FINALLY created a stand-alone blog for my obsession with gymnastics. So, if you’re a blog relating to:
-The Final Five
PLEASE reblog/like this so I can follow you!
It’s interesting to me that so many people are ready to give Ms. Val the boot from UCLA. I feel like you guys are forgetting the business aspect at play here: Ms. Val has effectively created a gymnastics program whose draw and prestige doesn’t depend on winning a national title.
Most high achieving / well known sports programs are that way because they have a strong foundation of winning big. And that drives viewer interest / ticket sales and marketing opportunity. Most importantly it drives recruitment. Good athletes naturally want to go to a school and team that they can win with.
UCLA has essentially beaten that system. Yes, they do still have to deliver and not making it to Nationals so consistently would be highly problematic, but they don’t have to be crowned national champions, or even division champions to maintain what they have.
People are going to be fans of the team because they have former elites competing. People are going to buy tickets to see them up close and having fun in a smaller arena. And elite gymnastics are still going to want to go to UCLA because Ms. Val has a fun quirky program that lets them throw dream skills like Katelyn Ohashis full on beam and have “unique” chorography by the one and only Ms. Val. And ex-elites bring their other big name friends with them. People love it that Simone shows up to watch a meet. And Jordyn Wieber still has a place in the picture as the team manager even though she can’t compete. One more Olympian for the crowds to pay to come see.
Ever notice that this is the team being talked about on Ellen? Or that publications that generally just cover Olympic contenders is writing pieces on Kyla and Maddie’s transitions to college? All of this is great publicity for UCLA, and in a time where gymnastics programs are being cut left and right for not making enough money, I’m sure it looks great to the athletic directors office. Probably even better then a national championship of a sport that most people (sadly) don’t watch outside of an Olympic year.
Is UCLA not living up to their potential? Yes. Do they probably need to work on mental strength and conditioning? Undoubtedly. But do they need to oust the head coach that created a dream marketing opportunity and herself is a huge reason recruites come to the school. Absolutely not. And it’s not going to happen.