“Loyal athlete signers”

This month’s IG editorial by Paul Ziert is about how USAG president Steve Penny has made some major errors recently.  Error number one was about how Steve organized the USAG post-olympic tour but failed to sign Shawn Johnson, Paul Hamm, and Morgan Hamm.  They signed with a rival tour run by Mike Burg.  He also doesn’t have Nastia who hasn’t signed with anyone.  Since he doesn’t have the biggest stars, this nullifies his contracts.  

Ziert writes:

Hence, Burg will now do his tour in the 30 cities reserved by USAG with the athletes that USAG claims it created with no financial gain to the federation other than a possible sanction fee, which isn’t even required.  and most of the loyal athlete signers will get much less or possibly nothing from tour money.

I have two issues with this.  First, just because USAG claims they created the athletes doesn’t mean they actually did.  The athletes, their families, and their coaches are the ones who did all of the work to get to the top with no help from USAG.  I will never understand why people think they owe USAG something for their success.  USAG didn’t get Shawn’s parents to take her to Chow’s instead of staying with the coach who thought she had brute strength but no talent.  USAG didn’t get Paul and Morgan’s dad to harrass Stacy Maloney into training them to greatness.  USAG certainly did not pick up the tab when it came to 6+ years of training expenses before these athltes were even on USAG’s radar.  USAG doesn’t do a damned thing to help these athletes when it matters most, yet they “created” them.  That is total crap!  

My second issue with this is the use of the phrase “loyal athlete signers”.  I don’t appreciate the dig at Shawn, Paul, Nastia, and Morgan.  These guys have worked hard and they deserve to get the most for their talents.  It has nothing to do with being “loyal” to some organization that hasn’t done anything for them anyway.  And how does Ziert know that these other athletes are loyal as opposed to simply being too scared not to sign.  How many of these athletes worry that not signing would hurt their Olympic chances?  

Penny used some serious arm-twisting to get many of the athletes to sign binding, exclusive contracts before anyone even knew they were going to Beijing.  He succeeded with all except the four I mentioned above.

I’m glad USAG got pwned.  If they had offered fair packages to the above athletes, they would be signed.  Instead they want to lowball the athletes and pocket the money so they can pad their own salaries.  


It’s MIke Burg,  not Mark Burg.  I don’t know why I put that there.  

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7 Responses to ““Loyal athlete signers””

  1. gymnastics08 Says:

    USA-Gymnastics has done plenty for these gymnasts. Without USAG there is no US gymnastics program. You kind of need a federation.

    The gymnasts need to make money so they don’t owe USA-Gymnastics anything but to discount the federation as a whole is kind of unfair.

    Even with the success of the team 4 years ago the tour was a bust. Many venues were half empty.


  2. shergymrag Says:

    Anything could be the federation though. The athletes could make their own federation. USAG is not doing anything special.

  3. gymnastics08 Says:

    I don’t think the gymnasts can make there own federation. They can’t just take over USAG.

  4. gymnastics08 Says:

    Also there is a lot of Politics involved in gymnastics and USAG has a lot of power that benefits the US gymnastics program.

  5. shergymrag Says:

    “I don’t think the gymnasts can make there own federation. They can’t just take over USAG.”

    US Gymnastics used to be run by the AAU. The USGF took over and eventually changed their name to USAG. They took over by doing more for the sport than the AAU did so they were granted governing body status. My point was not that the athlete could take over USAG, it was that anyone can make their own federation. There is nothing special about USAG in that regard.

    And really, it would not be hard to do more for US gymnastics than USAG does. They are sitting on their hands doing nothing to improve this sport in the US right now. Why does Canada have an amazing gymnastics education system right now and USAG only has an online “University” that doesn’t even have full courses yet? Because USAG is content to let the cream rise to the top. They have 60k team kids in the country. There are always going to be enough to make good world and Olympic teams without doing anything special (like establish education programs) to make that happen. Especially, when you have your Chows and your Liukins coming over from countries that do have coaching education programs.

    If USAG has political power, why weren’t they able to keep the ten from being dropped? How come they can’t oust Bruno? Why are they letting artistic gymnastics get fewer team members at the Olympics.

  6. 2008 post-Olympic tour « Shergymrag Says:

    […] register for a free two week trial on this site in order to view the article.  Mr.  Burg totally outmaneuvered USAG as far as signing top athletes for this year’s tour.   An Edge Entertainment-produced […]

  7. 2008 Tour has a website « Shergymrag Says:

    […]  They did most of their maneuvering to sign the women.  In a recent article about USAG’s No-Tour fiasco, it was mentioned that Steve Penny managed to get many of the athletes to sign except the most […]

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