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Written by dwight normile    Thursday, 16 August 2018 07:12    PDF Print
Tom Forster: New High-Performance Director For USA Gymnastics
(4 votes, average 3.50 out of 5)

Tom Forster was born in Kansas and grew up in Colorado. He graduated from Penn State with a bachelor of science in physical education and 
health. He and wife Lori Bresciani Forster own Colorado Aerials in Colorado Springs, where they coached Doni Thompson, Kristy Powell, Theresa Kulikowski and many other gymnasts.

Forster replaced Valeri Liukin, who resigned in early 2018.

You were quoted as saying, "I believe in coaching through inspiration, not intimidation." Do you think Bela and Marta Karolyi were intimidating?

TF: In the interview process for this job I was asked a list of questions by athletes and coaches. That quote was in response to some of the questions by athletes. I was not comparing myself to anyone, only answering the question of what I believe is my style of coaching.

How will you choose world and Olympic teams? Competitive results or will a committee still select teams?

TF: The selection of teams will be a combination of both. The hope is that every team is selected on the field of play, but in fairness to every athlete we need the flexibility to select an athlete in an extenuating circumstance.

For example, if one of the top two athletes from the U.S. Championships wakes up with 104 fever the morning of the selection camp—we’re probably making an exception for her in the best interest of the team and fairness to her. Balancing the athletes’ experience with the duty of putting the best team on the field of play will always be my goal.

Will there be trainers at future camps and, if so, which gender?

TF: We have a list of vetted female trainers available for the athletes at every training camp that we can use. It may not be the same trainer each time. We do not use male medical personnel for women’s gymnastics any longer.

Read the complete interview in the September issue of International Gymnast.

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

 
Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 05 July 2018 07:40    PDF Print
Canada's Pellerin Shooting For World Final
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Professional photographer and recent Challenge Cup pommel horse gold medalist Thierry Pellerin of Canada says his characteristic focus has allowed him to perform at his best with national and international titles in sight.

Pellerin placed first on pommel horse at last month’s Challenge Cup of Guimaraes, Portugal, a month after he earned his second consecutive Canadian national title on that apparatus. He plans to upgrade his routine this summer with an eye on making the Canadian team for this fall’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Pellerin placed 29th on pommel horse at the 2017 Worlds in Montreal.

Born July 19, 1997, in Levis, Quebec, he trains on three apparatuses at Gymnamic Gymnastics Club in his hometown, where his coaches are Martin Bordeleau and Simon Bordeleau.

Pellerin shared his thoughts on his recent international breakthrough, and his aspirations on the podium and behind the lens, in this IG Online interview.

IG: What do you think gave you the advantage over your rivals in Guimaraes?

TP: At this time of the year, I perform the same routine since it is in summer that I add new skills to my routines, to increase the difficulty. The competition, which took place just before the beginning of the summer, allowed me to present to the judges a stable routine that I had been training for several months. In addition, a few weeks before, I had broken my personal best score at the Canadian championships in Waterloo, Ontario. So I think the advantage I had over my competitors was my stability and my confidence, and that's what allowed me to offer two good performances (qualifications and final).

IG: How would you rate your performance in Guimaraes in comparison with all of the other routines you’ve competed?

TP: Most of the time I am a good competitor. When there is a lot of issues I transform pressure and stress into performance. This World Cup was the sixth of my career. In previous World Cups I reacted differently to stress. It made me lose fluidity in my routine, my movements were more jerky and I lost a lot of points in execution. This time, the experience of my other World Cups that I attended returned. I was able, despite a level of stress as high as usual, to keep a fluidity that allowed me to win in the final.

IG: What value do you think you could add to the Canadian team, as a pommel horse specialist, in Doha?

TP: With a potential D-score high enough to reach a final at the World Championships, I can take pressure off other gymnasts. For many, pommel horse is a device with a high risk of falling. Knowing that someone like [me] is on the team allows the team to have better depth. On the other hand, it will be very difficult for a specialist like me to go to the World Championships because Canada is giving more priority to the gymnasts competing on all six apparatuses for the 2018 World Championships.

IG: What attracted you to photography, and what are your favorite subjects to shoot?

TP: Photography is a passion that I discovered. It did not take much time after I used a camera for me to use it professionally. I mostly shoot for commercials—food in restaurants, sports in both studio and competition, and architecture, but I also do portraits. I would like to continue to grow my company, Ablson, and work with architectural firms and several restaurants. I would also like to be able to continue photographing the Canadian gymnastics team in competition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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