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'Chill Time' On Agenda for Polish Power Couple
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Marta Pihan-Kulesza of Poland told IG she and her husband, Roman Kulesza, plan a busy competition schedule that will still afford some downtime as they prepare for this summer's Olympic Games in London.

Marta Pihan-Kulesza (Poland)

"The motivation for us is the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games, so we don't need more motivation," said Pihan-Kulesza, who along with Roman earned a berth to the Games at the Olympic test event held earlier this month in London. "Each of us trains in a different city but we will go together to competitions. Phone calls are important, because they give us big support. Obviously we will be spending some weekends together and spend some 'chill time.' Competitions this year will be very often, so we will meet very often."

Pihan-Kulesza, who also competed at the 2008 Games in Beijing, said she is optimistic that she will soon be fully recovered from ankle surgery on Jan. 15, just after the test event. She injured her ankle on her dismount from balance beam in the apparatus finals at the FIG Challenger Cup of Osijek, Croatia, held last November. Pihan-Kulesza nonetheless won the gold medal on floor exercise and the bronze medal on uneven bars in Osijek. She won the gold medal on uneven bars at the FIG Challenger Cup of Ostrava, Czech Republic, last December.

"I tore a small part of cartilage from the astragalus bone," Pihan-Kulesza said. "It was very painless, so after consultation with my doctor after Ostrava, we made the decision to have arthroscopy after the Visa International (test event)."

Pihan-Kulesza said she was pleased with her results at the test event, considering her injury.

"Obviously I couldn't prepare as well as I wanted," said the 24-year-old Pihan-Kulesza. "Mainly I was working on bars. On the rest of the apparatuses I often did simple stuff, and sometimes routines. The high point was my mental preparation and my experience. I had big problems with tumbling and jumping. I needed strong taping on my leg. My beam and floor were not so good in London, but enough for a nice result. That situation was very stressful for me because I knew that I was not well prepared."

Despite the setback caused by her injury and resultant surgery, Pihan-Kulesza said she is eager to get back on her feet.

"Next week I can start general exercises and simple stuff on bars, and in three weeks' time I will be able to have full force on my leg," she told IG. "The main point of preparation will be competition, such as World Cups, European championships, Polish championships and domestic competitions. There will be a lot of them till the Games, so I think it will be successful preparation."

Read "Parallel Lives," a profile on Marta Pihan-Kulesza and Roman Kulesza, in the April 2010 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To order back issues, click here.

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