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Simone Biles Movie & Thoughts on Gymnasts Speaking Up

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josie55

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My dd and I enjoyed the Simone Biles movie on Lifetime the other night. Of course, watching the story unfold and knowing what was going on "behind the scenes" put everything in a different perspective, and I wanted to get some other parent views on something.

In the movie, Simone initially didn't make the national team because she pushed back on doing an amanar, which Marta (and then Aimee) wanted her to do. She thought it was too dangerous. The following year she made the team and Marta said it was because "you learned how to listen."

I'm paraphrasing, of course, and am going off of memory, but it was sort of odd. I think the message in the movie was that Simone was able to achieve success within the US program by listening to the all-knowing Marta, and essentially becoming more obedient. It was like she learned this valuable lesson, and that's what enabled her to succeed.

Now that we're all thinking so much more about the program, and the type of obedience it demands/demanded, it sort of put this whole storyline in a different perspective.

Did any of you watch it and have similar impressions? What do you think about the line between trusting experienced coaches who can push one to be their best, and giving athletes a voice?
 
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MILgymFAM

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My DD and I watched. We didn’t like it, per se, just because of the quality- the Marta actress was terrible and the accent worse, and the rest of the gymnasts bore no resemblance to their real-life counterparts. That said, when it was over my DD said to me that she knew it was supposed to be inspirational (and that Simone truly is!), but the story came off as sad.. she didn’t want to homeschool but did.. she was told she was trading high school experience for college.. but she got neither. She teacher the pinnacle, and her dreams, in the sport.. but we now know at what cost??? My DD was so proud when she refused to do a skill she didn’t feel safe doing, and she didn’t like the implication that she deserved a spot because of obedience. It’s a film we won’t watch a second time.
 
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PRY9

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My take on it was that the script was developed before all of this came out and that was very much a commentary on the obedience demanded to be part of the National Team - but it was as far as the Biles were willing to go at the time. I loved that Simone said no. I have been wondering why there are so many injuries at a gym like Gedderts. Our gym is not a "known" gym, but I've never seen one of our girls - even our 8s, 9s & 10s in a back brace. (I think one of the survivors said in her statement she was the 8th or 9th on her team in a back brace at the same time. I agree the casting was terrible as far as likenesses goes.

What bothered me the most was the choice of prior movie and commercials. Not the best choices considering much of the audience was young girls.
 

NutterButter

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My Dd and I watched too. We both liked it but we did chuckle many times over little gymnastics inaccuracies that you would only know are wrong if you are involved in the sport. In this regard, parts of the movie were cheesy (aren't all of these movies cheesy though?). My DD read the book and a few times pointed out where the movie diverged from the book. My DD has read every Olympic gymnast biography and enjoyed Simone's book the most because she felt like she truly got a glimpse into the life of an elite gymnast, more so that some of the other books. I agree with the sad aspect that @MILgymFAM describes and was struck by this too. Simone's ADHD diagnosis and treatment with meds was part of the movie but it was mostly portrayed with how the meds would help her focus in school. There was one small line about the meds giving her greater focus in the gym and this allowed her skills to blossom. I wondered how much of her seeming inability to listen (according to Marta) was connected to her ADHD vs having a super bubbly personality that may not have been as prevalent at Marta's camps.

@PRY9 - my DH was laughing at the types of commercials. My DD is older so it didn't bother us but it was noted.
 
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MickeyDGym

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Thought the movie was okay. I have read her book but felt the movie just put random scenes together and it lacked depth. I actually enjoyed Gabby’s movie better.
 

GAgymmom

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You can't take the movie version for face value. They add and subtract things for the drama and to make for good viewing. Much like the Gabby Douglas Story, where she walked into the gym right onto the floor with her mom, and immediately began doing back handsprings between the beams while girls were practicing, and the coaches saying, "Hmmm, wow, I say elite in 3 years..." This did not happen in any gym in America. Much the same for the SBS, there is sure to be a lot of embellishment.
 

josie55

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Of course the movie was a story, but what was interesting to me was that the story was clearly developed in the pre-Nassar era of gymnastics, and I am curious about people’s viewpoints on the storyline’s relevance today. To me, the message that success in gymnastics comes from learning obedience is now outdated.
 
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esor

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My DD and I are half way through this movie, and I agree with much of what has been stated above (gymnastics inaccuracies, it is kind of sad, having a different lens with the Nassar stuff, etc). But mostly, I have come to realize that my DD is just like her father. Since he is a former military guy, I can't watch war movies with him because all he does is scoffs and complains about the inaccuracies in war movies. Likewise my DD was complaining the whole time we watched the movie because of how off the gymnastics scenes were! She kept complaining the whole time, except the clips that were really Simone. I dont' think we will be finishing this movie. o_O;)
 

vagymmomma

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We watched it as well on the DVR. This, of course, meant that I got to see how "fake" the gymnastics skills were in slow motion AND at full speed. "See how the glide swing does not come back up?" Geez - it's just a movie (but glad to hear I was not alone in this torture)! One of DD's reactions was surprising. She said, "I didn't know Simone was that mean. She's always smiling. Is she fake?" To this point I wanted to tell to look in a mirror to see a teen who can be a pain in the everywhere. ;) I was surprised at how favorably Marta was portrayed. I assume this follows the discussion in the book. Finally, I wish they would have closed the loop on the ADHD. They seemed to raise it as an issue, but never really discussed the resolution.
 

John

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Agree with everyone. We watched it this morning on a snow day. DD was critical of the gymnastics. DD and I thought Simone was portrayed slightly mean and very whiny.

I assume she wants everyone to know how hard it was to make the necessary decisions to reach her dreams.
 
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Jenn's Jam

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We watched it today, We both liked the Gabby Douglas movie much more-- By far. In this movie she was "The worst one on the team" then "The best gymnast in the world" quite literally about 2 minutes later. The acting was rubbish and I just didn't enjoy it, neither did my DD.
 

PRY9

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The movie only intended to tell Simone's story. I don't think it was meant to be a roadmap for others or a commentary on the current state of gymnastics in the US. It ended at the 2016 Olympics, so of course it doesn't reflect the current situation. I do think the bit about the amanar vault was a "peek behind the curtain", but she plans to return for the 2020 Olympics. She wasn't going to put anything in her movie that might have gotten her blackballed from rejoining the National Team/Olympic Team.

Where is the line though between tough coaching and demanding obedience? In every sport, at every level, there are coaches that are unfair and play favorites. As far as the Simone amanar situation goes - if Marta wanted Simone to do it when she wasn't ready primarily to establish control - I wholeheartedly agree that that is wrong. Sincere question though - what if Marta genuinely didn't think Simone would be enough of an asset to the team to place her on it in lieu of ____________ (whoever wouldn't have made NT if Simone had) without Simone doing the amanar in competition? In that case, wouldn't it be the proper yet tough call that her position required? Simone did majorly upgrade her difficulty in that last year before making the NT. Did she make the team because she was now more of an asset to the team or because of obedience? or maybe both?
 
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