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LJL07

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Jan 27, 2014
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And sometimes if they condition the children from a young enough age, the kids don't even realize it's something of note that they should tell about. There were SO many things that happened at my child's first gym that my kid would tell me about, and I would tell the other parents about, and they would be shocked and disbelieving, but when asked, their own children would confirm it. The kids were 5-7 years old.
Yes. There was an incident that happened to my daughter that most of the girls witnessed. This incident was what compelled me to report the coach. I didn’t find out about it until almost a year after we had left the gym. The kids were very afraid to tell their parents. It turned out that the coach did the exact same thing (involved physical and emotional abuse) to two other children, and the kids didn’t say a word. They all knew that if they told and the parents confronted the coaches that the coach would probably lie and/or distort the truth and then take it out on the kids. I think others have spoken to how these situations are not as black and white as you’d like to think. It’s not cut and dry at all.
 
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doublestrike

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Jun 16, 2018
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#gymnastalliance #azariangymnastics is where the IG posts are popping up from gymnasts and parents.
 
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Puff

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Aug 16, 2014
15
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USA
And everywhere this is being commented upon, the overwhelming response is favoritism, anger, bullying, and Vanessa Gonzalez. She has been running the show there for many years, even though Perry was the head coach.
 
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Sk8ermaiden

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May 6, 2013
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:( :( :( :(

We are just going to see more and more of these stories. The more athletes come out and are actually taken seriously and listened to, finally, the more are going to be willing to come forward.
 

Puff

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Aug 16, 2014
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USA
We wondered if the throwing of shoes and the standing with your nose against the wall because Vanessa “didn’t want to see your face” would be in there. We aren’t even participants in the investigation, but reading the article to my daughter tonight was like being back at Azarian again. It’s all true.
 

doublestrike

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Jun 16, 2018
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I heard of some of these stories thru the CA grapevine and initially was most disturbed by the overt favoritism to the detriment of other gymnasts, pressuring of gymnasts to go to schools they didn’t want to go to but the tickling thing of teenaged gymnasts by a grown man is beyond creepy. Just ick and I don’t think that is typical of most gyms at all.
 

flippin out

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Sep 26, 2011
614
Yes. @doublestrike the “tickling” was disturbing to me as well. Here’s the thing, maybe outside of a coach/gymnast scenario tickling may be funny to some. But I have a huge issue with an adult telling kids to forcibly hold down another child while the touch them against their will. In any setting this is so bad! When a child is being held down and forcibly tickled I don’t find that funny....I find that disturbing trait. Your telling a kid that her personal space means absolutely nothing. That the coach/adult has more rights over their body than they themselves do. That is not anything a coach (or any adult) should do....don’t care if some girls were ok with it and thought it funny. It’s just a very bad practice and any coach/teacher should know that!
 

lostinfog

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May 3, 2020
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Gosh where to even start. I’m disgusted by the nose to wall while teammates and coaches belittle, the 7 year old alone in the parking lot, not to mention the physical. Now, I see why the once active member here was always so against parents coming into the gym. I can’t even imagine as a parent having to find out your child has gone through something like this. Is there even really a safe sport that exists?
 

Sk8ermaiden

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May 6, 2013
855
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I was thinking the exact same thing. When I came here, 6ish years ago, the CONSTANT refrain was "Don't watch practice." "Parents shouldn't watch practice." "It's not good for you to watch practice." (From EVERYONE.) And how glad I am that that has calmed the heck down.

And certainly there are people or times where that is true, but coming from coaches or gyms it is not OK unless the parent is either distracting the kid, or is overinvested in how the child is doing, counting turns, that kind of thing. As a parent you have to be vigilant. "I trust my kid's coaches" is my least favorite statement. Of course you do, or you'd be a terrible parent for letting them train with them. But all the parents trusted these coaches too. It's your job to check in sometimes and not just the first or last 15 minutes of practice.

The tickling is so upsetting. A little tickle while a kid walks by wouldn't even raise my eyebrow at all, but holding them down while they're begging you to stop is so far past OK. And it had to be obvious they didn't like it because their teammates tried to refuse to participate. Ugh, the messages that sends about the gymnasts' lack of control or autonomy is so, so gross.

There is a coach in our city, who I have never heard anything bad about, but he has a birthday tradition where the birthday gymnast crawls through a tunnel made by the team straddle-standing. And as she passes each one, they spank her with their chalky hand, and then he often takes a picture of the result and posts on social media with birthday wishes. It sends up all my red flags. Even if it is innocent (though VERY poorly thought through), how many young girls are going to be confident enough to say they're not comfortable doing that? Ugh.
 

Sk8ermaiden

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May 6, 2013
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No, there are no safe sports that exist, because people with power complexes, and people who wish to victimize children, choose jobs that give them easy access. Certainly in every sport you can find safe places though.
 

kendo348

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Aug 5, 2019
125
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USA
Yes. @doublestrike the “tickling” was disturbing to me as well. Here’s the thing, maybe outside of a coach/gymnast scenario tickling may be funny to some. But I have a huge issue with an adult telling kids to forcibly hold down another child while the touch them against their will. In any setting this is so bad! When a child is being held down and forcibly tickled I don’t find that funny....I find that disturbing trait. Your telling a kid that her personal space means absolutely nothing. That the coach/adult has more rights over their body than they themselves do. That is not anything a coach (or any adult) should do....don’t care if some girls were ok with it and thought it funny. It’s just a very bad practice and any coach/teacher should know that!
Amen. Also, while in this case the tickling was clearly used as punishment, abusers often see it as a grooming tactic with an easy escape route - “we were just having fun!” That same excuse could and probably will be used in this situation. Yet there is never a legitimate reason for a grown man in a professional role (and IMO any other role either) to be tickling a teenage girl, and it should always raise warning bells. Even if nothing else specifically wrong is happening it is a sign of a lack of respect for other people’s physical rights. There was a teacher in my high school who managed to always hang out in groups of girls and he joked and tickled often. Nobody else seemed bothered by it; he was the party teacher. He happened to teach a subject I excelled in and my senior year I was the only student in the school ready for the next course level so he offered me “private lessons.” I would have loved to take the course but I turned him down solely because the tickling set off warning bells that I didn’t even consciously realize at the time, but I knew something wasn’t right. A few years after I graduated he was fired and facing assault charges.
 

MILgymFAM

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Feb 6, 2014
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I was thinking the exact same thing. When I came here, 6ish years ago, the CONSTANT refrain was "Don't watch practice." "Parents shouldn't watch practice." "It's not good for you to watch practice." (From EVERYONE.) And how glad I am that that has calmed the heck down.

And certainly there are people or times where that is true, but coming from coaches or gyms it is not OK unless the parent is either distracting the kid, or is overinvested in how the child is doing, counting turns, that kind of thing. As a parent you have to be vigilant. "I trust my kid's coaches" is my least favorite statement. Of course you do, or you'd be a terrible parent for letting them train with them. But all the parents trusted these coaches too. It's your job to check in sometimes and not just the first or last 15 minutes of practice.

The tickling is so upsetting. A little tickle while a kid walks by wouldn't even raise my eyebrow at all, but holding them down while they're begging you to stop is so far past OK. And it had to be obvious they didn't like it because their teammates tried to refuse to participate. Ugh, the messages that sends about the gymnasts' lack of control or autonomy is so, so gross.

There is a coach in our city, who I have never heard anything bad about, but he has a birthday tradition where the birthday gymnast crawls through a tunnel made by the team straddle-standing. And as she passes each one, they spank her with their chalky hand, and then he often takes a picture of the result and posts on social media with birthday wishes. It sends up all my red flags. Even if it is innocent (though VERY poorly thought through), how many young girls are going to be confident enough to say they're not comfortable doing that? Ugh.
The birthday spanking we’re actually a tradition at my daughter’s first gym. I will say the girls seemed to be empowered to decline and it was a mix of girls who did it and girls who didn’t. And definitely no pics. I didn’t like it, but since it wasn’t forced and everyone’s parents were around I didn’t make a splash.
 

Shybug

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Sep 17, 2020
3
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I read on a seperate message board that this whole place should be shutdown given how long this has gone on and how many complaints there have been. What is everyone's thoughts on that?
 

suds

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Jun 26, 2015
134
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USA
The article was updated this morning with this picture! This is horrible!


That is child abuse. The image is essentially textbook for an example of a reportable clinical finding.

Definitions:
Physical abuse: http://www.thecapcenter.org/why/types-of-abuse/physical-abuse
Emotional abuse: http://www.thecapcenter.org/why/types-of-abuse/emotional-abuse

Note the list under definition of Emotional Abuse includes:
  • Belittling
  • Blaming
  • Sarcasm
  • Rejection
  • Corruption
  • Screaming
  • Humiliation
  • Threatening
  • Name calling
  • Unpredictable responses
Mandated reporters, in California, include "Directors, employees, and volunteers at entities that provide organized activities for children, such as camps, day camps, youth centers, and recreation centers" Source: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/manda.pdf#page=2&view=Professionals required to report




 
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doublestrike

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Jun 16, 2018
126
56
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USA
I’m in shock as well, my daughter knows some of these gymnasts, competed against and with them for years and I knew of some of the issues which now seem minor. I had no idea about the continued physical assault which is slapping, holding a child against her will to “tickle” her. It’s all verified. I can’t imagine it stays open.
 
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jamieintexas

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Coach
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Sep 30, 2017
110
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USA
There are times when I have left a mark on a child, always when catching them during what was going to be a bad fall. I still feel guilty until the bruise or mark goes away. That picture makes me ill. WTH is wrong with people.
Forcing a little girl to wait in a dark parking lot for her parent!
Teaching girls that they don’t have the right to say no!
 
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