2014 Worlds Championships News

Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 02 October 2014 08:12    PDF Print
Worlds Preview: Men's Qualification, Session 1
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Competition opens Friday morning at the 45th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Nanning, China, with the first of 10 men's qualification sessions. Pictured: The main arena at the Guangxi Sports Center in Nanning.

Competition opens Friday morning at the 45th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Nanning, China. Hundreds of gymnasts will soon get the green light from the judges in China's "Green City." Let's take a look at the first session that begins at 9 a.m. local time.

Bulgaria: Floor Exercise

Bulgaria begins on floor exercise, but lacks any gymnasts with finals potential. Six-time Olympian Jordan Jovtchev retired in 2012, and 2010 floor finalist Eddie Penev switched now represents the United States. Bulgaria has another Bulgarian-American in Yordan Aleksandrov. Like many teams in Nanning, Bulgaria will be hoping for a top-24 finish to advance to the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow. The team finished 29th at the 2010 World Championships, missing a chance to advance a full team to the 2011 Worlds.

Hong Kong: Pommel Horse

Hong Kong is fielding a full team in Nanning, which is just a short flight away. The team has a potential vault medalist in Shek Wai Hung, who became a hero for his homeland after a hard-earned gold medal at the recent Asian Games in Incheon. Shek upset world and Olympic champion Yang Hak Seon (Korea) with two excellent vaults in the final. The men's vault field is incredibly deep in Nanning, so gymnasts will need to nail both attempts in qualification for a chance at the final.

Hong Kong's Ng Kiu Chung has submitted two new skills on still rings for evaluation in Nanning: From or through hanging scale rearways, with straight arms pull to V Cross (held for two seconds); and a slow roll forward stretched with straight arms through cross and press to planche without first going to support (held for two seconds).

Egypt: Still Rings

Egyptian gymnastics was unlucky in the random draw, pulling the first subdivisions for both men's and women's teams. The Egyptian men were 39th at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam.

Belgium: Vault

Hosts of last year's world championships, the Belgian men have their top hope in 2012 Olympian Jimmy Verbaeys. Verbaeys was an all-around finalist at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 Europeans, but missed out on the final in Antwerp.

Israel: Parallel Bars

Two-time Olympic floor exercise finalist Alexander Shatilov remains Israel's bright spot in gymnastics. Shatilov made history for Israel with bronze medals on floor exercise at the 2009 and 2011 Worlds. Shatilov was Israel's Athlete of the Year in 2013 after tying for the gold on floor at the European championships in Moscow. Shatilov, 27, took another bronze medal on floor at this year's Europeans in Sofia.

Mixed Group 5: High Bar

Mixed group No. 5 has gymnasts from Algeria, Czech Republic and Luxembourg. 2008 Olympian Sascha Palgen is still going strong for Luxembourg at age 30. Palgen, an alternate for the 2012 Olympics in London, miraculously recovered without serious injury after breaking his neck during training in 2005.

Next Up: Full teams from Belarus, Singapore, Ukraine, and 2016 Olympic hosts Brazil!

Flip over to International Gymnast Magazine's official Facebook page for live commentary from the 2014 World Gymnastics Championships in Nanning!

Written by dwight normile    Tuesday, 30 September 2014 11:14    PDF Print
Stretching Out: From Tianjin to Nanning, Looking Back and Ahead
(4 votes, average 3.25 out of 5)

The 45th World Artistic Gymnastics Championships will begin on Oct. 3 in Nanning, China. The last time China played host to the Worlds was 1999 in Tianjin. Does time change everything? Fifteen years later, here are 15 thoughts to ponder.

1) Will Nanning be as smoggy as Tianjin was?

2) Will the highest U.S. all-arounders place fourth for the men (Blaine Wilson) and eighth for the women (Elise Ray)?

Note: Wilson should have tied Jordan Jovtchev for the bronze, but the crazy score truncation (to three decimal places) trimmed their totals to 57.211 and 57.212, respectively. They both actually scored 57.2125. Is that not the silliest rule ever in the history of any sport in the universe? It wasn't used to break ties, because ties actually occurred at those Worlds. (And Ray should have tied Huang Mandan for seventh.)

3) Will some of the Chinese spectators applaud when a Japanese gymnast falls? Many did in 1999.

4) Will a woman either named Produnova or who performs a Produnova finish fourth in the vault finals? (Yes, Yelena Produnova got beat by Yelena Zamolodchikova, Simona Amanar and Maria Olaru. And yes, this could happen in Nanning, but not to Produnova, obviously.)

5) Will silk scarves and ties still cost about $1.00?

6) Trivia Question: Will the 1999 all-around and parallel bars silver medalist be able to repeat those accomplishments in Nanning? (Answer below, but think about it first.)

7) Will the women's individual results reveal three first-time world all-around medalists on the podium? Remember Maria Olaru, Viktoria Karpenko and Yelena Zamolodchikova?

8) Will India place last in both the men's and women's competitions again? (Probably not. They have improved.)

9) Will the U.S. place sixth in both the men's and women's team finals? (Dare we even think it?)

10) Will China and Romania dominate the men's and women's team competitions, winning both the qualifications and the team finals?

11) Will the top three men's individual qualifiers crash and burn in the all-around final and place 10th, 11th and 12th, in reverse order. That's what happened to Yang Wei, Huang Xu, and Alexei Bondarenko in Tianjin. (I still remember seeing a depressed Bondarenko standing alone outside the arena after that meet; he really needed a hug or something.)

12) Could anyone predict that Svetlana Khorkina, the defending all-around champion, would finish 12th, and then go on to become the only woman to win the title three times? She was always all or nothing in the all-around, right?

13) Could anyone predict that Ivan Ivankov, the defending men's champion, would fail to win his third world all-around title and finish last? With an ailing hip flexor, he couldn't get through his high bar routine and scratched the next five events.

14) Will Nanning streets be jam-packed with hordes of bicyclists and tiny cars, all battling for the right of way?

15) Will every first-time visitor to the Great Wall of China wonder the same thing: "How in the heck did they build a 5,500-mile wall this cool more than 2,000 years ago?!"

Trivia Answer: Naoya Tsukahara, who represented his native Japan in 1999 and now, at age 37, competes for Australia. He was really good in the last millennium — now that's a phrase we rarely use in gymnastics reporting. He definitely inspired younger gymnasts in Japan.

"He is my gymnastics idol. When I was 15, I decided to move to his gym in Tokyo from my parents' gym in Nagasaki," Kohei Uchimura told IG in 2010.

Ever heard of him?

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 30 September 2014 11:11    PDF Print
Berger Hopes to Overcome ACL Injury in 2015
(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Although a knee injury will keep German Olympian Janine Berger out of the world championships that begin this week in Nanning, she told IG she is eager to regain top form in a year.

Although a knee injury will keep German Olympian Janine Berger out of the world championships that begin this week in Nanning, she told IG she is eager to regain top form in a year.

Berger, who placed fourth on vault at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, tore her left ACL when landing a double-twisting Tsukahara vault at the German championships on June 24.

"I had surgery and am now going through a tough rehab program with my doctor and my physiotherapist," she said, "It depends on my knee when I will be back, because I want to regain full strength and not risk anything by coming back too early. After one year, though, I should be back at where I was before the injury."

Berger, who missed the 2013 European Championships because of a knee injury, said she is determined to resume gymnastics at the world level.

"Of course suffering another big injury is devastating," she said. "But I will fight my way back because I love gymnastics. Sometimes you just have to go thru a valley to reach the top."

"My goal is the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro," she told IG. "It should be no problem being ready again by then. But getting healthy is now the main priority. My knee needs to be built back up. I am going through a hard time, but I see it as a challenge that I will overcome."

International Gymnast magazine's recent features on German women's gymnastics include:

"Tough Lesson" - Janine Berger interview (October 2012)
Kim Bui interview (April 2013)
Maike Enderle profile (September 2014)
"New View from the Top" - Lisa Katharina Hill profile (July/August 2013)
"Leaps and Bounds for Germany" - Nadine Jarosch profile (January/February 2012)
Steffi Kräker interview/Hall of Fame induction feature (June 2011)
"Calm, Clean Style" - Sophie Scheder profile (December 2013)
"Seizing the Moment" - Elisabeth Seitz interview (July/August 2011)

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

Written by Travis Seefried    Sunday, 28 September 2014 11:10    PDF Print
Chusovitina Aims for All-Around in Nanning
(8 votes, average 4.88 out of 5)

Six-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan) hopes to recover from a recent foot injury in time to compete in the all-around at the upcoming world gymnastics championships in Nanning, China.

Six-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan) hopes to recover from a recent foot injury in time to compete in the all-around at the upcoming world gymnastics championships in Nanning, China.

Chusovitina had planned on competing in the all-around at last week's Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, but an untimely injury during podium training limited her to vaulting only.

"I had a foot injury a few days ago during the podium training, and today when I was warming up, I felt my foot was still not ready for all-around" she told China's Xinhua News Agency. "So I decided just to do vault. I hope my foot will recover and I can compete in the all-around at the world championships."

In Wednesday's vault final in Incheon, Chusovitina won the silver medal, her seventh Asian Games medal, behind eventual champion Hong Un Jong of North Korea, who finished ahead of Chusovitina at the 2008 Olympics.

Chusovitina first won gold with the Soviet Union in the team competition and tied for gold on floor exercise at the 1991 Worlds in Indianapolis. Chusovitina has represented many federations over the years including the former Soviet Union, Uzbekistan, Germany, and 1992's The Unified Team, composed of athletes from the former Soviet Republics.

Primarily known as a vault specialist, Chusovitina has also had all-around success. She finished ninth in the all-around at the 2008 Olympic Games and 10th all-around at the 1996 Olympic Games. Her most recent all-around competition was at last year's Mexican Open in Acapulco, where she finished third all-around and first in the mixed-pairs event (with Japan's Koji Uematsu).

Throughout her illustrious career, Oksana has a won 11 world championship and two Olympic medals. She won the world title on vault at the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim, California.

In Incheon, Chusovitina was coached by her longtime friend and former teammate, gymnastics legend Svetlana Boginskaya.

The 2014 World Championships begin Friday in Nanning. The Uzbekistan women's team competes in the sixth subdivision in qualification on Oct. 5.

Written by Travis Seefried    Tuesday, 23 September 2014 10:56    PDF Print
Russian Teams Finalized for Nanning Worlds
(12 votes, average 4.17 out of 5)

Russian coaches hope a mixture of experience and youth will carry their teams to success at the upcoming world gymnastics championships in Nanning, China. The final team for Russia was announced Sunday. Pictured: First-year senior Daria Spiridonova

Russia hopes a mixture of experience and youth will carry them to success at the upcoming world gymnastics championships in Nanning, China. The final team for Russia was announced Sunday.

Led by world and Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina and veterans Yekaterina Kramarenko and Tatiana Nabiyeva, the Russian squad will also include 2014 European beam champion Maria Kharenkova, Alla Sosnitskaya and Daria Spirdonova. The alternate athlete in Nanning is Polina Fyodorova.

Injuries have left Olympic medalists Ksenia Afanasyeva, Viktoria Komova and Maria Paseka out of the competition. According to national coach Valentina Rodionenko, doctors confirmed both Afanasyeva and Komova were not yet ready to compete after ankle injuries, while Paseka suffered a last-minute ankle sprain, Rodionenko said.

Russia's men's team is Denis Ablyazin, David Belyavsky, Nikita Ignatyev, Nikolai Kuksenkov, Vladislav Polyashov and Ivan Stretovich. 2010 Youth Olympian Daniil Kazachkov is the alternate. Olympians Alexander Balandin and Emin Garibov are recovering from shoulder surgeries.

Rodionenko hopes missing this year's worlds will give these veterans enough time to rest before next year's Worlds and ultimately the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

This will be the first world championships for Kharenkova, Sosnitskaya, Spirodonova, Polyashkov and Stretovich.

Russia's team leaves Wednesday for Nanning, where the world championships kick off Oct. 3.

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation


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