Gymnastic news #22 - Tokyo or bust

Weve3

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Simone didn’t need the ranch at any point. She is her own force to be reckoned with. That’s how gymnastics should be — and never again at the mercy of micromanaging brutes and their band of miscreants.
 

FiveRinger

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Well when I watched Daniela Silivas interview one thing that struck me was how matter of fact she was about the training: 7 days a week, months without seeing family, mandated haircuts, everything in her life controlled. She didn't seem to mind it. She obviously thinks it was worth it. Other Romanian gymnasts of her era have spoken out very strongly against the abusive training methods.

I think Shannon Miller is just someone with fanatical drive and she probably did not think of Nunno as abusive. That doesn't mean his method would work on other elite gymnasts (and it hasn't, considering his lack of success after Shannon).
Silivas, and I think Nadia too, just naturally had an unbelievable work ethic and a competitive drive even beyond your average elite athlete, for perfection. You can’t teach that. That might be why they were able to tolerate the tough training the way that they did. Even with all of the obnoxious things we’ve heard about the Karolyis, I’ve never heard Nadia utter anything bad about them. Some of her teammates say she was his favorite, and if so, who could blame him? He probably didn’t have to “punish” her because of her nature. I get the impression that they were very serious. This isn’t a dig at any of the other girls at all. Most people don’t willingly subject themselves to harsh training methods or conditions and no one signs up for abuse.

I wonder if this was true of Kerri Strug also. She was always quiet, very serious, and a hard worker, from all accounts that I’ve heard. I always wondered why they agreed to coach only Moceanu and her leading up to Atlanta. Was it ever really discussed? The reasons for coaching Dominique were obvious.
 

VGThuy

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Strug seems to not to say much and likes to talk up Atlanta (I mean who wouldn't in her case?). However, there are times where she slyly hints at things not always being great with the Karyolis. In Moceanu's book, she talks about Kerri witnessing an abusive incident between Moceanu and her father, when he stormed into their cabin or room and threatened her due to the Karyolis telling him she was sneaking candy/snacks.
 

bardtoob

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Wasn't there similar incidents in a TV movie in the 80s but it was interpreted as a gymnast's personal issue, not a systemic problem.

Mother gets caught up in the gymnastics world, enabled by the government:


The government enables gymnast's parents to divorce:


The gymnast is confined and eating is restricted:


. . . the old coach returns and it is revealed that food used to be taken away.


. . . they try to keep food away.


. . . instead of being forcefully restricted the gymnast is trained in behaviors that would constitute anorexia and bulimia but technically are not because those diagnoses need the person to want to stop and/or is not doing it for sports purposes.


It's all there is parts 6 through 8.

Seriously, they make the gymnast's father look like an insane drunk while he objects and offers her unconditional love.
 
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VGThuy

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Not only that but Bela was kind of attractive in that movie. I remember there was a scene where a judge looked like she wanted to sleep with him. Not like real life...
 

FiveRinger

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Wasn't there similar incidents in a TV movie in the 80s but it was interpreted as a gymnast's personal issue, not a systemic problem.

Mother gets caught up in the gymnastics world, enabled by the government:


The government enables gymnast's parents to divorce:


The gymnast is confined and eating is restricted:


. . . the old coach returns and it is revealed that food used to be taken away.


. . . they try to keep food away.

. . . instead of being forcefully restricted the gymnast is trained in behaviors that would constitute anorexia and bulimia but technically are not because those diagnoses need the person to want to stop and/or is doing it for sports purposes.

It's all there is parts 6 through 8.
That movie came out when I was a kid. It was hard to take seriously even then. By the end of it I didn’t even consider it biographical. But I can be way off base.
 

bardtoob

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That movie came out when I was a kid. It was hard to take seriously even then. By the end of it I didn’t even consider it biographical. But I can be way off base.
It does not matter who the gymnast is. What matters is that all the same behavior discussed are there.
 

canbelto

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Strug seems to not to say much and likes to talk up Atlanta (I mean who wouldn't in her case?). However, there are times where she slyly hints at things not always being great with the Karyolis. In Moceanu's book, she talks about Kerri witnessing an abusive incident between Moceanu and her father, when he stormed into their cabin or room and threatened her due to the Karyolis telling him she was sneaking candy/snacks.
Wasn;t there some drama on the MAG 7 where they thought Shannon was the snitch about the cookies?
 

Choupette

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Indeed. It's interesting that while reading Claudia Miller's book, she positions herself as Shannon's (sometimes effective) advocate. Then when some of these same incidents are reprised in Shannon's book It's Not About Perfect, Shannon indicates that her mom overstepped and they weren't a big deal. :eek:
So that book came out in 2015. No wonder that, when pressed by Moceanu to speak up against Nunno's abuse, Miller never responded (that was of course her prerogative). This is what she said in the wake of Nassar's sentencing, that I knew I remembered bits of (probably from a different link, because I seem to recall the same thing, spoken as if it represented everyone's experience in her era):

It's incredibly difficult to watch this unfold, because this is not the gymnastics I knew. This is not the gymnastics experience that I faced.

I had my personal coaches. I lived at home. I went to public school. I trained. And I got to go out and represent my city and my state and my country. That is the gymnastics I know and I love. It's about flipping and tumbling.
Good for her for wanting to bring positive changes in the sports, but nothing at all about any verbal abuse by Nunno. Can she see it as such now? Only she knows, but two years ago, it didn't look like it.

Going off on a tangent, but sometimes it is fascinating to read the same story by two different authors. In 2000, I read Lance Armstrong's It's not about the bike. I knew enough about cycling to never believe a word of his claims of not doping, but I was nonetheless curious about his journey. When I read Juliet Macur's Cycle of Lies in 2014, having read Armstrong's book made it that much more fascinating, like I could understand the depth of his lies better than I would have otherwise, having read them myself.

Well when I watched Daniela Silivas interview one thing that struck me was how matter of fact she was about the training: 7 days a week, months without seeing family, mandated haircuts, everything in her life controlled. She didn't seem to mind it. She obviously thinks it was worth it. Other Romanian gymnasts of her era have spoken out very strongly against the abusive training methods.

I think Shannon Miller is just someone with fanatical drive and she probably did not think of Nunno as abusive. That doesn't mean his method would work on other elite gymnasts (and it hasn't, considering his lack of success after Shannon).
I wondered earlier if it wasn't more difficult for gymnasts who had had a lot of success to acknowledge the price they had to pay to get it. Maybe, like @FiveRinger said, some of them just had a different drive or something, but I wonder. Mary Lou has never spoken against Karolyi either, as far as I know.
 
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Aceon6

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I wondered earlier if it wasn't more difficult for gymnasts who had had a lot of success to acknowledge the price they had to pay to get it. Maybe, like @FiveRinger said, some of them just had a different drive or something, but I wonder. Mary Lou has never spoken against Karolyi either, as far as I know.
I sometimes sit in awe of how things have changed in the last 20 years or so. Up until very recently, if you were a female or a person of color, you’d get the “If you want this, this is what you have to do“ talk, probably as soon as you displayed serious talent in middle school. The talk was usually presented with the “Never say or do anything that might be interpreted as criticism of the people in power” speech. Suck it up. Shut up. There are others waiting to take your spot. It happened in most sports, dance, music, basically anything where there was a cull of “going places” kids. No one who wanted to stay in it talked about it with peers. Come to think of it, it was part of what made the jock and art cultures so alien to those who weren't in them.
 

Erin

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Mary Lou has never spoken against Karolyi either, as far as I know.
In fact, Mary Lou has made specific statements defending Karolyi, saying something along the lines of "he loves his gymnasts like they are his own kids" or something to that effect. Which, considering he left his eight year old daughter in Romania when he defected that could be considered a dubious compliment, but I don't think Mary Lou is smart enough for that kind of double speak. (And he did fight to get his daughter to the US eventually, so he must have some affection for her, but it still sounds like a pretty awful experience for her.)
 

FiveRinger

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In fact, Mary Lou has made specific statements defending Karolyi, saying something along the lines of "he loves his gymnasts like they are his own kids" or something to that effect. Which, considering he left his eight year old daughter in Romania when he defected that could be considered a dubious compliment, but I don't think Mary Lou is smart enough for that kind of double speak. (And he did fight to get his daughter to the US eventually, so he must have some affection for her, but it still sounds like a pretty awful experience for her.)
This. I remember Mary Lou doing an interview specifically stating that Bela knew exactly which buttons to push on each athlete to motivate her. I can’t remember which interview it was, but Mary Lou said that Bela would ignore her and it would make her mad. It wasn’t an insult, she was very endearing about it, attesting that his ignoring her motivated her to do well and earn his praise.

That makes sense. It explains why Moceanu was terrified of the Karolyis. They used that fear and manipulated her, knowing that her father would punish her based on reports from them.
What an example of two gymnasts who have completely different ideas about the same coach and his manipulative practices.

I cannot remember her name, but Dominique had another Romanian woman coaching her for a bit. This was a woman that Dominique loved and thrived under, but her dad fired her as soon as Dominique started to show some independence, blaming the coach for her acting out. Shortly thereafter she asked to be emancipated.
 

Coco

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I believe her name was Luminita Miscenko. Mr. Moceanu was her immigration sponsor, so he was threatening to send her back, too. Then he tried to put a hit on her ...SMH....

She is now known as Luminita Garcy. She coaches in Colorado Springs.
 

FiveRinger

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I believe her name was Luminita Miscenko. Mr. Moceanu was her immigration sponsor, so he was threatening to send her back, too. Then he tried to put a hit on her ...SMH....

She is now known as Luminita Garcy. She coaches in Colorado Springs.
Yes! That’s her.....thank you!

ETA: I had no idea that Mr Moceanu sponsored her and was trying to send her back. He was a vile man.
 
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danafan

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In 1992 when the topic of abuse in gymnastics was brought up in a Newsweek article, Retton said "You don't hear too many complaints from the winners."

That's all you need to know.....
 

canbelto

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Kim Zmeskal has also never complained about the Karolyis. She said in an interview that she would mouth back at them and after awhile they grew to respect it. This doesn't mean, however, that the Karolyi methods were in any way okay just because they worked for one or two gymnasts.

Besides the abuse/burnout/injuries part of the Karolyis I always thought that they created solid but boring gymnasts. Dominique Moceanu was the exception but her personal coach was actually Alexander Alexandrov. But their floor choreography was so cheesy and their beam routines dull.
 

bardtoob

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Dominique Moceanu was the exception but her personal coach was actually Alexander Alexandrov. But their floor choreography was so cheesy and their beam routines dull.
Mustafina always reminded me of Moceanu, and maybe it is the connection by way of Alexandrov.
 
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Choupette

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I sometimes sit in awe of how things have changed in the last 20 years or so. Up until very recently, if you were a female or a person of color, you’d get the “If you want this, this is what you have to do“ talk, probably as soon as you displayed serious talent in middle school. The talk was usually presented with the “Never say or do anything that might be interpreted as criticism of the people in power” speech. Suck it up. Shut up. There are others waiting to take your spot. It happened in most sports, dance, music, basically anything where there was a cull of “going places” kids. No one who wanted to stay in it talked about it with peers. Come to think of it, it was part of what made the jock and art cultures so alien to those who weren't in them.
That's completely foreign to me: I've never ben involved in any continuous activity throughout childhood. @Erin in an earlier post said that I could surprise myself, but I quit swimming lessons around age 5 because I really couldn't swim yet and the teachers asked us to do something I was really afraid to do. I didn't make it far in gymnastics despite being really attracted to the sport because I didn't trust myself and feared being hurt. I refrained from taking figure skating lessons because I was afraid of falling on the ice. I was definitely not cut out for this culture. (For some strange reason, as an adult, I trust myself a lot more and I am no longer that afraid of hurting myself. I seem to be the opposite of the saying "young gymnasts/skaters are not afraid of anything".)

I was also glad my parents respected my choice to interrupt the swimming lessons instead of telling me about how "you have to finish what you start" (despite me being too shy at the time to explain why I wanted to stop). For some reason, I know a lot of parents who seem to feel strongly that way, but this wasn't the only activity I quit in childhood, yet I have always persisted in school and important projects regardless, so as far as I'm concerned, there was no connection to establish with persistence in later life. I feel it's more important to respect the kid's choice, whether it is because they are afraid, they realize they really don't like the activity or a more interesting opportunity came up. Plus, I have no doubt my parents would have pulled me out of an unhealthy activity even if I had wanted to continue.

So, thanks for explaining because that is indeed really, really alien to me!

This. I remember Mary Lou doing an interview specifically stating that Bela knew exactly which buttons to push on each athlete to motivate her. I can’t remember which interview it was, but Mary Lou said that Bela would ignore her and it would make her mad. It wasn’t an insult, she was very endearing about it, attesting that his ignoring her motivated her to do well and earn his praise.
Betty Okino said the same in Little Girls in Pretty Boxes, about the times she was injured, IIRC.

Besides the abuse/burnout/injuries part of the Karolyis I always thought that they created solid but boring gymnasts. Dominique Moceanu was the exception but her personal coach was actually Alexander Alexandrov. But their floor choreography was so cheesy and their beam routines dull.
I think he had Geza Pozsar design the floor routines? I also usually hated those choreographies, but not long ago, I realized that Okino's 1992 and Michelle Campi's 1993 floor routines were actually really good, especially Campi's which I found had several original moves. She was at Pozsar's gym at the time, I believe, so he had to have designed it? It made me wonder whether Pozsar wasn't fully capable of choreographing good floor routines with gymnasts who had a real ability to dance, but struggled to figure out what to do with the others.
 

Choupette

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Has anybody ever done a Counter-Kim caught on the same side of the bar than a Tkatchev? In other words, a Tkatchev with a flip? If not, I'm thinking it has to be possible in training, but possibly too risky to be worth it in competition?
 

Weve3

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Dominique Moceanu was the exception but her personal coach was actually Alexander Alexandrov. But their floor choreography was so cheesy and their beam routines dull.
Imo, Dominique’s entire gymnastics career would have been so much more effective if they had not forced the cutesy cheesy stuff they so favored into her choreography and routines. She deserved better than that.
 

her grace

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Imo, Dominique’s entire gymnastics career would have been so much more effective if they had not forced the cutesy cheesy stuff they so favored into her choreography and routines. She deserved better than that.
her 1998 Goodwill Games routines were mature and beautiful.
 

Coco

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Has anybody ever done a Counter-Kim caught on the same side of the bar than a Tkatchev? In other words, a Tkatchev with a flip? If not, I'm thinking it has to be possible in training, but possibly too risky to be worth it in competition?

This has been done a few times. Because of the 'empty swing' deduction, it is very hard to work out of a counter-kim. That's why you don't see them very often.



 

Choupette

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This has been done a few times. Because of the 'empty swing' deduction, it is very hard to work out of a counter-kim. That's why you don't see them very often.
Thanks, but I believe there is a misunderstanding. I know what a Counter-Kim is. From memory, aside from Kim Gwang-Suk, I recall Gogean, Bégué and Hategan performing one. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few gymnasts. But that wasn't the skill I was describing. I was thinking of a Tkatchev with a flip, or, if you prefer, a Counter-Kim caught on the same side of the bar than a Tkatchev (assuming the preceding giant goes in the same direction). I guess that no answer must mean that it hasn't been done yet. :)
 

FiveRinger

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Agreed. I just wish this would have been consistent throughout Dom’s competitive career — especially at the Olympics.
Her inconsistency in her competitive career was reflective of her turbulent life. It really kept her from reaching her full potential, sadly.
 

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