Kwan and Dickson to compete for Belarus . WTF Wednesday is back. Kyla not going to camp


You’re not good enough to make the World team. Technically the US could field 2 teams and neither of you would sniff the second team you are that useless to the US so what do you do instead? You go compete for Belarus at the urging of Nelli fucking Kim and screw two of their gymnasts out of a chance at competing for a Country they were actually born in.

Sound fair to you? It doesn’t to me.

I have joked for years Memmel should have gone to a different Country because she was screwed but 2 girls that were way back of the pack being given this chance is HIGHLY suspect to me and completely unfair to the poor girls from Belarus.

I know I am being over dramatic I just feel like taking these 2 girls and not someone with a chance at actually succeeding is ridiculous.


Kyla out of Worlds camp. Smart decision? We will see I personally would have liked to see her fight back and at least do well at camp.

The best of Simone Biles

Sleep blogging is not a good idea 🙂

Couch Gymnast article on Romanian Nationals

Full AA Results

Larisa won. Andreea fell off bars and Diana came in 3rd. After that it’s all relative


Figure skating TV Schedule When did Gracie become the face of FS/


143 Responses to “Kwan and Dickson to compete for Belarus . WTF Wednesday is back. Kyla not going to camp”

  1. Gymnast41 Says:

    Literally just logged in to your site to post. WTF. No words.

  2. Sainabou Nyang Says:

    I’m kind of…… Sigh. I’m not even sure what to say. Imagine if they are in the same training hall as team USA.

    Im not against changing countries to get the opportunity to compete internationally.USA has too much depth and competition is fierce.

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      Might be fair for the US but how is it fair for poor girls from Belarus?

      • tennisgrl456 Says:

        Definitely not fair to them (the girls from Belarus), and not that this matters, but I looked up their scores from classics:
        Kwan: 51.8
        Dickson: 51.55

        The 24th place finisher in last year’s AA final at world scored a 51.966.

        I just don’t get how they/their coaches/their parents can justify going through all of this when there is a very good chance that if they do go to World’s this year, they won’t even QUALIFY to the AA final.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        They were elites in the U.S which means at some point they scored 53.5 or 54. Can’t remember which but one of these is the score you need to quality elite here.

        I think Nellie is using them to ensure her home country is at WAG in Rio so I’m sure she’ll make sure they qualify to AA. I think she is still the WAG president in BellorusSia. As far as I’m concerned holding both positions is super unethical and I hope someone raises some noise about it.

        I can’t blame the gymnasts though. Sounds like this is politics. But their coaches and parents should know better. Why in the world do two American families want their kids to represent some random country? Eh.

      • Gymbee Says:

        Completely agree. I don’t like how they say that European countries are losing gymnasts but with them coming over they’re showing the countries “they can still do it”? That’s not the countries competing!!

        I feel that worlds and Olympics shouldn’t be like club teams, if the athlete has absolutely no connections to the country it completely negates the point.
        Also I think it’s different for athletes like Chusovitina, who went to live in Germany and became completely integrated in
        German culture.

  3. ilanchik20 Says:

    Ugh. So. Not. Cool. I’m all for girls competing for a country where they have some personal connections or that’s their 2nd citizenship. I always thought Asac should have competed for Italy LOL

    It’s going to very sad if one of the makes the AA at Worlds but a third American does not. Eh.

    But this? No way. And the fact that Nellie Kim just basically made it happen on a whim is even worse. Such a conflict of interest! Ugh. I’m also kind of disappointed in Arthur who I’m guessing thinks this is okay.

    On a more personal note, I used to have a Belorussian citizenship–I would never take it willingly, HAHA.

    • G Says:

      I was thinking about Arthur too, like doesn’t he see how ridiculous this is? Or his he just blinded by the potential glory for his gymnasts? It’s just a bad situation really. The US can’t make this a normal thing to ship our second rate girls to various countries to compete. It’s so unethical

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I don’t even see how this is good for Arthur. So they make it to Worlds, maybe make AA because of the 2 per country rule, then what. That doesn’t seem like it would be worth it. Instead, he becomes known as the coach who ships his gymnasts to another country, if they are not good enough here.

        I wonder what Marta thinks about this. If they were elites here, surely she knew about this beforehand.

    • JAS4 Says:

      If they were potential medalist (like Asac would have been if she competed for another country) then maybe I could understand it more.

    • mim Says:

      Ilanchik I agree – I have no problem with an athlete doing this if they have legitimate ties to the country, be it family background or even something like Chuso’s situation. But getting citizenship solely because “I wanted to compete at Worlds” with no linkage is SO not cool.

      Why the eff would Nellie Kim be encouraging these shenanigans?

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I don’t understand why Nellie Kim thinks it’s okay. I guess Bellorussia is her home country so perhaps in some twisted way she thinks they’ll help put Bellorussia back on the map. If so, this is such s conflict of interest, she needs to step down. So not okay.

        So disappointed in Arthur too.

  4. sanitynmotion Says:

    WHO are Kwan and Dickson? I was not thinking at first and was like MICHELLE KWAN IS COMPETING?! Then reality hit.

    • Ilanchik20 Says:

      Two U.S elites from AOGC (same gym as Maroney.) They competed at Classics but didn’t make it to Nationals.

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      The only reason I even remembered Kwan was because of her last name.

    • Short1 Says:

      @sanitynmotion I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s first thought was Michelle Kwan! I saw the post notification email on my phone and could only see ‘Kwan and Dickerson to compete…’ and it threw me for a loop until I read the entire title after clicking on the email.

    • Gymbot Says:

      I also read Kwan and thought of skating and was so confused as to why Nellie Kim urged her to go to Belarus. The whole hing is bizarre

  5. Brittany Says:

    I thought “wtf” too. Seriously crazy that you can do that. Two American girls that have never stepped foot in Belarus a day in their life, might compete for them. Oh, okay?….

  6. KG Says:

    I also saw the name Kwan and got super excited.

    I was adopted from another country, but have been in the U.S. since I was six months old. It would be completely unethical for me to compete for the country from which I was adopted. Ridiculous, even, as I embody zero percent of that culture.

    It is tough, and many very talented girls do not get the opportunity to compete in various levels and teams because of the depth here. However, they got where they are because of the training that a large and deep pool provide.

  7. Gym Obsessed Says:

    Agreed – who the hell are these girls and what’s the point of representing a country if you have zero connection to it.

  8. tennisgrl456 Says:

    What makes this situation even more shitty is that there ARE elite gymnasts in Belarus. Not as many of them, and not competing for an AA medal, but they had 2 gymnasts FROM THEIR OWN DAMN COUNTRY on the nominative roster. And now this?

    God, I know these girls are teenagers but that interview made them sound like entitled pieces of shit. Dickson said at the end of the interview: “I want to show them that their dreams can come true. If they want to be an Elite and represent Belarus, they definitely can. You just have to push through the hard days and the good days. Give it a lot of dedication and time and patience.”

    Mhmm, yep, I’m sure all those young Belorussian are going to be SUPER inspired by the American’s who maybe go to their country once before going to represent them at World’s. Especially if they are taking the place of gymnasts who are ACTUALLY from their country. And all they need to do is push through? Are you going to be providing the funding for them to come live in Orange County, train at AOGC, and have access to top of the line trainers/equipment/health care? Because all of the motivation/dedication in the world isn’t going to do shit if you don’t have the resources.

    Anyone who thinks this is even remotely okay is nuts in my book. But I mean, hey, I guess if you can’t make the US team and you’re a special snowflake who feels like you DESERVE to go to worlds bc of all of the hard work that you’re done, might as well take from those whose country is at a disadvantage!! Since the US IS dominating gymnastics right now we should just start having our athletes apply for dual citizenship in random countries, 2 gymnasts each. Why stop at inspiring a nation when we can inspire the WORLD. By the time 2020 rolls around, the AA final could be made up of 80% US born and trained gymnasts.

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      Yes, yes and yes

    • mim Says:

      Yeah the girls do not come off well in that interview. I mean, I don’t know how you could spin it off to sound positive given the circumstances, but they were a little too honest in saying “we’re doing it because we really want to.” I know they are just teenagers who really want the chance to compete in the sport they love and dedicate their lives to, but it does sound quite entitled. I know this sounds a bit mean, but whichever gymnasts who miss out on this year’s worlds and Rio next year (but realistically had a shot) have more reason to be at worlds than these two.

    • KG Says:

      Thank you!

    • KG Says:

      It’s like gymnastics manifest destiny.

    • Gymbee Says:

      And to add insult, they’re not even going to Belarus before Worlds! So they’re competing for a country they’ve never even set foot in.
      Let’s say hypothetically they won something… They’ll be on the podium hearing the Belarusian anthem and flag go up and feel…. What?!

      • tennisgrl456 Says:

        I was just thinking that….not that they are going to qualify for anything/win any medals, but how awkward. As evil as this sounds, I really hope that Nellie Kim is just using them to get Belarus a spot in next years Olympics and then planning to use an ACTUAL Belarusian athlete.

        I know this isn’t the girls “fault,” but damn, I hope we get some of this on the the live stream with commentary. And I hope that they are wearing uniforms that are basically one big Belarusian flag. What the heck are their parents going to be doing in the audience? I’m assuming yelling their names but if they don’t have a flag and are obviously American (yet aren’t sitting with the Americans), they are going to need to make it known which “country’s” gymnasts they are supporting. Can you picture them painting their faces and holding up big Belarusian flags?? 😉

  9. mim Says:

    I have a friend who’s kid is an upcoming athlete climbing in the ranks (not gymnastics, but I’ll still be vague with details!) and was offered by another country (not their home country) to represent the kid. They said they would support the kid’s citizenship application, fund the training, pay for everything related to relocation and living expenses, the whole shebang. They love the country but have no ties to it. I actually had a lot of respect when they declined the generous offer.

    I’m a little surprised at the parents of the AOGC gymnasts. I’m all for supporting your child’s dream but this seems like a really extreme move. It’s not like they are on the cusp of missing out and are actually in contention for medals or anything. That and I feel like it’s just bad PR for the girls because it is such a desperate and cop out kinda move.

  10. Diana (@dianajc99) Says:

    AOGC is technically still in LA county. They new facility moved closer to the OC.

  11. Case Says:

    This is crazy. Those two sound like awful children in the interview so I can’t say I’m surprised by their “path” to the Olympics but at the end of the day, what will it really mean? So you compete for a random country that you have no ties to at all? Nobody finds that noble. How do you explain that to your future children? “Well, I defected for a week just so I could compete at a meet I would never in a million years qualified for in my home country.”

    Sends a weird message and I can’t imagine it will be nearly as personally fulfilling as they think it will.

  12. byrdisthewyrd Says:

    I don’t mean to sound stupid but I just don’t get it. How is it even possible to just say I’m going to represent this whole other country now? I thought you had to have some sort of familial line connecting you to another country before you could get the dual citizenship to represent them. Like when Simone got her Belize citizenship there was all this chatter about how she could compete with them later after NCAA (this was before she turned pro, obviously). Or even the talk about Roxanna Popa competing for Romania, but they both had ties to the other country. When these girls represent Belarus at worlds they will not have taken a single step in that country. Heck, apparently it’s harder to qualify for in-state tuition at American colleges than it is to compete for Belarus!

    • Ilanchik20 Says:

      Some countries in Europe has more lax citizenship rules. Belarus being one of them. People are not exactly pleading to be come Bellorussian citizens lol.

      From what I saw it tumbler, their law is that you either need to spent 7 years living there or be in a position to make significant contributions to the country. The latter basically means, if you an athlete, you get an exception. Nellie Kim is either a Bellorussian WAG president or something close they do she basically made it happen.

      So unfortunately, you don’t always need personal ties to the country. Even with Israel, you just have to demonstrate that you are Jewish and want to move/return to Israel (which they call “make an aliya”) you can get an Israel citizenship. Plenty of Jews have nothing to do with Israel but they could become citizens, if they wanted to. So theoretically Aly could do this for 2020 but she is smarter than that so she won’t.


    • Rocío Martínez López Says:

      I don’t know about other countries, but here in Spain is very difficult to get the citizenship, even if you are athlete. You mentioned Roxana Popa’s case. If I remember correctly, she came to Spain with her family when she was about five or six years old and she began to train here. She competed in the Spanish National Championship in 2008. She won, but she couldn’t get credit for it because she wasn’t still legally Spanish, so it was considered she competed out of competition. Both the Spanish Federation and her gym had to work very hard to finally get her the citizienship so she could compete internationally for Spain, so I don’t really understand how the EE. UU. athletes could do what GTT has told us. In Europe is not usually very easy to get citizienship and you have to live in the country in question for several years. My elder sister is a surgeon and she is currently living in England and they told her that she couldn’t even think to apply for the citizienship until she has been working and living there for at least five years. Are you sure this movement is legal? Even if the girl’s responsibles thinks it is okay, can’t we expect for the international comitee or the Olympic comitee to have something to say about this?

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        Bellarus is not part of EU (despite being in Europe), their politics is one hot big mess and it’s a poor country. Their president (Lukashenko) might as well be a dictator–he is been in office since 2000 and hasn’t done that much for the country and is super corrupt. Their elections. are a joke, really. People complain about him all the time but her job at pays off his buddies in police. I have family that still lives there (so all personal experience). The support for athletes is abysmal. Many other countries don’t even allow dual citizenships–Bellarus. That’s because not many people are running to Belarus to become citizens. So really, it’s not that surprising.

        Perhaps Nellie Kim thinks that if two athletes, representing belarus, make it to Rio, it would help the sport popularity and funding more long-term.

        Nellie lives in the U.S, all while being an FIG wag technical committee president and Bellarus gymnastics committee president so she knows which U.S athletes won’t be missed. She has dual citizenship too but she chooses to live here (unlike Khorkina, Zamo, etc), despite her work with Belarus gymnastics. So in many ways it seems to be a play on her part that’s more or at least just at as much her doing as it the girls.

        It’s unfortunate they are being dragged along for the politics–I feel like Arthur should know better and look out out for his gymnasts (which I don’t feel he is doing) but I guess maybe it’s just hard to say no to Kim.


  13. exgymgurl Says:

    If they were on the cusp of missing out they would have US FIG licenses or be on the US National team. Once that happens they can’t compete for other countries. The elite rules also now state that girls that are going to camps, like Talia Chiarelli did can’t up and defect to other countries. This is most likely why the Russian elite that is a junior training at WOGA isn’t going to camps etc. She wants to compete for Russia at some point. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more girls doing this. Placement at worlds representing any country makes a gymnast way more desirable to top notch NCAA programs. Being an Olympian for any country does the same thing. Otherwise these two kind of end up as Poof Buecler nobodies competing at Kentucky. I think that the only issue is that they all need to keep training in the US with their disciplined training schedule.

    The Olympics are a buy in situation where the wealthy have way more chance at getting there representing any country. I think the best athletes should be at the Olympics and worlds period. Id rather see a bunch of 15 US girls that all meet a minimum qualifying score than another bad prudonova from someone that shouldn’t be doing it to begin with.

    I say good for them and good for their parents, Alicia should have competed for Italy and still could in Tokyo as a specialist if she wanted to. Jana Bieger could have competed for Germany. Finnegan for the Phillipines, and I would not be surprised to see Simone do one Olympics for Belize (after Rio and most likely Tokyo) Why not? Seriously…… All of these athletes would have been great at the Olympics and just because Marta doesn’t want them doesn’t mean they should lose their shot. Competing for another country means they don’t have to verify skills / routines before competing them. Maybe they have more difficulty that they were asked not to compete at nationals. I want to see the best gymansts competing, regardless of what country they live in they should all be given a chance.

    • Mimi Says:

      Fairly sure I’ve read around the traps that Irina Alexeeva won’t representing Russia in elite despite that being her goal while she’s been at WOGA. I vaguely recall reading that she’s at least re-thinking it. She’s not come through the Russian system and apparently had never had anything to do with their elite training, which might not be a problem for other countries but could be for Russia/Valentina.

      I’m curious what her plans are but no-one seems to know for sure what the deal is. The little buzz from a couple of years ago died down. She’s still young isn’t she (11? 12?) and I assume still training at WOGA. Her parents are friends with the Liukins arent they?

  14. KG Says:

    Kyla is going to camp

    • KG Says:

      Sorry that should be ISN’T

      • KG Says:

        All I can say is that she’s either going to college or she is very serious about staying healthy for Rio? But sounds like maybe she’s seeing the writing in the wall.

        I’d love to see her stick it out and make it to Rio, but I hope she has a great time doing whatever it is that she chooses.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I hope she chooses whatever will make her happier. I totally support her!

        I guess that means there is only one uncertainty–Bailie in or out. I think the announce the camp Oct 8.

      • KG Says:

        Okay last thing, but I think it is significant that they didn’t grow in some injury excuse. A “sore back” or a “minor injury” or whatever would be easy to throw out there to let people know she’s only temporarily out. It does make me wonder if she gave the U.S. team her notice….

      • Tortuga Says:

        I don’t know, I’m afraid to make predictions and be wrong. But the girl needs a break. She’s been non stop elite training forever. I hope she sticks around and comes back stronger next season and at least tries for Rio, but I understand if she would like to leave for greener pastures. It’s such a shame she’s so beautiful to watch. Seems to be impossible to have a U.S. elite with long lines and great form as well as top 3 competitive difficulty. Simone has great form but it’s not the same as Kyla. I just want to mesh the two together and have my ultimate gymnast!!

      • Gym Obsessed Says:

        Completely agree Tortuga – it is shame. I’m a big fan of Kyla.

      • sanitynmotion Says:

        I think she sees the writing on the wall this year. I’m crying inside too about this – she’s one of my favorites. I think it’s the best decision for her though. I still have hope she goes for Rio after she gets some rest. I think she really did need a break. Her body was telling her that.

      • Case Says:

        I think UCLA January enrollment is imminent.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I’m guessing the same. That announcement sounded much more like a retirement announcement than an “Kyla will be back” announcement.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        No it isn’t. I won’t allow it. I just read the article and to me it sounded like sheikh be done but Usag is trying to talk her into staying. Why else would they talk about how valued she is?

      • sanitynmotion Says:

        I don’t know what to make of Rhonda’s comment. They respect her decision. They don’t insinuate anything about the future, so maybe even Kyla is just taking a break to mull it out. At this point, it’s do or die – meaning she can’t half-arse an attempt at an Olympic spot. Right now Worlds are not likely and she knows that, and why put that pressure on herself right now. Maybe she’s seeing what happens if she finally allows herself some rest.

      • mim Says:

        Just from a superficial standpoint, it’s better for Kyla to withdraw from camp on her own terms rather than not make the team after trying. Given all the other outside things that tend to matter to judges (aside from the actual gymnastics), I wonder if the international judgments would let something like that play in the mind if they were to score her in comps next year (‘oh, she wasn’t good enough for the team last year, maybe she’s not so good now either’ sort of thing).

        She’s in control this way, and has time now to decide without pressure what she wants to do. Personally, I think her coaches need to start thinking outside the box with her training to manage her height issue (and Martha) if Kyla still has the motivation to keep going. There’s no point banging on stubbornly with her current regime because it’s obviously not working. I think she’ll press on and use Worlds for motivation (and by ‘think’, that really means ‘please please please please don’t retire yet Kyla).

      • mim Says:

        And by ‘international judgments’ I meant judges. Sorry brain is obviously in work mode!

    • Mimi Says:

      Is that the first article confirming Rhonda’s position at USA gym?

      • KG Says:

        That’s a good point. I thought it was strange that it came from her, but was too devastated about Kyla not being at worlds to process it!

      • mim Says:

        Yeah I’m used to Martha’s quotes! Even the FIG nominative list didn’t list Rhonda’s role, they had her down as a USA VIP guest haha.

  15. Gymnast41 Says:

    Crying because Kyla isn’t attending camp 😔. I totally respect her decision though. She has been spending most of her weekends at UCLA so I feel like she’s in the position to decide whether to continue or not

  16. Tortuga Says:

    And just so I don’t look like I only comment and don’t read… I basically agree with everyone else on Kwan and Dickson. It’s not like they’re barely not going to make the U.S. team. They’re barely elite and getting to go compete else where. It’s too bad Bailey Key or Kyla didn’t just have a dual citizenship card move in her back pocket after the nominative list came out. They could’ve just said BAMM! I’m competing for someone else and going after AA podium.

    • Ilanchik20 Says:

      Well that didn’t take too long. Two of Belarus gymnasts have now left the program and a third one (their top gymnast before) is no longer listed as having an FIG gymnast. So much for “inspiring the girls to be elite…” And I thought Gabby was bad at interviews–these two were just plain rude.

      • Tortuga Says:

        Dang, so this has definitely caused more harm than good.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        I think people are overreacting about what these girls said. They were clearly coached to say what they did and in fact it didn’t sound like what a normal teenager would say.

        All of this should be on their coaches and Nellie Kim and people should start focusing on the people behind the movement.

        Neither of these girls are someone with a shot at winning a medal ( though doesn’t Kwan have a DTY if she could get a second vault) why is it that Nellie Kim is so in favor of this?

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I think the girls sounded like stuck-up Americans

        BUT it’s mostly on Nellie and Arthur.

        In addition to her job at FIG, Nellie is also a president or VP of Bellarus Women’s gymnastics. The Belarus gymnastics are not what they were 10-15 years ago (I.e Boginskaya is from Belsrus) so I think Nellie is usuing this situation to re-ignite gymnastics in her home country (where she has some authority). I guess if the girls make it into AA or EF, they’ll earn a spot for Rio and I guess she wants her country represented in Rio WAG and she must think the current Belarus gymnasts can’t do it.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        The arrogant American gets thrown around every time anyone from the US says anything someone doesn’t like. I know you used the word stuck-up but it’s all pretty much the same thing. It’s kind of unfair because no one does it to Russians who in general sound worse when they feel slighted ) Irina Slutskaya, Plushenko, Khorkina etc…)

        I still say they sounded coached. My comments aren’t directed at you personally I have just read a lot of comments really dirogatory towards these two teenagers and I still say all the fault lies with the adults in this situation

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I think anyone who talks the way those two did in the interview are stuck-up (and I don’t that word to refer to young gymnasts often) so I’m happy to use that term to call some Russians too!

        I may be a little biased because my mom still has her dual Belarus/USA citizenship. I gave up my Belarus citizenship 5-6 years ago. So I just find the whole situation so bizarre.

        And I do think Nellie, coaches and parents are mostly to blame. I guess I just don’t understand why a teenager would want compete for a country she’s never even been in. The U.S girls are always all about “the team, team, team…” So why in the world, would they want to compete for a team, other than the U.S. Other gymnasts have been offered a similar arrangement in the past (I.e Bieger with Germany) so I think people are just surprised, they took the offer.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        I only read the interview once and I never got the impression they were stuck up. The only comments I remember off hand was the inspiring other gymnasts so I’ll go back and read it again but this still sounds to me like they were fed bits and pieces by their coach. I still think the witch hunt to oust them from the human race witch hunt we are getting from certain members of the gymnastic fan community is a bit much towards a bunch of kids wanting to fulfill their dream.

        I am usually against switching Countries for any reason unless it’s something like Nastia where she had no choice to move here and always trained under the US system ( I was pretty annoyed at that idiot Canadian rhythmic gymnast whose father was American but she always competed under the Canadian flag but when Canada dumped her she stole the spot from the US gymnast and gave this BS comment about want to honor her father heritage yet since she got that spot she considers herself Canadian and now acts like she isn’t half American by virtue of her father being born in the US. This still pisses me off to this day and the funny thing is she stole that spot from a girl who was from Ukraine but she had trained here for years but this girl put in her time as an American and she got screwed. It wasn’t fair like this isn’t fair.

        The real hatred should be spewed towards Nelli Kim and the adults at AOGC not these girls.

      • Mimi Says:

        I don’t know, if the girls were coached to say what they said, they weren’t coached well. They almost would have been better not commenting at all. However I agree the problem here is the adults (Nellie Kim, Artur and their parents.

  17. gymmom2 Says:

    ‘Oh my gosh, this is really happening!’ It’s so cool to know I can compete internationally, even if it’s for a different country. ” That is not “stuck up” that is a naive kid who is caught up in the excitement of competing internationally. If you are from Europe most of the meets you go to are “international” by definition. In the US if you are elite – there are hardly any meets – even if you are on National team. Those girls do 1 international meet ( maybe 2 if you are one of the stars) a year, Classics and then Nationals. So qualifying elite basically gets you on the NCAA radar and that about is it. Maybe an invite to “camp”, but other than being able to say you were invited – no glamour in going. My guess is their responses about helping the program is what they were told to say and they believe it. I doubt until they read it in the press they didn’t bother to consider, let alone research to see who, if anyone, they were displacing. It’s the supposed adults in the room that deserve some derision. Gymnasts due to the nature and time they spend training are the ultimate in “yes men” who question little of what their coaches tell them. Very sad for them, really, that what they thought was a dream of a lifetime, may turn out to be anything but.

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      I agree 100%.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I don’t feel like opening that article again but the part about “Marta has already picked her team out” just rubbed me the wrong way. That made them sound like two bitter girls who didn’t get the puppy they wanted. I’m sorry but if you barely made elite and didn’t earn enough of a score to advance to Nationals, why should you expect to be on the Worlds team. They either live in a box or are just that clueless. I do agree that order of blame should be Nellie, Arthur/Galina, parents, then athletes but I do think they are not blameless.

        Either way, this is a very unfortunate situation. And FIG needs much tighter rules on citizenship eligibility, etc.

      • sanitynmotion Says:

        They just need to get rid of the 2 per country rule and allow the best to compete. I know that rich countries have better resources and better athletes for that reason, but life’s not fair and it is what it is. I’d rather see the top-notch 10 gymnasts duke it out (even if 5 are from one country) as opposed to 3 top-notch gymnasts with 7 “fillers.”

        Whoever said the Olympics is just a buy-in is completely on the money (literally, haha).

        And I guess I don’t really care that these two girls are competing for another country. Yeah, they replace two other girls but at the end of the day nobody’s getting a medal over there.

        I’d rather this headline read Michelle Kwan is coming back and is going for 2018 Olympics. BOO-Yah. I digress. I gave up on figure skating at Socchi. Need to remind myself of this.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        You don’t think Marta has already picked her team? Turns out some gymnasts are not as clueless as I thought. That is something that people have been saying for years.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        She may very well have picked out her team but if you are barely hitting a 52, you are not going to make the team, no matter what Marta does or does not do.

        It’s going to be very unfortunate if/when they make AA and a third American does not. #figgetittogether

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Not sure what #figgetittogether is supposed to mean but your comment is interesting. So you are saying you wouldn’t have a problem with this if someone being sent to Belarus was a better gymnast? These girls talent is irrelevant to the decision to send them to worlds competing under a Country they are not from. I don’t think they should be sent but the witch hunt for these girls heads is unfair.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I meant to say FIG get it together. And no, I didn’t mean it at all. I meant to say–they can’t (or shouldn’t anywAys) possibly be upset that Marta didn’t pick them. I’m sorry but if you are barely making 52, you are not making a Worlds team. Marta can have her team picked out ahead of time but it really doesn’t matter in their case–they weren’t going to make it. And if they didn’t know their chances, Arthur should explain to his gymnasts how the elite scene in the U.S works.

        I understand where you are coming from but no gymnast should be going anywhere (them or any other u.s gymnast). I think that unless you have long established ties with another country, you shouldn’t be allowed to compete for them.

        FIG should not encourage athletes to change countries, try they kind of do. Get rid of 2 per country rule and no one is going anywhere.

        I don’t think anyone is using the girls as escape goats and neither have I. They shouldn’t have done this interview.

        I just read the announcement report by Belarus (it’s in Russian) and they basically said “over the last 25 years, our coaches have left to work abroad, it’s time they work for us.” Like really? Ugh.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        I thought you might have meant forgetaboutit with extra Twitter speak as they say.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        I am not disagreeing with you that this should not be allowed to happen.( I’ve actuially said it like ten times) I am saying the people out to get these girls need therapy. Some people are taking this to the extreme and it’s getting out of control.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        From what I’ve seen/read (and I’ve prob read too much case I had surgery yesterday so in stuck in bed lol), people are unhappy with some of their comments but as a whole, people slat recognize Nellie is the one to blame.

        And I do think just case you get a 53 and another gymnast gets 52, you shouldn’t be able to take away a spot from the gymnast who trained in their home country all those year. It sucks for them that U.S is so deep but that doesn’t mean they should go to another country and take the slots away from gymnasts who earned them.

        Why do these girls think they deserve those spots? They don’t–no matter how you slice it.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Did you even read what I wrote? Sigh

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I did. There is no reason to fight over this. At the end of the day, Nellie is the responsible one. It really doesn’t matter how much or little blame others get.

        I’m also very disappointed in Arthur. Even if I don’t think the girls are to blameless, Arthur should be looking out for them and he isn’t.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        I am not fighting I am agreeing with you with one exception the witch hunt.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        Then we agree lol. I had surgery yesterday so I’m a little out of it still lol

  18. Brittany Says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments yet, so sorry if this was said, but I just have a feeling this is going to spark a trend. I mean look at how simple and easy it was to represent another country! Especially two AMERICANS, being America is the best at gymnastics right now, so I’m sure this is sending waves through the gymnastics communities around the world and are making other gymnasts that maybe aren’t so good, ears perk up with the thought. And I bet that since we are so deep, more and more girls will take this route. Idk, it’s all just weird.

  19. Case Says:

    Win at all costs right? These little snowflakes get to be the best gymnasts in Belarus. What is the value of that if you are American?

    I guess I’m dumb and I just don’t get it.

    Stay dry GTT and our east coast friends. That storm looks nasty.

  20. Gym Obsessed Says:

    I kind of feel like who cares about Belarus, Kyla’s not at the world’s selection camp. 😦 I don’t think this announcement means she’s retiring. I think her coaches are taking the power back as they saw she was on the edge of making the team and they decided they didn’t want her going as alternate. Instead they could spend that time more productively back here resting then preparing for Rio. I still believe!

    Finally – I don’t meant I don’t care about Belarus. Though I don’t blame the gymnasts – it sounds like Belarus initiated it!

  21. Ilanchik20 Says:

    Today must be “let’s announce my news–gymnastics version.” Locklear said on her snapchat that she is foregoing her ncaa eligibility and will be staying elite/going pro. I see no logic to this–maybe she is too injured to compete college for 4 more years. Sigh.

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      Stupid decision either way because she is useless

    • KG Says:

      Going pro? She’s good at bars and of course very talented but that might be jumping the gun?

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I’m guessing she didnt want to go to Florida anymore since Rhonda left and either decided her body can’t last 4 more years in college or hadn’t gotten any good offers because she is so injured. Or I guess, since she is a senior, maybe there just isn’t a spot for her at any of the schools she likes so she might as well make the little money she can by being pro.

    • Exgymgurl Says:

      no, I think shes beautiful, and she probably has at least one 100k plus endorsement deal lined up which is more $$ than four years of a college scholarship. One deal is not that hard for a pretty girl to grt.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        That’s a good point. I love her bars so I’m all for her choice to go pro. Maybe that’ll push her to get even higher bars SV so she can make Rio lol

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        She is a cute kid but I wouldn’t go beautiful and how exactly would she have an endorsement worth that much? She finished 4th at worlds on bars and is a one event gymnast. Are we talking about the same person?

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I think she had the look that many advertisers like. Just a few ads for Nike, Underarmour or p&g’s next will prob do. Ads during the Olympic year pay a lot of money (regardless what you did at worlds). I speculate lol

      • KG Says:

        Nike (and the like) are pretty selective on athletes though. They don’t usually go for anything less than the best??

        If anyone would get an under armour or Nike ad, it will be Simone or Aly IMO. They are the only true spokesmen (women), with the outgoing sportswoman personality. Watch the misty cope land UA ad, and think who you could see in a similar, albeit possibly younger market, branding.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        I agree. Ashton getting any endorsement deal makes no sense to me.

      • JK Says:

        I thought the two AOGC girls representing Belarus was crazy and unexpected… but now Ashton turning pro? What the hell is going on? She may be the best bars worker in the US but in the world… she doesn’t even come close to the Chinese and the Russians. She’d have to massively increase her SV just to get on the podium (most likely bronze at best), and I don’t think that’s entirely possible because she seems fragile to me and prone to injury. Plus she’s a one event gymnast and Marta supposedly hates that so I don’t see how she would even make the Rio team on that alone. Kyla – please do not retire!

    • Exgymgurl Says:

      Steve Penny wants a pretty girl to go on upfronts and promote the USAG brand. Thats Ashton, and she was probably hand picked by PG to be on commercials and print ads. Simone and maggie and Mykayla are not as pretty. Aly and gabby are already pro and I guarantee you Steve penny wants the whole olympic team pro. bross got at least one deal that was more $$ than a college scholarship.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        So do we think this will increase her chances of making the Rio team? (Or maybe even the worlds team?) If so, I’m all for it lol.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        At best I see her as the Anna Li type alternate.

      • KG Says:

        Yes, I think it will up her chances at Rio (not worlds) but I still don’t think she has a great shot with only one event and her fragility.

    • Tortuga Says:

      What!? Worst decision ever. Sorry, Hope her coaches aren’t reading this. But she’s a one event specialist, and not even top 3 in the world. At least in Maroney’s case she was hands down gold medal material and could put up decent floor as well. This girls chances of Rio are slim at this point and she’s throwing away NCAA for that. Ugghhh.

  22. Exgymgurl Says:

    Remember when nastia backed out of world team selection in 2009? Kyla is injured or they found something, and marta is never going to announce injuries again unless they happen in front of gobs of people

    • gymtruthteller Says:

      Kyla knows no matter what she did at camp she wasn’t making this team so why bother.

      • KG Says:


        Kyla brings such grace and elegance and class to the team.

        Do you think bailie has a shot or will they go with the nominative list?

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Bailie Key will be on this team over Brenna IMO

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I agree. Bailie will be on the team. I’m not sure who will stay at home. I say it’s between Maggie and Brenna.

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        But maybe Marta will surprise us and take Alyssa for her beam case we still need that third beam.

      • KG Says:

        Agree. I think Brenna will be the alternate, but I was surprised she was on the nominative list at all. If I felt like posting a meme, it would be the one with Boromir. “One does not simply write a blog dissing Marta and expect their athlete to get a place on the worlds (before Olympics) team”…

      • exgymgurl Says:

        Meals is at camp too, Of course Kyla wasn’t going to get named, same as Nastia got told she wouldn’t get named in 2009. Kyla for whatever reason is not prepared this year. Whether its injury or new skills or whatever shes not ready. Nia, and Meals wont get named either. Simone Aly and Gabby will get named unless they end up severely injured. The other three spots are a crapshoot of potential for individual medals. I don’t think Bailie Key gets named. She isn’t where Marta wants her to be potential wise, and I think she will Ivana Hong out for college to Florida just like Peyton Ernst did this fall. I think Skinner goes to worlds for her “medal potential” and I think one of the bar girls ( Kocian, Locklear, Gowey, Dowell) gets named based on consistency/ score at camp. Then I think its another AA gymnast which is probably Maggie. Just my 2 cents. People get dual citizenship in the US all the time if they are rich. No one cares, it just happens. Buying citizenship in an EU country is harder, but there are so many countries where it is actually very simple, and I have never heard of anyone “losing their US citizenship” unless they do something that is criminal or treasonous like snowden or something…

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I still think Bailie will be on the team. Brenna, Aly, Simone have amanars; Skinner has a Cheng. Bailie’s bars/floor are better than Maggie’s so she is more useful here. I know Maggie has improved 150% this year but with the rest of the vaults, her amanar isn’t that useful (a la Ebbie 2012). So I predict this team:

        vault: (Aly, Bailie) Skinner, Brenna, Simone
        Bars: (Aly, Simone) Bailie, Brenna, Maddie (or Locklear)
        Beam: (Skinner, Maddie), Bailie, Aly, Simone
        Floor: (Brenna, Skinner), Bailie, Aly, Simone

        Alt: Maggie

        This gives Simone a break from having to do AA in TF (which I think Marta and Amy prefer).

        I prefer Locklear over Ashton so hopefully Ashton has recovered enough.

        We are kind of weaker on beam this year but the only other good beamer is Alyssa and u doubt Marta is taking her just for beam again.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        Daddy Liukin pulled Nastia out of that camp not Marta. Marta was more than willing to let her throw together a decent bars and beam set to make that team but it was Valeri who pulled her out because she wasn’t training full time and he didn’t want her to tarnish her legacy just so Marta could attempt to take away Shannon Miller’s title.

  23. KG Says:

    I agree that the girls shouldn’t be totally to blame for getting excited about the chance to compete in a competition that they would otherwise not have a shot at nationally. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I think they are getting swept off their feet by all of the adults in the situation.

    However… These aren’t 10 year olds. In fact, one of them will be old enough to vote next year. They should have thought a bit about what it means to be a citizen and represent a country. Representing a nation in an idealistic world, is about showing the best of what they have to offer in a particular field. It should be fun and exciting and all of that, but at the end of the day national representation is not about one individual’s really super neato experience. But I do understand that this is not how everyone sees it, and this is only my limited view of the subject.

    Bottom line is they sound rather flippant about citizenship, even with all of the current issues surrounding citizenship in this country. I don’t think there is one bit of malice in that interview, just a general ignorance that doesn’t paint the “privileged” American teenager in a great light. (And I’m not hating on anyone that is “privileged” so to speak. I just used that word because gymnastics is one of the more expensive sports.)

    • Ilanchik20 Says:

      Yes, exactly what KG said– maybe “privileged” is the word I should have used all along. They are also paying themselves for this trip to represent Belarus at Worlds which kind of rubs me the wrong way. This means that Belarus gets representation without having to pay for anyone to go (except a coach in guessing). I just hate when money can buy you a ticket to Worlds or Rio but such is life.

      • Exgymgurl Says:

        look at jade barbosa in brazil her familyis very wealthy. so belarus may qualify 2 people to the olympics. who cares. momey buys access. I hear a lot of elite judges are posting smack about it on their private fb pages…

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        I still hate it. Money should not buy you a way into a Worlds or an Olympics team.

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        International judges do you mean Chellsie, Anna and Tabitha because i laugh at those names.

  24. Lithi Says:

    My first thought about this was that who the hell would want anything to do with Belarus? Lukashenko is a scumbag. This is so out of left field I still can’t find the words to articulate it.

    • Ilanchik20 Says:

      HAHAHA. This was exactly what my mom said when I told her the story lol. I gave up my Belarus citizenship years ago but my mom still has hers. She thought I was kidding when I told her that two American girls become Bellarussian to compete at worlds. In her words, who in the right mind?” lol.

  25. KG Says:

    But really, what a weird day in gymnastics. And none of it was good.

    Let’s hope they pick a decent and likeable team for worlds.

    • Ilanchik20 Says:

      They announce the team in a week. Whatever it is, they should just announce it so no more theories. Oh wait, then we’ll have theories why someone is staying at home lol

  26. gymbot Says:

    The HB video is of Koji Uematsu, but you’re still right on why Kohei is a true champ

  27. gymmom2 Says:

    This to me is the bigger concern for these girls
    ” US citizens must remember that they must not willfully apply for citizenship and become citizens of foreign countries and in this case, they are likely to lose US citizenship. US citizens may become citizens of foreign countries by the automatic operation of law and US citizens may not get into trouble if they automatically become citizens of foreign countries, by birth. This also applies to US citizens who get married to foreign nationals and they may become citizens of foreign countries based on marriage. ”

    Now since they are minors, there may be a loophole – but I am sure it would require them to renounce their other citizenship when they turn 18. Does make you wonder if their parents thought this through at all. Then again, maybe they are part of the small segment of people in the US who want to renounce their citizenship for tax reasons and somehow see this as a step for the whole family to move overseas. I can almost guarantee no one asked the girls “are you willing to do this if it means losing your US citizenship?” and one wonders if the parents thought about it or are just as start struck about having their “babies” on the world stage as the kids are.

    This is sad on so many levels.

    • Ilanchik20 Says:

      That’s just s bunch of official language. I have dual citizenship and U.S let me keep my birth country citizenship when I went through naturalization 6 years ago. They told me that when you have both and if you are traveling, and are closer to that country and need help or whatnot, U.S may request that the other country helps you instead but U.S recognizes dual citizenships. Actually, it’s the other country–Lithuania–that weren’t thrilled but eventually they agreed to let me keep it.

      Actually, before I got the u.s citizenship, I had dual Belarus/Lithuania citizenship. I had to give up the Belarus one case I couldn’t have 3 lol.

      Although I do think the whole think is unethical, unless they commit major crimes, they are not loosing their u.s citizenship.

      • gymmom2 Says:

        You went through the naturalization process. If you had clicked on the link you would see that the US does allow dual citizenship under certain circumstances – and being born elsewhere is one of them. If you are born here and the country your parents are from gives citizenship to you based on your being born to parents who are citizens of that country, then the US also allows you to keep dual citizenship. However, you may be still be correct. They may not have been required to take an oath of allegiance to Belarus, so may not have triggered that part or they may have filed something with the State Department saying that even though they are applying for citizen in another country they do not wish to revoke their US citizenship. And based on how the US is viewing citizenship these days, applying for citizenship elsewhere ( when you have no current legal standing to be a citizen of that country due to birthright) may no longer be presumed as evidence that you are revoking your US citizenship. And the US could choose not to issue them a passport, since a passport it a privilege not a right. Just hope they checked into it or there may be major long-term unintended consequences.

      • ilanchik20 Says:

        I read that. From my professional experience, it is very hard to loose your u.s passport or citizenship. So I still stand by what I said: unless they kill someone in Belarus, they are not going to loose their passport. Actually, even if you are accused of killing someone in a foreign country, u.s will still stand by you (remember Amanda Knox?) or if you are found guilty of killing someone in the U.S but you have a green card, u.s is going to keep you here, but I digress. Anyways, Yes, there is a risk and yes, hopefully their parents thought through the consequences of this decision but I say the risk is small.

        I still think the whole situation is unethical. It just shows Nellie Kim has too much power. She should not be in charge of making gymnastics decisions in Belarus, if she is in charge of FIG. This is conflict of interest! (Kind of similar to why Valery had to stop coaching, just on a smaller scale).

      • Mimi Says:

        I presume the parents are not totally braindead and got independent legal advice before jumping straight into all of this, instead of just relying on Nellie Kim. Surely no one is that naive.

      • Mimi Says:

        Meaning, surely the parents aren’t that naive to rely on Nellie’s word only!

      • ilanchik20 Says:

        I’m sure they have. If not, they are clueless at life. But hopefully that is not the case.

      • gymmom2 Says:

        I stand corrected, You are right one does have to actively relinquish your citizenship not just apply elsewhere. However, if you do not already have a US passport, they can use the fact that you have applied for citizen elsewhere to decline giving you one if they so choose.

  28. brainy Says:

    Gracie looks like a chipmunk doll.

  29. gymmom2 Says:

    And in the better late than never category, Vega officially announced her retirement from elite and plans on competing for Georgia. Although unless the NCAA gave her a waiver to defer college past the 1 year rule (because she was training for the Olympics) she would only have 2 maybe 3 years of eligibility – assuming she starts in January.

    • Ilanchik20 Says:

      I was thinking about that. I think she should still have 4 years left. If she graduated high school at 18, she should be 21 now and NCAA allows you to compete until you are 25 so theoretically she should have 4 years left. She should be in the same boat Sloan was. But I’ll be happy with just 2-3 years from her. I’m hoping she’ll add a much needed spark to Georgia!

    • G Says:

      Good for her, I think she’s probably glad she gave elite one last shot and can leave without as many regrets.

    • tennisgrl456 Says:

      Haha, I just came here to post that, but I guess I’m late to the game 😉

      I WAS going to say something about Ashton possibly taking the same route as Sabrina. She’s only 17 at the moment (18 in January), and according to her AskFM account, she decided not to do college gymnastics bc she wants to continue to do elite. She has never stated anywhere that she is going pro.

      I obviously can’t say for sure, but I’d think she would at LEAST wait until after worlds this year (and hopefully until around mid-year next year) before she makes that decision if she is deciding to go pro. For a long time, we knew that Sabrina had not gone pro but was still set on pursuing an elite career. Ashton could be doing the same…she may say that she doesn’t plan to do college gymnastics now but if she finds herself fading into the woodwork a few years down the line, I could see her changing her mind.

      I don’t know…forgoing college to continue to pursue elite does NOT automatically equal going pro (at least in my book). If Ashton does choose to go pro, then the adults around her are giving her some pretty horrible advice. She has a team gold from one World Championships and is a LONGSHOT for Glasgow/Rio. I support gymnasts following their passion and putting off college, but turning pro is a serious, life changing decision. Even if she continues on after Rio and has success, turning pro would likely be ill advised. To make the Tokyo team as a bars specialist would likely be her aim, but that is 5 YEARS away….basically forever in gymnastics time.

      For the love of God, Ashton, please just pull a Sabrina Vega. Don’t blow the chance at a $200,000+ college tuition bill being taken care of and the opportunity to get a great education.

      • Exgymgurl Says:

        ashton pulled florida committoff her twitter some time ago, so this could just be what she needs to do to switch schools. it looks like even without brittany rogers leaving they may have a scholarship this year for sabrina. they are listed on collegegymfans as having 2 or 3 and they only have 2 other incoming frosh. one is deferring until after rio and another one listed is not on the roster anywhere.

    • Exgymgurl Says:

      dude, we dont know WHEN vega actually finshed HS. her USAG bio says 2014, but it could have been 2015 and then her eligibility would be fine. Excited shes a gym dog, but were probably losing rogers to team canada to go for another olympics….

      • Ilanchik20 Says:

        Sabrina’s Twitter says she was born in May 1995 which means she turned 20 in May so she would have her full college eligibility. I’m very glad she is coming back!

        Yeah, I wondered what Rogers’ for college were. I’m assuming she’ll come back after Rio. Maybe Sabrina can be the new Courthey (Kupets) for Georgia. If not, I’m sure she’ll be 100% better than Shayla. I want to see Georgia back in Super Six.

      • Gymnast41 Says:

        I’ll be at every gym dogs meet this year lol. Had season tix ever since I was I was a kid, but they will never be as good as they were during my college years 😦 I really hope she shines at uga

      • gymtruthteller Says:

        That’s cool.

  30. Gymbot Says:

    The read on biles was a good find. Thanks for posting. It’s mentioned here a lot how much things change because of the Olympics but it’s hard to imagine how much.

  31. Diana (@dianajc99) Says:

    there’s a blog post against this on jag gyms website.
    It specifically calls out the coaches. Its must be a fun meet season down there right now because JAG gym and AOCG are 2 of the strong clubs in LA.

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