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Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 28 March 2018 08:08    PDF Print
Canada's Chrobok: 'You Must Stay Calm And Confident'
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Canadian gymnast Jade Chrobok, who placed fourth all-around at last weekend’s World Cup of Birmingham, has big plans for other key competitions this year, starting with the Commonwealth Games that will begin April 4 in Australia.

Chrobok made her World Cup debut in Birmingham, where her score of 51.366 points ranked her fourth behind gold medalist Angelina Melnikova of Russia (54.465), silver medalist Margzetta Frazier of the U.S. (53.932) and bronze medalist Alice Kinsella of Great Britain (53.099).

As a first-year senior in 2017, Chrobok placed first all-around at the Elite Canada meet and third all-around at the Canadian Championships. Chrobok trains under 1980 Olympic all-around champion Yelena Davydova and Valery Yahchybekov at Gemini Gymnastics in Oshawa, Ont.

Chrobok assessed her World Cup results, and her hopes for upcoming meets, in this IG Online interview.

IG: How would you rate your overall performance in Birmingham, especially in terms of where you hope to be by the Canadian Championships in May and the World Championships in October?

JC: Overall, I am pleased with my performance. Competing in such a prestigious event was a new experience for me on the world stage, and I think that I handled the environment well. In terms of where I hope to be, I would like to improve both my D- and E-scores so that I can be more competitive alongside some of the top gymnasts.

IG: You have not had a lot of experience competing head-to-head with seniors such as Melnikova. How nervous or intimidated were you to be competing in a World Cup, and how did you manage the remain confident throughout the meet?

JC: Competing alongside such experienced seniors was an honor. A World Cup event alone is one of the largest competitions I have ever been a part of, and the atmosphere was definitely different, and a little bit more intimidating and distracting than a regular meet. My coaches and I have been focusing on each event and element, and when you get down to it, gymnastics is gymnastics, and you must tune out all of the distractions and stay calm and confident.

IG: Why didn’t you compete on vault at Elite Canada earlier this year?

JC: Prior to Elite Canada, I injured my hand in practice, which did not allow me to train well the week before. We weren’t sure if I would compete. I made it through three events, but vault was not my friend. As of now, the hand is better, and all is good.

IG: Canada has several solid all-arounders, so what do you think you will need to break into the top group at the Canadian Championships?

JC: All of the current Canadian gymnasts are very talented and all have a lot to give to the Canadian team. In order to break through, I must clean up my routines and continue to increase D-score to bump myself into the top group of athletes.

IG: Now that you have had 2017 and part of 2018 to get used to senior international competition, what changes and improvements do you plan to make between now and Worlds, so you can be competitive with all of the world's best seniors?

JC: The biggest change I have had, and must work on, is mindset. Staying focused, calm and confident are all very important in performing the best that I can. Taking in and learning from every experience makes me better prepared for any other competition that comes my way. Sometimes I just go back to remembering that I have practiced my routines many times and my body knows what to do. I have been working on a couple of new skills that I hope to compete in the near future.

IG: What is your goal for the Commonwealth Games?

JC: My goal is to be able to put out clean routines, so that I can contribute and support the team, while wearing the maple leaf proudly.

International Gymnast magazine Related Features: “Canadian on a Roll” - Jade Chrobok profile (April 2016), "British Breakouts" - Alice Kinsella interview (December 2016), ”Heaven Sent" - Angelina Melnikova profile (June 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, 07 March 2018 07:13    PDF Print
Australia's Alexandra Eade: 'I Wanted to Prove Them Wrong'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)



By winning the gold medal on floor exercise at the Melbourne World Cup last month, 20-year-old Australian gymnast Alexandra Eade has new reason to be confident as she heads towards this year's other important competitions including the Commonwealth Games in April and world championships in October. Pictured: Eade at the Melbourne World Cup, flanked by runner-up Isabel Barbosa of Brazil and Tjaša Kysselef of Slovenia.

By winning the gold medal on floor exercise at the Melbourne World Cup last month, 20-year-old Australian gymnast Alexandra Eade has new reason to be confident as she heads towards this year's other important competitions including the Commonwealth Games in April and world championships in October.

Eade, the 2013 Australian junior champion, trains at the National Centre of Excellence (NCE) in Melbourne. The Sydney native enjoyed moderate success as a senior in the previous Olympic cycle and now aims to establish herself as a contender for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Following her success at the World Cup, she was named to Australia's team for next month's Commonwealth Games, which takes place in Gold City, Queensland.

In this IG Online interview, Eade shared her thoughts on her World Cup victory, last year's appointment of U.S.-based Mihai Brestyan as the Australian women's team's new head coach, and what her team will need to earn a berth to Tokyo in two years.



Alexandra Eade (Australia)

IG: What were your goals for the World Cup, and how close to achieving them did you come?

AE: Walking into the competition I wanted to hit nice, clean floor routines, and that's exactly what I did. My training leading up to the competition reflected in those routines as I felt confident in what I was doing.

IG: Based on your performance in Melbourne, what do you need to work on to score higher later this year?

AE: I still think I need to work on my landings. This is something that I have always struggled with but I am really focusing on it in my training at the moment. I am trying to have as few landing deductions as possible.

IG: You placed eighth on beam in Melbourne with a score of 9.800. What went wrong?

AE: I think my issue with beam is my confidence and self-belief. My training routines have been solid but when I competed, my nerves got the best of me. I just need to practice more competition routines by placing myself under that type of pressure.

IG: What are you plans for competing all-around going forward?

AE: Due to injury I don't participate in the all-around anymore. I focus on beam, floor and vault, trying to get my start scores and execution scores as high as possible so I can contribute to the team and hopefully make some finals in those events.

IG: Australia didn't qualify a team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, so what do you think your team will need to get on track for the 2020 Games in Tokyo?

AE: I think we need to work on getting our start scores a bit higher. But we also need to work on quality and focus on the nitty-gritty details like pointed feet, etc. Every point counts. I believe we need to work on hitting clean routines in training and not just going through the numbers. All together we need to bump up our start scores a little bit and focus on having a good execution score.

IG: Who is coaching you now?

AE: Mikhail Barabach and Tracey Penaluna were my previous coaches but they have now both left NCE. I still stay in close contact with Tracey and I see Mikhail often as he comes to training camps with Queensland. My current coaches are Shaoyi Jiang, Qing Hua Yang and Michelle De Highden.

IG: How has the transition from national team head coach Peggy Liddick to new national team coach Mihai Brestyan been for you?

AE: It's definitely been different. Mihai has changed a lot about our program. We have a whole new warm-up and strength program which focuses a lot on fitness. He has also increased the number of routines we are doing. It was hard at first, but I think I've adapted well to the increase and it has made my competitions better for it. As Mihai is living in America and flying in and out of Australia, he stays in close contact with my coaches over email and monitors my routines via video footage that my coaches send him. I still work closely with Peggy as she is a coach at the NCE.

IG: You've had international success since 2010, so what keeps you motivated in this current Olympic cycle?

AE: It's definitely been hard. I've had a few setbacks with injuries which were difficult to recover from. I think after I got injured a lot of people thought I wouldn't make it back, so I wanted to prove them wrong. I've been working hard on the sidelines for a while, getting my fitness back, and I feel like, now, I'm finally at my at my strongest. Representing your country is an indescribable feeling and I've wanted nothing more than to have that feeling again.

 
Written by dwight normile    Friday, 02 February 2018 15:10    PDF Print
Daughter & Mother: Interviews With Morgan Hurd And Her Mother
(16 votes, average 4.06 out of 5)

The March 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine includes a feature called “Daughter & Mother,” comprised of interviews with Morgan Hurd and Sherri Hurd.

We asked Morgan if she was nervous during qualifications at the 2017 World Championships.

She replied, “I mean, the nerves are always there, so I was a little nervous. But I thought it was a pretty good standing (sixth place) considering I had some mistakes.”

And what skills worried her the most at those Worlds?

“Probably the most worrisome was my standing full on beam, just because I had a little bit of trouble with that throughout the year.”

We asked Sherri what her emotions were like after Morgan won the all-around.

“I was in shock. People around me were crying and I just kind of had to take a minute to really, like, realize my kid just won Worlds. You have to remember — I mean, to me she’s still just my kid who won’t put her laundry away. She’s just regular Morgan, so I kind of was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’”

And what makes Sherri most proud about her daughter?

“Her professionalism when she’s doing her gymnastics. That makes me very proud the way she can communicate with the press and other adults. Of course, her dedication and commitment makes me very proud.”

Read the full interviews in the March 2018 issue of International Gymnast.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 29 January 2018 08:34    PDF Print
IG Online Interview: Jeremy Bartholomeusz (Canada)
(8 votes, average 3.75 out of 5)



After twice landing on the medal podium with Japanese star Kenzo Shirai at the Toyota Cup in December, Jeremy Bartholomeusz of Canada is ready to reach new global goals in 2018. Pictured: Bartholomeusz and coach David Kikuchi at the Halifax ALTA club in Nova Scotia

After twice landing on the medal podium with Japanese star Kenzo Shirai at the Toyota Cup in December, Jeremy Bartholomeusz of Canada is ready to reach new global goals in 2018.

Bartholomeusz' international career might just be starting, but his background covers continents. He was born in Dubai on April 19, 1997, to an Indian mother and Sri Lankan father of Dutch Burgher descent. His family moved to Canada in 1999 "to give my brother and me more opportunities and to experience a different part of the world," he says.

In September 2015, Bartholomeusz moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to attend Dalhousie University. He has since been training at the Halifax ALTA club under two-time Olympian David Kikuchi and his father, Tak Kikuchi. "From time to time, though, I'll get some help from a fellow coach at our gym, Vaughn Arthur," says Bartholomeusz, a neuroscience major. "In terms of who coaches me where, both Dave and Tak coach me on all the events."

Bartholomeusz made his FIG World Challenge Cup debut last May in Koper, Slovenia, where he finished eighth on vault. His ended 2017 with a strong showing at the Toyota Cup in Japan in December, where he won bronze medals on floor exercise and vault. Shirai, the 2017 world champion on floor exercise and vault, placed first on both events in Toyota.

In this IG Online interview, Bartholomeusz reflects on his late-2017 international breakthrough and forecasts his plans for continued success from now until the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.



Jeremy Bartholomeusz training on rings at Halifax ALTA

IG: Medals on floor and vault in Toyota was a great way to end your year, especially twice sharing the medal podium as Kenzo Shirai. You did not have as much success earlier in the year, at the Canadian championships or the World Challenge Cup of Koper. To what do you attribute your big successes in Toyota?

JB: It was absolutely thrilling to be on the same podium as the Kenzo. I would definitely say that I felt more confident with my routines going into Toyota Cup than Koper or nationals. Koper was my first Challenge Cup, and competing with such a high-caliber group of gymnasts definitely added some pressure. I feel having had the experience competing against some of the world's best in Koper, and Canada's best at the National Championships; both really prepared me for Toyota.

IG: As for Shirai, what do you think of your or anyone's chances to challenge him for gold, especially on floor? What will it take?

JB: This is definitely a tough one. Having the opportunity to have watched Kenzo compete live at the world championships in Montreal, as a spectator, and then again at Toyota Cup, as a competitor, was unreal. Going into Toyota, I was more focused on hitting my routines and building up my consistency for the upcoming competitive season. Just to compete against Shirai was an absolute privilege, but to have made it onto the same podium as him is something I didn't see coming. It's tough to say if I think anyone can challenge him for gold at this point in time. He really has set the bar quite high for those looking to challenge him, but I think having an athlete like Kenzo will inspire and motivate others around the world to strive for more.

IG: At the 2017 Canadian Championships you tied for ninth place all-around, and then you had the individual breakout at the end of the year in Japan. For 2018 and heading toward Tokyo in 2020, what plans do you have for remaining an all-arounder, as opposed to sticking with your best events?

JB: At the moment, I'm still planning to continue as an all-around competitor. My main focus for this year has been to increase my difficulty everywhere, something I know I need to do if I wanted to still contend nationally and internationally. I love training all six events. I find it keeps things fresh and keeps me motivated. There are always days where training for my better events isn't going as well as I would want, so having the option to just step back and focus my effort on other events or weaker areas is super helpful.

IG: Neuroscience is an impressive major. What do you enjoy about it, and what do you plan to do with it?

JB: I love every aspect of neuroscience. Exploring the different dimensions of the human brain, learning about how it operates at the physical level, and how this manifests into human perception is something I've been interested in since I can remember. At the moment, I'm just taking it year by year, hoping to finish my undergraduate degree in the next two to three years. I have definitely considered medical school, but I think I'd like to do my Master's first before I pursue medicine. But who knows, I change my mind every week, so I guess we'll see where I am in five years!

IG: This year the competition will be tightening up, not only in Canada, but among all of the teams who are trying to qualify for Tokyo. How do you plan to not only stay on pace, but boost your program in order to stay near the top in Canada and eventually get to Tokyo?

JB: My biggest focus for this upcoming season is to up my difficulty as an all-around competitor, while also maintaining good execution. All my routines this year are new for me, so the main goal is to increase my consistency throughout the competitive season. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some more international exposure this season, something I think would really help me to stay a contender in Canada and potentially internationally as well. At this point, I'm just taking things year by year, trying to maximize and make the best of every competitive season.

 
Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 25 January 2018 18:14    PDF Print
USOC Demands Resignation of USA Gymnastics Board
(7 votes, average 3.57 out of 5)



The United States Olympic Committee has ordered the USA Gymnastics board to resign immediately or face decertification, as fallout from the Larry Nassar tragedy continues. Pictured: Olympians Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber watch the hearing of former doctor Larry Nassar on Friday in Lansing, MIchigan.

The United States Olympic Committee has ordered the USA Gymnastics board to resign immediately or face decertification, as fallout from the Larry Nassar tragedy continues following his sentencing.

In an email letter sent Thursday by USOC President Scott Blackmun to USA Gymnastics, Blackmun issued a list of demands that USA Gymnastics must comply with to maintain its status as the national governing body of gymnastics in the United States. At the top of the list of the USOC's demands were the resignation of the remaining members of the board, which must be done within a week, followed by the formation of an interim board, which must be done within the next month.

"If USAG cannot or does not achieve steps 1 through 6 above promptly and clearly, the USOC will have no choice but to pursue termination of USAG's NGB status," Blackmun wrote. "In order to avoid immediate termination proceedings, USAG must complete all the steps set out above, including achieving step 1 by January 31, 2018 and step 2 by February 28, 2018."

USA Gymnastics issued a statement but did not state the board members have all immediately resigned, which was the No. 1 item on a list of six requirements the USOC is demanding of USAG. The federation deleted the "Board of Directors" page on its website (which was up until yesterday).

"USA Gymnastics completely embraces the requirements outlined in the Jan. 25, 2017 letter from the United States Olympic Committee and appreciates the opportunity to work with the USOC to accomplish change for the betterment of our organization, our athletes and our clubs," USA Gymnastics said in a statement posted to its website. "We understand that the requirements imposed by the letter will help us enhance our ability to build a culture of empowerment throughout the organization, with an increased focus on athlete safety and well-being. Our commitment is uncompromising, and we hope everything we do makes this very clear."

Following four days of testimony in the Nassar hearing in Lansing, Michigan, Olympic champions Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman delivered powerful victim impact statements accusing USA Gymnastics and the USOC of subjecting athletes to an abusive environment that allowed a sexual predator to target vulnerable women. Pressure by the USOC is reportedly what led to the resignations of USA Gymnastics Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley this past Monday, but the other board members have refused to resign for reasons unknown.

Multiple gymnasts and other women described how Nassar's exploited the cruel and abusive environment at the Karolyi camp and Geddert's Twistars USA Club to groom the young women. He was allowed unfettered access to young girls and apparently challenged by nobody, even drugging McKayla Maroney with a sleeping pill in order to assault her in his hotel room at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo.

On Tuesday, 2010 world team member Mattie Larson shared a heartbreaking story of physical, psychology and sexual abuse so severe she attempted to injure herself to avoid going to the Karolyi ranch for the national team training camp. Nassar helped turn the sport she loved into a living hell, Larson said.

"The shocking and tragic stories surrounding Larry Nassar's years-long abuse of vulnerable athletes are now well known to all of us and the recently concluded Nassar sentencing hearings served to drive home the impact on individual victims in a way we will never forget," Blackmun wrote. "We must take further action to ensure that it cannot happen again."

For some, the USOC action's is too little, too late. During testimonies the USOC was called out repeatedly for its failure to protect gymnasts, some of whom were subject to assaults by Nassar at the Karolyi camp, the women's gymnastics national training center that served as an official U.S. Olympic Training Center, as well as at the Olympic Games themselves. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the USOC.

At Nassar's sentencing over the last week in Ingham County, Judge Rosemarie E. Aquilina expressed repeated disgust and outrage, and several times she was astonished at the number of felonies that Nassar could potentially be charged with. She asked for a massive investigation at the federal level to look into at failure to stop the predator, who was reported so many times over the years. He was even arrested and subject to investigations, but always escaped with his reputation intact.

Attorney John Manly, who represents many of the women currently suing in state and federal court, called on USOC to decertify USA Gymnastics early last year.

Blackmun's letter praised USA Gymnastics on its achievements in the past year but failed to call out the organization's many failures that have angered athletes and caused all its major sponsors to either flee. AT&T, title sponsor of the American Cup in March, was the most recent to cut off financial support, suspending its sponsorship last week.

Click here to read the letter from the USOC in PDF format.

 


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