John Geddert, coach to Jordyn Wieber has posted his latest blog post and discusses life after the Olympic Games. In it, he interesting addresses the media at the London Olympic Games, citing it as his biggest disappointment of the Games. An issue many bloggers have come across before, is being declined press accrediation to international gymnastics events, knowing that main stream journalists have been granted accreditation but are not all that knowledgable of the sport they are covering. I myself have been at events and experienced this, at the London 2012 Test Event, MAG European Championships and Glasgow World Cup I have been asked by journalists of very well known papers “who is that gymnast?”, “what is that she’s doing?” or “that long thing she ‘s walking on, that’s the bars right?” and yet bloggers are still refused places at international events.
Someone asked what the biggest disappointment of the Olympics game was for me personally. I would have to say it was the media or more specifically the media that had no business covering a sport that they knew absolutely nothing about. Let me preface this by saying that there are some fantastic journalists, and bloggers out there that know our sport, and those that take the time to learn all they can about it. This of course puts them in a much better position of reporting accurately. Others, who claim to be professional, take the easy road and focus on the overstated, over dramatized sensationalistic approach. One such “professional” was Bill Reiter of Fox Sports. Not only did he call Jordyn the biggest disappointment of the Olympics, he also characterized me as making excuses for my athlete. Neither is even close to the truth. The entire 4 week process leading up to the games, Jordyn started having issues that presented themselves as a potential stress fracture of the fibula. We of course had to adjust training to compensate and in my opinion this certainly had an impact on her performance. This is not an excuse but mere fact. Post Olympics MRI discovered that indeed she had a full fracture. Now you try doing a Amanar or a Double Double on a broken leg Mr Reiter…. Jordyn endured with the heart of determination of a champion and is by no means a disappointment to anyone.
Back to the media. Never once did we focus on the training issues. Never once did we allude to the injury as a justification for not attaining the medals that “THE MEDIA” said were certainties. We focused on contributing the best that we could. After event finals I didn’t feel the need to rehash Jordyn’s disappointments again but was specifically asked to talk to the media. From the opening question everything centered around the “injury”. I made a specific point that we would not be making any excuses … the result were what they were and we congratulated the medal winners. I did answer questions honestly when asked about the injury. I stated that it looked as if Jordyn had been dealing with a potential stress fracture for 3-4 weeks BUT wild horses would not have kept her from competing. I was asked the question as to whether or not Jordyn would have competed IF this wasn’t the Olympics… the answer was “of course not”. This is the problem with dealing with media… you answer questions that they ask… you try to be as honest as possible… and then they (Mr. Rieter) sensationalize your answers to fit the story they think will create the biggest stir. Mr. Reiter not only twisted my words but he misrepresented my message, all for the drama impact. Shame on you sir and for your unprofessionalism and heartlessness I dub thee “the biggest disappointment of the Olympics”.
John has often linked to and retweeted bloggers and is obviously respectful of our work.
In regards to Bill Rieter’s comments on Jordyn Wieber, dubbing her as the “biggest disappointment of the Olympics”, that is one reason why I am very careful as to what I post about gymnasts. You may think of me as “being afraid to speak my mind” but the fact is that the gymnasts do read alot of what is written about them online and at the end of the day, like me, they are someone’s daughter, they too are real people with emotions.
Some of the content that is written online about gymnasts, past and present, borderlines on bullying and can be hurtful, it pains me to read it. It’s not so much like the phrase “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all” but I think in terms of my own gymnasts, some of them could be stars of the future or could represent their country and comments can be damaging and hurtful, many gymnasts struggle with confidence issues as it is.
Thanks to John for supporting us bloggers and appreciating our work. Read more here: POST OLYMPICS – COMMENTS.
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