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Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 05 April 2017 09:13    PDF Print
Australia's Leydin: 'I'm Doing This For Them'
(5 votes, average 4.20 out of 5)

Featured in the April 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine, former Australian national all-around champion Madelaine Leydin said she is thriving in the new phase of her career as a team-oriented freshman at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

“I’d been doing the same thing for a very long time,” said Leydin, who was Australia’s top all-arounder at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow. “That made a new motivation for me, doing it for the team rather than myself, and watching the others practice and thinking, ‘I’m doing this for them.’”

Read “New Directions,” a set of profiles on Leydin and rising Australian star Rianna Mizzen, in the April 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions or to purchase back issues, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 04 April 2017 08:30    PDF Print
Vandysheva: Challenges Create Character
(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Although 1990s Russian gymnast Yekaterina Vandysheva’s competitive career was as short as it was brilliant, she continues to devote her life to the sport that she told IG has molded her character.

Vandysheva’s beautiful and daring performances earned her berths on the Russian team at the 1993 European Cup and 1993 World Championships, as well as a lasting legacy. Younger fans of the sport are discovering her on social media, including her stunning routines on balance beam and floor exercise.

“My experience in gymnastics helps me to know that, whatever happens, it is necessary to go further and forward,” said Vandysheva (now Vandysheva-Munirova), who is president of the maritime regional gymnastics federation based in her native Vladivostok. “Overcome all obstacles and go to the intended goal. In gymnastics, there are many approaches to the same exercise. Falls, luck and failures happen. And so the shaping of character remains from childhood. Whatever happens, you need to do everything to the end.”

Vandysheva credits her coach for creating memories which she considers “very beautiful.” Vandysheva said her favorite moments include making the Russian junior team, making the Russian senior team and placing third on uneven bars at the 1993 European Cup in Brussels.

“The style and beauty were created by my coach, Alexandra Chermeneva, and choreographer Yelena Kapitonova,” she said of her exquisite presentation.

Yekaterina with husband Ratmir Munirov and their daughter, Margarita.

Vandysheva also praises Chermeneva for helping her heal quickly from a serious injury prior to the European Cup, where in addition to her bronze on uneven bars she finished sixth all-around, sixth on vault and sixth on floor exercise.

“Before the trial competitions and the European Cup, I had a fracture of the radial and ulnar bone, with a displacement, in my right arm,” she said. “I had an operation, and they put in two plates. But thanks to my coach, my recovery was very quick. She developed a rehabilitation program for me, with massages, special exercises, et cetera, so we managed to prepare for the European Cup.” Doctors finally removed the plates from Vandysheva’s arm in 1995.

Injury kept Vandysheva out of competition at the 1993 Worlds in Birmingham, where, training on uneven bars one day before the start of competition, she broke her right arm during a transition from the upper to the lower bar.

“In gymnastics, injuries happen often, so there was further work on restoring my physical form,” she said. “Unfortunately in my career, injuries happened, and that was very hard for me.”

Vandysheva, who decided to retire in 1995, began coaching in 2001. She studied physical education at Far Eastern State University in her hometown, and since graduating she has been teaching gymnastics and aerobics at the university. In 2009 Vandysheva became president of her regional gymnastics federation. She and her husband, Ratmir Munirov, are the parents of 2-year-old daughter Margarita.

Although Vandysheva’s region lies at the extreme eastern edge of the country, she hopes it can become a gymnastics hub.

“The big wish for our city is that they build a good sports hall for gymnastics training,” she said. “Although Vladivostok is far from the center of Russia, we go to competitions, and we communicate with coaches and athletes. We try to be in the middle of things. I do not know how soon we will be a famous center of gymnastics in Russia, but I hope that we will. We will strive for this.”

Gymnastics still fills Vandysheva’s life, and she encourages today’s gymnasts to stay focused and optimistic through the character-building challenges that the sport brings.

“There are problems in everyday life,” she told IG. “Therefore, I wish for all gymnasts to persevere, and go to the end toward their cherished dream, whatever happens.”

Written by Admin    Monday, 03 April 2017 08:27    PDF Print
Bauman 'A Good Team Player,' Says Coach Chow
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Featured in the April 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine, 2017 Nastia Liukin Cup junior all-around champion Carly Bauman is an attentive, disciplined and cooperative gymnast, according to her coach, Liang Chow.

“Carly always follows your directions, listening to the coaches,” said Chow, who also coached 2008 Olympic all-around silver medalist Shawn Johnson and 2012 Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas. “She’s just a fun kid, and also hard-working, and she’s a good team player. She helps her teammates all the time.”

Said Bauman of Chow: "He's super fun to work with, and he's super nice."

Read “Poise and Polish,” a profile on Bauman, in the April 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions or to purchase back issues, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 30 March 2017 06:45    PDF Print
Olympic Champions Vernyayev, Ponor Headline Europeans
(5 votes, average 3.60 out of 5)

More than 250 gymnasts from 36 nations have been entered into this year's European championships, taking place April 19-23 in Cluj-Napoca, the second-largest city in Romania. Pictured: Defending European champion Oleg Vernyayev (Ukraine) will be difficult to beat in Cluj.

More than 250 gymnasts from 36 nations have been entered into this year's European championships, taking place April 19-23 in Cluj-Napoca, the second-largest city in Romania.

The European gymnastics championships are returning to Romania for the first time since 1957, when the very first women's continental event was held in Bucharest. The competition will take place at Sala Polivalenta, the largest arena in Romania with a capacity of 10,000 spectators.

The European championships follow a biennial schedule; this year's event is the individual championships for seniors, with the all-around and event titles up for grabs. (Senior team competition and the Junior European championships are held in even years.) Each country can enter up to six male gymnasts and four female gymnasts, with up to three gymnasts competing each event in qualification. A maximum of two gymnasts per nation may qualify to any one final.

Defending men's champion Oleg Vernyayev will be back in Cluj, but a new women's champion will be crownded as 2015 champion Giulia Steingruber will be absent.

Following a nightmare 2016 in which they failed to qualify for the Olympic Games, the Romanian women will be looking to uphold their golden legacy in Cluj. Three-time Olympic champion Catalina Ponor, the only medalist for the Romanian seniors at the 2016 Europeans in Bern, is the top hope for a medal. 2012 Olympian Larisa Iordache will be back in action in Cluj, but has been struggling with plantar fasciitis that forced her to withdraw from the all-around World Cup in Stuttgart.

The Russian women will be without the services of two-time Olympic uneven bars champion Aliya Mustafina, who is expecting her first child this summer. Olympian Angelina Melnikova, new Russian champion Natalia Kapitonova and first-year senior Yelena Yeryomina are expected to compete all events in qualification, leaving Olympian Daria Spiridonova to serve as alternate.

Olympic balance beam champion Sanne Wevers has a chance to capture her first European title, while teammate Eythora Thorsdottir could push for medals in the all-around and on floor exercise, where her unique choreography sets her apart from the rest.

First-year senior Diana Varinska, the Ukrainian women's top hope, and Nina Derwael (Belgium) are potential champions on uneven bars. Stuttgart World Cup champion Tabea Alt leads the German charge, which has medals hopes on several events.

Vernyayev is the favorite once again for the men's all-around and parallel bars titles, with few gymnasts able to catch him if he hits. Double Olympic champion Max Whitlock, the all-around bronze medalist behind Kohei Uchimura and Vernyayev last summer in Rio, is sitting out the first half of the year.

Olympians Nikita Nagornyy and David Belyavsky lead the Russian men's squad, which includes new national champion Artur Dalaloyan, Dmitry Lankin and Kirill Prokopyev, all of whom are potential medalists. Lankin tumbles a triple back on floor exercise and is the Russian champion on vault (Randi and Tsukahara 2 1/2). Dalaloyan, a long-time junior standout, impressed this year with increased difficulty, including a triple-twisting Yurchenko. Four-time Olympic medalist Denis Ablyazin, who recently welcomed his first child with wife Ksenia Semyonova, is taking a break as he recovers from injuries and spends time with his new family.

The British teams will be announced in the week following the London World Cup, which takes place April 8 at the O2 Arena. Likely contenders include new national champions Ellie Downie and Joe Fraser; Olympic floor exercise bronze medalist Amy Tinkler; Olympians Brinn Bevan, Sam Oldham and Becky Downie; European still rings medalist Courtney Tulloch and World Cup medalist Dominick Cunningham. Ellie Downie, Tinkler, Bevan and Oldham are slated to compete in London, the third and final stage of the FIG's all-around World Cup series for 2017.

In addition to Vernyayev and Wevers, Olympic champions Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece (still rings) and Krisztián Berki of Hungary (pommel horse) will be tough to top on their specialties.

The nominative list below is preliminary; teams may change their lineup until shortly before the competition begins.

External Link: Official Website

2017 European Gymnastics Championships
April 19-23, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Women's Competitors
Bianca Frysak
Jasmin Mader
Marlies Männersdorfer
Yulia Inshina
Marina Nekrasova
Mariia Smirnova
Yekaterina Tishkova
Senna Deriks
Nina Derwael
Julie Meyers
Hanna Traukova
Greta Banishka
Valentina Rashkova
Desislava Todorova
Ana Đerek
Veronika Cenková
Lucie Jiříková
Adéla Měrková
Vendula Měrková
Mette Hulgaard
Marie Skammelsen
Claudia Colom
Nora Fernández
Ana Pérez
Cintia Rodríguez
Maija Leinonen
Rosanna Ojala
Marine Boyer
Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos
Coline Devillard
Alison Lepin
Maria Butskikh
Tabea Alt
Kim Bui
Pauline Schäfer
Elisabeth Seitz
Argyro Afrati
Vasiliki Millousi
Evangelia Plyta
Ioanna Xoulogi
Dália Al-Salty
Dorina Böczögő
Boglárka Dévai
Zsófia Kovács
Dominiqua Belányi
Norma Robertsdottir
Irina Sazonova
Ágnes Sütő
Tzuf Feldon
Gaya Giladi
Ofir Kremer
Ofir Netzer
Desiree Carofiglio
Giada Grisetti
Francesca Linari
Lara Mori
Alina Circene
Anastasija Dubova
Valērija Grišāne
Marija Ribalcenko
Diana Balkyte
Agata Vostruchovaite
Kirsten Polderman
Eythora Thorsdottir
Tisha Volleman
Sanne Wevers
Solveig Berg
Sofie Bråten
Martine Skregelid
Julie Soederstroem
Gabriela Janik
Alma Kuc
Beatriz Dias
Zoi Lima
Filipa Martins
Leonor Silva
Olivia Cîmpian
Ioana Crişan
Larisa Iordache
Cătălina Ponor
Natalia Kapitonova
Angelina Melnikova
Daria Spiridonova
Yelena Yeryomina
Teja Belak
Lucija Hribar
Tjaša Kysselef
Dejana Kuzmanović
Tamara Mrđenović
Thea Brogli
Lynn Genhart
Ilaria Käslin
Fabienne Studer
Barbora Mokošová
Ekin Morova
Demet Mutlu
Doğa Özgöçmez
Göksu Üçtaş Şanlı
Valeria Osipova
Angelina Kysla Radivilova
Alona Titarenko
Diana Varinska
Men's Competitors
Artur Davtyan
Vahagn Davtyan
Vigen Khachatryan
Harutyun Merdinyan
Armen Petrosyan
Artur Tovmasyan
Alexander Benda
Xheni Dyrmishi
Michael Fussenegger
Vinzenz Höck
Dirk Kathan
Matthias Schwab
Murad Agharzayev
Bence Tálas
Maxime Gentges
Dennis Goossens
Daan Kenis
Kristof Schroé
Jimmy Verbaeys
Jonathan Vrolix
Pavel Bulavsks
Denis Sanuvong
Ilya Yakovlev
Martin Angelov
Hristos Marinov
Matija Baron
Anton Kovačević
Leonardo Kušan
Robert Seligman
Tin Srbić
Filip Ude
Irodotos Georgallas
Ilias Georgiou
Marios Georgiou
Michalis Krasias
Martin Konečný
Daniel Radovesnický
Jacob Buus
Joao Fuglsig
Christian Riisberg
Helge Vammen
Joachim Winther
Nestor Abad
Rubén López
Joel Plata
Alberto Tallón
Adrià Vera
Rayderley Zapata
Juho Kanerva
Oskar Kirmes
Elias Koski
Heikki Saarenketo
Tomi Tuuha
Sakari Vekki
Cameron-Lie Bernard
Edgar Boulet
Kévin Dupuis
Zachari Hrimèche
Danny Pinheiro-Rodrigues
Cyril Tommasone
Saba Abesadze
Dmitry Govorov
Konstantin Kuzovkov
Nikita Letnikov
Lukas Dauser
Philipp Herder
Christopher Jursch
Marcel Nguyen
Felix Pohl
Ivan Rittschik
Georgios Chatziefstathiou
Nikolaos Iliopoulos
Konstantinos Konstantinidis
Vlasios Maras
Eleftherios Petrounias
Antonios Tantalidis
Ádám Babos
Krisztián Berki
Krisztián Boncser
Zoltan Kallai
Botond Kardos
Dávid Vecsernyés
Rhys McClenaghan
Andrew Smith
Jon Gunnarsson
Atli Thordur
Artyom Dolgopyat
Eyal Glazer
Andrey Medvedev
Alexander Shatilov
Michael Sorokine
Moran Yanuka
Tommaso De Vecchis
Lorenzo Galli
Marco Lodadio
Carlo Macchini
Stefano Patron
Marco Sarrugerio
Vitālijs Kardašovs
Sergejs Pozņakovs
Rihards Trams
Tomas Kuzmickas
Robert Tvorogal
Michel Bletterman
Boudewijn de Vries
Bart Deurloo
Casimir Schmidt
Anthony van Assche
Bram Verhofstad
Pietro Giachino
Harald Wibye
Sofus Heggemsnes
Odin Kalvø
Nikolai Rønbeck
Henrik Stiansen
Łukasz Borkowski
Sebastian Gawroński
Bernardo Almeida
Simão Almeida
Vasco Barata
Tiago Barbosa
Francisco Fragoso
Cristian Bățagă
Vlad Cotuna
Marian Drăgulescu
Robert Ghiuzan
Ioan Nistor
Andrei Ursache
David Belyavsky
Artur Dalaloyan
Nikita Ignatyev
Dmitry Lankin
Nikita Nagornyy
Kirill Prokopyev
Sašo Bertoncelj
Alen Dimic
Rok Klavora
Jure Pavlica
Žiga Šilc
Luka Terbovšek
Christian Baumann
Pablo Brägger
Benjamin Gischard
Oliver Hegi
Taha Serhani
Eddy Yusof
Slavomir Michnak
William Broman
Karl Idesjö
Christopher Soos
Ferhat Arıcan
İbrahim Çolak
Yunus Gündoğdu
İsa Hamaratcılar
Ümit Şamiloğlu
Hamza Yılmaz
Vladyslav Hryko
Igor Radivilov
Andrii Sienichkin
Oleg Vernyayev
Eduard Yermakov
Yevgen Yudenkov
Written by Paul Ziert    Wednesday, 29 March 2017 09:03    PDF Print
Penny Resignation: Tip of the Iceberg?
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Although Steve Penny finally resigned on March 16, the fact that it took him so long to make that decision only reflects on how very bad the environment is within USA Gymnastics. Remember, it took a very strong threat from the USOC after the Board of Directors appeared to be favoring Penny’s retention over the plight of the assaulted gymnasts who were victimized during his term. With almost no one ever taking responsibility for problems or failures, the spotlight is blinding on the subject of a complete overhaul. It’s time to raise the bar on our expectations for objective and transparent leadership.

Steve Penny resigned as president of USA Gymnastics on March 16.

Our sport reeks with intimidation, cronyism and brown-nosing gone crazy. Add in too much use of the Peter Principle and “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours,” and you have the perfect storm for what has happened lately. Plus, the Board of Directors is completely impotent! I attended a Board meeting years ago and was completely blown away with how little discussion there was on some really important issues. At that meeting, I was the only vote to not give Penny a significant bonus for a year of rather average finishes on the international level and no new revenues added. The Board has become a stamping device for the administration. This must stop right now because we presently have proof that no or little honest oversight can be a culture for complete disaster. And this fungus at the top trickles down very quickly.

For many years, we have had to tolerate the secrecy of the women’s elite program. In fact, I’m not sure who first coined the phrase, “What happens here, stays here.” Was it Las Vegas or the Karolyi Ranch? Why did it have to be so closed to the outside world? Why did people have to lie when leaks were discovered?

A perfect example is when, in Rio, I exposed the fact the Laurie Hernandez had a minor stomach muscle pull that had prevented her from training bars at the same level as the other team members; hence, she was not given an all-around spot on the team. Everybody went wild to the extent that Laurie and her coach, Maggie Haney, whom I adore, made a statement that my report was completely false. Soon after, Marta Karolyi acknowledged the injury in a press conference, and Laurie herself stated in her book, “And having a small muscle strain in my stomach didn’t help me.” What kind of environment does it take to get people to lie about things like this? Certainly not an advantageous one. Plus, this climate, where people put themselves above the truth, is perfect for someone like Larry Nassar to flourish. We are at the point where most people don’t know what reality is.

At the American Cup this year, I was astonished when a person from another magazine told me how surprised he was that we were discussing the sexual abuse scandal on our various media platforms. He related that they were not reporting anything for fear of losing their “in” with the federation. Really!

Also, many of you might not remember that Penny got contaminated with this culture while serving as the marketing person under Bob Colarossi. After Colarossi left, he served on the selection committee for his replacement. One candidate had served as the Vice President of Marketing for the NBA and later the marketing person for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City after the huge scandal there. That person told me that Colarossi took several cell phone calls during her interview! Not very classy! Was that interviewing process even necessary? The deal had already been made. And from there, Penny grew his salary to more that $600,000 a year. How can this happen? Can you imagine how much half of his salary could have impacted the division of our sport other than women’s artistic gymnastics?

I hear all the time about all the sponsors he has attracted. Please show me one sponsor that USAG has right now that wasn’t sold because of the target audience we have. AT&T, Hershey’s, Kellogg’s, Secret, P&G, etc., are all based on what young girls want and need. The athletes have sold the sponsorships, not the federation office. Where is an automobile company? Where is a large insurance company? Where are the companies who want to be on board a well-run federation that’s producing athletes who will not only win medals, but also impact our society during their lifetime.

Please remember that $12+ million goes into the federation from memberships and event revenue that all of us support! All of us, athletes included, deserve better, honest and transparent leadership. Let’s demand more from those who wish to serve!

Paul Ziert/IG Publisher


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