Monday, March 9, 2009

The Bad Girls Files #2

Bad Girl: Tasha Schwikert
Gymnastics Highlights: 2003 Worlds Team gold, back to back US National AA champion and much all-round NCAA greatness.
The Crime: General Brattiness
Please Explain: Put it this way, Tasha's own mother used to call her "the Dennis Rodman of gymnastics" As for her long-suffering coach, Cassie Rice, Tasha was a rather irritating thorn in her side. Though a talented, brilliant and disciplined gymnast, Schwikert allegedly defied Cassie at every turn, changing her workout schedules to suit herself, turning up late, being rude and shouting at her coaches. In a New York Times article written about Tasha, Rice was reported as pleading "Oh please God, at least for one day, why oh why can't you be one of those respectful, listening girls? " Rice also said told them that "The problem is, whatever makes her great also makes her cocky and egotistical. She can be the best kid in the world, but sometimes, you'd be appalled." Her mother agrees, saying "She's a little wild, a little out of control and- can I say this?- a little arrogant. She is not your average gymnast."
She certainly wasn't.
Rice also said that one of the most frustrating things about Schwikert was that, despite defying every rule set by Rice, she continued to win, win, win, meaning Cassie's advice had no purchase for the cocky young gymnast who seemed to believe it was her own way or the highway. This made it increasingly difficult for Rice's coaching to have any kind of effect on her. Tasha, who was also interviewed, said she thought other coaches disliked her, wanting to keep her as far as possible from other gymnasts lest she should exert any of her bad influence on them.

The Punishment: Being kicked out of her training facility, Gym Cats, on more than one occasion (the first time was at age eight and Tasha apparently clung to the door jamb with both hands and feet in an attempt to resist her ejection!). Also, one might consider, never getting to perform on an Olympic team. One has to wonder if her renowned temperament had anything to do with Martha's decisions.

Badness Rating: Medium to Extreme
Well I personally do not doubt for a second that Tasha was a cocky and insufferable athlete at times. Who hasn't seen her roll her eyes at Cassie during televised contests when given advice?Who hasn't seen her walk away from her coach while she is being spoken to? And if you watch Tasha step onto the floor during day two of the 2004 US Nationals you will see her give the judges what can only be described as a sneer thinly disguised as a smile. To me, however, Tasha's bad girl 'tude only contributed to her all-round spunkiness as a gymnast, giving her performances an individual kind of personality other girl's routines lacked.
BUT saying that, there is no way, ever, on God's green earth that I would have wanted to be her coach!


  1. Loving these!!! Please do more!
    BTW I def think that the cocky/tudish ways are what made Tasha so great to watch.

  2. These are interesting articles. I have a small correction for you though. Tasha was the alternate to both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic teams. She got to compete in 2000 when Morgan White was injured.

    I hope you do more of these bad girl posts. I also enjoy the leotard contests, but my favorite posts are the pictures where you make up captions.

  3. So being arrogant and difficult to work with is worse than doing gymnastics nude and wearing the national team leo in the same video? I'm sure there are other ways successful gymnasts can make money.
    I'm surprised Lavinia needed the money considering she should have a lot of prize money from her Olympic and World medals. I hope it's not true that the girls aren't always paid for their accomplishments.

  4. okay, Anonymous one, I mean she was never selected to compete. Yes, she performed because someone was injured, but she was still NAMED alternate.
    Anonymous Two- Lavinia didn't necessarily get that prize money. It has been an ongoing issue with the RomGymFed. And as I said, the Rom girl's behaviour is mitigated by the fact they acted in fairly desperate economic times. And yes, given the small amount i know about the desperation and corruption in Romania, i would think it was very likely, as claimed by many, that the girls didn't ever see their pay, and sometimes never received the apartments and pensions promised to them on retirement.

  5. I recently found your blog & just had to comment & say that I love your posts!

  6. She's the USA's answer to Svetlana Khorkina. Now that they're both retired, Nastia seems to have gotten the rap as the snobby gymnast. Whatever hate doesn't get projected onto her seems to be redirected to the last AA champ, Miss Carly "Just think of me as a singer, ok" Patterson.

  7. Very great series you appear to be starting here. I love gymnastics "bad girls". There are way too many goody-two-shoes in the sport, which makes sense, I suppose, considering the discipline it requires to become elite, as well as the sensitive politics behind it - as well as the fact that more often than not the girls are just plain young, and more likely to be submissive. I love those who can defy the odds!

  8. Also, I hope you're planning on doing some tributes to Miss Khorkina and Miss Ponor at the very least.

  9. I love this series! I can't wait to see the others you include.

  10. I can't help but think that Tasha's bad attitude, in addition to preventing Martha from naming her to Olympic teams, prevented Tasha from becoming good enough to earn one outright - she dominated for an entire quad (granted, due in part to lack of competition), and yet was unable to find that extra spark to earn a spot when finally challenged. Had she been more disciplined, maybe she would have had the skills and presentation (which was always my issue w/her, altho she did improve in college) that would have taken the decision out of Martha's hands. (Ok, and injuries had something to do with her performance in 2004, too - but my point still stands!)