WAG Evaluation of Tom Forster

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gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
124
53
I can't imagine how any elite gymnast or her family could possibly be anything but all in. Are you actually saying that the gymnasts are not sufficiently motivated to do their best?
Agreed, all-in to the sport and any potential benefits/opportunities that it imparts to them or their child. But not all in, in the sense of the organization. Kinda like if your company boss asks you to do something, like host a booth at a community event one weekend that you get no credit for or pay, but you do it because you really like the company, are proud of it and want to share that with others.
 

rjb123

Proud Parent
Aug 17, 2013
885
I honestly don't know why anyone would WANT to be and elite gymnast. The insane hours at a young age, the constant pounding and abuse on your body and to be frank, the lack of reward. If you are a level 10, you can potentially compete 5 -7 regular season meets, followed by state, regionals, nationals. Those are often viewed as (and are!) a lot of fun and a reward for doing a lot of hard work all year long, year after year. If you go elite, you essentially train for just maybe 3-4 "meets" a year. If you are lucky you get to be put on NT and do maybe 2? international assignments a year. You go to monthly training camps in Indiana, sacrifice school, family time, friends etc for what really? Add in a history of abuse, cut throat competitors and a barrage of criticism online that spans from your body, your hair, your skills, your family etc. Even the girls when they succeed it is not good enough. A silver and bronze medal at worlds is "failure" and a sign that the program is a mess and falling apart. Wow. Bet that feels GREAT to hear if you won that silver or bronze. Again, why would anyone WANT this?
 

Lucia

Proud Parent
Fan
Jun 6, 2019
73
I’m not in a position to evaluate Tom; however, I do believe there are two factors we should not underestimate. One is the fact that Worlds fell in an Olympic year, which is not the norm. It’s completely understandable why exhausted athletes would want a break. Also, I don’t think we can overstate the impact of Covid and quarantine (which varied state by state)....both on the physical and mental readiness of the US athletes who were trying for the Olympics. I also believe that Russian gymnast kept training together in isolation...this would likely not be compatible with a decentralized system like the US. I’ve never been elite, but the breaks and strain and delays in training should not be underestimated. Also, given these factors, I think the US should be proud of its silver snd bronze medals at these Worlds. And let’s not forget that Angelina Melnikova isn’t a young break out star from a Russian gymnastics pipeline...she’s been to many worlds and persevered through many set backs to get to this point. If anything I hope she inspires up and coming gymnasts with her tenacity. Edited to add: let’s see what the young and up and coming gymnasts in this country do. Life hasn’t quite returned to normal yet.
 

GYM0M

Proud Parent
Jul 23, 2013
1,389
Agreed, all-in to the sport and any potential benefits/opportunities that it imparts to them or their child. But not all in, in the sense of the organization. Kinda like if your company boss asks you to do something, like host a booth at a community event one weekend that you get no credit for or pay, but you do it because you really like the company, are proud of it and want to share that with others.
So I think what you’re trying to describe is brand building. And I totally get what you’re saying, but what brand should these girls and coaches build? USAG? They’re caught between a rock and a hard place. The cultural upheaval was necessary and long overdue, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult for the athletes that are trying to navigate their way through. On the one hand they’ve got the NTS and USAG and on the other they have their idols encouraging, at the least, further demolishing. They can’t really count on much else other than themselves right now bc they are always on edge about what’s going to happen next.
 

Eleven sol

Proud Parent
Aug 23, 2015
107
I think it’s odd that anything less than a gold in USA gymnastics is considered failure. The U.S. won silver and bronze all around medals at Worlds. By most other sports standards in the USA, that would be a resounding success.

The Olympics is about uncommon talent, grit and determination. The USA was lucky enough to have a gymnastics athlete that was better than anyone has pretty much ever been. The chances of their being another Simone Biles in the USA are slim, no matter who the director is. In other words high level gymnastics competitions are about to get interesting again. Is that the directors fault or just the natural consequence of the GOAT retiring?
 

gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
124
53
I think it’s odd that anything less than a gold in USA gymnastics is considered failure. The U.S. won silver and bronze all around medals at Worlds. By most other sports standards in the USA, that would be a resounding success.

The Olympics is about uncommon talent, grit and determination. The USA was lucky enough to have a gymnastics athlete that was better than anyone has pretty much ever been. The chances of their being another Simone Biles in the USA are slim, no matter who the director is. In other words high level gymnastics competitions are about to get interesting again. Is that the directors fault or just the natural consequence of the GOAT retiring?
I think you are a little misguided here. No one, at least I am not, saying that anyone is a failure. However, constructive criticism and self-evaluation are important to maintain a high level of performance. One can celebrate successes and still be disappointed with results. The US has won gold at every world championship since 2006 before the GOAT was on the scene, and won gold at the olympics before the GOAT was representing USA. So while I agree there is some validity to not having Biles compete, does that totally explain results that are not consistent with previous competitions? Especially as we go forward in this new Bile-less world. Any strong organization is constantly asking these tough questions along the line of strategic planning. Is the environment changing? Should our expectations of success change too? How should we adapt to this new environment? etc.
 

Flippin'A

Proud Parent
Dec 4, 2017
306
33
I think it goes both ways. The public is going to have to adjust their expectations a bit to account for not having Simone. But more than that, the national staff also has to adjust for not having Simone. Tom felt comfortable leaving tenths on the table because he didn't think Olympic gold would come down to tenths. Team selection and routine construction is going to have to get smarter so that gymnasts get every tenth they're capable of getting. We're not past the age of the US winning medals and dominating at many competitions because there are some phenomenal gymnasts out there ready to come up the ranks, but we are past the age of getting to win by default.
 

Eleven sol

Proud Parent
Aug 23, 2015
107
I think it goes both ways. The public is going to have to adjust their expectations a bit to account for not having Simone. But more than that, the national staff also has to adjust for not having Simone. Tom felt comfortable leaving tenths on the table because he didn't think Olympic gold would come down to tenths. Team selection and routine construction is going to have to get smarter so that gymnasts get every tenth they're capable of getting. We're not past the age of the US winning medals and dominating at many competitions because there are some phenomenal gymnasts out there ready to come up the ranks, but we are past the age of getting to win by default.
I think you are a little misguided here. No one, at least I am not, saying that anyone is a failure. However, constructive criticism and self-evaluation are important to maintain a high level of performance. One can celebrate successes and still be disappointed with results. The US has won gold at every world championship since 2006 before the GOAT was on the scene, and won gold at the olympics before the GOAT was representing USA. So while I agree there is some validity to not having Biles compete, does that totally explain results that are not consistent with previous competitions? Especially as we go forward in this new Bile-less world. Any strong organization is constantly asking these tough questions along the line of strategic planning. Is the environment changing? Should our expectations of success change too? How should we adapt to this new environment? etc

I think you are a little misguided here. No one, at least I am not, saying that anyone is a failure. However, constructive criticism and self-evaluation are important to maintain a high level of performance. One can celebrate successes and still be disappointed with results. The US has won gold at every world championship since 2006 before the GOAT was on the scene, and won gold at the olympics before the GOAT was representing USA. So while I agree there is some validity to not having Biles compete, does that totally explain results that are not consistent with previous competitions? Especially as we go forward in this new Bile-less world. Any strong organization is constantly asking these tough questions along the line of strategic planning. Is the environment changing? Should our expectations of success change too? How should we adapt to this new environment? etc.
Self-evaluation is great but we were winning based on a system that was abusive. And this is a country that prides itself on human rights.

Expecting the exceptional without fail (gold) seems misguided. Yes, USA gymnastics should keep working towards self betterment but I think at this point we do need to take a step back from results and pay closer attention to the treatment of gymnasts or there won’t be many parents left who will feel comfortable entering their children in the sport.

If I were just starting out with my kids, I wouldn’t put them in gymnastics. No way.
 

CLgym

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2014
1,162
So glad I peeked at ChalkBucket again and saw this thread. I occasionally follow the "gymternet" on Twitter, and saw some of the back and forth that started this conversation. Interesting to see the perspectives here.

I am wholly unqualified to analyze Tom et al. But I do think that *being nice* is not gonna be enough to turn the USAG ship around. Is there good work going on behind the scenes? I hope so. But I honestly don't know. And Li Li Leung hasn't really blown my socks off as a leader -- but again there might be positive things happening of which I am not aware. Fixing what broke is gonna take a long time, and will probably require leadership to get a little dirty. I'm still feeling a little like USAG is focused on image.

Regarding Worlds, I think the US gymnasts did great. They showed maturity and hit their routines. One question (and I honestly don't know the answer): Are there no US senior elite gymnasts (or at least none who are currently interested in competing) who have the bars and vault difficulty to compete at an international final?
 
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Ginger

Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2014
250
Regarding Worlds, I think the US gymnasts did great. They showed maturity and hit their routines. One question (and I honestly don't know the answer): Are there no US senior elite gymnasts (or at least none who are currently interested in competing) who have the bars and vault difficulty to compete at an international final?
I might be wrong but I don't think anyone out of the 6 gymnasts even performed two vaults during the selection camp. Olivia Greaves was the one who could potentially make the uneven bar finals, but they chose eMjae Frazier instead (or Konnor, but Konnor at least had the beam difficulty and actually almost made it to finals).
I think the senior field will be much more competitive next year, with new seniors born in 2006.
 

FlippinLilysMom

Proud Parent
Jun 7, 2016
1,629
46
Region 4
I truly think the "allure" of elite gymnastics is starting to fade with the next generation of gymnasts. So many of the girls that were in HOPES and went to devo camps with my daughter have gone back to level 10. I know that my daughter is 110% happier now that she stopped doing elite. I hate when all of the blame is put on Tom. We've dealt with him personally, he was the one who suggested that my daughter do a repeat level of HOPES instead of rushing into junior elite. Best decision ever.