By Any Means Necessary; Sports and Politics

The phrase “by any means necessary” is a quote from Malcom X. It means that people who wish to achieve a goal need to do whatever they need to whether it is legal, ethical, etc or not. It can be heard as a battle cry in different civil rights groups.

But, it seems like the phrase applies to much more.

I knew John Geddart. We weren’t close friends, but as one of eight volunteer Regional Chairmen for USA Gymnastics ( and then National Chairman of my respective committee), I often sat on committees with him at meetings. John was a successful coach and also a volunteer regional officer for his region, which included Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, and several other states. As volunteers, we worked mainly with the age group programs for gymnastics. These were programs that were a level below the elite program for Olympic hopefuls. I didn’t really care for John. He was brash, arrogant, and egotistical. But, I never expected the way his life ended.

During this time, the early to late 90’s to the mid 2000’s, US Gymnastics was in a state of growth and progression. Our international athletes were gaining recognition and success competitively. It was something we had never experienced before. In 1996 in Atlanta, the Magnificent 7 won the team gold for the first time ever, putting us on the map.

During this time, John was coaching and had reached a point with his athletes where he would almost get them to the Olympic level, only to have them come up just short. I’m sure it frustrated him. USA Gymnastics, even though they had success in 96 were going through growing pains. In 2000, 2004, and 2008, the U.S. team came up just short of team gold. But, since we had individual All-Around Gold medalists at that point, one would think that there could be some satisfaction. There wasn’t.

So things changed. The training regimine for athletes became dictated at a central level. The selection process, once determined strictly by an athlete’s finish at Nationals and the Olympic Trials, was handed over to a “selection committee. ” This was to assure the correct athletes were chosen to guarantee a team gold medal. For coaches and athletes, this increased the pressure to almost unbearable levels. Athletes practiced at the famous Karolyi Ranch. This is where Larry Nassar gained access to athletes with his successful sports medicine ” techniques.”

Larry also worked at John’s gym.

This is where the quote from Malcolm X is connected. If you were a coach or athlete at this time, you did whatever you needed to do to reach that Olympic Goal. USA Gymnastics also did whatever they needed to do to get the Olympic gold. Olympic gold meant HUGE money for the organization, the coach and the athlete.

For some coaches, this meant harsh coaching tactics. It meant an athlete’s unwillingness to work through excessive pain was a weakness and the coach needed to force her to ignore suffering and possible long term damage. It meant coaches needed to have full control, physically and mentally, of that athlete.

John reached his Olympic goal in 2012 with a young athlete named Jordyn Weiber who became World Champion and then made the Olympic team. She was practically a shoe in to be the Olympic Champion in the All Around and then with the team. But then, she faltered in the All Around and her spot for the finals went to another U.S. gymnast, Gabby Douglass who won the gold. Thankfully, the team won the gold, but it seemed that John was not satisfied. He didn’t get that All Around Champion he wanted. His attitude became angry and sullen.

In 2018, Larry Nassar was charged with sexual assault of hundreds of athletes and was sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.

At the same time, there were rumblings about John. He sold his gym and eventually stopped coaching. USA Gymnastics suspended him as they did several other coaches for severe coaching strategies and abuses. And then, yesterday, he was indicted on child abuse, sexual and physical, human trafficking, and racketeering. Instead of turning himself in, he shot himself to death.

John had wanted Olympic champions. And, with that goal in mind, he tried to do it by any means necessary, regardless of the harm it did to many young women. And the USA Gymnastics Organization and Olympic Committee turned their heads, because they believed that too. Only the end result mattered.

So, here is where politics comes in. It seems to me that we have gotten to a point in politics where ” by any means necessary” is the guiding principal of at least one party. Democrats commit election fraud to get a certain result. Then they propose a bill to allow them to continue the practice in future elections.They install an old dementia patient in office to do what they want. They attempt to destroy a sitting President both during his term and after. They call his followers ” domestic terrorists” and target them. They allow men to destroy women’s sports through crazy laws for transgenders, destroy millions of jobs, and wreck our economy with illegal aliens who suck up federal funds and take American jobs.

By any means necessary. No matter who is hurt. No matter who or what is destroyed. Rules don’t apply, ethics don’t apply. Basic human decency doesn’t apply. It’s the same whether it is sports or politics.

John Geddert met his end because ” by any means necessary” led him to commit heinous and immoral acts to win. He took the coward’s way out, leaving his wife and family to suffer for his sins.

Let’s hope that the Democrats who believe ” any means necessary” to achieve their goals find a similar ending for themselves while the rest of us still have a country left.

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I am a 67 year old runner and conservative. I taught for 31 years and retired a few years back. In my life, I have coached and judged gymnastics, coached softball, and raised two amazing kids.

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