This weeks (16-22 April 2017) main stories in the gymnastics world. News from off the competition floor!
1. Former US National Team member speaks out about Larry Nassar:
Former elite gymnast and US National Team member, Kamerin Moore uploaded a video this week to YouTube explaining her experience with Dr. Larry Nassar, the former US National Team doctor and doctor at MSU who is now facing multiple sexual abuse allegations from former gymnasts and other young girls whom he treated throughout his career. Moore, who is now a gymnastics coach and student at the University of Nebraska trained from a young age at Gedderts Twistars in Lansing, Michigan alongside Olympic gold medalist, Jordyn Wieber. Both Kamerin and Jordyn were teammates and reached the elite level of gymnastics at the same time. Kamerin, along with Jordyn represented the US at the 2008 Top Gym Tournament in Charleroi, Belgium and the 2009 International Gymnix in Montreal, Canada and took 3rd AA in Belgium and Canada. Kamerin also represented the US at the 2009 USA vs Japan meet where she helped the US team take 1st and also took 1st AA. Whilst representing the US at the Olympics and the senior international level seemed to be the future for Kamerin in 2009, following the death of her father and serious injuries, Kamerin decided to compete as a level 10 gymnast and focus on obtaining a college scholarship. This she did, signing with the University of Nebraska gymnastics team for the 2014/15 season. After once again struggling with injuries, Kamerin decided to end her college gymnastics career after her freshman season but remained in school and now coaches at a local club. Nassar, who was the USAG National Team doctor and a doctor at MSU was also the team doctor at Gedderts Twistars for a time and it seemed only natural, given Nassar’s world renowned status in the field and Kamerin’s struggles with injuries as a young gymnast, that she would recieve treatment from Nassar. Unfortunately, Kamerin’s story reads like many of the other abuse victims that are now coming forward to speak about Nassar. The video uploaded to YouTube explains the actions taken by Nassar when Moore was under his care and explains Moore’s thoughts and opinions on the matter.
In other Nassar news:
2. Carly Patterson is going to be a mother:
2004 Olympic Champion, Carly Patterson announced this week that she is expecting a baby with her husband, Mark Caldwell. The baby is due in October and Carly mentioned in her Instagram announcement that the pair have struggled to get pregnant for some time, making this announcement even more special!
3. Laurie Hernandez, the next Hannah Montanna!?
Ah yes! Yet more confirmation that Laurie Hernandez may never don a leotard or grace a gymnastics competition floor again as a competitor! The 16 year old has had a whirlwind life since taking home a gold and silver medal from the Olympic Games in Rio last August and it seems the spunky Jersey girl we were all introduced to back in 2012 now wants to be a Disney star. Laurie certainly has star quality. That could be seen back in 2012 when the then 12 year old Laurie took to the floor and wowed with a unique style of dance and bags of personality on display. Her performance ability was again showcased on season 23 of Dancing With the Stars, winning the season and taking home the Mirror Ball Trophy with partner, Val Chmerkovskiy. Laurie undoubtedly has always had the ability to perform, stating from a young age that alongside becoming a world class gymnast she would indeed like to pursue acting as a career. Obviously, an incredibly talented gymnast, Laurie also certainly has a love of performing in front of large crowds, a necessity for an Olympic gymnast really and along with this has a natural ability to dance, a natural ability to move and feel music, and emote. She certainly has all the hallmarks of a Disney star, cute, adorable, has dance abilities, acting abilities and an adoring audience of millions of young children. I suspect we may never see Laurie compete for MG Elite or in the red, white and blue again but hopefully her dreams will be fulfilled. I must not get ahead of myself however, Laurie has simply sent an audition tape and is waiting to hear back, but how could they not see the potential!?
4. Viktoria Komova is coming back:
I feel like I have written this sentence so many times before but this time I really hope it is real. After taking silver AA at the 2012 Olympic Games, Komova came back from injury and meningitis in 2015 to take one of four gold medals on the Uneven Bars at the 2015 World Championships. However she sadly missed the 2016 Olympic Games due to back problems but has announced this week at the 2017 European Championships which are being held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania that she is now healthy and coming back. Komova, who has stated many times since 2015 World Championships that she is coming back has undergone treatment in Germany for her back problems and given the dubious state of Russian women’s gymnastics, they certainly need her to come back. Hopefully we will see Komova out there competing later this year or even next year.
5. Becky Downie and Georgia-Mae Fenton injured:
The 2017 European Gymnastics Champions are currently being held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania and both the British men and women are doing incredibly well, already having tallied 4 medals with one day of competition and five finals left to go. However, two big blows came this week with Georgia-Mae Fenton injuring herself in training before the Championships even got underway and Becky Downie injuring her elbow in UB finals. Fenton, who has struggled with injuries for most of elite career, missed out on really contending for an Olympic spot in 2016 due to injury and also missed her chance to make her senior international debut for Great Britain at the 2017 London World Cup just a few weeks ago due to a minor injury, sustained in the warm ups. It is really heartbreaking and a shame given the fact that Fenton is such a fabulous gymnast and has really never been able to show what she is truly capable of because of injury. Two time Olympian and European Champion, Becky Downie, who’s sister Ellie became the European AA Champion this week was injured during UB finals and has had to forgo her chance to compete in BB finals on Sunday, 23rd April due to this injury. Both are huge losses for Team GB as we look towards the World Championships in Montreal, Canada, however it is unclear how severe the injuries are.
6. Simone Biles is Moana:
Following in the footsteps of season 23 champ and Olympic teammate, Laurie Hernandez, Simone is competing on season 24 of Dancing With the Stars. The Olympic and World Champion this week danced to the soundtrack of the Disney movie ‘Moana’ as it was Disney week on the show. The performance was lovely and displayed Simone’s ever impressive explosive power and comes a week after the emotional dance in which Simone spoke about being adopted as a young girl.