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Written by Admin    Thursday, 14 June 2007 07:27    PDF Print
Chinese Gymnast Likely Paralyzed
Doctors say Wang Yan is likely paralyzed after falling from the uneven bars at the Chinese National Championships in Shanghai.
Wang Yan at the 2006 National Championships

During Sunday's team final, Wang reportedly hit the bar with her feet on her dismount and crashed headfirst to the mat. Photos show Wang being carried from the arena on a stretcher, yet without a neck brace.

Doctors said Wang, 15, was lucky to have survived the accident. She suffered fractures and dislocation of the second and third vertebrae.

"It's a very serious injury," specialist Jia Lianshun told the media. "The patient could not react to stimulant under the chest bone and both hands lost the capability to move. The symptom is very similar to top marrow damage, which could result in a death rate of 98.5 percentage according to the statistics."

Wang is reportedly still unconscious, and surgery is planned when her condition improves.

"What's lucky for her is she revived the function in the right leg and foot," Jia said. "With appropriate medical treatment, it's possible to recover part of the physical function."

Wang's injury comes nine years after Sang Lan broke her neck warming up vault at the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York. With surgery and rehabilitation, Sang regained partial use of her arms. Sang will be a torchbearer at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

International Gymnast Magazine Related Feature
"The Spirit Moves Her" - Sang interview (January 1999)

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

Written by Admin    Wednesday, 13 June 2007 07:24    PDF Print
New Mom Harmes Plans to Return
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
2005 world floor exercise bronze medalist Suzanne Harmes of the Netherlands told IG her plan is to "return to my old level" after the birth of her first child, a boy named Lugano, on May 24.
Suzanne Harmes

"I'm thinking I can start strength training in a few weeks," said the 21-year-old Harmes. "This strength training will be the start, and then we'll see how things work out and how far I can get. The idea is to return to my old level. I need to lose a bit more weight and see how my body copes with getting back into training. But I'm starting to work on it soon!"

Harmes, a 2004 Olympian, said Lugano was 54 centimeters (21.2 in.) tall and weighed 3230 grams (7.1 lbs.) at birth. He is now 58 centimeters (22.8 in.) tall.

"Lugano has very long legs, and big hands and feet, for a small baby," Harmes said.

At birth, people told Harmes that Lugano resembled his father, Gamaliël, a lot. Now, people tell her Lugano resembles her much more.

"He really is a quiet and happy baby," Harmes said. "He sleeps a lot, and only cries when he is hungry or when he needs to have his nappy changed."

Three weeks after giving birth, Harmes said she feels quite fit. "I physically didn't feel so well the first week, but now everything is fine," she said.

Read "Double Dutch," a profile on Harmes, in the May 2005 issue of International Gymnast magazine.

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

Written by Admin    Monday, 21 May 2007 08:41    PDF Print
2011 Worlds Go to Tokyo
The FIG awarded the 2011 Artistic World Championships to Tokyo, which beat out two European capitals in the voting at the FIG Council in Orlando on Saturday.

Tokyo easily won its bid with 29 votes, compared to just five for Moscow and two for Prague.

The 2011 World Championships will be just the third artistic worlds ever held in Asia and the second held in Japan, following Sabae in 1995 and Tianjin, China in 1999.

The 2011 rhythmic worlds were awarded to Lille, France, and the 2011 trampoline worlds to Birmingham, England.

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 17 May 2007 08:36    PDF Print
Russo Reflects on Career, Retirement
Australian world medalist Monette Russo, who last week announced her decision to retire from international competition, said she plans to stay involved in the sport.
Monette Russo

Russo, 18, told IG she is retiring because of the fractured tibia that kept her out of the 2006 World Championships.

"I did not officially make the decision to retire until last week, but after my leg was not getting any better after six months, that kind of made my decision for me," Russo said. "This is the second time my tibia cracked, so I know how long the first one took."

Despite the injury, Russo said the decision to retire was a difficult one.

"It was definitely not an easy decision—it still is not," she said. "I wake up each day still thinking it is time to go to training! I really miss my gym 'sisters,' they are my best friends. I am looking forward to this next chapter in my life and finally finishing high school. My parents struggled with this I think more than I did, but they finally said, 'Just make a decision—we will support what ever you decide,' because they saw how divided I was."

Russo had a break-out performance at the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim, where she helped Australia take home the team bronze, its first women's world medal. Individually she finished 12th all-around and eighth on balance beam.

She was a member of Australia's eighth-place team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. At the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne, she won the all-around bronze and the Longines "Prize of Elegance" award.

"After 2005 Worlds I felt very proud of my accomplishments and did not know if I could top that," she said. "I am seeing how hard this group of girls on the national team is working and I did not know if I could catch up. They look really good."

Australian coach Peggy Liddick said she was not surprised by Russo's decision.

"Monette had been mulling over this decision for a year now," Liddick said. "I told her to take her time and make sure it is what she really wants. This sport is too hard to be in it half-heartedly."

Russo said she is proud of the relationships she has with her personal coaches, Misha Barabach and Tracey Penaluna, and Liddick.

"I hope to have them continue to influence me in the future," said Russo, who is now helping coach at the Victorian Institute of Sport, where she trained.

Liddick said she hopes Russo, who will graduate from high school in December, will consider competing for an American university.

"We will miss her huge smile in the gym," Liddick said. "She was always ready to train and gave 100 percent all the time. She has a great rapport with the rest of the national team and was a great leader. I will definitely be having her serve some sort of mentoring role in the future. Unfortunately, her ankles and knees succumbed to the rigors of gymnastics training and ultimately, would not let her continue."

Russo said she can retire knowing she fulfilled her goals, but hopes she will be remembered for more than her many achievements.

"I am proud to be an Olympian—this is something that I will have for the rest of my life, a special club," Russo told IG. "It was something I told my Mum I wanted when I was 6 years old. I hope I am remembered for not only what I accomplished in the gym for Australia, but also for how much I really love gymnastics. Just because I am not going to compete anymore has not changed my love for the sport."

International Gymnast Magazine's related features:
Russo on cover, "Russo's World" (interview) - March 2006
"Smooth Transition" - Russo interview - April 2005

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

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 15 May 2007 08:38    PDF Print
Veteran Kryukov Happy Among Medalists

Although his younger Russian teammates outshined him at the recent European Championships, 1999 world all-around champion Nikolai Kryukov told IG he was "in a bit of shock" after winning a medal of his own.

Nikolai Kryukov

Kryukov, 28, won the silver medal on parallel bars and tied for fifth on pommel horse at the Europeans, held April 26-29 in Amsterdam. He did not compete in the all-around, which 23-year-old teammate Maxim Devyatovsky won. Third was 20-year-old Russian Yuri Ryazanov. Their teammate Anton Golutsutskov, 22, won gold on the vault in the apparatus finals.

"It was a surprise," Kryukov told IG in Amsterdam, after placing second to Slovenia's Mitja Petkovsek on parallel bars. "I didn't expect to be second, because I didn't perform the routine well enough to the end. But, frankly speaking, I was in a bit of shock."

A native of Voronezh, Kryukov was the youngest member of the gold medal-winning Russian team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He is the only member of that team who is still competing. He suffered a torn Achilles in early 2000, but came back to help Russia win a team bronze at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

At the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, Kryukov helped the Russian men win the team silver. He also finished fourth on pommel horse and fifth on high bar.

Kryukov said he is pleased to be competitive after a lengthy career, but is not certain how much longer he will compete. If he competes at September's World Championships in Stuttgart, it will be his eighth consecutive world championships appearance.

"I won't predict the future," he said. "I tell everyone, 'Let's wait till the World Championships, and we'll see."

Read complete coverage of the Men's and Women's European Championships in upcoming issues of International Gymnast magazine.

IG Magazine Related Feature
"All-Around Nice Guy" - Kryukov cover story (February 2000)


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