A random girl's random gymnastics ramblings.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Defection of Douglas: Part One


I have been mulling over how to address this debacle for many hours now.  I have been desperately trying to separate what I know to be my clear bias from the facts. 

Lots of people have their own version of the facts, it seems.  I won't even pretend to know up from down in this situation, but I will comment on the one thing that is painfully obvious: a bunch of fucking adults are ganging up on a teenage kid.

Chances are this will become a blog of many parts, because there are just so many aspects of this shit that pisses me off.

Let's start at the beginning.  And by beginning, I mean the start of the media attention of

Douglas v Excalibur. 

Let's journey back.  The year was 2010.  Some knew who Gabby Douglas was, most didn't.  Those who paid attention knew of the young talent who impressed in the Nastia Cup, and then had the most incredible save ever on UB in Chicago at the Underpad Classics.  People were becoming aware of the young girl from Excalibur with fabulous lines and a split leap to die for.  

Fans seemed to enjoy her, yet not a whole lot was made about her move from Virginia.  Most of it was speculation about where she would end up.  Rumor at the time was that she was leaving because of her dad's job relocation, so I don't think anyone suspected that she was unhappy at Excalibur.  Most of the discussion revolved around whether or not she'd go to Hills or WOGA.  When she ended up at Chows, the general opinion was "Hey, that's nice," and fans went on their merry way. 

We all watched the ups and downs of the Dougie Show for the next 18 months.  While she was certainly on the radar of certain plucky young bloggers, she wasn't yet known to the mainstream media.  I am fairly certain that zero Virgina-based newspapers wrote scathing articles regarding her defection during this time.  

That all changed when the world noticed one Lady Douglas.  

This pains me as much as it pains you, but yes, SCAM is a source of national, if not worldwide media attention.  HEAR ME OUT.  You and I know better, we understand the game.  But, through the eyes of the #fouryear media, SCAM is a totally legit and absolutely not-shady and PRESTIGIOUS (you have to read it in a Tim Daggett voice) competition.

As we all know, Gabby "won" this totally legit and absolutely prestigious competition, which more importantly she happened to "win" on NBC smack in the middle of a glorious Saturday afternoon.  One could win Worlds in Bora Bora, and unless it was shown on NBC in prime time, the American world will never know about it.  But air a competition on NBC in that prime weekend slot, and people will know who won.

To put it all in perspective, this was the first time Gabby Douglas trended on Twitter.

Now, Gabby left Virginia in September of 2010, and this oh-so memorable SCAM occurred in March of 2012.  Now, during those 18 months, we heard zero public cries from the folks over at Excalibur.

I say public because I'm sure they were flapping their mouths before and during that time.  There was plenty to flap about, what with losing their prized pupil and all.  However, and this coming from a very open and admitted gymternet addict who spends WAY too many hours online, I saw exactly zero rumblings regarding the Douglas defection.  Whatever rumors existed kept themselves where they ought to be- between the mouths and minds of bored gym moms and bitter ex-coaches.

March 29, 2012- The Virginia Pilot.

"This is as professional as it gets"

Consider this the first swing.

I don't know who reached out to who.  Maybe the paper thought "Hey, there's a local girl who's making a splash nationally in her sport.  Let's get the scoop and interview her old gym."  Perhaps Dena and Gustavo, that fine Excalibur duo, contacted the paper in order to vent their frustrations over Gabby's growing popularity.  Frankly, I don't know and I don't so much care.  Either way, some shady shit went down.

If the Dramatic Duo are bitter about the defection, then that's their prerogative.  I imagine that to be a very natural and understandable reaction.  Granted, you don't see Geddert whining about Bross' successes, and I have yet to hear Gym-Max take credit for Maroney's Amanar, but that is neither here nor there.  The point is these particular coaches were feeling the sting of seeing their star succeed elsewhere.  Can't say I blame them.

Had the story stopped there, I would have thought nothing of it.  No one would have thought anything of it.  But it didn't stop there.  No.  Instead, Gabby's old coaches, the ones who cared so very much for her, thought it best to air her dirty laundry.  No, I'm sorry, her parent's dirty laundry.

This was the first time I remember getting actual eye twitches from this story.  Like the little rat animal from the Ice Age movies, my eye started to literally twitch from rage.

Oh, and I guess Randy and Sandy Stageberg were there?  Because they're major characters in this story, and totally matter.  And yet here they were, yapping away to every publication that would have them. 

The war had begun. 


  1. Settling in for a nice Spanny post on a subject I feel very strongly about. Many thanks!

  2. I have so many feels Spanny, so many feelings! Most of them RAGE.

  3. Thank you for pointing out how awful that story was in March. I almost shocked when I read their comments about her parents. It seems to me that they told the paper about Gabby's parents having domestic problems and divorcing, and I thought, "How tasteless is this!"

    Indeed, Excalibur took the first swing.

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