This week in gymnastics news!
1. Laurie Hernandez and Aly Raisman are semi-finalists for AAU Sullivan Award:
Many US gymnasts have been nominated for the prestigious award and now Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez are semi finalists! You can vote here: https://aausullivan.secure-platform.com/a/gallery?roundId=1
2. U.S. Olympic Committee discuss the sexual abuse allegations against USA Gymnastics:
This week, the USOC discussed the fate of USA Gymnastics President, Steve Penny and the sexual abuse allegations surrounding the organisation and one of it’s former employees, Dr. Larry Nassar at a meeting. Whilst the USOC did not disclose what was decided at the end of the meeting, one individual did speak to ESPN, stating that the USOC has urged Penny to step down as President: http://www.espn.com/olympics/gymnastics/story/_/id/18867982/us-olympic-committee-awaits-usa-gymnastics-president-steve-penny-response-their-recommendations-future
Meanwhile, USA Gymnastics has defended Penny:
In other news surrounding the USA Gymnastics/ Larry Nassar/ MSU sexual abuse cases, Twistars, the Michigan gym that produced 2011 World Champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Jordyn Wieber has spoken out for the first time since the allegations surrounding Nassar surfaced. Larry Nassar served as the team doctor at Twistars for many years alongside his post as USA Gymnastics team doctor and positions at Michigan State University:
In addition, U.S. senators have moved to introduce a bill to address sexual abuse in a variety of Olympic sports including Swimming, Gymnastics and Taekwondo. The bill is backed by a number of high profile senators including 2016 U.S. Presidential candidate Marco Rubio of Florida.
3. Alexander Alexsandrov helping coach Chusovitina:
After leaving his post as head coach for the Brazilian women’s national team following the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Alexandrov has now been pictured helping to coach none other than gymnastics legend; 7 time Olympian and Olympic gold medalist Oksana Chusovitina. Chusovitina has had a long and storied career, competing initially for the Soviet Union and then under the Unified flag at the 1992 Games and then for Germany, and now competing for her native Uzbekistan. Likewise Alexandrov has had a long and storied career, beginning coaching for the Soviet Union, coaching Dimitry Bilozerchev to Olympic gold in 1988, then coaching in the U.S. for a period of time, coaching none other than Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu and then returning to Russia, becoming Russia’s women’s team head coach and personally coaching Olympic and World champion, Aliya Mustafina. Following on from the 2012 Olympic Games, it was reported that Alexandrov had been fired as Russia’s women’s team head coach after which we saw him take over as the Brazilian women’s team head coach in 2014. With the aim of developing a top team for a home games for the Brazilian team, Alexandrov certainly did some great work but left after the 2016 Games had finished. Now, it seem he is helping coach legend Chusovitina along with Olympic Champion and fellow gymnastics legend Svetlana Boguinskaia. It is not known whether he has taken over Chusovitina’s training completely but was pictured helping coach her this week at International Gymnix in Montreal.
4. Maggie Nichols and MyKayla Skinner haven’t ruled out an elite comeback:
2016 U.S. Olympic alternate and 2014 World Champion MyKayla Skinner who is now having a stellar freshman year in the NCAA for the University of Utah and 2015 World gold and bronze medalist and 2016 Olympic contender Maggie Nichols who is also having a stellar freshman year in the NCAA for the University of Oklahoma have both stated this week that they would not rule out a comeback to the elite stage. Both, as I said have had a phenomenal first season as college gymnasts however the hunger for elite success may still be there and we may see them on the elite stage again. But don’t get your hopes up. It’s only a maybe.
5. Aliya Mustafina will be back training by December….reportedly:
At the Russian Championships last weekend, Olympic and World Champion, Aliya Mustafina gave an interview with AiF Kazan in which discussed her views on the position of Russian gymnastics, the chances of Russia beating the U.S. at the next Olympics, her Tatar heritage and her University exams amongst other things. Meanwhile, Valentina Rodionenko has stated that Aliya will be back training by the Autumn whilst her husband has stated she will be back by December whilst Aliya has stated she will come back when she is ready. Given that she is recently married, is in her final year of University and she is expecting a baby in July, I sense the Rodionenko’s timeline is somewhat unrealistic. But it is Mustafina and she has surprised everyone in the past and she is superwoman so never doubt her. It’s also interesting that she was not asked about her pregnancy in the interview and she has not officially announced the news. In addition, at the Russian Championships she was very visibly trying to hide her pregnancy, wearing loose clothing at all times. Hmm.