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Written by Admin    Saturday, 01 November 2008 08:03    PDF Print
Izbasa Back to Winning Ways
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Sandra Izbasa (Romania) with her Olympic gold medal

With her post-Beijing break behind her, Olympic floor exercise champion Sandra Izbasa (Romania) is happy to be back to what she does best: competing.

"I miss the public, the competition hall, everyone who is there," she said. "I live with every flip... But mostly I miss competing, feeling the rhythm of the music, doing my job as best I can and then waiting for the applause to come."

Izbasa took a celebratory rest from competition after winning Romania's only gymnastics gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The 18-year-old Bucharest native returned to competition this week, winning the Arthur Gander Memorial on Wednesday in Switzerland. She will pack in four more competitions over the next six weeks in what she calls a "hellish schedule."

Izbasa and teammate Flavius Koczi pair up Sunday for the mixed-pairs Swiss Cup in Zurich. She then heads to Japan for the Toyota Cup, Nov. 15-16, and returns to Europe for the Italian Grand Prix, Nov. 22 in Milan. She ends her year at the World Cup Final, Dec. 12-14 in Madrid.

"I have a hellish schedule," she said. "No, I'm not afraid because I've had plenty of rest. It's time I showed that my place is in the competition hall."

Romanian head coach Nicolae Forminte said Izbasa is his only gymnast currently in competition form.

"Anamaria Tamarjan and Gabriela Dragoi are recuperating [from injuries], and Sandra was the only one prepared to honor her invitation to the Grand Prix meets," Forminte said. "Andreea Grigore has a sprained ankle, and the other girls are still struggling to find motivation."

Source: ProSport

Izbasa on beam at the 2008 Arthur Gander Memorial

Written by Admin    Thursday, 30 October 2008 06:31    PDF Print
Kashima to Call It Quits
(1 vote, average 4.00 out of 5)
Kashima on high bar at the 2003 Worlds

Double Olympian and world champion Takehiro Kashima (Japan) announced he will retire after the upcoming Toyota International.

Kashima, a member of Japan's gold medal-winning team at the 2004 Olympics, said a chronic injury to his left elbow will prevent him from continuing his career. He plans to become a coach after his final competition, to be held Nov. 15-16 in Aichi Prefecture.

"Sometimes I don't feel like quitting, but I just can't maintain the strength and concentration I need to practice any more," Kashima, 28, told newspaper The Daily Yomiuri.

The veteran Kashima has been one of Japan's most graceful and successful gymnasts in recent history, with nine world and Olympic medals. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, he helped secure Japan's victory. In August, he helped Japan win the silver behind China at the Olympics in Beijing.

Kashima made his world debut in 2002, winning the silver on pommel horse at the individual worlds in Debrecen, Hungary. At the 2003 Worlds in Anaheim, he helped Japan win the team bronze, tied for the gold medal on pommel horse and won the high bar title outright.

He also won the bronze on pommel horse at the 2004 Olympics and 2005 World Championships. The elbow injury will prevent him from continuing as a specialist, he said.

"I don't want to keep going at half-strength," he said.

Kashima wins pommel horse bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games

Written by Admin    Tuesday, 28 October 2008 09:20    PDF Print
Podkopayeva Pulls Off 'Golden Lilia' Extravaganza
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

1996 Olympic champion Lilia Podkopayeva pulled off her largest "Golden Lilia" show yet Saturday in Kiev.

A packed crowd featuring Ukrainian political and entertainment VIPs gathered at the Palais des Sports in Kiev for the event.

The festival's purpose is to inspire young people, Podkopayeva said.

"It's important to us to show outstanding people and brightest talent so that the next generation can follow the best of the best," Podkopayeva said.

Podkopayeva's annual "Golden Lilia" International Sports Festival typically showcases artistic and rhythmic gymnasts, acrobats and dancers. This year's event added new acts to the lineup, including a Chinese acrobatic troupe and dancers from Scotland and Spain.

A group of young gymnasts from the Lilia Podkopayeva Gymnastics School in Donetsk also performed.

Podkopayeva had traditionally performed gymnastics or balletic routines in her shows. On Saturday, however, she performed with dancing partner Sergei Kostetsky. Podkopayeva, 30, has taken up competitive dancing since her 2007 stint on Ukraine's "Dancing with the Stars." The pair finished third at the 1st Eurovision Dance Contest, held in September in London.

Podkopayeva was the all-around champion at the 1995 World Championships, 1996 European Championships and 1996 Olympic Games. She was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in February.

External Link: Photo Gallery from XIII Golden Lilia

Podkopayeva Performs at the Eurovision Dance 2008

Podkopayeva Performing "Ballet Art" in 2007

Written by Admin    Monday, 27 October 2008 05:45    PDF Print
FIG Goes Heart Healthy With Defibrillators
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
A portable defibrillation machine must now be present at all gymnastics events, the FIG has ruled

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) is instituting a rule requiring defibrillators to be present at all of its competitions.

The rule, established at the recent FIG Congress in Helsinki and announced Monday, will be in place for all FIG events, including World Cup competitions.

Defibrillators send electrical jolts to the heart, potentially saving the life of someone who is in cardiac arrest.

"The equipment will be compulsory for FIG events," said Philippe Silacci, FIG press officer. "The FIG cannot impose to member federations but will recommend."

The new rule is unrelated to the Oct. 13 death of Russian hockey player Alexei Cherepanov, Silacci said. Cherepanov, a first-round NHL draft pick for the New York Rangers, collapsed and died during a game in Moscow. There have been accusations of negligence in the case because reportedly no defibrillator was available at the ice rink.

However, the FIG's new rule is not just for the safety of its athletes, Silacci said.

"In a competition hall there are not only gymnasts!" he told IG. "Think of coaches, judges, officials and journalists, who are older than gymnasts and sometimes smokers."

Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 21 October 2008 09:24    PDF Print
Swiss Cup Attracts Top Field
Ariella Käslin

The Hallenstation in Zürich once again welcomes top gymnasts from all around the worldfor its annual mixed-pair Swiss Cup on Nov. 2.

This year's competition is headlined by Olympic floor exercise champion Sandra Izbasa (Romania). Her Swiss Cup partner, Flavius Koczi, teamed with Steliana Nistor to take the title in 2007.

The field includes five other finalists from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing: Yann Cucherat (France), Ksenia Afanasyeva (Russia), Fabian Hambüchen (Germany), Epke Zonderland (The Netherlands) and Switzerland's own Ariella Käslin.

First held in 1970, the Swiss Cup has a great tradition in gymnastics. In 1982 it adopted a mixed-pair format, which has attracted not only some of the best gymnasts but also a big crowd on a regular basis. In 1993 it switched to an individual event competition, but returned to mixed pairs in 2000. Each nation competes as a pair of one male and one female gymnast, with only the best pairs advancing to additional rounds. For the athletes it is about presenting their best events, but also about making wise choices regarding the events to compete early to have the best possible chance for advancing to the final round.

All 12 pairs compete two rounds of competition, but only eight of them will advance to the semifinals and only four end up in the finals. During the first three rounds scores are added, and the gymnasts have to choose different events for each round. The final, on the other hand, begins from zero and the gymnasts can shine on their best individual events once again.

Not only is the format interesting, but the healthy prize money — $20,000 for the winning pair — attracts some of the best gymnasts and nations. All these circumstances make sure the gymnasts have fun competing at a "different" meet while also trying their best to grab the victory.

External Link: 2008 Swiss Cup

2008 Swiss Cup Roster
Alexander Tsarevich Anastasia Marachkovskaya Belarus
Mosiah Rodrigues Juliana Santos Brazil
Lu Bo He Ning China
Yann Cucherat Youna Dufournet France
Fabian Hambüchen Marie-Sophie Hindermann Germany
Paolo Ottavi Lia Parolari Italy
Park Eun Kyung Kim Ju Hoon South Korea
Epke Zonderland Suzanne Harmes The Netherlands
Flavius Koczi Sandra Izbasa Romania
Maxim Devyatovsky Ksenia Afanasyeva Russia
Nikki Böschenstein Ariella Käslin Switzerland 1
Claudio Capelli Yasmin Zimmermann Switzerland 2


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