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Written by dwight normile    Wednesday, 27 June 2018 08:06    PDF Print
Exclusive Interview With 2018 Hall Of Fame Inductee Nastia Liukin
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

That Russian-born Nastia Liukin had quite a career would qualify as an understatement. She is a four-time world champion and won five medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including the all-around title.

Liukin was the second gymnast from WOGA, formerly a grocery store, to win an Olympic all-around gold. The first was Carly Patterson at the 2004 Athens Games.

Following are excerpts from her interview, which will appear in the July/August 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine.

IG: With various injuries prior to the 2008 Olympics, how did you manage to win the gold there?

NL: One hundred percent because of my dad’s (Valeri Liukin) very thoughtful plan he put together for me. The most important thing was to first get healthy and physically as fit and strong as I could possibly be. That meant hours of conditioning every single day, but that’s what my body needed.…

IG: What was it like to go back to your room after the all-around final in Beijing, with Shawn Johnson, who had won the silver, as your roommate?

NL: While it’s not something we’ve really discussed publicly, yes, it was very difficult for two 16- and 18-year-old girls, who truly were the best of friends. We were emotionally just drained, physically exhausted, and I know we both just wanted to be with our families.…

IG: What does it mean for you to be inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame?

NL: I remember watching my dad get inducted in the Hall of Fame, and I was so proud to be able to be there and watch him get inducted. I remember telling myself, ‘How cool would it be if one day I could also be inducted’? It’s truly the greatest honor in the world.…

Among other questions, her interview includes her commentary for NBC, her major at NYU and what projects she’s working on.

Read the complete interview in July/August 2018 issue. To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 25 June 2018 06:53    PDF Print
Canada's Paterson: 'I Adjust To What The Team Needs'
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

2018 Canadian all-around bronze medalist Cory Paterson is counting on his versatility and strategically constructed routines to help him earn a spot on his country’s team for the world championships in Doha this fall.

Paterson, who trains at Centre Pere Sablon in Montreal under coaches Patrick Beauchamp and Kader Mecellem, placed third all-around at last month’s Canadian championships in Waterloo, Ontario, behind gold medalist Rene Cournoyer and silver medalist Jackson Payne. He went on to place second on high bar and fifth on vault in the apparatus finals.

At the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in April, Paterson tied for the silver medal on high bar with England’s James Hall, won a silver medal in the team competition and placed sixth on parallel bars. He turned 23 on May 24, and placed eighth on parallel bars at the Challenge Cup of Koper, Slovenia, held May 31-June 3.

Paterson shared his thoughts on his performances thus far in 2018, and the case he is making for himself for worlds, in this IG Online interview.

IG: How strong of a case do you feel you made for yourself through your performance in Waterloo, in terms of a reliable all-arounder and a potentially high scorer on a few specific apparatuses, to the people in charge of selecting the team for worlds?

CP: It felt great competing all-around again for the first time in years. It wasn’t my strongest day on some events but competing all six events again is a move in the right direction. Being an all-arounder and a potential high scorer of specific apparatuses significantly helps my case for the worlds team selection. I prioritize the team and adjust to whatever the team needs. It all comes down to what combination of gymnasts the selection committee feels can create the strongest team performance.

IG: Your performance in Waterloo came soon after your successes in Gold Coast. Before either meet took place, what was your plan for using Gold Coast as a build-up for Waterloo? Or did you treat them as two separate meets with distinct goals for each?

CP: For the Commonwealth Games, I had a different mindset than for Canadian championships because of the team aspect. Using my experience from the NCAA (he competed for the University of Iowa from 2014-17), I focused on consistency and reliability to push my teammates to achieve the best results for Team Canada.  If I can go on the competition floor and confidently hit all my routines, it makes it easier and takes some of the pressure off of the other guys. The goal for Canadian championships was to compete all six events in preparation for worlds trials.

IG: Third place all-around is a somewhat challenging spot because there are also several specialists vying for places on the worlds team. What is your perspective on being the No.-3 all-arounder, and what do you think you can offer to the team if you are selected for Doha?

CP: Competing all-around is a strategic move in preparation for worlds trials. If I can prove I can be used on every event, it helps with the composition of whatever team is selected. I have several strong events that can add value to the team, and it is critical to be able to be a back-up on the other events. Through my experience in the NCAA, being the back-up pushes the other team members to continually improve their execution and consistency to fight and hold onto their spots. I am also easy when it comes to choosing lineup. I can adjust to what the other team members need to help them perform their best. Whatever spot I am in the lineup, my job is to go up and hit my routines to contribute to the team score.

IG: Based on your performances thus far in 2018, and especially in Waterloo, what will you be focusing on in training, between now and Doha?

CP: In leading up to worlds trials I will be focusing on consistency and the fine details in my routines. I construct strategic routines with skills I am confident with and can perform well with minimal deduction. At the end of the day it is about the end score, and every tenth counts when contributing to the team. If I can consistently perform my routines at a high level it will benefit Canada’s performance at the world championships.

International Gymnast magazine’s recent coverage of Canadian gymnasts includes:

“Canadian Grace” - Brooklyn Moors interview (December 2017)

2017 World Championships special issue, incl. Canadians (November 2017)

Ellie Black on cover collage, 2017 Worlds preview (September 2017)

“Canadian Candor” - Ellie Black and Zachary Clay interviews (July/August 2017)

“Canadian Pace-setter” - Ana Padurariu profile (December 2016)

“Canadian on a Roll” - Jade Chrobok profile (April 2016)

Chrobok, Meixi Semple on cover inset photo and featured in 2016 Nadia International coverage (March 2016)

To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions of International Gymnast magazine, or to order back issues, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 23 May 2018 09:22    PDF Print
Canada's Gagnon Aims To 'Crack Into That Top Tier'
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Canadian gymnast Joel Gagnon is hoping that the momentum he established at last month’s Pacific Rim Championships in Medellin, Colombia, will carry him to new success at the Canadian Championships taking place this week in Waterloo, Ontario.

The 22-year-old Gagnon made four apparatus finals in Medellin, one week after he helped his University of Minnesota team place second at the NCAA Championships in Chicago. He is now focused on graduate studies in Montreal and future international competitions leading to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

In this IG Online interview, the diligent Gagnon comments on his Pacific Rim performance, his goals for the Canadian Championships and his chances for making the Canadian team at this fall’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

IG: What was your plan prior to the the Pacific Rim Championships, and how did your actual performances measure up to your expectations?

JG: The plan going into the competition was to qualify to the floor final and hit my other routines, to help reach our team objective of placing in the top three. I ended up qualifying to four finals: floor exercise, rings, parallel bars and high bar, which was a pleasant surprise! Floor was my best shot of taking home an individual medal, so I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t perform my best floor routine in the final. However, overall I was extremely happy with my performance, especially since this was my first time competing in event finals at an international competition. As a team we ended up coming in second place despite having to compete four-up, four-count on half of the events due to an injury to William Emard that occurred in the warm-up. I was really impressed with how our young team was able to stay calm, despite the added pressure of not having William in our lineup, to put together a great team performance.

IG: At last year's Canadian Championships you didn't compete on all six apparatuses. What are your goals for this year's competition?

JG: A few years ago, I decided to retire from pommel horse as my skill level on this apparatus was far lower than it needed to be for me to contribute to a team, and it was decided my time would be better spent improving the other five events. The goal is to hit clean routines on the other five events and reach a few event finals. After placing first on floor exercise at Elite Canada earlier this year, my goal is to repeat that and take home the floor title.

IG: The Canadian team has several veterans and some of the younger guys, such as you, pushing them. What do you think you will need to get into the top group in Canada and especially to make the team for Doha?

JG: I think we have a lot of talented up-and-coming gymnasts that will soon be in the top group in Canada. Personally, I think that if I can make some slight changes to my routines and improve my overall execution, I will be able to able to crack into that top tier. Specifically, I will need to put in some release moves on high bar that I have been training but haven’t gotten quite consistent enough yet. As well, I think if I can keep my shoulders relatively healthy I will be able to increase some strength parts in my rings routine. After that, I think the focus for me will be to polish up the other routines, as I tend to have a few built-in deductions that hurt my execution score.

IG: Who were your coaches at Minnesota, and who will be coaching you going forward?

JG: Our head coach, Mike Burns, was my personal coach for the last four years, and my vault coach was assistant coach Konstantin Kolesnikov. I also had the pleasure of working with our other fantastic assistant coaches Russ Fystrom, for my first three years there, and more recently, Jordan Valdez this past season. Once in Montreal I plan on training at Centre Pere Sablon gymnastics club with coach Patrick Beauchamp.

IG: We understand that you will be pursuing your master's in aerospace engineering in Montreal. This is a big adjustment after competing for Minnesota week in and week out for the past four years. When will you start studies at McGill, and how will you be adjusting your training schedule to maintain your studies?

JG: I will be starting my studies at McGill (University) in September. In many ways, living and training in Montreal will be quite different from what I was doing at the University of Minnesota. As of right now, I plan on taking classes part-time to accommodate my training schedule. I’m hoping this will allow me to succeed in school while still focusing on reaching my gymnastics goals.

IG: Many Canadian gymnasts head south in order to study at and compete for U.S. universities. What were the greatest benefits that you gained from your time at Minnesota, especially those you didn't anticipate?

JG: The greatest benefit I gained from my time at Minnesota was learning how to properly prepare for a competition. As a junior gymnast, I was always putting elements in my routines that weren’t consistent. My time in Minnesota made me realize how valuable it can be to become a reliable competitor. One other thing I did not anticipate was figuring out how to use the added stress and pressure of competing for a team to my advantage. I was able to use my nerves to give me the additional adrenaline and energy that I needed, to help me focus in and give my best performances during competitions when it counts the most.

International Gymnast magazine’s recent coverage of Canadian gymnasts includes:

“Canadian Grace” - Brooklyn Moors interview (December 2017)

2017 World Championships special issue, incl. Canadians (November 2017)

Ellie Black on cover collage, 2017 Worlds preview (September 2017)

“Canadian Candor” - Ellie Black and Zachary Clay interviews (July/August 2017)

“Canadian Pace-setter” - Ana Padurariu profile (December 2016)

“Canadian on a Roll” - Jade Chrobok profile (April 2016)

Chrobok, Meixi Semple on cover inset photo and featured in 2016 Nadia International coverage (March 2016)

To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions of International Gymnast magazine, or to order back issues, click here.

Written by dwight normile    Thursday, 17 May 2018 07:44    PDF Print
Britain's Bevan Survives Rush, Enjoys Victory
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The May 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine features an interview with recently crowned British senior all-around champion Brinn Bevan, who describes his satisfaction on winning the title after overcoming wrist and shoulder injuries.

“Due to this it was a rush to get myself back fit in time for the set of competitions, so I had a few routines that were slightly reduced,” Bevan said. “But I also put out a couple of new things, too. So for all the hard work I put in, it was great.”

Asked about his favorite social media platform, he says, “Definitely Instagram! You’ve got the main picture posts, which consist of my favorite photos. Stories, which can give a little insight into day-to-day life. And messages where fans, friends and companies can ask anything you like. @brinnbevan if you fancy a follow.”

In a more solemn tone, as a junior gymnast Bevan made a promise to his father that he would do his “absolute best” to medal at the 2016 Olympics. His dad passed away from cancer before those Games.

"This still makes me emotional! Yes, I did my absolute best. I hit every single routine I put out. The team did come fourth, but it was my journey to get there that I take pride in. And I know he would feel the same way.”

Read the full interviews in “Great Brits,” with 2018 British all-around champions Brinn Bevan and Kelly Simm, in the May 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, or to order back issues, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 04 May 2018 09:31    PDF Print
Aussie Brown On Tokyo 2020: 'Take It Day By Day'
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Veteran Australian gymnast Georgia-Rose Brown told IG that her fourth-place all-around finish at last month’s Commonwealth Games reflected her status as “probably the most confident I have ever been” as she heads towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The 23-year-old Brown, a reserve for Australia’s 2012 Olympic team, intends to upgrade her program to stay on pace with the world’s best as she continues her journey towards this fall’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar, and hopefully Tokyo 2020. She shared her thoughts and plans in this IG Online interview.

IG: You came very close to an all-around medal at the Commonwealth Games, but looking back, how does fourth place feel considering the competitors, your actual performances and your goals for the competition?

GRB: To be honest I was extremely happy with my performance in the all-around final. I knew walking in that I didn’t have the highest difficulty, so I really needed to focus on making my routines as clean as possible. I was quite nervous in the team final on the previous day, so going into the all-around final my goal was to do my best and really enjoy the moment, and that’s exactly what happened. I couldn’t be happier with the result.

IG: You were an all-around finalist at the 2014 World Championships, but in World Cup competitions you have always had your best finish on bars. And now at the Commonwealth Games, you made three finals and won a medal on beam. How have you managed to regain four-apparatus strength and consistency?

GRB: I have always trained all apparatus. It keeps things interesting, but bars just happens to be one of my best. Leading into Commonwealth Games, I really focused on making all apparatus as clean and stable as possible. This competition was probably the most confident I have ever been in my ability to go out on the competition floor and successfully complete all my routines.

IG: What has helped you stay confident and motivated to continue through the current Olympic cycle, after serving as reserve for London and missing out on the Rio 2016 Games?

GRB: I was still quite young after my first Olympic cycle in 2012 and I didn’t feel I had reached my full potential, so at that point I didn’t really have any intention of stopping. It took me a little bit to regain my motivation, but once I did it was full speed ahead through to the next cycle. After Rio however, I definitely had my ups and downs, with injuries, motivation, etc. But with the support of my family and coaches, and my ability to always keep my eye on the goal of the 2018 Commonwealth Games) even if it did seem quite distant at times, I was able to persevere through and achieve my goal.

IG: Looking ahead to the rest of 2018, what key changes and improvements do you plan, so you can make the Australian team for Doha and continue your quest for Tokyo 2020?

GRB: My plan going forward is to just take it day by day. Looking too far ahead can sometimes be a bit overwhelming and cause me to focus too much on the future instead of the present. With my gymnastics, I would like to make small improvements on each apparatus so I can become more competitive within the international field.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.


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