Rounding Off: The week that was in gymnastics for 16 October
Laurie Hernandez goes viral, British Gymnastics chief steps down, countries withdraw from European Championships
2016 Olympic champ Laurie Hernandez shared a tiny sneak peak of her new floor routine with fans this week in a five-second long clip on Twitter.
Let’s just say, we can’t wait to see more of the now 20-year-old on one of her signature events. Hernandez also went viral on TikTok this week, posting a make-up tutorial set to the powerful words of U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The video has 1.6 million views and over 350,000 likes.
Now, here's a look at the other headlines from gymnastics this week.
British Gymnastics chief to retire at year’s end amid abuse allegations
Jane Allen, the Chief Executive Officer of British Gymnastics, announced this week during an interview with the BBC that she would end her tenure leading the organisation at the end of the year. The announcement comes as Allen and British Gymnastics face accusations surrounding reports of emotional and physical abuse throughout the sport.
“Retirement plans were already in place,” said Allen when asked if her retirement was related to the allegations. “It’s time, at 65 years of age, after 10 years of working hard for British Gymnastics, for me to step aside now and to allow the next generation to take over.”
Allen also repeatedly denied that the move was anything but her own decision.
“I’ve been devastated by the allegations that have come forward in the last few months,” she said. “We’ve worked hard over the 10 years that I have been CEO to develop the organization, progress it, and really lift the profile of the sport in the UK. It’s been quite devastating.”
Several British gymnastics Olympians weighed in on the announcement, including 2012 Olympian Jennifer Pinches, who has been part of the #GymnastAlliance movement on Twitter and Instagram which supports athletes coming forward and sharing their experiences and said the move was "long overdue", and Olympic bronze medallist Nile Wilson who told the BBC, “ I think it’s very, very good for the sport of gymnastics. The cultural changes needed, it starts at the top and this is a huge, huge step.”
Countries withdraw from European Championships
Following the announcements that the European Gymnastics Union would hold its rhythmic (Kiev, Ukraine) and Artistic (Mersin, Turkey) Championships, several countries have announced that they will not participate.
A revised draw for the European Rhythmic Champs notes withdrawals from Armenia, Austria, Georgia, Germany and Norway. Russia, the sport’s powerhouse, had previously already indicated they would skip the competition.
For the Artistic champs, Germany joins Great Britain in saying they’ll sit out.
Look no further than Olympic Channel
In case you missed it, here are some of the top gymnastics stories you can find this week right here at the Olympic Channel.
✅ Japan’s first international sporting event in the COVID-19 era will be a Japan, USA, Russia and China gymnastics friendly. Three-time Olympic champion and six-time World all-around champion Uchimura Kohei will take part in the event.
✅ We caught up with 2019 World team bronze medallist and 2018 Youth Olympics champion Giorgia Villa for an exclusive interview about her sport’s incredible rise in Italy and what the future might hold.
✅ Indian Olympian Dipa Karmakar shared with Olympic Channel how her quest for equal opportunity for women’s gymnasts in her country spurred her on to attempt one of the most difficult vaults ever.
From the vault
We got a lot (!) of requests for clips to bring out of the Olympic archive after last week’s ‘Rounding Off’ but this one we heard multiple times: American Kristen Maloney's floor exercise from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Her 9.737 here was her team’s best mark on the event.
Have a routine you want to see featured in an upcoming 'Rounding Off'? Make sure to tweet them at us @OlympicChannel!