Guest Blogger: Grace’s review on her favorite Gymnastics books

This is Grace’s gym book review. I personally think Grace secretly hates this blog which would explain some of the books she put in her top 6 but I still let her post anyway:) And once again I must add the Disclaimer in case any of you minions buy one of these books and decide to sue me because it isn’t as good as Grace says it is:) Bye the way isn’t Grace a pretty name. Anyway here is Grace’s book review. Make sure you check out her blog

Ranked and Reviewed Gymnast’s Memoirs.
HI! I’m Grace from G’s Gym Blog and I’m really psyched to write a guest post for GTT. I wish I could have written about drama in past quads or conspiracy theories but I’m still a pretty new gymnastics fan (going on 3 years!) and though I’ve learned a lot from this blog, I’m not an expert yet. I have however, read nearly all of the memoirs by female gymnasts so I thought a review/reccomendation post might be fun, you know if anyone is looking for a good read or to give a loved one the gift of a juicy gymnastics book. Let’s get to it!

From Worst to Best:

6. Letters to a Young Gymnast by Nadia Comaneci


I bought Nadia’s book back when I was just a budding gymnastics fan (not a young gymnast…) and I was excited to read it. Almost immediately, I was off put by her writing style. It’s strange because I’ve very rarely felt personally offended by an author while reading their book but that was exactly how Ms. Comaneci had me feeling. Her tone to the reader was really condescending and very high and mighty like we couldn’t possibly understand her life and appreciate what she’d gone through. She was also very full of herself and even when she wrote about any mistakes she’d made, she didn’t actually say they were mistakes and excused any wrongdoing. Her opinions on the Karolyi’s were mild, she felt that their teaching style was not for everyone but that it was effective. The Olympics were covered alright and I did like how she explained that she went back to living the exact same poverty-stricken life in Romania even after she’d won gold and become a sensation. The second half or last quarter was much better than the first as it was intriguing to read about Nadia’s escape from her home country and a more human side of her was exposed as she wrote of her hard transition to America. One good thing about this book was that it was pretty informative. Many gymnastics elements are explained thoroughly which I appreciated. I’d only recommend this book to die hard Comaneci fans, certainly not young gymnasts.
Entertainment Rating: 2/10
Informational Rating: 8/10
Average: 5/10

5. Grace, Gold and Glory by Gabby Douglas (NOT PIctured)

I read this book back when I actually liked Gabby so my initial reactions were a bit kinder than my reflections are. Truthfully, this book was pretty dull. A lot of it was spent writing about Gabby’s childhood which I didn’t really care about. She does talk about some bullying at Excalibur, girls telling her she needed a nose job and things like that which seemed sort of thrown in. The best portions were probably about Gabby adjusting to her life in Iowa because it felt pretty authentic. Of course, what I really wanted to hear about (and this goes for all of the books I read) was her relationships with other gymnasts in her quad. She uses phrases like “my friend Jordyn” and “we all got along so well” but there was no real detail or feeling that would suggest the FF were actual best friends. She spent more time going into her relationship with her host family which I now wonder if she has one with them at all. Her Olympic experience wasn’t covered as well as some others. Oh and that leap on the front probably didn’t even get her any credit. Gabby fans would like this book, and maybe elementary aged girls who are into gymnastics, it seemed to be on a lower reading level than some of the others.
Entertainment Rating: 6/10
Informational Rating: 4/10
Average: 5/10

4. Off Balance by Dominique Moceanu (not pictured)

Regardless of my opinions on Dominique, I do have to say that this was a pretty good read. Unlike the other two above, gymnastics and the Olympics were described in vivid detail that had me feeling like I’d experienced it too. Some of the rough stuff in her life are very well documented (her parental issues, Bela’s erratic behavior and loyalty to her father) but other more intriguing issues were totally glossed over. Her relationship with Brian, a grown married man, whom she travelled to the Cayman Islands with was super strange to me and not well explained. And then there was just a tiny paragraph about her getting into drinking and drug use but it was very brief and clearly she was holding back. It was interesting to read about her attempted comeback and her frustration over her petition being denied because Marta had changed her requirements last minute and representatives who hadn’t even seen her (Kim Z) had voted to against her. The gymnastics chapters are juxtaposed with the more recent events of Dominique meeting and forming a relationship with the sister she never knew she had. Nice and feel good but boring. I’d recommend this book to gymantic/Moceanu fans or those who just want a good juicy drama-filled read.
Entertainment Rating: 8/10
Informative Rating: 7/10
Average: 7.5/10

3. Finding Balance by Shawn Johnson


The beginning of this book also had portions on Shawn’s childhood but they didn’t bore me like the others, maybe that’s because I actually like Shawn and found it interesting. Shawn was really likeable in the way she wrote and presented her story. She also did a good job writing about her Olympics. She actually seemed to be friends with Nastia back then (or maybe just thought she was) and she wrote about her crush on a cyclist named Taylor whom he also met in Beijing. Alicia was the one who encouraged her to wear the gold ribbon, who knew? As we know, she was pretty devastated after not winning the AA (I think she really thought it was hers) and then getting silver again in floor finals. Even though I already knew the outcome, I was so happy to read about her prevailing on the beam. The last quarter or so of the book was spent on Shawn’s life after the Olympics, her time on DWTS (where she had a really scary stalker) and her training for a comeback. It was written before her retirement so it didn’t cover any of that. I’d recommend this book for any gymnastics fan or even just the average girl who wants to read a story about determination and faith.
Entertainment Rating: 9/10
Informational Rating: 7/10
Average: 8/10

2. It’s Not About Perfect by Shannon Miller


I love Shannon Miller so I was psyched when her book finally came out and I wasn’t disappointed. This book was totally Shannon. Perky writing style, positive outlook and sometimes blind naivety. It was also very informative about the daily life of a gymnast, sometimes a little too mundane and maybe too detailed about training but I appreciated her really trying to explain what it took for her to become successful. Her descriptions of Steve were great and there was some good humor thrown in, like the origin of the her famous white scrunchie. Though Shannon’s record speaks for itself, she is anything but full of herself and felt that much of her success was due to her great coaching team and her ability to perform consistently under pressure. She wrote that she has no ill feelings toward Gutsu and was just excited to win the silver in ’92. She seemed to get along well with all her teammates, maybe throwing a little shade at DoMo at one point. My only issue with this book was that her marriage and divorce to Chris were barely mentioned and explained at all. One minute she was married and the next, she was living alone with her two dogs. Only in the very end did she talk about her cancer journey and that was interesting to read as well, I really did come away with a respect and admiration for Shannon and her outlook on life. I recommend this book to gymnasts, gymnastics fans, people affected by cancer or anyone looking to read an inspirational book about finding your path in life.
Entertainment Rating: 9/10
Informational Rating: 10/10
Average: 9.5

1. Chalked Up by Jennifer Sey


I had no idea who Jennifer was before buying this book online so I didn’t know how I’d end up liking it. I didn’t expect to enjoy her book even more than girls I knew and loved like Shawn and Shannon but I did! I think what really made this book a standout was that Jennifer currently has no ties to USA Gymnastics and so she wasn’t afraid to be completely honest. She writes about feeling that her own coach at Parkettes was most likely a pedophile (John), though he never acted on it. She calls out Don Peters and is still good friends with Doe. Her time being trained by Bill and Donna Strauss sounds terrible and how people still actually send their kids to these people is beyond me because they sound absolutely crazy. Donna berated girls about their weight and insulted them when they did poorly while Bill threw things when he was angry. Sey had to deal with them as well as an eating disorder. Her descriptions of competing as she slowly starved herself were haunting but so well written. Her downfall in the sport and in life were sometimes hard to read but very real. Unlike some of the other books that have also had a ghost writer, Jennifer writes this alone and is clearly talented in her craft. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Entertainment Rating: 10/10
Information Rating: 10/10
Overall: 10/10


Hope you enjoyed Grace’s review. If you want to write a blog let me know oh and I am in the process of writing a blog for Nastia’s engagement with a lot of idea’s I stole from Jas🙂

117 Responses to “Guest Blogger: Grace’s review on her favorite Gymnastics books”

  1. Cupquaked Says:

    I also (tried to) read Gabby’s book back when I thought she was an okay person. The bullying section seemed to be glossed over and not really detailed. That coupled with the reaction from the gym itself and some of its former gymnasts makes me think she either made it all up to enhance her story or she took one snide comment from a rude/jealous teen girl and embellished on it. Either way, after that and the fact that it reads at a 3rd grade reading level, I didn’t finish it.

    I’ve never heard of the last one. I’ll have to add it to my summer reading list.

  2. Exgymgurl Says:

    cool. id also like to call nastias agency and invite her to star in a very special episode of bridezilla

  3. JAS4 Says:

    I am surprised Nastia hasn’t tried to write a book yet lol. It would probably be about how she is the “true” UB champion and blah blah blah.

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      It will happen eventually. I find it weird she hasn’t done 1 yet. She had a more interesting story than sine coming from Russia and such

  4. Lithi Says:

    I always wondered if Nadia got shit from the estate of Rainer Maria Rilke in regards to how close her book sounds to his “Letters to a Young Poet.”

  5. Ilanchik20 Says:

    I absolutely love Jeniffer Sey’s book. I didn’t know very much about her either before reading this book (even though she was a 1986 national champion) which is what prob made it that much better. After reading the book, it made me think of Crystal Uzelac and the whole “attaining perfect 10 documentary on parkettes. I hope this date doesn’t befall one of their current athletes –Desiderio.

    I still need a book by Asac! Ugh.

    P.S. If anyone else is looking for great read, my hubby got me Raducan’s book for Mother’s Day and I loved it too.

    Great review!i

    • G Says:

      Thank you!! I didn’t know Andreea wrote a book, I’ll be reading that asap🙂

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      What did Andreea have to say ? Any good gossip ?

      • Dee Says:

        It was really good. The part that sticks out to me was her coach considered throwing her AA medal in a river when he was walking it over to hand it in, because if she couldn’t have it, no one should. I don’t remember it being gossipy as much as it was sort of sad.

      • Exgymgurl Says:

        i had heard this story also. Simona said she took it off when they gave it to her and it sits in a museum in romania, she insists its andreas medal, the silver sits with it. Simona didnt want to change her medal either, she was convinced to take it for romania, and did but does not consider herself sydney AA champ

  6. JAS4 Says:

    GTT I sent you an email with more ideas for Nastia’s wedding😉

  7. Exgymgurl Says:

    marinescu has a book also

    • Dee Says:

      I just ordered it! It was super hard to find. Haven’t read it yet, saving it for a day when I can just plop my duff on the couch with no interruptions. If anyone is interested I found it on cafe press, it’s called the secrets of a gymnast.

  8. H Says:

    Thanks Grace – great review!

  9. Exgymgurl Says:

    password gold gets you a discount on single session for the us secret classic. Also marinescus book is very critical of B+B.

    • Katie Says:

      Did you read it? I always wanted to read it, but I never knew if it ever got published in English.
      Also, she seems to have completely backed off from the entire book, maybe pressure from the federation if she wanted to collect on her “lifelong annuity”, lol.

    • TrishaG Says:

      I’ve read it. I bought it a few years ago from Cafe Press. It’s called “The Secrets of a Gymnast” in the English version. The translation is awkward, almost like they used Google Translate, but it is comprehensible. It’s very interesting. It’s “fiction” to avoid a lawsuit, but the names chosen are so similar to the real gymnasts and coaches that it’s easy to tell who is meant to be who. The parts about competing in Atlanta are really good. The team was under so much pressure and stress, but the accommodations were noisy and they struggled to sleep. Belu got kind of paranoid, that this was being done to them on purpose to put them at a competitive disadvantage.

      She is very critical of B & B, but also the medical attention the gymnasts received. She gives a lot of detail about the training, talks about having her age changed, and discusses both times she was taken out of AA so that Simona Amanar could compete in her place. She also talks about her back injury, leaving gymnastics, and her recovery ordeal from multiple back surgeries.

      It’s a good read, definitely gives a lot of insight into how B & B operated back then. I do think they’ve changed, based on how Sandra, Larissa, and Diana’s injuries have been handled in recent years. They have been kept out of important competitions out of precaution, and that’s definitely not how it would have been handled 20 years ago. They have so few gymnasts now that they have to be very careful and protective of the ones they have. It’s good that they’re finally respecting injuries and proper medical care, but it’s too bad they didn’t always have this attitude.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Ana Porgras might disagree. Now if we wanted Belu dirt she might give it to us.

      • exgymgurl Says:

        Not just Ana, Pitic, Amelia Racea etc. Anyone in the 2012 quad. B+B didn’t like Marinescu because she had a different coach, much like Chelaru did. I think Ana quit primarily because she was in so much pain and had had so many injuries. I don’t think that they have changed much at all.

      • TrishaG Says:

        They liked Chelaru. She was a hard worker and they love hard workers. They didn’t like Pitic and Racea as much because they were so inconsistent. I agree about Ana, I think she quit because of her injuries and had reached her limit. But she was getting injured a lot even under Fominte. I think her body just couldn’t handle elite gymnastics.

        I’m not saying that B & B are now saints or anything. But there’s no way that any gymnast in the 90s would have been on social media, had it existed. The gymnasts actually won mobile phones as prizes and they were confiscated (according to Marinescu). Their phone calls home were always monitored and limited in quantity. Plus, Larissa is missing the European Games for her high school exit exams. She could wait to take them in September, but wants to take them in June. There is no way B & B would have allowed this 20 yrs ago. They also took seven gymnasts to Vienna a few months back for medical check-ups. This is out of the Minister of Sport’s control, which is what caused sketchy diagnosis and treatment in the 90s (according to Marinescu). Basically, the doctors then were under severe pressure always to approve continued training for athletes no matter the diagnosis, unless they were basically on their deathbeds. Marinescu was in imminent danger of paralysis before they said she couldn’t train. A forceful sneeze could have paralyzed her at that point.

        I do think B & B have changed. Do I think it’s out of the goodness of their hearts? No. I think it was out of necessity because they have so few elite gymnasts at this point. Scarcity drives value. But regardless of the reason, their current gymnasts do seem to have more freedom and better medical care.

  10. Katie Says:

    Awesome post! Thank you! I have been meaning to read Shannon’s book, maybe I will get it this weekend. I have read all of the books except for Gabby’s. I just think it would read too much like DoMo’s book right after she won the National Championship. That was hilarious! Who does that??

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      What did Do MO say about winning nationals. I too call Moceanu DO MO . Reminds me of dumbo.

      • TrishaG Says:

        She published an autobiography after she became National Champion. It came out before the Olympics. Kind of crazy to release an autobiography at 14 before you even attend the biggest meet of your career.

      • Katie Says:

        It was just a total fluff piece written ghostwritten. Like “Today I went to the gym to work on my routines that my wonderful coach, Bela, taught me. My favorite color is green and my favorite singer is Celine Dion” It was aimed at kids and I was like 12 at the time and loved Moceanu (don’t judge) but even I was kindof like “Why is she writing a book when all she has done is won a National Championship just because Shannon fell? Plus it was funny bc she said that she and Tara Lipinski were good friends bc they were both “champions” and it was funny that she thought they were “even” when Tara was a world champion at the time (Olympics hadn’t happened yet) and all Dominique had was a national title.

      • gymtruthteller Says:


    • Cee Says:

      @Katie–wait, what? Domi won the title in ’95–this was before Tara’s one big year which was the ’96-’97 season, when she won Nationals and Worlds. Tara was still a junior in ’95. Whoever ghostwrote it clearly was just trying to glom onto the Tara-buzz! Tara was definitely a big deal in ’95-early ’96 but at that point it was still just hype.

    • Dee Says:

      HAHHAHA I forgot about Dominique’s post nationals bio. It was on sale at the book fair when I was in elementary school and all of us girls bought it. I read it so much my copy fell apart. It was super stupid but it was the only gym book out then LOL my copy is literally in tatters.

  11. exgymgurl Says:

    I want to read marinescus book anyway… its in English now

  12. hobarttdavid Says:

    Shannon’s book is a pretty good read. You can tell that she had a big hand in writing it, more so than a couple of the others on the list (Gabby, Dom, cough, cough).

  13. Gymbee Says:

    Awesome reviews. I agree about the Comaneci book.
    I quite liked Shawn Johnson’s book too, but it was a bit too godly for my taste.

    My favourite gymnastics book so far has been “Little Girls in Pretty Boxes”.

    Now…. I want an ASac book!

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      What makes you think Alicia would tell us the truth anyway? I wonder if she would talk about the fact she was the mean girl that started all the Shawn Johnson bullying or if she woulld admit to anything she was in the wrong for. My guess is sue wouldn’t. I think I would have to take everything she said with a grain of salt anyway knowing how she was the queen bee during the time the brats were In charge of the preschool.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        Possible but that drama is just teenagers being teenagers. Whatever, really.

        I’m more interested in 2012–her (no longer) friendship with Nastia, her walking out before they ever announced the team, the Chellsie not making Nationals drama, etc. I want more on her and Marta bs lol

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        That sounds like a lot of excuse making ( teenager being teenagers and it doesn’t explain adult Alicia and the way she acted on tour) I seriously doubt Alicia would ever come out and tell us anything remotely interesting.Maybe what you really want is Alicia ‘ s mother to write a book. Now I think we might get some answers out of her.

      • Gymbee Says:

        I don’t care much about who was queen bee and the drama, at least not coming from ASac because as you say, she’s not really the most neutral of the bunch. Like Ilanchik I’m interested in the USAG politics and what went on in 2012.

      • sanitynmotion Says:

        How did ASac act on tour? (Like she didn’t really care???)

        I guess that was her way of saying “how stupid is this, and I didn’t make the Olympic team so I’m over it.”

        I seriously do want to know what Marta said to her though leading up to London. I just have a feeling she got played, but doesn’t want to admit it.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Asac was the alleged bully on tour. She made Nastia cry. Anna Li called her out.

      • sanitynmotion Says:

        Making Nastia cry lol. She probably called her out for making a half-ass comeback attempt and almost getting away with it.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        the rumor was she made Nastia

      • Short1 Says:

        I would also be more interested in 2012 and the politics of what happened. There still seem to be so many unanswered questions.

        As far as the 2008 drama is concerned, I wouldn’t be as interested in that either. Although I think the quote “There are three sides to every story-yours, mine, and the truth” (Robert Evans) would apply there (regardless of whose side it was).

  14. Lithi Says:

    Our princess’ IG has a pic of bridal mags and her hand with the ring on. Urf. I’ll notify Etiquette Hell and let them know of our bridezilla in progress.😛 (Ever been there? Go read the stories, some are just absolutely jaw-dropping.)

    • Gymbee Says:

      Haha just saw. Who’s that friend/fan of Nastia, Lizzie? Her assistant or something? Nastia chose her as maid of honour, but apparently she also flew cross country for dwts with her?
      Is that not a bit weird for just a friend to do… Hmm.

      • Exgymgurl Says:

        non nina kim? her makeup person in sochi?

      • Gymbee Says:

        Nope, she selected this Liz woman. I saw her linkedin, she’s some sort of NBC marketing person.
        Her IG, literally ALL the photos are of Nastia. A bit creepy.

      • Dee Says:

        Glad I’m not the only one that found her IG to be a little weird. I’m starting to wonder if she isn’t just hired to follow her around and photograph her life?

    • Exgymgurl Says:

      up until a month ago her fiance had his profile pic with another dude. thought like evan lysacek he wws gay

    • Kyz Says:

      What on earth is IG! i want to stalk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Exgymgurl Says: look at teh comments this is when he was first dating nastia

  16. Uglyfatkid Says:

    Could this article be any more of a big F. U. to USA? While they didn’t call out anyone (or the U.S.) specifically…it’s pretty clear who this article is written about. The big ass picture of Skinner right behind the title says it all. It was a nice indirect jab her and the U.S.

    While I don’t disagree that artistry has wained and needs to be improved, I’m getting tired of the U.S. being the poster child for poor-artistry. ‘Cause you know, no other country has artistry issues or anything. They act like its some U.S. epidemic that is causing the current system to fail. SORRY BRUNO…YOU ARE THE ONE WHO MADE THE DAMN CODE CHANGES. STOP BLAMING THE U.S. FOR ALL OF ITS DOWN FALLS.

    Sorry, I’ve had a long day and this just pissed me off. Especially since this is an official FIG article. You would think they could call out the issue without singling anyone out. And really, you had to use people’s pictures? You couldn’t just use close ups of bent feet or poorly positioned arms? NOPE…they got to specially make Skinner the poster child. Grrrr.

    • Cupquaked Says:

      I’m so tired of this debate from the other countries. Artistry is not just balletic (which is really what they are trying to say is missing–the Eastern European lines and leaps of the early days of WAG). I still think Simone’s floor is artistic although it lacks grace. She’s putting on a show and blending her dance and acrobatics well. And she sells the routine. They’re really just angry that the old way of artistry is losing its favor and Russia/Romania/etc, etc aren’t winning with it anymore. Though I agree some gymnasts lack all sense of artistry (couchgabbydouglasolympicfloorcough) and it is less focused on than difficulty these days. But they can’t really expect gymnasts to stick with easier tumbling and swan lake routine after routine after routine. This sport glorifies innovation (naming new skills after the first gymnast to perform them) but is stuck in the old way of thinking of artistry. They can’t have it both ways and really they dug their own graves when they changed the CoP to reward difficulty.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Simone doesn’t have artistry IMO she has great presentation. Jordyn also had presentation not artistry. Soem ok ne like Dawes did not have presentation or artistry. I think people confuse the word artistry and presentation.

    • sanitynmotion Says:

      I get that Skinner is the poster child of bad form and ugly gymnastics, but totally agree it’s the code that’s keeping her relevant in this sport. Difficulty is valued more than grace, so gymnasts now focus on that over pointed toes and bent knees and bent hips. Plus it doesn’t help the judges don’t do their job and deduct accordingly. Get new judges, then.

      Part of me wonders if this is a step-up into the Olympics with Biles getting screwed. Like if Komova comes back full-throttle I can see the judges “giving” it to her and then saying “finally! We’re back to valuing artistry over strength and dynamics. Aren’t we good people.” ..and patting themselves on the back. For whatever reason I have this feeling that Bruno/FIG/whatever are going to do whatever it takes to make sure an American does NOT win the AA gold four Olympics in a row.

      • Gymbee Says:

        Yeah… but what can they do though, with her insane difficult, if she doesnt fall, there’s no way they can take it from her.

        How’s Komova, is she stronger mentally since London?

      • Cupquaked Says:

        Gymbee, I read somewhere (wogymnastic I think) that her coach isn’t counting anything she’s already accomplished in her training. He called her silver at worlds and Olympics “children’s gymnastics” and said that she was hard on herself but needed to be to win. Unfortunately I don’t think that mindset is helping her with the confidence issue. She had the ability to beat both Jordyn and Gabby but she didn’t fight for it. And her coach I don’t think is really helping her in that regard.

      • Gymbee Says:

        Thanks Cupquaked.

        I really wish she’ll show up in Rio confident and willing to fight. In London she just gave up!😦

        I still want Simone to win, as she’s awesome and it would be such a message to Gabby when Simone with her sparkling personality gets the coveted “Americas sweetheart” spot haha.

      • tulip Says:

        I’ve been saying this for awhile now- Bruno has gone out of his way to give a big ‘f/u’ to Simone’s domination. I think it will continue and we could see some funny business at World’s and Rio. However, Bruno doesn’t realize that Simone is one of those rare athletes- she loves what she does but also has a well rounded life. And if she’s not afraid of Marta, which I love, she’s not afraid of Bruno. Right after last World’s, he said something about how he could make it more elegant if he wanted to… something like that. Such a dick. I’d love for some Sepp Blatt style corruption charges to come out about him. I bet I know who his co-conspirator might be…

  17. Uglyfatkid Says:

    And on a positive note, great job Gracie on the guest blog. I found it very informative.🙂

  18. gilttrip Says:

    Any guesses on who the 8, then 5, Pan Am girls will be after the camp? Bonus points for putting together a World team roster as well.

  19. aerial Says:

    I loved this blog! Love the idea of a guest blog and this topic in between GTT’s. I’ve read all the books except for Miller’s. I was never a fan of her personality, but I’d be interested in the story. I’m mean to judge but even from the outside, the title seems hypocritical to her personality and what I observed and knew about her since 1990. She’s the ultimate perfectionist. How many multiple degrees that you’ll never use do you need to get, to prove what? Undergrad, business, law? How many facial surgeries/makeovers and of course as a gymnast it was clear she was the ultimate perfectionist.

    I really enjoyed both Dominique and Shawn’s books, and have read each twice. I found the Karolyi era with Dominque fascinating, as well as Shawn’s lead-up to the Olympics. I do agree that Dom’s book was uneven – chapters spent on certain topics and then barely a paragraph on a controversial life event or something really interesting. For Shawn, I cringed reading about the chapter dedicated to her teenaged boyfriend at the time whom she writes about as her future. I was like, you’ll regret this! LOL. But both great reads! And Shawn comes across just as you’d imagine – likeable, humble, surprised at her success, and sometimes – even self-conscious in a way I hadn’t guessed.

    I loved Sey’s book. It’s amazing. Girl has a super-high IQ, and is a terrific writer. I knew nothing about her before reading it but would highly recommend it. Lots of juicy content and insight into life as a high level gymnast.

    Nadia’s book grossed me out. She is so high on herself, cold and conceited, and the book reads that way too. She never tries to hide her high opinion of herself in any of her communication (social media, book, interviews) and it’s such a turn-off.

    I also read Suzanne Yoculan’s book. It was interesting, but quite technical and not lots of juice, just exactly what it claims to be – chronicling her journey to Georgia fame when a woman coach and gymnastics teams weren’t in the forefront.

    I’ve been trying to find Marinescu’s book online but can’t find mention of it, and it’s definitely not on

    Grace, I thought your evaluations and ratings were bang-on and it inspired me to order Miller’s book and re-read Sey’s (third time since I bought it.) Thanks!🙂

    I’d like an Asac book too, but I’m so iffy on her personality. Some years and in some ways I really liked her, in other ways she was a mean girl just like Nastia and with a massive ego. It’s hard for me to get over that. I did see the tour and she was the one to take it the least seriously and give a half-assed effort. For someone who was a guest invited alongside the Olympians. I’d like to know about her experiences and what really happened, but at the same time – would she lie about what really happened behind the scenes because she was actually a big bitch? Haha.

  20. G Says:

    Pan Am training squad named, pretty much what a lot of people thought it would be I think.

    • Dee Says:

      yea, no big surprises. I was kind of hoping for a surprise just to shake things up a little.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I was hoping for McKenna (Jay or Deziel 2.0 aka 2011) to be in there, otherwise why the hell does McKenna keep going to these camps.

        So what’s your theory on why baby Retton keeps getting invited to these camps? I don’t even know if she has qualified elite.

    • Bess Says:

      Does this mean Navarro gets added to the National Team now?

    • Tortuga Says:

      Yep, definitely looks like a C team to me. I’m a little surprised that Gowey is on this list though.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        Yeah Gowey is interesting but she is just so strange to me. She has the skills, the potential but she is yet compete one senior meet without an injury or any pain bothering her (she competed internationally once, at Jesolo but even there, I think her ankle was bothering her). Despite all the skills, Marta prob just wants to see if Gowey’s body can even handle more than a day of competition. It’s unfortunate but I don’t see her in Rio. She is a B team at best.

      • H Says:

        I am happy for Amelia Hundley. And I think it is interesting to see what level Navarro, Gowey and Skaggs holds for the moment. There is something with Skaggs – does anyone think she is able to do great progress during the next 12 months?

  21. Exgymgurl Says:

    yes marta is being considtent in that she named all the people to this team she doesnt want to even see at trials, or that have no shot for rio. see pan am 2011 team for reference.

  22. Tortuga Says:

    This happened in the Woodlands, aka Simone’s town. That’s not her old gym though right?

  23. exgymgurl Says:

    and if you change your mind a million times

    • Gymbee Says:

      Wow. Not a smart move on her friend/maid of honor to leave an NBC job for that. It doesn’t sound like that will last long – it’s only for so long that girls and young women will bother paying to hear Nastia speak. She’s not inspirational….

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      Sounds to me like Nastia ran her mouth before looking up the consequences of her bit fat mouth. I hate to break it to Nastia but no one likes her. Unless parents think highly of her they are not going to sign their kids up for things she is involved in. The Nastia Liukin cup works because USA backed it with their money. I don’t understand her thinking in any of this. Even the event she had in Boston that I went to only had about 100 people in line. She’s think really highly of herself and her alleged likability to think this will work. Doesn’t she remember the last time she tried something like this. It was some website you linked here called something like the Nastia Liukin tour. It died before it got going. She doesn’t realize it’s past her time in the spotlight. It’s been almost 8 years. He’ll even media darling MLR isn’t around anymore. I guess I don’t get her thought process. God I hope NBC fires her so she can go away forever.

  24. exgymgurl Says: this makes me so happy …. in such an odd way it works and this is why shawn made two DWTS finales

  25. Brittany Says:

    At first I was kind of “meh” about the Pan-Am squad, but now I’m happy about it. Get to see a lot of girls that have been MIA for awhile. And it’s nice to see a competition where you don’t automatically know who the winner will be (looking at you, Simone). (Also, I love Simone so don’t take that the wrong way.)

    • Gymnast41 Says:

      Camp verification too 3 AA was Maggie Nichols, aly, and alyssa. Quite interesting!

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Not really. Not everyone did the AA and Aly most likely fell.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        It was only half-routines verification (so skills mostly) for people who were not airing for Pan Ams. Prob why Simone or Bailey not on a list.

        And, go Aly!

      • Exgymgurl Says:

        where are simone and kyla?

      • Gymnast41 Says:

        Yes, but I was just surprised about maggie nichols beating aly. You’re right, she must’ve had some issues.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Don’t ever be surprised by Marta Scores. Mckayla beat Aly at Nationals and these secret meets yet Aly had no trouble being Mckayla Maroney outside the Country. Maggie is never scored well outside the US and I usually find them nit picky with her scores verses other bad formed people

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        Aly always gets scored overseas (as opposed to here in the U.S)–this is how she ended up beating Jordyn into AA (well that and Jordyn’s stupid connections).

        I think the same applies to Amelia. If she gets it together, I think she’ll get good scores at Pan Ams.

        Still can’t believe that two of the most promising juniors from the last squad –Lexie and Katelyn–had exactly one meet as seniors and are now headed to college.

      • Exgymgurl Says:

        i think its interesting simone didnt do bars at camp. what if marta lets her skip bars at nationals…..

      • TrishaG Says:

        I doubt it. Simone couldn’t be national champion if she skips bars. She has said that her shoulder continues to bother her and that it probably always will. She just has to be careful with it. She probably just tweaked it a bit and skipped UB out of precaution.

  26. Exgymgurl Says: lexies done with elite

    • Cupquaked Says:

      That’s no surprise with all her injuries. Honestly girls of her level have more chance of success in college than staying in elite. I think many of the elites are realizing that and foregoing going pro so that they can still do gymnastics after their elite careers are over. Especially with the new FIG changes, I think many girls will be elite for Worlds/Pan Ams/Jesolo/etc but forego sponsorships and the Olympics for an almost guaranteed career in college.

  27. Ilanchik20 Says:

    So supposedly Maggie Nichols got 60.70 at camp (with an Amanar!)

    and Simine got 16.00 on vault (sbd a Cheng!) and beam.

    I need to know how Aly did lol

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      Camp scores are hilarious

    • Dee Says:

      Who judges meets at camp? Actual judges or is it the coaches/Marta?

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Marta’s judges judge meets. Hand picked by her. I like Maggie but that score seems ridiculous.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        Marta’s judges (ala Chellsie). This is why Aly always scores better overseas!

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Matta never loved aly but I think now she appreciate her. Aly was a rock and. She can be count on. If she still is that rock she will be in Rio.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        Marta knows she can count on Aly. Aly always puts the team first, she is consistent and she is still better than all (or most) up sbd coming juniors/seniors. If she stays even in her current state (although I imagine her and Mihai are planning some upgrades), I can’t imagine a Rio team without her!

        It’s crazy to think but It’s def possible that the Rio team will have more than one returning athlete.

        P.S. I heard Kyla fell off beam in camp. Let’s hope she was inconstent because she was competing some upgrades lol

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        She doesn’t know she can count on Aly yet. Aly needs to go to worlds and hit. What she did last quad was great but she needs to prove it for next year. I think she already earned the floor vault specialist over Skinner if she gets the Amanar back but Aly needs a better beam then she showed at her only meet. She was downgraded a lot.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I think Aly got a pretty good start in Jesolo. Her beam wasn’t the best but still consistent. And I’m sure she’ll do more at Nationals and Worlds.

        And as far as Gabby goes–I just want her to dissapear lol

      • Dee Says:

        I had a feeling camp judging smelled.

  28. Exgymgurl Says:

    i bet marta doesnt even go to pan ams pretty much like pan ams 2011

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      Who was on the 2011 team ?

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        According to USA Gym page, 2011 team was:

        Bridgette Caquatto, Jessie DeZiel; Brandie Jay, Shawn Johnson, Grace McLaughlin, and Bridget Sloan.

        If I remember correctly, Chellsie also made the team but refused to go.

        So pretty much only one person (Sloan), who may be had a chance next year.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        I remember now. Thanks. Poor Shawn got lumped in with the not cool kids. I love how Bridget Sloan kicked ass on bars the next year and almost forced Marta to take her the bars alternate til that stupid injury.

      • Cupquaked Says:

        Shawn Johnson and Bridget Sloan were on the team but I don’t remember the rest.

      • Short1 Says:

        @Ilanchik20 I think one of the reasons Chellsie pulled out was because of the shoulder injury she suffered at Nationals? But I think there were also some comments that seemed to imply that going to Worlds (despite the injury) would have been worth it, but Pan Ams…not so much. Although I could be mistaken.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        I remember that being said as well.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        Yeah you guys are right. I didn’t mean to imply she didn’t go for the hell of it. I just remember getting an impression that Marta would think, “if she is not willing to do this, there is no way in hell in taking you to London”, so really that was prob the beginning of the Chellsie demise (not her fault! Stupid Marta)

        I mean everyone on this year’s Pan Am team. None of them have a chance for Rio. At least the 2011 team had Slian and Shawn on it.

        I’ve seen Shawn post random pics of her and Deziel since her retirement. I think I saw one of them at a football game together last year. I guess that’s prob how they become friends lol

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