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Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 28 May 2008 16:02    PDF Print
Russians Count Down to Beijing

The World Cup that begins Thursday in Moscow is a major step to the upcoming Olympics, Russian veterans Anna Pavlova and Anton Golotsutskov told IG Wednesday.

"This is one of the test events for the Olympic Games," said Pavlova, a 2004 Olympian. "Therefore, this meet has major significance."

The "World Stars" World Cup will be held Thursday and Friday at Moscow's Olimpysky Arena.

Top all-arounders Yulia Lozhechko and Maxim Devyatovsky will skip the competition. Devyatovsky, who led Russia to the team title at the European Championships in early May, has been given vacation time to spend with his young son before the Olympics.

The women's team will be composed of Pavlova (vault, balance beam); world uneven bars champion Ksenia Semyonova (bars and beam); Ksenia Afanasyeva (floor exercise and another event to be determined); and Kristina Goryunova (vault, floor exercise).

The Russian men's team in Moscow will be Golotsutskov (floor exercise and vault); Konstantin Pluzhnikov (still rings); Anatoly Vasilyev (floor exercise, high bar); Yuri Ryazanov (pommel horse, parallel bars); Vladimir Olennikov (pommel horse, parallel bars); and Ruslan Nigmadzyanov (pommel horse, still rings).

Though Russia's Olympic team won't be selected until after the Russian Cup in July, Golotsutskov said the World Cup holds great significance.

"This tournament is the next step to the Olympic Games," Golotustskov told IG.

Golotsutskov, the reigning European champion on floor exercise, said he plans to withold some skills in Moscow from his planned Olympic sets.

"I won't be doing all my difficulty," he said.

Questionable for Beijing are veterans Yelena Zamolodchikova and Alexander Safoshkin. Zamolodchikova, 25, has been plagued by injuries, though the two-time Olympian is still training at the Round Lake national training center.

Safoshkin, 32, is suffering from an arm injury, and the still rings specialist may not have enough time to heal before July's selection.

Russia will choose its Olympic squads following the Russian Cup, July 1-7 in Lobnya. The team will then train in the Siberian city of Leninsk-Kuznetsky before going to China for the Olympics, which begin Aug. 9.

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

Written by Admin    Tuesday, 27 May 2008 08:31    PDF Print
Hamm Undergoes Hand Surgery

2004 Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm (U.S.) underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon on his broken right hand.

"The surgery went perfectly and we are already ahead of schedule," Hamm said through his agent, Sheryl Shade.

Hamm, who broke the hand Thursday at the U.S. Championships in Houston, selected Dr. Lawrence Lubbers of the Ohio State Medical Center to perform the operation. Lubbers inserted a plate and nine screws in Hamm's hand.

On the last event of the first night of the championships, Hamm suffered the injury while performing a stutz to one bar on parallel bars. Hamm, who after the first day led the competition by nearly four points, broke the fourth metacarpal in his right hand.

The 25-year-old Hamm is petitioning directly to the U.S. Olympic team for Beijing. He is scheduled to begin rehabilitation on the hand Thursday. Recovery is expected to take four to six weeks.

Source: Associated Press

IG Online Related Items
Hamm to Have Surgery on Broken Hand (May 23, 2008)
Despite Hand Injury, Hamm on Top at U.S. Championships (May 22, 2008)

Written by Admin    Friday, 23 May 2008 09:28    PDF Print
Hamm to Have Surgery on Broken Hand
HOUSTON — Reigning Olympic champion Paul Hamm will undergo surgery on his fractured right hand and will petition directly to the U.S. Olympic team, his coach Miles Avery announced Friday.

"He won't be able to do the Olympic Trials," Avery said. "The course of action for that is to petition him to the team. And try to prove his readiness later in the summer, closer to the Games."

Hamm suffered the injury on parallel bars in the final rotation of the first day of the U.S. Championships for men in Houston. During a stutz to one bar, his finger shifted on contact with the rail and he felt something pop, he said.

X-rays on Friday showed a fracture in the fourth metacarpal.

"We have decided the best course of action is to put in a screw. Now we are trying to decide which doctor will be the best," Avery said. "If he can be back in four to five weeks, we think we can get him back to this level, which is high, and do very well."

According to the guidelines for the U.S. men's Olympic selection procedure, athletes who are unable to compete in the Olympic Trials may petition to the Men's Olympic Selection Committee for a spot on the Olympic team.

"Our selection procedures allow for a petition directly to the Olympic team for just this type of situation," said Dennis McIntyre, men's program director for USA Gymnastics and a member of the five-man selection committee.

The injury is the first setback in Hamm's outstanding comeback. Following his controversial win at the 2004 Olympics, he took a three-year break from competition. He returned at the 2007 U.S. Championships in San Jose, Calif., competing two events.

Hamm returned to the all-around in 2008, winning both the American Cup and Pacific Rim titles in March. Despite the fall on parallel bars on Thursday, he easily led the competition by nearly four points.

Hamm will stay in Houston to watch twin brother Morgan compete in day two on Saturday.

"He knows he can come back from this," Avery said of Paul. "He's a little anxious, but he's doing fine."

Read "Full Plate," an interview with Miles Avery, in the May 2008 issue of International Gymnast Magazine

Written by Admin    Wednesday, 21 May 2008 18:08    PDF Print
Timing is Everything to British Olympic Contender Cairns
Cairns at the 2006 Commonwealth Games
Although Imogen Cairns missed the past two world championships because of injuries, she told IG she is hopeful to contend for a spot on the British team for this summer's Olympics in Beijing.

"I'm doing better and getting stronger day by day," said the 19-year-old Cairns, whose most recent injury was a broken ankle last year. "The problem is our Trial dates, which don't leave me much time. My foot is still repairing and we can't work at 100 percent every day at the moment. The question we are asking ourselves is, 'Is there enough time?'"

Cairns, who placed first on vault and fourth all-around at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, was misdiagnosed with several stress fractures in her back just before the 2006 World Championships, held in October in Aarhus, Denmark.

Liz Kincaid, Cairns' coach, said Cairns had back pain four weeks prior to the 2006 Worlds. An MRS scan revealed stress fractures, so Cairns immediately stopped training. Three yeeks later, a CT scan showed that Cairns had only "hot spots," Kincaid said.

"Imogen commenced training," Kincaid said. "Obviously she had to be managed with regards to the hot spots, but her chance of competing was dashed with three weeks of no gymnastics or fitness. Ironically, she had the bittersweet news the day the team flew out to Aarhus. This was the start of a run of bad luck."

Following the 2006 Worlds, Cairns placed fifth on vault at the 2006 Glasgow Grand Prix, and seventh on vault at the World Cup Final in Sao Paulo.

In April 2007 her sore wrist was diagnosed as a broken scaffold. "It's a bad bone to break, and Imogen was in plaster for 12 weeks," Kincaid said.

Following Cairns's recovery from her wrist injury, she injured her ankle. "Imogen was vaulting with a wrist support on, and noticed during her hurdle step that the support had come undone," Kincaid said. "She tried to pull up, and crashed into the vault and broke her ankle."

"I know internationally most people thought I had retired. Sorry, got me for a little while longer! Even in Great Britain people thought I had finished. I find it hilarious."

Cairns subsequently missed the 2007 Worlds in Stuttgart, where the British women's team placed a best-ever seventh. Cairns said she supported her teammates in spite of the fact that she could not participate.

"I got over not competing for a while," she said. "I think you know when you can do it and when you can't — and I couldn't. So I was right behind them and extremely proud and pleased for all of them."

At the World Cup of Maribor, Slovenia, held last month, Cairns placed fifth on vault. Both she and Kincaid said this result was not indicative of Cairns' progress in 2008.

"My coach was disappointed, as I had competed much, much better in England," Cairns said. "However, this is a tricky comp[etition] to do four pieces at, and I felt unwell. I've competed since then and done well."

Kincaid agreed with Cairns on her performance in Maribor. "Maybe the comp was just a fraction too soon, and a difficult one to start with," she said.

Cairns said her return to major competition may come as a surprise to the gymnastics community.

"I know internationally most people thought I had retired," she said. "Sorry, got me for a little while longer! Even in Great Britain people thought I had finished. I find it hilarious."

The British Olympic team will be selected on the basis of three competitions: the British Team Championships on Saturday and Sunday; a Closed Trial at the British national team training center in Lilleshall (June 6); and the British Championships (June 28-29).

With the Olympic Games less than three months away, Cairns and Kincaid are cautiously optimistic about Cairns' chances to make the British team.

"We are working four pieces, and will be out to hit routines in our trials in May and June," Kincaid said. "With regards to Beijing, we will be happy to be there and do whatever is needed. It's still fingers crossed whether the timing aspect after all the injuries works out and we can make the team. Imogen's foot can still flare up and limit her training. I have no strategy — just looking after her body and hope."

Cairns said she will continue competing, whether or not she qualifies for Beijing.

"I don't really have any expectations," she told IG. "I really want to make the team, and we are doing everything possible to make my chances bigger. Then, whether I do or whether I don't [make the Olympic team], I'm looking forward to 2009 and an injury-free year."

Written by Admin    Saturday, 10 May 2008 15:04    PDF Print
Cassina Cuts Out 'Cassina II'
2004 Olympic high bar champion Igor Cassina (Italy) says the limits of the Code of Points will likely keep him from competing his new move Sunday in the high bar final at the European Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Igor Cassina

For several years, Cassina has been training a double-twisting Kovacs with an eye on defending his high bar title this summer at the Olympic Games in Beijing. The Italian already has a move named after him: the layout Kolman (full-twisting Kovacs) that he debuted at the 2001 Worlds in Ghent.

"After the triumph of Athens 2004, my goal was to be able to complete the 'Cassina II,'" said Cassina, who recently posted a video of the trick on his Web site. "Being able to make it fills me with pride. In the gym with my coach, Maurizio Allievi, I can do it consistently."

Cassina qualified fifth to Sunday's high bar final, behind world champion Fabian Hambüchen (Germany), Vlasios Maras (Greece), Umit Samiloglu (Turkey) and Aljaz Pegan (Slovenia). However, he likely won't compete the double-twisting Kovacs. A single-twisting Kovacs already is a F-value skill, the maximum rating. (The layout Kolman also has a F value.)

Despite the innovative value, Cassina said it is not worth the risk to attempt the skill in a tight field.

"We have come here in order to bring home a medal," said Cassina, whose Italian team finished eighth in Saturday's final. "The adversaries are always the same ones: Hambüchen, Maras, Pegan.... A lot of competition, but we are all there. For the Cassina II, I wanted to keep a promise that I had made to myself in 2004. The move is there on the Internet, under the eyes of everyone, but until the Code of Points gives the move more value than the old one, it's not worth the risk."

External Link: Cassina II on


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