The News: January 23rd, 2021

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

News of the Week

Nina Derwael
The Gymternet didn’t take kindly to comments made by Belgian gymnast Nina Derwael. Fans accused her of victim blaming and not having the best attitude in regards to #GymnastAlliance. Translated comments can be found here on Twitter. Among the respondents was 2012 British Olympian Jennifer Pinches.

Germany and #GymnastAlliance
In the past German gymnast Pauline Schafer made allegations of coaching abuse existing within the German program. The German Gymnastics Federation (DTB) published the results of its independent report which substantiated the allegations. In response DTB made a public apology with two high ranking German coaches on the verge of being fired. For those who can read German, articles on the story can be found here and here.

Olympic cancellation scare
Deep breath…okay let’s do this. The whole thing started on January 21st when The Times released a report that the Japanese government has privately concluded that it would be impossible to host the 2021 Olympics. It goes without saying that the report was widely circulated and picked up by other outlets. The report would eventually be refuted by key Olympic/Japanese officials and you can read it below:

But here’s the thing…

Japan’s initial reaction to this news story was to produce a “no comment” and then kick it down to a lower ranking government minister to make the official denial. In other words, the Japanese government wanted to give the impression that the report was inaccurate, but they didn’t want to say it too loudly. That lack of faith in regards to their denial combined with a major media outlet believing they had a source confirming the story to be true is not reassuring.

All I’m going to say is “this isn’t reassuring news” and leave it at that. I’m not saying this is a major indication of an impending cancellation, which is something I don’t even want to think about, as that would mean Simone Biles finishes her career ranked 23rd on the list of most decorated Olympians in WAG. Or that her “Alternate Olympics” would be the 2021 World Championships…in Japan. I don’t think any of this has a strong possibility of happening, but I’m not exactly thrilled with the way the Japanese government has conducted themselves throughout this ordeal. Either they are mishandling things, or the story is true.

Tripura Bivushan Award
Dipa Karmakar was recognized for what she has achieved over the course of her career by winning the Tripura Bivushan Award. “Bivushan” is a civilian honor in Indian government while Tripura is a state in Northeastern India. It is the equivalent of winning something along the lines of a “California Medal of Freedom” Dipa won it alongside Arshiya Das. She was described as a 10-year old child chess prodigy.

Michigan State Board of Trustees continues to be horrible (again)
We didn’t even make it through January of the new year before Michigan State brought back to its same old bag of horribleness. The issue at hand, questions are being raised over the management of the healing assistance fund and whether Nassar-survivors are being denied the access to it that they are entitled to. The primary focus of the fund is to cover expenses related to mental services as survivors work to recover from the trauma in which they endured.

Becky and Simone go on television
The Gymternet has been blessed this week with not one, but two medal winning gymnasts appearing on daily television. Becky Downie went on CNN.

Simone Biles appeared on the TODAY Show.

Bernie Sanders goes viral on the Gymternet
As many of you know, on January 20th a new President took over control of the White House and during the transfer of power a photo of Bernie Sanders made its rounds on the Internet. Users put their technology skills to good use and started photoshopping him onto various pictures. One by one the fanbase of every sport started doing the same. Obviously, the Gymternet was no exception to this.

NBC Sports to be Discontinued
It appears NBC is planning to embark on a major overhaul of its lineup with NBC Sports being shut down at the end of 2021. The reason this is significant is because NBC Sports is one of the largest sports channels in the country after ESPN. It has significant influence in the coverage of Olympic sports including gymnastics. It is hard to tell if this is good or bad. This could make gymnastics coverage more accessible for the Gymternet as NBC pivots more and more to online streaming.

But NBC doesn’t exactly have a reputation for emphasizing policies which make Olympic content more readily available. It wouldn’t surprise me if all this move accomplishes is making it even more expensive to be a gymnastics, fan while the accessibility of the product makes no real improvement.

Sayonara Larry Scott
The Pac-12 is letting go of conference commissioner Larry Scott. He was absolutely despised in college basketball and college football circles. His tenure was highlighted by significant failings in the management of key revenue streams. But a core component of his philosophy was promoting heavy investment in Olympic sports. It is good news for the Pac-12, even better news for football, but it is a blow to Olympic sports everywhere in the college ranks. Scott’s unsuccessful tenure will be studied by college sports power brokers elsewhere and the message is simple, give the Olympic sports a minimum amount of attention if you want your conference to run smoothly.

Social Media Update
Once again McKayla Maroney is killing it in the social media game for the third time this month. As a result, I’m invoking a mercy rule to give other gymnasts a chance. So here’s Laney Madsen instead.

Blog Update

I did a writeup on Julissa Gomez focusing on her career accomplishments in 1985 and 1986. It is an era of Julissa’s life that doesn’t get talked about all that much as most focus on her time at GAGE circa 1988.

What other People Wrote

Dvora Meyers did a Q&A with Utah Head Coach Tom Farden. For those who are willing to click on this Olympic Channel link, you are in for a treat. It is a 16 minute ultra high-quality video of the 1992 Soviet team competing on balance beam in Barcelona.

What I’m Reading This Week

Los Angeles Daily News did a feature on UCLA gymnastics. Also, the there was this Natalia Yurchenko article.

Throwback Article of the Week

Since this edition of The News features Laney Madsen, I’m going to plug an article that I wrote specifically in response to her being (incorrectly) called a Soviet gymnast. Bulgaria was never a Soviet country, Ukraine was. The article explains all the complicated Cold War era terms.

Picture of the Week

Nadia Comaneci

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


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