Athlete A – now on Netflix

June 24th.

Netflix now has the documentary on the USA Gymnastics criminal doctor

Athlete A is Maggie Nichols.

First, we all need thank Maggie, Sarah Jantzi and Maggie’s parents.

And we all need thank Rachael Denhollander and Jamie Dantzscher.

Now that the criminal doctor is in prison for up to 175 years, it’s easy to forget how difficult were those early accusations.

It’s easy to forget how many very smart people were fooled by the conman. Jamie — at the time — felt he was the only nice adult associated with USA Gymnastics.

The documentary is well done.  Recommend it to your non-Gymnastics friends. We can reduce medical malpractice and abuse in future. Protect athletes.

Revisit, too, the selection process for the Rio Olympic team. Certainly Maggie should have been one of the alternates.

An August 2016 article in the Indianapolis Star about USA Gymnastics protecting coaches accused of abuse leads to the explosive revelation that the USAG women’s team doctor, Larry Nassar, had been abusing athletes for over two decades.

This film follows the IndyStar reporters as they reveal the extensive cover-up that allowed abuse to thrive within elite-level gymnastics for more than two decades, the attorney who is fighting the institutions that failed these athletes, and most importantly, the brave whistle-blowers who refuse to be silenced.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

In addition to watching the documentary, be sure to listen to an excellent interview with Jennifer Sey on Gymnastic.

Sey is the producer.

Jennifer’s 2008 book Chalked Up is available in digital format with a new forward.

compression back warmer for gymnastics


I’ve not had any gymnasts use this specific product. Leave a comment if you have an opinion.

kinesthesist tells that they are very popular with flexibility circus performers.

Here’s the pitch:

The Band is a compression back warmer worn on the lower torso with no hooks or Velcro. It improves activation of core abdominal muscles, reduces spinal impact and reduces existing lower back pain.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Details.  Cost about $50.

related – Koreleo sells a leotard with integrated compression back warmer.

Concussion first responders

“50% of concussions go unreported.”

What to do if you suspect a concussion

In all suspected cases of concussion, the person should stop the activity right away. Continuing increases their risk of more severe, longer-lasting concussion symptoms, as well as increases their risk of other injury.

Anyone with a suspected concussion should be checked out by a medical doctor.

Red flags

  • Neck pain or tenderness
  • Double vision
  • Weakness or tingling in arms or legs
  • Severe or increasing headache
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Loss of consciousness (knocked out)
  • Deteriorating conscious state
  • Vomiting more than once
  • Increasingly restless, agitated or combative
  • Growing confusion

If any red flag symptoms are present, call an ambulance right away. These may be signs of a more serious injury.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

physical preparation for injury prevention

Dr. Keith Russell is one of the smartest Gymnastics people I know

A former Canadian Men’s National Coach, personal coach of Olympians Warren Long and James Rozon, Keith is expert in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and sports injury.

This is the first of a series of FIG Education online seminars organized because all regular FIG camps and clinics have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

One of Keith’s recommendations is to do fewer reps in our yearly training plans by working more strength / power and less muscular endurance. Especially for advanced gymnasts.

I recall Dr. Bill Sands stating a high level gymnasts should be able to complete all their strength / power training in about 30 minutes / day.

I like Keith’s simple graphics that help explain complex issues – knee ligament injuries, for example.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.  (53min)

Here are some upcoming webinars.

click for larger version of this screen grab

IDEAS on reopening Gymnastics Clubs

If and when you can reopen, it would be best to start with Competitive.

Phase in other groups over time.

One club plans to use a Wall-Mounted Infrared Forehead Thermometer Non-Contact Digital Temperature Thermometer with Fever Alarm to allow entry.

That’s not foolproof, of course. Some positives don’t have fever.

Chalk Bucket forum is compiling suggestions.

Here are a few:

  • Initial opening with small groups of 10 or less
  • Following social distancing guidelines (6+ feet) with stations / drills
  • Wiping down equipment after each use
  • Masks (entering and exiting the Gym)
  • Hand sanitizing before each event
  • Starting up with basics and conditioning so there will be no need to spot
  • Each athlete will have their own chalk block kept in a Ziploc bag
  • Each athlete will have their own spray bottle for water
  • Cameras with login for parents to watch from outside the facility
  • Stagger workout times
  • Stagger break times (or if practice short enough no break to limit congregating)
  • One way traffic as much as possible
  • Nightly equipment cleaning of high touch surfaces such as tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks with EPA registered household disinfectant per CDC guidance
Wearing masks to prevent the H1N1 influenza virus at the venue of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Japan September 11, 2009.

Belgium WAG resume training

Valentina Rodionenko said the team should go back to Round Lake and be quarantined there, so that they would be able to train.

She cited the example of the Chinese national team that kept training … throughout the quarantine ….

Some other national teams (at least partially) kept training and some are gradually returning to the gyms now. For example, the Belgian WAG team has been allowed to resume training recently. …

At the moment, however, Round Lake is serving as a quarantine center for Russian athletes who were evacuated from abroad.

The Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said that next week, the Ministry will be discussing plans for elite athletes to start training but did not commit to any specific date and said that quarantine limitations would have to be lifted first.


Sever’s Disease – growth related heel pain

… common symptoms of Sever’s Disease include:

Tenderness especially towards the back of the heel
Tightness towards the back of the foot
Heel pain that begins after running or jumping
Pain that subsides with rest
Trouble walking, running, or jumping
Walking on toes to alleviate foot pain

Tawnya Housel – Understanding Sever’s Disease and Gymnastics


Nancy Armour: Postpone Tokyo Olympics

No one wants to see the Olympics and Paralympics postponed. But it’s the right thing to do, the responsible thing to do.

At this point, the only thing to do.

“Even if they said, ‘We’re going to postpone this two years,’ then I know. Then I can say ‘OK, I don’t have to stress the next three weeks trying to work out.’ I can self-quarantine and be safe and do everything they’re asking,” gymnast Colin Van Wicklen told USA TODAY Sports. …

… challenges that make it impossible to go forward with the Games as scheduled. Here’s a look at three of the biggest:

  • Training

  • Qualification

  • Anti-doping

Read more …

Opinion: Postpone Tokyo Olympics for the good of the athletes and the public

Sam Oldham interview

Sam Oldham won Bronze in Team at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The youngest member of the squad.

Very eloquent, in this interview Sam discusses the challenges he faced mentally and physically during his career.

Click PLAY or watch it on Twitter.