The Gymnastics Factory: The Rise and Fall of the Karolyi Ranch

lucaslavoie

Banned Member
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6
Was Gutsu really dinged though?
Sometimes. I know her Olympic AA win was controversial to some but that was literally her only ever really big accomplishment. Many thought she should have won the beam over Boginskaya's much simpler routine in 91, but the judges hammered her form and gave it to Bogi's compulsory but very clean routine instead:


She was also scored pretty low in the 91 worlds AA where she was already doing the same difficulty she was in Barcelona. And at the 92 event only worlds when she was a bit off on all her routines the judges really killed her.
 

Coco

Rotating while Russian!
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15,393
The thing is the gymnasts who pushed the difficulty envelope back then like Tatiana Gutsu or Mo Huilan were dinged for either sloppy form or inconsistency.
That's why I'm a little ...hmmm...when people talk about Simone being the greatest ever.

The open ended system has so fundamentally changed the sport that it is completely unfair to compare gymnasts competing under the current code and gymnasts who competed under the 10.

Just imagine what Gutsu, Shushonova and others could have done under an open ended code?
 

VGThuy

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32,705
True. It’s just that everyone has the open ended code as well and we’ve had it since 2006 and it seems nobody has been close to her. To me, that does say something. That said, what the Soviets could have done with the open-ended system...at least they didn’t feel constricted by the 10.0 as they tended to go above and beyond it.
 

FiveRinger

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6,444
Ragan Smith’s Response to Texas Dreams Criticism

Has anyone seen Ragan Smith’s response to Kim Zmeskal’s alleged abuse? Am I the only one that feels like she’s talking out of both sides of her mouth? Part of me wants to ignore her because she’s 20 years old, a kid really, who probably doesn’t even understand how much privilege she really has. The other part of me wants to shake her and ask her how can Kim cut a kid’s hair, without consent, in love? She claims that Kim and Chris did everything they did out of love, care, concern or whatever. How does that make sense? Racist jokes don’t stem from love. How does allowing an injured athlete crawl around on the ground in agony to get her own ice, telling her to get out of the way so that the other kids can tumble, come from a place of warmth and fuzziness? Kicked puppies get treated better than that. Let’s ask Kim if her daughter came home from school one day with her ponytail cut by her teacher and not by some silly kid, what her response would be. Then ask Chris the same question.

I get that Ragan is trying to defend her coaches. She feels indebted to them. She says as much. But I don’t think that this was the way to do it, unless they asked, which they very well might have. I don’t know that to be true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case, seeing as public opinion of Texas Dreams is spiraling into the toilet. I need for someone to explain to Ragan why people would find this to be off-putting.
 

Weve3

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,134
Sometimes. I know her Olympic AA win was controversial to some but that was literally her only ever really big accomplishment. Many thought she should have won the beam over Boginskaya's much simpler routine in 91, but the judges hammered her form and gave it to Bogi's compulsory but very clean routine instead:


She was also scored pretty low in the 91 worlds AA where she was already doing the same difficulty she was in Barcelona. And at the 92 event only worlds when she was a bit off on all her routines the judges really killed her.
And when it comes to these two beam routines, it is challenging to agree on why one should have won over the other. However, I would still give the very slim edge to Boginskaya because, despite Gutsu's difficulty, I simply cannot ignore and am a complete pushover for clean routines, and Boginskaya had that in spades. The polish, elegance, and attention to detail made a difference. Imo.
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
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22,735
Ragan Smith’s Response to Texas Dreams Criticism

Has anyone seen Ragan Smith’s response to Kim Zmeskal’s alleged abuse? Am I the only one that feels like she’s talking out of both sides of her mouth? Part of me wants to ignore her because she’s 20 years old, a kid really, who probably doesn’t even understand how much privilege she really has. The other part of me wants to shake her and ask her how can Kim cut a kid’s hair, without consent, in love? She claims that Kim and Chris did everything they did out of love, care, concern or whatever. How does that make sense? Racist jokes don’t stem from love. How does allowing an injured athlete crawl around on the ground in agony to get her own ice, telling her to get out of the way so that the other kids can tumble, come from a place of warmth and fuzziness? Kicked puppies get treated better than that. Let’s ask Kim if her daughter came home from school one day with her ponytail cut by her teacher and not by some silly kid, what her response would be. Then ask Chris the same question.

I get that Ragan is trying to defend her coaches. She feels indebted to them. She says as much. But I don’t think that this was the way to do it, unless they asked, which they very well might have. I don’t know that to be true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case, seeing as public opinion of Texas Dreams is spiraling into the toilet. I need for someone to explain to Ragan why people would find this to be off-putting.
I don't feel like she's talking out of both sides of her mouth. She's only talking out of one side of her mouth. The one side of a white woman invalidating the feelings of women of color who were abused by white people. It's not like there's anything she's said that seems remotely supportive of anyone. Just this post that reeks of immense privilege. Nothing new about women silencing other women to defend abusers and maintain their favored position. Especially not white women silencing women of color.
 

VGThuy

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32,705
I’m gonna say something not very nice. I was kind of taken aback by Ragan Smith in interviews prior to and at 2017 Worlds. She spoke like someone five years younger than she was and had that weird beads reward system. I had a feeling she had some arrested development and maybe Kim encouraged it.
 

canbelto

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3,950
Not a real fan of Boguinskaya's beam. I can appreciate her elegant lines but the makeup of the routine feels sort of Romanian.
 

VGThuy

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32,705
Hey she has an acro series! That’s one step above Romanian haha. And lines go a long way for me, especially these days.
 

canbelto

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3,950
Hey she has an acro series! That’s one step above Romanian haha. And lines go a long way for me, especially these days.
Yeah but Tatiana fits an acro series INTO HER FULL-IN DISMOUNT. So many years later I've only seen Simone do that.
 

Weve3

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3,134
That's why I'm a little ...hmmm...when people talk about Simone being the greatest ever
Being dominant and being great can be two very different things. So I agree with your comment. Is Simone the greatest ever or just the most dominant ever? Food for thought.

ETA: to clarify, Simone is dominant, and yes, she is great, but the greatest? Up for debate because a lot of titles and hardware do not necessarily make it unequivocally so or absolutely certain. Too many things to consider, not to mention a change of codes, rules, scoring, the era we are discussing and studying, etc. Difficult to compare sports star athletes throughout the generations as to who is the greatest because of how things evolve.
 
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FiveRinger

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I’m gonna say something not very nice. I was kind of taken aback by Ragan Smith in interviews prior to and at 2017 Worlds. She spoke like someone five years younger than she was and had that weird beads reward system. I had a feeling she had some arrested development and maybe Kim encouraged it.
I remember her talking about beads and I didn’t know what she was talking about. Good to know it wasn’t just me.
 

canbelto

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3,950
I know! It’s so amazing! Her beam was so way ahead of its time.
Her beam routine was the epitome of fearless. I love it because it's like the anti-Marta kind of routine. Plus her standing full after so many years might still be one of the best (only Gabby Douglas IMO does it better?).

Another fearless gymnast from the 92-00 era was Elena Produnova. She was badass.
 

Coco

Rotating while Russian!
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I love Simone and want her to get all the credit and love so I have held my fingers for a while on that, lol @Weve3

She is the most dominant ever, her Brinks truck full of World & Olympic medals proves in my opinion. (ETA: runs off to check how many Latynina has...)

It would just be interesting to see what gymnasts who competed under the 10.0 system could do under the open ended system, not to mention modern equipment.

ETA:
Biles, who is also a four-time Olympic gold medalist, won 2019 world titles in the team, all-around, vault, balance beam and floor exercise, while finishing fifth in uneven bars. This marks the first time in her decorated career she has won five gold medals in a single world championships, coming one year after she won medals across all six events. In other words, it was another dominant performance that’s almost unheard of in the sport, but for which Biles has made feel almost routine.

Following this week, Biles now has 25 world championships medals, with 19 of them being gold. Her world-title count nearly matches the total medal count of Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina, who is the second most decorated woman at the world championships with 20 medals, nine of then gold.

Former Belarusian gymnast Vitaly Scherbo was the all-time leader before Biles with 23 world championships medals, 12 of them gold, while Japan’s Kohei Uchimura won 21 medals, 10 of them gold.

Of course, world championships tallies don’t account for the Olympics.

Combining the two competitions, Scherbo remains No. 1 with 33 medals, 18 of them gold, followed by the Soviet Union’s Larisa Latynina, who won 32 medals, 18 of them gold.
.
 

danafan

Canadian ladies über
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7,372
Smith made a big mistake by using the first person plural pronoun “us” in that post. She should feel free to speak to her own experience but not for others.
 

floskate

Vacant
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9,655
Smith made a big mistake by using the first person plural pronoun “us” in that post. She should feel free to speak to her own experience but not for others.
And then we saw KJ Kindler like - and then quickly unlike after getting some gymternet grief - the post. Riley and Sunisa liked it too. I get that they're kids but really, given the current climate I would have expected them to be a little bit more circumspect; particularly from Riley after all that she has been through with Maggie Haney. Ragan's post - and I do wonder if she was asked to do it - was a big mistake.
 

FiveRinger

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I’m waiting to hear Gymcastic’s Behind the Scenes episode of their podcast that should air later today. They plan on addressing Texas Dreams. Unfortunately, I can’t link to it because it’s for members only. Not plugging for them, but membership starts at only $2/month, $18 yearly. I love the podcast, so I don’t mind the small investment.

Jessica and Spencer have been doing a really great job addressing all of the f*ckery that is USA Gymnastics, includng that of the doctor who shall remain nameless, the Karolyis, etc. I’m really impressed with the knowledge that Jessica had about black women, hair, and how devastating it would have been for Kim to cut Kennedy’s hair.
 

FiveRinger

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And then we saw KJ Kindler like - and then quickly unlike after getting some gymternet grief - the post. Riley and Sunisa liked it too. I get that they're kids but really, given the current climate I would have expected them to be a little bit more circumspect; particularly from Riley after all that she has been through with Maggie Haney. Ragan's post - and I do wonder if she was asked to do it - was a big mistake.
I hate to say it, but these kids are very adept at modeling behavior that they see. How many times have we seen people make f*ckless apologies for bad behavior and it be overlooked? I see it a lot. It’s the response I get when I hear about a supposed “friend” being friends with a racist or someone who has made racist comments and remarks.“But he’s always been nice to me.” I’m over it.
 

her grace

standing with Mariah
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3,762
Smith's statement is disappointing and is an interesting example of what happens when problematic gymnastic culture and problematic Southern culture collide. Surely, she's been taught to respect her elders/betters/authority and white adults always trump minority children. She's probably also absorbed the "intent is magic" thinking that overlooks racial inequality. Zmeskal and Burdette don't intend to be racists (most likely) so their actions don't matter. They wouldn't intentionally hurt their gymnasts so the fact that gymnasts were hurt is immaterial. They were just being tough. The sport requires this of athletes. If you let a gymnast use injury to get out of workouts, then people would fake them. They're still good people, or so the thought process goes.

ETA: When I took Child Protection Training for one of my volunteer positions, we learned that it is legally abuse if you intended the action you took, regardless of whether you intended the result. This was for physical abuse, but the concept works for other types of abuse IMO. No get out of jail free card because you didn't think through the consequences of your actions.
 
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Weve3

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3,134
Gymnasts are tough as nails. They can take criticism, constructive criticism, etc. However, the abuse of late implicating coaches and staff, that's an entirely different circumstance, and to dismiss it as nothing more than tough love is complete nonsense.

Smith made a big mistake by using the first person plural pronoun “us” in that post. She should feel free to speak to her own experience but not for others.
I agree. Despite Ragan's attempt to support Kim and Chris, it remains that her experience with them is hers and hers alone. To comment regarding another gymnast's experience is to speculate which is the mistake that Ragan made. Speculation can be very controversial and toxic.

Ragan's post - and I do wonder if she was asked to do it - was a big mistake
It crossed my mind, as well. Usually, there will be at least one person who will support and defend, and people must speak out, but sometimes silence is golden.

ETA: I would anticipate that more gymnasts will come forward in their defense, i.e., Kim and Chris. Unless they simply decide to shut down any additional comments and statements moving ahead.
 
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FiveRinger

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6,444
I’m gonna say something not very nice. I was kind of taken aback by Ragan Smith in interviews prior to and at 2017 Worlds. She spoke like someone five years younger than she was and had that weird beads reward system. I had a feeling she had some arrested development and maybe Kim encouraged it.
@VGThuy I was reading the replies to Ragan and they are brutal. For me, reading the comments to posts are more entertaining than the posts themselves. I'm sure there or more, and I refuse to post them all, but this one I had to show you. Let's just say that someone heard you.....lol. He wasn't nearly as nice and polite as we've been.


hharden85


Honey, you are so injured from overtraining they have broken your brain too. Did you get any beads for making this post?
 

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