GYMN-L Digest - 22 Nov 1995 to 23 Nov 1995

There are 7 messages totalling 332 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

  1. Nancy Raymond's attack on patriotism (2)
  2. Atlanta Pre-Olympics televised?
  3. A letter I think you should read. (fwd)
  4. Oops! Sorry!
  5. Trampoline forum
  6. DTB Pokal Preview


Date:    Thu, 23 Nov 1995 00:52:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Nancy Raymond's attack on patriotism

     Just to add my $.02, my impression was that the quote in Nancy's signature
refers to *blind* patriotism or outright jingoism, which I personally do think
is idiotic. Applied to gymnastics, I think it is idiotic to like or dislike a
gymnast simply because he/she is or is not from your own country. I have gotten
a lot of flak over the years because some of my favorite gymnasts have been
Soviets or ex-Soviets. People have accused me of being a communist and a
traitor simply for cheering for Omelianchik or Misyutin. The most extreme
example of this blind patriotism came in 1989, when, at the World
Championships, the father of a retired US gymnast refused to sit next to me
because I was cheering for the Soviet men during team finals. He apparently
forgot that I also cheered for the US men during the round they were in. But
the impression I got from him was that cheering for anyone other than the
Americans was high treason. He even said sarcastically to me, "I'm going to buy
you a one-way ticket to Russia." This same man has also "chastised" other
people at other meets, saying such things that they have no right to wear a
jacket with an American flag design if they cheer for anyone but the Americans.
This, IMHO, is ridiculous and idiotic. I choose and cheer for my favorite
gymnasts on the basis of their gymnastics, not what country they are from. Just
because I'm a fan of some of the ex-Sovs or the Chinese (and I stress "some,"
because there are definitely ex-Sovs whose gymnastics I don't care for at all)
doesn't mean that I'm anti-American. I'm not. And I'm not blindly pro-Russian
or pro-Ukrainian either. In fact, at the Sabae Worlds I thought Mo Huilan of
China was the best gymnast there. I believe people should be free to choose
their favorite gymnasts on the basis of what they do, not where they're from.
And I don't think it's fair to call someone "unpatriotic" simply for admiring
gymnasts from other countries. In the 70s, I don't think fans of Olga Korbut or
Nadia Comaneci were automatically labeled anti-American communists. But it
seems as if today, if you're a fan of Khorkina or Nemov, it's automatically
assumed that you dislike the Americans and are being disloyal to your country.
This is a ridiculous assumption, and *this* kind of "patriotism" is idiotic, at
least in my opinion.



Date:    Thu, 23 Nov 1995 04:30:52 -0500
From:    ***@CORNELL.EDU
Subject: Atlanta Pre-Olympics televised?

        I thought I read a message earlier that the meet would be shown on
ABC on Dec. 2.  Is this correct?


Date:    Thu, 23 Nov 1995 09:29:13 -0500
From:    ***@YALE.EDU
Subject: A letter I think you should read. (fwd)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 1995 15:31:08 -0400
From: ***
To: Multiple recipients of list GYMN-L <GYMN-L@PSUVM.PSU.EDU>
Subject: A letter I think you should read.

Hello Fellow Gymners,

I was given this letter by one of the parents at our gym to send to 60
Minutes via email.  I did so, but she also asked me to post it in any other
forum that I thought it belonged.  I will forward your comments to her.

WARNING!  It's long, but good and true!

<<60 Minutes Editorial Staff                               October 18, 1995
CBS News Division
New York, New York

To the 60 Minutes Editorial Staff:

Our family enjoys sitting down in front of the television on Sunday nights to
watch your show.  Our 15 year-old son even watches because he thinks its
"great" the way you show both sides of issues and give each side equal time.
This is rare on today's shows and it is what makes your show unique.
However, recently we watched a 60 Minutes segment regarding elite gymnastics
and eating disorders.  We watched as Leslie Stahl accosted Bela Karolyi in
the hotel lobby at the World Championship qualifying meet and marveled at the
restraint Karolyi showed at this ill-timed intrusion.  We continued watching
only because we wanted to see how you would present the "other side" and were
amazed to realize that the 60 Minutes staff decided that there was no "other
side" to be told.  Rather, the segment seemed to be a forum to further
publicize the views of Joan Ryan, the author of a book about elite gymnastics
which does nothing but sensationalize the problems of a few kids.  At the
very least, you should be made aware of the fuller picture and the result of
your irresponsible journalism.

I know a young lady who is now 12 1/2 and about to start her third year of
Elite level gymnastics.  She started gymnastics at the age of  6 and attended
only three classes before she was asked to try out for the competitive team.
After only five years of gymnastics training she went to Palm Springs in
August 1994 and placed eighth in the nation, becoming a member of the Junior
National Training Squad.

This gymnast attends public school because she and her parents feel it is
important for her to have relationships outside the gym and that home
schooling would be socially detrimental.  She is in the 8th grade taking all
honors classes and consistently makes the Honor Roll, which is not unusual
for Elite level gymnasts (male or female).  She asks for no special
consideration for school assignments while traveling and refuses to use
gymnastics as an excuse when she is absent from school for competitions.  Her
school day ends at 2:50 p.m. and her mother meets her with food and drink,
and they drive 45 minutes to her gym in a neighboring city.  She is changed
and on her first event by 4:00 p.m. and practices until 8:15 p.m., Monday
through Friday.  Her practice schedule also includes Saturday practices from
1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., for a total of 23 1/2 to 27 1/2 hours of practice
each week.

After practice, this young lady has a 45 minute return commute, at which time
she does homework until she gets car sick.  She arrives home between 9:00 and
9:30 p.m. and eats the dinner her father has prepared while she does her
homework.  On a good night she can be in bed by 10:00 or 10:15 p.m.  If there
is a heavy load of homework, she may not get to bed until 11:00 p.m.
Normally, reveille is at 6:15 a.m. and her father will not let her leave the
house to catch her 7:10 a.m. bus unless she has eaten breakfast.

This is obviously a very demanding schedule.  However, it is the lifestyle
this young lady has chosen and her parents do everything in their power to
support her.  The parents of any young athlete have many worries, but the
eating habits of this particular gymnast are of only minor concern.  This is
because her parents are doing their job as parents to make sure she eats
well-balanced meals with an adequate caloric content for someone as active as
their daughter.  Of course, she enjoys candy bars, cakes, pizza, etc. and
there is no reason why she can't have them in moderation just like any other
healthy child.  Moreover, her gymnastic coaches are equally involved and
concerned with her health and nutrition (as they are for all five of their
elite gymnasts and the other 107 girls on their competitive team).

Sadly, this lovely, fun loving, energetic, warm-hearted kid who loves her
sport does not tell anyone that she is an Elite gymnast.  Because of
sensationalistic journalism such as that evidenced by your segment and the
uniformed reaction of the general public, she has chosen to keep her
extraordinary achievements private.  She has quit watching gymnastics on
television because too many times in the past derogatory comments are made
about the gymnasts' bodies, health, coaches, or parents.

This gymnast's name is Alexis Maday and as her parents, this breaks our
hearts.  Alexis has EARNED the right to be proud of herself and her chosen
sport.  It is an unfortunate result of shows such as yours that she is
hesitant to admit what she does because she fears how she or her parents may
be judged.

Show the other side for a change!  Come interview families like ours.  There
are a lot of us out there.  Every sport has it's skeletons and it is
important to bring them to light and to correct them.  However, it is equally
important to show that there are many more successful young gymnasts out
there than there are those with problems.  Please, be the good investigative
reporters that you are and be the first to do a story on how the gymnastics
world is changing because of these admittedly terrible incidents that have
been brought to light.  We are inundated with truly bad news on a daily
basis.  Don't you think it's time to stop dwelling on the negative and to
praise these kids with drive, determination and commitment to a sport that
they love?  Show their happy, well-adjusted, supportive, loving families.

We once attended a seminar for gymnastic parents given by USA Gymnastics at
which we had direct access to a sports nutritionist and a sports
psychologist.  We were amazed when only about 20 people attended, half of
which were coaches.  But the thing we remember most is being told:  "It is
the coach's job to tell your daughter what a talented gymnast she is, and
it's the parents' job to tell her what a talented child she is."  It is your
job as responsible investigative journalists not only to expose wrongs, but
to inform and remind the public of what talented children America has to
offer.  It almost seems that you need to be a bad parent to get notoriety.

Alexis chose her gym two years ago because of the training that was offered
at MarVaTeens by Gary Anderson and his staff of coaches.  She was welcomed
with open arms by her fellow competitors and had no trouble quickly trusting
the decisions of her new coaches.  We agreed with her decision because we
were warmly welcomed by other parents and were immediately offered an open
line of communication with ALL of her coaches.  It is important to find a
good, qualified coaching staff that parents and gymnasts trust; however, that
does not mean that parents can stop parenting.  These people are gymnastics
coaches not nannies!

It is certainly, not our position that there are no irresponsible gymnastics
coaches or undernourished gymnasts, but USA Gymnastics (and our gym in
particular) are making a concerted effort to ensure that all participating
competitors are healthy and well-nourished.  The national exposure given to
such uninformed and one-sided opinions expressed on your recent segment
continually undermines such admirable efforts.

Kyle & Roy Maday

Thank you for reading.  As one of Alexis' gymnastic coaches, I am honored to
send this letter.  Please respond.

Douglas Windsor


Date:    Thu, 23 Nov 1995 09:35:19 -0500
From:    ***@YALE.EDU
Subject: Oops! Sorry!

I was going through old mail when my phone rang.  I can't disable call
waiting on my phone, and when it rings, it makes the computer wig out.
As a result, the message I was reading somehow got sent to the list.  Sorry!



Date:    Thu, 23 Nov 1995 15:26:50 -0500
From:    ***@CLARK.NET
Subject: Re: Nancy Raymond's attack on patriotism

I have gotten
>a lot of flak over the years because some of my favorite gymnasts have been
>Soviets or ex-Soviets. People have accused me of being a communist and a
>traitor simply for cheering for Omelianchik or Misyutin.

Beth, as a fellow Russian language major, don't you love it when you get handed
that line for studying Russian?


In the 70s, I don't think fans of Olga Korbut or
>Nadia Comaneci were automatically labeled anti-American communists. But it
>seems as if today, if you're a fan of Khorkina or Nemov, it's automatically
>assumed that you dislike the Americans and are being disloyal to your country.

Beth has a point here.  I think that the brilliancy of Korbut and Comaneci at
the time was so startling, it surpassed political feelings.  The level of
gymnastics is so high now that it would take an almost inhuman (as if the level
of gymnastics hasn't almost reached that point) routine to create the level of
excitement that drifted down to the masses who knew nary a thing about
gymnastics during the era of Korbut and Comaneci.  Of course those of us who are
old enough remember watching Comaneci's routines on TV when the World
Championships in Skein, Norway were shown and who read IG, weren't too surprised
when she hit tens, but for the rest of the sports world, wow!

Now, oddly enough, during this time of relatively relaxed feelings vis-a-vis the
former CIS and East bloc countries, we are seeing this wave of xenophobic
American patriotism.  Maybe it is because the playing field has leveled out
somewhat and our girls have a strong team (we think) and a good chance of
medaling in the team comps as well as AA and EF.  Maybe it just seems
unpatriotic to not back the team. I really don't know, and maybe someone on this
list who thinks it is, can explain this.

So, I throw out the question-

"Why is it unpatriotic to appreciate gymnasts from other countries over American

Your comments will be enlightening.
Thank you.

Date:    Thu, 23 Nov 1995 17:39:46 EST
From:    ***@PRODIGY.COM
Subject: Trampoline forum

For those that are interested;  there is a trampoline forum also
available out there.

To subscribe:

send e-mail to the following:


leave subject blank

in the body of the message type:

Sub Trampoline

leave at least one line blank

That's it

                             "WHEN IN DOUBT - BARANI OUT"


Date:    Thu, 23 Nov 1995 20:01:57 -0500
From:    ***@COLUMBIA.EDU
Subject: Re: DTB Pokal Preview

Any information on when the DTB Cup will be televised?

> from the dpa ...
> This coming Friday and Saturday, Stuttgart will host the annual DTB Cup -
> arguably the most prestigious invite on the gymnastics calander - in the
> Schleyer-Halle, site of the '89 World Championships.


End of GYMN-L Digest - 22 Nov 1995 to 23 Nov 1995