Tag Archives: gymnastics

Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to Larry Nassar dies by suicide after charges

A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar killed himself Thursday, hours after being charged with turning his Michigan gym into a hub of human trafficking by coercing girls to train and then abusing them, authorities said.

John Geddert was supposed to appear in an Eaton County court, near Lansing, Mich. His body was found at a rest area along Interstate 96, according to state police. No other details were immediately released.

“This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Nessel earlier announced that Geddert was charged with two dozen crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise. The charges were the latest fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor now in prison.

Geddert, 63, was head coach of the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal. He was long associated with Nassar, who was the Olympic team’s doctor and also treated injured gymnasts at Twistars, Geddert’s Lansing-area gym.

Among the charges, Geddert was accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar. But the bulk of the case against him involved his gym in Dimondale and how he treated the young athletes whose families paid to have them train under him.

The charges against Geddert had “very little to do” with Nassar, said Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark.

‘It can happen to anyone, anywhere’

Geddert was charged with using his strong reputation in gymnastics to commit a form of human trafficking by making money through the forced labour of young athletes.

“The victims suffer from disordered eating, including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault,” Nessel said.

“Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behaviour to this day.”

The attorney general acknowledged that the case might not fit the common understanding of human trafficking.

“We think of it predominantly as affecting people of colour or those without means to protect themselves … but honestly it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” she said. “Young, impressionable women may at times be vulnerable and open to trafficking crimes, regardless of their stature in the community or the financial well-being of their families.”

Geddert was suspended by Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal. In 2018, he told families he was retiring.

On his LinkedIn page, Geddert described himself as the “most decorated women’s gymnastics coach in Michigan gymnastics history.” He said his Twistars teams won 130 club championships.

But Geddert was often portrayed in unflattering ways when Nassar’s victims spoke during court hearings in 2018.

“What a great best friend John was to Larry for giving him an entire world where he was able to abuse so easily,” said gymnast Lindsey Lemke. “You two sure do have a funny meaning of friendship. You, John Geddert, also deserve to sit behind bars right next to Larry.”

Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse in 2016, said she was proud of the women who stepped forward against Geddert.

“So much pain and grief for everyone,” she said on Twitter after Geddert’s death. “To the survivors, you have been heard and believed, and we stand with you.”

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Simone Biles slams USA gymnastics over ‘happy birthday’ tweet

Simone Biles sent USA Gymnastics spinning on Saturday.

After receiving a tweet from the organization wishing her a happy birthday, the five-time Olympic medallist pulled no punches.


“How about you amaze me and do the right thing – have an independent investigation,” said the 23-year-old American.

Biles, who broke the all-time record for most medals by any gymnast (25, 19 of which are gold) at the world championships last October, is among the over 250 athletes sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the ex-USA Gymnastics doctor who was sentenced to up to 175 years in 2018.

WATCH | Biles takes gold in floor exercise, sets record with 25th gold:

American gymnast Simone Biles won the gold medal in the floor exercise on Sunday to set the all-time record for most medals at the world championships. 5:36

In an effort to close the dark and painful chapter, USA Gymnastics has proposed a multimillion-dollar settlement.

However, Biles along with Aly Raisman, another Olympic gold medallist, and many others, have continued to demand answers over how Nassar could molest hundreds of girls and women without any oversight.

Details of USA Gymnastics’ $ 217 million US settlement offer became public last month. It includes, according to the New York Times, an offer to release various people involved with the case from legal liability.

But the offer, says the Times, does not appear to require Olympic or gymnastic officials to disclose information that might shed light on how Nassar was allowed to continue assaulting athletes under the guise of medical treatment over so many years.  

While the lack of information has been troublesome for Biles, she continues to train for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. And, of course, she is also taking the time to properly celebrate her Jordan year. 


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Simone Biles Fires Back at USA Gymnastics for Birthday Tribute Amid Larry Nassar Settlement

Simone Biles Fires Back at USA Gymnastics for Birthday Tribute Amid Larry Nassar Settlement | Entertainment Tonight

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Gymnastics for seniors promotes balance and flexibility instead of back flips

Eleanor Grant has two grandchildren under the age of two and she wants to be able to keep up with them — so she decided to take up gymnastics at age 77.

Grant is participating in a new gymnastics program for seniors offered by Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics. The classes, provided for free, are not your average gymnastics lessons with high bars and trampolines, but are designed to improve balance and coordination for people 65 and over.

“I know that I have to continue to stay active if I want to age well and stay mobile,” said Grant, adding better balance and endurance will help her play with her grand kids. 

Grant was attending her second class, taught by Phoenix’s therapeutic gymnastics coordinator, Alyssa Quattrociocchi.


“Being in fit condition and having better endurance and balance is very important to me in my interactions with them,” said Eleanor Grant about keeping up with her grandchildren. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

She said the classes focus on strength exercises and balance improvement, which includes lots of stretching and movements like backwards walking. There are also exercises designed to help seniors prevent falls and get up more easily if they do fall down. 

“It’s not so much the gymnastics that you might see on TV, it’s more building their fitness and strength,” said Quattrociocchi, adding she has seen improvements already in just one week.

Shannon Wong, 69, said she is not as steady in her senior years as she thought she would be and the classes are already helping.

“The first week you are a little unsteady and the second week you are feeling a little more confident … so I expect by the end I’ll be doing great,” said Wong.


“You realize as you progress in age some things are more difficult, even your balance,” said pariticpant Shannon Wong who said she feels more confident after just one class. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Class participants also have some interaction with children’s classes that share the gym.

‘The smiles that came up on the seniors’ faces when the little three- and four-year-olds came to help them clean up, they had the biggest smiles from that,” said Quattrociocchi.

The program was developed by the Delta Gymnastics Society and the gym is located at 4588 Clancy Loranger Way, in Queen Elizabeth Park. For more information click here.

Listen to a short radio documentary on the program from CBC’s The Early Edition below:

Story producer Rachel Sanders brings us this story from Millennium gym where seniors are trying out the brand news fitness program. 5:37

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Simone Biles sets new all-time medals mark with 2 more gold at gymnastics worlds

Simone Biles broke the all-time record for most medals by any gymnast at the world championships by winning the balance beam competition Sunday.

But Biles wasn’t done yet, adding a gold in the floor exercise for her 25th world championship medal.

Sunday’s medal performances broke a tie on 23 with the Belarusian men’s gymnast Vitaly Scherbo.

Biles scored 15.066 on the beam after a near-flawless routine, opting for a simpler dismount than the double-double she performed earlier in the championships.

China took silver and bronze with Liu Tingting on 14.433 and Li Shijia on 14.3, respectively.

The floor exercise win was the fifth victory for Biles at these world championships after team gold Tuesday, individual all-around gold Thursday and vault gold Saturday, and balance beam gold.

A fifth place on uneven bars Saturday ended Biles’ chances of winning a medal in all six events, which she did last year in her comeback world championships after a sabbatical in 2017.

Of her 25 career world medals, 19 are gold, against 12 of 23 for Scherbo.

WATCH | Biles ties all-time medals record:

American Simone Biles bounced her way to another medal, this one a gold in the vault at the 2019 artistic gymnastics world championships. It was the 23rd medal of her career, tying the all-time record. 1:00

Earlier, Russia’s Nikita Nagornyy won the men’s vault for this third gold medal of the championships. He’s the first European man to win the vault since 2010.

Nagornyy scored an average 14.966 from his two vaults, beating his friend and Russian teammate Artur Dalaloyan into second place. The bronze went to Ukraine’s Igor Radivilov.

The 38-year-old Romanian Marian Dragulescu, a four-time world champion, secured qualification for his fifth Olympics by placing fourth.

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Simone Biles matches all-time medals mark with another gold at gymnastics worlds

Simone Biles won the women’s vault competition at the gymnastics world championships on Saturday to tie the record for most world medals by any gymnast, but couldn’t add another in the uneven bars.

Biles successfully defended her vault title on Saturday by sticking the landing on her two vaults, a Cheng and an Amanar, for a score of 15.399. Biles’ U.S. teammate Jade Carey took the silver on 14.883, with Ellie Downie of Britain third on 14.816.

WATCH | Biles ties all-time medals record:

American Simone Biles bounced her way to another medal, this one a gold in the vault at the 2019 artistic gymnastics world championships. It was the 23rd medal of her career, tying the all-time record. 1:00

That took Biles to 23 career world championship medals, equalling the mark set by Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo for any gymnast, male or female.

Canada’s Shallon Olsen was fourth with 14.733 points.

Olsen, who took home a silver medal from the vault finals at the 2018 World Championships, scored a 14.600 on her first run and 14.866 on her second run.

“Today went really good. I had a few little mistakes, but I’m just going to work harder for next time,” Olsen said. “It was a great opportunity to compete with the best in the world, and it was a huge blessing to compete for Canada with my teammates supporting me.”

WATCH | Olsen just misses podium:

Olsen scored a 14.600 on her first run and 14.866 on her second run but just missed the bronze medal.   3:30

The 22-year-old American had the chance to make it 24 in the uneven bars, but couldn’t repeat her silver-medal performance from last year and finished fifth.

Belgian uneven bars specialist Nina Derwael retained her world title with a score of 15.233, ahead of Britain’s Becky Downie on 15, one of two sisters to win medals Saturday. Sunisa Lee took bronze for the U.S. on 14.8.

Scherbo’s advantage

Biles scored 14.7, finishing by sticking the landing on a dismount with two flips and two twists. The uneven bars has traditionally been her weakest event and was the only one in which she didn’t win a medal at the 2016 Olympics.

Of Biles’ 23 world championship medals, 17 are gold against 11 for Scherbo, who won his from 1991 through 1996. Scherbo competed at four world championships, against Biles’ five, but the men’s program contains more events.

Biles came into the world championships tied as women’s record-holder on 20 with Svetlana Khorkina, but broke the tie with team gold Tuesday before winning her fifth individual all-around gold two days later.

A year after becoming the Philippines’ first gymnast to win a medal, Carlos Yulo became his country’s first world champion with victory in the men’s floor exercise.

Whitlock wins 3rd pommel horse

Last year’s bronze medallist, Yulo performed the most difficult routine of any of the eight finalists to score 15.3 and beat Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat by one-tenth of a point. Xiao Ruoteng of China took bronze with 14.933.

Yulo said he hoped his win would improve the popularity of gymnastics in the Philippines.

“Filipinos, they like basketball, but we’re small. Maybe they should try gymnastics first. It’s more fun,” said Yulo, who trains in Japan.

Britain’s Olympic champion Max Whitlock won his third world title in pommel horse, scoring 15.5 with a near-flawless routine.

Lee Chih-Kai took silver for Taiwan on 15.433, while Rhys McClenaghan won the bronze on 15.4 as the first Irish gymnast ever to compete in a world championship final.

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Watch the 2019 artistic gymnastics world championships

Gymnastics·Coming Up

Watch coverage of the men’s team event final from the artistic gymnastics world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

Coverage begins at 7:45 ET Wednesday

Men’s Team Final is showcased on today’s stream of the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships from Stuttgart, Germany. 0:00

Click on the video player above to watch live action of the men’s team final at the artistic gymnastics world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

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Ellie Black makes history with back-to-back Pan Am all-around gymnastics titles

Halifax gymnast Ellie Black made history by defending her Pan Am Games women’s all-around title on Monday.

Black, 23, scored 55.250 points to edge American Riley McCusker (55.125) for top spot to become the first woman ever to repeat as champion in the all-around event, having also done so in Toronto in 2015. Brazil’s Flavia Saraiva was third with 54.350 points.

Top scores on vault and uneven bars gave Black a sizable lead after two rotations, and she was able to withstand strong beam and floor routines form McCusker.

“Vault and bars were really strong for me. I was really happy with those,” Black said. “On beam I was able to fix up one little mistake that I had made during the qualifications. On floor, I had kind of a little ‘oopsie’ as I landed outside of the floor when I landed one of my tumbles.”

Victoria Woo of Montreal was eighth.

It’s Black’s seventh Pan Am medal overall and second of these games. She helped Canada win silver in the women’s team event on Saturday.

“I really just wanted to enjoy it today and wanted to fix some things from my routines from day one [and] just continue to build towards the world championships,” Black said.

WATCH | Ellie Black captures gold in indivdual all-around:

Canada’s Ellie Back earns her 2nd medal at the 2019 Pan Games with a golden performance in the women’s individual all-around final. 1:01

Black will return to action Tuesday in the vault and uneven bars finals. Her next major competition will be the worlds in October in Stuttgart, Germany.

On the men’s side, Cory Paterson picked up his second bronze medal in as many days with his performance in the all-around competition.

Paterson helped Canada to a third-place finish in the artistic team event on Sunday. 

Also Monday, star water skier Whitney McClintock-Rini of Cambridge Ont., earned a pair of silver medals, taking second in women’s jump and women’s slalom. Those results increased her Pan Am medal total to 13 since making her debut at the 2007 Rio de Janeiro games.

McClintock, 29, is appearing at a Pan Am Games without her brother Jason — himself a decorated water skier — for the first time. But her stepdaughter, Paige Rini of Kingston, Ont., kept the family legacy going with bronze medals in slalom and tricks in her Pan Am Games debut.

“This is my first event competing without my brother and now my stepdaughter is on the team and it’s so cool, because we have our family everywhere you go and it just feels like home,” McClintock-Rini said.

“Like literally she skied right before me. So it’s really cool to have her here and even better to watch her be so successful and it’ll make it easier for me to transition out knowing that she’s coming up to take my place.”

McClintock-Rini and Rini will compete Tuesday in the women’s overall competition.

Also Monday, Calgary’s Stephen Neveau took silver in men’s slalom and Dorien Llewellyn of Innisfail, Alta., took silver in men’s tricks.

Canoe

Canadian canoeists and kayakers added three silver and two bronze medals to the overall haul.

Drew Hodges won his second medal of the Lima games with a third-place finish in the men’s C1 1,000 metres. Hodges teamed with Craig Spence for silver in the C2 1,000 on Saturday.

“It’s good for me and Craig as well, and for myself in C1,” Hodges said. “It shows that we’re on the right path to where we want to be. Moving forward we can take away from this some key things and work on that next year and hopefully be at the Tokyo Games.”

Andreanne Langlois of Lac Beauport, Que., (women’s K1 500m), Marshall Hughes of St. John’s, N.L., (men’s K1 1,000) and the team of Jacob Steele of Halifax and Jarret Kenke of Saskatoon (men’s K2 1,000) claimed silver medals. Anne Lavoie-Parent of Trois-Rivieres, Que., and Rowan Hardy-Kavanagh of Ottawa had Canada’s other bronze in the women’s C2 500.

Equestrian 

Canada’s dressage team punched its ticket to the 2020 Olympics with a gold-medal performance on Monday.

Toronto’s Lindsay Kellock, Tina Irwin of Stoufville, Ont., Montreal’s Naima Moreira-Laliberte and Jill Irving of Moncton, N.B., scored 220.287 points for the win ahead of the United States (217.821) and Brazil (204.223).


Handball

Canada was edged 24-23 by the Dominican Republic in women’s handball action. Nassima Benhacine of Chambly, Que., led Canada with eight goals on 10 shots. Canada next plays Peru in the seventh-place match.

Field hockey

Brienne Stairs scored on all three of her shots and Kaitlyn Williams picked up the clean sheet as Canada blanked Cuba 10-0 in a women’s preliminary match. Canada’s next match is Wednesday against powerful Argentina.

Triathlon

Canada picked up silver in the mixed relay. The team of Desirae Ridenour of Cowichan Bay, B.C., Hannah Henry of Victoria, Charles Paquet of Port Cartier, Que., and Alexis Lepage of Gatineau, Que., finished behind Brazil and ahead of Mexico.

“I knew I had some work to do on the swim and bike if we wanted to get a medal,” said Lepage, who had the anchor leg. “I knew I needed to go hard. … It was a great day for our entire team.”

The mixed relay, in which each athlete completes a mini-triathlon of a 300-metre swim, 6.6-kilometre bike ride and 1.5-kilometre run before tagging a teammate, makes its Olympic debut next year in Tokyo.

Baseball

The Canada’s men’s baseball team opened their tournament with a victory.

Phillippe Aumont of Gatineau, Que., tossed six scoreless innings while Tristan Pompey of Mississauga, Ont., went 4 for 4 with two RBIs to lead the way in a 10-0 win over Argentina.

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Dave Brubaker, ex-Canadian gymnastics coach, acquitted of sex-related charges

Former Canadian Olympic women's gymnastics coach Dave Brubaker was found not guilty today of two sex assault charges levelled by a former athlete.

Brubaker had pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and sexual exploitation relating to the alleged incidents between 2000 and 2007.

Justice Deborah Austin, in delivering her decision inside a Sarnia, Ont., courtroom on Wednesday, gave a scathing critique of how the lead officer handled the investigation.

The judge wondered about the "tainting of evidence" after explaining a scenario by which a police officer shared a written Brubaker apology with the complainant and others.

Austin also made it clear in her analysis that there were serious problems with the lead officer and complainant having a familiar relationship, and the fact it was disclosed late in the trial.

Gymnastics Canada launching internal probe

In a statement, Gymnastics Canada announced it would conduct an internal investigation in accordance with its Code of Ethics and Conduct and Discipline policies.
 
"Gymnastics Canada acknowledges, understands, and remains committed to our responsibility in creating and preserving gymnastics environments that ensure positive, healthy, and fulfilling experiences for all of our participants," read the statement. "Together with our provincial and territorial partners and member clubs, we are continuing to implement a safe sport framework for gymnastics across the country.

"This framework includes tools to assist parents and other responsible adults to identify potentially unsafe situations and take proactive steps to ensure the safety of the athletes; providing confidential channels for athletes to communicate concerns with respect to their safety and well-being without risk of reprisals; and utilizing the appropriate enforcement mechanisms for addressing individuals who breach safe sport policies.
 
"We remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that inappropriate and harmful conduct is dealt with immediately and effectively. Gymnastics Canada considers the safety and well-being of all participants as our top priority."

Complainant initiated kisses, Brubaker said

In the case involving Brubaker, the national women's coach at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, the complainant told the court that from the time she was 12, he would commonly greet her with a kiss on the lips.

Brubaker didn't deny this.

"I think it was just out of habit … that she started to kiss me," Brubaker said, insisting the kisses were innocent. "I don't come from a kissy family, so to me it's just part of the gymnast culture. It's not something I need as a man."

Brubaker told the court the complainant initiated the kisses after a competition in Europe.

Brubaker’s wife Liz, who worked alongside her husband, testified she found nothing odd about the kisses, but acknowledged her husband kissed other students only on the cheek.

Brubaker's wife suspended

Last month, Gymnastics Canada suspended Liz Brubaker, who isn't facing criminal charges, from her coaching job with the Bluewater Gymnastics Club in Sarnia.

In a statement, Gymnastics Canada said it suspended her after receiving "a number of written formal complaints… that outlined alleged violations of Gymnastics Canada's ethics and code of conduct policies over an extended period of time a number of years ago."

The complainant in her husband's case is now in her 30s, and cannot be named under a publication ban. She also alleged Dave Brubaker touched her inappropriately while treating her for persistent pain and soreness.

Brubaker, the women's national team director at last year's world championships in Montreal, also vehemently denied this. But at the same time, an expert witness told the court that treatment, often in sensitive areas, is an integral and necessary part of maintaining the body of an elite gymnast.

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Wife of gymnastics coach on trial for sexual assault suspended from coaching

The wife of a former national gymnastics coach undergoing trial for sexual assault has been suspended by Gymnastics Canada. 

The suspension of Elizabeth Brubaker, a coach at the Bluewater Gymnastics Club in Sarnia, Ont., comes less than a month before her husband, Dave Brubaker, will learn his fate in a Sarnia court. Dave Brubaker is a former Olympic women's gymnastics coach who has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation. Elizabeth Brubaker is facing no criminal charges.

A judge is expected to hand down a verdict on the charges facing Dave Brubaker on Feb. 13.

In a statement Monday afternoon, Gymnastics Canada said it suspended Elizabeth Brubaker after receiving "a number of written formal complaints… that outlined alleged violations of Gymnastics Canada's ethics and code of conduct policies over an extended period of time a number of years ago."

Gymnastics Ontario wouldn't elaborate on the nature of the complaints but said the provisional suspension "is in keeping with Gymnastics Canada's complaint management protocol." An investigation into the complaints is expected to take up to a month to complete.

"In the meantime, Gymnastics Canada and Gymnastics Ontario will work closely with the Bluewater Club to ensure that the competition and training needs of all athletes in the Club remain well served," the Gymnastics Canada statement said.

Elizabeth Brubaker has also been provisionally suspended by Gymnastics Ontario and the Bluewater Gymnastics Club.

Coached at Rio Olympics

The complainant in the case against Dave Brubaker testified in court in December that Brubaker touched her inappropriately during sports massages, starting when she was 12 years old. Brubaker denies the charges, but admitted that he would kiss the complainant on the lips to say hello and goodbye.

The charges relate to alleged incidents between 2000 and 2007. The complainant is now in her 30s.

Brubaker was Canada's head gymnastics coach at the 2016 Rio Olympics and was the women's national team director at the last year's world championships in Montreal, where Halifax native Ellie Black captured the women's all-around silver medal.

Dave Brubaker has been placed on administrative leave by Gymnastics Ontario.

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