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Interviews

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 02 April 2019 08:15    PDF Print
Online Interview With Victoria Kayen Woo
(3 votes, average 3.67 out of 5)

Embarking this month on a training camp in Japan with her Canadian teammates, two-time World Championships competitor Victoria Kayen Woo is focusing on a top all-around finish at next month’s Canadian Championships, as well as berths to this fall’s Worlds in Stuttgart and next summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 21-year-old Woo, who placed fifth all-around at last month’s World Cup of Birmingham, has been a mainstay on the Canadian squad for the past two Olympic cycles. She trains under coaches Michel Charron and Marie-Josée Laperrière at Gym-Richelieu in Saint-Hubert, Quebec.

Woo finished 52nd all-around in qualifications at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning, and 44th all-around in qualifications at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow. She was a member of Canada’s silver medal-winning team at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, where she won the bronze medal on balance beam. Last year she was sixth all-around at both the Canadian Championships and Pacific Rim Championships in Colombia, and seventh all-around at the World Cup of Tokyo.

Woo, the older sister of 2016 Canadian Olympian Rose Kaying Woo, shares her thoughts and hopes in this IG Online interview.

IG: How did your performance in Birmingham boost your confidence for the big meets coming up, such as the Canadian Championships and World Championships?

VW: Competing alongside some of the world’s best gymnasts really opened my eyes as to my belonging on the international plateau. I was very grateful to be given this opportunity, and this competition was certainly a milestone for my upcoming meets.

IG: At the 2014 Worlds and in Birmingham, you competed against your favorite gymnast, Aliya Mustafina. Why is she your favorite gymnast? And given that she is your favorite, how were you able to perform calmly against her?

VW: I have always loved her elegance and poise in her gymnastics. I always thought she was the nicest gymnast to watch. At first, I was a little bit intimidated by her, but I soon comforted myself by focusing on my gymnastics and staying calm. I just enjoyed the moment.

IG: Had you competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, do you think you would still be competing today?

VW: My sister Rose Woo was part of the team and I traveled to Rio to watch her. Looking back to Rio, I would not have thought I would be still competing today. I had a scholarship for Ohio State University starting August 2016 and decided to stay home to compete one more year for Canada.

IG: What is the purpose of your team’s training camp in Japan?

VW: It is a national team training camp. We are nine seniors traveling to train in Japan. The general objective of this camp is to familiarize ourselves in preparation for Tokyo 2020. It is also a team-building camp, which will be a lot of fun.

IG: What is your target for the Canadian Championships? Will you be aiming for a high all-around finish, or do you think you have a better chance to earn a spot for Stuttgart on one or more apparatuses?

VW: I consider myself to be more of an all-around gymnast, thus I will be aiming for a high all-around finish.

IG: Canada almost won a team medal at the 2018 Worlds (fourth place), and many people think Canada can continue to challenge for a team medal in Stuttgart and Tokyo 2020. What do you think Canada will need to improve in order to win team medals in those competitions?

VW: Yes, it was a record finish for Canada. I believe Canada has everything necessary to contend for a medal and just needs to focus on consistency and teamwork, and we will be back on track to maintaining our success.

IG: What do you think you can offer to the Canadian team in Stuttgart, and moreover, in Tokyo?

VW: I believe that I can contribute to Canada because I have a lot of international experience. I believe I also have a good team spirit.

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

 
Written by dwight normile    Tuesday, 19 March 2019 12:45    PDF Print
Gymnastics Legends to be honored by the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame Class of 2019
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Five gymnastics legends will be honored at the 23rd annual International Gymnastics Hall of Fame (IGHOF) ceremony on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at the Petroleum Club in Oklahoma City.

The IGHOF Class of 2019:

Shawn Johnson (USA): 4-time Olympic medalist, including Gold Medalist on Balance Beam (2008 Beijing) and 2007 World All-Around Champion

Maria Filatova (Russia): 3-time Olympic medalist (1976-1980), and 4-time World Championship medalist

Ivan Ivankov (Belarus): 11-time World medalist, including 2-time World All-Around Champion (1994 and 1997)

Li Xiaopeng (China): 5-time Olympic medalist, including 4 golds, 11-time World Championship medalist

In addition to the Class of 2019 Inductees, the 2019 IGHOF International Order of Merit will be presented to Hardy Fink (Canada), the Director of Education & Academy Programs for the International Gymnastics Federation, for his 4 decades of leadership and service.

“The 2019 IGHOF honorees include some of the most famous, and influential, names in the history of our sport, so this year’s ceremony promises to be especially exciting and inspiring,” said Bart Conner, Chairman of the IGHOF board.

Over the past 22 years, 99 of gymnastics greatest stars and contributors, representing 22 countries have been formally honored by the Hall of Fame.

The IGHOF is home to gymnastics greats such as Vera Caslavska, Nadia Comaneci, Olga Korbut, Mary Lou Retton, Nikolai Andrianov, Sawao Kato and Vitaly Scherbo.

Founded in 1987, the IGHOF was originally located in Oceanside, California. In 1996, it relocated to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where it has developed a solid foundation of private support.

“The goal of the IGHOF board of directors is to preserve the legacies of these gymnastics icons and inspire future generations.” said Conner.

For more information about the IGHOF and how you can be a member or donor, visit www.ighof.com. For tickets to the IGHOF dinner ceremony to be held on Saturday, May 18, at the Petroleum Club in Oklahoma City, contact Lynn Landis at 405-364-5344.

For media requests, contact Allison Keiffer ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or call 405-364-5344.

Endorsed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique based in Lausanne, Switzerland, The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame is a dynamic, forward-looking non-profit organization that celebrates the athletic and artistic excellence of gymnastics’ most accomplished athletes and legends, and connects them with future generations of young gymnasts and fans.

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

 
Written by Christian Ivanov    Wednesday, 06 March 2019 09:43    PDF Print
Larisa Iordache Is Back In The Game
(8 votes, average 4.00 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.

 


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