Dianne Durham speaks

Dianne Durham was the first Black American All-Around Women’s Gymnastics Senior National Champion in 1983.

She was one of Mary Lou Retton’s strongest competitors in 1984 but was injured during Olympic trials.

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The President of the United States Gymnastics Federation starting 1983 was Mike Jacki who’s recently made controversial statements online including that there is “no racism in sport“.

 

Alabama gymnasts speak

Click PLAY or watch it on Twitter.

The good news is that Alabama is taking action after former gymnast Tia Kiaku revealed allegations against the program Tuesday.

In a statement Wednesday, Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne confirmed a Title IX investigation was conducted after Kiaku accused assistant coach Bill Lorenz …

No specific apology to Tia, so far, but that might be one eventual result of the investigation.

Details.

Here’s Coach Dana Duckworth’s statement.

Tia Kiaku quit Alabama

Tia is no longer on the roster

Read her story on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Do we stand together? Why not use this opportunity to be transparent? I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to address a very disturbing and grave incident that occurred last year while I was on the Gymnastics team at the University of Alabama. During a practice, only the three African American girls (including myself) just happened to be on vault drills together. While practicing, one of the black gymnasts said “look all the black girls are all on the same event” responding to the statement, the Assistant Coach walked over and said “What is this, the back of the bus?”. Something that seems like a very inappropriate (racist) statement to me was just deemed as a very bad joke by Alabama! That doesn’t seem to be a joke that’s appropriate, especially in a professional team setting. I have seen a myriad of news stories of Coaches saying inappropriate/racist statements such as this who are no longer in a leadership position. Additionally, words such as “Nigga” (whether one thinks it’s funny or not), implicit biases, stereotyping, grouping terminology, and statements with underlying racism should NOT be tolerated from anyone. In fact, it should be unacceptable across the board! If #WeStandTogether, let’s truly stand together and address inappropriate issues that are happening inside programs like the University of Alabama. It is very unfair to isolate or exclude athletes because they take a stand! After much consideration, a lot of thought, lots of crying and even some tough/hard discussions with the Head Coach and some of my team mates, I decided to walk away from the team and the University. It has been hard. So what I will say is…..if the University, the Director of Athletics and Alabama’s Gymnastics program wants to take a stance on diversity and racism, they need to be transparent. These injustices are happing right in the middle of Alabama’s gymnastics team and they did very little about it. So how are we standing together? It’s so disheartening to know that there will be other black woman, like myself, to walk through Alabama’s doors and they pose the risk of going through the same things I went through!…

A post shared by Tia Kiaku (@tia_kiaku) on

Bill Lorenz is the Vault coach, by the way.

The athletic department did post this general support of the protests against racism.

UC Davis’ Alexis Brown interview

Today Alexis is a student at the prestigious Royal Veterinary College in London.

But in 2017 she began taking a knee during the national anthem prior to competitions as a symbolic protest of police brutality against black and brown bodies.

View this post on Instagram

Remember when you all were appalled at kneeling? Remember when you asked me to quiet down my black voice so that you did not have to feel uncomfortable? Micro-aggressions and anti-black actions continue in the gym everyday whether your privilege allows you to see them or not. I’m no longer upset with you if you’ve now chosen to be an active member of change- I embrace you and love you. Here’s what I’m demanding in reparations from the gymnastics community and ALL athletes: ▪️all coaches, gymnasts, parents of gymnasts, gymnastics teams I need you to speak up. Your silence shows that you are on the side of the oppressor. ▪️go to naacp.org and theactionpac.com among others to educate yourself, donate and activate ▪️amplify black voices: listen to what we have to say and get LOUD to spread the word. – if this makes you uncomfortable take a moment for reflection and ask yourself why the truth is painful ▪️yes, this is a long list of demands but you’ve caused your black gymnasts a long list of pains so go do your part. ✊🏾🖤

A post shared by Alexis Brown (@lexi_sbrown) on

Though some athletes and organizations praised her courage, Alexis recalls now the disapproval of coaches and teammates, and harassment from fans. In 2017 she was overall outstanding female athlete of the year in all sports at UC Davis.

The only black athlete on her team.

Listen to her on GymCastic #427:

Black Lives Matter

 
The Chancellor made a personal support of the protests.

Utah on protests against racism

I’ve seen dozens of messages from gymnasts, clubs, organizations and Federations.  All wanting to be part of change for the better.

Here’s one from the University of Utah.

Some organizations are blacked out today in support of protesters.

Click PLAY or watch it on Twitter.

Why coach Amy Nyman was suspended

Amy Nyman has appealed the suspension and an arbitrator is scheduled to hear her appeal over three days beginning June 29.

Nyman, the New Heights owner and head coach, ordered gymnasts to do so many repeat rope climbs that the insides of their legs bled and their arms were too sore to continue training, according to the documents.

When a New Heights gymnast said she was afraid to attempt a balance beam skill during a 2016 camp the team was attending in Pennsylvania, Nyman ridiculed the girl in front of her teammates, then made her do a series of sprints up a hill and 1,000 push-ups, according the SafeSport documents. …

SafeSport: Amy Nyman made gymnasts feel ‘scared, degraded and humiliated’

Confidential documents detail case against wife of former USA Gymnastics sports medicine and science director

Ella Douglas interview

In appreciation of LGBTQ Pride Month, June in the USA, I’m linking to an entertaining interview on the Half In, Half Out LGBTQ+ Podcast.

Listen to out Canadian gymnast Ella Douglas who was Co-Captain of the MSU team in 2020, her Senior year.

Ella was totally accepted by her team after announcing her girlfriend. Coaches, friends, everyone.

Ella will be a volunteer coach with MSU next year now that she’s graduated.

Of course there have been other Lesbian WAG gymnasts in College Gymnastics. And some have been open with that to friends and teammates while still competing.

Click through to listen.

coach Chris McClain suspended by Chelsea Piers

For two years, Sara Allan, a former gymnast who grew up in New York City, had wanted to file a complaint.

In 2018, she wrote a letter saying that her former gymnastics coach at Chelsea Piers, Chris McClain, had engaged in a litany of emotional abuse, including insulting and berating gymnasts about their weight, eating habits and mental abilities. …

In less than a month, Allan had compiled a 13-page document filled with specific complaints against McClain that spanned 15 years — from 33 gymnasts, nine of their family members and five coaches. They demanded that McClain be suspended and, to their surprise, their pleas were quickly heeded.

Chelsea Piers suspended McClain last Saturday, the day after Allan sent the complaint. Then, on Wednesday, U.S.A. Gymnastics also suspended McClain, pending an investigation. …

She Accused a Coach of Abuse. Then More Than 30 Gymnasts Backed Her Up.

can you kill COVID-19 with ultraviolet light?

Some Gyms are considering ultraviolet light sanitizing wands for disinfecting Bars, Beams, etc.

At this point, I’d not recommend the technology. 

UV-C works well for purifying liquids. And it’s been used for making food safer for over 50 years.

UV-C light probably kills the new COVID-19 virus IF the light is strong enough, direct enough, and long enough. As I post, however, that’s not yet been scientifically proven.

It did work on MERS and SARS.

But light wands work best on flat, hard surfaces.

UV-C light is dangerous for humans, as well. UV light can cause cancer. Damage eyes. It’s difficult to protect yourself while waving a wand.

NY is testing whether using  powerful ultraviolet lamps can disinfect subways and buses.  In future there might be a way to turn on UV-C lights at night in the Gym to help sanitize.

Companies are working on new ways to disinfect hard surfaces with UV-C light waves.  Robots, for example.

Hospitals and airlines are using the technology.  Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

read more – Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation