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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.

Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 13 August 2007 10:02    PDF Print
U.S. Championships Begin Wednesday
Featured in the July/August issue of IG magazine, Shayla Worley and Jonathan Horton are taking aim at this week's U.S. Championships and the upcoming World Championships.
Shayla Worley

Worley is among 47 senior and junior women who have qualified to compete at the Visa (U.S.) Championships that will take place August 15-18 in San Jose. At stake are berths on the U.S. national team, and consideration for spots on the U.S. team for the World Championships that will take place Sept. 1-9 in Stuttgart.

Worley finished third all-around at the 2005 U.S. Junior Championships, but did not compete at the 2006 U.S. Senior Championships because of a hip injury.

"Of course, you just keep thinking about your goals," Worley told IG in the cover story. "You want to be an Olympic champion. You've got to push through these days. These are what make you stronger...and shape you as a gymnast."

The favorite for the senior title in San Jose is Shawn Johnson, a first-year senior who won the 2006 U.S. junior title and the 2007 American Cup and 2007 Pan American Nastia Liukin is the two-time defending champion but has not competed vault and floor since the 2006 U.S. Championships because of an ankle injury. Other top competitors include Jana Bieger, the 2006 world all-around silver medalist and U.S. all-around bronze medalist in 2005 and 2006; Chellsie Memmel, the 2005 world all-around champion and 2005 U.S. all-around silver medalist; Alicia Sacramone, the 2005 world floor exercise champion and 2006 U.S. vault and floor exercise champion; and Natasha Kelley, the 2005 U.S. junior champion and 2006 U.S. senior all-around silver medalist.

In the senior division at last month's U.S. Classic (a Visa Championships qualifying meet), first-year seniors Bridget Sloan and Christa Tanella placed first and second, repectively. Rheagan Courville won the junior division over Samantha Shapiro.

Horton, the 2006 and 2007 American Cup champion and 2006 U.S. Championships silver medalist, is among 86 senior and junior men qualified for the Visa Championships.

"You have to put yourself in that mind frame that every routine you do counts, even in practice," said Horton in the IG profile.

2006 U.S. champion Sasha Artemev and 2006 bronze medalist Guillermo Alvarez are also expected to challenge for the all-around title in San Jose. At the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, Artemev won the bronze medal on pommel horse, and Alvarez was the top American male all-arounder (18th place).

At a June qualifying competition for the Visa Championships, Alvarez won the all-around over Horton (second) and David Durante (third). Durante placed third at the 2005 U.S. Championships and sixth at the 2006 U.S. Championships.

Among the other veterans qualified for the Visa Championships are Paul Hamm, the 2003 world and 2004 Olympic all-around champion; Morgan Hamm, Paul's identical twin and fellow two-time Olympian. San Jose will mark the Hamms' return to competition, but they have indicated they do not plan on competing at the upcoming World Championships.

Other standouts include Justin Spring, the gold medalist on parallel bars at the recent Pan American Games, Sean Townsend, the 2001 world champion on parallel bars and 2001 U.S. all-around champion; Todd Thornton, the 2005 U.S. all-around champion; Kevin Tan, the U.S. team captain at the 2006 Worlds; and Yewki Tomita, who placed 25th all-around at the 1999 Worlds.

IG Online and IG Magazine will be on hand in San Jose, so look for upcoming coverage including live commentary.

International Gymnast magazine's featured coverage of Visa Championships qualifiers includes:

Jana Bieger
center poster (March 2007)
2006 World Championships special issue (December 2006)
"Daughter Dearest" - profile (November 2005)

Shawn Johnson
cover photo, 2007 American Cup coverage (April 2007)
"A Taste of China" - profile (November 2006)
cover photo, center poster, 2006 U.S. Championships coverage (October 2006)
"Shooting Star" - profile (January 2006)

Natasha Kelley
profile (March 2006)

Mattie Larson
"Meet a Real Show-stopper" - profile (November 2005)

Nastia Liukin
2006 U.S. Championships coverage (October 2006)
cover photo, 2005 World Championships special issue (January 2006)
cover photo, center poster, 2005 U.S. Championships coverage (October 2005)
cover photo (April 2005)
cover photo (June/July 2003)
"An Unstoppable Force" - profile (November 2002)

Chellsie Memmel
cover photo, center poster, 2005 World Championships special issue (January 2006)
center poster (January 2004)
cover photo, 2003 World Championships special issue (October 2003)
"Memmel's Magic" - profile (November 2002)
cover photo (October 2002)

Samantha Peszek
center poster (July/August 2007)
profile (November 2006)

Alicia Sacramone
interview (April 2006)
cover photo, 2005 World Championships special issue (January 2006)
"Coming on Strong" - profile (June/July 2004)

Samantha Shapiro
"Substance and Style" - profile (October 2006)

Amber Trani
"Star in the Making" - profile (March 2005)

Shayla Worley
"Back in Focus" cover story (July/August 2007)
center poster (July/August 2006)
"Model Gymnast" - profile (November 2004)

Sasha Artemev
2006 U.S. Championships coverage (October 2006)
"SuperNatural" - profile (May 2002)
"Relative Success" - includes Artemev family (December 1998)

Raj Bhavsar
"Double Crossed" - interview (March 2005)

David Durante
"All-Around Specialist" - interview (April 2005)

Tim Gentry
profile (April 2003)

Jonathan Horton
"Lessons Learned" - profile (July/August 2007)
cover photo, 2006 NCAA Championships report (May 2006)

Sean Golden
"Golden Rules" - profile (November 2005)

Morgan and Paul Hamm
"Virtual Comeback" - interview (April 2007)
2004 Olympics special issue (October 2004)
P. Hamm on cover, 2004 U.S. Championships and Olympic Trials coverage (August/September 2004)
"From Anaheim to Athens" - P. Hamm interview (March 2004)
P. Hamm on cover, 2003 World Championships special issue (October 2003)
"Glowing in Paul's Shadow (M. Hamm profile), 2003 U.S. Championships coverage (August/September 2003)
2002 U.S. championships coverage (October 2002)

Justin Spring
"Spring Loaded" - profile (February 2005)

Kevin Tan
"A Captain's Duties" - short profile (January/February 2007)

Todd Thornton
"Pride After the Fall" - short profile (March 2006)
cover photo, 2005 U.S. Championships coverage (October 2005)
"Finding His Form" - interview (May 2005)

Sean Townsend
interview (April 2007)
"Back on Track" - profile (December 2003)
"Quiet and Clear" - profile (March 2002)
Giant poster (January 2002)
2001 U.S. Championships coverage (October 2001)

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

Written by Admin    Monday, 13 August 2007 09:55    PDF Print
Survey: Gymnastics Most Popular Sport
Gymnastics is America's favorite Olympic sport, according to a survey published Monday by USA Today.

In the survey of more than 1,000 people aged 18 and up, 69 percent of respondents chose gymnastics as a favorite Olympic sport. Sixty-two percent chose swimming and diving as a favorite. (Respondents could pick more than one).

The third and fourth most popular are track and field (46 percent) and basketball (35 percent). Baseball was the fifth most popular with 32 percent, though 2008 will be the last time baseball will be in the Olympics. Baseball and softball were eliminated from the 2012 Olympic Games through an IOC vote in 2005.

The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing begin on Aug. 8, 2008.

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 07 August 2007 09:49    PDF Print
Debauve Details Diverse Ambitions
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Although 2005 European all-around champion Marine Debauve competed at the French Team Championships in June, she told IG she is not likely to return to international competition.

Debauve announced her retirement from international competition shortly after the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne. In April and October 2006, she had wrist surgery. Between operations she began training as a diver.

Marine Debave

"I really like diving for fun, but to train every day quickly reminded me of the repetition I found in gymnastics," said the 18-year-old Debauve, a native of Dijon. "Therefore I stopped."

Earlier this year, Debauve resumed light training in gymnastics, and competed on balance beam and floor exercise for the Créteil club at the French Team Championships held in June.

"It was good to find the sensations again," Debauve told IG this week. "Although the idea of returning to the high level crosses my mind sometimes, I know that this is going to be very hard and I knew the sacrifices it would take. Therefore, for the moment this is not in my plan."

Debauve, who at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games earned the French women's best all-around finish in Olympic history, said she has faith in the new generation of French gymnasts. She named Cassy Vericel, Marine Petit and Katheleen Lindor as strong candidates for the 2008 Beijing Games, and added that the current team is strong enough without her.

"They have progressed a lot, and I hope they will be able to qualify the French team for 2008!" Debauve said. "I am not sure that the team really needs me. Above all my wrist has not fully healed, so I could probably no longer do uneven bars. And in this situation there is already (2004 Olympic bars champion) Emilie Le Pennec and maybe Isabelle Severino."

When Debauve announced her retirement in 2006, she noted her interest in becoming a trainer of dogs - specifically for customs inspections. She has been unable to pursue that line of work, though, because of her petite size.

"To enter the gendarme or the army, there is a height requirement of 1.60 meters, and unfortunately I am 3 or 4 centimeters short of that," Debauve said. "Therefore I have enrolled in the sport science program at the university. And if nothing pleases me, then the year after I would take up studies in business."

Debauve said that, in spite of the challenges she has faced in the recent past, she has achieved much.

"This year has been really good for me," Debauve said. "I got my driver's license, and I passed my bac (university entrance exams)!"

Marine Debauve is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:
April 2006 - "Debauve Departs" (retirement feature)
August/September 2005 - 2005 European Championships coverage
October 2004 - 2004 Olympic Games special issue

To subscribe to IG, click here.


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