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Written by Christian Ivanov    Wednesday, 06 March 2019 09:43    PDF Print
Larisa Iordache Is Back In The Game
(9 votes, average 3.67 out of 5)

After rupturing her Achilles’ tendon at the 2017 Montreal World Championships, Olympic and World medalist Larisa Iordache, 22, went through several surgeries. IG caught up with the Romanian icon for an interview.

IG: After sustaining your Achilles’ injury in Montreal, tell us what you have gone through in terms of surgeries and recovery.

LI: After the first operation on the Achilles’ tendon, I had to have a second, and the second was not a successful one. After seven months of daily recovery I did not feel OK, and my progress was not visible. I started to have pain again, and then I decided to do more tests and examinations. There was a need for a third operation because my tendon was half torn, and I could risk tearing it again on any movement.

IG: In late January you posted on Instagram that you were cleared by your doctor to begin training. What was your reaction to that news?

LI: Yes, I did! The doctor told me I was fine, and could start training again. I was very happy, and I enjoyed it very much because I knew I was really fine.

IG: What is the status of the tendon now? Are you able to walk, run and do light tumbling, and are you pain free?

LI: My condition is very good and the tendon is fine. I do not have pain, and I feel confident.

IG: It was reported that you are training with Mariana Bitang and Octavian Bellu. Have you sat down with them and talked about a return to competition?

LI: I spoke with them, of course. But for now I have to take it easy, because I have to accommodate my movement and training after a year and a half break.

IG: What competition are you targeting for your return?

LI: I still do not know, exactly. But I hope for the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

IG: Do you have any short-term or long-term goals, for this year and for 2020?

LI: I want to be healthy and enjoy gymnastics. The rest will come by itself.

IG: You have had a good share of injuries and setbacks in your career? How do you manage to stay positive and motivated?

LI: I have always done nothing but gymnastics, and clearly during the time when I stood around and did nothing, like a normal person, it was not enough for me. My passion for gymnastics keeps me motivated every day.

IG: Although you missed 2018, did you follow the main events?

LI: Of course!

IG: During your difficult times, did you hear from some of the gymnasts from other countries? For example, Simone Biles or Morgan Hurd?

LI: Of course! Everyone encouraged me, which helped me to be stronger.

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

Written by dwight normile    Thursday, 21 February 2019 13:57    PDF Print
KJ Kindler: 'Multi-Talented Coach'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Kathie Jo Kindler (K.J.) was born June 26, 1970, in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. As a walk-on, she eventually got a full ride to Iowa State University.

Kindler, an Iowa State graduate, joined the Cyclone staff as an assistant coach in 1992. As an ISU gymnast, Kindler was a three-time MVP for the Cyclones and runner-up in the all-around at the 1992 Big Eight Championships. She was the school’s first individual NCAA Regional qualifier and competed three times in the postseason meet.

A three-time National Coach of the Year, Kindler led her program on an amazing trek. She and her gymnasts claimed the top spot on the podium at the NCAA Championships in 2014, 2016 and 2017. Eight top-three national finishes, nine straight regional titles, 109 All-American honors and 10 Big 12 titles.

Kindler is married to Lou Ball, assistant coach for the women’s team, and they have two kids, Adelade and Maggie.

Following are excerpts from the interview, which will appear in the 2019 March issue of International Gymnast.

IG: What’s the motto of the team this year?

KK: Our focus was the details because the margin was so small in that final NCAA meet. And we had to be reminded that every detail matters. We kind of had a hash-tag, point .0375, which [laughs] is the amount we lost by.

IG: Is there anything you could have done coaching-wise, or something the gymnasts could have done differently last year?

KK: We had a good meet. Yeah, you can always go back and pick out things that didn’t go perfectly, but I don’t know that we would have done things much differently. As far as major coaching decisions, the smallest minute detail of execution probably left us there. A tremendous balance beam rotation for UCLA — can’t play defense on that.

IG: Both of your kids are at Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy. How is that going?

KK: They are doing really well. The most important thing is that they love it. They love to go. The want to go every day. If they don’t get to go they are very upset.

IG: How many days do they go and what levels are they?

KK: They go six days a week. They are nine and eight, and they just love to be there. I think that’s the most important thing. Certainly I think gymnastics teaches you so much about life. They hope to be level 10 athletes someday, and I hope that they’ll get there.

IG: You have a busy life, taking your kids to the gym, and going to meets every weekend. How do you just chill out?

KK: [Laughs] I’m not much of a chiller. I don’t know how to answer that question; I’m pretty much always going. If I’m not working or if the kids are at the gym, I’ll still do a little bit extra. I honestly have taken very few vacations.

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

Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 15 February 2019 10:19    PDF Print
Ana Padurariu: ‘I Prayed To God To Help Me Remain Calm’
(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Ana Padurariu earned the silver medal on balance beam, and her fellow Canadians placed an historic fourth place in the team final.

Below excerpts of an interview, which will appear in the 2019 March issue of International Gymnast.

IG: As soon as you landed your dismount in the beam final in Doha, you looked delighted and you clapped.

AP: What was your first thought as you saluted and ran off the podium? Once I finished the routine, I was just very happy that I ended without any big mistakes. I did not know the outcome at that time, but I knew that I did not let my coach and my team down.

IG: When you reflect on your performance in the beam final, what do you feel it demonstrated to you, in terms of your ability to hit under tremendous pressure in the biggest competition thus far of your career?

AP: I treat each competition as the most important one. This one was a bit different from the others because of the qualifications to the (2020) Olympics, and of course the pressure and the stress was to another level to not let your team down. Being part of the top eight gymnasts to compete in the beam final and against the most powerful and talented gymnasts in the world was already a huge accomplishment, so as the final came along, I just wanted to go out there and show the routine that I have trained so many times, and most importantly, have fun.

IG: With so much at stake in the beam final — not only a medal but a chance to make amends for the team final — how did you manage to keep yourself together and deliver the routine you did?

AP: I started the routine knowing that I had nothing to lose. I just wanted to show myself, the team and coaches that I could do it, and that I deserved and was honored to be selected to represent my country at such an important competition.

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

Written by Admin    Monday, 31 December 2018 07:43    PDF Print
Sophie Marois Set 'To Give 100 Percent In 2019'
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Sophie Marois competed on only vault during the Canadian women’s historical fourth-place performance in the team final at last fall’s 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, but she is eager to contribute more as she upgrades her all-around program in the new year.

Marois, a native of Montreal who trains at Viagym in Terrebonne, Quebec, finished fifth all-around at both the 2017 and 2018 Canadian Championships. Her best international apparatus results include first place on balance beam at the 2017 Pan American Championships in Lima, Peru, third place on vault at the 2018 Pacific Rim Championships in Medellin, Colombia, and sixth place on vault at the 2017 Challenge Cup of Cottbus, Germany.

In this IG Online interview, the ambitious Marois recalls Canada’s unexpectedly strong showing in Doha and outlines her goals for 2019.

IG: Was fourth place in Doha a surprise to you and the other gymnasts on the team, or exactly where you wanted to place?

SM: Yes, the results were surprising for us. We did not think at all about coming in fourth in the world. This is the best result that Canada has ever achieved. The day of the final, we wanted only to do our best and give all that we had. We did not think at all about results, because our objective was already attained in advancing to the team final.

IG: So close to a medal, what could your team have done better to win the bronze?

SM: I do not think we could have done anything better. I really think that we gave everything in the team final. Sure, we made some mistakes here and there, but we will learn from these mistakes and so it is going to help us advance even more. I think we showed that Canada can be a very competitive country, and this fourth place motivates us even more to get onto the (medal) podium at the next World Championships in 2019.

IG: In Doha you competed on only vault in the team final, and on vault and floor exercise in qualifications. In the future, what plans do you have to compete all-around internationally?

SM: I would really like to compete all-around for Canada, and this is what Canada is looking for presently — gymnasts who have have high scores on four apparatuses. On the contrary, I still need to improve my start values on the other apparatuses to be able to compete with the best gymnasts in the world. I am therefore working very hard on my start values as well as on my execution.

IG: Who coaches you, and on which apparatuses?

SM: My coaches are Frank Kistler and Fanie Daunais. Frank is my coach on vault, uneven bars and floor exercise, and Fanie is my coach on balance beam. Fanie also takes care of the artistry and is also present with us on the other apparatuses in order to give us corrections. My coaches work very well as a team, which facilitates training.

IG: How, where and with whom did you spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve?

SM: I spent them with my family. We celebrated Christmas with my mother’s family that lives in Montreal, and we celebrated New Year’s Eve with my father’s family that lives in Granby. I adore visiting my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, and spending time with them, because I do not have the chance to see them very often.

IG: What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2019, in and out of the gym?

SM: My resolution for 2019 is to better appreciate all of the moments spent inside the gym and outside the gym, and to always give my 100 percent in everything I do, so as to not have regrets.

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

Written by Admin    Thursday, 20 December 2018 08:00    PDF Print
Cunningham Motivated To 'Work Harder And More Sensibly'
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Reflecting on a successful year that included a gold medal-winning performance on floor exercise at the 2018 European Championships and a fourth-place finish on vault at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, British gymnast Dominick Cunningham is preparing to take on challenging new difficulty in future competitions.

The 23-year-old Cunningham, who was born and trains in Birmingham, England, placed second all-around and first on vault at both the 2017 and 2018 British Championships. He placed first on floor exercise at the Europeans held in Glasgow in August, and missed a vault medal at this fall’s Worlds by 0.009 points.

In this IG Online interview, Cunningham comments on his performances in Doha and Glasgow, and forecasts his upcoming prospects.

IG: Given that you were very close to third place on vault in Doha, would you consider your performance a success on its own or do you think you could have challenged for a medal with a slightly better performance?

DC: My target was to land my vaults and let the results do the talking. I was very happy with my performance—I’m not competing against babies. These are the best in the world!

IG: (Gold medalist) Ri’s Se Gwang’s Difficulty-scores are so high, but what do you think you can do to close the gap with him? Will you work to improve your D-scores, or try to outscore him in execution?

DC: I knew his D-scores as he has been doing those vaults for years. I will be upgrading my first vault but I had to get used to competing a half-on vault first.  I know going forward my execution will be a lot higher and that is an area I may be able to make up ground on him.

IG: How realistic would it be for anyone to beat Ri at this point?

DC: At this point, anything can happen in gymnastics. The scores can be so close. For example, when I came fourth by 0.009, this is how competitive it is.

IG: As the European champion on floor, did you have higher expectations than your actual performance in qualifications?

DC: Floor is a tough one for me. I was happy to just put in consistent scores for the team but I know I need to upgrade my D-score going forward.

IG: Your floor tumbling was solid, and you had only minor landing issues on your passes. Do you think the landings are what cost you a place in the final, or was it one or more factors?

DC: I need to increase my difficulty. Landings are why I won in the European Championships. I knew I wouldn’t push anywhere near the World medals with this routine, so I need to increase my difficulty.

IG: What is your biggest take-away from Doha, in terms of your own gymnastics and how it compares to the rest of the world?

DC: The biggest thing I took from this World Championships is that I am not currently at the level to medal, and that makes me motivated to work harder and more sensibly, so I’m looking forward to the future.

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


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