Justice Wing, Screenplay, Short Story, Superhero

⎇001JW Becoming Leather: Sports One’s Coverage of the Olympic Trials

 

Sometimes you see Evvie’s scars from back in the day – and from the way she gets treated by her peers even to some degree today. I once asked her why she always hung out with us, instead of people her own age. “I don’t like girls my own age,” she said. I asked why not. And she answered “because they don’t like me.” —Dawn Watari


BACK FROM COMMERCIAL

EXT. PARAMOUNT CITY, MO – OVERHEAD VIEW OF THE CHURCH AEROSPACE SPORTS ARENA – NIGHT

Static view of the dome from the overhead Temple Industries Airship. Graphics show location, Sports One logo bug, Gymnastics America logo, Temple Industries logo, and Church Aerospace Logo arranged around the screen keeping the center clear. “Gymnastics America Olympic Trials” is Center Top.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

You’re looking at the Church Aerospace Sports Arena in Paramount City, Missouri, where tonight the Olympic hopes of Gymnastics America are being determined, here on Sports One’s continuing coverage of the finals of the Gymnastics America Olympic Trials!

INT. SPORTS ONE STUDIO – HOST GLAMOUR SHOT

Cut to live shot of Reese Stewart and Audrey McGowen facing camera, both in the blue Sports One blazers with logo. A box seat center view of the Arena interior, set up for Gymnastics competition, is inset behind them via green screen. Onscreen graphics list host names beneath them.

REESE STEWART

Hello again, everyone! I’m Reese Stewart reporting live from this exciting gymnastics event alongside Olympic Gold Medalist Audrey McGowen. Audrey, it’s been an exciting evening so far, hasn’t it?

AUDREY MCGOWEN

It sure has, Reese! We’ve seen powerhouse performances from Olympic favorites like Tanya Crosby – currently in the lead at this event. Amber Manning and Cassie Credenza are hot on her trail. And dark horse Eve Shapiro’s in the hunt for fourth place despite a fall in the Uneven Bars earlier tonight.

REESE STEWART

There are six slots on Team United States for both men and women, and seventeen women and eighteen men competing for those slots. That’s twelve Olympians, with up to three alternates per team. Everyone wants to get those slots, and so everyone’s pushing the envelope today!

AUDREY MCGOWEN

That’s true. We’ve seen some spectacular performances and we’ve seen some spectacular spills along the way. The top two All-Around men and the top two All-Around women from the U.S. Nationals have automatically been selected, so it’s all about the other four slots on each team, and the competition is fierce.

REESE STEWART

Right now, we’re going back, live, to the Women’s Vault!

INT. ARENA – THE VAULT TRACK

Cut to a pan across the Vault Track, with the vaulting horse on one end, the springboard with padded Yurchenko surround. The view slowly pans to the other end, where the scoreboard is turned away from the camera. Callie Credenza and her coach Varujan Predoiu are talking, Credenza looking tense. The graphic overlay shows the current top five in the Vault (first vault only)

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Here we’re seeing the top five, with Jenna Jacobi in first and Jane Adkin in second, but probably not for long, right Audrey?

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

That’s right, Reese! Most of the real vault powerhouses have yet to make their first vault. Jenna’s vault was solid. I can see her holding on to fourth or fifth with one vault down, but we haven’t seen Amber Manning vault yet. We haven’t seen Eve Shapiro vault yet. And we haven’t seen U.S. National champion Tanya Crosby vault yet.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And we haven’t seen this girl – U.S. National Bronze medalist Callie Credenza vault yet. Callie’s currently third place in the all-around for these trials, and on solid track to head to New Zealand and compete for Olympic gold. We see her discussing the vault with her coach – that’s Varujan Predoiu. They’ve been working together for years.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Callie’s riding pretty high in these finals, but the vault isn’t her specialty. If she can get enough points here to stay in the top five, she can head into the balance beam in a strong position, and we’ve seen Callie dominate the beam before.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

So you’d expect Credenza and Predoiu to play this pretty conservatively, right?

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

That’d be true to form. In these finals, vaulters have to perform two vaults with the scores averaged, and the two vaults have to come from different vault groups. Remember, vaults are scored on difficulty and execution. Difficulty values are set so long as the vault is completed, and execution starts at ten points, with deductions for errors in execution. Credenza wants to end somewhere around fourth or fifth in the vault to feel confident going into the beam, so I expect she’ll stick to difficulties just under five, hoping to finish up with a thirteen or fourteen after the average.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Now, vault’s scoring changes event to event, right?

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Oh yes. Some events only have a single vault. Others take the best of two vaults. Still others add both scores together. Sometimes, a gymnast only needs to take one vault to compete in the all-around, but needs to take two if they want to be considered for a medal in the vault itself. You always need to pay attention to–

Credenza chalks her hands, and walks toward the front of the vault approach. Predoiu works controls on the scoreboard.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Let me cut in, Audrey – it looks like Callie’s ready to take her vault. We’ll see in a moment what vault she’s selected at what difficulty…

Predoiu finishes working, turning the digital scoreboard forward, the top section reading “4.34” in white, the bottom reading “5.80.”

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Oh! It’s not conservative at all – that’s a difficulty five point eight!

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Callie Credenza’s going for it! Group four, which is no surprise – she’s doing a Yurchenko style vault! We knew that when they put the Yurchenko surround on the springboard. She’s calling vault four point thirty-four –that’s a roundoff into a stretched backward double somersault, with a Difficulty Value of five point eight! She’s going to have to do two complete rotations into her landing, keeping her legs straight as she goes and landing, of course, on both feet as cleanly as possible.

Cut to Callie Credenza preparing to start her approach.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

We thought she’d play it safe on the vault – maybe do a half-turn, but this is a pretty hard vault to hit well, and worth up to a maximum fifteen point eight points for a perfect vault!

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

You’re absolutely right, Reese. She has to go the full seven hundred and twenty degrees after she handsprings off the vaulting table. It’s hard to land that move at all – landing it with solid form, without bending your legs or moving out of position or even taking a step on landing? That is very hard. If she hits it well, she could be easily looking at a thirteen or even fourteen. That will put her in excellent position for her second vault.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

I think Callie Credenza is sending a message to her fellow gymnasts – she’s here to compete–

Callie Credenza begins a stiff-legged run.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

–and there she goes! Her stride’s good and she’s going into her handspring for the roundoff and–

Callie Credenza does a handspring in front of the springboard, but is out of position, flying almost wildly and hitting the board forward, feet sliding out from under her on the springboard, causing her to fall back, hitting her head on the foam surround and sliding bodily into the base of the vaulting table.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

–she is down! Callie Credenza just slid back and hit the vaulting table – her coach and the trainers are running over! Oh, you hate to see that happen!

Several trainers and officials run to where Credenza is lying. She is moving, clearly upset, though does not look injured.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

You sure do, Reese! It looked like her approach was good but her hands were out of position on the handspring and she hit the springboard too far back on her heels, rolling backwards and hitting the table.

INT. ARENA – THE VAULTING TABLE JUST MOMENTS BEFORE

Video replay of the fall in slow motion plays.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

It looks like she hit her head as she went down and then rolled up into the table. We don’t know yet if she’s been injured–

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Well, this is exactly why they put that foam barrier around the springboard whenever a gymnast is doing a Yurchenko vault – that roundoff handspring can overbalance you. They call that barrier the Yurchenko surround. It looks like that’s what her head hit, so hopefully she’s all right.

INT. ARENA – THE VAULTING TRACK, BACK LIVE

Predoiu helps Credenza to her feet. Credenza is crying, but walking without too much trouble. The other trainers and officials are staying close to her.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

It looks like the surround did its job. I don’t think Callie Credenza’s injured. Audrey, can she get a do-over?

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

I’m afraid not. A vaulter can stop her approach once without a point deduction, but once any part of her body touches the board it counts as an attempt. This will count as a failure-to-land. That’s a zero for the vault.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Can she make this up with the second vault?

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

I’m afraid not. She can certainly make her second vault, and if this competition took the best of two she’d still be in it, but this competition averages her vault scores together, which means whatever she scored on the second vault would simply be cut in half. Given how well so many gymnasts have been doing, I don’t see any way she can possibly finish in the top ten.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

So she’s out of the Olympics?

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Well, Gymnastics America could choose to select her anyhow, in hopes of medaling in one of the apparatuses. In her case, probably the balance beam, of course. But honestly, when someone fails to land a vault it would take extenuating circumstances to pick her over one of the other gymnasts.

INT. SPORTS ONE STUDIO – HOST GLAMOUR SHOT

Cut back to the studio shot of Reese Stewart and Audrey McGowen facing the camera, with the green-screen of the venue behind them.

REESE STEWART

What a way to end your Olympic dream.

AUDREY MCGOWEN

Well, the good news is this is Callie’s first year of eligibility as a senior elite. We could absolutely see her competing for a shot at the Kenyan Games four years from now.

REESE STEWART

We can only hope. Meanwhile, we’ve received word that officials are holding the competition while they examine the run to see if there was any kind of physical factor that may have contributed to the accident.

AUDREY MCGOWEN

That’s a good precaution, though from what we could see, it looked like Callie’s hands were out of position and she failed to properly compensate, rather than slipping on something on the surface of the run.

INT. ARENA – THE VAULTING TABLE – LIVE

Cut back to the vaulting table and springboard, where venue officials and workers are removing the Yurchenko surround and checking the equipment. Muffled in-arena music can be heard playing in the background.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

You can see the ground crew preparing the track and springboard for continued competition, while officials continue to examine the track to ensure the gymnasts’ safety. And… we’re getting reports that Callie Credenza does not seem to be seriously injured although she is being brought to the hospital for X-rays just to be on the safe side.

INT. ARENA – FOOTAGE FROM CREDENZA’S ACCIDENT

Slow motion replay of Callie Credenza’s slip and fall.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

You never want to take chances. See – right there you can see. She’s starting her roundoff, hands on the track, but they’re out of position and she’s twisting slightly. She’s trying to compensate but she pushed off at the wrong angle, so rather than planting both feet on the springboard for her launch she falls backwards, her body continuing its roll so her head hits the surround – and you can clearly see it’s the surround she hit, not the board.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

That’s a bit of luck, though I’m sure they’re concerned she may have wrenched her neck or suffered whiplash. And here we see her come in contact with the table, leading with her knees.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

You can really see Callie’s training here – see how she tucks into the roll despite having hit the surround, and then absorbs the impact. Even in a disaster like this you can really see the kinesthetics these gymnasts drill over and over again. In a situation like this, it can be the difference between an unfortunate situation like this one and a real tragedy.

STUDIO GRAPHIC

Cut to pre-made splash image of Eve Shapiro in three quarter view, with banner graphics behind her and her name across the top, and ‘Bay City, New Jersey’ underneath, with the Sports One bug in the corner, beginning a pre-scripted segment to cover time.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Well, while we wait for news on Callie Credenza’s condition and for officials to certify the run as safe, Eve Shapiro prepares to make her first vault. So far, she’s been the surprise of these trials, Audrey.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

She sure has, Reese! Gymnastics America tends to be a pretty close knit community, but Eve Shapiro’s almost never been a part of that, and I don’t think anyone expected her to be the powerhouse she’s been throughout the Qualifiers and these finals.

FADE TO:

PRE-RECORDED “EVE SHAPIRO” HUMAN INTEREST SEGMENT

INT. STILL OF A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE DINING ROOM IN A SUBURBAN HOUSE FROM ELEVEN YEARS PRIOR

Cut to a moving still of a holiday photograph provided by the Shapiro family. It shows then five-year old Eve Shapiro, along with her older sister Danni, and her parents Evan and Mandy Shapiro, sitting around a table during Hanukkah.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Eve Shapiro was the second daughter of Evan and Mandy Shapiro of Bay City, New Jersey. Even at an early age she showed potential, which led her to meeting her first Gymnastics coach.

EXT. STILL OF A PHOTOGRAPH OF RIVERSIDE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS, OUTSIDE THE GYMNASIUM, TWELVE YEARS PRIOR – DAY

Cut to a moving black and white still photo of four year old Eve Shapiro in a leotard, standing next to a gruff looking Iosif Albescu, outside of the gymnasium at Riverside University.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Iosif Albescu was one of several coaches recruited for the Romanian Gymnastics program by Sergiu Lascar. When Lascar and his wife Corina defected to the United States, Albescu was one of several coaches that took his place. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Lascars recruited several of their old assistants which brought Albescu to America, but by the time Albescu met the Shapiros, he was no longer working with his mentors.

INT. AN OFFICE AT GYMNASTICS AMERICA HQ – DAYTIME

Corina Lascar from a file interview, taken at the headquarters of Gymnastics America. Graphic at the bottom reads “CORINA LASCAR: Co-Director, Camp Lascar and Lascar Gymnastics International”

CORINA LASCAR

Iosif was a solid assistant coach. He had an eye for talent – he could see it in the rough, like a sculptor looking at a stone and seeing what could lie inside. We had brought him to America to help us scout prospects while we rebuilt American gymnastics. But Iosif always wanted to coach more than scout, so he ultimately went his own way.

INT. GAITHER ACADEMY JUNIOR INVITATIONALS – DAY

File footage of then seven year old Eve Shapiro competing on the balance beam at the Gaither Academy Junior Invitationals.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Eve more than lived up to the potential that Albescu had seen in her, but right from the start there were problems. Albescu wanted as much control over Eve’s schedule as possible, and strove to minimize the influence of her parents, Evan and Mandy. The situation was complicated further because Albescu didn’t have access to formal training equipment or facilities, being forced to train Eve using the Gymnastics program facilities at Riverside University, where Eve’s father taught philosophy.

INT. GYMNASTICS HEAD COACH’S OFFICE AT RIVERSIDE UNIVERSITY – DAY

Cut to a interview with Jack Buckley conducted by Sports One after the most recent Nationals, in his office, awards out of focus in the background. Graphics below read ‘Jack Buckley, Head Coach, Riverside University Gymnastics’

JACK BUCKLEY

Albescu was almost always angry. I mean, if he’d had his way, Eve would have been cut off from her parents entirely. But Albescu needed space and equipment, and he didn’t have it. The only reason he could use ours was because Doctor Shapiro’s a professor. Plus, the money the Shapiros paid him to coach Eve? That was his only salary. I mean, most coaches working with Olympic hopefuls, even in the under tens? They’re paid by Gymnastics America. Albescu wasn’t.

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview.

CORINA LASCAR

I remember Sergiu talking to Iosif on the phone. He would say “Iosif, Iosif, Iosif! Come to us. Bring this girl in. We will pay you. We have the facilities, we have the resources – we can help her become the champion you believe she can be!” But Iosif? He wanted to be the coach. He wanted Eve to be his protégé. And he knew. He knew that if he brought her in? We would pair her with another coach and send him out to scout talent. Because… we knew that Iosif was limited, even if he didn’t realize it. He had already brought Shapiro as far as he could, but he couldn’t let himself believe that.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Jack Buckley interview.

JACK BUCKLEY

Albescu clashed with both Evan and Mandy. He clearly thought he could bully them into effectively giving him their daughter. But Evan’s a scrapper, and Mandy? She’s a trial lawyer. And Eve and Evan are very close. She’s very creative. Very imaginative. She used to write stories for fun.

INT. STILL, A DEN IN THE SHAPIRO HOUSEHOLD – NIGHT

Cut to a moving still photograph of Eve Shapiro at age six sitting on her father Evan’s lap, nestled back as they both look at an old, worn hardcover copy of Tic-Tok of Oz, Evan Shapiro reading the book to his daughter.

JACK BUCKLEY
(Voiceover)

Eve spent hours every day being screamed at by this gigantic Romanian, then spent a crazy short time at night with her parents. Albescu kept trying to increase the number of hours they trained, cutting into her schoolwork, cutting into personal time – for a while he insisted on eating every meal with Eve. Alone with Eve. And he would berate her for not being further along even though she was already frankly amazing. Eventually? He became psychologically and verbally abusive.

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview.

CORINA LASCAR

In Gymnastics, you need discipline. It has to be the most important thing. That is true. If you’re going to compete at this level. At the Olympic level. You have to dedicate everything to that. A coach needs to be firm. But everything a coach does has to be about making the gymnast better. Better better better! When a coach loses sight of that, they begin to make it about themselves. About being in charge. Then they can cross over. And it can so easily go from discipline… to cruelty. And cruelty will destroy even the best gymnast.

INT. UNDER-TEN NATIONALS IN THE EVERGREEN DOME, EVERGREEN CITY, WASHINGTON – NIGHT

Cut to file footage of Eve Shapiro at nine competing in the Under-Ten Nationals, held that year in Evergreen City. The footage follows her floor exercise routine.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

The conflict came to a head when Eve was nine years old. Albescu was seen screaming at and physically threatening Eve at the Under-Ten Nationals being held at the Evergreen Dome in Evergreen City, following a crushing 94th place finish in her age and skill group. Invitational officials and representatives of Gymnastics America intervened and brought in the Shapiros, who severed all professional ties with Albescu. Officials also barred Albescu from the facility and all Gymnastics America facilities and events pending investigation. Furious, Albescu left New Jersey. Eight months later he was involved in a DUI in Bounty, Nebraska, and was ultimately deported back to Romania.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Jack Buckley interview.

JACK BUCKLEY

I’m pretty sure Evan and Mandy were just done. As far as they were concerned, this whole experience had traumatized Eve for no real gain. I know they didn’t want to even speak to Gymnastics America officials, even though Albescu was independent. I’d have put money on Eve’s Olympics dreams ending right there.

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview.

CORINA LASCAR

Sergiu and I went back and forth on what to do with Eve Shapiro. Sergiu felt responsible in some way – we had brought Iosif to America. We knew he had been having trouble with Shapiro. But she wasn’t one of our gymnasts. The world is full of good gymnasts who never got the chance. You can’t beat yourself up over it – we can’t help them all. And so we looked at tape and looked at tape and looked at tape. And I looked at Sergiu and I said ‘this girl? She doesn’t have it.’ I mean, she had potential, but she had no business even being at the Under-Ten Nationals.

(laughs, shaking head)

Emma made all the difference.

INT. OLYMPIC GYMNASTICS COMPETITION AT THE AMWAY CENTER, LAKE EOLA, FL – NIGHT

Cut to Emma Earhart’s bronze medal winning Uneven Parallel Bars routine from the Lake Eola Olympic Games.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Just five years before those fateful Under-Ten Nationals, Crown City native Emma Earhart was competing in the Lake Eola Olympic games. At twenty-five, she was the oldest gymnast on the American team, and one of the few to have been in three separate Olympic games.

INT. OLYMPIC GYMNASTICS COMPETITION AT THE AMWAY CENTER, LAKE EOLA, FL – NIGHT

Cut to the medal ceremony, Emma receiving her Bronze.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

After two other, disappointing outings, Emma won her first medal in Lake Eola, taking Bronze in the Uneven Parallel Bars.

INT. OLYMPIC GYMNASTICS COMPETITION AT THE AMWAY CENTER, LAKE EOLA, FL – NIGHT

Cut to the Gymnastics team medal ceremony, with Emma Earhart, Audrey McGowen, and the other American Team members receiving the Silver.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And Emma was a key part of the American Team returning to the podium when they won the Team Silver after a twelve year drought.

INT. SPORTS ONE STUDIO INTERVIEW ROOM – NIGHT

Cut to Audrey McGowen, wearing her Sports One blazer, in the Sports One studio interview room. Graphics read “Audrey McGowen, Seven Time Olympic Medal winner”

AUDREY MCGOWEN

Emma was Team Captain at the Lake Eola games, and she was perfect at it. Maybe it’s because she was older than the rest of us, but I think it’s mostly because Emma remembers every detail she sees, and she knows how to motivate and when to back off. I think we all knew she’d end up coaching. And she was right on hand when Albescu melted down, and right there helping Eve before she even met the Shapiros. I overheard her telling Eve that none of this was her fault, and you could tell she really empathized. Emma had grown up in Gymnastics America. She knew how it felt, and Eve really responded to that.

EXT. STILL – RIVERSIDE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS, OUTSIDE THE GYMNASIUM – DAY

A moving still of a color photograph of a smiling Emma Earhart and ten year old Eve Shapiro outside the Riverside University Gymnasium, Jack Buckley stepping through the door in the background.

EMMA EARHART
(Voiceover)

The Shapiros had every reason in the world to want out, and I couldn’t blame them. And I knew that Gymnastics America didn’t think Eve was worth investing in. Her performance at the Under-Tens was pretty terrible, and it was all thanks to Albescu. And that’s the thing. Eve was nine years old, and here was this implosion of her whole world up to that moment, right after this terrible man had been screaming at her that she’d failed him and her whole family.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut to an interview taken with Emma Earhart in Jack Buckley’s office at Riverside University. Graphics read “Emma Earhart: Two Time Olympic Medalist”

EMMA EARHART

I didn’t jump in because I thought I could ride Eve to the Olympics. I honestly didn’t care about that. But here was this sweet little girl who had just been nuked from orbit. Someone had to tell her that she didn’t do anything wrong. Someone had to tell her that this huge thing she’d literally devoted more than half her short life to wasn’t a complete waste. I’d been a part of that world for years. I knew the monumental pressure she’d been under. I knew that feeling of guilt. I mean, you be part of two Olympic teams that fail to medal and see if you don’t feel guilty. And I knew that no matter what happened, Eve Shapiro deserved to look back on her gymnastics career with happiness and pride, not shame and guilt. The gymnastics community owed her that much, after Albescu failed her. And apparently, the only way that was going to happen was if I did it. No one else was about to.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut to the Jack Buckley interview.

JACK BUCKLEY

Honestly? I was stunned that Eve was still going to be training. But beyond that? Here was an honest to God champion gymnast, with two Olympic medals to her name, and she was offering not only to train Eve, but to join the Riverside University Gymnastics Team’s coaching staff as an assistant coach. I mean, Riverside University’s not the biggest school. Olympians don’t normally knock on our door. It’s no shock that we said yes. And… I won’t pretend I didn’t help convince Mandy – and maybe not for the most altruistic reasons. And wow am I glad I did.

EXT. STILL – RIVERSIDE UNIVERSITY GYMNASIUM – DAY

Cut to a moving still photograph of the Riverside University Gymnastics team, with Emma Earhart on one side and Jack Buckley on the other. Eve Shapiro, at ten years of age, is standing next to Emma.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Having managed to convince the Shapiros to keep Eve in training – helped in large part by offering to coach Eve free of charge, after she got her assistant coaching position at Riverside – Emma began the long process of rehabilitating not just Eve’s skills, but her spirit.

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview.

CORINA LASCAR

A few weeks after the Under-Ten Nationals, I went to Bay City, and I observed Emma working with Shapiro. Now, it’s not exactly a secret that Emma and I don’t get along particularly well, so I’m sure she was angry that I was lurking and watching, but I felt I had a responsibility. Iosif had done the girl a lot of damage. Had she just left gymnastics afterward, I doubt I’d have given her another thought. But now, having another independent coach take over… whether or not we had chosen this path, I had to be sure that Shapiro wouldn’t go from bad to worse. I had to! So I was watching them do work on the balance beam, and I remember being a bit appalled – Emma was teaching her the most basic… first year things. The sort of things you should have drilled into yourself at six, not nine or ten. And I heard Eve laughing, all the way across the room, and I thought this was all a mistake… and then I saw Shapiro do a squat through to rear support. It’s a rudimentary move, but also happened to be one I’d seen her do at the Under-Ten Nationals, and she’d been just terrible. But this time… it was flawless. Not simply technically. She had poise. She had grace. She had artistry. And she had fun. All in this simple mount, but it was night and day.

(laughs, shaking her head)

And I realized, right then. Emma wasn’t teaching her basic moves. Emma was un-teaching her. She was taking all the ugliness Iosif had put in her, breaking it down, pulling it out, and what was left behind was beautiful. I knew right then that Sergiu and I had been wrong. We should have picked her up at the Under-Tens. We should have interceded years before then. And Shapiro was in the best possible hands for her recovery.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to Emma Earhart interview

EMMA EARHART
(laughing)

Oh, I remember that visit. And hey, you notice that despite complaints and reports Corina Lascar let her old friend Albescu scream at Eve for almost six solid years without ever feeling the need to check up on him, but I work with her for two weeks and suddenly she’s dropping by New Jersey?

(shakes her head)

Still… I’m glad she saw that. Because the thing was? If you go and look at almost any serious gymnast? They’re always showing it. When they sit on a couch they pose like they’re on the beam. They stand and their hands fall into pretty-hands stance. Give them even the slightest excuse to back-handspring and oh yes, they will back-handspring! And that makes sense, because the absolute core of kinesthetics is knowing what your body can do and loving it, so of course you want to do it all the time. And Eve had none of that. Albescu had instilled shame and fear of failure but absolutely no joy of movement. Of course she couldn’t succeed. The day we started teaching her how to love what she could do and love herself? She flew.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut to the Jack Buckley interview.

JACK BUCKLEY

Iosif Albescu worked with Eve for – what, five years? Every day. Almost no days off. Almost no vacations. In here, in our building. When we actually needed to use our space to train our athletes, Albescu was always angry about it – like we were intruding. And Eve was miserable and everything about it was terrible. Emma comes in? Almost from day one – from day one – Emma is training Eve alongside our athletes. Even as a ten year old, it was like Eve had become a mascot or a junior member. At first, anyway, since within six months she was clearly head and shoulders over the entire team. Emma couldn’t give Eve the peer group or school experience she’d been robbed of, but she could give her a sense of ownership. Of belonging. And of fun. And… I have to tell you. When you have some slightly snotty gymnasts who were the biggest thing ever in their town and have the biggest head imaginable when they’re here? Having an eleven year old do a tucked Arabian salto on the balance beam right in front of them as easily as walking is amazingly effective as a motivator.

INT. RIVERSIDE UNIVERSITY GYMNASIUM MULTIPURPOSE ROOM – DAY

Footage of the Riverside University Gymnastics team training, with then-twelve year old Eve Shapiro training alongside them, Emma Earhart and Jack Buckley both in view.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

It was over a year and a half of training and retraining before Emma brought Eve back into competition. During that time she trained hard but also worked alongside the collegiate team, helping out and even working as a water girl during meets. Eve’s smile became a permanent part of her face, and the Riverside squad came to look at her as a good luck charm.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to Emma Earhart interview

EMMA EARHART

I remember – it was three days after Eve’s twelfth birthday to the day – getting a call from Mandy Shapiro. And I pick up the phone, and it’s this blast of yelling. “What the H. are you doing down there!” she screams. “What are you teaching my daughter! Do you have any idea – I could sue you so hard your grandparents will owe me back payments on your DNA!” and I’m like “whoa – what? What’s going on, Mandy?” And she starts telling me how they went to the Mall, and they were going to go down the escalator, and Eve takes the stairs instead and goes down in like three jumps and flips over a bench at the bottom into a salto up to her feet, and I’m like what?

Cut to closeup on Emma’s face.

EMMA EARHART

Come to find out? About a third of the Riverside squad had taken up Parkour… and thought it would be just an amazingly good idea to teach it to Eve. So I walk down to the training room, and I read them the riot act for a few minutes… and I notice this one guy – Lewis – looking sheepish. So I ask him what he’s on about. “So… Mrs. Shapiro doesn’t know about the capoeira, then?”

Emma makes a comedic outraged face and a ‘duh’ gesture with her arms.

EMMA EARHART

Don’t teach my twelve year old Olympic hopeful Brazilian martial arts, you idiots!

EXT. RIVERSIDE UNIVERSITY QUAD – DAY

Driving drum heavy music plays in the background while several members of the Riverside squad perform acrobatic dance and parkour as a flash mob, at one point seemingly randomly grabbing Eve Shapiro, then thirteen, and flinging her seemingly violently, only to have her turn it into part of the routine, to the screams and then delight of onlookers.

JACK BUCKLEY
(Voiceover)

Collegiate gymnastics isn’t like anything else. Especially after we started building our program off Emma’s involvement, which significantly upped our recruitment. You don’t just get people from artistic gymnastics clubs. You get rhythmic gymnasts. You get tumbling and trampoline. You get acrobatic gymnastics and martial artists and ballet, modern, and hip hop dancers. And here’s Eve, and she was isolated and miserable for years, and now she was starved to learn all of it. I remember we had a couple of Quebecois recruits who’d been part of Cirque du Soliel’s farm system, and bam! There’s Eve thirty feet in the air doing silk acrobatics. And you don’t want to know what Mandy said when she learned they’d taught her daughter parkour!

INT. RIVERSIDE UNIVERSITY GYMNASIUM MULTIPURPOSE ROOM – DAY

Eve Shapiro at thirteen going through a floor exercise routine, heavy on the aerial.

JACK BUCKLEY
(Voiceover)

The thing is? Eve is so creative. She takes all this in and synthesizes it, and that becomes part of her gymnastic expression. That’s another thing Albescu had taken from her. He ranted about ‘distractions’ and made her feel bad if she did anything other than classic artistic gymnastics. Freed from all that? Eve’s gymnastics blossomed.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Footage from a Studio One interview of Dawn Watari taken after the Nationals. Graphic reads ‘Dawn Watari: Riverside University Gymnastics Team Captain.’

DAWN WATARI

Evvie’s good at almost everything. I mean, it’s humbling, sometimes – especially since she’s actually taller than most of us. She’s like five foot five, which is almost unheard of, but having a growth spurt didn’t take her off her balance at all. But she’s amazing at the vault. She can out power-vault the men. And she loves it. She loves it so much. And I asked her once – what is it about the vault?

Close up on Dawn’s face.

DAWN WATARI

And she said “my favorite hero was Paragirl. And she could fly. My favorite books are the Oz books. The Witches could fly. The monkeys could fly.” And then she named like twelve other flying Oz characters I couldn’t remember, except one of them was the rainbow, I want to say? Anyway… she actually looked like she was going to cry, and she said “even when it was all bad… when I vault… for that one moment, up in the air after repulsion off the table? It’s like for that one second I can fly. I am flying. And I’m all these heroes and Witches at once, and I’m free.”

MONTAGE: EVE SHAPIRO IN COMPETITION

A montage of video and moving stills showing Eve Shapiro competing in small competitions, her age ranging from twelve to fourteen.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Though Emma held Eve back from competition for quite some time, she and the Shapiros maintained her dues and membership in Gymnastics America. After she turned twelve, Eve began to compete again, but Emma kept her in small, regional competitions and meets, skipping the larger Invitationals.

EMMA EARHART
(Voiceover)

I had to get Eve back into competition. Not because I had expectations for her – whether or not she made it to the Olympics was less important to me than her being happy and healthy. But by the time she was thirteen, she’d been my student for nearly four years. I’d done my best to heal the wounds Albescu had left, but part of that was competition. He’d made competing such an ordeal for her. I had to help her build confidence and take pride in competition again. By sticking to smaller meets, we kept her off the radar. Yeah, it meant she didn’t get ranked, but it also meant she didn’t get a microscope trained on her. Because they were sanctioned competitions we could get her certified in higher levels. Of course, you can’t certify to be an Elite. You have to be earn it. And once she started winning the small competitions and helping out with the collegiate meets, Eve began to really like it, and she said she wanted to do more.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to Emma Earhart interview

EMMA EARHART

Not that there weren’t problems with that.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to Dawn Watari interview.

DAWN WATARI

So, Evvie’d started to get some momentum. She couldn’t help it, really. Even if you stick to city and state level competitions, people talk and of course Gymnastics America and the Elites hadn’t forgotten about Albescu. Well, a couple years back, we had a Freshman come in. She’d been an Elite. Competed at Nationals. Missed the Olympics by like four points. She was good. And it was clear she didn’t like Eve right from the start. Well, that wasn’t going to fly, because we all loved Eve, and to be fair she got over it pretty fast. But I asked her about it, and she kind of snorted. “Oh, we all hate her,” she said. And I was floored. “Why?” I asked. “Because she didn’t have to pay her dues,” she said.

INT. THE TRAINING FLOOR OF THE NEW YORK STATE CAMP LASCAR GYMNASTICS TRAINING CAMP – DAY

File footage of one of the Camp Lascar training camps, with dozens of gymnasts working hard while Sergiu Lascar and other coaches walk among them, making (muted) comments.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

After a twelve year losing streak in International competition, including a complete lack of Team medals in the Olympics and several other major events, Gymnastics America had turned to the defectors, Sergiu and Corina Lascar, in hopes of rebuilding the United States gymnastic tradition. The Lascars had helped create the Romanian gymnastics machine which had produced some of the greatest gymnasts in the world. The American Olympic committee and Gymnastics America wanted them to do it again, right here in the U.S. of A.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to Emma Earhart interview

EMMA EARHART

Look, I’m going to give the Lascars their due. I was a part of Gymnastics America during its lowest point. We were a mess. I was on my first two Olympic teams when I was seventeen and twenty-one and we were a joke compared to the Russians or the Chinese or the Romanians. The Lascars came in and changed all of that, and in their very first Olympics at the helm of Gymnastics America the American Team took Silver and we had six individual medals. Including my own bronze. Then the American Team took the gold in Thailand and another silver in Ireland, plus a lot of international titles and a bunch of individual medals. I mean, Audrey McGowen was one of the Lascars’ first proteges and she won individual gold and silver the year we both won Team silver, and she won the bronze in the All-Around. And then she won like three more in the Thailand games.

INT. SPORTS ONE STUDIO INTERVIEW ROOM – NIGHT

Cut back to Audrey McGowen interview.

AUDREY MCGOWEN

Sergiu and Corina came out of the massively successful Romanian Gymnastics program that had been built while Romania was still a Communist country. Gymnastics coaches were extensions of the State at the time, and had a tremendous amount of power since Gymnastics was so important to Romania’s international reputation. Sergiu and Corina defected and embraced freedom, but they absolutely still expect their gymnasts to do as they’re told. The Camp Lascar program runs several training camps at different times of year all over the country, and it’s an intense regimen. You live like a monk. The hours are long. It’s too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. It’s miserable in a lot of ways. But you come out a much better gymnast than you were when you went in, and because Camp Lascar always involves a large group of Elites, it helps to create a bond – a real sense of esprit de corps among American gymnasts at the Elite level.

Cut to closeup on Audrey’s face

AUDREY MCGOWEN

While that can really forge strong bonds between teammates who usually compete against each other, it has a downside. Elites who manage to work up through the ranks without going through Camp Lascar or ther various other rites of passage are often seen as outsiders or poseurs. Now, it’s crazy to say that Eve Shapiro hasn’t ‘paid her dues.’ God knows she suffered under Albescu. But for a clique of girls who went through five Camps together, seeing a girl who did most of her training in a college gymnasium expect to get a shot at the Nationals or the Olympics makes them furious. It took a while for people to get over that, and even now I guess Eve’s pretty much an outsider among the Elites. And that’s clearly had a bad impact on her, despite Emma’s best efforts.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to Dawn Watari interview.

DAWN WATARI

Sometimes you see Evvie’s scars from back in the day – and from the way she gets treated by her peers even to some degree today. I once asked her why she always hung out with us, instead of people her own age. “I don’t like girls my own age,” she said. I asked why not. And she answered “because they don’t like me.”

INT. THE TRAINING FLOOR OF THE NEW YORK STATE CAMP LASCAR GYMNASTICS TRAINING CAMP – DAY

File footage of one of the Camp Lascar training camps, with dozens of gymnasts working hard. This piece of footage features Corina Lascar looking somewhat severe.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

There were other obstacles Eve Shapiro would need to overcome to get a chance to compete on the National level, much less the International or Olympic level. Most of the major Gymnastics tournaments are Invitationals – meaning participants have to be explicitly invited before they can participate. In most cases, invitations are issued based on a Gymnast’s ranking. The problem was, by focusing on smaller competitions, Eve Shapiro was unranked at fourteen years of age, with the Junior Olympics coming fast. Emma Earhart felt guilty, since she had encouraged Eve to hang back, not realizing her protégé would actually want to compete in them. She had to find a loophole. And, to her own surprise? She did.

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview.

CORINA LASCAR

So it is years later. This would be… two years ago? Yes. Anyway. It had been some time since I’d even thought of Shapiro. The kinds of competitions she had been entering never reach my desk, unless a prospect is scouted at one, and the scouts wouldn’t report on her since she was already known to us. And Emma – I have said it. We do not get on. Well. It was later in the day, and as you might guess, we have many events happening, some big and some small, and there is no way to be at or closely watch them all. So on this day, there was an event in Saint Marguerite, Minnesota. It was one of the larger of the minors – most Elites did not bother, but it was ranked and, more to the point, was only an Invitational in that participants must all be current dues paying members of Gymnastics America when registering.

EXT. CONCORDANCE TECHNOLOGIES ARENA, ST. MARGUERITE, MN – NIGHT

The Concordance Tech Arena is bustling, with banners for Gymnastics America and the Nancy Michelle Harrier Memorial Invitational on the night of the competition.

CORINA LASCAR
(Voiceover)

So I get a telephone call, and it turns out it is from Emma Earhart. We exchange pleasantries, and she says that she knows the Junior Olympics Qualifiers and Trials will be coming up, and that she is still working with Shapiro, and I cut her off. You see, most of the slots in the Qualifiers go to ranked Elites above a certain ranking, but there are a few slots that are stipulated as part of other competitions. The gymnast who places third in the All Around of that place’s Nationals, for example, automatically get placed in the Junior Olympics Trials, skipping the Qualifiers. First and second are also automatically placed in the Trials but also automatically get slots in the actual Junior Olympics. And there are a few slots that are by-invitation. Naturally, I assumed she was attempting to secure one of those slots for Shapiro.

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview.

CORINA LASCAR

And certainly, I accepted that Sergiu and I should have handled the situation with Iosif differently. We should have handled Shapiro’s situation differently. But that does not mean giving an unranked Gymnast whose only major event was the Under-Ten Nationals four years before! Especially when she placed ninety-fourth. But before I could explain this, she interrupted me. “I was just wondering,” she said. “The Harrier Invitational – the winner of the Harrier’s All-Around gets an automatic invitation to the Junior Olympics Qualifiers, yes? Not the Trials, but the Qualifiers.” And I said yes. That was true.

INT. CONCORDANCE TECHNOLOGIES ARENA, ST. MARGUERITE, MN – NIGHT

Cut to the main awards podium at the Concordance Technologies Arena the night of the Nancy Michelle Harrier Memorial Invitational Finals, where special guest Greyfalcon from Justice Wing is awarding the gold first place cup to the winner, fourteen year old Eve Shapiro.

CORINA LASCAR
(Voiceover)

“Oh good,” she said, laughing. “Because Eve Shapiro just won the Harrier Invitational. We look forward to seeing you in Grantham.”

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview. Lascar looks almost darkly amused.

CORINA LASCAR

I could have been blown over by a feather, I swear.

(laughs)

‘Eve Shapiro has just won the Harrier.’ Emma did it. She made Shapiro a Junior Elite and got her a slot in the Junior Olympics Qualifiers without her ever even being ranked or juried. And I would have never seen it coming. Win the Harrier? It was a minor, but it was a national level minor and even if most Elites skipped it, that hardly means they all did. That is far from nothing.

INT. EVERGREEN UNIVERSITY PARAGIRL JUNIOR ELITE CUP, MALAMUTE ARENA, EVERGREEN UNIVERSITY – NIGHT

Cut to the Evergreen University Tri-Invitationals in Evergreen City, with file footage of fourteen year old Eve Shapiro performing a complicated Floor Exercise with muted music in the background.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Having emerged from seclusion, Eve Shapiro had only a few months from her win at the Harrier Invitational until the Junior Olympic Qualifiers. Though she had a guaranteed slot, she had little competition experience. The small meets and invitationals she had attended didn’t include the top of the Junior Elite, and now that she was back on the radar, getting a higher ranking became more important.

Eve Shapiro does an Ariel walkover fwd into a 1½ turn (540°) with heel of free leg forward at horizontal throughout on the balance beam, also at the Evergreen University Paragirl Junior Elite Cup.

CORINA LASCAR
(Voiceover)

The rankings – these confuse some people. They see them like the rankings of other sports, where teams are competing one to one. That is true in some cases, especially at the Collegiate level, but in Elite Artistic Gymnastics, the rankings help us to make up the teams we send to International Competition. Shapiro wanted to be a part of the Junior Olympics – both individually and as part of the American Team. She could earn her way into apparatus or all-around by being better than those around her. The Team could be won by winning the Trials, but it was far more likely that we would be picking and choosing. Right now, we had no reason to pick Shapiro.

Eve Shapiro, still at the Evergreen University Paragirl Junior Elite Cup, performing on the uneven parallel bars.

EMMA EARHART
(Voiceover)

Beyond anything else, Evvie needed a chance to learn how to compete at the Junior Elite level. The crowds were bigger, the competition was stiffer – she had the skill and the talent, but you need the experience if you’re going to have a shot. We only had a couple of meets to give her that experience.

The camera’s focus changes, blurring out Eve in the foreground but showing Callie Credenza, Amy Manning, and Jenna Jacobi in the background, watching Eve with frowns.

EMMA EARHART
(Voiceover)

And not all of that experience was going to be fun.

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview.

CORINA LASCAR

It is one thing for me, or for coaches, to deal with this sudden addition to the Junior Elites. We have seen it all, if we go back. But Junior Elites – these are girls at twelve, at thirteen, at fourteen. They had been together for years. In the camps. At the meets. In competition. Any newcomer would be seen as an interloper. We have seen it before with girls who immigrate from other countries.

(She shrugs)

Gymnastics is hard. There was one thing, though. One thing we stopped.

INT. SPORTS ONE STUDIO INTERVIEW ROOM – NIGHT

Cut to an interview taken with current National Champion Tanya Crosby in the Sports One interview studio. Graphics read “Tanya Crosby: National Champion, WAG All-Around”

TANYA CROSBY

We weren’t very nice to Evvie, then. I mean, we were kids. And that’s no excuse, but still. But there was this thing. Before she’d go out and do a routine, she’d… freak. Go over every step again and again, almost like she was falling apart. Demanding that Emma tell it back to her. And we were making fun of that, y’know. Behind her back.

Close up on Tanya.

TANYA CROSBY

And suddenly we hear this sharp “Stop!” And we all froze. And there’s Mrs. Lascar, and she does not look happy.

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview.

CORINA LASCAR

One thing Iosif did. Thing I saw. Was he made Shapiro repeat back her routines over and over before she went out, and yelled when she got any detail wrong. At the time I thought he was being firm. Maybe strict. Now I know. I know this was a warning sign, and I missed it. Shapiro getting… ciufulit. Upset. ‘Freaking out’ before she goes out to perform? That is scar tissue. And is my failure. I cannot stop girls from being petty, but I can stop them from mocking her suffering, even if they do not recognize it.

INT. JUNIOR OLYMPICS TRIALS, GRANTHAM GARDENS, GRANTHAM, MA – NIGHT

A montage of competitors at the Junior Olympics trials in Grantham, including Eve Shapiro falling off the Uneven Parallel Bars.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Ready or not, Shapiro had to prove herself at the Junior Olympics trials. And though she had a shaky start in the qualifiers, she managed to pull it together to qualify for the finals.

Cut to Shapiro (in a different leotard) doing a forward somersault, stretched in extension with 720°) worth of twists off the balance beam, dismounting and throwing her arms back in a salute forward, then turning to repeat her salute to the judges, the crowd applauding.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And then, she managed to pull it together and place fourth in the all-around, including second in the beam and the vault, and third in the floor. Eve Shapiro was on her way to the Junior Olympics!

INT. SPORTS ONE STUDIO INTERVIEW ROOM – NIGHT

Cut back to Audrey McGowen interview.

AUDREY MCGOWEN

Eve Shapiro scored high enough to be considered for the American Team in the Junior Olympics, and of course she’d qualified for the individual All-Around with her scores. However, she still wasn’t really a known quantity, and at the Junior Olympics the Team events can only have five total team members, without the substitutions you can do at the Olympics. Between that and the tension between her and the other gymnasts, it was no surprise that she wasn’t selected for the Team.

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview.

CORINA LASCAR

Do I regret not selecting Shapiro for the team? No. It was the right choice. You cannot know what will happen. You can only make your choice from what you do know.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to Emma Earhart interview

EMMA EARHART

I don’t blame Corina Lascar for not selecting Evvie for the American Team going to the Junior Olympics. Unless she’d won the All-Around at the Trials or something I never though she’d be picked for that. Which doesn’t mean I didn’t get a little thrill with how it played out.

INT. JUNIOR OLYMPICS, LAS BENDICIONES, CA – NIGHT

Eve Shapiro at the Junior Olympics, hitting her second vault of the competition. It is a roundoff onto the springboard, back handspring onto the vaulting platform and then 2½ twists into a layout back salto and she nails it well, with only a bit of movement on her landing.

SKIP DUMONT
(Voiceover, file audio)

And Shapiro hits the Amanar! Oh, that looked clean! That could move her into the lead on the Vault!

Cut to Shapiro and some of the others, including one or two of the other Junior Elites, waiting for scores, with 15.695 coming up on the screen and looks of delight hitting Eve, Emma, and several of the others. Even the other gymnasts look happy.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Emma Earhart had a lot to enjoy. Eve Shapiro qualified for the finals in three apparatuses, ultimately placing a more than respectable fourth in Balance Beam and fourth in Floor Exercises… but most stunning of all was her surprise gold medal win in the Vault. Meanwhile, the American Team won bronze in the All-Around – missing a Team silver or even better after failing to break the top six in the Team Vault.

INT. JUNIOR OLYMPICS, LAS BENDICIONES, CA – NIGHT

Eve Shapiro standing on the top of the podium at the Junior Olympics, a Junior Olympics gold around her neck, the Star Spangled Banner heard mutely in the background.

EMMA EARHART
(Voiceover)

It was just so incredible – that moment. That moment where Evvie proved to everyone that she was the real deal.

TANYA CROSBY
(Voiceover)

By the end of the Junior Olympics, we’d started to warm to Evvie. I mean, during the Team competition, a lot of Elites who didn’t make the team would just go off and sulk.

INT. SPORTS ONE STUDIO INTERVIEW ROOM – NIGHT

Cut back to the Tanya Crosby interview.

TANYA CROSBY

Evvie? She was doing things like running back and forth. Filling our water. Swapping out towels. And I remember Callie asked her why? And she said “at Riverside, you pitch in and help the team.” And Callie said “you aren’t on the team!” Just like that. Really nasty. And that stung Evvie, clearly, but Evvie just said “yeah, but you are, so I’m supposed to do my part.”

Close up on Tanya

TANYA CROSBY

And later… I was nervous, before performing my Floor routine. And she was checking in, and asked, and I said that I was nervous. And she nodded. “I get it,” she said. “But you’re the best one out there.” And… she meant it. I’d been pretty cold to her, and here she was… I wish we’d had more of a chance to compete together before the accident.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to Emma Earhart interview

EMMA EARHART

The Junior Olympics should have been the start of Evvie’s story. Instead, it was almost the end of it.

EXT. A CAR ACCIDENT IN CHALFONTE, NEW JERSEY – DAY

Local news footage showing police mopping up a bad car accident in Chalfonte, where a bus is shown after having been T-Boned by an SUV.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Eve Shapiro’s story almost came to a harsh end two months after the Junior when a commuter bus she was riding on ran a red light, causing an SUV to hit almost exactly where she had been sitting. Eve suffered a broken left leg and pelvis. It wasn’t certain that she’d walk normally again, much less compete in gymnastics at the national level.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to Emma Earhart interview

EMMA EARHART

I remember going to the hospital. And I was there, and Evan and Mandy were there, and I even think Danni – her sister. And some of the kids from the Riverside squad. She even had a couple of faxes sent from some of the other Junior Elites. And Eve was in bed. And I told her – “look, you’re amazing. You’ve gone farther than almost anyone could dream. You don’t have to prove anything. I’m behind you, no matter what, but it’s up to you.”

Closeup on Emma.

EMMA EARHART

And she looked me in the eye, without hesitating, and she said “Emma? I’m going to New Zealand.”

MONTAGE – SHAPIRO TRAINING

Montage of footage and stills panning across the screen. Eve Shapiro in physical therapy. Endurance training. Work on the bar and the beam, with a fall off the latter. Through it all, Eve looks determined.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

With the New Zealand Olympic Games as a goal, Eve Shapiro drove herself hard, recovering from her injury, going through physical therapy, and retraining herself. In the process, she added muscle and power. By the beginning of this year, she was able to return to competition – this time to the applause of the other Junior Elites, who two years ago had shunned her as an outsider. But there was still one obstacle to overcome.

INT. JACK BUCKLEY’S OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to Emma Earhart interview

EMMA EARHART

Eve was able to compete, and was doing well and looking strong again, but she hadn’t been in a major invitational or meet since the Junior Olympics. We were right back to where we were then – and this time, I didn’t have a rabbit I could pull out of my hat. There was only one thing I could do.

Closeup on Emma.

EMMA EARHART

And only one person who could help.

INT. CORINA LASCAR’S GYMNASTICS AMERICA OFFICE – DAY

Cut back to the Corina Lascar file interview.

CORINA LASCAR

So Emma calls me, once more. But this time? She is humble, this time. She has no swagger. She says “look. I know. It’s been two years. She’s barely competed. She’s barely ranked. But you have slots at the Olympic Qualifiers and Trials you can assign. Please. Please.” And I took a long moment, and I said. “All right, I will make you a deal. I will clear her for the Nationals Qualifiers. If she makes the Nationals… and then places in the top ten of the All-Around, I will give her a slot in the Olympic Qualifiers. But if she doesn’t? Then we bring her into the program proper. Camp Lascar, assessments. Gymnastics America overseeing her development. All of it. We’ve kept our hands off, but if she doesn’t make the top ten in the Nationals? Then it’s time you give in. And she agreed.

Closeup on Lascar.

CORINA LASCAR

Shapiro took fourth in the All-Around, not to mention medals in three of four apparatuses. There was no longer any possible doubt. Eve Shapiro belongs in the Qualifiers. And if she succeeds, she belongs on the American Team.

INT. GYMNASTICS AMERICA FINALS, WHITE HORSE ARENA, SANTA DOMINGO – NIGHT

Still picture moving across the screen, Eve with three National medals around her neck – two silver and one bronze.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Not only had Eve Shapiro placed fourth, but she took second in Vault and Balance Beam, and third in Floor Exercises. And for the first time in Elite Competition Shapiro qualified for the finals in the Uneven Parallel Bars, taking a fifth place finish there. But all that would be put to shame by the Qualifying round of the Olympic Trials right here in Paramount City!

INT. OLYMPIC TRIALS – CHURCH AEROSPACE Sports ARENA, PARAMOUNT CITY – NIGHT

Sixteen year old Eve Shapiro starts her approach on the second of her two vaults in the qualifiers, with the electronic scoreboard showing “2.50” on the top half and “7.10” on the bottom.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover – File Audio)

Eve’s run is looking great–

Shapiro hits the vault, doing a forward-on into a handspring off the vaulting table into a tucked double somersault, landing in perfect position, moving smoothly into her salute, then turning to salute the judges with perfect precision.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover – File Audio)

Oh WOW! That was incredible!

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover – File Audio)

That was perfect, Reese! I’ve never seen anyone come close to that form on the Produnova! It’s the hardest, most dangerous vault in Artistic Gymnastics, and Eve Shapiro just hit it flawlessly! I honestly think that’s worth ten execution points! I didn’t see her do a single thing wrong!

Cut to Eve and Emma waiting for scoring, with a lot of hugs.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover – File Audio)

The hardest move in Gymnastics. The Vault with the highest Difficulty Value. Eve Shapiro of Bay City, New Jersey is waiting to see–

The score comes up – 16.9, with 0.2 in deductions. The crowd cheers and Eve hugs Emma tightly, both crying.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover – File Audio)

And it’s a 16.9! That’s a 9.8 in Execution and a 7.1 in Difficulty – almost 17! Audrey, I have never seen a score like that!

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover – File Audio)

That is the highest score for Vault I’ve seen since the new two-score system replaced the old Perfect 10 system in Elite Gymnastics! And I gotta tell you – I don’t know where the judges even found two tenths deductions on that vault. It looked completely flawless to me! And to do it on the Produnova – they call it the Vault of Death! The hardest vault in gymnastics and she just nailed it! This is an exciting day for Gymnastics!

Deleted:

MONTAGE

Still pictures ‘dropping’ into place – 4 year old Shapiro with her family, Shapiro with Albescu, Shapiro with Emma, Shapiro reading Oz books on her father’s lap, Shapiro with the Riverside Squad, Shapiro on the Junior Olympic podium, and Shapiro’s face showing delight at her 16.9.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

For twelve years, Eve Shapiro’s had to pursue her dream through hardship, pain, abuse, injury, and discouragement. But with the help of her coach, Emma Earhart, her parents’ love and support, the Collegiate Gymnastics team at Riverside University, and most of all her unquenchable spirit, she has done the impossible and proven to all who doubted that whatever the final results, she has the soul… of an Olympian.

CUT BACK TO LIVE COVERAGE

INT. CHURCH AEROSPACE Sports ARENA – THE STANDS – NIGHT

Back live, a shot in the stands showing Evan and Mandy Shapiro, both wearing Riverside baseball caps and dark jackets over jeans, watching intently. Mandy Shapiro has a cane across her legs and sits somewhat awkwardly. Muted music can be heard.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And there are her parents, Evan and Mandy. Eve Shapiro – maybe the gymnast who’s had to fight the hardest to be here, and she’s already set a record no one saw coming. Her folks are here to support her as always. Her older sister, Danni – she’s away at college but you have to imagine she’s watching this.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

They’re very proud of Eve and everything she’s done. And who wouldn’t be? Eve just won’t give up, and that’s amazing.

Cut back down to the Track, where Shapiro and Emma Earhart are talking, Shapiro in her nylon warm-up suit.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

We’re still on a hold while the equipment and track are being safety checked after Callie Credenza had a bad fall on her first vault, with Eve Shapiro – the record holder with the highest score in any vault since the new system went into place… and that on the most dangerous vault in Gymnastics – waiting for her chance. She looks pretty nervous.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Well, they said it in the piece we just saw, Reese. She’s always nervous – going over her routines – every time she’s about to perform. This hold can’t help with that.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Callie Credenza was attempting a double-twisting Yerchenko style vault, when she failed to properly launch off the springboard and instead hit the side of the vaulting table. She’s been brought to the hospital and we’re awaiting word.

Cut to replay footage of Credenza’s attempt in slow motion.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

That vault’s called a Baitova, and Callie’s hit it in competition before. Here her hands are out of position and when she tries to launch she doesn’t land on the board properly. You can see her falling back even as the springboard snaps up, and she almost rolls into the table.

Cut to Jenna Jacobi and her coach, talking to one of the tech staff.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

There’s Jenna Jacobi – she’s watching all this with intense interest. She’s first, for right now, but so many great vaulters are yet to come. She’s fighting to get that coveted sixth place spot on the American Team…

GLAMOUR SHOT

Cut to live shot of Reese Stewart and Audrey McGowen facing camera, both in the blue Sports One blazers with logo. A box seat center view of the Arena interior, set up for Gymnastics competition, is inset behind them via green screen. Onscreen graphics list host names beneath them.

REESE STEWART

And we’ve just gotten word that we’re going to be back to competition in just a moment! They’ve certified the track as safe, which means we’re about to see the woman who’s scored the highest execution points on any Vault since the new scoring system went into place, take her first vault of the Olympic finals! Eve Shapiro will be vaulting next! Still to come! Amber Manning and National Champion Tanya Crosby both take their first Vault! And later still – Men’s Rings action followed by the Women’s Balance Beam! Stay here… on Sports One!

OUT TO COMMERCIAL

BACK FROM COMMERCIAL

EXT. PARAMOUNT CITY, MO – OVERHEAD VIEW OF THE CHURCH AEROSPACE Sports ARENA – NIGHT

High view of the Sports Arena, all lit up, taken across the bay in a high parking garage for a panoramic view. The opening music sting plays, along with logos and sponsors.

INT. SPORTS ONE STUDIO – HOST GLAMOUR SHOT

Cut to live shot of Reese Stewart and Audrey McGowen facing camera, both in the blue Sports One blazers with logo. A box seat center view of the Arena interior, set up for Gymnastics competition, is inset behind them via green screen. Onscreen graphics list host names beneath them.

REESE STEWART

Hello again, everyone! I’m Reese Stewart reporting live alongside Olympic Gold Medalist Audrey McGowen! We’ve been on a hold here at the Church Aerospace Sports Arena in Paramount City, Missouri, ever since sixteen year old Callie Credenza had an unfortunate accident while attempting her first vault in these finals!

INT. CHURCH AEROSPACE SPORTS ARENA – THE VAULT TRACK – NIGHT

A slow motion replay of Callie Credenza’s accident.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Callie was attempting a Baitova, but you can see here her hands are out of position on her initial roundoff onto the board, so instead of hitting the board and launching onto the Vaulting Table she falls backward and is pushed by the board towards the side of the table. She hit her head on the Yurchenko surround – that’s a protective collar they put around the springboard whenever a gymnast attempts a vault with a roundoff onto the board and this is exactly why.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And we have gotten word from the hospital… Callie Credenza apparently does not have broken bones but they are holding her overnight. They are concerned that she may have a mild concussion. Any way you look at it, Callie Credenza’s road to New Zealand is over.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Such a shame, Reese.

Cut to a pan over the stands, with overlay graphics of the current standings appearing. Callie Credenza’s name has been put at the bottom with 0.0 scores and DID-NOT-LAND at the end.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And the standings so far – with one vault behind them, Jenna Jacobi is in first, followed by Jane Adkin and Kadejah Carter in third, but several of the best vaulters have yet to take their first vault.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

That’s right, Reese. With those scores, the only one so far who probably has a shot at the top five after one vault is Jenna Jacobi. With Callie’s failure to land, those chances go up.

Cut to the end of the vault runway, where Eve Shapiro has taken off her warm-up suit and is waiting by the scoreboard with coach Emma Earhart.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And now we’re about to see one of those best vaulters. Eve Shapiro, in the qualifiers round of these trials, hit a perfect Produnova – the infamous vault of death – and scored a near-perfect sixteen point nine. That’s higher than anyone’s ever scored in competition. Audrey, do you think she’s going to attempt another Produnova here?

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Well, I would have said no – when gymnasts need to take two vaults, they usually only attempt a Produnova as a hedge on a really good vault or to try and recover after a bad one – they’re so hard to hit well but their high difficulty means a lot of points even on a flawed execution. But if you look at the springboard…

Cut back to the springboard and vault.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

You can see that protective collar – the Yurchenko surround – has been removed. That means Eve has to be attempting a handspring vault. She can’t attempt any vault with a roundoff entry. Now, there are five groups of vaults and of those, only groups one, two, and three have handspring entries. Almost no one tries a vault from group one at this level of competition – they’re generally not worth enough difficulty value. That means she’s either attempting a vault from group two or group three. Your second vault always has to come from a different group than your first. Eve in particular usually makes a Yurchenko vault on her first and then a handspring on her second. Right now, if she tries any vault from group two that isn’t a Produnova, she won’t be able to attempt one in her second vault. But, she may be feeling expectations are on her and want to get that vault out of the way.

Cut back to Eve Shapiro over by the electronic scoreboard at the end of the runway.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

I know the crowd would love to see her attempt another Produnova after that near-flawless vault in the Qualifiers…

The scoreboard shows “2.50” on the top row and “7.10” on the bottom row, and Eve moves over to the head of the Vault runway.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

…and she is not going to disappoint them! Eve Shapiro is showing Vault number Two Point Five with a Difficulty Seven Point One – that’s the vault of death, her specialty, the Produnova!

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

And the crowd’s excited to see it! Now, remember – you do not have to attempt the vault you show. Sometimes a vaulter will change their mind when they don’t feel their stride is right as they approach the springboard. Eve could attempt any handspring vault without deduction! But at this level of competition, you usually call your shot and that’s the vault you’re attempting–

Eve Shapiro gets the green light from the difficulty judge, and begins to make her approach. She is running faster and stronger than in the Qualifiers.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

–and here she goes! Her run looks even better this time–

Eve Shapiro hits the springboard, which almost explodes into fragments, the springs and tensioners apparently all releasing and flinging Shapiro far over the vault and out of the camera frame.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Oh my– Eve Shapiro has been catapulted by the springboard and – there!

Cut to steady cam, showing Eve Shapiro high above the crowd, clinging for dear life onto one of the metal support beams holding the light standards.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Eve Shapiro is holding onto a light fixture hanging down from the ceiling – she has to be almost fifty feet in the air! I’ve never seen anything like this before!

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

She looks scared but she’s holding on. She’s holding onto a cross-beam right next to the light. Reese, I’ve never seen this happen in competition.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

It looked like the springboard shattered, releasing all its tension and flinging her up all the way to the lights here at the arena! That is horrifying. The force of that launch…

Slow motion of the side view of the accident. Eve Shapiro leaps from the runway, angling to hit the springboard. As she hits it, it pushes all the way to the floor, with bits of wood and metal fragmenting before she is flung upwards, the board having broken underneath her.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

You can see it there, Reese. She was on her approach, made her jump onto the board, legs bending slightly for her jump as her feet hit right where they’re supposed to… and she’s thrown by all that tension being released even as she pushed off! The springboard’s guards failed and Eve was hurled up and away!

Slow motion of the accident from behind, offset slightly.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Here’s another view – I have never seen that happen. I don’t know if it ever has, but this is clearly a situation where the springboard itself broke. Audrey, do you know of any circumstances where the board has broken like this?

Cut back to Eve, still clinging to the crossbar. Then cut to the floor, where officials and Eve’s parents are gathering underneath. Nearby, two officials are grabbing the mat from the vault, dragging it underneath where Eve is hanging.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Sometimes you get a board breaking or splitting, but I have never seen a board fail so completely as we’ve seen right now, Reese.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

You can see the ground crew moving that thick mat at the end of the vault underneath where Eve Shapiro is clinging to a crossbeam high above the arena. We’re now told now she’s forty-one feet above the floor.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Reese, those mats aren’t meant to catch someone falling from a height like that! It’s better than nothing but if Eve were to let go and hit that mat, she’d almost certainly be injured or even killed depending on how she landed.

Cut to other competing gymnasts, mostly in their warmup suits, looking up at Eve Shapiro with varying degrees of shock. Jenna Jacobi in particular looks stunned.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Here we see some of the gymnasts Eve is competing against today. Tanya Crosby… Jane Adkin… there’s Jenna Jacobi. We know that Eve Shapiro hasn’t always fit in with the group, but they look worried for her now.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Well, you have to imagine they’re putting herself in her position. That board was clearly primed to break – it could have been any one of them.

Cut to two grounds crew driving an electric motor scissor lift along the arena floor. As they approach the area, the ground crew pulls the mat back out of the way.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And here we have the ground crew – they’re going to use that lift… that’s what they use to service those lights, and now they’re going to use it to retrieve Eve Shapiro… we hope safely from where she’s clinging high above the arena floor.

Cut to Emma Earhart and Eve Shapiro’s mother Mandy, standing close together, looking worried.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And there’s coach Emma Earhart and Eve’s mother, Mandy Shapiro. She’s a lawyer who works all across the seacoast area of New Jersey. You know Emma pretty well, Audrey – you both were on the American Team for the Lake Eola Olympics down in Florida, right?

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

I do know her well, Reese. And I know how much Eve Shapiro means to her on a personal level. They’re very close, and Emma’s close to Eve’s parents. This must be horrifying for all of them.

Cut to Eve Shapiro, holding on to the crossbeam. She still looks scared but has a solid hold.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

There’s Eve again. Holding on and waiting for that lift to come get her… it must feel like a thousand years.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Here’s someone who had to fight her way from setback after setback, and now this has happened.

Cut to the scissor lift. Two ground crew workers and Evan Shapiro are in it now, and it begins to lift up towards the sky.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

And there they go. Eve’s father, Doctor Evan Shapiro… a philosophy professor at Riverside University where Eve trains. He’s riding up to get Eve off that crossbeam… flung there by her springboard breaking during her first vault attempt.

Cut to replay of the accident, followed by a repeat but at the view behind the springboard.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

You can see, once again. Shapiro’s hitting the springboard exactly where she intended to, but the board collapses and shatters as it releases all its tension, hurling her up into the air. It’s amazing it has that much tension, Audrey.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

You can see the springs underneath the board – there are eight of those, Reese. The springboards are rated both soft and hard. Like a lot of elite gymnasts uses a hard springboard because she’s such a power vaulter, so it gives her more resistance and better lift in her first flight phase of the vault. You can see as she hits that the board splits down near the bottom and its reinforced guards shatter – the sudden release of tension by the splitting of the board broke it free, and those springs, which were all compressed pretty far down, all push up without any restraint even as Eve herself was jumping. So instead of a controlled jump into her front handspring, she was catapulted up. And look right there, Reese. We mentioned the incredible kinesthetics training these gymnasts undergo. See how she almost instinctively twists to avoid hitting her head or any part of her body on the vault as she’s hurled up past it? She had no time to react to that – she had to just do it.

Cut to live, as the scissor lift has reached the top, and one of the ground crew workers and Evan Shapiro are reaching up over their heads, helping Eve Shapiro let go, careful to hand her down to where her father can carry her.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And you can see there – they’ve got her! The ground crew has gotten Eve Shapiro off that crossbeam and she’s being held by her father as they begin to lower the lift, and listen to that crowd applaud as they bring Eve down to safety! Audrey – we’ve been so worried about Eve’s safe recovery we haven’t talked about what this means for the Olympic Trials!

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Well, I have to believe that they’re going to bring Eve to the hospital. She may have fractures or other injuries both from the force of her launch and from hitting that crossbeam. I honestly can’t believe she’d be able to return to these trials.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

So is this another situation like Callie Credenza’s? Does this spell the end of Eve Shapiro’s New Zealand hopes?

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Not necessarily, Reese. See, when Callie Credenza–

Cut to slow motion replay of Callie Credenza’s accident.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Right – you can see it right here. When Callie Credenza overshot into the table, it’s because her hands were out of position and she couldn’t compensate on the roundoff. In that case, the equipment including the springboard did their jobs, but Callie herself made a technical error. Now if you look at Eve Shapiro–

Cut to slow motion replay of Eve Shapiro’s accident.

AUDREY MCGOWEN

Eve Shapiro does everything right. Her approach was fast and strong. She jumped in exactly the right place and she landed right where she wanted to land – right where she was supposed to land… but the equipment itself failed and threw her. It’s one thing when a competitor blows a move or is otherwise responsible for a failure on an apparatus. It’s another thing entirely when the equipment provided to the gymnasts fails, especially when that failure… let’s be honest, actually endangers the gymnast’s life! Given her scores going into this apparatus – and her amazing qualifying vaults – it’s easy to argue that Eve would have placed in the top three of the trials and gone to New Zealand. The American Team has certain discretionary powers – they may give her the sixth slot on the team to be fair to Eve when she did nothing wrong.

Cut back live to the lift reaching the bottom, and the crew and Dr. Shapiro lifting Eve Shapiro out and getting her on a gurney that’s been moved into place, one of the staff doctors and trainers beginning to check on her.

Cut to closer up steady cam, with the doctor being heard asking Eve questions, and Eve answering, pain and upset in her voice.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

I’m sure they wouldn’t mind having Eve Shapiro’s vaulting power and overall skill on their team as well. And with that potential decision up in the air, suddenly that puts a lot of pressure on reaching fifth place instead of sixth, doesn’t it?

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Exactly right. There you see a Gymnastics America medical worker and trainer assessing Eve. He’s focusing a lot on her knee and there is some swelling there. I have to imagine the sheer force from the lift caused that. It might even be dislocated. They’re also checking her lower ribs – that may be where she hit the beam…

Cut to a wide angle view from above, which captured the whole accident from a distance. It shows Eve being thrown, flailing a bit to try and control her flight, and then hitting the bar with her midsection.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Here’s a wide angle on the accident and – yes, like you said, it looks like she hit that metal crossbar, part of the equipment that holds the lights up here in the arena – she hit that right in her abdomen. She probably hit with her lower ribs if that angle is right. A broken rib seems like a real possibility.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

There could be blunt force trauma, dislocations, any number of internal injuries – there’s no doubt in my mind that Eve Shapiro’s going to be hospitalized and thoroughly checked out, and not be medically cleared to return to these trials.

Cut to file footage of the earlier Floor Exercise, where Eve Shapiro is completing a long, beautifully executed routine from corner to corner on the mat, with an instrumental version of “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked playing muted in the background.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

That is such a shame, Audrey – earlier today we saw Eve perform in the Floor Exercises, and she did better we’ve ever seen, coming out of that in second place.

Cut to file footage of Eve Shapiro on the Uneven Bars, overcompensating and flipping off the lower bar and jumping right back up and into her routine.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

We then saw her drop to fourth after a fall off the Uneven Bars, arguably her weakest event, but even then her recovery was solid and she was able to complete her routine and score in the top six.

Cut to file footage of Eve Shapiro’s astounding 16.9 performance on the Vault during the Qualifications.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And with her record breaking vault in the qualifiers, we had every expectation that Eve would take first in the Vault, and move on to Balance Beam – where she’s always been very strong.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

Expectations were very high, with Eve’s two strongest events still ahead of her and her standing at fourth even after a fall on the Uneven Bars. It would not have shocked me if Eve had placed first in the All-Around and it would have surprised me if she didn’t make the Olympic Team. Now, all that’s up in the air.

INT. SPORTS ONE STUDIO – HOST GLAMOUR SHOT

Cut back to live shot of Reese Stewart and Audrey McGowen facing camera, both in the blue Sports One blazers with logo. A box seat center view of the Arena interior, set up for Gymnastics competition, is inset behind them via green screen. Onscreen graphics list host names beneath them.

REESE STEWART

That’s going to have a lot of people wondering, and a lot of questions being asked, I’m sure. In particular, don’t you have to imagine Jenna Jacobi’s watching all of this with a mixture of shock and uncertainty. On the one hand, she’s trying very hard to hold onto her standing in the Vault, and now two of the best vaulters – Callie Credenza and Eve Shapiro – are both out of the competition. But, Eve may get the sixth slot on the Olympic Team by default thanks to the nature of her being sidelined. With Jenna fighting for that sixth slot, it’s going to be hard for her.

AUDREY MCGOWEN

I do know that Jenna’s been very strong all year, but she had a weak performance in the Floor, where she’s usually dominant, and her Uneven Bars were also not at her top form. Her vault was good but there are so many good vaulters. We’ve mentioned some of them. Tanya Clark, Amber Manning, Nicole Wang… Jenna’s first vault was competitive, but we don’t know if it’s competitive enough.

INT. CHURCH AEROSPACE SPORTS ARENA – THE VAULT TRACK – NIGHT

Eve Shapiro is being wheeled out of the arena on the gurney, with her parents and Emma Earhart by her side.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

And we’ve gotten word that they’re bringing Eve Shapiro to the hospital. They believe she may have a dislocated knee – it’s badly swollen either way. She’s going to be x-rayed as well.

AUDREY MCGOWEN
(Voiceover)

And listen to that cheer – the crowd loves Eve, and listen to the ovation from her teammates and competitors here at this event. Every one wants Eve to recover quickly and I have to believe even some of the other gymnasts want her to be tapped for New Zealand under the conditions.

REESE STEWART
(Voiceover)

Unless you’re Jenna Jacobi!

INT. SPORTS ONE STUDIO – HOST GLAMOUR SHOT

Cut back to live shot of Reese Stewart and Audrey McGowen facing camera, both in the blue Sports One blazers with logo. A box seat center view of the Arena interior, set up for Gymnastics competition, is inset behind them via green screen. Onscreen graphics list host names beneath them.

REESE STEWART

We’re going to take a break while the ground crew clears the runway and checks things out again, and with the additional delay we’re going to move on! When we come back, Men’s Rings! Shane Shatner, Dean O’Neil and Leonard Cotton continue their three sided battle for the top of the leaderboard! And later on – we’ll be back to the Vault, where both Amber Manning and National Champion Tanya Crosby are waiting to take their first vault of these finals! Stay here… on Sports One!

OUT TO COMMERCIAL

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2 thoughts on “⎇001JW Becoming Leather: Sports One’s Coverage of the Olympic Trials”

  1. It should be mentioned, that the Earth of ⎇001JW is not the same as our Earth. Even as history has its differences and there are different cities and the occasional superhero, so too are organizations.

    One thing that’s the same? The thing about the way to win at Vault changing from meet to meet? That’s… that’s actually true. Sometimes it’s two vaults and you average them. Sometimes it’s two vaults and you add them together. Sometimes it’s two vaults and you take the best one only. Sometimes it’s just one vault. Sometimes it’s just one vault but you can take a second vault to qualify for the apparatus finals in Vault.

    Also, they changed the difficulty value of the Produnova to make it less of a way to game the system, so that gymnasts would stop trying it to up their points even if they landed it badly, which was essentially always. You can tell that it’s dangerous because Simone Biles, who’s quantifiably the best gymnast to ever compete, refuses to do it because she likes living.

    Of course, she then created an entirely new vault that’s been judged at equal difficulty, and nailed it essentially perfectly. Because she’s Simone Biles, and that’s what she does. But that’s as may be.

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