A roundup of this week’s gymnastics news! (29 May-2 June 2017)
1. There was controversy over Melnikova’s choice of T-Shirt:
Earlier this week, Olympic silver medalist and 2017 European FX champion, Angelina Melnikova took to Instagram to post several photos of herself wearing a T-Shirt that read ‘Everybody should be a Feminist’. As I saw these photos I thought to myself that this could indeed cause some controversy and/ or debate given Melnikova’s large social media following and of course, the country which she represents as a gymnast. It did seem like a bold statement from the 16 year old but I assumed that either Melnikova did not wish to make a statement or that she does indeed hold feminist beliefs. Given that feminism is hardly a new phenomenon and Melnikova was born in 2000, the first year of the 21st century it would not be crazy to assume she does indeed hold feminist beliefs. What I do know is that Melnikova does seem like quite the cool girl, posting pictures and videos of herself riding penney boards, she is certainly the quintessential 21st century baby. However, despite Melnikova clearly embracing a modern image, controversy arose after the Russian Olympic Committee posted a tweet stating that Melnikova was a feminist, but reassuring fans that she was still pretty and talented. In an article for Deadspin, Dvora Meyers noted that the term ‘feminist’ does not ‘enjoy the widespread acceptance in Russia as it does in the U.S. and other places’, leading to the Russian Olympic Committee seeing it necessary to recover Melnikova’s image, reassuring fans that she may be a feminist (god forbid) but she is indeed talented and pretty, not just an ugly, waste of space feminist. All in all, the posts were harmless and Melnikova later stated on Instagram that she is not a feminist. Honestly, even the discussion and debate over the issue is silly and it shouldn’t matter what beliefs Melnikova holds. The Russian Olympic Committee did later apologise for their tweet but it is an interesting way of seeing cultural differences that exist within the world.
2. More Komova news to feed your soul:
If you were feeling a Komova sized void in your life, fret no more because a short 24 minute documentary on Komova and her comeback has been released online. As of late, like always there has been rumblings about a Komova comeback. As usual, I personally have tried to not invest too much in the idea of a Komova comeback given her history of comback-injury-comeback-injury but I really do hope this one is for real, like her 2015 comeback. Perhaps she can grab another World Uneven Bars title and make herself a 3 time Uneven Bars world champion. It is not totally out of the realms of possibility and I really do hope the comeback will work out. The gymnastics community NEEDS Komova in it. Every time I see a video of 2011 Komova I die a little inside watching the gift from God that is Komova. The documentary is in Russian, however Gymnovsti has provided a summary of the video in English on their website: http://eng.gymnovosti.com/komova-wants-to-fight-till-the-end/?utm_content=buffera4586&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Emily Little injured:
Fresh from her AA win at Australian Championships, 2012 Olympian Emily Little sustained a neck injury during event finals at the Australian Championships. Little fell on her first tumbling pass during FX finals and was brought to Hospital in Melbourne. She has since returned home to Perth and is expected to make a full and speedy recovery and should be healthy in time for the World Championships in Montreal in October.
4. Preliminary hearings in Larry Nassar case underway:
Preliminary hearings on the Larry Nassar case began on May 12 and continued this week as several victims took the stand to tell the graphic details of Nassar’s abuse. From all accounts and as one can imagine, the hearing were not easy listening. Nassar is facing several criminal charges of abuse as well as charges on possession of child pornography.
Meanwhile, this week we got a better idea of the line of defense Larry Nassar’s attorneys will be taking:
5. Murakami and Sugihara named to Japanese world team:
This one didn’t exactly happen this week but I haven’t covered it yet. Mai Murakami and Aiko Sugihara have been names to the Japanese WAG team for the 2017 World Championships in Montreal in October. They qualified by placing in the top two spots at the NHK Trophy which took place in late May in Tokyo. This years World Championships will be an individual worlds and there will be a maximum number of 4 gymnasts per country.