Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Al Fong and Ivana Hong

Ok, so this is actually old news more or less.

I just recently learned that Ivana tore her ACL. Yikes...Sounds like she has a long road ahead of her. Hasn't most of her life been a long road though? While she was training at GAGE she reported that Al Fong "made" her continue to train on a fractured shin. I've heard many opinions on the aligation and I honestly don't know what to believe. I have heard some claims that Ivana's mom was the main reason Ivana left GAGE. Maybe Fong had asked or "pressured" Ivana to keep training on an injury, but how many other elite coaches have done the same to their gymnasts.

According to Alyssa Beckerman, her coach, Mary Lee Tracy had told her to keep training on a broken wrist to make the 2000 Olympic team. Alyssa was swallowing down tons of painkillers because the pain was so excruciating. At a training camp, the situation became took a horrible turning point. Alyssa knew the painkillers had taken a toll on her body. At one point she went into the bathroom and threw up blood. Most likely from an ulcer caused by the pills. She even says that the coaches didn't believe anything was wrong with her and she literally had to drag someone to the bathroom and show them.

Or how about Vanessa Atler, whose last coach was none other than Valerie Liukin. The same coach Ivana is now training with. After Vanessa's ankle injury she had to take some down time. Because of it, she had gained some weight. When Valerie found out he was furious. Vanessa went into a cycle of gaining and losing weight from an eating disorder. Come 2000 Olympics, Vanessa didn't make the team. She claims that Valerie told her that the reason she had not qualified was because she was "too fat!" I was appalled when I read this. And yet, Ivana moved from Fong to Liukin...

However, I am also reminded that Fong has had two gymnasts from his gym die. Both for seperate reasons, either way, he somehow continues to coach. How can someone still coach after having just ONE gymnast die? How is he able to keep coaching after 2 of his gymnastics have died? To me, that's just nuts! Maybe there's more to the stories I've read and re-told for you. Maybe there are more emotions I am not getting a full picture of. Maybe these stories are just rumors. After all, Terin Humphrey and Courtney McCool both turned out successful in the sport. Either way, Ivana is now under Liukin's eye. And at this point in time, she's got a long way to go to get back to where she left off from...

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