone out there to think I don’t like Fragapane, because I absolutely love her. I think she’s wonderful and I think she’s an amazing thing for British gymnastics. You know, but you’ve got to look at it in the real world. You know, and I didn’t even mention any Russians there. And, you know, there’s going to be Russians, there’s going to be Chinese, there’s, you know. You need to look at it in context, rather than just like, “Wow, she’s won four medals, she’s taking over the world.”

JESSICA: That’s the thing, the context is what was missing. [EMMA LAUGHS] I wish they would have said in the articles, “She has a great chance at a medal or making finals on floor.”

EMMA: She has a great chance now. She’s got a great chance at being in the all-around final at Worlds, she’s got a great chance at being in the team final at Worlds, and she’s got a great chance at being in the floor final at Worlds. And maybe even vault final. But I would hate her to get so pressured by this press that she just can’t handle it, and that’s hideous. You know, look at people in the past who have had the most immense pressure from the press as the next big thing who have not been able to deal with it.

JESSICA: Although, somehow the British gymnasts have been, I feel like, better able to handle this than any American ever has.

EMMA: I think we’ve got a very, very good system and team and staff in GB. It’s a very close knit community, and I genuinely do think that the gymnasts are great friends, and the coaches, the family… It’s a very small, close knit community. Even the gymnasts, the coaches, the families, you know. And I’ve certainly not seen that with any other country or gymnasts, so…

JESSICA: Blythe, what’s your take on this, as a journalist? What are your… I mean, how do you see the balance going? How do you think the British gymnasts have handled the pressure, compared to the Americans that have been put in this position? I mean, Kim Zmeskel comes to mind, of course.

BLYTHE: You know, I was thinking earlier tonight about the curse of being the one to watch going into the Olympics, in the American team. You know, you saw it a bit with Jordyn Wieber in 2012. A bit with Courtney McCool in 2004. Certainly with Kim Zmeskel in 1992. And it’s a very hard position to be in. This, where where you’re made out, like, “It’s all up to you.” Everything is all up to you.


BLYTHE: And to have to go in there with that added pressure–I mean, the Olympic Games is stressful enough. In Britain… Emma, I don’t mean to demean the British team…

EMMA: No, of course not.

BLYTHE: …but, I mean, they have less experience with carrying that on their shoulders.

EMMA: Yeah.

BLYTHE: Beth Tweddle is really the only gymnast who has ever had to deal with that. And Beth had to deal with that at a home games, also. I mean, Beth certainly comported herself remarkably well in 2012, given the injury and the knee surgery, you know, 12 weeks before the games. And [INAUDIBLE]

EMMA: That’s because Beth is incapable of crying. [LAUGHTER] So she never cracked. It’s true! I’ve seen it!

BLYTHE: It’s her super power.

EMMA: She told me! She has a super power.

BLYTHE: And so, with Fragapane, she’s really kind of going into uncharted territory here as an all-around threat at Worlds. Yeah, she seems totally unflappable. She seems unphased by it. Certainly between the all-around and event finals, that’s, like, 24 hours. But we will, we will see.

EMMA: I think she had an excellent sort of debut at Sofia.


EMMA: And she did outstanding, and then the floor final just didn’t quite go her way, and she made some errors on her landings. And this time, I think she kind of, “Well, okay. I’ve been to Euros. I kind of know what to expect.” And she obviously dealt with it a lot better.


BLYTHE: And she’s very young. She’s got a lot of energy. She may not quite realize what’s being sort of gradually placed on her shoulders. But the other thing being, like, just because the Daily Mail, with its 56 sub headlines before it actually starts getting to paragraphs, [LAUGHTER] thinks that you are, you know…

EMMA: It’s the worst newspaper ever!

BLYTHE: …a pocket rocket, and a mighty mite, and you know all the other cutesy little titles that they can come up with. I don’t know if that is really placing the world on somebody’s shoulders. Although it’s got to be pretty cool to open it up and see that. But, I don’t know. When I look at the Daily Mail, I just kind of laugh. Hopefully she does the same thing.

EMMA: Let’s hope so.

JESSICA: So who are the gymnasts, some of the gymnasts people don’t know as well, the lesser known but had great success? Like Mez, from Australia?

EMMA: Aww, Mez! She’s so wonderful! Let’s…seriously, the nicest girl.

JESSICA: She’s had all these crazy injuries.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: And did so well.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: There’s so many great episodes of The Hard Way to Success…

EMMA: Oh, gosh.

JESSICA: … that were played out in this. Everyone needs to watch all the episodes of The Hard Way to Success.

EMMA: Seriously.

JESSICA: To be on it.

EMMA: Seriously. For those of you who don’t know, Mez is Mary Anne Monckton, from Australia. And, yeah, she’s had some serious, serious injuries. She is an actual walking episode of The Hard Way to Success. [JESSICA LAUGHS] She is! She had surgery about eight weeks ago, so to be able to come back and get two silver medals, I’d say that’s pretty damn amazing. And also, I don’t know if any of the Gymcastic listeners have heard of Louise McColgan, who’s a current British espoir gymnast. She’s twelve years old, and she competed last year… At the Glasgow World Cup, they do the Espoir Championships, which was won last year by Catherine Lyons, Princess Catherine, and please go and YouTube Louise’s videos, because she’s amazing. She’s just wonderful. So, she was in arena one day, so we met up and had some photographs, and I chatter with her and her family. And she’s wonderful. So go YouTube her videos. And also, I know what it’s like to be McKayla Maroney now, because I was standing in the arena one day, and this girl came up to me and said, “I’d really like to get a photo with you, Emma!” And I’m like, “What?” And she goes, “Yeah, I follow you on Twitter! I read all the stuff that you write, and I’m like, a really big fan!” And I’m like, “Oh my God!” [LAUGHTER] “I’m like McKayla Maroney here!” So a big, massive shout out to my sole fan, who is Louise. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: That’s awesome.

EMMA: And thank you very much, for making me feel like McKayla Maroney for like, a day. [LAUGHS]


JESSICA: Do you have any questions or feedback for us? Do you have any gymnastics crisis that we can solve for you? Contact us–we’re here to help! Our e-mail is Our voice mail is 415-800-3191. Or you can call us for free from anywhere in the world on Skype. Our user name is GymcasticPodcast. Just call GymcasticPodcast and leave a voice mail for free.

Jamie, were there any other behind the scenes moments that we should know about, that struck you as odd, funny, interesting?

JAMIE: I’m just thinking about that. I think we should also mention the Indian girls. I remember, like, if you look back to Delhi Commonwealths, I think there was an Australian commentator who actually, like, made YouTube because she laughed at one of the competitors.


JAMIE: So just comparing, like, the Indian performance there to here, they have massively improved. And…

EMMA: They have, they really have.

JAMIE: …I think that they’re not necessarily a team to watch, but one that like… they’re doing some interesting stuff, and they are getting there. But I think they massively improved, and everyone really supported them as they went through, so I think that’s nice to watch.

JESSICA: That’s so good to hear. Because when they were at–was it the 2003 Worlds that were in Anaheim?

JAMIE: Yeah.

JESSICA: People–it was like they had just gotten off the plane, and they hadn’t… Like, they came straight from the plane to the competition and competed. And they were doing level 6, level 7 skills. But everyone cheered them on so hard. And it’s so great to hear that kind of support, because yeah. To hear that someone made fun of them, that’s just disgusting. That’s not what sports is about. So I’m glad actual sportsmanship was demonstrated so well by your colonies. Or commonwealths.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: Yeah, it really was, and I’ll tell you one thing that they did. I mean, the arena, they KGed up all the time.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: There was all sorts of stuff happening. And one of the days there was literally one person in the entire audience who was shouting, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” And [LAUGHS] the announcer said, “I can just hear one voice saying, ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.’ So as it’s the friendly games, can everybody pitch in and help them out?” They got the entire arena shouting, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” for the Aussie competitors, which was lovely.

JAMIE: Yeah, it’s really good. And the men’s team was so nice to each other. It was when it was Nile’s parallel bars routine, like, all the boys behind us were cheering him on. It’s like everyone was genuinely proud of every competitor going in. It didn’t matter what country they were from, it didn’t matter what they were doing–like, what level their skills were…

EMMA: That’s true.

JAMIE: Everyone shouted the whole way through their routines. They’re like, “Come on, lift up, hit it, stick it, come on!” Everyone was really into it.

EMMA: Yeah. And I’ve got an Olivia Vivian story to tell you.


EMMA: On the first day of event finals, Olivia Vivian suddenly appeared in front of me with her medal. And I was like, “Oh my God, it’s Olivia Vivian! Oh, I love you…” And acting like a bit of a dizzy superfan. And she then… obviously I went up and had a photograph, and people were like, “Who is this peach? This girl’s having a photograph with her and asking her to sign stuff.” So then this huge queue formed, going all the way up the stairs. She not only posed for photographs with everybody, put her medal around everybody’s neck. She gave all the little kids koala bears. It was like, she’s just the nicest person ever. So after that we were having a little chat, and we were talking about this and that, and she said that she liked my phone cover. So I like, within two seconds I’d ripped it off my phone, and like, “You have it, you have it!” And she said, “I can’t take your phone cover!” And I said, “I’ve got hundreds of them, please! I’d love you to have it, please have it!” So we put it on her phone, so, like, and I’m like, “I need a photograph of you with it!” [LAUGHTER] And I was like, “I love this stuff!” So yeah, a massive shout out to Olivia Vivian for her patience and time for all the spectators.

JESSICA: You know, one of the media, one of the writers, called her Miss Congeniality, and I think that is such a good way to frame to who she is for gymnastics. Because not only is she bringing the, just the focus to Australia in such a positive light, but she’s also just demonstrating the best kind of sportsmanship and appreciation for her fans.

EMMA: Oh yeah! And…


EMMA: …for those people who watch the all around, and you know, she was jumping up after she did her vault, she was playing up to the cameras, and everything like that. There were some people on Twitter who wrote her hideous messages.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: She was whacked them all together in like a collage, and like, “Thanks for the hate” and all this lot, in a very positive and upbeat way. And you know, just, what’s all that about? Why do people feel the need to criticize someone like that? It’s just ridiculous. I’m so…

JESSICA: That’s the thing, I feel like… Okay, this, for me, comes back to so much sexism. Because seriously, who complains about the Jamaican guy who’s really fast, and always do the insane stuff?

EMMA: Usain Bolt.

JESSICA: Right, no one’s like, “Oh my God! That guy has such a stick up his ass! Like, I can’t believe he does that. Ugh. How rude!”

EMMA: Yeah, I know!

JESSICA: Like, football players, no one’s like, “Oh my God. Did you see them look at the camera and say something? How disgusting!” But if like, a women’s sport does it, a women does it after she does a great job…

EMMA: I thought it was hilarious! She landed a vault, and she did a, she did a thing that the girl does on Stick It when she lands a vault, [JESSICA LAUGHS] which was hilarious.

BLYTHE: That was awesome.

EMMA: I’m like, “She’s doing the ‘Stick It’ thing!” [LAUGHTER] And Mary Anne, the lovely Mary Anne, bought me a talking kangaroo. And I, when you say anything to this kangaroo, it will repeat what you said. So I got the kangaroo to make Olivia a video, which she absolutely loved, and it, and the kangaroo said, “Ignore the hate.” [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: I love that. I’m so glad… if you guys like what she’s doing, all our listeners, send her an e-mail. And all these guys who have taken the time to really show their appreciation for the fans and give us a glimpse into their daily lives, it’s just so so so great.

EMMA: Absolutely. Absolutely. I cannot say enough good things. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Every person I’ve encountered at a gymnastics meet has been nothing more than wonderful, but I just have to say that at this particular event the Aussie girls were legends. Mez bought me presents. You know, all the girls sat and chatted to me for ages. I can be damn annoying, you know, [JESSICA LAUGHS] so thanks so much. You know, Mez bought me a bottle from the Australian Institute of Sport, and all the girls have signed it. That is, that is like a nugget of gold to me.

JESSICA: That is super sweet.

EMMA: That is a gym treasure extreme.

JESSICA: And that they’ve got, and that Olivia bought little gifts, little koala bears for all the kids, oh my God, that’s the sweetest thing ever!

EMMA: Yeah, yeah.

JESSICA: I love it.

EMMA: It really is, it really is. So literally, I gave them a sack of Cadbury’s chocolate to take home. I’m like, “Your competition’s finished, get on with this lot.” [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: They’re going to arrive in Australia covered in chocolate, like, like, one that says Cadbury when she’s a little kid.

EMMA: Would you like, would you like to know a secret?


EMMA: I’m sure I won’t get told off for telling you this. But, the Australian girls–so there’s Lauren, Larissa, Georgia Rose, Olivia, and Mez–and all four of the girls, with the exception of Mez, are going on holiday somewhere in Europe. So Mez has got to take the flight home with Peggy by herself.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] Oh no. And she’s the youngest one? [LAUGHTER]



JESSICA: In thinking about how, what this competition say, besides the fantastic sportsmanship shown here by all of the audience and the competitors and the commentators really, I have to say, Blythe, how do you think, what do you think really, how do you think this says about the future and the upcoming World Championships?

BLYTHE: Well, we’ll wait and see. Somebody wrote somewhere on Twitter, you know, “Do you think now that Big 4, in women’s gymnastics at least (Russia, China, Romania, and the USA), can become the Big 5. Does Britain get past into the upper echelon, the Top 5 teams?” Yeah, I would say yes. Worlds–you know, the Commonwealth Games, at least in the men’s competition, was a British men’s intersquad with Scott Morgan from Canada. And Kevin Lytwyn. But that’s the dominating thing. And in the women’s competition too. Sort of Britain vs Australia, if you will. And… Well, Britain vs Australia vs Canada. And the big question right now, I think, is “Can Britain take on the United States? Can Britain take on China? Can Britain take on Romania? in women’s, and Japan in men’s.” And, you know, yes, I think that they can be a contender, but we’ll on the day, and we’ll see what everybody else brings to the table in Nanning.

EMMA: I actually think this period we’re going through now is really interesting, because a lot of the GB gymnasts are coming towards the ends of their competitive careers. I mean, you think Hannah’s been to two Olympics, Becky went to Beijing. But the up and comers are outstanding. You know, the likes of Teal, Amy Tinkler, Catherine Lyons, Gabby Jupp, who will be back soon. So that there is–and Ellie Downie, of course. It’s really, really exciting.

JESSICA: Jamie, would you recommend volunteering to people who have the option, the opportunity in the future?

JAMIE: Yeah, I definitely would. I’ve already signed to volunteer at the 2015 Worlds. And I did the Olympics as well, so. It’s a really good experience, you get to meet so many new people, and I got to watch most of the competition and then dart back to the, like, warm up area after to see exactly what’s going on, and how the gymnasts were. So I was very lucky. But wherever you, you feel like such a part of the games, and like you’re doing something. So.

EMMA: Yeah, and Jamie, also, you sat with me for one of the sessions, didn’t you?

JAMIE: I did, yeah.

EMMA: So it’s not all working.


EMMA: And then Michelle also volunteered. Michelle was in the press area for gymnastics as well. And she sort of did half work and half spectating.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: And also had an absolutely wonderful time. And also Carrie, another of our nerd friends, she also had a really great experience volunteering as well. So yeah, I think if you’re struggling for finances, but you want to go to big meets, it’s your way in.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: Without needing to buy a ticket! [LAUGHS] Especially as 2015 Worlds are like, a million pounds. [LAUGHS] So, you know. It’s definitely a great idea.

JAMIE: Honestly, it’s just great.

JESSICA: That’s a really good point. Students, this is your way.

JAMIE: Yeah.

EMMA: It is your way.

JAMIE: And my university helped fund me as well. I’ve got to write a report for my university, to give me some money for the experience to further my career.

JESSICA: Nice! [LAUGHTER] That’s awesome.

EMMA: See, that’s amazing!

JAMIE: Yeah.

JESSICA: You guys, thank you so much for taking the time to chat and give all the Americans…

JAMIE: Any time.

JESSICA: …and the foreign audience a great perspective on the Commonwealth Games. I always feel like we get such a balance of gymnastics and gymnerdery when we talk to you guys. So thank you.

JAMIE: Thank you.

EMMA: Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s not, it’s not World Championships, it’s not the Olympics, but you get to see, you know, people like Kirsten Beckett, who’s from South Africa, and people like that who, you know, are on the rise and looking for experience and things like that. So it’s amazing. It’s an amazing event. And, you know, the next one’s going to be on the Gold Coast in Australia, and what could be better than that?

JESSICA: Exactly. I’ll have to look into it. [LAUGHTER]

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

JESSCIA: Visit, that’s “Sportz” with a “z,” and save five dollars on your next purchase with the code “Gymcast.” Remember to go to and check out our YouTube playlist to see the routines that we’re talking about in the episode. Gymcastic is produced and edited by me, Jessica O’Beirne. Sexy data is by our content and social media director, Dr. Uncle Tim, PhD. Audio engineer is Ivan Alexander. Our theme song is mixed by Chris Seculo, as performed by NWA. Transcription! Our transcription team, you can find our transcripts at Transcription team is Katy, Katie, Alex, Amanda, Cece, Danica, Emma, Jillian, and Kristy. That’s going to do it for us this week. I’m Jessica, from

So you guys can find Blythe at Gymnastics Examiner, and Emma as Moomin Whiskey, like Moomin, like the little cartoons. And Jamie, can you give your Twitter again?

JAMIE: I’m @JamieKDay.

JESSICA: Thanks, you guys!

JAMIE and EMMA: Thank you!

JESSICA: Thanks for listening! See you guys later this week!


[expand title=”Episode 109: The Tumble Podcast”] EMMA: The only thing they really picked him up on is they said he did two forward rolls, and he used his hands to get up.

JESSICA: Ugh. That’s the worst.

EMMA: They said, “You don’t…” Yeah, that’s what Craig said. He said, “You have enough skill to not do that, so I don’t want to be seeing you do that again.”

JESSICA: We don’t let toddlers do that here. [EMMA LAUGHS] You have no excuse for that.


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 We’ve got your back.

JESSICA: Hey, everybody! We’re doing something a little bit different today. We are doing a show dedicated to the new gymnastics TV show, BBC1’s Tumble airing in the UK, and you can watch all the replays online. If you’re a first time listener, we’re a gymnastics podcast, and we’re doing something a little different–recapping a TV show today. We’re a PG13 show, so you might hear a swear word here or there. And if you’re a regular listener, we put out two episodes since last week. So we had our episode, it was an interview with Kristin Allen, world champ and Tumble star, and her partner Michael Rodrigues. Which is hilarious, by the way. Michael had me in tears, and Kristin Allen says stuff that was just so touching about what it’s like working with another person like that, so closely. And then we also put out our Commonwealth Games recap. So you’ve had two episodes since last Wednesday. Now we’re going to do our Tumble recap, and hopefully we’ll be doing these regularly, and next week we have our preview of Championships coming up. And then at Championships in Pittsburg we’ll be doing minishows directly from Championships. So much Gymcastic to look forward to! So, I hope you guys enjoy our Tumble episode. If you’re a first time listener, I hope you’ll enjoy our regular show and giggle along with us as we talk about gymnastics, and let us know what you think of this!


JESSICA: This is the official unofficial podcast of BBC1’s Tumble, bringing you all the recaps from the show. I have Emma with me.


JESSICA: Emma was there in person, and I watched live and got to follow Twitter feed, and I have to say, guys, as a fan of adult gymnastics and advocate for adult gymnastics for years and years and years, and having my adult gymnastics website,, I cannot tell you how exciting it is for me to see a show like this, because… Literally, I shed tears twice during this show. Not because it was the most amazing gymnastics I’d ever seen, but because I was like, all TV shows that we have in the US, almost everything that is huge success as a reality show, its origins have started in the UK, and then the UK has sold it. That’s true with so many shows. Dancing with the Stars came from the UK, like, America’s Got Calent–Talent came from the UK, all of those shows came from the UK. And then they were huge hits here. And so I know, to the core of my being… I mean, we already know because it’s been in the development news, in television development news, that the show is already in development with Mary Lou Retton here in the US. But I know it’s going to come to the US, I know it’s going to be a huge success, because the British have this down, making shows like this a success. Watching it, it was incredibly professional, and honestly, even better that I thought it would be. And, I don’t like shows like Dancing with the Stars, because I expect to see perfect dancing, but it’s hugely successful. And this show, I had really low expectations because it’s the same format as Dancing with the Stars. And there wasn’t huge, amazing gymnastics. But you saw people in their 40s doing back flips and front flips, and doing really beautiful circus routines. And just demonstrating that, yes, you can learn this sport at, in your 40s. There’s a 50 year old on the show. He used to be on Dallas, oh my God. It’s just proves that you can do gymnastics as an adult, and it’s going to increase the amount of adults who do gymnastics. And just, anyone over 18 in the US and the UK. It’s just, it’s so exciting! Okay. So, Emma, you were there in person. So tell us about going there and what it was all like, and how long it took.

EMMA: Oh my God, I’m still, like, in a coma from it. Because it was like, the best day ever. I had the lowest expectations because I’m exactly the same as you. I hate Strictly, and Dancing on Ice, and all those things. And every time a gymnast or someone has been on it, I’ve just watched the YouTube videos, because I can’t bear the whole show. But this was so cool. I just thought it was going to be awful. And then it was like, do you want me to tell you about the whole day?

JESSICA: Yeah. Like, going in and all that stuff.

EMMA: Okay, so basically you get given a ticket. And I must thank Richard at UK Flair because he sent me his ticket because he’s away at International Gymnastics Camp and couldn’t go. So thank you so much! I had the time of my life. Your ticket wasn’t wasted! So, you get your ticket, but it’s not a guarantee that you’re going to get in [JESSICA GASPS] because they oversubscribe so that they have a full audience. So your ticket says, from 12 noon, you can queue up, and there will be people there to validate your ticket, which means you can leave the queue once you get a wrist band, and you can return later. So I got there at literally three minutes past 12, the queue was right down the street. So I was standing there with massive adrenaline of like, “Oh no, I’m not going to get in, oh no!” And then the BBC people start going down the queue, and they have like, a maximum of 600, they were saying. So you got given colored wrist bands, and I got a green one, which meant I was seated behind where the judges were. And the people on the other side got orange ones. But it you got, I think it was yellow, that means you were stand by, which means you didn’t get in until they did a final totter and saw if there were any empty seats. So you had to wait, literally all day if you were on standby.

JESSICA: Oh my God, so when did you finally get in? [EMMA LAUGHS] You got there at 12 to wait in line, and when did you actually enter?

EMMA: Well, the thing was… I was in line from just after 12 to about 12:30 by the time I was validated… maybe it was nearer to one. So about, one o’clock say, and then they let me go. And they told us to return at 2:30. We were like, “What?” So I went back at 2:30. Again, the massive line. And we were probably in that for about a half an hour, and then they let us through the gate. And we went through security, which is like airline style. You get patted down, you get your bags, you know, they check your bags.

JESSICA: Oh, that’s good. I’m glad they do that.

EMMA: They did say they were going to remove our phones, but they didn’t, which was great. So I was able to… I don’t know if you followed my tweets and stuff, yesterday, but I was able to take photos in the studio, which was so exciting. So, then we went through into this studio, which geek fans, it’s the George Lucas studio?

JESSICA: Oh my God.

EMMA: Yeah. So, hello! So we all went inside. The set is amazing. But it’s really a lot smaller than it looks on TV, and even if you were on the back row, you had an amazing view, because it only went up probably about ten rows, I’d guess. So, as I said, I was… and my seat was just behind where the judges sit. And every time someone competed, Alex, the presenter, came and sat in our little block and then did her presenting stuff. So before the show starts, you have the compare guy who gets you all Ged-Up and this compares a comedian guy, and he was so funny, doing jokes and mucking around, and being really silly.

JESSICA: So it’s like a warm up comedian to get you all excited and cheer.

EMMA: Yeah, yeah.

JESSICA: So, okay.

EMMA: So he tried to get you all excited so he gets you to do Mexican waves, he gets you to squeal, you have to do all this other stuff. We were doing the disco dancing and all types of things. [JESSICA LAUGHS] And he was very funny, and I really like people that take the mick out of themselves, and he did that a lot, which was funny. [JESSICA LAUGHS] So you do all that, and that took us, I would so, to about five PM. And then at five PM they said they needed to film the intros. So we did that. So we had to scream really loud. And they lowered Alex, the presenter, down from a hoop from the ceiling. And then…


EMMA: Yeah, it was really good. But she was, oh my God, she was up there for ages. Because that’s one thing I’ll tell you about in a minute. But yeah, they lowered her down, and then the pro gymnasts did their presentation, which was great. So they filmed that, that wasn’t live.

JESSICA: Oh, interesting. So, if they messed up, they could fix something if they needed to.

EMMA: I suppose. I think they’re just the… a few bits were prerecorded because obviously I think, it’s a case of timing. Because when they do their routines they had all sorts of props. And whilst Alex was talking to the camera with the competitors who had just been up, these people were madly, like, ripping down the burger set and all that sort of stuff, and then putting something else up. So yeah, it was a question of timing, I think. So we did all the filming of that, and then it starts. And like, the… my heart was going! It was, it went all dark, and they played the intro, and then they announced–all the competitors came out, and then they announced the judges. And oh my God, when Nadia came out, I cried.


EMMA: I actually cried.


EMMA: I’ve seen Nadia at meets before, and I’ve not been affected in any way. I’m just, “Oh yeah, that’s Nadia.”

JESSICA: But it’s a gymnastics TV show!

EMMA: It is a TV show!

JESSICA: This is the thing we have been waiting for forever!

EMMA: Yes! And they played a film of her. “Yes, I’m Nadia. I won seven hundred medals in ’76 and got perfect 10.” [JESSICA LAUGHS] And, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m going, I’m going!” And I had the card, my leo card, in my bag. And I was like, “If there’s one thing I’m getting today, it’s her to sign this.” Because I took it to Commonwealth Games in the hope that she would go.

JESSICA: And these are, just so everyone knows, if you haven’t listened to the show before. So these are leo cards that are made by Meg. You can… I’ll put a link so you guys can buy one on the show. She’s a graphic designer, and she does these cards or posters, you can get them poster size, one of our listeners in Dubai has her lady cave is all like pink pillows and these all over the wall. It looks awesome, I totally want a lady cave now. And they’re just, these cool graphics of all the most famous leotards. And she’ll do custom ones if you ask her. And it’s so cool, you can get them post card sized, and you can take them to meets and have your favorite gymnasts sign them. And they love these.

EMMA: Take a picture with them.

JESSICA: Like, they freak out when they’re like, “Someone made my leotard iconic in this way.”

EMMA: Yeah, they do love them. And I don’t know if you saw recently, I sent one to Catalina Ponor. And she actually sent me a photograph of her with it.


EMMA: And I was like, “Really? Ahh!”

JESSICA: So they introduced Nadia, and you cried.

EMMA: They introduced Nadia, and I cried. Oh, oh, oh! But I’d forgotten one bit. So after they filmed the intro and we were all sitting, waiting for the main event to start, I was just sitting there thinking to myself, “Oh my God, please let this be good.” Because it was such amazing energy from everybody. The crowd was all fired up, we’d met all the coaches, they were all fired up. And it was like, there’d been so much anticipation for this. And then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a familiar face walk in. And it was Mitch. And I was just like…


EMMA: “Mitch is here! It’s all going to be okay!”

JESSICA: This is the thing…so Mitch Fenner is the commentator…

EMMA: He commentates, yeah!

JESSICA: …for all, every gymnastics thing in the UK. And I have to say, he’s hands down one of my favorites. Because, not only because of the way he speaks, but he can explain deductions without seeming demeaning at all to the gymnasts. He’s just extremely kind, but very honest.

EMMA: He’s…

JESSICA: He’s so sweet.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: And I really, really like him.

EMMA: We should also point out that he’s the coach of the Dutch men.

JESSICA: Oh, that’s right!

EMMA: Yes. So…

JESSICA: Which, I should also mention, he is quoted in the most recent The Hard Way to Success video series, and I’ll put a link to that too, because he coaches the Dutch men. So, and everyone should watch all those videos, because they’re another documentary gymnastics series, and we love them. So watch them, and you’ll get more behind the scenes with him. Because they’re based in the Netherlands.

EMMA: Yes, and they are very good, and they will make you cry. So…

JESSICA: If you don’t cry when you watch those, there’s… tell us. Because we’re going to keep a tally, because we’ve never heard of anyone who’s watched those and hasn’t cried.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: So, just so you know. Yeah.

EMMA: Especially the Luke Carson and Brinn Bevan episodes. [JESSICA SIGHS] If you don’t cry watching them, then you’re a dead human.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] You’re a dead gym fan.

EMMA: You’re dead to me, as well. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: So he came in and then what happened?

EMMA: Yes, so we had all the intros, everyone came out, I cried when Nadia came out. She just looked beautiful in her white suit, and obviously the crowd, they love Louis. Whatever you gym fans out there think of Louis Smith, my experience of him is he is so nice, he is so nice to me, and I’m the giddiest annoying geek ever. And the crowd love him! Kids love him! People love him! So he got huge cheers. And it was just great! So they all came out, they sat down, and then it was on to the show. So, do you want me to tell you about the performances?

JESSICA: Yes. So, let’s talk about…

EMMA: …Who everybody is, obviously.

JESSICA: Yes. Let’s talk about…so the very first one we saw was…Amella?

EMMA: Amelle.

JESSICA: Amelle, okay. Amelle. And she is being coached by David-Roy Wood, who is Princess Catherine’s other coach.

EMMA: That’s right!

JESSICA: So Rochelle Douglas is the main coach, and then he’s the other coach.

EMMA: Rochelle was actually there as well.


EMMA: However, I didn’t see her, and I didn’t know she was there until after. Because obviously when filming starts, your phones have to be off. So throughout the whole thing I wanted to tweet so bad. But, you’ll get turfed out, so I couldn’t. But yeah, she was there yesterday.

JESSICA: So the very first performance was Amelle, and how do we know her? Like, who is she?

EMMA: She is out of a girl group called the Sugababes, who are actually very good. So she’s, she’s pretty famous here, I would say.

JESSICA: Her performance, hands down, I think that she and… I mean, to start, they started her off for a reason, because I was like, “Uh, she just learned this. How is that possible?”

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: I was completely impressed. And let me just say, you’re not going to see people doing double backs on this show; this is not the Olympics. This is beautiful, entertaining little teasers of gymnastics. It’s like Dancing with the Stars. They’re not the best dancers ever, but they have incredible partners, and it’s really entertaining. And the whole time you will feel inspired. You’ll watch this and be like, “Holy crap, why am I sitting on my ass right now? I need to go join a gymnastics class somewhere.”

EMMA: I do. I want to learn how to do everything.


EMMA: I do! I’m going to start my own gymnastics class. [JESSICA LAUGHS] And I’m going to employ Nadia to be my coach.

JESSICA: Perfect. Okay, so what did you think of them? What was it like, watching? They did a hoop routine.

EMMA: The two events that they did yesterday–they alternated, so the first one, Amelle, she did the hoop, and then they did floor also. And they just alternated the two events. So, she did Man in the Mirror, by Michael Jackson. And they start off, her and her partner on a hoop, each. And then they go on to one hoop. But she did a really good job. I watched her warming up, just before they cut to actually filming her. And she was rocking those splits. She could really do them, you know?


EMMA: And I, I was watching her, and I thought, “Oh my goodness. This is–She’s, like, really good.” Considering the amount of training. She’s obviously fit already, which helps. And obviously having, being in a girl band they do all those choreographed danced routines and stuff. So that’s obviously got to help in your performance. But I was really impressed with her. She did, she did really well.

JESSICA: And I just have to say, just to play devil’s advocate here, the other view of the show, I was, you know, my husband was watching in the background, and he’s like, “I’m not watching, but this is what I have to say about this.” And his whole thing was, you know, it’s, just there’s so many people who work harder than the people on this show, like the celebrities, and deserve this more, and they’re real athletes who spend their whole life, and they’re way better than these people. But these people are getting their TV show, and, you know, it’s not fair, and blah blah blah. And I was like, “Yeah, except this is how you get people to watch a gymnastics show. You want someone that they know and have some connection to, whether you love them or hate them, and you watch how hard it is to do the very basics of this sport. And that is how you get buy in to watching this.”

EMMA: I would, I would love nothing more than to sit on a Saturday night and watch professional elite gymnastics, but this is the only way it’s ever going to happen.

JESSICA: Yeah. It’s great because…

EMMA: So, I’ll take it. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: Exactly. And it features these incredible elite athletes alongside the celebrities. So they get more exposure too. And all these people who do acro and circus sports, this is a great way for adults to get involved in gymnastics too. I love it. And by the way, if you’re totally interested, you can go to my website, We have a map and a list by state in the US and also abroad, where you can find adult gymnastics programs and tumbling classes and open gyms. And then the British Gymnastics has done the most amazing job preparing for this. They have this Team G program, which is kind of like parkour, that you can find a place that you can do that. They have adult gymnastics programs, and they have a way that you can find what adult gymnastics programs are around you. There are so many programs that are outside of artistic gymnastics that are perfect for adults, or anyone. Even a teen, if you want to get into this and you’re a beginner, they are setting the bar. They are the gold standard for what every single gym owner and gymnastics association of the federations around the world should be doing to prepare for the success of this show. Gold standard, I cannot say enough good things about British Gymnastics. Everyone should be following suit. And if you’re a gym owner and you want to get involved in this, and you don’t really know how, go to their website, because they actually have training programs, and they have literature about how to start it and what the rules are and training. They’re just, I love you guys, you’re doing such a good job. Please, please, I bow down to you, British Gymnastics, I’m so proud of what you guys are doing. Just, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything, because you’re going to get so many people into gymnastics. Okay, back to the show. Let’s discuss.

EMMA: Yay! [CLAPS HANDS] So, after Amelle was Peter. And Peter was one of my childhood heroes really, because he was on a TV show they had for kids called Blue Peter. Where they do all sorts of…there’s loads on YouTube of gymnasts on Blue Peter. There’s a Danusia film, she went on Blue Peter. Valeri Liukin went on Blue Peter. So search the archives for some old clips on there. But he was this amazing presenter, and on Blue Peter one of things that they used to get all presenters used to do was these, like, ridiculous challenges. So they’d go to the site of Sarajevo Olympics, and they’d have to do the bobsleigh course. [JESSICA LAUGHS] Really crazy stuff. And he got a spinoff show, called–his surname is Duncan–he got a spinoff show called Duncan Dad. Which was basically him doing adrenaline-type crazy antics. So as I was sitting there before the show started, the lady in front of my turned out to be his sister. Which was quite exciting, because it’s always nice to chat and meet new folks. And she was saying that he’s 60 years old.


EMMA: Yep. He’s 60 years old, and he’s, like, super fit. And I was like, “God, I haven’t seen him on TV for years. I can’t even remember, if, really what he looks like and if he is going to be super fit.” But she goes, “No, he is super fit.” And he came out, and he is super fit, and he could do all the lifts! And even, you know, Louis said, “You try, if you’re a parent, and you try, like, chucking your two year old up in the air, which I do all the time my nephews…”

JESSICA: Yeah, he did the floor routine, by the way.

EMMA: They’re heavy!


EMMA: And you know, he was doing these mad lifts.

JESSICA: He had a partner who would do, like, the round off back tuck over him, and he caught her half way and lifted her. I was so impressed with him.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: So they did the floor routine, and honestly, he had the kind of personality that I was like, “Oh my God, he’s going to be so successful.”

EMMA: He’s amazing. He’s such a decent guy.


EMMA: That…

JESSICA: You could see the love that, like, he was like, “This is so fun!”

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: Like, kid in a candy store. Even though it was hard, and he was like, “Oh my God, what if I drop her, I’m terrified.” I just loved watching him. And I mean, he’s 60 and he’s doing this…

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: And it was fun, and he had this big smile on his face.

EMMA: I mean, goodness me, if you can teach a 60 year old to do flips, then I need to be going to this class. [JESSICA LAUGHS] I need to be on Tumble! I need to do something that’s going to make me famous to get on it. [JESSICA LAUGHS]

JESSICA: You’re gymternet famous. That’s good.

EMMA: I am.

JESSICA: Oh, so let’s talk about the scores for a second, because I was like, this was the only part my husband liked. He was like, “Good, the scores are accurate, they’re not just giving everyone a ten.” [EMMA LAUGHS] So they, the scores were what they should be getting. Like, based on the 10.0 system, which is…

EMMA: I actually…

JESSICA: …correct.

EMMA: Yeah. I actually thought a few people were scored too highly, and although Craig was getting booed for doing his low scores, it’s week one, people!

JESSICA: Exactly.

EMMA: And he was saying that the gymnastics content is quite low, so that’s why I’m giving you four. And he was right. I’m with Craig. You know, you don’t be bringing out eights and sevens on day one. Nah.

JESSICA: Exactly. And…

EMMA: Did Shannon Miller get a ten on her first day of gymnastics? No. [JESSICA LAUGHS]

JESSICA: Right, and that’s what you get if you’re really being scored as a level five or level six, and you bend your knees 25 times in your routine and flex your feet. You’re going to be getting a 5.0 if you’re lucky. So I like that the scores were accurate in that way. And at first people are freaking out, and I’m like, “Uh, welcome to gymnastics people. Did you see how many times she bent her legs or flexed her feet?” That’s what’s up. So, I liked the scoring, I thought it was great.

EMMA: Yeah, me too. After Peter was Andrea. She’s, like, a TV presenter of Loose Woman, which is a hideous show.

JESSICA: Oh my God, what does that mean? Loose Woman? Like, we heard that, and we laughed so hard.

EMMA: It just means… Yeah.

JESSICA: Because you know what that means here, right?

EMMA: It’s loose mouths, so it means you just talk a lot. And it’s basically like, you get over there, you get The View, with like, Whoopi Goldberg and stuff, don’t you? Ours is exactly the same, but it’s just called Loose Women.

JESSICA: Oh, yours probably started, and that’s why we have ours now. But loose woman here means that you’re promiscuous. You have a ton of sex.

EMMA: Yeah. [LAUGHS] I guess it has that… It could have that meaning too. But it just means loose tongue. “Loose lips sink ships,” that’s where it’s coming from.

JESSICA: Gotcha. So I could totally relate to her, because I once brought someone I was dating to gymnastics class, like, “Oh, this will be great.” And it ended in puking in the bushes. So I can totally relate.

EMMA: Yeah, she was really ill. She was doing the hoop, and she got really bad motion sickness. So she was basically on every medication going trying to make her not be sick.

JESSICA: Just for people learning, like a forward roll for the first time, it can make you nauseous. Like, it’s one of those things that when you’ve done gymnastics for your whole life you take for granted, that you can flip around, and you’re, your, you’ve developed that sense in your inner ear. And it’s one the reasons why I think all kids should start, even if they don’t want to do gymnastics, start them in gymnastics because they’ll learn how to fall without getting hurt. Because you know, you have an innate ear sense when you do gymnastics. And that’s the reason everyone should start it. But yeah, she, that’s like a legit concern. And to start on hoop and spinning around…

EMMA: Yes.

JESSICA: …Aww, I felt so bad for her.

EMMA: I thought she did okay. She wasn’t one of the best, but then again, she’s in this sort of older age bracket. And she did have that awful sickness. But I thought that she was quite tentative. So she’d do a skill and it’s almost like she was thinking it through, talking it over in her head, like, “Oh, the next thing is I’ve got to put my leg and point my toe. And the next thing, I’ve got to hold the hoop with my hand and lower myself down…” But you know, I’m sure she’ll be better in the coming weeks. And then my new best friend, and… I’ve actually seen this guy in concert twice, and anyone in the UK will like, be, “Oh my God, you went to a Steps concert. And you went twice? You need to die.” [JESSICA LAUGHS] So, his name is H, which stands for “Hyperactive,” so that’s a good start. And he was in a pop group called Steps. They were one of the groups that came up following the Spice Girls, and they were really popular. They had, like, coordinated outfits. There was two guys and three girls. They had coordinated outfits, they had dance routines for every single song. All the kids absolutely loved them. And me as well. So he was great. He did floor routine, and he did it to Johnny B Goode. And so…

JESSICA: Wait, wait, before we get to this, they played… did they play the background of them training? Did you see that in the studio?

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: Oh my God, so he’s the one, right, that the choreographer was like, “You need to just shut up and just do this right now.” [EMMA LAUGHS] Like, you’re complaining too much.


JESSICA: [LAUGHS] I was like, “Oh my God. How many times have I wanted to say that to someone at work?” Like, we had the high school interns this summer. And I was like, “Listen. If I hear you talking one more time about finding this boy’s e-mail address and not doing your work…”

EMMA: He…he’s a bit of a drama queen. He’s, recently Steps were, like, a really big pop group over here who had, like, tons of number ones. And on Boxing Day one year they split up, and all the kids started crying. And they basically had, they just fell out, and they were just horrible to each other. And years later they reformed, but it was all filmed, so it was like a reality show that was all filmed, and they were like, all in tears, and still bitter, it was really fun to watch. [JESSICA LAUGHS] It was. You should look it up, I’m sure it would be on YouTube.

JESSICA: I loved his background though, because you could see, like, “It’s really hard.” And we’re like, “Yes. It’s really hard and painful.”

EMMA: Yes, and he’s a drama queen. But he did a special thing for me at the end, so I’ll talk to you about that after. So I love him. So yeah, he did the routine where they started off flipping burgers, and then they sort of, kind of flipped over the counter. But he was very good. It was very fast paced. And very entertaining. He did lots of flips and lifts and tricks. The only thing they really picked him up on is they said he did two forward rolls, and he used his hands to get up.

JESSICA: Ugh, that’s the worst.

EMMA: And they said, you know, “You don’t…” Yeah, that’s what Craig said. He said, “You know, you have enough skill to not do that. So I don’t want to be seeing you doing that again.”

JESSICA: We don’t let toddlers do that here. [EMMA LAUGHS] You have no excuse for that.

EMMA: Yeah. But he’s…I would say he would be my second place. I think he came in second place anyway. But in my judging system, he would be second for me as well.


JESSICA: Do you have any questions or feedback for us? Do you have any gymnastics crisis that we can solve for you? Contact us, we’re here to help. Our e-mail is, our voice mail is 415-800-3191, or you can call us for free from anywhere in the world on Skype. Our user name is GymcasticPodcast. Just call GymcasticPodcast and leave a voice mail for free.

EMMA: And then your special friend from last week…


EMMA: Kristin, with Bobby. Now Bobby, I didn’t know who Bobby was, but I believe he’s on a kids TV show.

JESSICA: Teen Wolf.

EMMA: And it’s kind of Twlighty type show…


EMMA: So it’s huge. He’s totally in love with Kristin. They’re totally together, they have to be!

JESSICA: Did you see how they were sitting after the thing? I mean, their knees were touching. Mmhmm.

EMMA: I didn’t…I wasn’t looking, they were all sort hunched over, you know, after they’d been on everybody went over to where the judges were sitting, and they all sat on these benches. And yeah, I wasn’t really watching. But he was so, you know when there is chemistry?

JESSICA: Mmhmm. They definitely, like the TV show obviously tried to play that up, but I wondered if they tried to play that up ’cause they were like, “By the way…”

EMMA: Yeah, they do make this sort of stuff up. But, like, you know, there’s been romances on these shows before. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another one.

JESSICA: I love how Mitch was doing his commentator. So like, Mitch would do comments on the replay afterwards. And he was, “Who knows if there’s…” I mean, he said something that was so something he would never normally say, but it was so funny to hear it come out of his mouth about, “Who knows if we’ll see more love in the air next week?” And I was like, “Oh my God.” [LAUGHTER]

EMMA: It’s so funny.

JESSICA: And, oh my God, Kristin looks just stunningly gorgeous.

EMMA: Yeah, she is.

JESSICA: Oh my God.

EMMA: Yeah. Amazing. What I was kind of–I mean, I know they did, they had a display of Louis and all his teammates, which I guess is like the entertainment section that they have in Strictly, but I would have loved to have seen–and they did do a display at the start, but I would have loved to have seen more professional displays, so hopefully they’ll do more professional stuff as the weeks go on.

JESSICA: Yes, because you have, I mean, she’s a two time world champion, and the stuff that she does will just make everyone lose their minds when they see, hopefully she’ll actually do a routine. But I don’t know if she has a partner right now.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: But I hope that they display the people that are already on the show, so you can see how amazing they are, like, the pro partners.

EMMA: Can I just say, can I just say that when I–I had to get a, there was no trains yesterday, so I had to get a bus home, which was a disaster, it takes so long. And I listened to her Gymcastic interview on my way home, to like, so my buzz wouldn’t die. So [JESSICA LAUGHS] yeah, that as so cool.

JESSICA: And it’s funny. That interview was so funny. And, so we have her male partner on, who was her world partner for World Championships.

EMMA: He’s amazing, he’s so funny.

JESSICA: He’s hilarious. You can see why they got along, because they’re like, opposite personalities.

EMMA: Yeah. Do you remember, when he was telling the story about the pee test–my brother, he’ll kill me. But my brother’s in the military over here. We don’t call it military, but I’m trying to be Americanized. And they have drug testing, random, where they just turn up at your house and you have to pee in front of them. And I know British gymnasts here and sports people here in general, the drug people just randomly turn up at their house and like, “Drop your pants, have a pee. And I’m going to stand two centimeters away from you.” [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: That’s the thing. I knew that, like, when you’re an active athlete you get randomly drug tested, and it happens here too, and in every sport it does. But I didn’t know they put their face an inch away from your junk while you’re doing it. [LAUGHTER] Oh my God!

EMMA: It’s hideous. We don’t even do that, and I work in the medical profession, and we don’t even do that. [JESSICA LAUGHS] You know? It’s taking things a bit far, I think. But…

JESSICA: But then you have, you know, the people who somehow used a fake penis and peed, like, what’s the bicycler who, you know…

EMMA: Well, I’ve seen it all in my job as well, where people have smuggled in pee. But we have these bottles now where it knows if it’s fresh pee. When you put it in.


EMMA: It’s got a temperature gage on it.

JESSICA: Nice. [EMMA LAUGHS] Nice. So, there you go. Can’t get away with that now. Okay, who, how did the. How did the audience react to Bobby Lockwood and Kristin Allen’s routine?

EMMA: Oh, loved them. They absolutely loved them. ‘Cause they were obviously feed the love story and totally fell for it. I totally fell for it. I’m the most gullible person in the world, and yeah, it was beautiful. It was slow–because H was really bouncy, really fast, really trick, trick, trick. And theirs was really slow, and they have the lovely John Legend song. And it was all so sultry, and da-da-da-da, it was lovely.

JESSICA: Their routine was harder, too. Because Bobby obviously–he has to have had gymnastics before, and he’s pretty strong. So they could do some stuff–

EMMA: He’s also younger. He’s only about 21. So he’s got the age advantage.

JESSICA: So do you think, I asked Kristin about this last week when she was on the show, and I asked her, “Do you think that the paparazzi, the British paparazzi is going to be at your door the day after the show airs?” Because they’re just like, famous for stalking every celebrity. But does that happen, that people who are on these shows, like Strictly Come Dancing and stuff, they’re just…

EMMA: Yeah, oh yeah. If there’s a hint of any–it’s websites like the Daily Mail and the Mirror, and the showbiz gossip websites, all the magazines–so yes. If there’s a hint of love, and the show’s popular, I–judging from all the tweets and everything I’ve read, it was popular. She’ll get some attention, most definitely, because there was on Strictly, one of the dancers who won the show a few years ago, she fell in love with her dance partner. I think they’re still together.


EMMA: And they were in the paper, like, every day.


EMMA: And also on Dancing on Ice, there was a few tales about Beth and her partner for a little while, but I don’t think there was anything in that. But there was, there’s a bit of a love triangle with one of the guys, who’s a bit of a dog by all accounts, it sounds. He hooked up with his celebrity partner, and then the falling season he ditched her and hooked up with the new one. [LAUGHTER]

JESSICA: What are you going to do? Them’s the breaks.

EMMA: [LAUGHS] Yeah. And they both look pretty much the same, as well. [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: Oh no, that’s bad.

EMMA: Quite funny, yeah.

JESSICA: Replaced with a difference version.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: All right, who was next?

EMMA: Next there was Lucy, who–she’s kind of on a reality show and is famous for that. So, boo, I don’t like these types–I’m on some crappy show, and then I become famous for being nothing.

JESSICA: Someone described it as “the Jersey Shore of”–the British version of the Jersey Shore.

EMMA: Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty accurate.


EMMA: Lots of people who lots of money and not many brain cells. Lots of fake tan. [JESSICA LAUGHS] It’s very popular, though. It’s a very popular show. So, somebody likes it.

JESSICA: Not me, because…

EMMA: But she, she was very pretty and very slim, and very…


EMMA: Doll-like. And I just thought, “Oh my God, she’s going to be perfect.” She’s perfect size, she’s going to be great.


EMMA: But she was rubbish!

JESSICA: Terrible. Terrible. I was like, “Oh my God, don’t do a handstand, you’re going to die. You’re going to break your neck.”

EMMA: And then she did that, like, assisted front tuck. It was horrible!

JESSICA: Oh my God, she–and there are, in her interview, she’s like, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life!” I was like, “Oh my God, if this is the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life, you are in trouble.” Like, you are already–I hope your life changes.

EMMA: You’ve never watched The Only Way is Essex, Jess.


EMMA: See if I can find an episode and I’ll send you a link.

JESSICA: Oh God, I don’t want to. I couldn’t even handle her at all. [EMMA LAUGHS] I was just like, “Yeah, you can’t get away with–”

EMMA: It’s shockingly bad. So, up after Lucy was Sarah. And Sarah was from a group called Girls Aloud. Who were actually pretty good, back in the day. So I thought she was good. She did the hoop as well. She looked a little labored at times, and it was almost, again, she was doing a skill, and then thinking the next on in her head before she did it. You could almost see her doing that. But you know, potential I think she’s got. And she’s got nice sort of lines, you know. She’s got a nice figure and everything. And she can point her toes and stuff. So I think she’s got potential. I think she’ll get more confident.

JESSICA: So Sarah was the one who was terrified of the height of the hoop, and honestly, I can totally relate to that because every time I would just do a front support on the high bar, my palms would start sweating, and I was like, “I need more chalk, I’m going to die!”

EMMA: I also–yeah–I also need to tell you, one thing that you, as TV viewers won’t have seen, is the amount of time they had to stand or sit or whatever in their starting poses before the cameras started to role. Because as they were running the VTs of their training clips, Sarah was in that hoop lying on her back for must have been about a minute.


EMMA: So, to be able to just lie, up high, lying in it, with the anticipation, the adrenaline, and everything, fair play to her. Because I thought she was good. I did.

JESSICA: I liked her a lot. Just like you’re saying, the only problem she had was when she would do a transition she would kind of lose form for a second, and then she would get it back.

EMMA: Yeah, yeah.

JESSICA: But I really liked her, and I loved the see-through suspenders that her partner was wearing. [EMMA LAUGHS] And you know how I feel about suspenders. And I think she has a lot of potential, and I was really impressed.

EMMA: I think she does as well.

JESSICA: Yeah, I like how she got over her fear.

EMMA: I think her confidence will grow as the weeks go on. And also Emma, who was after Sarah, Emma was off Dynasty [ph: Dih-nah-sty] or Dynasty [ph: Die-na-sty], as you say over there. [LAUGHTER] And she’s in her 50s, hello! And she also…

JESSICA: That’s amazing.

EMMA: …was standing on that guy’s shoulders at the start, wrapped in that huge coat, basically, she had to up there. [CLEARS THROAT] Excuse me. She had to get up on his shoulders, and then these crew people came with ladders and attached the coat around her. She must have been standing there a good minute before the cameras started to roll, and I’m like, I’m like, “My God, what if she falls over? What if the guy under the coat…” Because that was a big coat. “What if he suffocates?” [JESSICA LAUGHS] Because, let me tell you–

JESSICA: Suffocates!

EMMA: Let me tell you, the studio was boiling.

JESSICA: Really?

EMMA: And we were in there for hours. It was so hot in there! There was no air. And you couldn’t have anything to drink, because you couldn’t go to the toilet, they wouldn’t let you out. Obviously when the show’s on it’s an hour and half. It’s going, and you’re not allowed to move.

JESSICA: Oh my God. Well, I’m glad they kept it warm, because that’s one of the worst things as an athlete, when you’re somewhere cold–

EMMA: It was so hot.

JESSICA: But for sitting there, and yeah.

EMMA: My hair–my hair melted. [JESSICA LAUGHS] I had a photograph after. You’ll see the before photograph that I took, before it started, and the after one that I got, and my hair is like–my fringe is just, like, gone loco. [LAUGHTER] Yes, so Emma, Emma, she didn’t really do any gymnastics-y stuff. So to say, I don’t think.

JESSICA: It was more like holding lifts. Like he was holding her up in the air.

EMMA: It was… yeah. She was better than Lucy, by far, but again, I think she was quite nervous and she was quite tentative. Again, she’s never done gymnastics.


EMMA: So, fair play to her, and, you know, she’s in her 50s, for goodness sake. So I think she’ll improve. And then there was Carl, after.

JESSICA: Big fan, big fan.

EMMA: Right. See, I was a big fan of him, and I was a big fan of his good back planche, because as Louis said, Craig can’t even do one.

JESSICA: It’s so hard! It’s so hard, I was so impressed. But of course, he’s super, super mega strong. Boxer.

EMMA: Yeah. However, the rest of it–he’s really awkward and stiff. So he needs to–and I’m sure it will happen, I’m sure he’ll get more artistic as it goes on. I mean, the people like H and even Peter, they’re used to performing. You know, the older guys. They’re used to performing and they’re used to doing showy stuff. Whereas Carl, he’s a boxer. He ain’t got no toe point or anything like that. He doesn’t know all that sort of stuff.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] But I thought his–maybe it’s just the way they cut the program in the end, but when his facial expressions, they showed it, it was hilarious!

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: Because he had this look on his face, it was half way “Aww yeah, I’m hot” and half way like, “I can’t believe I’m doing this. It’s really embarrassing.” And it was so entertaining.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: Because it felt honest instead of performance face.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: And I totally cracked up. And I, I love the part where Craig was like, “Well, if anything else–” Because they were pretending like their story line was like he was a window washer, and then he does tricks with his girl. [EMMA LAUGHS] And that was so funny, because he was like, “If anything, at least after this you’ll get a job as a window washer.” And I was like, “Hired! Woo!” [EMMA LAUGHS]

EMMA: So John is off a soap called EastEnders. I don’t watch it, so I didn’t know he was. But he, my goodness. You can tell why they put him up last, because he’s like, Mr. Firecracker. He used to be in the royal ballet, he was saying, in his VT. So obviously he’s got experience with performance…

JESSICA: He’s an athlete.

EMMA: An athlete, and dancing. So he knows how to point his toes and all that sort of stuff. He was really good.

JESSICA: He was amazing. I was like, “Uhh, he’s no beginner.”

EMMA: Yeah, he was really good. And, you know, Louis at the end was going, “Somis–tick. Lifts–tick. Splits–tick. And you know, you’ve got the whole thing.” And he has got the whole thing. Again, maybe, it’s easier for him because he’s got a performance background. However, he set a pretty high standard. So he’s got to get better every single week from what he did yesterday.

JESSICA: Yeah. He did a back tuck and a front tuck by himself.

EMMA: Yep.

JESSICA: He can do gymnastics.

EMMA: Yep.

JESSICA: And they weren’t hideously ugly, either, and they weren’t awkward, like, “Oh God, is he going to break his legs when he lands?” So I was totally impressed.

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: And the fact that he had a ballet background makes so much sense. And also his, just, the things where they show them practicing, sometimes they can be so cheesy, and you’re like, “Really, again?” But his was super entertaining. I totally loved watching his practice.

EMMA: Yeah, he was. And he was getting proper cross that he wanted to know how to do everything right away.

JESSICA: He’s totally–

EMMA: They’re like, “You need to do like, 500 reps of this.” “I’ve done 500!” and he goes. And you know he ain’t done 500. [LAUGHS]

JESSICA: When you compare him and Lucy, you’re like, so this is a professional, and that is why he’s successful. And then you’re like Lucy, who’s like, “Oh my God, they wouldn’t let me paint my face all day! I can’t do it!” Like, ugh. Go away.

EMMA: Shut up. Yeah. Lucy needs to go home already.

JESSICA: Immediately.

EMMA: Also, Amelle got actual rips. And I was like, “Woohoo, [JESSICA GASPS] she did actual training and got proper rips!”

JESSICA: Good for her! I’m even more impressed!

EMMA: And Louis–Louis said, as well, “I’m really glad you got rips.” Because, you know, you did it properly.

JESSICA: I also want to mention that the coach of Sarah, from Girls Aloud, is Ilienko, the–she coaches at Heathrow.

EMMA: Yes! Oh, yes.

JESSICA: She’s the 1981 world champ on floor.

EMMA: Natalia Ilienko!

JESSICA: She’s coached Danusia and Mitchell.

EMMA: Yes, and Loriah James, and Rebecca Wing. And Lisa Mason, at the moment goes to Heathrow.

JESSICA: I would be on the show just to be coached by her for it.

EMMA: Oh God, yeah. Me too. If any of you have never watched Natalia Ilienko’s 1981 floor routine that won her the gold medal, you must watch it immediately. It’s the stuff of legend. So do it now! [JESSICA LAUGHS] Type it. Type it now, into YouTube.

JESSICA: So then at the very end they had Craig Heap–now what, he was an artistic gymnast?

EMMA: He was. Craig Heap was our sole–I mean, this is how far British gymnastics is come in the last few years. Craig competed in Sydney as the whole GB gymnast for the men.


EMMA: The women sent a team. The men, no. Just Craig. So, that shows you how far we’ve come now. You know, people are fighting over spots. So he was–he went to Sydney, and he also competed for England at two Commonwealth Games. And they were the first English team to win a gold. And then four years later, when the Games were in Manchester, they retain their title. So he’s, he’s pretty damn good. And…

JESSICA: And he can still do a nice handspring vault.

EMMA: He can, he can. I think he was a bit gutted that he nerfed up the landing, but you know.

JESSICA: He made it entertaining though. He did a perfect…

EMMA: He did entertaining, yeah. He did.

JESSICA: …handspring vault, and then like a bounder out of it. Which was fun.

EMMA: You know, you know I’ve told you about my secret gymnastics work colleague. He was telling–because I was talking to him on Friday before I was going, and he said to me that Craig is the nicest man you’ll ever meet.


EMMA: He said he’s proper decent nice man. So yeah.

JESSICA: He seems like that as a judge. He gave–you know when you have a great coach, and they…

EMMA: It’s Northern! He tells the truth. You know? He tells the truth. He isn’t going to coat it all up in sugar and tell you you’re great when you’re crap. He’s going to tell you crap when you’re crap.

JESSICA: That’s the thing–but he made it funny!

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: That’s the thing. You can make the person that you’re criticizing laugh at themselves, that’s the best kind of way to give–that’s how I take it the best, anyway.

EMMA: I mean–sorry, carry on.

JESSICA: And also, I just love that Louis the same way. I just–I have no criticism of him. I like his personality comes across, he seems honest, he’s funny. He’s just a great representative of the sport. And Nadia is hilarious.

EMMA: Yes.

JESSICA: Because she just does–One, you can kind of tell that she doesn’t really follow gymnastics anymore. And the second thing is that she just says whatever. She has, like, no filter, and she’ll just say whatever. And so every once in a while…

EMMA: But that’s the Romanian way, isn’t it? You know.


EMMA: All the Romanians that I know speak like that. You know, they’re not going to tell you–if you say, “Have I got a big bum in this dress?” they’ll say yes.

JESSICA: Exactly. And that’s what we love about her, and what makes her super entertaining to watch. [EMMA LAUGHS]

EMMA: Yeah. People, I read, like, a lot of mixed reports today. You know, I’ve read some of the reviews in the paper, and some of the things on Twitter. And even stuff that nerds have written on the little Facebook gang. And there’s some things saying that they didn’t do this, and it was a bit stiff, and it was bit this and that and the other. But it’s the first show, you know?


EMMA: Their chemistry is going to build over the weeks as judges. I thought they did a good job. I thought they were entertaining. I love Nadia. Anyone that can make me cry is good.

JESSICA: And I just think they did a great job of–just like Dancing with the Stars does, they do a good job of injecting entertainment value into basic.

EMMA: Yeah, yeah definitely.

JESSICA: It’s basic gymnastics.

EMMA: Yeah, people’s expectations are off the scale, because when Strictly first started over here, no one even watched it. And it built up over time, and now it’s the most, you know, one of the most popular shows on TV. But it wasn’t from the start, because everyone watched the X-Factor. You know?

JESSICA: Yeah. And that’s the thing. Like, you–and I can’t watch Dancing with the Stars. Because they’re just not good enough, I don’t find it entertaining at all.

EMMA: No, I don’t…

JESSICA: Except at the very end.

EMMA: …watch some fat old knacker trying to dance. I want to watch the professionals dancing.

JESSICA: Exactly. But this show–except when they get to the very end, like Shawn Johnson’s final dance, when she was on the second All Stars, I was like, “Oh my God, that was beautiful.”

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: Like, she really became–And like Kristi Yamaguchi, I would watch her every week. Because, hello! She’s a professional. So same thing with this. There are certain people you’re going–either you’re going to feel like “This is terrible, you’re not good enough,” or you’re going to realize that this is the best thing that ever happened to gymnastics like me, because I’m always right.

EMMA: Well you know, all the ones that we’ve mentioned today, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. [LAUGHTER] They’ll get shown the door, and eventually you’ll be left with your really good ones, like H, like John, like Carl, like Sarah, like Amelle. They will go through the weeks.

JESSICA: And also it’s like, because I think that dance fans probably loved Dancing with the Stars in a way because they get to see dancers that are professionals who never get featured, and now they’re featured on the show every week. Whereas dancers are never, ever featured as someone important, they’re always in the background unless you’re Baryshnikov.

EMMA: Yeah, cool, yeah.

JESSICA: Whereas here, we have these pro partners and they’re in all these sports that you never hear about. Acro and circus arts–they never get any press, and now Kristin Allen and her partner, obviously they’re going to be on the Daily Mail on Monday for sure. Or the Mirror, the cover. Just saying.

EMMA: Yeah. I mean, what…

JESSICA: It’s going to be great, and they’re going to be featured for their talents, not just the celebrity’s. [INAUDIBLE]

EMMA: I mean, what fills me with the most joy ever is, we go back 10 years. Well, let’s go back a bit more, 15, 20 years. GB had next to no gymnastics teams, it was never on the TV, and now we’ve got oodles of gymnasts winning stuff everywhere, and we’ve got a prime time Saturday night show about gymnastics on the TV. You know? It’s bleeding brilliant.

JESSICA: Yes. And I mean, there were a ton of people who were watching live when I was watching live. Oh–and to watch live, just so you know, if you’re in the States or abroad, you can use, just beware of all of the ads and all of the spammy stuff that’s trying to trick you into clicking on it on there. Just beware. And then another listener used…uh. Now I’m totally forgetting, I’ll put it up. Oh, Was that it? I’ll put the link up on the site. And then of course the replays are on the BBC. You can watch the entire episode on BBC1 every week after it’s up. And I think it was up just a couple hours after the show aired. So…

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: …you can follow the show no matter where you are, which is fantastic.

EMMA: And also if you follow the BBC1 on Instagram and Twitter, they post links to interviews and all sorts of stuff like that. There’s lots of Instagram videos and things floating around today. So have a look at those.

JESSICA: And of course, listen to–if you want to know more about the behind the scenes of the show and the romance, possible romance, between Bobby Lockwood and Kristin Allen, listen to her interview with us from last week, episode 107. And we, I think we’ll be doing this weekly. Talking about Tumble.

EMMA: I hope so! Can I tell you that the really super exciting stuff that happened afterwards?

JESSICA: Yes, all the nerdy, behind-the-scenes stuff, all the autographs and talking to people!

EMMA: Well you know I’m gigantic gym nerd.

JESSICA: So tell us about when you chatted with Louis, what did he say?

EMMA: Yes! So, I got back in the other side, and there, in front of me, in his spangly GB gym pants was Louis. So I need to tell you one thing before I tell you how fabulous he is. But I need to tell you one thing that I didn’t tell you before about the show. So, I was expecting Nile and Kristian and all the GB boys to be there, but that part was actually filmed on Friday. So they weren’t there. You know the bit where they did that display?

JESSICA: Yeah, mmhmm. Which I loved, that was great!

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: I hope we see more of that.

EMMA: So basically they got Louis out his chair and made him wear the gym clothes.

JESSICA: So it’d look like he had just done it.

EMMA: So people would think he’d just done it. But he hadn’t, they filmed it the day before.

JESSICA: And all I could think was of course I know they’re not there because I follow everybody on Twitter and I know they filmed it a couple of days ago. And then I’m just like, “Obviously, Louis would need to warm up. You don’t just–a professional athlete does not just walk over from the chair and do pommel horse like that.”

EMMA: Yeah.

JESSICA: He would pull a hamstring.

EMMA: I walked in, and he said hello to me. I’m like, “Oh, hi!” And then all the words just like, fell out of my mouth.


EMMA: Just totally fell out. So I went, he goes, “Did you enjoy the show?” I was like, “Louis, I loved it. I loved it.” Also, by this point my fringe had melted and I looked horrific. [JESSICA LAUGHS] And I had a big, shiny moon face as well.

JESSICA: And Louis always looks coifed. No matter what.

EMMA: Yes.

JESSICA: He’s in the middle of a workout, he’s, whatever.

EMMA: I think he must put cement or something on his hair. [JESSICA LAUGHS] Because it was just–it wasn’t moving anywhere. I need to know what you put on your hair, Louis, because I need some of that for my fringe, because my fringe, just, ugh. So he was like, “Hi, did you enjoy the show?” And I was like, “Yeah, I did!” And I said, “Also, I saw you in Glasgow last week.” And he went, “Yeah, I know!” And all this lot. And he gave me a hug and a kiss. [JESSICA GASPS] And I was like, [PANTING]. [JESSICA LAUGHS] Like that. And then I had my phone in my hand, and I was like, “Please take a selfie.” I said, “But I can’t do it, so you’ll have to do it, because my hands are shaking!”


EMMA: And one of the coaches came over and said, “I’ll take it for you.” I was like, “Thanks so much!” And I said, “Ooh, by the way, Louis,” I said, “I’ve sent you a friend request on Facebook. Because I’ve got a gym group on there. And I want you to join it.” And he says, “Well, I don’t really use Facebook much.” And I said, “You come and join it.” I said, “There’s loads of gymnasts on there.” I said, “You’ll love it, it’s loads of banter.” And so, I don’t if he will. But anyway, I said, “My name’s Emma Bailey.” And he went, “I know what your name is.” [JESSICA LAUGHS] And it was like, [SCREAMING]!

JESSICA: He’s so smooth!

EMMA: He is so smooth. And I fall for it every time.

JESSICA: And you make, you make an impression, though. What are you going to do?

EMMA: I do. What am I going to do? You can’t…

JESSICA: He appreciates good fans.

EMMA: Oh my God, Louis. Louis. I love you.

JESSICA: Louis is fabulous. And remember, he’ll be on the show this month for our book club. So send in your questions for Louis. They can be about anything. They can be about Tumble, they can be about how the Commonwealth Games were, they can be about his custom build house with his special secret room–want to know what he does in there? What video games he likes? Anything you want to ask him. Ask him what he uses on his hair. Anything. Send your questions.

EMMA: Yeah, I need to know what he uses on his hair. So yeah, have a look on IG for my hair before and hair with Louis photographs, because it’s shockingly bad.


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

JESSICA: Visit, that’s “Sportz” with a “z,” and save $5 on your next purchase with the code “Gymcast.”


EMMA: What I want to explain to everybody who obviously wasn’t there is the amount of energy in the place. It was amazing. I mean, I didn’t think I’d have that good a time. I thought, “Oh, it’s going to be nice. I’ll see Nadia in the flesh, and Louis will be there, and the GB people, and you know.” It exceeded everything. And it was the most fun. It was the most fun. So if any of you out there get the opportunity of a free ticket, go. And get there at 12 so that you get in the first queue and you’re guaranteed to get in. Because oh my. It was the most fun. It really was. And I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it. It’s fun.

JESSICA: So if you guys enjoyed this recap of Tumble you can support us by going to and you can donate on the site. You can review us on iTunes or Stitcher. And you can shop in our Amazon store. A little portion, like if you bought Louis’ book, you bought it through our Amazon link, a little portion of what you spent will go back to help us pay the bills. And we will try our best to keep the show going and keep doing recaps every week. Because I love this and it’s really fun, so we’ll try to do it. I’ll try my best.

EMMA: Yeah, definitely for watching as well, because ah, well.

JESSICA: In addition to the regular ones. Yes. Awesome.

EMMA: Tumble!

JESSICA: Until next time, I’m Jessica from Masters-Gymnastics.

EMMA: I’m Emma, from Moomin Whiskey Meets, and also in a Tumble coma.

JESSICA: [LAUGHS] See you guys next week!


EMMA: I’m going back in, but I can’t go back in the way I’ve just come out because no one’s there, it’s rubbish. So I hoof my way around to the other door, and I was like, “I need a selfie with Nadia, I’ve got to get one.” So anyway, I get back in, and there are all the celebrities and everyone were. And she’d already gone, so I failed in that. But, to get the autograph. I slept with it on my pillow, no word is a lie. [JESSICA LAUGHS] I did! I did. I’ve got a massive bed, I’ve got extra pillows, and I put it on the pillow. I didn’t get home til 2 AM–


EMMA: –so I was like so tired. And I just put it on the pillow. And I woke up and it was there this morning. And I looked at it, and it was like that. “Ah, it’s true. I did get it.”


[expand title=”Episode 110: 2014 US Championship Preview Show”] Forthcoming[/expand]