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Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 24 January 2018 08:28    PDF Print
Rachael Denhollander, First to Publicly Accuse Nassar, to Close Out Sentencing Hearing
(12 votes, average 4.58 out of 5)

Before Mckayla. Before Aly. Before Maggie. Before even Simone. Before more than 150 women screamed #MeToo, there was one who said to the world, "Me. Larry Nassar assaulted me, Rachael Denhollander." Pictured: Denhollander, right, listens to Jamie Dantzscher at a press conference in 2017.

Before Mckayla. Before Aly. Before Maggie. Before even Simone. Before more than 150 women screamed #MeToo — before that was even a hashtag — there was one who said to the world, "Me. Larry Nassar assaulted me, Rachael Denhollander."

Fittingly, Denhollander will be the last survivor to deliver a victim impact statement in Nassar's sentencing hearing, expected to draw to a close Wednesday in Ingham County, Michigan. But justice is still not done, and nobody has fought longer or harder than Denhollander in a case that has already shaken the world. More than a year before the #MeToo revolution stunned Hollywood and political circles, Denhollander stood up and said, "Me."

The survivors were picked to make statements in a deliberate order over the past week, which was shuffled as more women changed their minds about delivering statements, which Nassar agreed to as part of his plea agreement. Denhollander originally planned to testify on Friday, but it has now been pushed back as more and more women decided they must also be heard. She will be the 156th to speak in court and tell the world what Larry Nassar did to her, and she is expected to call out the individuals and institutions that protected him, enabled him and allowed him to assault her.

Kyle Stephens, the first to testify last Tuesday, was not a gymnast, and thus shattered the preconceived notions a passive public may have had about the case. Stephens, a family friend of Larry Nassar, had been molested by him since she was just 6 years old. Stephens' story was the perfect introduction in this case of horrible abuse, injustice and ruined lives. In 2004, after she learned about what child molestation was, she informed her parents what their friend Larry had been doing to her since 1998. They didn't believe her. They took her to an MSU psychologist, who instead of calling the police as the law required, called Nassar instead. She was not believed. The young girl was forced to apologize to Nassar in front of her parents, who remained angry at her that she would ever dare invent such a lie about their trusted friend, an important doctor. During her teenaged years, she even returned to babysit Nassar's children, wanting to protect them from a monster.

When Stephens' father, who struggled with a chronic medical condition, was finally confronted by the truth, that his daughter had not been lying, he committed suicide.

In an explosive and powerful statement that instantly change the dynamic of the courtroom, and electrified the #MeToo revolution, Stephens stood in front of Larry Nassar and issued the rallying cry heard by millions: "Little girls don't stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world."

As Stephens' words stunned viewers and inspired people to demand change, Denhollander was there in the courtroom, watching. She's not an Olympian. She never competed at the national championships, much less the world championships. But her strength and bravery are equal to that of any Olympic champion. A mother of three, Denhollander's name was unfamiliar to the public and the gymnastics world when she first stepped forward in September 2016. The weekend before the hearing began she and her husband, Canadian native Jacob Denhollander, drove from their home in Kentucky to Michigan with their children, who were looked after by her family while she spent each day in Courtroom 5 of Ingham County's 30th Circuit Court. She packed for a week, preparing for daily press conferences, preparing to stand in front of every camera and microphone and demand justice.

Throughout each day, Denhollander has sat in the courtroom stonefaced listening to testimony, documenting and acknowledging each case on social media. The names and ages of the victims. One by one. This was a wholly preventable tragedy, she reminded everyone, noting that all but a handful of the women abused by Nassar occurred after the first known reports about him went ignored in 1997. The world would finally listen to them.

In 2000, Rachael Denhollander was a 15-year-old gymnast from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who was sexually assaulted for nearly a year by then-USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar, who claimed to be treating her back pain. Nassar sexually assaulted Rachael Denhollander because he could. Because Nassar, a depraved pedophile obsessed with gymnasts since his days in high school, knew nobody would believe Rachael Denhollander any more than they had believed Larissa Boyce, who in 1997 had reported Nassar to MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages. Instead of reporting Nassar, Klages called her friend up to let him know what was being said about him. Boyce, and her teammates, were told she was wrong, and that it was a legitimate medical procedure. Boyce, Klages told her, would have to face consequences if she persisted in complaining about Larry.

Nassar knew they wouldn't believe Denhollander any more than they had believed Christie Achanbach, an MSU runner who told the athletics coach in 1998 and 1998 that Nassar was sexually assaulting her by penetrating her most intimate areas. Achanbach, too, was told she was mistaken and that it was a legitimate medical procedure.

MSU softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez complained too, starting in 1998, that this doctor was sexually assaulting her. She was told she was wrong and was forced to return to see him until she finally refused, and in 2000, she was forced to take a medical retirement. Devastated, she dropped out of school.

Only a full criminal investigation, done in Colorado, Indiana, Michigan and Texas may reveal who else was told what he was doing to these girls and when, who else shrugged off the concerns, who else failed to report, who else betrayed the trust and failed every girl assaulted after they ignored what they were told — until Nassar's house of cards came crashing down around him in September 2016.

Denhollander, who later worked as a gymnastics coach, was traumatized by the sexual assault she endured as a teen at the hands of a trusted and admired doctor, whose office wall was covered with framed photos of famous gymnasts and figure skaters. Like so many others who have since shared their stories, she struggled with her own inner doubts about what had occurred and independently researched this supposed procedure. Was it a legitimate procedure known as myofascial release, that can help alleviate pain, supposedly done in the intravaginal and intra-anal areas to treat back, hip and pelvic injuries, as Nassar claimed? Was that what happened to her? No, it was not.

Over the years, Denhollander armed herself. She armed herself by investigating her assault and recording her investigation. She armed herself with a law degree. As she as she was convinced what Nassar had done to her, that is how sure she knew she could not be the only one.

Denhollander speaks at the preliminary hearing against Nassar, prior to his guilty plea.

As we have witnessed the parade of women coming forward to speak at Nassar's sentencing hearing, it is difficult to remember a time when their stories were not believed. One of the most horrifying aspects of the Larry Nassar tragedy is that we will never know how many girls and women he assaulted over the years as possibly the most prolific pedophile known. The victims could be in the thousands. When did he start? Despite his defense that this was a legitimate medical procedure, he never mentioned this "treatment" in any of their charts. Nobody bothered to check.

"Do you even remember what we can never forget?" one survivor asked of him last week. The number of women expected to speak at his sentencing hearing grew from 83 to 95 to 105 to 120 to 140 and 156. The testimony of each one has been reaffirming in its bravery but each one a separate tragedy, of lives and families destroyed, wasted years of anxiety and panic attacks, self-harm, self-medication and eating disorders, suicide attempts. Suicides, plural.

The horror grew as many shared that Nassar not only sexually abused them, but neglected the very injuries he claimed to be treating, leaving the women to suffer ongoing pain and permanent physical damage. Many careers were permanently cut short. Some are still plagued by the pain of those untreated injuries; many spoke of acute anxiety and mistrust of doctors caused by the trauma, leading to neglect and further suffering.

Nassar's modus operandi became clear. Typically, he groomed young girls to trust him as he seemingly sympathized with them and protected them from a harsh training environment. Other women he simply assaulted like it was a matter of routine. Nassar's depravity was so cruel that he routinely and purposely molested girls while their parents were in the room. Positioning himself in a way that blocked the parents from their children, he would continue to talk normally like everything was still routine. The young girls, confused, would think that because their moms were in the room, everything was OK. Likewise, the girls would trade stories about Nassar and his gross or strange treatment, but since he seemed to do it to everybody, they were left to assume that was what doctors did. Sickeningly, these overt acts that one would assume would lead to him getting immediately caught are what helped him get away with it for so long. The lifelong guilt he purposely inflicted upon parents by molesting their children in front of them is a testament to how vile and depraved Larry Nassar is.

Once an upsetting statistic, over the past 10 days, we saw their faces, heard their pain, felt collective guilt, and vowed to change the institutions and laws that made this tragedy not just possible, but inevitable.

Assured individually and sensitively by Judge Rosemarie E. Aquilina, each woman has reclaimed her power and strength as surely as she embraced the term "survivor," not "victim." It brings comfort, but the pain will never end. The justice is not Nassar behind bars.

When they first spoke up, they weren't the victims. They were the accusers. The Nassar accusers, who were publicly and privately mocked and belittled and shamed by his friends, colleagues, supporters and legal team. USA Gymnastics was silent in what it knew. Only after the truth began to emerge and the public began to demand accountability did USAG's tone change to one of sympathy for the victims. Only then did they begin to call him a monster.

USA Gymnastics, which quietly parted ways with Nassar in September 2015, did nothing that led to his conviction. USAG did not stand up to support Rachael Denhollander when she showed tremendous courage, at personal sacrifice, to come forward and reveal who Larry Nassar really was.

Just prior to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, The Indianapolis Star began a series investigating troubling accounts of USA Gymnastics' handling of sexual abuse in the sport over the years. Denhollander saw her chance and took it, realizing now, finally, someone might believe her. And she fired the first shot that wounded Larry Nassar, who was still practicing medicine and assaulting women and girls despite numerous law enforcement and institutional investigations that ignored his behavior, or worse, excused it. Even the FBI couldn't, or wouldn't, stop Larry Nassar, despite supposedly being notified in July 2015 by USA Gymnastics's President/CEO Steve Penny of his "concerns" about Nassar, or however he described rampant sexual assault of young girls. ("Concerns" being the word Penny used when he called Gina Nichols, the mother of Maggie Nichols, to comment on the "concerns" the gymnast had in June 2015, when her coach, Sarah Jantzi, first overheard her discussing "treatment" Nassar inflicted on her.)

As much as USA Gymnastics would like you to believe that Nichols' statement and Penny's report to the FBI in July 2015 are what led to Nassar's conviction in Michigan — a preposterous claim which USAG has purported both in public statements and in legal filings — this is a lie.

It was the The Indianapolis Star, which had a dedicated team of investigative journalists backed by a supportive publisher, that had the courage to print troubling accusations and fight USAG in court to find out more. They opened the door that let in Rachael Denhollander, who went to the Michigan State University Police Department in August 2016 and filed a report of sexual assault against Larry Nassar. Denhollander told IG she was armed with the following:

Rachael Denhollander: What I Brought When I Reported Larry Nassar to Michigan State University in August 2016
    • • Medical records showing what he alleged he did for treatment (none of which involved techniques with penetration or adjusting the ribs or tailbone)
    • • Medical records from 2004 where I disclosed in detail what he'd done to a female nurse practitioner. She charted everything I told her, so there was an old written record confirming I'd been saying the same thing ever since it happened. This written medical record of my disclosure in 2004 included my allegations of penetration, genital massage and breast massage.
    • • The names of three pelvic floor specialists I had been disclosing the abuse to since around 2001. Before coming forward, I described in detail what he did and sought their professional opinion on whether any of it was legitimate. All three had provided their contact info to speak to investigators and explain why what Larry did to me bore no resemblance to real pelvic floor therapy.
    • • The name of a fourth pelvic floor specialist who had recently treated me who they could also contact for additional expertise.
    • • A letter of reference from a neighboring Chief Assistant Prosecuting attorney who has significant seniority in his community. He was testifying to my character and truthfulness, and stated in his letter to investigators that he was willing to speak as a character witness on my behalf. He also asked investigators to take my claim seriously.
    • • The name of a USAG certified coach who I and my mom had disclosed to in 2004.
    • • An index of current national and international medical journal articles demonstrating what legitimate pelvic floor techniques involve, and why Nassar's technique was far outside the bounds of medical treatment.
    • • A legal memorandum citing the relevant statutes and providing specific facts as to how each element of the statute was met.
    • • An email chain with reporters at the Indianapolis Star revealing that two other unnamed women had also contacted them alleging sexual abuse by Larry Nassar.

Despite all of this, MSU still refused to listen. Ingham County, where MSU is located, refused to bring charges against Nassar for assault.

"Despite all the evidence I brought forward with me, (MSU Medical School) Dean William Strampel and Larry's colleagues immediately refused to listen," she explained. "Dean Strampel emailed Larry and told him 'Good luck, I'm on your side.' He then mocked my video testimony, saying it was the 'cherry on the cake of his day.' When he finally did fire Larry, he apologized and said things were 'moving outside of his control.'"

Just think of that. While, over the past 16 months, the still-emerging truth has led to some in power to "retire" or "resign" instead of facing the public humiliation of being fired, the only person who has faced real accountability in the Larry Nassar tragedy is Larry Nassar. And when he was finally fired from MSU in late September 2016, he actually received an apology from his boss. People still believed him and defended him.

Jamie Dantszcher also said "Me" in a lawsuit filed in California's Sacramento County Superior Court on September 8, 2016. She filed it as a Jane Doe against other Does, but everybody knew their real names. Jane JD Doe — a 2000 Olympian from California who was on the U.S. national team from 1994-2000 before becoming an NCAA champion — was Jamie Dantzscher. Even the initials matched. And Doe 1, the osteopathic physician who had worked with USA Gymnastics as a trainer in 1986 before becoming the team doctor in 1996, was Larry Nassar. Further, the suit alleged that this physician had routinely sexually assaulted other members of the national gymnastics team.

Dantzscher was also an accuser. After a tremendous career competing at UCLA, she gradually withdrew from the sport. She coached, including a year at Arizona State University, but she struggled. She suffered from anxiety, depression, self-destructive behavior. Unlike Denhollander, she had blocked out what she had endured, only knowing she didn't feel proud of anything she had accomplished as an elite gymnast. While attending the U.S. Olympic trials in San Jose in July 2016, she began trading stories with teammates. Everything suddenly became clear, including the absence of Nassar, who had retired suddenly less than a year before the Olympic Games, claiming he planned to concentrate on running for the local school board. It was a retirement mysteriously not mentioned by USAG.

As The Indianapolis Star investigation stunned the gymnastics community, Dantzscher sought out a lawyer and filed her anonymous lawsuit. Jamie Dantzscher was maligned horribly, her allegations treated with skepticism by some. USA Gymnastics was convinced she could be discredited, as their lawyers began to investigate her own personal sexual history, even telling her attorney that they would be prepared to put her on trial, despite the fact USA Gymnastics knew that every word she said about Nassar was true. Dantzscher was hurt, but not fatally wounded by what she now had to suffer through, and she prepared herself for battle, too.

On September 12, 2016, The Indianapolis Star went ahead and printed Denhollander's account of being assaulted by Larry Nassar, and the paper also simultaneously reported that an unnamed former gymnast, a medal winner at the 2000 Olympic Games, had filed suit against him in California. They had also been contacted by a third former gymnast, later revealed to be rhythmic national champion Jessica Howard. Denhollander was the only one prepared at that time to use her real name. Hers was not an anonymous accusation.

The Indianapolis Star article was a bombshell. But even that wasn't enough to worry Nassar, who quickly responded to the newspaper's request for comment and welcomed an interview. He cheerfully told them why it was all a misunderstanding, offering an explanation so calm and confident and rehearsed, it is haunting to imagine just how many times he has said it before.

Jamie Dantzscher didn't know Rachael Denhollander then, but together they marched out in front, leading two armies of one that united and grew stronger and larger as more and more girls and women appeared by their sides. One by one. "He did it to me, too."

MSU Police Chief Jim Dunlap believed Denhollander, as did MSU Police Special Victims Det. Andrea Munford. They knew that predators came in all forms, and that nobody should be above suspicion because of a reputation. More and more calls were received, and the accusers reached double digits. The numbers continued to climb even after a search warrant uncovered child pornography at Nassar's home in Holt, Michigan, in neighboring Eaton County. But still, it wasn't enough.

Ingham County Prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer still did not want to bring assault charges for the assaults reported at MSU and Twistars. Even though Whitmer believed the victims, she didn't seem to see the point of charging him with assaults, offering assurance that he would be going away on the child pornography charges. Outraged, in October, Chief Dunlap sought help from Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette, who agreed to open a criminal investigation into Nassar for sexual assault. Though Whitmer, who has since announced she is running for governor of Michigan in 2018, denies she didn't want to charge Nassar with assault, the facts are hard to dispute. On 11 a.m. on November 22, 2016, Attorney General Schuette stood up alongside Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis, Chief Dunlap and Det. Munford, and announced, "Today MSU Police Chief Jim Dunlap and I are officially announcing criminal charges against Dr. Larry Nassar."

Because of Rachael Denhollander.

Exactly one year later, Nassar would plead guilty to seven counts of felony sexual assault charges in Ingham County. But for that year, Nassar insisted he was innocent, and the women remained the accusers. There was no massive outpouring of support at what they had been through. Nassar even got more than 2,000 votes in the school board election in early November 2016, more than 10 percent of the vote. Though Nassar's supporters shrank after he was indicted in December 2016 for the child pornography, he still had his supporters. The "Nassar accusers" were scorned by many, accused of making it all up, conspiring, for fame and fortune. Klages continued to support him, even claiming the files on his computer were possibly planted there by one of the women suing him.

While Nassar and his attorneys were still claiming he was a misaligned and misunderstood doctor, Denhollander, the Commanding General of the Army of Little Girls Who Grew Up, filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the violation of her civil rights. Federal case 1:17-cv-00029-GJQ-ESC, better known as Denhollander et al v. Michigan State University et al is the federal suit filed that has since been joined by more than 140 other plaintiffs, who are suing Michigan State University and its board of trustees, USA Gymnastics, Gedderts' Twistars and Larry Nassar (who eventually defaulted in the case by inaction).

Former national team member Mattie Larson confronts Larry Nassar in court on Tuesday in Ingham County, while Rachael Denhollander, on the left, watches from the front row of the gallery, and Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis, standing behind Larson, observes.

As Nassar hired new attorneys and continued to claim innocence, it was clear he wasn't expecting the power of one woman to stand up in public, show her face, tell her name and say, "He assaulted me." Soon the number reached triple digits, and Denhollander continued to fight, speaking to untold media outlets, granting interviews, meeting with lawmakers, facing Nassar and his condescending lawyers in court. Her willingness to speak openly and fiercely encouraged more to come forward in public, until Nassar's lawyers complained and were granted a gag order temporarily prevented her from speaking. Through preliminary hearings and repeated legal motions, she charged forward, until the wrath she had brought down on him resulted in this increasingly weak and pathetic man surrendering.

Because of Rachael Denhollander.

Nassar pleaded guilty to assault charges on November 22, 2017, but even then he thought he wasn't beaten. He still seemed to think his reputation could be restored as he assured the community that he didn't hold "any animosity against anyone," a glimmer of the delusional mind of the real Larry Nassar. In December, his request for leniency on federal charges related to child pornography was nearly comical as his lawyers described what a giving and caring man he is, devoted to his autistic daughter, helping others in prison with their injured ankles and earning their GEDs: "Mr. Nassar is a kind, compassionate, hard-working man of faith who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it."

There will be some justice for Nassar on Wednesday, as the judge is expected to give him the maximum on the seven counts of sexual assault in this case. But the larger justice that so many have screamed for is still to come.

"There is nothing, NOTHING that would have made MSU listen absent intense public pressure, a groundswell of victim voices, and a relentless media presence that didn't let them run," Denhollander said. "And there still is not."

Dr. Larry Nassar, who since April 2017 has become known as former doctor Larry Nassar, has over the past week frequently been referred to as Inmate Nassar. Inmate Nassar, the only title he deserves, as a policeman, a father of a survivor, so succinctly told him to his face in court. Yes, Nassar even sexually assaulted the daughter of policemen. He was not afraid of anybody because he knew he had an excuse: his "medical procedure" and these young girls didn't understand what actually occurred. It was an excuse that let him get away with his depravity for years, while basking in his fraudulent reputation as a "miracle worker" with gymnasts, because nobody would believe the word of a little girl against his.

The voices of the survivors who stepping forward into the light have echoed like gunfire at an execution, that has exposed the secrets and the truth, that Nassar never acted alone, but he abused them because he was promoted and protected by his own army of supporters. Their names were heard, sometimes just once, but often over and over. The institutions like USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University and the U.S. Olympic Committee. Individuals like Steve Penny, Lou Anna Simon, Marta Karolyi, John Geddert, Kathy Klages, Dr. Brooke Lemmen, Dr. Alison Arnold, Kathy Kelly, Debbie Van Horn. The survivors, finally able to speak to the world, said their names, too.

And over and over they begged for real justice, for criminal investigations, not just civil lawsuits. The State of Texas has done nothing for Maggie Nichols or Aly Raisman or Simone Biles or McKayla Maroney or Mattie Larson or any of the girls who were repeatedly sexually assaulted by a doctor who was not even licensed in the state of Texas. The number of felonies is in the thousands, and Nassar is not solely responsible.

If there were so many complaints at Michigan State University that went ignored — reportedly at least 14 MSU employees were aware of the complaints — imagine how many there could have been at USA Gymnastics. USA Gymnastics' record of handling of sexual assault cases was so abhorrent that it led to the original Indy Star investigation that uncovered the monster that preyed on young gymnasts for more than 20 years, and used his reputation as the USA Gymnastics and U.S. Olympic Committee doctor to prey on countless women (and at least one boy) in Michigan. The State of Indiana, where USA Gymnastics is headquartered, has failed to initiate an investigation, despite very public calls to do so. Neither has Colorado, where the U.S. Olympic Committee is located.

The FBI, which is apparently accountable to nobody, has never explained why it failed to act when USA Gymnastics reported Larry Nassar. The FBI has refused to release any information related to the case. But the silence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation cannot explain away its failure to execute even a basic search warrant against Nassar. The federal case against him, after he was charged in relation to more than 38,000 files of child pornography, was because of a warrant the MSU Police Department executed in September 2016. Because of Rachael Denhollander.

The tone-deaf and weak responses of these institutions, whose leaders react only when forced, show they are confident they will not have to admit liability or responsibility. They have refused accountability. They have lied.

As the sentencing continued, the survivors' demand for accountability grew so strong that they even turned to Nassar, one final time, for help. On Monday, 15-year-old Emma Ann Miller stood in front of Nassar and begged him that the only good act he can do is to reveal the truth for once.

"Tell us who knew what and when," Miller said. "Tell us about who had the opportunity to stop you."

Nassar, when he is sentenced, could choose to cooperate, as a final act of redemption. But it would be highly unlikely of such a man so narcissistic that last week he had the gall to write a letter of complaint to the judge that listening to the survivors' testimony was too mentally taxing on him.

Nobody knows what to expect when Rachael Denhollander finally stands up on Wednesday. She will close out the case and have the final word until the prosecutor and the judge speaks. Now, the world will be listening as these three powerful women deliver not one, but three closing arguments, in a case poetically tried by women.

But the fight will go on, for this will never be over for the women and families destroyed. Surviving is a daily challenge. Denhollander will still be there, leading the army of powerful and empowered women ready to change sports, change medicine, change universities, and change the world by demanding justice.

Time's up.

Written by Amanda Turner    Friday, 05 January 2018 18:15    PDF Print
IG Online Interview: Alyssa Baumann (USA/Florida)
(10 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Five-hundred fifty-five days after a freak fall derailed her dreams and delayed her plans, 2014 world championships gold medalist Alyssa Baumann (United States) will march out on the competition floor for the first time for the University of Florida. The freshman spoke with IG about the struggle and strength behind her incredible comeback to gymnastics.

Five-hundred fifty-five days after a freak fall derailed her dreams and delayed her plans, 2014 world championships gold medalist Alyssa Baumann (United States) will march out on the competition floor for the first time for the University of Florida. The freshman spoke with IG about the struggle and strength behind her incredible comeback to gymnastics.

Baumann on beam during team finals at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China, where she helped the U.S. women win the team gold medal

This evening, Baumann will resume her competitive career, this time as a member of the University of Florida team, which begins its season on the road against the University of West Virginia at WVU Coliseum in Morganville. The Dallas native, who will turn 20 in May, arrived in Gainesville last August one year later than planned, but is overjoyed to be back after undergoing major surgeries on both arms that required extensive and painful rehabilitation.

On June 29, 2016, 10 days before the U.S. Olympic Trials, Baumann was training on uneven bars at WOGA in Plano, Texas, where she began gymnastics at age 3. Baumann didn't catch the bar completely on a Shaposhnikova and fell hard, landing on her stomach and left arm.

Cécile Canqueteau-Landi, who had coached Baumann alongside her husband, Laurent Landi, since 2007, said she didn't realize what she had seen.

"It was scary and looked like a 'good' fall, but then she screamed and I ran to her," Canqueteau-Landi told IG. "She was looking at me, screaming 'NO!' and holding her elbow. Her elbow looked good, but she was in so much pain we knew something was wrong, but we had no idea how bad. A day later her mom called and all she said, in tears, was 'It's over.'"

Scans had revealed that Baumann had torn several ligaments and muscles in her elbow and needed immediate surgery. Her lifelong dream of competing for a spot on the Olympic team was not going to be realized. She shared the news on Instagram herself the next morning.

"This is obviously not how I wanted things to end, and I'm still in shock and completely devastated," she wrote. "I can't thank everyone enough for (their) support and for always believing me. My coaches have put absolutely everything into me and it kills me that I can't show off their hard work."

Canqueteau-Landi, who represented France at the 1996 Olympics, said Baumann pushed aside her pain to support clubmate Madison Kocian, who was favored to make the team to Rio if she hit at trials.

"It was a very difficult moment for all of us, but we had to rally for Maddie," Canqueteau-Landi recalled. "Alyssa was so supportive — it was amazing to see."

With beautiful extension, flexibility and artistry, Alyssa Baumann's gymnastics has long been amazing to see. She first shot to national attention in 2010 when, just shy of her 12th birthday, she won the all-around, bars and beam titles at the Level 9 Western National Championships. She made the leap to elite that summer, skipping Level 10 and qualifying to the U.S. junior national championships in Hartford, Connecticut. In December 2010, she traveled to Moscow to compete at the Voronin Cup, where she finished fifth all-around and fourth on bars and beam.

Baumann at the 2013 U.S. Junior Championships

Baumann's road was never an easy one, and every achievement came through hard work and belief in herself. Over the next five years, she fought her way through battles with injuries and illness, all while somehow steadily improving and upgrading her gymnastics from each competition to the next. After qualifying as an elite in 2010, injuries kept her out of competition the next two years, but she returned in 2013 to make the U.S. junior national team following a seventh-place finish in the all-around at the U.S. junior championships in Hartford. The next year, her first as a senior, she placed fourth all-around at the U.S. championships in Pittsburgh and won the silver medal on balance beam. Days later, a hyperextended elbow knocked her out of the Pan American championships in Canada, but Baumann fought through it once again.

Following a training camp in mid-September, Baumann earned a spot on the U.S. team to the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China. The youngest member of the American team in Nanning, she competed three events in qualification (vault, beam and floor), scoring among the top 10 on vault and floor and in the top 15 on beam. In team finals, she was chosen as the leadoff gymnast on balance beam for the Americans, earning 14.500 for the second-best score for the team on that event behind Simone Biles' 14.966. The Americans trounced the Chinese by nearly 7 points to take the gold medal.

In 2015, Baumann finished seventh all-around at the U.S. Classic in July and national championships in August. Following a training camp, she was named a non-traveling alternate to the world championships in Glasgow. What few knew was how rough of a year she had had. Chronic illness, including bouts of bronchitis and mononucleosis, left her barely able to train. But she didn't bounce back like a healthy teenager, and she was too fatigued to even flex her muscles. Eventually, further tests revealed she had a chronic condition called Celiac disease (gluten-sensitive enteropathy), an allergy to gluten that triggers an immune response, which can cause severe exhaustion, headaches, joint pain, anemia and many other symptoms.

Baumann reclaimed her health with a special diet and was ready to go all out in 2016. In June, she finished third all-around and second on balance beam and floor exercise at the U.S. Classic. Two weeks later at the U.S. championships, she had a solid competition. She missed her toe-hecht on bars on the first day and stumbled back out of bounds on floor exercise on the second day, but hit cleanly elsewhere to place a solid seventh, easily qualifying to the U.S. Olympic Trials two weeks later in San Jose, California.

"Had so much fun competing tonight and the journey continues...OLYMPIC TRIALS BOUND!!!" Baumann tweeted on June 26. "So excited for this amazing opportunity!"

The next part of the plan was to peak in San Jose. With four solid, clean events and world championship experience under her belt, Baumann had a chance of making the U.S. team to Rio de Janeiro or earning one of three spots as an alternate. Whatever the outcome at trials, the way from San Jose would ultimately end up in Gainesville in August to join the Florida Gators gymnastics team, fulfilling another long-term goal.

Baumann with coaches Laurent Landi and Cécile Canqueteau-Landi following the 2014 World Championships

Neither plan was realized. The fall changed everything, including Baumann. After undergoing major reconstructive surgery on her left elbow, it did not take long to realize what lay ahead and that trying to recover in time for the spring of 2017, while attending classes full time, was not realistic. On July 15, she announced she was going to defer for one year to recover completely. That August, she watched the Olympics on TV and cheered for the Americans in Rio, especially Kocian, who helped the U.S. win the team gold medal and then won an individual silver on uneven bars.

On August 31, Baumann underwent a second surgery on her right wrist to fix an issue that had pained her for some time. The rest of 2016 was spent in rehabilitation therapy, devoted to healing an injured body and injured soul, fighting the frustration and pain while finding light in the darkness. Still limited, she returned to WOGA in January 2017, a world champion unable to do a handstand, a kip, a chin-up or even a back tuck. The new plan was to be 100 percent ready for today, in January 2018, when Florida begins its new season. It would be several more months before she was medically cleared to start training full-time.

It was a struggle Baumann documented in October for her Educational Technology course. She chose to tell her own story for a video assignment, showing training footage of her slowly coming back, improving a little bit every day and never giving up. She got an A. (Her younger sister, Rachel Baumann, a former elite who competed Level 10 last year and who has committed to Georgia, also made a montage dedicated to Alyssa's comeback.)

"She came back slowly to the gym, and it was hard, but she had new goals, which was to be the best for Florida," said Canqueteau-Landi, who along with her husband is now coaching Biles and other gymnasts in Houston. "I'm so proud of her and how determined she was and is! I can't wait to see her compete and shine!"

Baumann's unique shine is apparent from a quick visit to her official website,, which is noticeably different than the typical gymnast website. She maintains a blog, but there's no photo gallery or links to videos yet. Instead, she has a gallery of her favorite inspirational quotes, and a section about Celiac disease to help educate others about a condition that frequently goes undiagnosed. "I hope to help people overcome their own obstacles by seeing what I did to come back from my injuries and illnesses," she explains in a note on the front page.

At Florida, Baumann has been in good hands under Jenny Ester Rowland, who is in her third year as head coach. Rowland, an alternate on the 1989 U.S. world team, was forced to retire from elite gymnastics because of a serious back injury, but came back to compete in college. The team's assistant coaches are Adrian Burde, a former Romanian team member who coaches vault and tumbling; and Owen Field, who coaches bars. Florida is ranked No. 2 behind reigning national champion Oklahoma in the preseason coaches poll.

Baumann found time to catch up with IG as she traveled to West Virginia. She opened up about her long recovery, the importance of self-care and self-confidence, where she sees herself in Florida's deep lineup, and some unexpected adventures her time off afforded her.

IG: Alyssa, first of all, congratulations on your comeback! You look amazing in all the training videos. A lot of fans may not know that you also had surgery on your right wrist. What was the recovery like for that? Is your right wrist much better than before the surgery?

AB: Thank you very much. That surgery was an ulnar osteotomy. Basically, I had a piece of my ulna taken out because the bone was too long and was taking pressure that it shouldn't be. They put in a plate and six screws (which are still in my arm).

The recovery for that was actually very rough. For the first part of that recovery, my arm wasn't healing. When I first started running, one of my screws began to back out. To avoid another surgery, I had to go a while without any sort of physical activity. That was extremely difficult for me, as I haven't ever been that restricted in my career. It finally started healing once I stopped moving it and now that it is fully healed, it feels much better than before.

Baumann following her second surgery on her right arm

IG: Recovering from elbow surgery is really hard for any athlete but especially for a gymnast. How long did it take before you were able to fully straighten your arm? When were you first able to put weight on it?

AB: I had full range four months post-op (end of October). I was able to start weight bearing a little after I had full range, but because of complications with my second surgery (wrist) I waited until I was about six months out to start weight bearing. I was released after nine months, but was careful until I was 12 months out.

IG: After your surgeries, did you take a few months off from the gym while just doing physical rehab, or did you still go to do any leg conditioning or whatever you could? When were you able to return to full-time training?

AB: I took the first couple months off completely while I was first recovering from my elbow surgery. For a long time I was doing several hours of therapy every day — that was my main focus. The next couple months after that I went in a few times a week to do what conditioning I could and stay mentally in the gym. I would go over my skills mentally because I think that can be just as beneficial as doing the skills. I returned to full training after I was released from both my wrist and elbow, around May.

IG: You have video of you attempting a handstand and not getting very close. That must have been so frustrating and painful. Did you ever have any doubts that you would fully be able to come back on all four events?

AB: Coming back from these injuries was unlike anything I have ever done before. I couldn't do very basic skills such as a kip or handstand. It was very frustrating, especially since I am a perfectionist. Luckily, I had people, like Laurent and Cécile, who were there to support me and remind me that it would be a slow process and to be patient. Even though the doctors and many people around me told me that I probably wouldn't be able to do everything that I was able to do before, I never thought that. I believed in myself more than anyone else and knew that I could do it.

IG: What you went through in 2016 must have been a psychological trauma as much of a physical one. Everything changed in an instant, but you had to forge ahead with the unexpected, very difficult challenge of recovering physically while dealing with your disappointment. Can you tell us some things that helped you cope? For example, were there any particular books, songs or quotes that inspired you, or really good advice you got that you'd like to share?

AB: These injuries were just as mentally challenging as they were physically. My whole life was changed, I went from training for the Olympics to not being able to do basic activities. During this time I realized that I couldn't control what had happened, but I could control how I handled the situation. I chose to set a new goal for myself, to overcome this obstacle and inspire other gymnasts/athletes to never give up. I watched lots of motivational videos and read many quotes to get me through this time. Shortly after I injured my elbow I posted a quote on Instagram that really helped me. It said that unexpected things are always going to happen in life and the only thing we can control is how we handle them.

Some advice I want to give is, especially in rehab, to focus on your everyday accomplishments, which helps keep you motivated and moving forward. Recognize your progress, look at what you did today that you couldn't necessarily do yesterday or last week. Most of all, you cannot control the things in life that might happen but you can control how you chose to deal with them.

Baumann with Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols during their May vacation to Turks and Caicos

IG: Since you deferred your enrollment to recover completely, you did get a "bonus" year at home to train with Cécile and Laurent, and your sister Rachel, but not under any pressure from the elite schedule or academics. Did you get to do anything fun in your downtime? How often did you check in with your future coaches (and teammates) at Florida?

AB: I took many trips and went on vacations that I could never do before. I visited Simone for New Years, I visited Florida in the fall and again in February, I went to California, and in May I went to Turks and Caicos with Sydney Ewing, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman. That was my favorite trip. It was great to be able to spend time with my close friends outside of gymnastics. We got to do so many fun things including snorkeling, jet skiing, and horseback riding in the ocean. Also, before I came to school I went to Boston to see Aly.

I checked in with my coaches often to let them know how my recovery was going. My teammates at Florida also would check in on me and ask how things were going with rehab. I kept up with all their meets and I am happy to finally be a part of the Florida family.

IG: You committed to Florida when you were 14. What led you to decide on Florida? Is there any aspect of being a collegiate gymnast that has surprised you, or was it an easy transition from elite to NCAA?

AB: There are so many reasons why I loved Florida. Florida's combination of great academics and athletics is almost unbeatable. Also, I fell in love with the atmosphere when I visited the campus. For me, it was a fairly easy decision and even though I committed when I was so young, I haven't regretted it a day since.

The only thing that was different about college gymnastics is the emphasis on conditioning, and I think that will be essential to be able to make it through a season that is much longer than what I'm used to.

IG: You're about to return to competition for the first time in 18 months and you look great. On which events do you feel you can contribute to Florida's lineup this season?

AB: I feel like I can contribute on beam and floor right away, and hope to be contributing on bars and vault by mid- or post-season. The coaches and I are trying to be smart about bars and vault so that I don't rush anything or risk any injuries. I'm excited to be competing this season as it has been so long since I last competed and I overcame a lot to get to this point.

IG: You deferred a year to properly rehab your injuries because you wanted to be 100 percent for Florida. Do you feel you've reached that goal? If so, what is the next goal ahead of you?

AB: Deferring a year was not an easy decision, but I feel like it was the best one. I do feel like I reached that goal of being 100 percent for Florida. By staying home and focusing on rehab I am in a much better place now and I'm ready to give everything I have to this team.

My new goal is to do everything possible so that I give my team every opportunity to win our meets. Also, I want to enjoy gymnastics more than I ever have before. This Florida team is special and I expect that we will accomplish big things this year.

Update: Baumann competed two events in her NCAA debut Friday evening to help the Florida Gators top West Virginia, 195.90-194.425 . She scored 9.900 on balance beam (tied for first) and 9.750 on floor exercise (sixth).

Baumann performing a Shaposhnikova on bars in December 2017 during an intrasquad competition for the Florida Gators
Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 29 December 2017 08:27    PDF Print
2017 Successes Spark Egypt's El Zeiny Toward Fourth Olympics
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

International Gymnast Online's annual series of holiday-themed features concludes with this update from three-time Egyptian Olympian Sherine El Zeiny, who, despite an injury that hindered her at this fall's world championships in Montreal, celebrated another successful year in her lengthy career.

International Gymnast Online's annual series of holiday-themed features concludes with this update from three-time Egyptian Olympian Sherine El Zeiny, who, despite an injury that hindered her at this fall's world championships in Montreal, celebrated another successful year in her lengthy career.

"Putting the competitions of 2017 aside, one of the best feelings I had was reaching my best physical form in all my athletic career," said El Zeiny, who was born in the Netherlands and trains there at SV Pax Haarlemmermeer under coaches Patrick Kiens and Daymon Montaigne-Jones.

El Zeiny, pictured at the 2004 Junior European Championships in Amsterdam, began her international career as a member of the Dutch team.

El Zeiny, who will turn 27 on February 23, said the highlights of her year were winning her first Egyptian national all-around title and gamely finishing qualifications at Worlds on an injured knee.

"In March I participated in the Egyptian nationals for the first time since I started competing for Egypt, and won the all-around gold as well as helped win the team gold with my new club, Wadi Degla," said El Zeiny, whose training partners at SV Pax Haarlemmermeer include Dutch star Eythora Thorsdottir. "It felt really nice performing in front of a home crowd and having everyone cheering for me without even knowing them or seeing them before."

El Zeiny finished 36th all-around in qualifications in Montreal, where a knee injury contributed to her two falls on balance beam. Although her performance there was less than ideal, she said the overall experience was meaningful.

"The most satisfying result for me was being ranked 20th all-around at worlds after three apparatus and knowing I had a very big chance of making the all-around final if I hadn't injured my knee before the last event," she said. "I am also very proud of being number 22 in the world on uneven bars with a score of 13.533, even with a bad landing."

Aiming for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, El Zeiny will enjoy a brief training break to ring in the new year.

"I usually celebrate New Year's in Egypt with my family because we get five days or a week off from training, depending on the competition schedule," El Zeiny told IG. "But since I have already been to Egypt last month due to my injury, I am staying in Holland this year and I am planning on spending New Year's Eve with my parents. We usually watch a show on the French channel TV 5 and then go out to watch the fireworks, since fireworks are one of the things I really love. Maybe my teammates and I will meet up after the fireworks."

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 30 November 2017 23:04    PDF Print
Van Gerner: 'I Just Couldn't Let Go Of Gymnastics'
(9 votes, average 4.11 out of 5)

After nearly a year out of the gym, two-time Dutch Olympian Céline van Gerner gives IG Online an update on her life since the 2016 Rio Olympics, and details her decision to resume her competitive career.

After nearly a year out of the gym, two-time Dutch Olympian Céline van Gerner gives IG Online an update on her life since the 2016 Rio Olympics, and details her decision to resume her competitive career.

Céline van Gerner at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam

Van Gerner, who turns 23 on Friday, competed as an individual at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where she finished 12th all-around. Four years later, she was part of the Dutch team that made history at the Olympics Games in Rio, finishing seventh in the team final.

A native of Emmeloord, Van Gerner trains at Turneren Sportstad Heerenveen with coach Gerben Wiersma. She made her senior debut in 2010, finishing fourth on uneven bars at the European championships in Birmingham and 19th all-around at the world championships in Rotterdam. That year she was named the Royal Dutch Gymnastics Federation's Athlete of the Year. She recovered from a broken right ankle in time for the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo, finishing 17th all-around. The following month, she underwent surgery on her foot after it was diagnosed that her foot was also broken.

Unable to compete at the 2012 Olympic test event, Van Gerner returned to form in time to defend her Dutch national title. She was eventually selected to represent Netherlands at the 2012 Olympics in London, during a controversial selection that involved lawsuits in civil court.

She took some time off after London but returned in 2013, only to break her right ankle again. After a lengthy recovery and a hamstring injury that kept her out of the 2015 World Championships, she qualified for the Dutch team to the 2016 Olympic Games, the first time since 1976 that the Netherlands had a full team at the Olympics.

After time away from the sport, Van Gerner has been drawn back to the gym. In this IG Online interview, she talks about the status of her comeback.

IG: What have you been doing with yourself since the 2016 Rio Olympics, in terms of gymnastics and life outside the gym?

CVG: The first half-year after Rio I spent my time by doing shows, clinics and demonstrations, and giving presentations. By the end of January I fully stepped out of the gym. It was time to recover, because, while in Rio, I was and got more injured on my left calf. During that time I went to an acting class on Mondays for eight weeks. I went to Norway, cheering on my younger sister in a speed skating competition. That was really fun because normally I'm the competitor and she is cheering me on, but this time it was vice versa. Overall I got time to do whatever I wanted to do, and I was trying to find out what my future could be like, for example, school-wise. From May till September, I was teaching cardio lessons for 13 hours a week in a local fitness club.

Van Gerner training in Heerenveen in 2015

IG: What motivated you to get back into training, and what is the incentive for you to resume your career?

CVG: By June, I stepped into the gym once – just for fun, and checking out which skills I was able to do. By that one time I was super fit and feeling healthy. My calf didn't give a reaction in training, for the first time it a year and a half, so I was pretty excited about that. But then the hardest part came – the "What if?" game. What if I could still do gymnastics? My body was better healed than I had ever expected, so I just couldn't let go of gymnastics. Twenty years from now, I will be too old to do gymnastics, you know. The time is still now. So I guess that's why I decided to give it one more shot.

IG: How far ahead are you looking?

CVG: Right now I'm building my gymnastics level very slowly. I'm taking it day-by-day, month-by-month. When my body doesn't feel good, I make sure I do a light day, or even take the day off. I need to listen to my body. It's been out of the gym for like a year, so it needs time to adjust again. I'm sore for two months already, almost every day, even while taking it slowly!

IG: How much more do you think you can still accomplish? Do you foresee a return to international competition?

CVG: We will find out. Right now I'm trying to figure out the new Code of Points and how it will work for me.

IG: Turning 23 on December 1, what do you think about the number of gymnasts who are still competing in their 20s?

CVG: I love how the sport is changing. I really like the sport's development, that you're not old anymore when you are in your 20s. I think it's good for the younger girls to see, as well, that you still can do gymnastics in your 20s and can ever get better by then. I'm really happy with the age going up.

International Gymnast magazine's recent coverage of Dutch gymnasts includes:
Eythora Thorsdottir chat (May 2017)
"Dutch Master" – Thorsdottir interview (April 2016)
"Marked for Success" – Casimir Schmidt profile (July/August 2014)
"Just Verdict" – Céline van Gerner interview (June/July 2012)
"Ready to Rise for the Netherlands" – Noel van Klaveren profile (June 2013)
"Skilled and Studious" – Epke Zonderland cover story (March 2014)

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

Written by Amanda Turner    Sunday, 26 November 2017 13:07    PDF Print
Chinese Takes Two Titles as Cottbus World Cup Concludes
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

China won two more titles Sunday as the 42nd Turnier Der Meister tournament concluded in Cottbus, Germany. Russia, Germany and Japan each took one event title as the 2017 FIG World Cup season concluded. Pictured: China's Wang Cenyu won balance beam over Germany's Pauline Schäfer and Russia's Maria Kharenkova.

China won two more titles Sunday as the 42nd Turnier Der Meister tournament concluded in Cottbus, Germany. Russia, Germany and Japan each took one event title as the 2017 FIG World Cup season concluded.

One of the longest-running tournaments in gymnastics, the 2017 Turnier Der Meister was the 12th and final FIG World Cup/Challenge Cup event of the year. This year's edition attracted 140 gymnasts from 28 nations to Cottbus, where a junior men's tournament was also held with teams from Germany, France, Great Britain and Switzerland.

Wang Cenyu (China) won her first World Cup title Sunday on balance beam

China, which sent five men and two women to Cottbus, dominated this weekend's finals with eight medals, including three gold medals. The host German team won five medals, including two golds. Russia also won five medals, while Ukraine won three, and Japan and Slovenia won two each. Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, the United States and Uzbekistan each won one medal.

First-year senior Wang Cenyu, the bronze medalist on uneven bars, took the gold medal in a beam final that included the reigning world and Olympic champions. Wang showed a relatively simple routine (RO, pencil-straight two-foot layout; side somi; double twist dismount; 5.4D) but edged Germany's own world champion Pauline Schäfer (5.2D), 14.166-14.000. Schäfer showed off a very polished and elegant performance that earned the highest Execution score of the final with 8.800. Top qualifier Maria Kharenkova of Russia, the 2014 European champion on balance beam, won the bronze with the highest D-Score (6.2) of the final, where a few wobbles cost her the title (punch front; ff ff two-foot layout; switch ring; ff ff double pike).

Olympic champion Sanne Wevers (Netherlands) had a fairly solid routine going with just one major wobble, but crashed her layout gainer full dismount to finish fifth.

Russia's Lilia Akhaimova, the silver medalist on vault, won gold on floor exercise, her first World Cup title and first big international success. The Saint Petersburg powerhouse was an alternate to Russia's Olympic team last summer thanks to her tumbling, but she's improved her consistency this year as well. She tumbled an Arabian double front, punch front; double layout (out); piked Arabian double front; and the rare full-in dismount (6.0D). Akhaimova, who turned 20 in March, adds much-needed depth to Russian team on floor exercise, their weakest event during the past quad, and appears capable of upgrading both her vaults.

Kharenkova, who was first in qualification on floor as well, took silver behind her teammate. Kharenkova missed a year of competition owing to an ankle injury and growth spurt, but appears to be a much stronger and more confident gymnast. She tumbled a new double layout, and though her choreography needs improvement, her turns and leaps were very impressive. Schäfer, who was Germany's Athlete of the Month for October, picked up another medal with the bronze.

Japan's Keisuke Asato won a close contest on men's vault thanks to his well-landed Ri Se Gwang (full-twisting Tsukahara double back) and just a large step on his layout Randi. Still rings champion Igor Radivilov of Ukraine, second on vault at the world championships, took another silver Sunday with his Dragulescu and Tsukahara double pike.

Australia's Christopher Remkes won the bronze using the same vaults as Radivilov, with Remkes' remarkable power standing out even in a strong vault final. It was the third World Cup medal this year on vault for Remkes, who took gold in Melbourne and silver in Baku.

Tan Di, competing in his first World Cup event, won parallel bars with the highest score of the competition, 15.566 (6.4D). He also won the bronze medal on pommel horse on Saturday.

Olympic champion Oleg Vernyayev (Ukraine) won the silver (15.166/6.7), overarching a handstand and making a few tiny errors in his lengthy routine. Vernyayev competed only pommel horse and parallel bars in Cottbus, where his exhaustion is apparent after more than five years of heavy competition without a lengthy break. In addition to the European championships in the spring and world championships in the fall, Vernyayev competed in six World Cup events (including all three all-around competitions), the University Games in July, the Arthur Gander Memorial and Swiss Cup two weeks ago, in addition to national competitions and frequent competitions for TG Saar in the German Bundesliga. Following next weekend's Bundesliga final, Vernyayev is expected to take significant time off and undergo surgery to repair torn ligaments in his shoulder and leg that have plagued him since before the Olympic Games.

Three-time Olympian Marcel Nguyen brought Germany another medal with the bronze, throwing his full-twisting double dismount (15.133/6.5). Teammate Andreas Bretschneider ended the competition on a golden note for the home team on high bar. Bretschneider, who also won in 2013, 2015 and 2016, left out his eponymous skill (double-twisting Kovacs) but still won his fourth title comfortably, scoring 14.566 (5.9D). American Marvin Kimble picked up the silver (14.033/6.2) over Norway's Pietro Giachino (14.000/5.5), who bumped Tan Di for the bronze in a tie-break. It was the first World Cup medal for Giachino, born in Oslo to an Italian father and Norwegian mother.

In a repeat of his performance of the world championships finals, Japan's Hidetaka Miyachi caught the layout Bretschneider (now the Miyachi), then fell on the original tucked version before successfully attempting it again. He ended up sixth, under .3 from the bronze.

The 2018 World Cup season has 13 events on the calendar, including four all-around events. The first event is an apparatus World Cup scheduled for February 22-25 in Melbourne.

External Link: Official Website

42nd Turnier Der Meister/FIG World Cup
November 26, 2017, Cottbus, Germany

Balance Beam FinalDENDScore
1.Wang Cenyu5.48.76614.166
2.Pauline Schäfer5.28.80014.000
3.Maria Kharenkova6.27.56613.766
4.Katarzyna Jurkowska-Kowalska4.88.63313.433
5.Sanne Wevers5.97.3330.113.133
6.Lilia Akhaimova5.57.30012.800
7.Diana Varinska5.47.30012.700
8.Rose-Kaying Woo5.67.03312.633

Women's Floor Exercise FinalDENDScore
1.Lilia Akhaimova6.08.1000.114.000
2.Maria Kharenkova5.58.10013.600
3.Pauline Schäfer4.98.60013.500
4.Rose-Kaying Woo4.98.26613.166
5.Maisie Methuen4.98.16613.066
6.Elisabeth Seitz4.48.60013.000
7.Laura Bechdeju4.87.70012.500
8.Diana Varinska5.08.0000.612.400

Men's Vault FinalDENDScoreAverage
1.Keisuke Asato6.09.16615.16614.966
2.Igor Radivilov5.69.20014.80014.883
3.Christopher Remkes5.69.30014.90014.816
4.Andrei Makolov5.29.43314.63314.549
5.Felix Remuta5.29.1330.114.23314.316
6.Qu Ruiyang5.68.2000.113.70014.100
7.Tseng Wei-Sheng5.68.26613.86613.666
8.Mizuki Hasegawa5.68.2002.013.70012.050

Parallel Bars FinalDENDScore
1.Tan Di6.49.16615.566
2.Oleg Vernyayev6.78.46615.166
3.Marcel Nguyen6.58.63315.133
4.Vladislav Polyashov6.08.66614.666
5.Ivan Rittschik5.77.63313.333
6.Rubén López5.67.40013.000
7.Petro Pakhnyuk5.87.16612.966
8.Hidetaka Miyachi5.17.26612.366

High Bar FinalDENDScore
1.Andreas Bretschneider5.98.66614.566
2.Marvin Kimble6.27.83314.033
3.Pietro Giachino5.58.50014.000
4.Tan Di5.98.10014.000
5.Mitchell Morgans6.17.80013.900
6.Hidetaka Miyachi6.47.33313.733
7.Sascha Coradi5.77.63313.333
8.Anton Kovačević6.06.96612.966

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