Gymnastics is a cruel sport. Does it have to be?

He raised his hands and leaned up to pull the low bar. Andy shifted positions and took out his phone for the film. For an outsider, this exchange can be read as a routine, but for a gymnast it amounts to a remarkable expression of autonomy. (“I’m really following his lead,” Andy told me later.) He settled on Hindorff, a move that took less force. She turned around once, cleaned the bar a second time and released it, entangling her legs in a wee straddle. Reaching in front of him, he tied a bandage between his legs.

Andy was so surprised that he dropped his phone. Chelsea, he later explained, had not touched the bar for a Hindorf successfully in eight years. He would hope to reclaim his position in the air for months. He was feeling week.

Memel’s success is coming years after being away from the gym, but even for young gymnasts, breaks due to coronoviruses have expressed surprising views about the nature of athletic success. Few competitive gymnasts had ever taken a midsummer break for a long time. A favorite 19-year-old Delaware gymnast visiting Tokyo and national team member Morgan Hurd told me that before the shutdown, she could remember being away from gymnastics for the longest time – just four years ago, when she visited. For Myrtle Beach. During the shutdown, she lost a mat home from her gym and was taken to the carpeted stairs to her bedroom, where she was conditioned by searching for workouts on YouTube. On March 7, a week before closing, the Herd won the American Cup; No woman has won that competition in a sports year and is not eligible for the Olympics. But when we talked about a month in lockdown, he said that he did not get hurt in time. “I feel like I’ve become physically strong,” she said. Last July, 29-year-old British Olympian Becky Downey posted on Twitter: “Lockdown has taught me that gymnasts can definitely stay ‘off season’. If you stay air-conditioned, your skills go nowhere … . Now I look back and think of all the holidays I could have done in 20 years. Where did this myth come from !!! ”

In June, Netflix released a documentary, “Athlete A,” on Larry Nassar’s Victims. Its release sparked another wave of accusations and reflections, though largely not about sexual abuse. Instead, athletes from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain, Brazil and Belgium started posting on social media, Using the hashtag #GymnastAlliance, Regarding regular physical, verbal and emotional abuse – such as body shaking and forced training on injuries – that have long been the norm in gymnastics. Several countries launched investigations into their national governing bodies, and the Netherlands also suspended their women’s national Olympic program; In the United States, the posts formed a second wave #MeToo in the gymnastics community, focused on training practices and their costs.

Many allegations of abusive training practices in gymnastics have already come from high-profile athletes, a fact that sometimes helped to maintain the misconception that abusive training was taking place only at the highest levels of the sport. Particularly in the United States, gymnasts sharing their stories on Twitter and Instagram were college or club gymnasts, not professionals. Nassar survivor Rachel Denholander tweeted in response to a story Cassidy Hyman, a former gymnast, posted about feeling pressured to compete in the Level 5 state championship with two stress fractures: “I’m on it Can not express my anger. Permanent, sustained injuries that occur as a level five. “At level 5, gymnasts are not yet performing release moves on bars. They stand on low bars and reach to catch highs, such as in a jungle gym. Up to 40 hours a week and two years of home-. After training for schooling, Hyman finally left the game at the age of 14 with a mental block.

It has been 26 years since the publication of Joan Ryan’s “Little Girls in Pretty Box”, a rigorous investigation into gymnastics losses. Many of the exercises that gymnasts did last summer, particularly about the pressure to thin, were widely covered in the 1990s. But some of these athletes were making another novel point, which was that they believed the rigorous coaching they had experienced, and the punitive levels of exercise, were not necessarily helping them win as well. “I didn’t always need all those extra changes,” said Ashton Kim, a former athlete. Whose post on twitter It is claimed that his head coach overcame him and mistreated him emotionally and physically. “It was unproductive at a certain point.” In a letter to his head coaches at Jim Texas Dreams, Kim said, “You can’t deny that we were overtaken in terms of exhaustion.” (A representative from Texas Dreams declined to comment.)

Last year, Maggie Hanney, who coached 2016 gold and silver medalist Laurie Hernandez to MG Elite for 11 years, Got an eight-year suspension, The harshest punishment for non-sexual abuse that USA Gymnastics ever handed over. After Heaney appealed, the suspension was reduced to five years, but it was still the harshest punishment for unwarranted abuse that USA Gymnastics had ever been handed. This was particularly notable because Honey’s behavior, which involved pulling hair and involving her gymnast, said she would commit suicide if they stopped working with her, occupying a place that American The governing body of gymnastics had until then largely refused to make derogatory calls. USA Gymnastics wrote in a statement to the Times, “Although victims may share their stories publicly, USA Gymnastics does not share information about the report or investigation.” ” Hanny denied verbally, emotionally or physically abusing any gymnast: “It is amazing that some girls, families and agents continue to use USAG / Safe Sport for personal and / or financial benefit. These organizations are actually put in place to protect abused athletes,” she said. Wrote in his statement to the Times. He said that “USAG has personally used me as a scapegoat to divert attention from their own misdeeds.” Honey is suing USAG, claiming It was an unreasonable hearing. “

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