1. UCLA juniors and Olympic champions Kyla Ross and Madison Kocian came forward on Thursday as the latest victims of Larry Nassar. Kyla and Madison, accompanied by Miss Val, were interviewed on CBS This Morning, where they revealed the slow process of coming to terms with the abuse and of overcoming it, as well as the lack of support of USA Gymnastics and, on the contrary, the amazing support of Valorie Kondos Field and the other UCLA coaches. All three had harsh words for the culture of fear and silence enforced by USAG in the name of winning. Madison Kocian said that the Karolyi’s ranch was a ‘culture of fear, a culture of silence and that’s what led [Nassar] to be able to abuse us.’ And Miss Val added: ‘It’s unfathomable. You can’t wrap your head around it… Hearing the same stories from these athletes, using the same words, that they felt it was a culture of fear they were training under, it was a culture of silence. A culture of winning.’ Finally, Kyla Ross also shared her sorrow, but also some words of hope: ‘Being on a national team for all of those years, we were really silenced. We didn’t really have a voice or say as athletes, and I think being able to compete at UCLA under the care of Miss Val and all our coaches, we realized that as an athlete we should have a voice.’
2. Three current college freshmen are competing at the U.S. National Championships in Boston this weekend: UCLA’s Margzetta Frazier, Florida’s Trinity Thomas and Oregon State’s Jade Carey. Margzetta is there representing the Bruins and is coached by UCLA co-head coach Chris Waller and UCLA alumna and assistant coach Jordyn Wieber. She is the first gymnast to represent UCLA at Nationals since Vanessa Zamarripa in 2010. She said of UCLA: ‘It is such a welcoming family. Everyone is connecting and bonding over past struggles and hard times, and we all lift each other up to higher than we were and would be on our own. That’s what gymnastics truly needs right now, and we are setting that standard.’
3. Jordyn Wieber was also in Boston to attend the Grander summit, a day to connect and be inspired by some of the world’s most influential women in business, sports, and health and wellness. The event was co-funded by 2008 Olympic champion Nastia Liukin.
4. Coaching news: Ashley Lawson was named head coach at SEMO. She was previously assistant coach at Lindenwood. Michigan also made two additions to its staff: Maile’ana Kanewa-Mariano was named volunteer assistant and Lauren Marinez, who graduated earlier this year, administrative assistant.
5. LSU freshman Bailey Ferrer posted a training montage on Twitter, in which she shows off her hard training ahead of leaving for Baton Rouge in January. This includes a cat leap to hand-free cartwheel and a double twisting dismount on beam; a Yurchenko half on to front pike somersault on vault, worthy of a 10.0 start value; a Jaeger and a double layout dismount on bars… And a happy dance to finish!
6. Oregon State freshman Madison Dagen showed off a video of herself on Twitter, training a one-and-a-half-twisting Yurchenko into the pit. This is a new vault for Madison – she competed a Yurchenko full in 2018.
7. Texas Woman’s freshman Isabel Goyco is still training upgrades on bars in her home gym before leaving for college, Aerial Athletics posted on Instagram. Isabel was shown while performing a half pirouette into Gienger into a straight transition to the low bar.
8. Ohio State posted a video on Twitter of its sophomore gymnast Brooke Chesney while training an upgraded tumbling pass on floor – a back one-and-a-half twist into a front full twist. Last year Brooke used to compete a front layout out of her one-and-a-half twist.
9. William & Mary has a blog, called ‘Tribe Women’s Gymnastics Blog’, where the gymnasts are currently sharing their holiday trips and experiences. It is a good way to get acquainted with less renowned gymnasts.
10. Here are the gymnasts who committed to college this week: Mia Erdoes to UCLA (2022), Kelly Ramm to Stanford (2020), Lauren Lazaro to Brown (2020) and Stephanie Berger to Ohio State (2022). Reagan Walker, on the contrary, is no longer committed to Kentucky (2020).
Routine of the week
Kyla Ross’s perfect 10 routine on beam to win the Pac-12 title in 2017. To her and Madison Kocian, for their bravery, strength and example.