2017 Worlds Championships News
Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 06 September 2017 16:08    PDF Print
Ragan Smith: 'I'm Just Ready To Nail Anything'
(5 votes, average 4.20 out of 5)

New U.S. national champion Ragan Smith is eager to perform at her first world championships next month in Montreal, where she is expected to headline the U.S. team.

Recently crowned U.S. national all-around champion Ragan Smith said she is eager to perform where and as required at next month's world championships in Montreal.

"I'm just looking at wherever they need me," said Smith, who placed first all-around at last month's P&G (U.S.) Championships in Anaheim. "I'm always ready for all events where they need me, so I'm just ready to nail anything I do."

Smith, an alternate to last year's U.S. women's Olympic team, trains at Texas Dreams Gymnastics under coaches Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and Chris Burdette. Smith is expected to headline the U.S. women's squad in Montreal, where individual and event titles will be up for grabs. The U.S. women's team will be announced after a world championships selection camp, Sept. 18-22. Smith and nine other gymnasts were invited to take part in the camp.

Read "American Reboot," a 10-page report on the P&G Championships, and an eight-page world championships preview, in the September 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 05 September 2017 01:28    PDF Print
'I Am So Excited To Show My New Moves,' Kinsella Says
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Although 2016 European Junior Championships triple medalist Alice Kinsella of Great Britain did not perform up to potential at this spring's Europeans in Cluj, Romania, she told IG she was pleased with her results in Cluj, where she finished 10th in the all-around final in spite of mistakes that started in qualifications.

Alice Kinsella (Great Britain)

"My first mistake on the beam, when I fell off on my free cartwheel-layout-layout, was purely down to the fact that I'd literally had a 30-second touch on the apparatus," she said of qualifications.

Kinsella was initially the reserve gymnast for the British squad to Europeans, but got the call to Cluj shortly before competition began after an injury to teammate Georgia-Mae Fenton .

"I was flown out last-minute, so didn't have any podium training, due to injury within my team," Kinsella explained. "Other than my fall I was very happy with the rest of the competition and qualifying for the all-around final."

Kinsella said her routines in the all-around final may not have been perfect, but her results in Cluj have inspired her.

"On finals day, I was so happy with my performance," she said. "I went out so excited and ready to show everyone what I was made of. To place 10th in my first senior international was an amazing feeling but I know I have got so much more to give. On the bars I had so much adrenaline that may have been at vault (in the previous rotation) for going too fast on the bars, causing me to fall. However, since the competition I have worked hard on all the apparatus and improved on each. I am so excited to show my new moves."

A first-year senior, Kinsella said the transition from the junior level has been an energizing, smooth adjustment. This past spring, she won the all-around silver medal at the British national championships.

"Becoming a senior has been very exciting so far," she said. "I haven't treated it differently to when I was a junior. I go into every competition forward and my main aim is to do well. It obviously feels so strange but amazing to compete with and against gymnasts I have looked up to as my inspirations. This alone pushes me to do my very best."

With her eye on next month's world championships in Montreal, Kinsella has focused on upgrades this summer.

"I cannot wait to get in the competition arena and show off all my new skills," she said. "In training I have worked closely with my coaches, deciding which skills suit me as a gymnast and what I am comfortable with."

Kinsella said she has paid special attention to vault.

"My coaches and I believe this is where I was lacking ability," she said. "I am so happy with the result of working hard on that apparatus and can't wait to compete it."

With Montreal two months away and the Tokyo Olympics three years ahead, Kinsella is confident that her diligence will continue to pay off.

"I have worked hard on all apparatus, making sure they are to the best of my ability and strong enough to gain high scores when competing against some of the top gymnasts in the country as well as the world," she told IG. "I am so excited for what is to come and what my future has in store for me."

Read "British Breakouts," a pair of interviews with Alice Kinsella and 2017 British all-around bronze medalist Maisie Methune, in the December 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions of International Gymnast magazine, or purchase back issues, click here.

Written by dwight normile    Tuesday, 29 August 2017 14:17    PDF Print
10 U.S. Women Invited to Worlds Training Camp
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Ten gymnast were invited to the training camp that will select four women to compete at the 2017 Montreal World Championships in October. Read more.
Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 29 August 2017 04:01    PDF Print
Rijken: 'I'll Need To Keep Pushing Myself'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Frank Rijken, the youngest member of the Dutch men's gymnastics team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, intends to build on the experience he gained in recent years and bolster his team's chances to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Pictured: Rijken at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow

Frank Rijken, the youngest member of the Dutch men's gymnastics team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, intends to build on the experience he gained in recent years and bolster his team's chances to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Born November 24, 1996, in Westvoorne, Rijken first took up gymnastics in his hometown because his siblings were already in the sport. He later trained at SDS Rotterdam along with his elder sister Marlies Rijken, who was a member of the Dutch women's team at the 2010 Worlds in Rotterdam and the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo. He now trains at R & D Zwijndrecht.

Rijken helped the Dutch team placed 11th at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, where he finished 33rd all-around in qualifications. He was also part of the Dutch team that finished 11th at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, from which it advanced to the Olympic test event in April 2016. Rijken and his teammates clinched their Olympic team berth by virtue of their third-place finish at the test event, becoming the first full Dutch men's gymnastics team at the Olympics since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam.

Rijken recently spoke with IG Online about his plans to return to Olympic competition, starting with this fall's world championships in Montreal.

IG: How would you rate your personal performance in Rio?

FR: I was the most inexperienced member by far, but I still did some big and important competitions. As a senior, I competed in the 2015 European Games in Baku, and I competed at the (2015) World Championships in Glasgow and the test event in Rio. So, I did have a bit of experience in the bigger events. My team trusted me to perform a good all-around competition, and that gave me the confidence to perform one. For me, the competition was an amazing experience with a very decent all-around competition.

Rijken at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio

IG: Qualifying a team for Rio was a huge accomplishment for the Dutch team, but some people think the Dutch could have performed even better than they did. Why do you think you team did not perform well enough to advance to the team final?

FR: Qualifying a team for the Olympics was a huge accomplishment for us. It's something we built towards for four years and it's awesome if it pays off like that. For the Olympic team, the staff had to make a balance between a good team score and a good chance of individual finals. In this balance, you'll have to take some risk, because we didn't have a back-up on some apparatuses. Despite this risk, we managed to get the highest ranking a Dutch team ever made, so we were all pleased with the debut we made.

IG: Knowing that there will be no team competition in Montreal, what do you think you will need to qualify for a spot there?

FR: Our head coach has set certain scores on every apparatus. If you manage to hit that score in the qualifications for the worlds, you'll probably be qualified for a spot in Montreal. I'm doing only parallel bars and high bar for these world championships. So, I'll have to perform well in the qualifications and manage the score the head coach set.

IG: Now that you have one Olympic Games behind you, what will you need to change or improve in your training, in order to become a leader of the team?

FR: I'll need to keep on pushing myself in training, in order to improve, not only by working hard, but also in working efficiently and smartly. My coach, Jeroen Jacobs, and I started working together four years ago. Since then I improved so fast by doing exactly this. I think, if we continue this training, I'll reach my full potential. I'm not where this will take me, but I'm sure it will result in some amazing competitions and experiences.

IG: Although we have three years till Tokyo, there are already several teams who look capable of pushing for a qualifying spot. What do you suggest so the Dutch team will be sure to earn one of those spots?

FR: As a team we will definitely try to qualify for the Olympics again. We have a lot of potential in our team. And I strongly believe we have enough quality to qualify for the Olympic games in Tokyo as a team.

International Gymnast magazine's recent coverage of Dutch gymnasts includes:
Eythora Thorsdottir chat (May 2017)
"Dutch Master" - Thorsdottir interview (April 2016)
"Marked for Success" - Casimir Schmidt profile (July/August 2014)
"Just Verdict" - Céline van Gerner interview (June/July 2012)
"Ready to Rise for the Netherlands" - Noel van Klaveren profile (June 2013)
"Skilled and Studious" - Epke Zonderland cover story (March 2014)

To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 02 August 2017 09:08    PDF Print
Both Downie Sisters to Miss Montreal Worlds
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

British Olympians Becky Downie and Ellie Downie have both been ruled out of this fall's world championships with injuries.

British Olympians Becky Downie, 25, and Ellie Downie, 18, will both miss this fall's world championships as they recover from surgeries.

Becky Downie, shortly before her elbow injury in Cluj

Ellie Downie, who made history this spring by winning the European all-around title in April in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, underwent ankle surgery Monday. Her elder sister Becky is also recovering from surgery.

Ellie Downie injured her ankle during the British championships in late March, but put off surgery to compete at the European championships in Cluj, where she became the first British gymnast to win a major all-around title, and added the bronze medal on uneven bars and the silver on floor exercise.

Ellie Downie sent out a photo on Instagram on Tuesday from Princess Grace Hospital in London, labeling herself "done and dusted."

"We worked through [the injury] for Europeans because I had worked too hard to not show off my work I'd been preparing for so many months, and I would not change that decision I made for the world," wrote Ellie, who turned 18 on July 20. "Unfortunately this does mean I will not compete at the World Champs in Canada this year, but my eyes are now set on getting ready and fit for the Commonwealth Games next year and I'm very excited to be on the road to recovery and get fit again. A minor set back is a pathway for a major comeback."

Becky Downie, 2008 and 2016 Olympian and 2014 and 2016 European bars champion, suffered a torn ligament in her elbow in a fall off uneven bars during the finals in Cluj. The seven-time European medalist is recovering well, but only just starting to train on bars again.

The "Double Downies" were members of Britain's history-making squad at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, where the British women won bronze, their first world championships team medal. They were also teammates at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where the team's fifth place was its best Olympic result since winning a bronze medal in 1928. Both gymnasts train at Notts Gymnastics Academy under coach Jo Miller.

External Link: British Gymnastics


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