Welcome to our Gymnastics Discussion Community
554,231 messages... 44,365 topics... and 6,612 members
Join for FREE!
Thank you for supporting our sponsors Energym Music & Norberts & High 5 Meets!

International Elite Maggie Haney suspended

Gymx2

Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
664
Country
USA

If that doesn’t turn your stomach, nothing will. She should be banned for life and criminal charges should be laid.
This is just brutal to read. Gymnastics culture needs such a major overhaul. I only hope more coaches like Haney are driven out of the sport, while the many fantastic coaches who've found the way to develop athletes in a supportive environment become the norm.
 

bookworm

Well-Known Member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Oct 3, 2009
3,160
On my couch either reading or doing nothing...
Country
USA

If that doesn’t turn your stomach, nothing will. She should be banned for life and criminal charges should be laid.

Haney definitely should be banned for life but I'm having a hard time with jessica Mccusker's response in all this ....despite chatter about Haney's behavior all along (although to be fair, I don't think anyone would imagine she'd be quite as bad as she was, except Levine who was party to it) , Riley is moved to this gym and yes, makes a ton of progress, gets assignments, sees teammates on the National and Olympic teams and when Laurie speaks up, Jessica issues a statement in full support of Maggie .... ok , maybe Riley wasn't subject to her abuse or maybe Haney told them to give a supportive statement ....but when Mccusker finally does talk to USAG , she dimes on others in the gym while still keeping her kid there and doesn't even tell the other families that she threw them under the bus. Thanks a lot .

And then she's chatting back and forth with Forster about Haney's behavior, he's "protecting her at camps and competitions" , other countries are noticing how horrible Haney is behaving .... and Mccusker is STILL at MG Elite! I actually am having a hard time with the parents' response AND Forster's! Not until Haney gets a ban does Riley get pulled from that gym ....seriously, is the Olympics or a D1 scholarship really worth this kind of a sell out? Why Forster didn't step in as he "protected Riley multiple times" is baffling.... Disappointed and appalled are two things that come to mind for these folks who should have been looking out for Riley...

It seems like the lessons we thought USAG learned about medals at any cost really weren't learned at all....
 

Tigtimes

Member
Proud Parent
May 12, 2015
170
Country
USA
Haney definitely should be banned for life but I'm having a hard time with jessica Mccusker's response in all this ....despite chatter about Haney's behavior all along (although to be fair, I don't think anyone would imagine she'd be quite as bad as she was, except Levine who was party to it) , Riley is moved to this gym and yes, makes a ton of progress, gets assignments, sees teammates on the National and Olympic teams and when Laurie speaks up, Jessica issues a statement in full support of Maggie .... ok , maybe Riley wasn't subject to her abuse or maybe Haney told them to give a supportive statement ....but when Mccusker finally does talk to USAG , she dimes on others in the gym while still keeping her kid there and doesn't even tell the other families that she threw them under the bus. Thanks a lot .

I’m with bookworm, that was the same reaction I had while reading the article. Is there that much politics at the elite level, especially during a used to be Olympic year, that would cause a parent to file all these complaints yet keep her kid training with the coach she is reporting?? Could Haney have really tarnished Rileys reputation so much that the parents couldn’t pull her ?
 

TumbleTimes4

Member
Proud Parent
Sep 13, 2016
440
36
Country
USA
If I knew about a child that recently two skull fractures because coaches refused to spot her and then laughed at her, I think a scholarship or an Olympic medal would not be the priority at that point for my child. If another coach wouldn’t take her based on Haney’s word, then we would just be done with gymnastics. Like Laurie said, I have a gold medal, but at what cost?

Is the state now able to file criminal charges, or does one of the parents have to do this in order for criminal charges to be brought against her?
 

Gymx2

Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
664
Country
USA
I'm a little confused after looking up MG Elite on mymeetscores. They don't have all that many level 10s listed, but clearly had high level coaching. I feel like I'm missing something. Did the gym have a different name previously?
 

amiandjim

Active Member
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Apr 18, 2015
1,596
43
Country
USA
I'm a little confused after looking up MG Elite on mymeetscores. They don't have all that many level 10s listed, but clearly had high level coaching. I feel like I'm missing something. Did the gym have a different name previously?

It’s a very small, selective gym that’s part of what is Monmouth Gymnastics, I believe. It’s my understanding that Maggie would take the most talented kids for MG Elite?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gymx2

LJL07

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,608
Country
USA
I’m with bookworm, that was the same reaction I had while reading the article. Is there that much politics at the elite level, especially during a used to be Olympic year, that would cause a parent to file all these complaints yet keep her kid training with the coach she is reporting?? Could Haney have really tarnished Rileys reputation so much that the parents couldn’t pull her ?
Well, look at the photos Tom Forster posted recently. Retaliation is a very REAL concern. I think there are absolutely huge politics at play.
 

LJL07

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,608
Country
USA
Haney definitely should be banned for life but I'm having a hard time with jessica Mccusker's response in all this ....despite chatter about Haney's behavior all along (although to be fair, I don't think anyone would imagine she'd be quite as bad as she was, except Levine who was party to it) , Riley is moved to this gym and yes, makes a ton of progress, gets assignments, sees teammates on the National and Olympic teams and when Laurie speaks up, Jessica issues a statement in full support of Maggie .... ok , maybe Riley wasn't subject to her abuse or maybe Haney told them to give a supportive statement ....but when Mccusker finally does talk to USAG , she dimes on others in the gym while still keeping her kid there and doesn't even tell the other families that she threw them under the bus. Thanks a lot .

And then she's chatting back and forth with Forster about Haney's behavior, he's "protecting her at camps and competitions" , other countries are noticing how horrible Haney is behaving .... and Mccusker is STILL at MG Elite! I actually am having a hard time with the parents' response AND Forster's! Not until Haney gets a ban does Riley get pulled from that gym ....seriously, is the Olympics or a D1 scholarship really worth this kind of a sell out? Why Forster didn't step in as he "protected Riley multiple times" is baffling.... Disappointed and appalled are two things that come to mind for these folks who should have been looking out for Riley...

It seems like the lessons we thought USAG learned about medals at any cost really weren't learned at all....
Purely speculation on my part, but I would bet Haney begged for the statement of support from Jessica McCusker. The grooming and mind games are unreal. Perhaps she thought if she went along with haney’s request for public support, it would protect her daughter. It’s horrifying. All of it.
 

bookworm

Well-Known Member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Oct 3, 2009
3,160
On my couch either reading or doing nothing...
Country
USA
Let me see if I can find them. He posts something about them being “great coaches” and it was shortly before Haney’s hearing.
Here is the link: https://www.ocregister.com/2020/03/...d-maggie-haney-a-great-coach-on-social-media/

And the sick part about his posts is that , at this point, he's already had multiple conversations with Jessica Mccusker about Haney, has "protected Riley at multiple camps" from Haney , is well aware of the complaints from Laurie and several others at that gym about Haney.....but calls her "great"...... I guess my question now is, what the heck is wrong with Forster if this is his idea of great?
 

Sk8ermaiden

Active Member
Proud Parent
May 6, 2013
859
Country
USA
His excuse was something about it just being a general sentiment and not exactly about the coaches pictured, necessarily. :rolleyes:
 

suds

Member
Proud Parent
Jun 26, 2015
136
Country
USA


Disclaimer: I am livid after reading the article and its very disturbing details. Seething and livid.

No one needs to be beaten up to succeed in sports. This ideology that an athlete really needs to suffer to be an Olympian is a lie. - Katherine Starr, an Olympic swimmer" (from the OCR article.) Cross out “an Olympian”, and change it to “a great gymnast” and hopefully more of us parents will understand this truth more clearly, quicker, and that it absolutely pertains to our own (non-Olympic) children.
-> This ideology that an athlete really needs to suffer to be a great gymnast is a lie.
Protestant work ethic this is not. Abuse it is.

Children sequestered away from their parents in order to ‘excel’: the sooner this Eastern Bloc mentality is completely shed the better.
Sequestering of kids is NOT appropriate, for training, for lodging, etc. There is not the credibility within USAG right now for this to continue.
It needs to stop. Now. This is a sport of predominantly children. Act like it.

I suspect USAG fundamentally believes it is financially dependent on this style of elite coaching: via status of the sport, sponsorship deals, etc.
This would explain why USAG is still willing to benefit from the short-term “gain” while leaving athletes with the very, very long-term losses.
Follow the money to find the motive. Support enlightened coaching. There are some magnificent, positive, supportive coaches out there.
Jettison the others, with clear documentation and process, timely proceedings, and much stricter consequences.
How quick and effective the response is reflects how high of a priority something is within the culture of an organization.

Watching an elite competition can be like looking at the Dastardly Dozen of coaches: “That one over there intentionally dropped gymnasts from equipment. That one over there had 2 gymnasts die under his care. That one over there is being investigated for physical and emotional abuse. That one over there….” This is insanity. It needs to stop. Now. If this is what it “takes” to generate elite gymnasts, then it simply is not worth it.

“No one needs to be beaten up to succeed in sports.” This should be posted on every room at USAG and inside every gym.

 

LJL07

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,608
Country
USA
Disclaimer: I am livid after reading the article and its very disturbing details. Seething and livid.

No one needs to be beaten up to succeed in sports. This ideology that an athlete really needs to suffer to be an Olympian is a lie. - Katherine Starr, an Olympic swimmer" (from the OCR article.) Cross out “an Olympian”, and change it to “a great gymnast” and hopefully more of us parents will understand this truth more clearly, quicker, and that it absolutely pertains to our own (non-Olympic) children.
-> This ideology that an athlete really needs to suffer to be a great gymnast is a lie.
Protestant work ethic this is not. Abuse it is.

Children sequestered away from their parents in order to ‘excel’: the sooner this Eastern Bloc mentality is completely shed the better.
Sequestering of kids is NOT appropriate, for training, for lodging, etc. There is not the credibility within USAG right now for this to continue.
It needs to stop. Now. This is a sport of predominantly children. Act like it.

I suspect USAG fundamentally believes it is financially dependent on this style of elite coaching: via status of the sport, sponsorship deals, etc.
This would explain why USAG is still willing to benefit from the short-term “gain” while leaving athletes with the very, very long-term losses.
Follow the money to find the motive. Support enlightened coaching. There are some magnificent, positive, supportive coaches out there.
Jettison the others, with clear documentation and process, timely proceedings, and much stricter consequences.
How quick and effective the response is reflects how high of a priority something is within the culture of an organization.

Watching an elite competition can be like looking at the Dastardly Dozen of coaches: “That one over there intentionally dropped gymnasts from equipment. That one over there had 2 gymnasts die under his care. That one over there is being investigated for physical and emotional abuse. That one over there….” This is insanity. It needs to stop. Now. If this is what it “takes” to generate elite gymnasts, then it simply is not worth it.

“No one needs to be beaten up to succeed in sports.” This should be posted on every room at USAG and inside every gym.
I would also like to know why usag can’t manage the dozens and dozens of complaints JUST LIKE Haney’s. What’s the hold up? It’s like our coach was conferencing with Haney daily to see what new torture techniques she could use. She totally stuck kids in the kitchen for hours if she was displeased. It was also the size of a closet and had two giant overflowing garbage cans, so you can imagine what it smelled like. Some girls spent hours every day in there. If you read the comments on Facebook about this article, similar complaints have had the same experience. Usag does nothing. Our complaint alone got lost completely twice! Is it because it doesn’t involve elite athletes? So if it’s not elite gymnasts, it’s ok to treat little girls like this? I will never understand.
 

Faith

Active Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Aug 17, 2011
2,163
Country
United Kingdom
kids sport is an adult business. Children are the product.

Money and power for the adults. The adults won't get paid if the kids don't win medals. They want kids winning medals now, so the funding continues. It's a big risk to ignore the kids from abusive gyms and hope athletes from the slower developing, kinder gyms catch up.

Then it's self fulfilling. The kids from the abusive gyms rise to the top quickly- they get the national camps, the assignments, the attention, the funding, the physio, the support, and move further in front. Until they break.

In the UK the top kids are lottery funded. Basic level funding is £800 a month tax free, plus free physio, s+c coaches, access to nutritionists, psychotherapists, regular reviews, medicals etc. I know 5 kids on this funding level under 16- one is 12. The politics of the sport means kids from certain clubs are more likely to get the funding- 4 of the above are from the same club. So parents are scared that if they move from that club they risk the funding. If the child loses the support of the coach, or is seen to be "weak" by moving from a gym due to the conditions, they risk the funding.

Adult jobs, a lot of adult jobs, administrators, coaches, physios, medics, depend on the medals. The whole sport is driven my the medals, no money for the adults. The adults don't actually know what goes on in clubs, they just see the kids at comps or camps and pick the shiny ones- they may spout off about recommending so many hours per week, quality not quantity etc, but bottom line is they want the ones that win and it's not in their best interest to look at how that is achieved.

Interestingly, at a major champs broadcast on tv, one commentator made a remark after DD had performed (and I think made a mistake), and naturally went to her coach for feedback- the comment being something like the coach looked scary and the commentator wouldn't like to be in DD's shoes. While the coach I know is abusive would smile and outright ignore her athletes if not pleased. So to an outsider, or in public abuse looks very different to what they think.
 
  • Sad
Reactions: GymMom4 and PinPin

cmg

Member
Proud Parent
Jul 2, 2018
68
61
Country
USA
So I have already commented on the post about USAG developing elite level gymnasts without abuse of any kind. The problem with the coaching style is one of economics, i.e. supply and demand. The coaches that use abusive behavior get results at least for the short term thus creating demand, and parents "supply" their kids to those coaches so their kids can be the next great gymnast or second best get a college scholarship. If everyone stopped taking their kids to such abusive coaches they would not have the economics to stay in business.

I read the Haney article. If parents knew enough to ask doctors to cast their athlete so the coach could not remove a boot or other non-permanent devise for healing, so their kid could still practice than I would say the parents knew enough to take their kid out of an abusive program. I can't even imagine having to ask a doctor to put a cast on my kid's broken foot or arm or what ever injury it was so the coach could not ask my kid to remove the boot and work out anyway. I am sure there were many things the parents did not know. But going to a gym where you could not observe, talking to the coach about issues and then having the coach call out your kid and punish them for the parents intervention, and the many other things that were done, are just total red flags that there are problems. I have heard stories of kids breaking out in hives before practice, having breakdowns, and as this story indicated, wanting to get in a car accident before practice, I just can't imagine the parents not seeing these behaviors. I know when I pick my kid up from gym after about 5 seconds whether my daughter had a good or difficult practice. As she got older she didn't want to talk as much, but I always knew when things were going well or not. And yes sometimes there were issues with the coach about how she said things or not. But I have talked to the coach about issues and I believe that over the long term communication improved. My daughter is old enough now to advocate for herself. Luckily for me she is very strong minded and I think would speak up and call out a coach if they were inappropriate. There have been times when I asked my daughter about going to another gym, but we don't really have a lot of choices and I am glad we have stayed. I think with my daughter's special issues this gym is the best for her. But it was work to create a strong relationship.

So I do believe that USAG has not done enough to create great coaches that can inspire great athletes to the highest levels. What happens at the top trickles down. Ironically the USA has become a gymnastics dynasty despite the sexual abuse scandal and now more and more knowledge of abusive coaching styles. I don't know enough to know if our success is based in large part to abusive coaching styles or not. But I do believe it will be a long time before styles change at the lower levels. That means parents have to advocate for their kids and if kids do make it to an elite gym they will not want to leave even if coaching is abusive if they think they can get to the Olympics. Parents need to make that decision and yes it is hard to tell your kid no. (ironically another post on this forum)
 

UGA2016

New Member
Proud Parent
Mar 21, 2016
44
50
Country
United Kingdom
Purely speculation on my part, but I would bet Haney begged for the statement of support from Jessica McCusker. The grooming and mind games are unreal. Perhaps she thought if she went along with haney’s request for public support, it would protect her daughter. It’s horrifying. All of it.

I can't state that happened in this case, but yes this does happen. Parents are groomed as well as gymnasts - it's scary what a parent will do to show their support for an abusive coach, and it is usually to protect their own child.
 
  • Like
  • Sad
Reactions: PinPin and LJL07

ReluctantGymMom

New Member
Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
14
30
Country
USA
We have a coach whose coaching style can seem like verbal/emotional abuse - no one at our gym would ever tell them to remove braces or boots, but she is not good with smaller children in particular and can be very harsh. Our whole level had an issue with her and 3 kids quit specifically because of her - for 2 years, no parent besides me would complain because she’s also a judge and they didn’t want her giving their kids bad scores out of spite. I have had endless sets of meetings with her and the head coach, and for the first year at least I was definetly seen as “that” mom who complains all the time. We stayed because she does change her behavior, she is very fair when judging even though I’ve clearly been a pain in her *** for the last two years, she’s trying to adapt and my kid doesn’t mind her. I also can’t keep complaining on behalf of other people’s children so their complaint can be put in “anonymously” to avoid retribution ‍♀️ We looked at other gyms within an hour and a half driving radius and all the broken kids from those gyms end up at our gym because of the types of coaches at those gyms. Based on what we’ve seen at competitions and the people we know at other gyms, our options are limited to either “can you personally deal with this woman for another year while she’s your coach or do you want to quit, both options are fine, but there are no other gyms I feel safe taking you to”.

When you can look at 6 or 7 gyms and immediately identify coaching that would be incredibly problematic, you end up feeling kind of stuck.

Most of these coaches are just coaching the way they were coached themselves and that’s not necessarily a good thing
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,720
Country
Canada
Sometimes I look back and realise that it was not worth it. Is it ever worth leaving your kid in bad coaching situations so they can participate in their sport? I might start a new topic on this question.