This weeks gymnastics news rounded up!
1. Former U.S. National Team gymnasts appeared on 60 Minutes:
2000 Olympic bronze medalist, Jamie Dantzscher, 3 time Rhythmic Gymnastics National Champion, Jessica Howard and 1999 U.S. World Team member, Jeanette Antolin all spoke out about the abuse allegations surrounding Dr. Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics on 60 Minutes which aired Sunday, February 19th 2017 on CBS. Meanwhile 1996 Olympic Gold medalist, Dominique Moceanu stood by her previous abuse allegations she made against the Karolyi’s some years ago stating that the Karolyi’s produced an environment that set the stage for atrocities whilst 3 time Olympic Gold medalist, Aly Raisman stated that this ‘should have never happened’.
In addition to this developing story, during the week, Larry Nassar entered his plea of ‘not guilty’ whilst another gymnast who has accused Nassar of assault and filed charges, Rachel Denhollander spoke out against him, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University:
2. Budapest withdraws it’s bid for 2024 Olympic Games:
Budapest, Hungary this week withdrew it’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, leaving just Los Angeles and Paris in the running. Obviously hosting an Olympic Games puts huge pressure on a city and a country and is an enormous feat. Whilst some may argue that there is financial gain in hosting such a large event, given there will be increased tourism in that city for the duration of the Games, and the Summer, the modern day Olympic Games as we know them have grown to the point of almost being unmanageable for one city to host and brings with it intense pressure on the government, that countries Olympic committee, that countries infrastructure, businesses and it’s people! Whilst there is a financial gain, one must not ignore the financial loss involved, especially, if like Rio, the magnificent stadiums built for the Games lie in ruin in the months following the glorious spectacle that is the Olympics! It is no surprise that Budapest pulled out and I suspect we will see big changes in how the Olympic Games are hosted in the coming years.
3. Rio falling apart:
As mentioned above, all that was built for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games is now apparently, falling in to disrepair and remaining unused. The London Games saw the regeneration of an older and degrading area of London transformed into the Olympic village for the Games. 9 years on, the athletes village has become privately owned apartments with people living in them, whilst the Olympic stadium has become the home of West Ham United Football Club and is a fully functioning soccer stadium. Whilst I do not want to gloss over problems associated with the London Games, because there was a number of them, the planning surrounding the building of the London Games and the planning of the aftermath of the Games was something that was hoped would be replicated in Rio. Sadly though, the ‘green games’ has proven to be a massive waste of time, effort and most ironically, resources!!
4. Nastia Liukin inducted into Texas Sports Hall of Fame:
2008 Olympic Champion, Nastia Liukin was this week inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame! Amid a lot of bad news, this certainly serves as a bit of relief for the gymnastics community to see one of gymnastics greats be recognised by her home state.
5. Change to Stuttgart World Cup roster:
Much excitement surrounded the return of Olympic and World medalist Larisa Iordache to competition after sitting out the majority of 2016 due to injury. However, excitement over, Larisa will not return to competition at the Stuttgart World Cup in March. In addition there was a change this week to the gymnast who will represent Great Britain at the event. In place of Olympian Claudia Fragapane will be first year senior Alice Kinsella. There was no replacement for Iordache announced.
6. Max Whitlock honoured with MBE:
This week saw double Olympic Champion, Max Whitlock of Great Britain honoured by Queen Elizabeth II with an MBE, standing for Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The Queens honours take place annually in Britain and honour those who have made a significant contribution to the British Empire and can include anyone from singers to athletes to members of the military. Other honours include an OBE, CBE, KBE, DBE and GBE.