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Written by Admin    Friday, 11 May 2007 08:33    PDF Print
Four Inducted into IGHOF

Former stars Simona Amanar, Yelena Davydova, Eberhard Gienger and Shigeru Kasamatsu were inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in ceremonies held Friday evening in Oklahoma City.

Amanar's competitive career included gold medal-winning performances for Romania at two Olympic Games. At the 1996 Atlanta Games, she placed first on vault, second on floor exercise and third (tie) all-around. At the 2000 Sydney Games, she placed first all-around and third on floor exercise. Amanar's best results in World Championships competition include first place (tie) on vault in 1995, first on vault in 1997, second all-around in 1997, second on vault in 1996 and 1999, and second on floor exercise in 1999.

Davydova, a native of Voronezh, Russia, won the 1980 Olympic all-around title and finished third all-around at the 1981 World Championships. She now coaches in Ontario, Canada.

Gienger, from Germany, won the gold medal on high bar at the 1974 World Championships and tied for the bronze on high bar at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Kasamatsu was the all-around gold medalist at the 1974 World Championships, where he also placed first on floor exercise and vault. He won three individual medals and a team gold with Japan at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and finished first on high bar at the 1978 World Championships.

Also honored in Oklahoma City was Vicelia Florenzano of Brazil, who received the International Order of Merit. Her achievements include serving as the president of the Pan American Union and Brazilian Gymnastics Federation, as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the International Gymnastics Federation.

Read in-depth coverage of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in the June 2007 issue of International Gymnast magazine.

Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 09 May 2007 08:32    PDF Print
Patterson Enjoys New Harmony
Although 2004 Olympic all-around champion Carly Patterson is no longer competing, she remains involved in the sport as she pursues a career as a recording artist.

"There are some people that are upset because I'm not doing gymnastics anymore, but I want them to know that it's OK to have more than one dream in life," Patterson told IG this weekend. "Gymnastics at the level where I competed was very hard, and your body can only do it for so long."

Patterson, who is finishing her first semester of college in Texas, is preparing to release a five-song CD of songs she wrote. The disc will be available for sale on her MySpace Music site (, as well as at gymnastics camps where Patterson will teach this summer.

Patterson's gymnastics camp itinerary includes Flip Fest, Woodward, Lake Owen, USGTC, Colorado Camp and her home club of WOGA in Plano, Texas.

Patterson is also rehearsing for her first concert in Allen, Texas. The concert will be a benefit for the Tooth Fairy Foundation, a charity that helps provide dental care for underprivileged children in the area. Patterson has been involved in the charity for two years. In the concert, she will sing seven songs with a live band.

On May 3, Patterson sang the national anthem before 8,000 people at the Quarter Bowl, a charity flag-football game organized by Dallas Cowboys football legend Roger Staubach in Dallas.

Last fall, Patterson was a contestant on Fox Television's "Celebrity Duets," where she sang with stars of music including James Ingram, Lee Ann Womack, Anita Pointer and Jesse McCartney. She also sang on the Hilton Family Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular, which aired on NBC last Christmas Eve.

"Life is great," Patterson said. "I want to thank everyone for supporting me in gymnastics and music."

Patterson is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast Magazine:
"Carly's Star Turn" - profile (December 2004)
2004 Olympics special issue, Patterson poster, Patterson on cover collage (October 2004)
Patterson on cover (April 2004)
Patterson on cover collage (August/September 2003)
Patterson on cover (April 2003)
"Steady As She Grows" - Patterson profile (March 2003)
Patterson on cover (March 2002)

To subscribe to IG Magazine or order back issues, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Friday, 04 May 2007 08:31    PDF Print
Ponor Enlists Bitang in Comeback
(2 votes, average 3.50 out of 5)
Triple Olympic champion Catalina Ponor will begin working with former national team coach Mariana Bitang, according to a report in Romanian newspaper Libertatea.

"She's the only person who can bring me back to the form I was in!" Ponor told Libertatea. "She's the only coach who can guide me to a world title and another Olympic title."

Ponor retired after the 2006 European Championships but returned to training in 2007 with Matei Stanei, who originally coached her as a junior in Constanta.

Libertatea reports that Ponor sought Bitang's help because Stanei is suffering from poor health.

"We saw her very determined, and we were very surprised to see her appetite for competition," Bitang told the newspaper.

Bitang and former head coach Octavian Belu retired from coaching in 2005, and have been working as advisors to Romanian President Traian Basescu. The Romanian Parliament suspended Basescu in April, on accusations of constitutional violations, and a national referendum on his impeachment is scheduled for May 19, 2007.

Ponor has won three gold Olympic medals, four world medals (three silver and one bronze) and seven European medals (five gold, one silver, one bronze). She will turn 20 on August 20.

Written by Admin    Friday, 27 April 2007 08:19    PDF Print
U.S. Finalizes Pan Am Team
The U.S. announced Wednesday the six women who will compete at the 2007 Pan Am Games, to be held July 14-17 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The U.S. team will be Rebecca Bross, Ivana Hong, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Samantha Peszek and Amber Trani.

The U.S. men's team, previously announced, will be Guillermo Alvarez, David Durante, Sean Golden, Joseph Hagerty, Justin Spring and Todd Thornton.

External Link: 2007 Pan Am Games Official Site

Written by John Crumlish    Saturday, 07 April 2007 22:16    PDF Print
Johnson Aiming To Take On The World
Featured on the April 2007 cover of IG, recently crowned American Cup champion Shawn Johnson is preparing for her first U.S. Senior Championships and what she calls "the big one" - September's World Championships.

The 15-year-old Johnson, who is in her first year of eligibility for senior competition, won the American Cup last month in Jacksonville. She won the all-around title and led the U.S. team to victory over Great Britain at a dual meet held in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, held March 17-18.

Johnson said she has been working to correct mistakes she made at the American Cup, including a vault error in the preliminary round and a fall from balance beam in the finals.

"I don't really know what it was," Johnson said of the fall on her series (switch leap, layout, whip). "It was one of those freak things that happens and something I couldn't fix, but I'll get it next time."

Johnson said she has watched videos of her American Cup routines "multiple times" and was otherwise pleased with her efforts.

"I thought I performed really well, first of all for my first senior meet and also for my first meet that was televised," she said. "I know there are a few errors and mistakes I can work on and fix. But other than that, it was a good start, and I can only get better."

Johnson is also enjoying the media attention and fan support she has gained since her American Cup victory.

"I don't think people treat me any differently," she said. "I'm the same Shawn Johnson. I like all the fans and the little letters I get. I take one thing at a time and enjoy every bit of it."

Johnson is now preparing for three major competitions: the Pan American Games (July 22-30 in Rio de Janeiro), the U.S. Championships (Aug. 15-18 in San Jose), and the World Championships (Sept. 1-9 in Stuttgart). Worlds are "the big one," she said.

"That's our main goal," said Johnson, who trains under coaches Chow Liang and Liwen Zhuang at Chow's Gymnastics and Dance Institute in West Des Moines, Iowa. "The American Cup and Pan Ams are basically getting experience for that meet."

Although Johnson has yet to compete against most of the world's best senior gymnasts, she is confident in her ability to transition from the junior ranks. She won the U.S. junior title last year with a score that was 0.40 higher than that of senior champion Nastia Liukin.

"I feel I stand pretty well," Johnson said, "but nothing's sure and everything changes every day. It's going to take day after day of hard work like I have been doing, and even 150% every day. Hopefully if I just try my hardest, it will be enough."

Videos offer Johnson's coaches the opportunity to gauge Johnson's prospects against the senior international rivals she is likely to face this year, she said.

"I don't (watch videos of others) very often, but my coaches do it a lot," Johnson said. "Every once in a while they might tell me to look at the (2006) World Championships videos. I just focus on what I'm doing, and I know that my coaches are doing the best for me."

Johnson said she plans to enjoy the Easter holiday weekend with her parents, although she is training her normal schedule. She worked out on Friday, and will also train on Saturday. Sunday is her usual day off from training.

"We normally have a big Easter breakfast and the Easter bunny comes," she said, laughing. "I get a treat once in a while! But other than that, we just spend time with each other."

- John Crumlish

Shawn Johnson is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:

April 2007 - cover photo, American Cup coverage
November 2006 - "A Taste of China" (Johnson/Chow's profile)
October 2006 - Johnson on cover, Johnson poster, U.S. Championships coverage
January/February 2006 - Johnson "Kids Klub Shooting Star" profile
October 2005 - U.S. Junior Championships photo gallery, including Johnson


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