The News: January 20th, 2021

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

News of the Week

Pac-12 releases schedule
Better late than never, the Pac-12 has finally released its schedule for NCAA schedule for gymnastics. The full announcement can be found here, the most immediate dates are as followed:

DATEMATCHTIME (PT)TV
Sat., Jan. 23ARIZONA at UTAH12:00 p.m. PTPAC12
Sat., Jan. 23ARIZONA STATE at UCLA2:00 p.m. PTPAC12
Sat., Jan. 30WASHINGTON at UTAH7:00 p.m. PTESPNU
Sat., Feb. 6UTAH at ARIZONA STATE12/6 p.m. PTPAC12
Mon., Feb. 8OREGON STATE at WASHINGTON2:00 p.m. PTPAC12
Sat., Feb. 13ARIZONA at OREGON STATE6:00 p.m. PTPAC12
Sun., Feb. 14UCLA at WASHINGTON1:00 p.m. PTPAC12LA/WA
Mon., Feb. 15UTAH at STANFORD2:00 p.m. PTPAC12
Fri., Feb. 19UCLA at UTAH6:00 p.m. PTESPNU
Sat., Feb. 20STANFORD at ARIZONA STATE3:00 p.m. PTPAC12
Sun., Feb. 21CALIFORNIA at OREGON STATE2:00 p.m. PTPAC12BA/OR
Fri., Feb. 26CALIFORNIA at UTAH6:00 p.m. PTPAC12
Sat., Feb. 27OREGON STATE at UCLA11:00 a.m. PTPAC12

Beach Blast Invitational
Some of the best MAGs got together and held a competition that was called the “Beach Blast Invitational” in Galveston, Texas. TheGymter.net has the results.

Muriel Grossfeld

Muriel Grossfeld passes away
For those who don’t know, Muriel Grossfeld was one of the biggest names in USA Gymnastics back in the day. Her legacy was not in the medals she won, but being a core member of the program for five consecutive Olympic cycles. She was a 3x Olympian (1956, 1960, & 1964) followed by being the top Olympic coach in two quads (1968 and 1972). She pivoted to the club coaching position with resounding success. Marcia Frederick won the first gold medal in the history of American WAG and was a pupil of Muriel Grossfeld. For a time, her Connecticut club was the epicenter of American WAG. It was the club gymnasts went to if they wanted the most advanced training.

Chocdave who is my favorite YouTuber for pre-Korbut era gymnastics content uploaded not one, but two small clips of her upon hearing the news. While the clips are short in length, it is still an impressive find for early 1960s women’s gymnastics where footage is so rare. For more YouTube, she was featured in a 1957 western TV show. Pia over at The Gym Retroist was the person who sent the link to me.

I would go as far as to name Muriel Grossfeld the coach who pioneered the idea that the United States needed a stronger club system if it wanted to compete with Europe. So she went out and built one. She was a huge influence for every America gymnast who competed prior to the 1980s. The outpouring of condolences so far have been massive. Kathy Johnson posted a tribute to her Twitter account. Meanwhile Marcia Frederick changed both her Facebook cover photo and profile photo to pictures of Muriel.

Elena Eremina

Russia announces new national team
The Russian Federation announced an updated roster for its National Team, and as usual, there is some drama to it. Gymnovosti has the full list. But the highlights are as follows:

Ksenia Klimenko, Daria Spiridonova, and Elena Eremina were removed from the team. All three gymnasts are well liked by The Gymternet. Once again Gymnovosti provided a translation on its Twitter page to Eremina’s public comments on the matter. To sum up Eremina’s thoughts, she wants to return to high level competition, but her body is still not yet able to handle it. She thanked fans for their support, and said:

I’m okay with it because life goes on. Whatever happens is for the best.

Is Aliya Mustafina a gymnast or a coach?
But the big bombshell was Aliya Mustafina being named to the team as a reserve. This is in spite of Aliya serving as a coach for the Russian junior team and hasn’t shown any indication of returning to high-level training in over a year. It is likely a legacy honor bestowed on Aliya as a token of respect for her past work. Mustafina isn’t the first, nor will she be the last gymnastics legend to experience the “retired, but not really retired” phase. When you are a legend, you get to go out on your terms even if that means spending a year or two in a ceremonial role. After a lifetime of hard work, what’s an extra year or two? The 1980 Olympics are a perfect precedent for this.

Gymnasts such as Marcia Frederick, Stella Zakharova, Maria Filatova, Natalia Shaposhnikova, Emilia Eberle, Nadia Comaneci, Elena Naimushina and Elena Davydova are commonly assumed to have retired immediately following the 1980 Olympics. In actuality, they didn’t officially retire until the midway point of the 1981-1984 quad or later.

But it is difficult reconciling the meaning behind Mustafina having an official role on the National Team while serving as a coach. Gymnovosti provided the translated statement from Aliya, “But thereโ€™s no talk about retiring as a gymnast.” However, in a separate interview that was posted to the Russian Olympic website, when asked about how she can simultaneously be a team member and a coach the auto-translation produced the following reaction:

I do not speak about this and do not comment.

Arina Semukhina

Introducing Arina Semukhina
Meanwhile there is yet more drama to be had, and this involves the curious case of Arina Semukhina. She was named to the Russian National Team despite being a complete unknown. As soon as the new Russian team was announced, The Gymternet asked itself “who the hell is Arina Semukhina?” And then in typical Gymternet fashion, immediately challenged itself to find video of her gymnastics routines. So far I’ve only seen one video of her, it was uploaded on a Russian site and was from 2016. That’s how obscure this gymnast is.

Meanwhile the Twitter account Russian Gym Stan which has long been my go to expert for all things Russian social media came to the Gymternet’s rescue. Turns out Arina Semukhina has made appearances on the social media pages of Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova in the past.

So she has been training with the Russian main cast for some time now and literally hanging out with Urazova. Who knows where Arina Semukhina will go from here. But one advice I will give readers, pay attention to this gymnast. When a gymnast appears from out of nowhere and starts rapidly rising up the ranks, there is no telling how high her ceiling is. Meanwhile, Russian Gym Stan was kind enough to place an arrow on Arina Semukhina so the Gymternet can figure out who she is in team pictures.

Poland Gymnastics Federation is reinstated
The following statement was posted to the European Gymnastics website:

The Executive Committee of European Gymnastics decided to lift the suspension of the Polish Gymnastics Federation according to article 10.2 of the statutes as they fulfilled their financial obligations. From today on, the Polish Gymnastics Federation can participate in our events again and their voting right has been reinstated.

The Gymternet can’t get enough of Norah Flatley
It seems like every week or so a gymnast goes viral on the Gymternet. Last time it was McKayla Maroney, this time it’s Norah Flatley. The following pictures I found posted on three different accounts, and I’m not sure how many more are out there. But the social media share of the week has been Norah in the teal jacket.

Pitt Gymnastics will be hosting a pride meet
Following the success UCLA achieved with this concept, it appears other gymnastics programs are adopting the Pride Meet concept as well. It will occur on January 24th.

Blog Update

I produced a two part series on the history of the wolf turn. Did you know that back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Wolf Turn was even more popular than it currently is today? Here’s Part I of that story, and here’s Part II.

I also did a political analysis of North Korea and how politics impacted the career of Kim Gwang Suk.

What other People Wrote

International Gymnast did an interview with both Anastasia Motak and her coach. In her interview Motak sounds like an old-school Soviet gymnast. Incredibly humble, but confident in her own work. Meanwhile Motak’s coach gave insights into Motak that went a little deeper.

When Nastya was little, I liked that she was light, energetic, nimble, rather bold, with a sparkle in her eyes โ€“ which expressed a desire to learn everything new.

Now I can say that Nastya is hardworking; she has a goal and she tries to go to it. She is a mature, smart girl. She learns a lot and is not afraid to make mistakes. She has her own opinion about everything. This is very good. I like that she trusts me as a coach and simply as a person.

TheGymter.net posted The Best Scores in 2020 to mark the end of the Olympic year that wasn’t an Olympic year. The Balance Beam Situation has a bunch of NCAA content recapping the past week, there’s the GIF recap, the top scores, on top of the live blogs. College Gym News also posted their weekly NCAA recap. Both sites are producing amazing NCAA content like they always do.

What Iโ€™m Reading This Week

Daily Bruin did a small profile on Kyla Ross as she works as an assistant coach for UCLA Gymnastics. The Los Angeles Times did a rather extensive profile on UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis. People.com did a major profile on Aly Raisman. And finally, the Salt Lake Tribune produced an article on MyKayla Skinner highlighting her recovery from COVID-19.

Sae Miyakawa came out with a YouTube video where she tries her hand in MAG. Her YouTube channel is one of the hidden gems of the Gymternet. Even though I don’t speak Japanese, I usually find her videos enjoyable because she finds creative ways to have fun in the gym.

One final YouTube recommendation: Gymnasts pretending nothing’s wrong for a minute straight.

Highlights of the Week

Back in 1992 Gina Gogean had a Tkatchev and Counter-Kim in her uneven bars routine. It seemed The Gymternet collectively discovered this historic detail as I suddenly saw the routine resurface on Twitter and Facebook, but the best quality version was posted to Reddit.

Meanwhile Viktoria Listunova is working on an upgrade.

Throwback Article of the Week

I’m going to drop the link to the profile page I created for 1970s gymnast Ludmilla Savina who shared the same coach as Svetlana Boginskaya.

Picture of the Week

Olga Mostepanova

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

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