IG Online's annual series of holiday-themed profiles continues with this feature on six-time Danish national all-around champion Helge Vammen.
Helge Vammen (Denmark)
Although he plans to spend part of Christmas Day in the gym, six-time Danish national all-around champion Helge Vammen told IG he is also taking time to celebrate the holidays with loved ones, reflect on his challenging 2011 gymnastics year and look ahead to new successes in 2012.
"One of the highlights of 2011 was winning the all-around and five event finals at the Danish championships," Vammen said. "Another highlight was winning the all-around at the Sidjiik Gymnastics Tournament in Holland. If I have to mention a disappointment of 2011, it would be injuring my right arm during training at the world championships in Tokyo."
Vammen placed 105th all-around in qualifications at worlds, which took place in October. He was 38th all-around at the '09 worlds in London, and did not compete on all six events at the '10 worlds in Rotterdam.
"I had to do routines with less difficulty than expected," said Vammen of his performance in Tokyo. "It turned out that I had a fracture on the radius bone, so I had to spend four weeks with my arm in a cast after the competition in Tokyo. My arm has now recovered and I'm trying to get back in perfect shape."
Vammen, who is coached by Anatoly Babko, said his main goals for 2012 are staying healthy and improving all of his routines.
"I especially hope I'll be able to add more difficulty in my routines on floor, pommel horse and rings," he said. "For example, I'm capable of doing lots of different skills on pommel horse, so I just have to put together the best possible routine."
The 25-year-old Vammen is also looking forward to a good performance at the 2012 European championships in I'm also looking forward to the Europeans in Montpellier, France, in May.
"Even though there will be no all-around final, I hope I can show a good all-around result," he said.
Vammen's holiday plans include time in and out of the gym in his hometown of Aarhus.
"I love celebrating Christmas in Denmark," he said. "Especially when it snows, but unfortunately we didn't get any snow yet. I will celebrate Christmas with my family and my girlfriend. On Christmas Day, though, I usually go to the gym with some teammates to play soccer and train a little. That has kind of become a fun Christmas tradition. I normally spend the afternoon at my parents' house hanging out with my two brothers. Usually we also go to church on Christmas Day."
Before and after the holiday, Vammen will be just as busy.
"On Christmas Eve we have a traditional Danish Christmas dinner including duck, pork and different kinds of potatoes," he said. "This year I will spend the day after Christmas with my girlfriend's family."
Adding to Vammen's ambitious plans for 2012, he also wants to be faithful to the New Year's resolution that he has declared.
"My New Year's resolution is to keep making progress in the gym and stay away from injuries," he told IG. "Out of the gym my New Year's resolution is to be a good student as well, which is not always easy because of gymnastics!"