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Brinker Aims for More Breakthroughs
(43 votes, average 4.88 out of 5)

Preparing for a Germany vs. U.S. dual meet Saturday in Mülheim, 2009 European uneven bars bronze medalist Anja Brinker told IG she is working hard for continued success through this fall's world championships.

Germany's Anja Brinker at the 2009 Tournament of Masters in Cottbus, where she took the gold medal on uneven bars.

"I am trying to do better not only on uneven bars, but also on the other apparatus," said Brinker of her training for the Worlds that will take place Oct. 12-18 in London. "I want to reach the uneven bars final and also the all-around final. Of course, it's always good if everybody on the team does a good job. That is motivating and contributes to a better result."

Brinker is the only German Olympian scheduled to compete in the dual meet in Mülheim. Other German gymnasts on the roster are 2008 German Olympic team alternate Kim Bui, Desiree BaumertSusann HerbstKatja Roll and Elisabeth Seitz.

The U.S. team selected for Saturday's meet, as well as a May 8 meet in Rouen, France, includes 2008 Olympic team silver medalist Bridget Sloan, Bridgette Caquatto, Mackenzie Caquatto, Olivia Courtney, Kytra Hunter, Mattie Larson, Corrie Lothrop and Sabrina Vega.

Although the 2009 Worlds will not include a team competition, Brinker said the German team is regrouping after placing 12th at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

"I think it's normal that some gymnasts end their careers after the Olympic Games," the 18-year-old Brinker said. "Now we have time to form a new team, and I'm sure that we will have a good team again."

Injuries and retirements have impacted the German team since Beijing, but Brinker said she is confident that her veteran status will contribute to future success.

"I'm not the only veteran of the team," she said. "I think it's good that we have only individual world championships this year and no big team competitions. But now it's important for the younger gymnasts to get great international experience. I'm sure that some veterans will come back."

Brinker said she gained confidence by winning the bronze medal on uneven bars at the European Championships held April 2-5 in Milan. She finished third on the event behind 2006 world champion Beth Tweddle (Great Britain), who placed first, and 2007 world champion Ksenia Semyonova (Russia), who placed second.

"After qualifications I knew that I had good chances for a medal," said Brinker, who finished eighth all-around in Milan. "I made my routine with full risk and now I'm happy about my medal."

With the 2009 Worlds approaching, Brinker said diligence and cooperation will be essential for better results than the Germans achieved in Beijing.

"We all were very nervous at the Olympic Games," she said. "I think we need more practice and, of course, a new good team which is mutually supported and motivated."

Between the meet in Mülheim and the 2009 World Championships, Brinker plans to compete at the German Championships in June. She said academics prevent her from adding too many meets to her agenda.

"More isn't possible for this time, because next year I have to do my school examination," Brinker said. "Because of this, I have to work hard for school."

International Gymnast Magazine Related Features
"Breaking In" - Brinker profile (November 2007)
"Sitting Pretty - Sloan profile (March 2008)
Sloan center poster (March 2008)
"Meet a Real Show-stopper" - Larson profile (November 2005)
"Guided by Romanian Tradition" - Vega profile (July/August 2008)

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