The News: January 5th 2021

For recent editions of The News click here. For a master list of all editions, click here.

News of the Week

Get well soon MyKayla Skinner
MyKayla Skinner announced that she was diagnosed with COVID-19. Her condition was significant enough to cause a hospitalization due to pneumonia. This should serve as a warning to everyone that COVID-19 is a virus that needs to be taken seriously. If MyKayla Skinner, a top-rate athlete can be hospitalized with COVID-19, no one is invincible.

Inside the elite-community, MyKayla Skinner is a well established figure and most gymnasts can say they have personally interacted with her. Some gymnasts have been great with their mask wearing/social distancing. Others have been more careless. This particular case will probably serve as a wakeup call for high-profile gymnasts who have had a relaxed attitude towards COVID-19.

MyKayla Skinner

British Gymnastics and COVID-19
Great Britain has been making international headlines over its expanded lockdown measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. It goes without saying that this will cause club closures. However, elite gymnasts/Olympic prospects are exempt from this order. The incredibly popular Twitter account Pamchenkova known for its CoP analysis, highlight reels, and being one of the best-informed commentators on the sport had something interesting to say:

People should start getting ready for the possibility that the AA World Cup Series may yet be cancelled outright, as both England and Germany are in hard lockdown until at least February.

Pamchenkova is spot on with that assertion. At this point, the Olympics are rapidly approaching and its getting to the point where COVID-19 is looking unlikely to be contained in time for key qualification events to be held.

Rebecca Bross has an announcement
For most gymnasts, an update to their Instagram is a routine occurrence. That is not the case for Rebecca Bross who has updated her page on just seven occasions since 2016, with her breaks between posts becoming more extreme with each passing year. The last time Bross published a post was New Year’s Eve in December of 2019 to celebrate the arrival of 2020 saying “may it treat you well.” But the picture included Bross with…a dude.

On New Year’s Day in 2021 Bross posted a virtually identical photo with the same dude recapping all the events Bross experienced in the past year. This included spending time doing her favorite outdoor activities, graduating, starting school to become a physical therapist, making friends, being a proud dog owner, and slipped in a causal engagement announcement towards the very end.

Trinity Thomas is training elite
According to @samisadancer which is one of the most notable Florida-gymnastics accounts there is on Twitter, Jenny Rowland confirmed that Trinity Thomas is training for the Summer 2021 elite season. In any other week this would be one of the big stories of the week, but COVID-19 has presented us with more pressing issues.

Simone Biles being Simone Biles
Speaking of happy couples and gymnasts/dog lovers who give us updates on the regular, Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens are at it again. Also: obligatory dog picture.

Blog Update

I did a writeup on the early exploits of Olga Mostepanova and why her junior career is rather unique. Unlike every other Soviet of the era, Olga never competed in Japan, and there’s a reason for that. I also covered the 1980 Olympic boycott working to dispel two popular misconceptions people have about it.

What other People Wrote

Luba over at Gymnovosti is trying to crack the code of why Oleg Verniaiev was mysteriously added to the FIG’s list of suspended athletes. She reached out to FIG and was able to get a confirmation that Oleg has in fact been suspended, and the following statement from FIG:

Oleg Verniaiev is provisionally suspended until the end of the procedure that is currently in progress. The FIG will not comment on an ongoing procedure.

In other words, FIG is going to be as secretive as possible on this matter. By the end of the day the story had gained enough traction for NBC Sports to also publish an article with the exact same content. Luba also provided a translation of a news outlet asking Gennady Sartynsky, the head coach of Ukraine’s men’s team about Oleg. You can read a translation of his successful attempt to get through the exchange without saying anything at all.

Spencer over at BBS is trying to make sense of the NCAA season and gave a quick run down of what fans should expect this season. As part of her NCAA coverage, Dvora Meyers did an interview with Kathy Johnson.

What I’m Reading This Week

Because of the holiday season, I didn’t spend much time on YouTube as I normally do, so I missed this video which was published on December 27th. Ekaterina Selezneva and Lolo Jones did a sports science inspired bit trying to measure the strength of a rhythmic gymnast.

Agnes Keleti will be celebrating her birthday on January 9th. She won TEN Olympic medals and survived the Holocaust. She is currently the oldest living Olympic medalist across all Olympic sports. Starting January 3rd various news outlets have been covering the story in anticipation of her upcoming birthday. The Jerusalem Post did a write-up, although my #1 recommendation is this article which recaps her amazing life.

You might not have noticed it because her mask-wearing was spot-on, but Gina Gogean was coaching the Romanian juniors at the 2020 European Championships. For those capable of reading Romanian, or know how to use auto-translate, you can find an interview with her here.

Throwback Article of the Week

Gymnastics Biographies #5: Olga Koval

Around this time last year I did a profile on 1970s Soviet gymnast Olga Koval. She was part of the same generation as Natalia Shaposhnikova, Maria Filatova, and Elena Davydova. They were considered a quartet as juniors and very similar in fashion to the Italian 2003ers. Maria, Elena, and Natalia all become Hall of Fame gymnasts, Olga Koval did not. This profile was my attempt to create more recognition for the 4th member of the quartet.

Picture of the Week

Elena Shushunova

For recent editions of The News click here. For a master list of all editions, click here.

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