Jennifer Sey: Speaking up

Jennifer SeyWith her new book Chalked Up, 1986 U.S. Champion Jennifer Sey expounds on what is by all appearances a long and painful struggle with depression caused by thr rigors of elite gymnastics training.

The book’s title says it all: Chalked Up: Inside Elite Gymnastics’ Merciless Coaching, Overzealous Parents, Eating Disorders and Elusive Olympic Dreams.

Makes it seem like this is going to be another Little Girls in Pretty Boxes, the Joan Ryan expose on gymnastics and figure skating that got lots of attention in the 90s. But it’s not, really, writes Dwight Normile, editor of International Gymnast Magazine.

Is Sey’s book damaging to gymnastics? I think so, only because the general public will rarely get past the subtitle, “Inside Elite Gymnastics’ Merciless Coaching, Overzealous Parents, Eating Disorders, and Elusive Olympic Dreams.” But I do think it can help enlighten parents who think going to the Olympics is worth any sacrifice.

Sey was part of a troubled period in U.S. women’s gymnastics. The 80s weren’t just Mary Lou — they were Christy Henrich, Amy Jackson (a former Karolyi protege with a nightmare training story), Kristie Phillips (admitted to eating next to nothing for a couple weeks before the Olympic Trials to lose weight) and Sey, who gives all indications of carrying some baggage from her days with the Parkettes.

I haven’t read the book. But I’ll post a review when I do.

Note: Sey’s written more than just Chalked Up. A gymnastics-related short film, The Gymnast (not related to the 2006 Dreya Weber film), is posted on her Youtube page.

The Gymnast, written by Jennifer Sey:

Jennifer Sey, 1986 U.S. Championships, Balance Beam:

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