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IG Interview: João Marcus Fuglsig (Denmark)
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IG's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this interview with Denmark's João Marcus Fuglsig, who assessed the highs and lows of 2013 and his goals for 2014. Pictured: Fuglsig fractured his femur and fibia on vault at the 2013 Worlds in Antwerp.

IG's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this interview with Denmark's João Marcus Fuglsig. Born to a Brazilian mother and a Danish father, and coached by Romanians, Fuglsig is eager to better his solid 2013 results with international success in 2014.

Fuglsig, who turned 22 on Nov. 5, trains at VIK Aarhus, where is coached by Romanian-born Adrian Sandu and two-time Romanian Olympian Marian Rizan. He placed 43rd all-around in qualifications at this spring's European championships in Moscow, and 61st all-around in qualifications at this summer's World University Games in Kazan. At this fall's world championships in Antwerp, he competed parallel bars, floor exercise and still rings before an injury on vault — fractures to his femur and tibia — ended his competition on a negative note.

Although Fuglsig's results in major international competitions are modest, he has gained confidence from his recent achievements in regional and domestic meets. He placed seventh all-around at the 2012 Northern Europeans in Glasgow, and at the 2013 Danish Championships, he placed second all-around, first on parallel bars, second on vault, and third on floor exercise and pommel horse. After his leg injury in Antwerp, he recovered well enough to compete several events to help VIK Aarhus win its fifth consecutive title at the Danish team championships in November.

Fuglsig recently shared with IG his assessment of the highs and lows of 2013, his plans for celebrating the upcoming holidays and his goals for international success in 2014.

IG: Looking back on 2013, which performance or moment of your gymnastics gave you the most satisfaction, and why?

JMF: I would say the moment that gave me the most satisfaction in 2013 was the build-up to Antwerp. I was getting in great shape, and was starting to hit my favorite event – vault – more stably. I was doing a Roche and my new second vault, a double-twisting Yurchenko. This whole period from August to the end of September was all-in-all a great time for me. It was also something new for me only to compete on four events. In general I don't enjoy myself very much on pommel horse and high bar, which are my weakest events, so to focus on my better apparatuses for some time was great. However, I am an all-arounder, and hopefully I will stay so for many years still, so getting back after (the injury in) Antwerp and picking up on those two events felt like "getting home" after some time out.

Fuglsig doing a Yurchenko timer on vault

IG: You are a mainstay on the Danish team, with several medals at this year's Danish championships, as well as good results in Moscow and Antwerp. What is your plan for improving your results in 2014?

JMF: The season from 2012 to summer 2013 held a lot of challenges for me and my teammates. We didn't have a stable coaching situation, and mostly trained and spotted ourselves. Now, however, we have a great coach who has been with us since June, and with his help and guidance I hope to improve a lot over the next few months so I can join the battle of 80-plus points (in the all-around). My plan is to keep myself free of injuries and to train more focused on the routines planned for the next season - rather than just working on a lot of new stuff and then when the season starts, taking a look at what I could fit into a routine.

IG: You have a Portuguese first name — which part of your background in Portuguese and which is Danish?

JMF: My Portuguese first name comes from my Brazilian mother. I am named after one of my uncles, João Batista. But to facilitate my life in Denmark my parents chose to add the name Marcus, which is more international and pronounceable for Danes. My father is a Dane, and, after marriage, my parents moved to Denmark where they both studied and have been living here since.

IG: How will you spend the upcoming holidays?

JMF: I will be celebrating Christmas in Aarhus this year. Initially the plan was to celebrate with my wonderful and large family in Brazil, but due to some complications and since my family did that last year, we decided to celebrate in Denmark this year - which is also very nice! I really love the Danish Christmas, the traditions, and the snowy weather. As we are a culturally mixed family, we pick and choose a bit in the traditions. However, temperature aside, Brazilian and Danish Christmas are much alike - family, Mass, presents and of course great food. The food traditions in Denmark are very strong, while in Brazil it is not, so we always do the Danish version, which is a special pork dish with sweet potatoes and brown sauce – even if we go to Brazil.

Another tradition is the dancing around the Christmas tree. This is a tradition I really enjoy! We form a circle around the tree holding hands and then we dance around the tree singing old traditional Christmas songs. This tradition is typically Danish. We've tried to bring it to our Christmases in Brazil. However, as we are a huge family with only one tree, it can be complicated.

I will celebrate New Year's Eve with my friends from school. It will most likely be a typical celebration with good food, good wine, the Queen's speech, and at midnight a lot explosives and champagne! The plans are not quite set yet, but in the end it's all about celebrating the year that has passed, and looking forward to the new one and what happiness and success it brings.

Two months after fracturing his leg at the 2013 World Championships, Fuglsig helped VIK Aarhus win its fifth consecutive team title at the Danish team championships.

IG: What are your goals for 2014, in and out of the gym?

JMF: In the gym I aim to best all my previous highest scores. Also, I would be happy to claim medals at the Nordic Championships, and the Northern Europeans, which are going to be on home soil. Moreover I hope to make a good team result at the Europeans and worlds. And last but not least, I hope to compete and land well in my vaults so I can get as close to a European final as possible. I have a lot to show in the 2014 season. First off I had a good competition in Moscow (2013 Europeans), but with a ruined result due to three falls in dismounts. I know I can get close to 80 points and that is definitely my goal for the 2014 season – to prove that I can mess with the guys in that league. At the Northern European Championships in 2012 I scored a 79.7 with a fall. However, that was with the "old" vault code (before vault difficulty scores were devalued), and that is a record I want to beat.

Also, if I could defend my national title on parallel bars, or win one or two in other events that would be great! However, the return of our strongest gymnast, Helge Vammen, will make the competition a lot tougher. And, last but not least, the world championships in Nanning. First of all I would want to be on the team in as many events as possible, and eventually all six. Secondly I have a dream that our team can make a good result and get close to the top 24 to qualify a whole team for Glasgow (2015 Worlds). I know the boys and I are capable of it, so we need to focus on getting our routines stable and clean. And, of course, I would be quite content to not have to leave the arena being carried, and with a month off due to injury, as I did in Antwerp.

IG: If you have any New Year's Resolutions, what are they?

JMF: I am not a big New Year's Resolutions guy, but I guess I hope to have a year without injuries and to pass all exams at dentistry school so I don't have to worry about them while I train for a great season.

International Gymnast magazine's coverage of Scandinavian gymnasts includes:

"Great Danes" - profile on Rasmus Brandtoft and Kasper Fardan (January 2004)


"Hope in Helsinki" – feature on IG's visit to Voimisteluseura VSH men's club (January 2013) Heikki Savolainen/Hall of Fame induction feature (June/July 2004)
"Fearless Finn" – Tomi Tuuha interview/photo gallery (December 2012)
"10 Questions with Jani Tanskanen" – interview with FIG Athletes' Commission president (October 2010)
"Second Youth" – Jani Tanskanen profile (January/February 2007)
"Flight of Faith" – Annamari Maaranen profile (November 2007)

"Icelandic Warm-up" - feature on IG's visit to Icelandic clubs (November 2012)
"She's Keeping Her Cool" - feature on Sigga Bergthorsdottir (October 2012)

"Scouting Scandinavia" - feature on IG's visit to clubs in Sweden and Norway (March 2011)
"Elder Statesman" - Espen Jansen profile (May 2009)

"Swedish History-maker" - Jonna Adlerteg profile (November 2010)
"Scouting Scandinavia" – feature on IG's visit to clubs in Sweden and Norway (March 2011)
"Swedish Upswing" – women's team feature (November 2010)
"Swedish Achiever" - Ida Gustafsson short profile (June 3013)
"Sweden's Standout" - Mans Stenberg profile (March 2010)
William Thoresson profile/Hall of Fame induction feature (August/September 2001)
"Quick Chat: Veronica Wagner" (November 2008)
"Veronica's Date: 2008" – Veronica Wagner profile (February 2005)
"Swedish Sojourn" – Karolina Bohman profile (February 2003)

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

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