Jessica Hutchinson’s long gymnastics legacy makes for an amazing NCAA floor routine — Other gym news — Thoughts from Trinity Thomas
The IX: Gymnastics Saturday with Lela Moore, Dec. 24, 2022
(Editor’s note: This is the last Gymnastics Saturday of 2022. The IX is off next week, and Gymnastics Saturday returns Jan. 7, 2023.)
‘Twas the night before Christmas,*
And all through the house,
Not a gymnerd was stirring, not even a mouse.
The schedules were recorded in phones with care,
In hopes that NCAA season** soon would be there.
OK, so it doesn’t pack quite the same punch as Clement Moore (no relation, for which I’m sure he’s grateful).
But we might go to sleep tonight with visions of beautiful toe points and Kathy Johnson Clarke-approved handstands in our heads. (Really, Clement, I’m sorry.)
*It’s also the seventh night of Hanukkah. Kwanzaa begins Monday. The winter solstice was Wednesday. Whatever you celebrate, when you celebrate, or whether you celebrate, I hope your week is full of gymnastics and joy.
**THIRTEEN DAYS Y’ALL.
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Anyway! I saw this video of Denver University’s Jessica Hutchinson explaining the inspiration behind her floor routine for this upcoming season.
Hutchinson, a junior at Denver, will compete her mom’s 1992 Olympic routine.
Hutchinson’s mother, Silvia Mitova, was a Bulgarian gymnast. Her OG floor routine netted her eighth place at the ’92 Olympics, and she was 11th in the all-around there. She won a bronze medal on vault at the 1992 Euros. Mitova’s own mother was also a Bulgarian Olympic gymnast, Maya Blagoeva; her father coached that 1972 team.
Here’s Mitova competing a less-difficult version of her Olympic routine at the 1991 World Championships:
Mitova was paralyzed after a neck injury just a month after competing at the Olympics, ending her career. She regained the ability to walk after a series of surgeries for which she traveled to France and South Africa; according to The Medal Count, fans raised money for her medical care.
Mitova later emigrated to the U.S., married Hutchinson’s father and had Hutchinson and her brother, and opened a gym called Silvia’s Gymnastics in Pennsylvania, where Hutchinson trained.
Hutchinson competed for Bulgaria at the 2016 Euros, where her highest finish was 10th on vault.
This is not the first legacy routine in the NCAA, nor the first mother-daughter pair in the sport (though Hutchinson is the first high-level third-generation gymnast I’ve heard of – please tell me if there are more, gym historians!). But given the deep roots in their family and Mitova’s amazing story, Hutchinson’s historic routine will be one to keep an eye on.
Other gym news
GymCastic this week released the second part of their interview with Nadia and the Secret Police author Dr. Stej Olaru. (Here’s last week’s episode containing the first part if you missed it.) I covered this blockbuster interview last week for The IX, but if you missed it, just know that GymCastic uncovered a pile of documents showing that the Romanian gymnasts of the 70s and 80s, including Nadia Comaneci, were heavily surveilled, and there are receipts on the Karolyis’ bad behavior from that time – lots of them.
My amazing friend Dvora Meyers over at Unorthodox Gymnastics has a great interview with Tracee Talavera.
Simone Biles ended her contract with Cerebral after they wanted Biles to promote ADHD medication (paywall on this one).
Jessica Gadirova won BBC Sports’ Young Sports Personality of the Year.
This TikTok of Lucy Stanhope asking her Utah teammates about scary skills takes a turn at 1:19 when Jaylene Gilstrap tells a terrifying story of attending what sounds like a gymnastics camp for sadists. We don’t know whose camp (she doesn’t say), but we hope they aren’t holding it anymore.
Shilese Jones gave a great interview to the Olympic Channel, in which she calls herself a “force to be reckoned with.” Indeed.
And Jordan Chiles also talked to the Olympic Channel about how she manages her social media.
Five at The IX: Trinity Thomas
Trinity Thomas did an interview with We Need to Talk this week, and they released a teaser in which she said that “2024 is not off the table.” Could Thomas become the next gymnast to make the move back to elite from NCAA? The full episode of We Need to Talk will air on Jan. 25 on CBS Sports and Paramount+
I recently interviewed Thomas myself – more on that in the new year! – and was excited to see her expand on something she touched on when I spoke with her. Thomas was one of the first gymnasts to keep a toe in elite while competing NCAA, and now just about every major college team has a gymnast who does both.
Anyway, here’s that teaser, in which Trinity is being interviewed by Summer Sanders. Sanders, an Olympic swimmer who competed in 1992, was one of my heroes as a young swimmer, so I got an extra thrill out of seeing her here!
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