Jennifer Hudson surprises Fisk University gymnastics squad

Plus, Arthur Zanetti reflects on his legacy in Brazilian gymnastics, Max Whitlock will miss next month's World Championships in Liverpool and a look back at the Australian women's team on floor at the Sydney 2000 Olympics

By Scott Bregman
Picture by The Jennifer Hudson Show

Fisk University's women's gymnastics team got a boost this week from an unexpected source: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winner Jennifer Hudson.

The team caught the attention of Hudson, who is hosting a new U.S. daytime talk show, after a video of their first-ever practice went viral on TikTok in August, and they appeared on her new show Monday (19 September).

"I love making TikToks, so I was just like let me just post this first practice," said Zyia Coleman of the video. "I didn't expect it to blow up, and then, everyone was like, 'Can I repost your video?' And, now we're here!"

"Did any of y'all expect it?" Hudson asked in response. "Did you not realize the magic and the power of what you are doing?"

The segment ended with a surprise: a check for $25,000 to support the team.

The Fisk University squad is the first HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) to sponsor gymnastics at the collegiate level and is expected to make its competitive debut in the upcoming 2023 season.

Former U.S. national team member and University of Georgia women's gymnastics stand out Corrinne Wright Tarver is the team's head coach. Wright Tarver made history in 1989, becoming the first Black gymnast to win the NCAA all-around title. She was also part of UGA's 1987 and 1989 NCAA championships winning squads. In addition to her duties as head coach, Wright Tarver also serves as Fisk University's athletic director.

Triple Olympic champion Max Whitlock out of the 2022 Worlds

Six-time Olympic medallist Max Whitlock won't take part in next month's World Championships in Liverpool, Great Britain.

The 28-year-old also missed the home Commonwealth Games in July and is not on the British men's team for the Worlds.

Whitlock told BBC that he had stopped training for 10 months after winning his second straight pommel horse Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

Recently crowned European all-around champion Joe Fraser will lead Team GB men's team in Liverpool, where three spots for the Paris 2024 Olympics will be at stake.

Arthur Zanetti: We always stop to think about the legacy we can leave

2012 Olympic still rings champion Arthur Zanetti is focused on more than just the number of medals he can win.

The Brazilian owns two Olympic and four world medals, including gold at the 2013 worlds, on the still rings, but is still focused on a bigger picture.

“We always stop to think about the legacy we can leave. But this legacy we will build every day, each workout we do in the gym is already a reference for the new generation,” Zanetti said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports. “That's it, the results we had are already a legacy left with gyms, good equipment, makes the new generation able to train better. Then we will achieve much more.”

At 32, Zanetti, a three-time Olympian, was part of the Brazilian team that finished a historic sixth place at Rio 2016. His individual gold medal at the London Games was a first for a Brazilian or Latin American gymnast.

Those accomplishments, in part, are why Zanetti believes the current athletes are part of Brazil’s best-ever generation.

“If it's about team results, I think it's been the best generation. Of course, each generation had its moment, its athlete, and I believe that this moment is being very good for men's gymnastics, both as a team and in individual results,” he said. “It's not focusing on just one athlete. Other athletes are also achieving this result. So, this is important and you can say that we pay for the result. If it's for the result, yes. It's one of the best generations we're having.”

From the vault…

This week, we take a look back at the Australian women’s team on floor exercise during qualifications at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Led by Lisa Skinners 9.725 on the event, the host nation finished seventh overall in the team event, missing out on the medal round by less than half a point.

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