Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Roe-d to JO Nationals - Regionals

Well, we're reaching the end of the roe-d pretty soon! A few weeks ago, Haylee competed at the regional championships, and won the gold on beam and the silver all around!

"Regionals went pretty good. There was a small mistake at the beginning but I picked it up and hit my last 3 events. I was especially proud of myself because after having a mistake I pretended it didn't happen and hit my last 3 events just about as good as I can. We started out on floor and I competed my full in for the second time this season. I almost fell on it and landed very low and took 2 steps forward. I probably had around 4 or 5 tenths of deductions. I hit the rest of my routine and finished with a 9.0. Not an ideal score but could have been worse, so I am pleased with that. We went to vault and I had a great warmup and landed in a low squat on the first one but landed very well on the second one with a small step. I had a 9.5. Next we went to bars and I hit one of the best bar routines this season. I hit my handstands and stuck the dismount. I got a 9.575. On beam, I had a good warmup in the back gym. I had one mistake but it wasn't bad. We went to do my 30 second touch and fell on my series which isn't normal for me. I got back up and repeated to stick and stuck the rest of my warmup. I hit my routine and stuck everything except the dismount. My coaches and I were happy that after starting out with a mistake on floor that I was able to hit my last 3 events like nothing ever happened. I finished 1st on beam, 3rd on bars, 5th on vault, and 2nd all around. I MADE IT TO NATIONALS!! :)"

Way to go Haylee! You made it! :D Congrats, and we can't wait to hear how it goes! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Keep yelling until someone listens

I'd like to share with you an email I received earlier this afternoon in response to Wednesday's blog. 

"Dear Bekah,
As you may know, one of our staff members saw your blog regarding Robert Garner, and shared that information with me. We quickly determined that Mr. Garner was on our “Ineligible for Membership” list, and took immediate

- AAU learned that the event you referenced was sanctioned by a member club called “Champions Gymnastics Academy”. Although a different individual is the director of the event, the event flyer indeed lists Mr. Garner’s name.
 - AAU made the immediate decision to revoke the sanction due to Mr. Garner’s affiliation with the event operations.
 - I contacted the event director, Ms. Jennifer Sawyer, to advise her of the revocation. Ms. Sawyer did not answer, so a detailed message was left. I also followed up with an email notice of the revocation of sanction.
 - The event was immediately deleted from our AAU database and online “Find an Event” page.

In partnership with Ron Ferris, the AAU National Gymnastics Chair, we are preparing a notice to send out to our clubs. Mr. Ferris and all of AAU’s leadership and staff are deeply committed to setting and maintaining the highest standards of safety and monitoring in order to protect our AAU youth competitors. Our practices and procedures are constantly evolving and improving, and we look forward to the upcoming release of the AAU Task Force Report and Recommendations. Convened in December 2011, AAU’s Youth Protection Task Force and the Adult/Volunteer Screening Task Force are in the final stages of their work. Once their joint report is issued, we will
move swiftly to implement their recommendations.

Jan Lyon

Compliance Director of AAU"

Thank you all for spreading the word. We can make a difference. Seriously, thank you, and if you shared the link, YOU are one of the people who made this happen. I hope that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling; it should. 

If you see something going on that shouldn't be, realize that change IS possible. Don't be complacent; speak up about it. 

Please sign the petition, if you haven't to demand background checks for all coaches who work with children in the US. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

AAU Serves as Haven for the Permanently USAG Ineligible

Robert Allen Garner, known as Bob, was accused raping  a 15 year old girl, his gymnast in the late 80's and early 90's. He is still running his own gym, Garner's Gymnastics in Hixon, TN. Not only is he still coaching, but he is the CONTACT PERSON for the AAU State Championships, which will be held at his gym.  Although he is on USAG's permanently ineligible list, he continues to coach in an AAU gym.

Over the past few years, more and more of these stories are coming out. Most recently, the story of Doug Boger was released. 40 and 50 year old survivors are sharing stories of graphically violent attacks that took place decades ago. Boger continued to coach until at least 2010, not because these women were unable to speak out, but because society and the gymnastics world didn't, and wouldn't support them. Doug was acquitted over 20 years earlier in 1982 on charges of Child Abuse when two girls came forward.

We have to support the survivors in the gymnastics community. We have to believe them when they come forward. And we have to refuse to support the men and women who hurt young gymnasts. I have little doubt that false allegations do occur, but would you rather make an unfortunate mistake that ruins a reputation, or leave your child, or any child for that matter in the care of someone violating him/her?

To stop this cycle, we have to step up, as both the gymnastics community and as a society.

(The crisis counselor in me is about to come out, so bear with me.)
If all of the recent allegations of sexual assaults in gyms have reinstated challenging feelings for you, talk to someone. A friend, a teammate, or call a hotline. Find someone to process with if this is challenging for you.

Congrats Class of 2014! :D

Lots of college commits lately! I'd like to say congrats to all of the girls who have committed and take a closer look at the top 6 ranked teams!

1. Florida
Property of Kennedy Baker
Kennedy Baker - Texas Dreams
As 2 time US National Team Member and 2009 Jr. Bars Champ, Kennedy is possibly one of the most underrated gymnasts in the country. I'm interested to see a "Gator Chomp" in her floor routines, which have been notoriously unique.

Ericha Fassbender - Stars
Ericha was a member of the 2010 US National Team and competed at Top Gym there earning 4th place all around. Ericha has clean lines on bars and big skills on beam.

Grace, who was Chellsie Memmel's replacement on the 2011 Pan American Games team and has had a decent Elite career overall. Like many of the other girls, she's had strong execution with not as strong difficulty. Her lines on bars are strong and has pretty skills on beam. 

Stefani Catour  - Desert Lights
Stefani qualified to US Championships in 2010 and was named to the National Team Training squad in 2009. Stefani has very pretty floor and beam routines but struggles on bars, particularly in hitting handstands.

If Miss Val's recruited any of these girls, she's keeping it well under wraps. I haven't been able to find anyone committed to UCLA for the 2013-2014 Season.

4. Alabama
Property of Ryan Schulz 
Mack Brannan - Capital 
The victim of Tim Dagget's unintentional creepiness, Mackenzie has phenomenal lines on bars and beautiful tumbling on floor. Although she's never had the most difficult routines her gorgeous gymnastics is likely to earn her college acclaim.

Kiana Winston - Texas Dreams
Kiana is the definition of a power gymnast, except her bars don't suck. She's got huge skills on beam and is solid on all four events. I can't wait to see her compete for Bama, where I feel like she fits well.

Aja-Monet Sims - Brandy Johnson
Aja-Monet Sims is one of those elites not a lot of people know about. She wasn't shown on TV at the 2012 Classics, but her bars totally stood out. That Wieler-Comaneci combo of her's is worth remembering.

5. Nebraska
Kamerin Moore - Geddert's Twistars 
Property of Kamerin Moore 
Many people remember Kami as the "girl with glasses" who competed alongside Jordyn Wieber in her junior years. That "little girl" now has contacts, has overcome a whole host of health issues, and is kicking ass in Level 10. She's fairly strong all around and will be a force to be reckoned with as long as her body doesn't rebel against her.

Grace Williams - Geddert's Twistars 
Grace, 2011 Nastia Liukin Cup Champion, 2012 Bronze Medalist and former Elite has a fabulous floor and beam set. She's looked like a college gymnast since she made it big on the gymnastics scene and could be a standout for Nebraska.

6. Georgia
Brianna Brown - Cincinnati Gymnastics
Property of CGA
Pretty, pretty, pretty gymnastics from this one. She's got pretty bars, a decent beam and a fun floor. Like Brannan, she's never had the most difficult routines, but she's got strong execution.

Chanen Raygoza - Wildfire Gymnastics 
She was one of the ninety-hundred-million Jr. Intl Elites from GymMax in 2009, she qualified to Nationals in 2010 and then decided to compete Level 10 in 2011. She's a pretty dancer and has All Around potential.

Uncommited Big Names

Most likely, she hasn't gone pro, and in my opinion should head to UCLA stat.

Napualani Hall - KGDC 
Who as of September was looking into all of the top 6 schools with the exception of Georgia. I'm hoping to see her at Utah.

Brenna Dowell - GAGE 
I'd bet money that Al Fong is wanting this National Team Member to wait until after the Olympics to go on college visits. I could see her at Oklahoma with former teammate Rebecca Clark.

Elizabeth Price - Parkettes 
Fabulous on Bars, yet still super powerful. I could see her at Florida, UCLA or Bama. I have heard that she'd love to go to Stanford, though.

Lauren Marinez - Orlando Metro 
Lauren placed 4th on beam at last year's nationals and could end up at Georgia (with former gym mate Shayla Worley), or somewhere less prominent like Missouri, Michigan or even Denver.

(Can anyone confirm one way or another if Vega & Maroney are pro?)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Terrible Tuesdays - Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice.

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice, that's what awful floor music is made of.

No, seriously. When I was at classics, I leaned over to the person I came with and said "Wow, I hope Bailie Key doesn't have a cutesy floor routine."
"What do you mean?" she asked.

And then the music started:

"This," I said, "This is exactly what I mean by cutesy."

Bailie Key is a phenomenal gymnast. Kim Zmeskal is an excellent choreographer. This music, however, makes me want to crawl in a hole and never come out.

Lizzy LeDuc's 2009 routine made me want to scream as well, and Dominique Moceanu was one of the biggest culprits of all.

Yes, I hear you all, "But it's age appropriate."

If I wanted to see a 12 year old perform an age appropriate routine, I'd go to Level 8 states, not Jesolo. This routine isn't age appropriate for Bailie. She performs a triple for god's sake! So why is she dancing to carnival music?!

I feel like Bailie could keep the same routine, with similar choreography and just change her music and this routine would be 1000x better!

Monday, April 2, 2012

100th Post! :D

For my 100th Post, I wanted to look back on my 5 favorite posts of the blog so far:

Yahoo Sports
The 11 Most Awkward moments of 2011: You can see eleven reasons why I still have jokes to make in this sport in this post from October 30, 2011. 

Don Peters, Jen Sey & Abuse: Likely my most serious blog ever, I touch on my thoughts on the sexual abuse situation in a post originally published on November 19, 2011. 

10 Things your Favorite Gymnast (may) be doing this Thanksgiving: After writing a totally clich├ęd post about what I was thankful for in the gymnastics world, I opted out of that and wrote my first of many holiday posts poking fun at many of our favorite gymnasts last Thanksgiving. 

'Twas the Night Before Christmas: After 3 mimosas, I wrote this blog that I assumed would be disastrous the next morning when I read it. After making a few grammatical adjustments, this Christmas Eve post became one of my most popular posts of all time! 

Lindenwood Lions - Meet Head Coach Gretchen Goerlitz: I had a blast working with Gretchen and loved writing this blog as well. Although it was hard, I tried to sum up all of Gretchen's overwhelming passion for the sport in this post from March 19, 2012. 

Thanks for sticking with me for 100 Posts, even with a fat gap in between. Please take some time to take my survey that will let me know how you're feeling about the blog. 

Lindenwood Lions : Fast Facts with Daniela Fumagalli

Property of Lions Gymnastics
Gym: Aerial Athletics in San Antonio, TX

Coaches:  Ryan Snider, Heather Schnelzer & Lauren Schwartzman 

Intended Major: Pre-med or Biology 

Event She'll Contribute Most on: Bars 

Most Difficult Skills she's Competing:  Giant Full-Tkachev 

4 words her coaches would use to describe her:  "Enthusiastic, Hard-Working, Caring, Motivating" 

Proudest Moment in Gymnastics: Earning 4th place All Around at 2011 Texas States with a 38.05 AA Score. 

Why Lindenwood?: "Gretchen seemed like not only an awesome coach, but an amazing person as well. I feel as though she can help me get to where I want to be in this sport. Also, being the first class in the first gymnastics program is so exciting; I can't wait to establish new traditions and hopefully a legacy!"

What she hopes to accomplish while at Lindenwood: "I want to reach my full potential on every event, and I want to leave Lindenwood knowing that I worked as hard as I could to be the best I could be. I hope to contribute team spirit and leadership qualities, I hope to be a good teammate, and a reliable competitor."

What Gretchen says: "Dani is a very hardworking and driven person. I hope she can bring leadership to the team in that area." 

Fun Fact: "I speak spanish fluently, my mother is from mexico, and we lived there for four years when we were younger."

Here's Daniela in action in December of 2010:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The college girl who needs to make an elite comeback

I've been thinking a lot about the Olympic team lately, and this morning, I realized how much stronger a potential team could be with one retired elite: Shayla Worley.

Property of Online
As I've been watching more and more of Shayla's college work, I keep thinking that she'd be better off quitting school and competing for the USA, rather than Georgia.

As a bars and beam specialist, Shayla could fit on the team in place of Liukin, Bross or even Ross. After all, she's healthy right now, right? While Bross has been rehabbing and Liukin's been out, Shayla's been successfully competing for Georgia. As one of Georgia's most consistent gymnasts, Shayla's one of the sole reasons that Georgia's been maintaining their strong reputation over the last  few years.

Shayla maintains such strong focus when competing, that I'm really not sure why she didn't win the SEC All Around title this year. She's got wonderful skills, amazing power and never seems to miss a beat. I feel that those qualities should have earned her a spot on the 2008 Olympic Team, and should most definitely earn her a spot on the 2012 team. Maybe she could even win that AA Gold! Wieber's starting to look shaky.

To conclude, SHAYLA WORLEY FOR THE 2012 OLYMPIC TEAM! Who knows, with Shayla's history of staying healthy, maybe she could even make it to 2016!

Six Year Old Commentary Sundays : Gabrielle Douglas's 2011 Championships Beam

As requested by someone on twitter, I've posted Sofia's reactions to Gabby's unfortunate beam mishaps.

Sofia: Let's watch Gabrielle.
Me: Okay.
Sofia: What's that?
Me: I'm pretty sure she's got a band-aid on her butt.
Sofia: Bekah, don't say butt, say bottom.
Me: Oh, alright.
Sofia: Aw...she fell. That's bad.
Me: Yeah?
Sofia: Oh-Em.* She fell again. ... Ooh, that part was good though!
Me: What made it good?
Sofia: Her splits in the air were really pretty!
Me: I agree.
Sofia: *gasp* She fell again?!
Me: Yup.
Sofia: Is it almost over? I don't want her to fall again.
Me: Yup.
Sofia: That last part was good. (meaning the dismount)
Me: What about the whole routine?
Sofia: It was bad, cause she fell a lot.
Me: Do you still like her?
Sofia: (as if I'm stupid) YEAH! She can get her splits really high in the air!

(Sofia struggles to say the letter "G", so she walks around saying "Oh-Em")