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Written by John Crumlish    Saturday, 28 February 2015 14:52    PDF Print
McKayla Maroney: 'I'm Feeling Great'
(15 votes, average 4.67 out of 5)



Olympic gold and silver medalist McKayla Maroney of the U.S. told IG she is eager to return to competition following a long bout with adrenal fatigue.

"I'm really, really excited for this year and coming back, just because I'm now healed,” said Maroney at last weekend’s All Olympia Invitational that her team hosted at Los Angeles Convention Center.

Maroney last competed at the 2013 World Championships, where she won a second world vault title. She underwent knee surgery in March 2014 and missed the rest of the season, but is training again full time.

"I haven't felt like this in a long time. I’m feeling great," she said.

Read more on Maroney’s health condition and comeback in the April issue of International Gymnast magazine. Other IG magazine coverage of Maroney includes:
"All-Around Commitment" – Maroney interview (March 2014)
2013 World Championships special issue (November 2013)
2013 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2013)
"Maroney on the Mend" – interview (January/February 2013)
2012 Olympic Games special issue (September 2012)
2012 U.S. Olympic Trials coverage, 2012 Olympics preview (July/August 2012)
2011 World Championships special issue (December 2011)
2011 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2011)
"It's Showtime for Maroney" – Maroney profile (May 2011)
Maroney on cover photo collage, 2010 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2010)

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

 
Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 23 February 2015 13:44    PDF Print
Biles Eager to Kick Off Competition Year At American Cup
(9 votes, average 4.56 out of 5)

Two-time world all-around champion Simone Biles of the U.S. told IG she looks forward to testing some upgrades when she competes at the American Cup in her home state of Texas on March 7.


Simone Biles (USA)

"My plan is to start off the year with a good meet, showing good, clean confidence," said Biles, who placed first all-around at the 2013 and 2014 world championships. "I want to try and put in a few upgrades, and see how they work out and how they score."

Biles said she does not feel much more pressure because the Cup will be taking place in her home state.

"It’s more of a fun factor," said Biles, who trains under coach Aimee Boorman at World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas. "I’m so excited to compete in my home state and in the Dallas Cowboys Arena (in Arlington). We have about 160 people that my family know and from my gym that are coming, so it’s going to be really exciting. It’s a lit bit of pressure but I’m sure it will be OK."

Biles said the American Cup will give her the chance to launch a busy competition year which includes the U.S. championships in Indianapolis in August, and the world championships in Glasgow, Scotland, from Oct. 23-Nov. 1.

"I think it’s a good start to the season and a good kick-off," she told IG. ‘It helps you see where you’re at and what you can do, and how you score. I just want to have fun with it. I think it’s a really good thing to start the year off with.’

Read more on Simone Biles in the March 2015 issue of International Gymnast magazine. She is also featured in the following issues:

Biles cover photo, 2014 World Championships special issue (November 2014)
Biles cover photo, 2014 Worlds preview (October 2014)
Biles cover photo, 2014 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2014)
"Transition Year: - coach Aimee Boorman/Simone Biles profile (July/August 2014)
Biles cover photo, 2013 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2013)
Biles interview (April 2013)

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

 
Written by dwight normile    Wednesday, 18 February 2015 08:43    PDF Print
March IG to Feature Kohei Uchimura
(7 votes, average 4.43 out of 5)

IG recently secured an exclusive interview with Kohei Uchimura, who has strung together every major all-around title since 2009. Our feature on him, called "The Savior," appears in the March IG, which mails next week. Within the story, we did some math using his scores from the all-around finals during his six-year reign, and they are astounding. His average event score was 15.392. His average all-around total was 92.351. Besides vault, where virtually every all-arounder scores high, his best apparatus average was on floor exercise, with 15.530. His 'worst' was pommel horse: 15.105. So in that sense, he's like many other all-arounders. Just a lot better.

By now, most fans have seen Uchimura's floor exercise during the 2014 world all-around final. He stuck every landing, never appeared to break form, and even congratulated himself afterward with a fist pump. He knows how hard it is to do what he did. His 15.766 was the top floor score that day, as was his 9.166 E-score. It's that 9.166, however, that had most people scratching their head. Cut and paste that routine into the 1988 Olympics and it gets a 10.0, or maybe a 9.9 from the stingy judge. Here are some of the YouTube comments below that video.

How can you ever deduct this routine? … Really, judges, with all due respect, could you please explain those .8 in deductions? … That’s the cleanest floor routine I’ve seen in my life. … Absolute perfection.

We asked Uchimura about that 9.166, and this was his response: "I was not surprised. I think that I had some problems in my routine."

Was he just being politically correct? Even in slow motion that routine looked perfect. Which begs the question, What's the point of starting the execution score from 10 if achieving a 9.0 is almost impossible?

Regardless, Uchimura probably contradicted himself, at least a little, when we asked for his opinion about the current Code of Points.

"I think that the good point in the Code is finding new skills and combinations. However, I would like to get higher E-scores for beauty and elegance."

Was not his floor routine both beautiful and elegant? It may have been the best competitive men's floor exercise performance in history when you consider the level of difficulty these guys have to perform.

Uchimura opens up about several other issues in this story: fatherhood, frustrations and the best advice he ever received.

Also included in the March IG: Jessica Lopez profile; Alla Sosnitskaya interview; 10 Questions With Stella Umeh (prepare to be inspired!); 10 Things to Like About Simone Biles; a tribute to long-time photographer Jeff Sipsey; and much more.

 
Written by dwight normile    Friday, 13 February 2015 11:30    PDF Print
Nadia Comaneci International Set for Valentine's Day
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

In its six-year history, the Nadia Comaneci International Invitational has drawn gymnasts from all over the world and showcased both Olympic champions and emerging stars. 2008 Beijing floor exercise gold medalist Sandra Izbasa of Romania captured the first senior title, in 2009, and then Canada took over. Kristina Vaculik and Anysia Unick grabbed the next two titles, respectively, while Capital Gymnastics (Texas) swept the 2012 senior and junior golds with Mackenzie Brannon and Nicole Lehrmann.

2013 saw Canada's Victoria Moors take the senior all-around while Rebeca Andrade, the young Brazilian star, captured the junior crown. Last year, Aussie Georgia Godwin edged two-time Olympian Jessica Lopez of Venezuela in the senior division, and Irina Alexeeva, a talented Russian who trains at WOGA, eclipsed Romania's Ioana Crisan in the juniors.

Crisan is back again for the 2015 "Nadia Meet," which takes place Feb. 14 in Oklahoma City. Lopez, who placed eighth at the 2014 Nanning World Championships, will also compete as she prepares for the AT&T American Cup, March 7, the final leg of the World Cup series.

Crisan will again be joined by Deva teammates Olivia Cimpian and Alexandra Mihai, while the addition of Bulgaria's Elisabet Vasileva is sure to increase the excitement. (In one day, the video of her beam routine in training reached 803,840 people on the IG Facebook page and elicited 9,492 Likes, 464 Comments and 1,918 Shares.)

Also on hand for the second year is the dynamic Montana Fairbairn of Stampede City, and fellow Canadians Laurie-Lou Vezina and Victoria Jurca of Gym-Fly. Jenna Dunn of Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy will represent the U.S.

Since 2012, the weekend has included The Perfect 10 Challenge, an NCAA women's competition featuring the University of Oklahoma. Last year the Sooners edged six-time Alabama, 197.200-197.100, in a quad-meet with Michigan and West Virginia. Tonight, the co-national champion Sooners will face off against Kentucky at 6:45. Both the Perfect 10 Challenge and Nadia Comaneci International Invitational are held on a podium in the main arena of the Cox Convention Center.

The Nadia Meet and Bart Conner Invitational are part of the Bart & Nadia Sports Experience, which includes health and fitness activities for the whole family all day Saturday at the Cox Convention Center.

For a full schedule of events, visit www.BartandNadiaSportsExperience.com.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 10 February 2015 08:46    PDF Print
Watson Focuses on Fixes After Elite Canada Win
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Recently crowned Elite Canada all-around champion Robert Watson told IG his performance there should serve him well as he prepares for competitions later this year, including the Canadian championships and world championships.


Robert Watson (Canada)

"Having a competition so early in the year is always interesting," said Watson, who won the all-around title at the meet held in Trois-Rivières, Québec, Jan. 29 to Feb. 1. "For the most part we go out and have a chance to test some new routines before the year really kicks into gear. As far as preparation goes, this competition is quite far away from our national championships and was a good early indicator to see where everyone on the team was at in terms of their skill levels."

Watson, who placed first all-around at the 2014 Canadian championships, said he was pleased to overcome early problems to place first in Trois-Rivières.

"I had a few mistakes early on in the meet, and fell on a new vault I was trying to do," said Watson, who placed third all-around at 2014 Elite Canada. "After vault I was not in the top three, which had me worried. The highlight of my all-around was hitting a nice, clean parallel bars routine, even after having a rough start, which gave me the momentum to pull through and finish the competition on top."

As Watson heads into competitions later this year, he said Elite Canada helped him assess his strengths and focus on areas for improvement. Watson's next competition will be on Feb. 28, at a collegiate meet at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. There he will be competing against Stanford and the University of California-Berkeley, as well as international teams including Japan.

"I will definitely be improving my vault, and high bar routine, to help out the team," Watson said. "And as always I will be working on cleaning up all other events and getting super consistent for the year ahead."

Watson, a member of Canada's 14th-place team at last fall's worlds in Nanning, said he is confident Canada can improve at this fall's worlds in Glasgow. The top eight teams in Glasgow will earn team berths to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Four additional teams will earn Olympic berths at a test event early next year in Rio.

"I think if our team can clean up and solidify the routines we have right now, adding a little difficulty here and there, we will be able to place top 12," he told IG.

Read a profile on Watson in the July/August 2014 issue of ''International Gymnast'' magazine.

IG magazine's other coverage of Canadian gymnastics includes:

"Gotta Dance!" – Sandra Botnen/Sasha Ivanochko profile (December 2004)
"Aiming to Top the Charts" - Maegan Chant interview (October 2013)
"Canadian Promise" - Ellie Black chat (July/August 2014)
"Canadian Diversity" - Ellie Black profile (July/August 2013)
"Black to Business" - Ellie Black interview (November 2012)
"Veteran Presence" – Nathan Gafuik interview (July/August 2010)
Madeline Gardiner, Anysia Unick and Victoria Moors cover photo (March 2011)
"Candid Canadians" - Madeline Gardiner interview (September 2011)
"A Gymnastics Jet-Setter" – Jordan Harvie (May 2004)
"All in a Day's Work" - Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs profile (March 2007)
"Catching up with... Larissa Lowing Libby" (August/September 2004)
Christine Peng-Peng Lee interview (April 2011)
"A Passion for Performing" - Christine Peng-Peng Lee profile (June 2005)
Gael Mackie profile (July/August 2011)
"Canadian Standout" – Gael Mackie profile (January 2003)
"Pride for Family and Canada" – Charlotte Mackie profile (November 2006)
"Sudden Impact" - Victoria Moors interview (January/February 2013)
"Making Tracks" - Scott Morgan profile (December 2013)
Isabela Onyshko profile (July/August 2014)
"10 Questions with Carol-Angela Orchard" (May 2011)
Jackson Payne interview (September 2011)
"Pegg Much More Motivated" – Dominique Pegg profile (March 2010)
"Plante in Bloom" – Amélie Plante profile (June/July 2003)
"Staying Power" – Heather Purnell profile (May 2003)
"Enriched" - Kate Richardson profile (May 2001)
"Stage Flight" - Yvonne Tousek update (November 2010)
"Uneven Parallels" – Kate Richardson/Yvonne Tousek profile (March 2004)
"Confident Canadian" - Brittany Rogers interview (May 2012)
"Shooting Star" – Brittany Rogers profile (July/August 2007)
"Savona Surges into Recovery" – Jessica Savona short profile (October 2011)
"Work in Progress" – Sydney Sawa profile (September 2009)
"Holding Pattern" – Richelle Simpson interview (April 2004)
Richelle Simpson cover photo (January 2004)
Richelle Simpson center poster (June/July 2003)
"Canadian Diversity" - Hugh Smith profile (July/August 2013)
"Catching up with... Lori Strong Ballard" (June 2012)
Jennifer Wood update (June/July 2004)
"Stage Flight" - Yvonne Tousek update (November 2010)
"Veteran Presence" - Kristina Vaculik profile (July/August 2010)
Kristina Vaculik cover photo (April 2010)
"Canadian Conquerors" – Kristina Vaculik profile (September 2007)
Aleeza Yu two-page photo spread (May 2014)
To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.
e (July/August 2010)
Kristina Vaculik cover photo (April 2010)
"Canadian Conquerors" – Kristina Vaculik profile (September 2007)
Aleeza Yu two-page photo spread (May 2014)

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

 
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