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Written by Admin    Wednesday, 22 August 2007 10:29    PDF Print
Greek Teams Chosen For Stuttgart Worlds
The Greeks team for the World Championships (Sept. 1-9 in Stuttgart) include several veterans, but not 2004 Olympic rings champion Dimosthenis Tambakos.
Stefani Bisbikou

On August 22, the Greek men's and women's teams were announced, They include Vlasios Maras, Vasilis Tsolakidis, Christos Lympanovnos, Dimitris Markousis, Xenophon Kosmidis, Mihalis Doulkeridis and alternate Eleftherios Kosmidis (men); and Stefani Bisbikou (right), Viktoria Tsakalidou, Evgenia Zafiraki, Anna Orfanou, Vasiliki Georgakopoulou, Vasiliki Milloussi and alternate Despoina Grigoriadou (women).

The decision was officially announced exactly three years after the greatest achievement of Tambakos's career. He won his Olympic title in Athens on August 22, 2004.

After his victory in the Athens Games, Tambakos competed only in two major competitions (the 2005 and 2006 World Championships), but in both occasions he failed by a small margin to make the rings final.

Although Tambakos has been participating in the summer training camps without any serious injury problem, the decision to not include him on the team for the first time in over a decade was an exclusively technical decision. It was not because of him being injured or unfit.

Tambakos would have competed on only two events (rings and high bar) in Stuttgart. This would mean that almost every other gymnast on the team would compete on all six events. In case of a last-minute injury, it could have been a problem for the team to complete a total of 30 routines (five per event).

Tambakos intends to travel to Stuttgart, along with his coach Alekos Ioakimidis, as a gesture of team spirit and in order to support his teammates' efforts.

"The team has helped us in the past and now it is time for us to support it," Ioakimidis said. "Thanks to the team effort in 1999 Worlds, Dimosthenis was able to compete in the (2000) Sydney Olympics. After all, the team is above all, and everybody's wish is that we succeed in Stuttgart."

Another notable selection is that Eleftherios Kosmidis, who tied for the bronze medal on floor exercise at the 2007 European Championships, is the team alternate. His older brother, Xenophon, is among the six gymnasts who are scheduled to compete.

Maras, who won the gold medal on high bar at both the 2001 and 2002 Worlds, finished third on the event at the 2006 Worlds. Also at the 2006 Worlds, Tsolakidis placed fourth on parallel bars, and Lympanovnos placed 19th all-around.

Greek men's team head coach Dimitris Raftis (who also coaches two-time world high bar champion Maras) said the team will strive to place among the top 15 in Stuttgart, thereby earning two berths to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The top 12 teams in Stuttgart will earn full team berths to Beijing.

"Our realistic goal is to be in the top 18, so that we will ensure the presence of at least one Greek gymnast at Beijing," Raftis said. "However, we will fight with all strength for 15th place, although we understand that it is very difficult»."

The Greek men's best World Championships finish to date is 17th place, achieved at the 1999 and 2006 Worlds.

For the women, Bisbikou and 2000 Olympian Milloussi have the most experience in world competition. Bisbikou finished 15th all-around at both the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and the 2005 Worlds. At the 2007 Europeans, she placed 12th all-around and tied for the bronze medal on balance beam. The Greek women placed 19th in the team competition at the 2006 Worlds.

"Basically we are aiming for 16th to 18th place in the team competition, but we might have a chance to get into the top 15," said Greek women's team head coach Kostas Hatzizisis. "It will be a balanced competition for quite a few teams, and the result will depend on the condition in which each of them will be on that day."

International Gymnast Magazine Related Features
"Disappearing Act" - short Maras profile; "Facing the Future" - short Tambakos profile (January/February 2007)
"Unfinished Business" - Tambakos interview (November 2002)
"So Much So Soon" - Maras profile (February 2003)
Maras and other 2002 world champions in center poster (February 2003)
"Growing In Stature" - Bisbikou profile (December 2002)
Maras on cover photo collage (June/July 2002)

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

 
Written by Admin    Saturday, 18 August 2007 10:11    PDF Print
U.S. Announces World Team
USA Gymnastics announced Saturday the world team to the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart.

New national champion David Durante will lead the men's team of Guillermo Alvarez, Sasha Artemev, Sean Golden, Jonathan Horton and Kevin Tan. The alternate is Sho Nakamori.

The women's world team is Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Alicia Sacramone, Ivana Hong, Shayla Worley, Bridget Sloan and Samantha Peszek.

At the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, the American women finished second to China in the team final. The American men finished 13th, their worst performance in world championships history.

 
Written by Amanda Turner    Saturday, 18 August 2007 10:10    PDF Print
Spring Out with ACL Tear

U.S. national team member Justin Spring has suffered an acute tear to his right anterior cruciate ligament, said a spokesperson for USA Gymnastics.

Spring was attempting a double-twisting Kasamatsu vault at the U.S. Championships in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday night. The vault was crooked in the air and he suffered an injury on landing.

Spring, who was first on high bar in San Jose, had been in contention for the U.S. men's squad to the upcoming world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

The team is scheduled to be announced Saturday evening.

 
Written by Admin    Wednesday, 15 August 2007 10:08    PDF Print
Aussies Forecast Success In Stuttgart
Dasha Joura, Hollie Dykes and 2006 world medalist Prashanth Sellathurai will headline the Australian teams at next month's World Championships in Stuttgart.
Dasha Joura

Joura and Dykes are expected to lead the Australian women's team which has been labelled the best-ever by Australian men's head coach Sergei Chinkar.

At the 2006 Worlds in Aarhus, Denmark, Joura and Dykes placed fifth and seventh all-around, respctively. Also returning from the sixth-place 2006 team is Georgia Bonora.

Chloe Sims, Lauren Mitchell, Shona Morgan and Ashleigh Brennan will make their World Championships debut in Stuttgart, but all have international experience. Sims was last year's Commonwealth Games all-around champion, and won the uneven bars title in the Australia vs. China competition in Melbourne in May. Mitchell won the second day of the Australian team trials this past weekend, and is rated a finals chance on balance beam.

The top-three placings from last weekend's trials in Canberra were Joura (117.430), Mitchell (116.997) and Sims (114.665).

Dykes showed she is also a potential balance beam finalist in Stuttgart, with a personal best score 16.433 on the event on the second day of the trials. She did not compete on floor exercise, as she nurses a nagging back injury.

Chinkar said he believes Joura's strong leadership will make a difference to Australia.

"She is the most skillful Australian woman I have seen, and you need a strong leader for the team to be successful," said Chinkar, a Belarusian native and former personal coach to six-time Olympic champion Vitaly Scherbo.

While the Australian men may be missing reigning world high bar champion Philippe Rizzo (torn Achilles' tendon) in Stuttgart, there are plenty of candidates jostling to take his place as team leader. The Australia men placed 14th at the 2006 Worlds.

The top 12 teams in Stuttgart will qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Sellathurai has been in electric form this year, with several scores above 16 on pommel horse. Sellathurai, the silver medalist on horse at the 2006 Worlds, is considered the Australia men's best medal chance in Stuttgart.

Joshua Jefferis, who achieved an Australian best-ever all-around finish with his 12th place at the 2006 Worlds, is getting stronger every day from the frustratingly slow recovery from major shoulder surgery last November. He is hopeful of repeating last year's performance.

Australian men's coach Vladimir Vatkin said he is relieved that Jefferis had made a solid return from surgery.

"Joshua is back on track and is very close to performing his full routines," Vatkin said. "It is very promising, and he continues to improve."

Fast-improving Sam Simpson, who won the recent two-day men's team trials, and Australian champion Sam Offord, will help Jefferis shoulder the leadership responsibilities in Rizzo's absence.

Australia's rising star, 17-year-old Matthew Curtis (who scored 170.35 at the trials), is proficient on pommel horse. He and Luke Wiwatowski will make their Worlds debut in Stuttgart, while floor specialist Thomas Pichler will attend his third world championships. Curtis, Simpson and Pichler train under Chinkar.

 
Written by Admin    Tuesday, 14 August 2007 10:04    PDF Print
Artemev Aiming for Consistency, History
Though Sasha Artemev has removed some of his more risky skills, he has at least one major trick planned for this week's U.S. Championships: a triple-twisting Yurchenko vault.
Sasha Artemev

If he's successful, Artemev will likely be the first gymnast in history to land the skill in competition.

Artemev attempted the triple-twisting Yurchenko at the U.S. Men's Qualifier in June, but rolled out of it. He still managed to score a 15.750 on the vault, which has a 7.0 A-Panel value.

At the U.S. Qualifier, Artemev finished seventh after the first day with multiple falls. He said he decided to scratch the second day of competition after suffering a slight injury on parallel bars. He's since made the decision to remove some of the skills to improve his consistency.

"My routines were stacked [with tricks]," he told IG. "A lot of skills I couldn't handle."

At the 2006 U.S. Championships, Artemev won the senior men's title over Jonathan Horton and Guillermo Alvarez.

"I went 11 for 12 last year and this year hopefully I'll hit 12 for 12," he said.

Artemev had a rough competition at the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, finishing 22nd all-around and 13th with the U.S. team. In finals he rebounded to win the bronze medal on pommel horse.

Artemev says some of the skills he's removed from his planned routines include a double front pass on floor exercise, a Wu travel on pommel horse, a piked Belle on parallel bars and a Weiler kip and Stalder-Rybalko combination on high bar.

"My routines are easier for me and I'm confident," said Artemev, who will turn 22 on Aug. 29. "I'm not competing on the edge."

Artemev, a native of Minsk, Belarus, says he has been training the triple-twisting Yurchenko seriously for a few months.

"It's one of those vaults that's on and off," he said. "If I get a good block and I stall it then I can land it. I have stuck a couple in the gym and it's like, whoa. But just landing it, even with a step, I'll be happy."

Artemev pointed to both Horton and Alvarez, as well as Justin Spring and Sean Townsend, as his main competition for this year's all-around title.

"There's a lot of great guys competing tomorrow," he said.

IG Online's live coverage of the U.S. National Championships begins Wednesday at 1 p.m. PST.

 


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