What happens when elite gymnastics coaches stop being polite and start getting real

The IX: Gymnastics Saturday with Lela Moore, June 22, 2024

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GymCastic last week interviewed three coaches of world champion gymnasts: Sarah Korngold, coach of Shilese Jones; Cleo Washington, who coached Morgan Hurd; and Owen Field, associate head coach at Florida who is coaching Leanne Wong in her elite run this year. 

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The interview was astonishing in its candidness about the often-secretive world of elite gymnastics. Korngold revealed that she believed Jones was sabotaged during bar finals at last year’s world championships. All three have been through several regimes at USA Gymnastics and spoke openly about the differences between former coordinators Marta Karolyi, Valeri Liukin and Tom Forster — and the current dynamic with Alicia Sacramone and Chellsie Memmel at the head. Field was able to shed light on the differences in injury management between NCAA and elite gymnastics. 

It’s a podcast equally interesting to longtime fans of the sport and the four-year followers who are looking for information as we head into Olympic trials and the Paris Games. That’s a tough thing to navigate (as anyone who has watched NBC cover elite gymnastics over the last, oh, 30 years can tell you) but GymCastic’s Jessica O’Beirne deftly moves from super-technical questions to very general ones with ease and all three coaches seem equally eager to give answers to superfan questions as to dish camp dirt. 

Korngold and Field returned to GymCastic’s Behind the Scenes, which is available only to paying members, for a follow-up discussion as well. 

Definitely give this a listen this week, as we ramp up to Olympic trials. 

Other gym news

College Gym News brings us an annual series: Underrated recruits who excel on vault, bars, beam and floor.

The Gymternet has the results of Canadian nationals, French nationals and German nationals, as well as U.S. nationals

Eythora Thorosdottir broke her foot on her approach for her beam dismount at the Dutch Olympic trials and is out of contention for the Olympics. 

Isabella Brett will not represent New Zealand in Paris. Back story: New Zealand received a continental spot for the Olympics, but Brett did not meet the New Zealand federation’s requirements for Olympic competition. A heartbreaker all around. 

Emily Giambalvo of the Washington Post (and, crucially, the creator of the build-your-own-Olympic-team interactive feature) did a Reddit AMA

Jerry Nelson is the new interim head coach at Southern Connecticut State University. He coached the Owls from 2005-2019 and was interim head in 2020. This time around, he replaces Byron Knox. 

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Five at The IX

Not our usual Five at the IX, but I think this short documentary is important enough to put here. It’s an NBC piece in their My New Favorite Olympian series and it focuses on Jordan Chiles (with commentary from Margzetta Frazier, Chiles’ teammate at UCLA, and Derrin Brown, founder of Brown Girls Do Gymnastics) and racism in gymnastics. A real gamechanger for our sport. 

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
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Fridays: Hockey
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Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Lela Moore