Are you a “Jim Turnet”?A small world of enthusiastic gymnastics fans who can sometimes be toxic

Tokyo: Just after leaving the stadium in Tokyo, four Olympic gymnasts were lined up at the press conference. Podcasters asked questions on behalf of those who became powerful voices in the small world of elite gymnastics.

“I want to know about the gymnasium …” she started.

Athletes nodded to be familiar with an online group of enthusiastic gymnastics fans preparing for the Olympics.

Much of this world is in love and hate with the noisy and sometimes harmful corners of the Internet. There, thousands of enthusiastic fans celebrate the sport that most people focus on only during the Olympic year.

However, some within the community acknowledge that hostile approaches to outsiders and some athletes are self-defeating. They want people to love sports as much as they do, but they ridicule those who don’t as “four-year fans” and educate athletes they don’t like and wandering in their universe. Attack newcomers who have not received it.

“I think Jim Turnet has a good heart, it’s a well-meaning space,” said Jessica Obain, the de facto spokeswoman for the collective, through the weekly podcast GymCastic, which is watched by 25,000 people.

“Ironically, of course, it’s also very mean,” she said. “The gymnasium is willing to protect athletes from abuse, but does not consider their own part as an abuser.”

She started a podcast in 2012 because she didn’t like how mainstream media reported the sport. Female athletes were often infantile and presented as objects. Among them, the gymnasium is on her side. Unlike other sports enthusiasts, she said the people there care more than winning or losing. They are pushing for cultural changes that have allowed abuse to prosper uncontrolled for years.

Perfection is expected here-the complex history of the sport, its skills, and its ability to speak of its point system-and any mistake is the reason for perfect roasting, even for athletes who actually work. The gymnast once posted online that he had acquired a tricky skill called Tokachev, and the gymnast tore her. Her Attack: She misspelled the word “Tkatchev”.

Every fall, all flat feet are mercilessly criticized by almost anonymous commentators. Commentators often use cute gymnastic puns as Twitter handles. Some athletes disagree with expressing their views outside the liberal tendencies of the gymnasium.

Members sometimes engage in plots. They analyze silent videos of bystander athletes, read meaning to all cocks on the eyebrows and downward lips, and actually spread the assumptions of the gymnast’s inner thoughts. Others do doctors and diagnose injuries-even autism.

“There is potential for bullying,” said Lauren Hopkins, who runs a blog called The Gymternet, which is credited with receiving media credentials to cover the Olympics.

“It feels like they have more friendships with these athletes by interacting with them online than they really are,” she said. “What you might say to a friend to make fun of him with a joke will say the same to the athlete.”


Jessica Obane (right) interviews Egyptian gymnast Mandy Mohamed after qualifying for women’s gymnastics at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Monday, July 26, 2021. increase.

Both Hopkins and Obane started out as mundane members of Jim Turnet. And, like most people, they grew up crazy about sports in the pre-Internet era, had little access to direct enjoyment, and the rest of the town wasn’t as interested as they were.

For some, their love for this sport is deep and personal. Obane’s father was hit by a truck as a boy and suffered for the rest of his life. He was introduced to gymnastics in military training, which was the first exercise to remove his discomfort. He was in awe and led his daughter to love it.

Gymnasts were born among these followers on bulletin boards in the early days of the Internet, where people were looking for ways to see gymnastics. Other sports like soccer and basketball have always been on TV. But before YouTube, it was difficult to find gymnastics outside the Olympics.

Scott Bregman remembers scrutinizing his television list as a boy in Kansas every week, hoping to see gymnastics. He rarely did.

Online, he found a club where people copy VHS tapes and mail them to each other in exchange for competition tapes they have never seen. He copied and sent the tape for hours and waited in his mailbox.

On these boards, they also found each other. He believes that their struggle for watching sports at the time now sets Jim Turnet apart from mainstream sports fans.

“We’re protecting it better, probably because it feels like ours,” he said.

Some call Bregman “the most beloved and darling in the gym”. Many have seen him grow into a champion college gymnast. He is currently working as a reporter for the Olympic Channel, wrestling with the toxic parts of the Internet fan base.

The most malicious members are enthusiastic about making athletes barbaric online and may avoid using names to prevent athletes from blocking them. For example, to defeat the current Olympic athlete Suni, they began to portray her nickname Suni as a series of emojis (sun and knees). But the online algorithm just delivered these tweets to Lee, an 18-year-old from Minnesota who won the Olympic all-round title on Thursday.

Bregman interviewed her in May and told him that she was constantly criticized.

“(W) e works very hard, and then people are very quick to judge and criticize us,” she told him. “Especially in the gym these days, I feel like I’m very anxious, and I’m also mentally concerned.”

Tokyo: American Snisa Lee will perform on the balance beam ...AP

Tokyo: Sunisa Lee of the United States will perform on the balance beam at the Gymnastics Women’s Final of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Jim Turnet often says to drive away future fans. Hopkins says that if a beginner unknowingly enters the gymnasium by tweeting an unsupported opinion, members will often ambush.

“If you keep the doors closed to those who want to participate, how can you make the sport bigger?” She wonders.

Emily Marver, known by Twitter’s name Spanny Lee Tampson, found a way to Jim Turnet’s early iterations on the message board in the 1990s. Her love for sports began early. As far as she remembers, she loved the feeling of being upside down. She hung on the railing and scared her mother.

She felt lonely and found all these people like her.

“I thought I was the biggest nerd out there. I wasn’t,” said Marber, a 39-year-old home-based mother. “I feel like I’ve grown up with these people.”

She was once part of what she called “cool and mean kids.” The Internet felt like a vacuum, as their ridiculous targets were far away. She was then tagged with a post mocking one of her heroes, Dominique Moceanu, who won the 1996 Olympic gold medal. She was informed that Moseanu had blocked everyone in the discussion, including her.

“Because I’m part of this group, a childhood hero blocked me on Twitter,” she said. “I was afraid to relate to it, it’s just pure shame.”

It reflected Marver’s previous post. She realized that it wasn’t as interesting as she thought it would be.

The gymnasium needs to do that now, she says. She considers herself the mother of her den and reminds people that these athletes, often young women and girls, are sitting at home while demonstrating hard and dangerous skills. I’m trying to make you.

“There is a subtle line between wit and observing humor, which is just mean,” Marber said. “And I think Jim Turnnet really needs to find out where that line is.”

Especially now.

So far, Jim Turnett has defended American superstar Simone Biles since he withdrew from the competition in the team’s finals. Mr Obane said he was attacking members who criticized Byles’ departure for mental health problems.

But Marber said he had seen Jim Turnnet turn on his hero. 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion Gabby Douglas has been ruthlessly treated.

“I don’t want to say they build you just to knock you down,” Marber said. “But it would be ignorant to say that it would never happen again because I saw them do so.”

Are you a “Jim Turnet”?A small world of enthusiastic gymnastics fans who can sometimes be toxic

Source link Are you a “Jim Turnet”?A small world of enthusiastic gymnastics fans who can sometimes be toxic

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