For Parents twitter post from recent D1 grad

flippin out

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Ok....I don’t want to be the one always sharing negative posts, but thought this may be relevant to many. This is a post from a recent grad of a D1 school. Please know that not all D1 are like what she describes (and sounds like she had a good experience with her school before coaching changes). My own dd’s experience in D1 has been wonderful.

***Please pay attention to the part where she talks about her club gym bringing in a “sport psychologist” and what her experience was with this. I know many of you have used this particular sport psychologist for your own kids to help them through mental blocks and have done her “boot camps” and 1-1 sessions. I am very disturbed to hear that she was being paid by the club to “help” the athletes in the gym....then turning around and divulging everything that was said to her in confidence to the club coach to then be used against them. How on earth are any of those girls supposed to trust therapy ever again!!
 
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Sk8ermaiden

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There are not words. She also trained with MLT in the last 10 years, which should put the final nail in the coffin of MLT claiming she's "changed."

She didn't name the sports psychologist, but I assume you know based on your statement.

The drum I keep beating is that her first response to the Nassar news was TO DISBELIEVE THE SURVIVORS. A psychologist who mainly works with young girls, and the first thing she did publicly was try to discredit the accuser. I don't understand how she is still working with children.
 

flippin out

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She didn't name the sports psychologist, but I assume you know based on your statement.
Yes. It has was always well known fact who worked with the team at cga. It’s a very well known (within the gym community) psychologist who has made her living from touting her program (sessions-both in person, but mostly online, work books, hosting a meet in Michigan in support of her program). It’s no secret
 

Sk8ermaiden

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I could have looked it up, but I just assumed if you were calling her out, you knew. :cool:

We really need to find a way to put the power in these relationships back in the hands of the athletes. In real ways, not lip service ways.
 
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mom2newgymnast

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How awful for Alexis. I have to say that this really hits home for me because NC State is one of our 2 local colleges and is one that my dd's gym has sent many gymnasts to (we have 3 or 4 currently on the team). We have been to many of their local meets cheering Alexis and our former teammates on. :( It's so disappointing to hear that she was treated that way there. And of course the CGA stories are absolutely terrible. :mad:
 
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gymjunkie

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***Please pay attention to the part where she talks about her club gym bringing in a “sport psychologist” and what her experience was with this. I know many of you have used this particular sport psychologist for your own kids to help them through mental blocks and have done her “boot camps” and 1-1 sessions. I am very disturbed to hear that she was being paid by the club to “help” the athletes in the gym....then turning around and divulging everything that was said to her in confidence to the club coach to then be used against them. How on earth are any of those girls supposed to trust therapy ever again!!
MLT is not the only coach who has done this and DA is not the only psychologist who has agreed to do this for a bad coach. Another coach of national team members (and L9/10s and young developmentals) did this recently with his region's official sports psychologist.
 
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gymjunkie

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Ok....I don’t want to be the one always sharing negative posts, but thought this may be relevant to many.
Don't apologize. The majority of gymnasts are not in a place where they can speak out, so it's important that when someone does they are heard. We can only hope the rest of the abusive coaches are becoming increasingly afraid to check their Twitter feeds. This new trend of outing your abusive coach on social media may work better than anything else (because nothing else was working).
 

flippin out

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MLT is not the only coach who has done this and DA is not the only psychologist who has agreed to do this for a bad coach. Another coach of national team members (and L9/10s and young developmentals) did this recently with his region's official sports psychologist.
Tbh, the idea of a sports psychologist to help athletes retain balance in there lives and manage stress is a great idea.....what I have a problem with is the way this particular sport psychologist violated the athletes trust by running back to mlt with what was discussed in these sessions. And how mlt then used that info against her athletes
 

LJL07

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Tbh, the idea of a sports psychologist to help athletes retain balance in there lives and manage stress is a great idea.....what I have a problem with is the way this particular sport psychologist violated the athletes trust by running back to mlt with what was discussed in these sessions. And how mlt then used that info against her athletes
This is beyond unethical. Is Doc Ali a licensed clinical psychologist? Major breach of confidentiality. Unless the girls signed a release and agreed that she could share information?? I doubt that was the case though.
 

flippin out

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@LJL07 her website says she “received her PhD in Psychology” And that “She has been a mental toughness coach for USA Gymnastics since 1997”
but no idea if she’s licensed. I’d assume that if she was that it’d be in the state of MI.
 

LJL07

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@LJL07 her website says she “received her PhD in Psychology” And that “She has been a mental toughness coach for USA Gymnastics since 1997”
but no idea if she’s licensed. I’d assume that if she was that it’d be in the state of MI.
She should be reported to the state board if this information is true. And if she is doing therapy sessions and calling herself a psychologist without a license, well, that's a huge problem too.
 

gymjunkie

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It's probably hard to prove that a sports psych who is hired to work with a specific team does this (because as I mentioned, DA is not the only one doing this). The athlete should file a HIPAA violation at the least.
 
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chalkbowl

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@LJL07 her website says she “received her PhD in Psychology” And that “She has been a mental toughness coach for USA Gymnastics since 1997”
but no idea if she’s licensed. I’d assume that if she was that it’d be in the state of MI.
Why Michigan? Isn't she from Arizona?
 

LJL07

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That's the other thing. She can't run around from state to state practicing psychology unless she has a license to practice for that state. So she should have been licensed in Ohio if she was working for Mary Lee Tracy and doing individual therapy sessions. She can do her general videos and online products etc, but to see individual kids in person as clients who were paying her for therapy sessions is different. I'll bet she wasn't licensed in all of the states she did therapy sessions in. It's pretty incredible what this sport has managed to get away with for years totally unchecked.
 
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CuriousCate

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Anyone willing to cut and paste the letter? I'd love to read it but it is coming up as a blocked site for me :confused:
 

raenndrops

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Anyone willing to cut and paste the letter? I'd love to read it but it is coming up as a blocked site for me :confused:
Lex Beucler’s Story
Everyone has a story that needs to be told on their own terms and time. I have tried to suppress the traumatic memories of my story for many years. No matter if you were in the same gym as me at the times I was or not I have experienced what I have written in this and this is my story. Everyone has their story to tell and this is mine. I would like to thank everyone that has come out recently about abuse, because it has inspired me to do the same and also bring awareness to how often this abuse and treatment is happening in the gymnastics community when it shouldn’t be. No one should have to go through the story I am about to tell.

My story starts when I was 12 years old. I was moved into Mary Lee Tracy’s elite group at Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy. I was very hopeful for what opportunities could come because of this and I had many goals that I wanted to achieve so this to me at this time was a step in the right direction for my career. At first it was going very well and I was progressing very quickly. At the time, I thought that practices we went through were just tough coaching. I was a tough athlete mentally and physically and I was always told “It is this bad everywhere, no other programs will be more positive.”

As my time continued in this group I became more and more quiet and silenced. I would not speak up or show emotion because I had completely shut down mentally and emotionally. At this young of an age I did not understand what mental illnesses like depression or anxiety were but now looking back I know that I had both of those mental illnesses during this time. Mary Lee did not like that I would not show emotion, she would even ask my sister who also trained at CGA in the ACC (fast track) group what she could do in order to break me and make me cry. (if you ever watched Beyond The Routine on YouTube I get applauded for what she called “showing emotion” because I was literally pushed to my breaking point and started bawling.) It got to the point where my teammates would tell me “Just cry poof so she stops yelling and being mean to you. Just cry.” I wasn’t going to give her that satisfaction when I knew her only goal was to break me to the point of crying and then for her to embarrass me infront of the entire world on video applauding me for crying.

There were multiple occasions where abuse was shown in the gym. One example being when college coaches were in the gym and I would be put on bars doing one skill the entire time that they were there, while the rest of the team would get to show all their events and skills. This is not just tough training and coaching. This is abuse and purposeful sabotage. My goal after elite was to compete at a top 10 NCAA school and be part of a team! I was always told that I would not go to a good college. I needed to lower my goals on a college and choose one that isn’t in the SEC because I would never compete at a place that great, I would be a bench warmer. I needed to pick a college that I could actually help and be in a line up. I knew my skill level was more than enough to get me to a very high level college but I was manipulated to think that I wasn’t worthy enough to obtain that goal of mine.

(To be continued)
 

raenndrops

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(part 2)
Early on in my elite career, I went to the ranch. After one of the monthly training camps my mom received a call from Mary Lee right away saying Marta didn’t like my curly hair and I needed to get it permanently straightened. Marta said my gymnastics was exceptional and I had great talent, but she didn’t think my natural curly hair fit the look she wanted. Mary Lee said if I wanted to go far in elite gymnastics I would have to get a straightening treatment on my hair. So I did what I thought would give me the best chance to make a National Team and compete internationally for USA. I booked a hair appointment the next week and straightened my already naturally beautiful hair just to please Mary Lee and the National staff.

During training at the ranch, I was doing a backhandspring on beam and I landed weird on my hand. I heard it pop and then I wasn’t able to put weight on my hand. Beam was my first event that day, I knew it was frowned upon to have an injury and being at the ranch with Martha I definitely did not want to make her not like me. So I was scared to tell MLT and I just kinda shook my hand and kept telling myself to not say anything. I ended up telling MLT but was told to still train. I went to floor and tried to tumble. I did a few passes that my arm only went down a couple times so I could still show my gymnastics. It was painful. Then I went to vault and completed the event the same as I would have if it was any other day. Then we went to dance & then my final event was bars. I asked MLT if I should put on my grips and she said yes so then I did but my hand was so swollen. I could barely get my fingers into the holes of my grips. I somehow managed to fit them on my swollen fingers. Then I tried to do a kip to mount the bar and I physically couldn't grip the bar. I just looked over at MLT and she said “Go again”; so I did and I wasn’t able to grip the bar again. I physically couldn't hang onto the bar. When practice was over I finally saw the trainer and she did a test on it where it showed it was broken. I flew home and had x rays that showed it was broken. During the whole injury I was in a cast/brace and I was doing full gymnastics without my arm except for bars and full vaulting. I was near the end of the healing process and I was told to just take it off because I needed to start fully training again.

At another camp I was told how awful I was doing and I knew I wasn't having my best camp to her standards. When I got off an event she pulled me aside by the neck and told me to sit on the bench and watch Laurie Hernandez do her beam training because she was amazing and I was not even up to par with her. She held me back from my event which was dance to literally sit there and watch Laurie and kept telling me how bad I was at gymnastics. She said I needed to look like that. I was then late to my rotation because of this and then I got scolded for being late to that rotation by the event coach and MLT (who made me late).

My teammates and I were at a wedding and got scolded for eating the pasta. Nutrition and her idea of what we were supposed to be eating was out of this world. She would check the lunches we brought for lunch break daily to see what we had. No bread or any dressing/butter because she referred to that as “lard” and you’ll become a “fat lard” if you eat things like that. We were always told “if you can pinch an inch you can lose it” and would also physically pinch our thighs. At a very young age, before I even went through puberty I thought I should be losing weight. It wasn’t unusual for us to walk into practice one day and have to get weighed.

Our elite team had a Sports Psychologist that we would meet with weekly, sometimes a couple times a week. We were told that it was a safe space to tell our fears, struggles, etc. I took this time during sports psych very seriously because I thought it was actually going to help my mental state going through the abuse I was going through. Little did I know it would make it worse. Our sports psychologist would tell Mary Lee every little detail of what happened in sports psych just so it could be used against us. At one point Mary Lee lined me up beside a trash can and told me that it showed more emotion than me, it was better than me and I might as well have just gotten switched with it in the group and stand in the corner while it was on the floor training.

To Classics and Championships we had to ride with Mary Lee in her car and stay in the hotel without our parents. We did sightseeing with the coaches instead of our families. We only got to see our families after the competition for a very short time. At championships, I was mostly coached by Rachael Tracy (her daughter) because MLT was just so tired of me and didn’t want to coach me anymore. I have to say that was one of my best competitions because Rachael treated me nicely with respect and helped coach me and kept my anxiety low enough to be able to do well. I hit 4 for 4 on Day 1 and Day 2 of competition.

During many meets it was MLT’s smile after the routines that even if you did bad people thought that she was so nice and kind after I had a mistake. Little do people know that while keeping a smile on her face for the cameras she was saying how terrible I did and that the mistakes shouldn’t have happened. She would also say with a smile on her face before the routine “If you don’t hit this routine, I am gonna kick your butt.” Many times I was grabbed on the arm or grabbed on the back of the neck with those long, fake, acrylic nails that would send chills down my spine. She concealed most of the abuse behind a smile while saying abusive words or by buying us amazing gifts for our birthdays, going out to fancy dinners, treating us at christmas even though we trained on Christmas and most holidays that should be spent with family.

Throughout this whole process I never told my parents or really anyone what was happening to me. My sister was even silenced and never told our parents or anyone in fear of what would potentially happen to us. I did not tell anyone because I thought that it was my fault, I thought that I was the one doing something wrong because I was being treated this way. When the process started to go on to college visits, my parents would go with me. When I went on these visits the college coaches told my parents how they couldn’t believe how strong I was to go through what I go through each day in practice. They had witnessed the abuse that I went through when they were visiting CGA to recruit. (Which shows a lot about what MLT would do behind closed doors when there weren't visitors and how intense the abuse was). After my parents had heard that from college coaches they began questioning me and asking what they were talking about. At first I only gave them minor things that would happen because I didn’t want them to get me in trouble by saying something or taking care of things. I was so worried that the abuse would get even worse.

Throughout these years of abuse I had lost my love for gymnastics and I feared going into the gym everyday. There were days I would puke before workout because I didn’t know the extent of the abuse I was about to endure that day. I thought that college was going to be better for me and a more positive environment.

Before I made the final decision with my family to leave CGA, Mary Lee told me that I was no longer allowed to compete elite and that I would have to move back to level 10. When I made the decision to leave CGA, MLT told me and my family that she was going to contact other gyms to make sure they wouldn’t take me into their elite program and let me continue at the elite level. She also made it a point to say I would never get a college scholarship because she wouldn’t allow me to if I left CGA. She threatened she had good connection with all the college coaches and she would tell them I didn’t deserve a scholarship. I still had many more goals that I wanted to accomplish. I left CGA for a better and more positive coaching environment which I then received at Brandy Johnsons. It was by far a more positive environment that I think more gymnasts need to receive in their time of being in gymnastics. When I first got to Brandy’s it took a while to transition into a different environment that wasn’t abusive. There were a lot of things I changed including the name “Poof”. I didn’t want to be called that anymore because of the memories I had linked to it.

When I first moved to Brandy Johnson’s I was being recruited by all the same colleges that were contacting me when I was at CGA. My dream school was Georgia and I always knew that’s where I wanted to go. I ended up committing to The University of Georgia on a full ride scholarship just to get it taken away from me. I went through an injury at the time and went through puberty so I gained weight. It was then requested of me to lose weight and get my skills back with upgrades. I did lose the weight, got all my skills back and even every upgrade that she asked me to get before I would come to Georgia. Even after all of this, she still pulled my scholarship and her only reasoning was that I didn’t fit what they wanted.

(to be continued)
 

raenndrops

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(part 3)
The college search began again right before my senior year of high school. I was lucky enough to commit to NC State under Mark, Colleen and Bob who helped me transition into college. When Colleen was my coach she actually reached out to me several times when everything was coming out about the abuse of Larry Nassar and certain coaches. She made a point to ask me if I was okay and if I needed anything at all because she knew it was probably a very difficult time for me. My Sophomore year everything changed again because Mark retired and Kim took over the program.

I would first like to start by saying I am sorry when I wasn’t able to come out with my support to other athletes about their abuse stories on twitter and instagram when several victims of Larry Nassar’s abuse and coach’s abuse would come out and tell their stories. It is because I have been silenced and it wasn’t a good “light to have on NC State Gymnastics” for me to tweet my support to my sister survivors of abuse. I went through the abuse and I wanted to support them as much as possible. I just knew it wasn’t the right time to tell my story because I was being silenced just by trying to support other victims of this awful abuse. I was told multiple times to take down or change the words of my posts on instagram and tweets. One specific post was a twitter response to the blog ‘F**k gymnastics’ which was about silencing of gymnasts. I was called out and told to take it down off my page. As these stories of other gymnasts were coming out, I was never asked if I was okay and I was just told to take posts down that supported other victims of abuse. If you are one of my former teammates or someone that is afraid to speak out in support of these issues, I understand why you are scared about coming forward in support because you have been silenced like I was for so long.
During my college career there were also several instances where certain team members were excused for breaking team rules while others had punishment. When certain teammates would break rules there was a huge inconsistency with how some people were punished & treated compared to others. They were the “favorites” which is something that can be heard about in several other programs as well.

In all walks of life in gymnastics it is always frowned upon when you get hurt and no one would believe me when I would actually communicate I was in pain or hurting. In college my shoulder hurt for months and I slowly was able to modify on some events. I pushed through the whole sophomore season even when I wasn’t able to lift my arm. When season ended, I tried to rest it as much as possible. By doing this I was basically taking vacation from exercise that hurt my shoulder because it was the summer and my shoulder hurt to sleep, brush my hair and the littlest of tasks. I was still doing cardio and lots of exercise just not using my shoulder. I ended up getting a MRI at NC State and it showed a “slap tear” and other tears but nothing was really done about it except for rehab and a cortisone shot. Surgery wasn’t even an option. I was told then that it was nothing major and that almost every person walking around campus at the time most likely has this type of tear and that with my pain tolerance I just felt it more. Then I went home for the summer to spend time with my family. The pain in my shoulder was progressively getting worse and I hadn’t even been doing any gymnastics on it and only doing lower extremity workouts. I made the decision to get an appointment with a doctor in my home town who was the shoulder doctor for the Houston Astros so I knew he was very qualified and I was under great care. When I went in for the appointment he had me turn around and lift my arms above my head and right then and there he knew I had a significant tear in my shoulder but he ordered another MRI to see the extent of the tears. My rotator cuff, labrum and bicep were all torn in some form or fashion. He knew that surgery was my only option in order to compete at my peak performance and that the healing process was going to be long and I should consider red-shirting. Kim was not happy when I called and told her this information and wanted me to get back to State as soon as possible. I ended up getting the surgery done at NC State under the same doctor who I first saw. I was then ignored and passive aggressive words were used against me. But I still remained the best teammate and leader for my team that I could be. I went to every practice the full time and cheered on everyone while I was doing conditioning, rehab, basics, etc. Even though I have hated what has happened to me through the sport of gymnastics and the abuse I endured I still had the strong desire to be successful and help my team succeed to win the EAGL championship and qualify to Regionals. I never wanted to be viewed as a failure to anyone because I knew how hard I worked and the things I endured to get to the point of my career I was at.

I was rushed coming back from my surgery and I was told red-shirting wasn’t even an option for me, I could choose to try and come back during my Junior season or lose a year of eligibility. I came back in half the time my progression should have been. I communicated that I was still in pain and I was told that since I got the surgery I shouldn't be in any pain. I kept competing and finished my junior and senior seasons. My senior season was obviously cut short because of the coronavirus. I ended on a high note and hit every single one of my routines in competition my senior season without any falls. This was the best possible way to contribute to my team and bring success to the program. When things completed, I was able to get another MRI that showed I had additional tears. I was able to get my shoulder fixed now that my gymnastics career was over.

When my career was cut short because of the corona virus, at first I was in shock that after 20 years of a sport, it just ended in a blink of an eye, but I was also ready to move on from gymnastics and the gymnastics world. My body hurt so bad. My shoulder, my back from when I fractured it, my ankles, what people call the “typical gymnastics injuries”. Even with the cortizone shots in my shoulder that year it still wasn’t taking away the pain. After my senior season, when I did a zoom call with the doctor and he said I needed surgery, this confirmed what I knew from the beginning of my senior year. Before surgery I was called by Kim and she said she talked to the trainer and that this surgery was not major and almost everyone with shoulder injuries gets it. WHY do people ALWAYS try to make your problems or injuries seem like they are not a big deal and that you are being dramatic about what was going on in your own life and body. WHY are little girls and young women STILL being silenced by manipulative adults just to make themselves look superior and powerful.

I write this letter, My Story, to inspire others to come forward and tell their stories like the survivors before me did. I want to END this unnecessary cycle in the gymnastics culture and I NEVER want someone to turn into me. Being little with those big dreams and loving what I did everyday to not even wanting to walk into a gymnastics training facility. I never thought that I would hate gymnastics to the extent that I do now, but this is what the abuse and treatment of manipulative, controlling adults has made me feel. I am so proud of the woman I am today and I am this person because of everything that I have gone through. I know my future is bright and I am happy I have come as far as I have. I am so grateful for the genuinely great coaches that I had, the friendships that gymnastics brought me and those of you that have supported me from day one all the way through my career. I also want to thank all the amazing coaches out there today that are helping create the change this gymnastics culture desperately needs. I am ALWAYS here to support others if they need someone to talk to about their experiences. I WANT CHANGE in this sport and these patterns need to stop. The traumatic experiences I went through are things that no young child should have to endure.

Thank you to those that took the time to read this. To all the victims, I stand by you, I support you and you’re not alone.
Your story matters!

Lex Beucler
 
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