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Artemev Aims for 2011 All-Around Comeback
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IG Online continues its yearly holiday series, bringing you the scoop on what the world's best gymnasts will be up to at the end of 2010!

Nearly two years after a car accident left him with a broken back, world and Olympic bronze medalist Sasha Artemev (U.S.) is aiming for a full comeback at February's Winter Cup in Las Vegas.

"I'm shooting for Winter Cup — that's my main goal," Artemev, 25, told IG. "I'm getting a lot stronger. Healing up a lot. I feel like my body should feel. I feel normal."

Artemev's pommel horse routine in the team final was one of the highlights for the U.S. team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Artemev, who had fallen on pommel horse at the Olympic Trials in July and was originally an alternate until he was substituted for the injured Morgan Hamm With Artemev last up for the team on the final event, he delivered one of the best routines of his life under pressure to clinch the bronze medal for the U.S. men.

Nearly two years after a car accident left him with a broken back, world and Olympic bronze medalist Sasha Artemev (U.S.) is aiming for a full comeback at February's Winter Cup in Las Vegas.

But in April 2009, two months after the post-Olympic tour ended, Artemev was sitting in his car at a stoplight when he was struck by another vehicle.

"From my mid back to my low back, everything pretty much was shattered," said Artemev, who trains at 5280 Gymnastics in Colorado.

While he underwent rehabilitation and cortisone injections, Artemev refused to let the injury force him into early retirement.

"I kept it quiet," he said of the accident.

The injury prevented him from competing at the U.S. championships in August 2009, but USA Gymnastics nevertheless named him to the world team to London in November, so long as he could show readiness at the pre-worlds verification camp. The injured kept him sidelined until this year's U.S. Winter Cup in Las Vegas, where he competed floor, pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar.

Artemev entered the Valeri Liukin Invitational, held Dec. 11 in Frisco, Texas, but he decided to scratch the meet after warming up all six events.

"This was just kind of a practice," he said after the meet. "I just came out to see where everybody's at. I don't want to compete out here if I'm not 100 percent. I want to come here to win."

While most known for his skill on pommel horse, Artemev said he "definitely" plans to return to all-around competition at the Winter Cup.

"All six [events], and not just [make] the national team," said Artemev, the bronze medalist on pommel horse at the 2006 Worlds. "I want to be up there [in the rankings]. We'll see how it goes."

Artemev said he hasn't shelved the world-first triple-twisting Yurchenko he debuted at the 2007 U.S. championships, a vault recently performed by world champion Kohei Uchimura of Japan.

"I've been working on it in the gym," Artemev said. "They're comparing my vault to [Uchimura's]. I haven't seen his, but we'll see how mine goes when it gets down to it."

Artemev, who was born in Minsk but grew up near Moscow, said he is likely to spend New Year's Eve with friends or family. His father and coach, Vladimir Artemev, recently married Russian-born coach Irina Bendassova. (Sasha's mother, rhythmic gymnastics coach Svetlana Artemieva, has lived in Chile since 1991.)

"In the Russian tradition, Christmas isn't as big as New Year's Eve, so we're going to celebrate New Year's bigger," he said. "In Russia everybody goes out and celebrates in the city center. It's a big deal with fireworks."

Despite the celebration, Artemev said he plans on being at the gym on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

"I'll work out of course. Always!" he laughed. "I can't [skip a day] because then I'll feel worse."

Comments (2)add comment

JuliaK said:

Wow. Welcome back Sasha!! The USA really needs him on pommel horse!!
December 21, 2010
Votes: +4

Drew said:

So glad to hear about Sasha! Sad to hear about his accident but am excited to see him at the Winter Cup!! Good luck Sasha, and keep it up, you have some of the most stunning lines and the best toe point in men's gymnastics!
December 26, 2010
Votes: +0

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