Kathy Johnson Clarke, who competed for the US Olympic team in 1984 and won two medals, has written a lengthy open letter on sexual abuse in the sport.

"Predators know their way around good mothers and fathers. They know their way around any environment or program not created specifically to keep them out. If steps aren't taken to deny a predator, pedophile or abuser access to young people that person can seek out the most vulnerable, naive, trusting, spirited, reckless or rebellious among the unsuspecting.  Just as many of those qualities exist in most young people a skillful predator can use them against their prey."

"There has been gross negligence on the part of many, which is what created the culture in which really exceptional kids with unsuspecting parents, many of whom were good, involved, invested, loving parents while some may have been to varying degrees either less involved, caught up in their child's gymnastics development or success, or simply “flying blind”, completely trusting, and unaware of potential dangers."

"If people insist on asking or telling victims “why did you, why didn’t you, if only you, if only your mom or dad, didn’t you know…the list goes on and on and on, we will NEVER create the safest possible environment because we are shutting down the very people we need to listen to and learn from."

"It's just not as simple as being “blessed” with a good mother, father, coach or having some super power to ward off anyone seeking to take advantage of you. If we think like that it further shames victims, which is EXACTLY what their abuser depends on. That and fear.
I am truly happy for those left unscathed and whole, but I am in touch with those who were not and are not. It is for them to tell their own stories, but I will remark on one who was lucky. She got spooked by what we now know was “grooming” and done to lure her into trusting her coach’s “methods” to improve her gymnastics. She bolted. Coach told us she had mental problems and it was too hard for her to train and live away from home. We believed him. She left her dream, the place where she was happy and wanted to be, and didn’t tell the other girls because she didn't know what to say and didn't want to ruin everyone else's experience there. It was such a fun place. Fortunately, her father reported it to USGF. Unfortunately, the story gets fuzzy there. "

"Now I wonder about some of the other girls and the stories I was told about why they abruptly left so many years ago, just as I wonder about the “stories” my teammates heard when I left. I was not a victim of sexual abuse, but I now know some who were. At best, it was a dysfunctional, albeit fun and unique, place to live, train and go after big dreams. At worst, it was a recipe for disaster, a nightmare for some."

"Because we normalized what I now know to be grooming type behaviors by creating a big gray area in which we lived, played, trained, joked and grew up, a predator could easily cross over the line without someone noticing. Because there were other types of abuse that were normalized – verbal, psychological and emotional abuse, over-training, over-dieting, under-eating, exhaustion, injuries and questionable motivational methods – most girls didn't know the difference between healthy and unhealthy, positive or negative reinforcement, and more dangerously, normal grown up behavior and creepy, inappropriate, even criminal behavior."

"To make matters worse they had no idea how, when or if they should confide in someone, much less to whom they should turn. They simply quit, went home, endured it, developed other issues or problems that masked or hid it, then buried it for years, if not forever."

"Now, with that tale in mind insert elite gymnasts, the toughest athletes on the planet, training and sacrificing all to fulfill HUGE dreams to make World and Olympic Teams in an increasingly competitive atmosphere and the “work hard, focus, don’t whine or complain, endure anything and everything you can to be the best you can be” mentality is increased exponentially, and you see where we find ourselves today."

"Had it not happened at our National Training Center or to the stars in our sport, and had those incredibly brave young women not had the courage to come forward and speak out for themselves and others who may or may not tell their stories, we could have continued to do too little, too late, to really change the culture that allowed all this to fester and grow.
I believe more will come forward. Please open your ears, eyes, minds and hearts and listen."

"And as you do, know this: Abuse is complicated, insidious and achingly more prevalent than people realize. By simplifying it or believing that if only they had done "x" or been "y" or had "z" they would have been safe we do more harm to those who were so damaged by someone they trusted, believed in, and even loved, and more important, we empower the abusers!"

"Ask yourself, do you WANT abuse victims to keep their painful stories to themselves, to hold on to it forever because it is old news, uncomfortable to hear or about someone you know, like or want to continue to believe in and respect?"

"Two of my coaches are on the banned list. I loved both of them even when they weren’t perfect or hurt me in other ways. I can forgive them for those. But, until they fall to their knees and say how horribly WRONG and deeply SORRY they are to have preyed on my friends, teammates, or fellow gymnasts and offer the entire gymnastics community an apology I stand with and alongside the survivors, and I stand for culture change and bright line rules to educate, prevent, report and prosecute abuse."

Last month, Clarke was one of the two gymnasts - the other being Aly Raisman - who defended former Olympic gymnast Tatiana Gutsu who alleged that she was raped by fellow teammate Vitaly Scherbo.

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

US gymnast Gabby Douglas came under fire when she victim blamed and shamed sexual abuse survivors, on Twitter, including her teammate Aly Raisman who recently revealed that she was one of the many gymnasts who were sexually abused by disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar.

Teammate and the most decorated US Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, who took a screenshot of Gabby's now deleted tweet, called her out on the social networking service for turning her back on her teammate adding that it doesn't surprise her.

"shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me... honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you &  to support her.   I support you Aly 💕 & all the other women out there! STAY STRONG," Simone tweeted.

This is not the first time for Biles to stand up for Raisman. Last week, she publicly supported her after the latter came out as a sexual abuse survivor.

Biles competed alongside Douglas at 2015 Worlds and 2016 Olympic Games.  

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

In a series of tweets, Gabby Douglas has victim blamed and shamed sexual assault survivors.

It all started when teammate Aly Raisman, who came out as one the gymnasts who fell victim to USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse, tweeted an image of text that calls for an end to victim shaming.

Douglas retweeted Raisman's tweet adding "It is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. dressing in a provocative/sexual ways entices the wrong crowd".

Screenshot via 

After receiving backlash, she stated that she was misunderstood and that she is not blaming the victim but continued to ensure that "it goes both way".

 She then deleted her original tweet and apologized.

 Douglas competed alongside Raisman at 2011 and 2015 Worlds, and 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

It is worth mentioning that Douglas was the only Fierce Five member who did not publicly support Mckayla Maroney when she joined MeToo campaign and revealed that she was molested by Nassar.

Written by Gigi Farid.

Aly Raisman, who recently came out as a sexual abuse survivor, stated that she won't stop speaking out against USA Gymnastics until she sees changes.

In an interview with CBS, Raisman revealed that she was one of the many gymnasts who fell victim to team doctor Larry Nassar's alleged sexual misconduct while competing for the national team.

Nassar, who has worked for the USA Gymnastics for almost three decades, is accused of sexually assaulting more than hundred of women. He pleaded guilty in July to child porn charges and is awaiting trial on sexual assault charges.

The American gymnast said that Nassar started treating her at the age of fifteen which was when the alleged abuse started.

"I was just really innocent. I didn't really know. You know, you don't think that of someone. You know, so I just-- I trusted him," said Raisman. "I didn't know anything differently. We were told he is the best doctor. He's the United States Olympic doctor and the USA Gymnastics doctor, and we were very lucky we were able to see him."

She said that his treatments made her feel uncomfortable but she would brush it off and tell herself "He’s so nice to me and I don’t think he does it on purpose".

Raisman said that he would always bring her desserts or gifts and buy her little things to gain her trust.

"He was such a master manipulator, and I think that’s what’s important for people to understand is that these monsters are so good at manipulating you so you’re so brainwashed to think ― I thought he was so nice," she told NBC's "Today" Show.

In her new book "Fierce", she wrote that when she was alone with him during his so called treatment, he would often distract her by saying how great she was doing in training sessions.

She mentioned that a female coach overheard comments that she and other girls made about Nassar while training. The coach reported their remarks to USA Gymnastics.

"Most of us thought the way he touched us was weird. But he did it to so many of us that we assumed, blindly, that he must know something we didn’t," Raisman wrote.

The gymnasts, who alleged that Nassar sexually abused them, said that they were sent to him for any kind of pain and that he often suggested massage as the treatment.

They claimed that Nassar's treatments consisted of invasive massage, touching them inappropriately as well as vaginal or anal penetration without consent and without him wearing gloves. 

Nevertheless, Raisman did not go into graphic details regarding the abuse as "that information is private".

The 23 year old gymnast believes that USA Gymnastics did not look out for her the way it should have.

The organization has a long-standing policy that adults should "avoid being alone with a minor."  Despite that policy, Raisman said she was alone with Nassar and that he treated her and other athletes in their hotel rooms during competitions abroad.

"Nobody ever educated me on, "Make sure you're not alone with an adult." You know, "Make sure he's not making you uncomfortable." I didn't know the signs. I didn't know what sexual abuse really was," she explained.

In summer of 2015, Raisman was caught off guard when a private investigator, hired by USA Gymnastics, paid her a visit and asked her about Nassar after a coach had raised concerns about his treatment of athletes.

At that time she was still in denial and told the investigator that no one in the organization made her feel uncomfortable, and made excuses for Nassar.

It was only after the investigator left that she began to put the pieces together.

The triple Olympic champion tried to call USA Gymnastics to speak about the things she would have told the investigator after she had time to process what happened to her, she received a text from an official asking her to stop talking about her experiences with Nassar, so as not to jeopardize the investigation.

"I was basically told to keep it kinda quiet and that they were handling it," she said. "So they didn't let me help, I wanna help, I wanna do more."

"The 60 minute interview tonight, this interview is just the beginning I am just getting started and I am not gonna stop until I get what I want which is change."

Following Raisman's sexual abuse allegation against the disgraced doctor, USA Gymnastics released a statement expressing sadness for any athlete who has been harmed and that they want to work with Aly.

They also said that they recently adopted a "safe sport policy" that requires "mandatory reporting" of suspicions of sexual abuse and also sets standards to "prohibit grooming behavior" and "prevent inappropriate interaction" between athletes and adults.

However, Raisman and her parents are not optimistic.

"With the exception of Steve Penny, the same people [are] in place. So I don't really have tremendous hopes that a lot of those policies will be enforced," said Raisman's mother.

Steve Penny, who was President and CEO of USA Gymnastics from April 4, 2005 to March 16, 2017, was forced to resign after the sexual abuse scandal broke out. The organization has recently hired a woman called Kerry J Perry to lead the sport's governing body.

During the USA Gymnastics' Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony this year, she and her teammates from the Rio Olympic Games were given the could shoulder.

"There was a table of a lot of people that are very high up in USA Gymnastics that were in the room. And they didn't come over. You know, my teammates and I were all sitting at the table, and they did not come over to say hi to us or to congratulate us," she said.

"All we've done is worked really hard. We love the sport. And we were treated like, you know, "We don't want anything to do with you girls"."

Asked if by speaking out against them would hinder her chances of making her third Olympic Games, she said "You know, I think that's a very valid point. But I think that this, speaking out, and creating positive change so that athletes are safe, is more important than any Olympic medal you could ever win".

Written by Gigi Farid

There is no doubt that Russian gymnasts are the queen of elegance on uneven bars. But that B rated giant circle with half turn Komova, Melnikova and Eremina do in their bars routine to change their direction, messes with the rhythm.

However, no deduction is applied for the giant half.

Viktoria Komova

Angelina Melnikova

Elena Eremina

By Gigi Farid


Ashton Locklear announced on Instagram that she has just undergone a shoulder surgery.

According to her post, the American gymnast sustained a shoulder injury during last Worlds' uneven bars final. 

She wrote that the surgery was a success and that she cannot wait to start her comeback journey.

"Due to my shoulder injury in UB finals at the world championships I️ had to undergo surgery today but i’m happy to say that it was a successful one & I️ can’t wait to start this come back journey & share it with you guys 💓 wanna say thanks to @usagym and dr.bicos for taking care of me! thank you for all of the support:)... with that said here’s to the ROAD TO RECOVERY🚀 only up from here. #tokyo2020," the 19 year old gymnast wrote.

Despite having much lower difficulty than her competitors, Locklear managed to qualify to the uneven bars final at the last World championships, which was held last October in Montreal.

In the final, she committed major errors and finished last. She said in an interview that 
she had a sore shoulder that contributed to her form break.

The native American turned senior in 2014 and made the US Worlds team. She won gold with the team and finished in fourth place on the uneven bars.

She was an alternate for the 2016 Rio Olympic team.

Written by Gigi Farid

Six time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman has revealed that she was one of the gymnasts who fell victim to disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse.

Raisman's revelation came during an interview with CBS 60 Minutes which is set to air on Sunday.

The American gymnast, who was the team captain for the gold winning Olympic teams in 2012 and 2016, said that she spoke to the FBI investigators after the Rio Olympics about Nassar who started treating her at the age of 15.

“I am angry. I'm really upset,” Raisman told 60 Minutes. “I see these young girls that come up to me, and they ask for pictures or autographs, whatever it is - I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this.”

The 23 year old gymnast urged people to stop asking 'why didn't the girls speak up'.

"Why not look at what about the culture? What did USA Gymnastics do, and Larry Nassar do, to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up?," she said.

The two time World champion wrote about the abuse in her memoir "Fierce" which will be released on November 14, 2017.

Nassar, who worked with USAG for almost 30 years, is in jail awaiting sentencing on child pornography charges and a trial on charges of sexual misconduct.

More than hundred women came forward accusing Nassar of sexually abusing them including 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Jamie dantzscher.

Raisman's teammate and Fierce Five member Mckayla Maroney joined MeToo last month and revealed that she was molested by Nassar.

Maroney alleged that the assault started when she was a 13 year old gymnast and only ended when she left the sport.

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Sportgymrus

Soviet Vera Kolesnikova, the mother of World champion and Olympic silver medalist Viktoria Komova, performed a very interesting tumbling pass on floor exercise at 1986 Goodwill Games.

Kolesnikova competed a triple twisting back layout (E) to back handspring (A) to back tuck (A) to front tuck (A).

While the CoP awards connection value to direct connection such as A to E and vice versa, Kolesnikova's triple twist to back handspring would not receive any credit as one of the elements is with hand support.

It is worth mentioning that series bonus is only awarded on balance beam.

(Edit: She might get connection bonus (0.2) because of doing two A rated acros without hand support:  back tuck and front tuck)

The Soviet gymnast's opening pass is a whip (A) indirectly connected to a full in pike (E). No connection bonus is awarded since gymnasts need to do at least two A rated acros with no hand support indirectly connected to a D or more acro to receive the bonus. 

At the Games, she won four medals. She won gold with the team, in the all around and on balance beam, and a silver on uneven bars.

Kolesnikova is a World champion with her team in 1985. However, she was never an Olympian and retired in 1988.

Written by Gigi Farid

The routine was judged according to 2017-2020 CoP

Photo by Comaneci Salto

There are so many execution errors in Patricia Moreno's bars routine at 2004 Athens Olympics team final but how she saved a fall and continued the routine like nothing happened, makes the routine awesome to watch.

On her Pak Salto, high to low bars transition, the Spanish gymnast had one of hands slip while catching the low bar but managed to stay on and recovered beautifully.

The errors included leg separation, insufficient high of flight elements and poor rhythm in elements. She ended her routine with a stuck cold full in tuck (D).

Moreno is best known for winning the first Olympic medal for Spanish women's artistic gymnastics, which was a bronze medal on floor exercise in 2004. She is also the originator of the F rated triple and a half twisting back layout on floor.

Athens was the last Olympics to have a full Spanish team compete at. They finished in fifth place.

Written by Gigi Farid

Post inspired by omgsamchap

US Mary Lou Retton sparked huge controversy when it was revealed that she had attempted to stop a sex abuse bill approved by the country's senate. The bill is aimed at protecting young athletes from getting sexually assaulted, .  

Retton received heavy backlash and was scolded on Twitter and she had to make her account private. On Wikipedia, gymnastics fans edited her page mentioning that her Olympic all around gold medal win was at a boycotted Olympics (1984) and that she tried to stop the bill. They were then blocked from editing her page.

Tumblr blogger illyria-and-her-pet wrote a post about gymnasts who could have won gold at the 1984 Olympics, had it not been boycotted by their countries (except Yanhong).

Olga Mostepanova performing one of the best beam routines of all time at the 1984 Alternate Games where she became the only gymnast to ever have a perfect 40 all around competition. At the Alternate Games, she won team, all around, vault, beam, and floor gold. She would have made that other gymnast irrelevant if the boycott didn’t happen. She has 5 world medals (3 gold, 2 silver).


While most gym fans acknowledge that Mostepanova and the Soviets would have swept the floor with that other gymnast, Hana Ricna gets very little recognition. She came in 2nd to Mostepanova at the 1984 Alternate Games and was the first to do the stalder tkatchev on uneven bars, which is still a very popular skill today. She had one of the most difficult uneven bars sets at the time because she did 3 major releases: her eponymous skill, “the Ricna” (E), the Deltchev (D), and the Comaneci (E). She has 2 world medals (1 silver, 1 bronze).

Ma Yanhong’s 1984 uneven bars gold is the only title from 1984 that I‘m 100% sure would have still happened even if there was no boycott. My favorite routine from her is that one she did at 1981 Worlds. She did a jump full turn to the low bar mount, clear hip 1/1, hecht ½, and her famous F rated dismount. Sadly, she was robbed here and only given a 9.9, so she came in 2nd to Maxi Gnauck who was given a perfect 10 despite having a less difficult routine and a hop on the dismount. She has 3 world medals (1 gold, 2 silver).

Maxi Gnauck is known for her uneven bar work, but she was also a great all arounder and floor worker. In 1979 and 1980, she was able to do a tucked full in and triple twist on the floor with no springs. At the 1984 Alternate Games, she came third in the all around and won bars and floor. Springs were added to the floor by then and she did the best piked full in and triple twist in that era. She has 9 world medals (5 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze). She also has 4 medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze) from the 1980 Olympics, which were also boycotted, but the countries that boycotted wouldn’t have really made a difference in any of the results in that games except for maybe on uneven bars. 

Natalia Yurchenko’s vault entry is probably the most innovative skill to ever happen in gymnastics. For decades now, almost every top gymnast has done a yurchenko style vault. She won the team and all around gold at the 1983 World Championships, but suffered an injury in vault finals that took her out of the rest of the championships. She came back from the injury to win the team and vault gold, as well as the uneven bars silver at the 1984 Alternate Games. She also made the 1985 Soviet team that won gold at Worlds. Other notable skills she did were her tkatchev + deltchev combination on uneven bars and loso mount and yurchenko loop on beam. 

Tumblr only allows you to embed 5 videos, but special shout outs to baby Elena Shushunova who won the all around bronze at the 1984 Alternate Games and then went on to have one of the greatest careers ever in 1985-1988 and Julianne Mcnamara, the American gymnast that actually has a medal from a non boycotted competition with her 1981 uneven bars bronze. 

And of course shout out to Ecaterina Szabo who won 4 gold medals and actually beat that other gymnast in the all around final in 1984. Sadly, there was no new life and she fell on uneven bars in the team optionals, so the score carried over and she lost by 0.05. She has 10 world medals (2 gold, 6 silver, 2 bronze). 

By Gigi Farid