Downie documentary

Welcome to our Gymnastics Message Board

Members see FEWER ads... so join today

RAFIKI

Defender
COMEBACK


Episode one of Deanna Hong’s docuseries about Becky Downie is now out. The first episode covers the run up to the 2023 English Championships. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while and it did not disappoint (I may have cried multiple times 🙄).
 
I just watched episode two which focuses on Josh/2021 and the 2023 Welsh Championships. You can donate to Deanna here to watch the episode before its YT release.

I remember Barry Davies in Atlanta talking about the minimum age changing to 16 the next year and that gymnastics was already trending older (Bogi, Onodi plus some of best gymnasts on the big teams being veterans). It would be interesting to see the parallel universe where the minimum age wasn't changed and whether we saw the same increase in career length. Didn't Zmeskal talk about wanting to comeback in the 96 quad but struggling with the compulsories because front tumbling just wasn't part of her training with everything being geared towards Barcelona?

I've been fine with 16 but the 2022 Valieva mess did demonstrate some of the absurdities of having minors competing at the Olympics. Trouble is to avoid the date of the games affecting who could compete, you'd have to go to "must turn 19 the year of the Olympics" rather than being 18 before the games. I don't think I'd want 18 year olds barred from the games. I do agree with Passion that consistency between sports at that level is important. It's weird to have no age rules for surfing/skateboarding and different rules for diving (14) and gymnastics (16).
 
Kim Z did try to come back in 94 but tore her Achilles… she did an exhibition fx routine(I think it was at the 94 US versus Romania meet) that was fairly competitive in that code, I don’t remember her ever say anything about front tumbling specially because they were successful floor workers in that code who did not do front tumbling such as Dawes and Milo
 
I am happy with the 16 age limit but would also be ok with 17 or 15. However I think it is wrong that kids of 13 can compete in some other sports. It should all be the same for all sports in the Olympics. Diving, swimming, gym, skateboarding, skating etc. One age. Having 13 year olds in anything is ridiculous.
 
Kim Z did try to come back in 94 but tore her Achilles… she did an exhibition fx routine(I think it was at the 94 US versus Romania meet) that was fairly competitive in that code, I don’t remember her ever say anything about front tumbling specially because they were successful floor workers in that code who did not do front tumbling such as Dawes and Milo
Thanks for the 94 injury info. Sorry I meant forward gymnastics in general, shouldn’t have said tumbling. I think it was mostly the compulsory bar dismount.
 
Thanks for the 94 injury info. Sorry I meant forward gymnastics in general, shouldn’t have said tumbling. I think it was mostly the compulsory bar dismount.
If the compulsory bars dismount was really what kept Kim Zmeskal from competing in Atlanta, I I think I need a drink lol. I guess the beam dismount was also a forward salto (from a fhs), but these are super easy dismounts that I could probably still do successfully after having said drink.
 
If the compulsory bars dismount was really what kept Kim Zmeskal from competing in Atlanta, I I think I need a drink lol. I guess the beam dismount was also a forward salto (from a fhs), but these are super easy dismounts that I could probably still do successfully after having said drink.
She competed a handspring front tuck vault as her second vault, and while it was atrocious, she was still confident enough with it to give it the old college try on the world's biggest stage.
 
I guess the beam dismount was also a forward salto (from a fhs)

The front handspring was changed to a ‘fast walkover forward’ beginning with the 1994 World Championships in Dortmund. The deductions were also modified accordingly from up to 0.3 for no flight phase to up to 0.2 for insufficient dynamics and up to 0.2 for a pause prior to the dismount.
 
Zmeskal tore her ACL not Achilles in her 96 comeback if I remember

Must have been tense for Becky and Ellie around the GB coaches after making their statement.
 
How funny this is coming up here and I’m listening to an old interview of hers where she breaks it all down. Kim graduated high school in 94 and was set to train full time. She then tore her ACL in June that year at an exhibition and had trouble finding her footing (I’m assuming at Karolyis) so she quit in January 96. She then got back in shape due to being on the post Olympic tours and trained at CGA, making the National team in 98. She then ruptured her Achilles at the beginning of 99 and moved on to coaching.
 
I am happy with the 16 age limit but would also be ok with 17 or 15. However I think it is wrong that kids of 13 can compete in some other sports. It should all be the same for all sports in the Olympics. Diving, swimming, gym, skateboarding, skating etc. One age. Having 13 year olds in anything is ridiculous.
I don't think the age limits are actually the problem. I think the problem is the persistent mindset in women's sports that everyone hits their peak in their teens. It's like society cannot accept that while some girls make peak in their teens, others will peak later.

We don't really see this in men's sports. If we see a male gymnast that is extremely good at 16, we don't begin training all other male gymnasts as if they must also be good at 16. We see him as an outlier. There's room for other gymnasts to develop at a slower pace.

We also see women peaking in their mid to late twenties in other sports (track and field, tennis, basketball, etc.). I personally played sports all through high school and was a semi (more like quasi) pro athlete in my early 20s. I was at my strongest in my late 20s. To me that indicates that improvements in physical prowess aren't limited to our teenage years.

However, sports like gymnastics, figure skating, and snowboarding train every girl like she's a prodigy. I think that's the real reason gymnasts bodies break down so quickly. We see girls learning new skills as college gymnasts or as elites in their 20s or 30s. Yet there's still this pervasive mythology that if you don't acquire a certain skillset in your teens, your career is over.

That's why I'm excited about NIL in college. I would love to see female gymnasts follow the same trajectory as other women's sports. You learn the basics in your youth. You start to train a bit harder in high school. You ramp things up in college. Then you hit your stride in your mid 20s. If the U.S. changed it's compulsory system to focus on nice form, clean execution, and beautiful dance, I would die happy. I'd like to see junior international competitions go away entirely, or resemble gymnastics under the old 10.0 system with capped difficulty and more emphasis on uniqueness and beautiful form.
 
Episode 2 is up on YouTube.
CW: it’s a bit sad watching Becky and Ellie speak about their brother’s death.
Hoping there’s an episode 3?
 
I thought episode two was great and definitely a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s always fascinating to see training details and I had no idea that Nick was so involved in her coaching.

I was very excited to see the Euros chapter in episode three but Becky said on her instagram that there are only two episodes. Real shame. Honestly her entire career deserves a documentary as it’s quite the story. My biggest hope for Paris is that she hits her best possible routine in the EF. She’s had enough what ifs to last multiple lifetimes.
 
Last edited:

Welcome to our Gymnastics Message Board

Members see FEWER ads... so join today

Back