Gymnastic news #22 - Tokyo or bust

ilovepaydays

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Another article about Maggie Haney:

OMG! Among other things, the trash talking that Maggie Haney did about Laurie’s mother! I guess it didn’t occur to Haney that she was able earning a living because the Hernandez’s were the ones paying for her to be a coach. GEESH! 😡

On a side note - I really, really hope that Riley McCusker is now enjoying training in Arizona with Jade Carey and being coached by Jade’s father.
 
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rhapsody

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I love Spanny's response. 2005 vibes for sure! :biggrinbo
 

Rob

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Wow I didn’t either. Kelli Hill might not get it - that yesterday’s “tough love” amounted to abuse by today’s standards.
 

ilovepaydays

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I’m pretty sure that Hill also said some tone deaf stuff about the Karolyi Ranch/Nassar along the lines of, “None of my gymnasts ever told me that anything wrong happened.” I can’t find the article where she said it. But I swear it was discussed in a GymCastic episode and Jessica and Spencer went ballistic over it.
 

canbelto

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I’m pretty sure that Hill also said some tone deaf stuff about the Karolyi Ranch/Nassar along the lines of, “None of my gymnasts ever told me that anything wrong happened.” I can’t find the article where she said it. But I swear it was discussed in a GymCastic episode and Jessica and Spencer went ballistic over it.
It was a social media fight. Reddit had some screengrabs.

 

skatefan02

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This is horrifying. A lifetime ban wouldn't be enough. Criminal charges?

"It was a few weeks before the U.S. Championships and Maggie Haney, a U.S. Olympic and national team coach, wanted a gymnast to add a new trick to her uneven bars routine.

The gymnast balked. She had not attempted the skill for months. She was afraid and exhausted.

But Haney demanded the gymnast do the skill. The gymnast continued to hesitate. Haney began ridiculing the girl in front of other gymnasts, according to the girl’s mother. Victoria Levine, Haney’s assistant at MG Elite, a New Jersey gymnastics club, started screaming at the girl, the mother said.

The girl asked the coaches to spot her. They would not, Levine citing a recent medical procedure she had undergone.

The gymnast tried the trick, fell, hitting her head on the equipment and then again on exposed cement before landing in a foam pit. Haney and Levine laughed at the girl in the pit until they realized she was having seizures, according to the mother and two other parents.

The girl had suffered two skull fractures. Her mother arrived at the hospital to find a chaplain near her daughter’s unconscious and lifeless-appearing body.

“I thought she was dead,” recalled the mother, who spoke on the condition of anonymity."
 

VGThuy

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The reveal about Kelli Hill is a bit upsetting. She always seemed like a sane coach in a sea of unhinged ones. Most of her top gymnasts seemed to come out relatively normal with an awareness of the real world and preparedness for it. I remember seeing Dawes receive the 2000 Olympic bronze many years after-the-fact and rushing to give Hill her medal as a gesture of gratitude. There was also a story about 1999 Worlds where Donna Strauss from Parkettes told the girls not to finish their dinner at a pasta restaurant and Hill telling Elise Ray (her gymnast) that she can finish her meal, rebuking Strauss.

Maybe I let this video influence me too much:


The things Dawes said about having a spouse who did not grow up in that environment who helped her see what she experienced growing up was unhealthy and then about how taking her young kids to their gymnastics lessons and having all of that anxiety and fear come flooding back is really eye-opening. It also reminds me of an interview Xue Shen gave shortly after giving birth and when asked if she’d want her daughter following in her or Hongbo’s footsteps into elite skating Shen did not hesitate to say no even though she’s not heavily active in the Chinese Fed. Reading what she went through and the extreme hardships she experienced as a young child to an elite athlete in the book The Second Mark, it’s clear why she wants her child to stay away from it.
 
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canbelto

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Some quarantine drama: after moving in with Sam Peszek in LA for a hot minute Nastia has moved out again and went back to Dallas to live with her parents. Nastia seems to get into a lot of drama.
 

honey

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Some quarantine drama: after moving in with Sam Peszek in LA for a hot minute Nastia has moved out again and went back to Dallas to live with her parents. Nastia seems to get into a lot of drama.
I have no doubt Nastia is plenty of drama lol, but I don’t think this was drama? She has permanently moved back to Texas per her Instagram. Sam commented on the post, so I think they’re fine. I got the impression she was only with Sam and her bf temporarily when *********-19 happened and she’d split with the football player and didn’t really have a permanent place to go.

Not surprised at all to see events cancelled, but still sad to see it in writing. It must be so difficult for these athletes to keep motivated. I can’t be the only one with doubts that Tokyo 2021 is going to happen?
 

skatingguy

Golden Team
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What the hell was that??? :wideeyes: I watched it like 10 times and I still can't figure it out. :rofl:
This almost seems like the vaulting equivalent of the lutz jump - everything going in one direction only to fight the direction of momentum and go the other way. I believe it's called a Hecht counter salto back tuck.
 

FiveRinger

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I’m pretty sure that Hill also said some tone deaf stuff about the Karolyi Ranch/Nassar along the lines of, “None of my gymnasts ever told me that anything wrong happened.” I can’t find the article where she said it. But I swear it was discussed in a GymCastic episode and Jessica and Spencer went ballistic over it.
Gymcastic Podcasts
I know this is old, but Jessica from Gymcastic did an interview of Mary Lee Tracy and Val Kondos Field in September 2018 after the coach who shall not be named was finally punished as the disgrace that he is. It was very interesting, but I mention it here because Kelli Hill and her post was mentioned.

I'm not saying that coaches should be completely absolved of guilt, but I have a new respect for both coaches after listening to this, MLT in particular. Of course I had heard their names and knew who they were, but not much personal about either. This was educational. MLT revealed a lot about Marta that I'm sure was not public knowledge. It's all enlightening, in hindsight.

The MLT and Ms Val interview is episode number 322. Jessica and Spencer also do an excellent episode with a guest lawyer and a guest psychiatrist (Simone's personal therapist) about the Maggie Haney situation and expectations going forward. That is episode number 424. Again, I learned a lot. I've included a link to the podcast at the Gymcastic website above. Those two episodes are long, lots of listening time if you have a drive or chores to do.
 
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just tuned in

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This almost seems like the vaulting equivalent of the lutz jump - everything going in one direction only to fight the direction of momentum and go the other way. I believe it's called a Hecht counter salto back tuck.
They do it in diving. I think it is called a back inward.
 

Winnipeg

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The story above about a coach ridiculing a gymnast to do something she was not comfortable doing is really reprehensible. The girl could haven killed or permanently injured.

Her mother was watching???
 

FiveRinger

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The story above about a coach ridiculing a gymnast to do something she was not comfortable doing is really reprehensible. The girl could haven killed or permanently injured.

Her mother was watching???
Haney didn’t allow parents in the gym, so I’m thinking that this was a report that the mother got later. And to go to the hospital to find a pastor praying over your child? I can’t imagine the horror that poor mom experienced.

Part of the rules that Haney had implemented in her gym was that the athletes were not to report to the parents what happened on the gym. It was part of the grooming for the abuse that she heaped on her gymnasts. Any time the parents called to complain about Haney’s behavior Haney made not only the the child of that aren’t, but all of the kids, either by ridiculing her or forcing extra conditioning. The control that she had over these poor girls is just unbelievable. I still say she should have been brought up on criminal charges for child endangerment in this instance and probably dozens of others. She knew full well what she was doing to these kids. She conditioned them not to report her reprehensible behavior and then continued to abused them thinking that it was okay.

And to know that just because she has been suspended by USA Gymnastics but still has opportunities to train athletes privately or in other countries just makes me ill. One of the things Gymcastic reported was that Haney had been reported to USA Gymnastics by another country’s federation for abusing an athlete and she was still allowed to coach. The athlete nor the country reporting was identified in the podcast. I wish this whole organization would just dissolve. What good are they?
 

floskate

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And to know that just because she has been suspended by USA Gymnastics but still has opportunities to train athletes privately or in other countries just makes me ill. One of the things Gymcastic reported was that Haney had been reported to USA Gymnastics by another country’s federation for abusing an athlete and she was still allowed to coach. The athlete nor the country reporting was identified in the podcast. I wish this whole organization would just dissolve. What good are they?
It was Great Britain. This occured after witnessing Haney laying into Riley McCusker after vault at the Birmingham World Cup last year when she lost to Aliya Mustafina despite having outscored Aliya in the other three aparatus. It was mentioned in the OC Register article I believe but the British official (not sure if it was another coach or judge or what) said that anyone caught 'talking' to a gymnast like that here in the UK would be banned. We have VERY rigorous child AND adult safeguarding policies in place in this country as well as strict police checks for anyone working with children or vulnerable adults in any capacity.
 

FiveRinger

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It was Great Britain. This occured after witnessing Haney laying into Riley McCusker after vault at the Birmingham World Cup last year when she lost to Aliya Mustafina despite having outscored Aliya in the other three aparatus. It was mentioned in the OC Register article I believe but the British official (not sure if it was another coach or judge or what) said that anyone caught 'talking' to a gymnast like that here in the UK would be banned. We have VERY rigorous child AND adult safeguarding policies in place in this country as well as strict police checks for anyone working with children or vulnerable adults in any capacity.
Thank you. I didn't attempt to look it up thinking that it was a minor and therefore would not have had her name released to the press. Thank God someone is looking out for our girls because it's clear that the higher powers here aren't vested in that. Insert a whole lot of plural expletive nouns.

At least that's one place we can be assured she won't be coaching.
 

floskate

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Thank you. I didn't attempt to look it up thinking that it was a minor and therefore would not have had her name released to the press. Thank God someone is looking out for our girls because it's clear that the higher powers here aren't vested in that. Insert a whole lot of plural expletive nouns.

At least that's one place we can be assured she won't be coaching.
As a Brit I'm very grateful for that! Safeguarding is a massive part of my job and that, combined with my own negative experiences of abusive training in performing arts make me very aware of what is and is not appropriate behaviour. That is why, when I questioned why Danny G would even have Trusova's cell phone number in the recent thread about her leaving Tutberidze, (he had claimed that he had tried to contact her directly rather than go through her parents who were - quite rightly - shielding her), I was so shocked at the number of posters who came right back at me claiming this was normal and understandable. No, it's not! So many people are outraged over abuse scandals but then in the next breath are willing to accept certain things without question just because that's the way it is or has been done in the past etc. That doesn't make stuff like that OK.

It's those kinds of attitudes that enable people like Larry Nassar to get away with what he did for so long. I mean, where were all the parent's in this Haney mess? Sure there's plenty crawling out of the woodwork now but where were they to call out the abuse when it was actually happening? Everyone has a responsibility - and by that I mean society and the wider community - to safeguard those among us who are vulnerable; for example by reporting abuse when it actually happens, not keeping schtum because Maggie Haney threatens to screw up your kids scholarship. But then how corrupt is the whole system when a parent will enable their own kid and those of others to be subjected to all kinds of abuse because they themselves fear they will ruin their kids lives even more than they already are if they report the coach by obviously believing the threats Haney made about screwing with scholarships and signings? There was clearly no trust in TPTB within USAG on any level by....well....anybody.

Sorry for the rant but this stuff really grinds my gears!
 

clairecloutier

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It's so tough. I think a lot of parents whose kids are athletes or artists just get swept up in the drama and excitement of what their child is doing. I think they're proud of their kids. And, in many cases, they get as involved in it mentally as the kids do. Because yeah, it's more fun and exciting and interesting to have a young "star" in the family than it is to be just shuttling your other kids to weekly tutoring or art class or soccer practice, when you know they may be enjoying that activity, but will never become "stars". Unfortunately, I think parents can run the risk of starting to lose perspective and the ability to evaluate things in a clear light and make good decisions. It's just a fine line as a parent, between being over-involved/overbearing or under-involved/non-supportive.

In the Haney case, I think it should have been a red flag that she didn't let parents in the gym. Of course, Haney may have explained that away by saying she didn't want overly involved parents there, perhaps shouting at or distracting the kids. I still think people should have realized how concerning this was.
 

FiveRinger

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As a Brit I'm very grateful for that! Safeguarding is a massive part of my job and that, combined with my own negative experiences of abusive training in performing arts make me very aware of what is and is not appropriate behaviour. That is why, when I questioned why Danny G would even have Trusova's cell phone number in the recent thread about her leaving Tutberidze, (he had claimed that he had tried to contact her directly rather than go through her parents who were - quite rightly - shielding her), I was so shocked at the number of posters who came right back at me claiming this was normal and understandable. No, it's not! So many people are outraged over abuse scandals but then in the next breath are willing to accept certain things without question just because that's the way it is or has been done in the past etc. That doesn't make stuff like that OK.

It's those kinds of attitudes that enable people like Larry Nassar to get away with what he did for so long. I mean, where were all the parent's in this Haney mess? Sure there's plenty crawling out of the woodwork now but where were they to call out the abuse when it was actually happening? Everyone has a responsibility - and by that I mean society and the wider community - to safeguard those among us who are vulnerable; for example by reporting abuse when it actually happens, not keeping schtum because Maggie Haney threatens to screw up your kids scholarship. But then how corrupt is the whole system when a parent will enable their own kid and those of others to be subjected to all kinds of abuse because they themselves fear they will ruin their kids lives even more than they already are if they report the coach by obviously believing the threats Haney made about screwing with scholarships and signings? There was clearly no trust in TPTB within USAG on any level by....well....anybody.

Sorry for the rant but this stuff really grinds my gears!
Don't apologize. I get it. The more I read, the more pissed off I get. It's appalling, really. But it's also important to have these discussions so that people learn from all of this so that everyone can move forward.

One of the reasons that I was so impressed with MLT and Miss Val was because they subjected themselves to an interview that they didn't have to do. They were able to admit that they participated in the abuse because they were uneducated about nutrition and fitness and the psychology or mental wellbeing of their athletes. They admitted that after they talked to their athletes that the gymnastics culture was a breeding ground for abuse. But moreover, they are educating themselves and apologizing to the athletes directly. MLT stated that she was terminated from her USAG position for attempting to reach Aly Raisman to apologize after the soap incident even though she disclosed to USAG that she had reached out to Aly long before she was hired.

As I stated previously, even though the interview is almost 2 years old, it is enlightening. MLT talks about some of the politics and shenanigans that the coaches were subjected to in order for their athletes to garner favor with Marta. This is not done to gain sympathy; it was to demonstrate how abusive US gymnastics culture really is. Many coaches adopted Marta's and Bela's tactics because, in the beginning, they really believed that was the thing to do because Marta and Bela were successful. Ms. Val talked about her participation in that as well as the difficulties that her athletes face trying to heal from the abuses of the elite system.
 

Choupette

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I think the part that got me the most about Maggie Haney was this one, from the OCR:

The girl asked the coaches to spot her. They would not, Levine citing a recent medical procedure she had undergone.
...
Haney pressured gymnasts into removing boot casts or other protective medical devices to train or compete while injured, according to interviews and testimony and documents provided to USA Gymnastics.
That was a new one for me. We won't even spot you if we were recently injured, but you have to train and compete anyway if you were.

I still can't believe that I've found the whole "pleasing the Karolyis" very obviously unhealthy only through watching TV since 2000, and that it only started to be acknowledged because of Nassar.

I clearly never have had what it takes to be a gymnast. I would have quit the sport after the first day.
 

Aceon6

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I clearly never have had what it takes to be a gymnast. I would have quit the sport after the first day.
Many sports are really tough, and only the toughest kids get any good. Gymnasts, skaters, football players, and many others have to do uncomfortable things in order to acquire new skills and improve. I guess the key is finding a coaching balance that allows the coach to see who’s brave enough to try even if they’re a bit bruised, without straying into bullying. Instilling fear in the athlete is probably the exact opposite of what a coach needs to do.
 

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