Tom Forster interview

Just uploaded today. Actual interview starts about 7 minutes in:

Reddit has a summary thread in case you don’t want to listen:

What a f*cking scumbag. Saying Gabby didn’t earn her team spot in 2016 and that Chiles’ floor routine is “college”-esque?? Fire this loser immediately

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Nancy Armour says she has absolutely tried to get an interview with him at every meet: https://mobile.twitter.com/nrarmour/status/1460646570416742401

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I’m only a few minutes into this so far, but cannot imagine what possessed him to bring 2016 into it. Completely inappropriate and unnecessary and nothing to do with him either, not to mention the double standard in bleating about Douglas but not Kocian. If he’s still not over Atlanta 25 years on, frankly he should just say that.

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Jordan’s routine barely has any choreography. It’s no more ‘college-esque’ than Skinner’s.

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He also misrepresents Gabby’s argument for 2016, almost framing it to be the exact opposite of what it was. Gabby wasn’t on the highest scoring nor the second highest scoring team at Trials; the whole point was to bring her for AA coverage and negate the risk of Locklear/Kocian on the same team or Hernandez/Raisman on UB if Skinner had been named.

In the end, Gabby’s 15.7+ UB was exactly what Locklear could have provided, but reading between the lines it seems like he thought Skinner was robbed, who couldn’t have possibly ushered in 1.0+ on vault. But the selection was defensible outside of that: Gabby was the best and safest option WRT international pedigree, lineups, and event coverage, which Tom should know a thing or two about.

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I need to listen.

But are we now only realising why they never let Tom out to do interviews?

This seems like a career ending move, to me.

If you can’t do ONE FUCKING INTERVIEW without saying something (or multiple things) that are stupid, then really what is the point of having you as NTC?

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Is this a “I love skinner” rant?

If so - I don’t know if I can stomach it.

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Wouldn’t go quite that far. He praises Skinner’s work ethic and consistency on vault, but he had McCusker all but penciled in for the +1 until the fall at Trials. He acknowledged Skinner was on the highest scoring team, but was never tempted to deviate from rank order because the difference vs. McCallum was so small, and with hindsight doesn’t regret the decision.

The 2016 discussion is bizarre, and he uses the Douglas example to “avoid” having that type of selection happen again. If he really thinks the team should’ve been Biles/Hernandez/Raisman/Skinner/Smith, have at it, but that is so lopsided and impractical. There was a lot of bad press about Gabby at the time, but to regurgitate it 5 years later is nonsensical, as well as unnecessary to his point of liking rank order.

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The whole Simone situation in Tokyo shows why Gabby was a smart choice in Rio if anything happened she was a built in alternate. It’s not hard to understand.

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He’s not only unsuited to the role but doesn’t even seem to like it that much. I don’t necessarily take everything he’s said in this interview at face value: the stuff about Riley and Kara is exactly what I’d say if I were trying to head off criticism of being too AA focused and favouring Skinner and McCallum, for example. So he could be bullshitting. But even with those caveats, the whole situation seems increasingly… pointless. Who actually is getting anything positive out of it?

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It would have been very interesting if Leanne came 4th in the AA.

She ended up 2.0 behind Grace. And the difference between her Day 1 completely biffed beam, and her Day 2 hit, was 2.5.

If she had come 4th, then presumably Tom would have taken her for the last spot.

Then - what would Tom have done about the 5th spot? I guess he still would have taken Skinner. Would the Skinner fans still have been mad about her being given the individual spot if she came 6th AA?

It’s crazy to think that, but for Leanne’s fall on beam and Riley’s fall on bars - Grace and Skinner would not have been on the team at all.

I just don’t understand this argument. gabby finished 3rd AA in Olympic quals. She100% deserved and earned her spot. Whatever Tom may think, it’s not always about rank order. Rank order in 2016 would have given us Simone, Aly, Laurie, Ragan and MyKayla. A team which probably still would have taken gold but with a real imbalance in strengths. Building a team around Simone, Laurie and Aly means you need strong UB workers, preferably who can do AA as well if needed. If any of the first three got too injured to compete, I suppose Kocian could have vaulted or done a FX in a pinch, but better to have the built in back up.

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Also, 3rd on UB in qualifications AND team finals. She would have medalled on bars had she hit a routine similar to both TQ ad TF, but she had an error in EF.

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I don’t think Tom understands strategy, tbh. Or his biases are just too strong to care.

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Tom is more than welcome to resign if he hates the job so much.

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They would’ve likely still won gold by a distance yeah, but that’s not really the point is it? The US were so dominant in 2016 that they could have dropped Simone and still won. But you’re still supposed to choose the best team available, even when you don’t have to and could probably pick them out of a hat if you wanted. There’s a sporting and ethical obligation. The best team available to the US in 2016 was evidently not the top 5 AA, and there’s no reason why it would be in a non-AA format. The fact that the top 5 AA were still better than Russia and China is moot, because that’s true of a great many combinations of athletes at that time.

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This interview was just bizarre and especially that he criticised his own national team gymnasts - why?

  • What does Tom perceive as his job? He seems to place himself as team admin - organising camps, competition and selection. In addition he claims that he is responsible for the “vision” - what does this mean when he absolves himself of any responsibility for routine construction? Where does his vision get conveyed to gymnasts and coaches

  • Why does FIG scoring always come as such a shock to the US team. At the Olympics there were a lot of last minute fx issues for the US. Is it that Tom and/or coaches do not know the requirements? Is it that the standard of US judging is so poor? He is claiming that the Olympic E-scores on fx were “suspect” - but this has been and issue for Tom’s teams and especially with dance elements - since he took over - why hasn’t it been fixed. I remember Martha pulling Mykayla’s wolf spin once at Worlds as it lost more than going an A spin. Other teams managed to get themselves to international comps and even the US competed in Japan in 2020 but without big names

  • "Talks about how not one D element on bars where you can do a transition while facing the bar. Rules limit creativity" - does he mean transitions facing high bar? Don’t the Zuchold type transitions face hb`? Why is this a big issue? If his gymnasts were really creative they could invent their own D transitions?

He gives a very whiny impression - wants the glory, wants big scores … but dosen’t want to be the detail guy that works out the optimal composition

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Re: your last point, I think he means shoot up to the high bar, from the low bar.

Maybe??

Oh - so he wants the toe-shoot upgraded from a B to a D element?