The News: February 11th, 2021

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

News of the Week

New Documentary Featuring Simone Biles
This morning Simone Biles released a 30 second trailer of a new documentary on FacebookWatch that will be released over the Summer. The trailer can be found here on her Twitter account. Nancy Armour wrote an article highlighting the upcoming documentary.

This isn’t your typical gymnastics documentary. It is the third installment of a series, the first two featured Tom Brady (NFL) and Steph Curry (NBA). They are arguably the two most famous athletes in North America in its two biggest sports. And it was decided that Simone Biles is going to be given treatment of equal status. This documentary represents just how much respect the sports world has for Simone Biles.

Simone is generating attention for herself that WAG hasn’t seen since the days of Nadia Comaneci and Olga Korbut. The title of this series is appropriately named “Simone vs Herself” and will cover overcoming COVID-19 impacting her Olympic preparations.

Doha Nominative Roster Released
I’d pay attention to this competition because of all the World Cups, it is the one most likely to not be cancelled.

COVID Cancellations
The AA World Cup Series has officially been cancelled. As a result, the qualifying spots that were up for grabs via this series have been redistributed to the United States, China, and Russia. Even though the series has been cancelled, the Tokyo competition will still go on so it can continue to function as a pre-Olympic test event.

It was also announced that the European Championships in MAG & WAG that are slated to be held in Basel will be held without spectators.

In NCAA news, Michigan State has been forced to postpone their two upcoming matchups, Minnesota (February 13th) and Illinois (February 21st). To make up for the postponement of their Michigan State matchup, on February 13th Minnesota will instead travel to Iowa to face Iowa and Maryland in a tri-meet.

Meanwhile the SEC has announced that their 2021 gymnastics championships will be moved from New Orleans (Louisiana) to Huntsville (Alabama). The Big 12 wasn’t spared of COVID-19 related cancellations either. Iowa State announced it will pause all “gymnastics activities” and will not participate in the Metroplex Challenge on Saturday, February 13th.

Highlight Reels
Jade Carey released some training footage on bars which can be found here on Instagram. Sunisa Lee also released some uneven bars footage, which can also be found here on Instagram. For Twitter users, Anastasia Motak working on her floor routine can be found here and Aleah Finnegan working on her beam series can be found here.

Monica Rosu Wins Another Medal
On Facebook Monica announced the birth of her child by saying:

Yesterday brought me the most precious medal!

Monica Rosu

New Zealand Says “Sorry”
What Nassar-Survivors have been begging USAG to do, and what USAG has yet to do, was done by Gymnastics-New Zealand (GNZ). They formally apologized.

Gymnastics New Zealand has formally apologised to those in the community who have experienced abuse, following the release of the “confronting, sobering” independent review into the sport.

“We’re sorry that those who have gone before and some of those currently engaged in our community who have suffered abuse and have suffered negative experiences as a result of participating in gymnastics,” Gymnastics New Zealand chief executive Tony Compier said.

“We apologise for that unreservedly, and we will work hard with our community and our partners to address and redress that.

“We commend the courage and bravery of those who have come forward to share their experiences.”

The origins of this apology stems from #GymnastAlliance where GNZ established an independent review into the prevalence of abuse within gymnastics. The report validated those who stated abuse is rife within New Zealand gymnastics and proposed fifty recommended changes that GNZ is working to implement. From the article, I love the following quote.

“Compier said New Zealand is not the “exception to the rule” and the findings of the New Zealand review is reflective of what is happening abroad.”

Everyone wants to claim they are the exception to the trend, GNZ’s leadership is willing to admit otherwise.

Sarah Finnegan Named to USAG Board of Directors
One of the major stories of the week is former LSU and GAGE gymnast Sarah Finnegan has been named to the USAG Board of Directors as an “Athlete Director.” She is filling this role as part of a legal requirement that a certain percentage of USAG’s board members must be former athletes who represent the interests of the athletes.

The problem is that the rules state this position can only be held by what is called a “10 year athlete” or those who have competed at the elite level within the last 10 years. This is because the younger an athlete representative is, the more effective she can be at understanding the wishes and needs of the athletes. Currently, Sarah Finnegan is nine years removed from the elite level and just barely fits the criteria.

It continues a consistent pattern that has occurred on five different occasions since Li Li Leung took office in 2019 where USAG pushes the “10 year athlete” rule to the extremes. It appears USAG is dedicating extra effort just to do the bare minimum and undermine the effectiveness of a position which is designed to protect the well being of gymnasts. I wrote a whole article explaining this problem.

Social Media Update
Of course I’d choose Simone…

Blog Update

From the makers “McKayla Maroney is Awesome” comes its sequel, McKayla Maroney is Awesome (Part II). It ended up being one of my most popular posts of the past few weeks. There was also the previously mentioned Sarah Finnegan article where I talked about the problems with naming her to the USAG Board of Directors. I also propose a radical solution, what if we put Level 10 gymnasts on the Board of Directors?

I also found an absolutely adorable picture of Jordyn Wieber with a very young Olivia Dunne. So I wrote an article talking about what this picture means and how it makes Jordyn’s coaching career special. I also present the following point about the current generation of NCAA gymnasts who saw Jordyn as a child idol, and now see her as an NCAA authority figure.

Your current NCAA gymnast was around the age of 10 when Jordyn competed at the 2012 Olympics.

The profiles section is coming along. As things stand now I have created 448 profile pages. Of which 340 (76%) are finished, 76 (17%) are completely blank, and the remaining 7% are partially completed.

What other People Wrote

Pop Sugar has been aggressively covering NCAA gymnastics. In January they covered the floor routine of Nya Reed. Now they are doing the same for Ragan Smith’s Beyonce and Derrian Gobourne’s mix of Salt-N-Peppa, Will Smith, and Trick Daddy.

What I’m Reading This Week

FIG produced an article talking about Carly Patterson’s historic beam mount. It is NCAA season which means Spencer over at BBS is tracking the top scores for ya. TheGymter.net has a feature piece on Jordan Chiles’ performance at the 2021 WOGA Classic.

Throwback Article of the Week

I’m always promoting the profile of some gymnast from an established WAG power. So here’s a changeup, the profile of Nina Derwael.

Picture of the Week

Elena Zamolodchikova learning a different sport.

Elena Zamolodchikova

Shoutout To Someone Awesome

Riley McCusker. This is one of my favorite American-themed leos. Unfortunately, there is a certain coach who needs to be cropped out of the picture.

Riley McCusker

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

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