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Written by dwight normile    Tuesday, 28 April 2015 07:50    PDF Print
Tidbits From the May IG, Coming Out Soon
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

If you've ever attended a men's NCAA Championships in recent years, it is high energy and loud. More vocal chords are strained than hamstrings. A season's worth of emotion erupts with every stuck landing, especially since the gymnasts receive a 0.20 bonus for a D-value or higher dismount (0.1 for vault). And when that perfect landing happens, many gymnasts start screaming and pumping their fists. Then they run off to high-five their screaming teammates. The crowd loves it.

The judges don't.

In Article 2.3, Duties of the gymnast, the Code of Points clearly states: To present himself in the proper manner (arm/s up) and thereby acknowledge the D1 judge at the commencement of his exercise and to acknowledge the same judge at the conclusion of his exercise.

IG polled coaches, gymnasts and a judge at the men's NCAAs in Norman, Okla., in April. Following are three of the 10 responses to this trend.

Stacey Ervin/Michigan Gymnast (pictured)

I think it depends on the degree in which you’re celebrating. I’ve been known to celebrate pretty big, and, to me, so long as you keep your feet planted and you’re celebrating, I think it’s OK. But if you’re celebrating, moving around, and then present to the judge, I think that is where the problem begins.

Rick Tucker/Judge

Finishing a routine in a proper manner is like putting your signature at the end of a page. You have to do it or else people really don’t know that you’re done. So you’ve got to put your arms up, you’ve go to turn to the judge. Then you can celebrate.

Randy Jepson/Penn State Coach

You have to present yourself to the judge. In fact I had a guy two years ago not make the final because the judge didn’t think he looked at him when he turned, and he made a deduction. So my guys, yeah, you finish, you turn and look at the judge. Then you celebrate. The rules are clear: you must present at the beginning of the routine and at the end of the routine. And trust me, I know, because it cost our guy an All-American spot.

• Greg Marsden retired after 40 years as head coach at Utah. In an interview, we asked him if men's collegiate gymnastics should go back to the 10.

Well, I would recommend that all of gymnastics go back to the 10. Look, I’m a gym coach but I’m a marketer, and the most idiotic thing we ever did … [was] to give up the brand 10. I mean, the world knows gymnastics as the 10. That is a brand that you could not pay a billion dollars to have some marketing company come up with. And to walk away from that was the most ridiculous thing gymnastics ever did.

It might be wise to listen to a guy who averaged nearly 15,000 fans at his home meets this season. The gate at the men's NCAA team finals was 2,560.

Russian gymnast Natalia Bobrova passed away in April from stomach cancer. Yelena Grosheva shared some beautiful words with IG about her former roommate: “I spent a few years in the same room with Natasha, and what I remember the most is that she was very positive, light and always ready to smile and laugh, a girl with whom I was so lucky to spend great moments of my gymnastic life. She was an angel and she will always stay in my memories as a ray of sunshine, and I’m sure she will send her light and hope to her children and protect them through their life.”

 
Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 24 April 2015 10:14    PDF Print
Despite Tragedy, Azerbaijan Looks Forward
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

While the recent death of women’s national team head coach Alexander Pravdin shocked and saddened Azerbaijan’s gymnastics community, a spokesperson for the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation told IG that Pravdin’s memory and influence will continue to drive the team as it establishes itself internationally.

“Mr. Pravdin’s legacy to Azerbaijani women’s artistic gymnastics will always be seen in future successes of the little girls who started their first steps in gymnastics with him,” said Farid Gayibov, Secretary General of the federation. “It became their favorite sport due to his professionalism, coaching skills and good knowledge of children’s psychology. We are confident that these girls will justify their first coach’s hopes and will prove themselves in the international arena.”

Pravdin, who suffered a fatal heart attack on April 4, became the head coach of the team in 2014 after coaching in his native Voronezh, Russia, for years. He, his wife/fellow coach Nina Pravdina and several Russian gymnasts who relocated to Azerbaijan formed the foundation of the fledgling women’s national program.

Foremost among these gymnasts are two-time Russian Olympian Anna Pavlova; Yulia Inshina, who won a team silver medal and placed sixth on balance beam at the 2011 worlds; and Pravdin’s daughter, Kristina Pravdina.

While competing for Russia, Kristina Pravdina won a team bronze medal and placed 24th all-around at the 2006 world championships. She finished 16th all-around in qualifications at the 2007 worlds. Pravdina began competing for Azerbaijan late last year.

“Mr. Pravdin has left after himself the gymnasts he brought up,” Gayibov said. “They are Marina Nekrasova, Yulia Inshina, and, of course, his daughter, Kristina. They are representing our country at international competitions with dignity.”

Gayibov said injuries and other factors contributed to the Azerbaijani team’s “not so successful” performance at the 2014 worlds. He said the team’s results early this year show promise, however.

“At the times when Mr. Pravdin was head coach, the girls successfully executed their routines at the Challenger Cup in Cottbus (in March), where Kristina won a medal. Prior to Cottbus, they were inspired by medals taken within ‘home walls’ at the Open Joint Azerbaijan championships, held as a test event for the first European Games (taking place in Baku in June).”

Gayibov said Pravdin was also responsible for inspiring new, homegrown talent.

“Under his direction, the first local championship among pre-juniors and youth age categories were held, in this new-for-us gymnastics discipline,” Gayibov said of Pravdin.

Gayibov said the Azerbaijani team’s performance at the European championships in Montpellier earlier this month was “naturally very difficult for them psychologically.”

In Montpellier, Pravdina injured herself early in her routine on her first apparatus, balance beam, and did not continue. Marina Nekrasova and Maria Smirnova finished 45th and 59th, respectively, in the all-around qualifications. Smirnova’s 18th-place finish in vault qualifications was the highest ranking for the Azerbaijani women.

Gayibov said the upcoming European Games in the Azerbaijani capital and this fall’s world championships in Glasgow provide unique challenges to the team.

“It is always hard to perform within ‘home walls’ in front of a local audience, and the current sad circumstance will have even more psychological impact on the team members,” he said. “This year’s other very significant competition is the world championships, qualifying gymnasts for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

While replacing Pravdin will also be a challenge, Gayibov said the team will try its best to recruit a coach as dedicated and capable as Pravdin.

“Of course, the team needs a new coach, as life is going on and we will be searching for a new one,” he told IG. “It is very difficult to find a good coach and a good person. But it is unknown how soon we will succeed in finding one.”

 
Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 20 April 2015 16:12    PDF Print
Double Gold Gives Confidence Boost to Canada's Onyshko
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)



Canada's Isabela Onyshko told IG she reached all of her targets at the Challenge Cup of Ljubljana earlier this month, where she won two gold medals and one silver. Pictured: Onyshko (center), with Brazilians Lorrane Oliveira and Julie Kim Sinmon after the balance beam final in Ljubljana

Isabela Onyshko (Canada)

Canada's Isabela Onyshko told IG she reached all of her targets at the recent World Challenge Cup of Ljubljana earlier this month, where she won two gold medals and one silver.

Onyshko placed first on uneven bars and balance beam, and second on floor exercise at the FIG event, held April 3-5 in the Slovenian capital.

"My goals were several," said Onyshko, who turns 17 in June. "On beam, I wanted execute my new aerial combination (aerial walkover, aerial walkover, illusion). I also wanted to improve my execution scores overall, which I did."

Onyshko said her strong performances in Ljubljana enabled her to favorably compare herself to her international rivals.

"I was pleased that I was able to compete and be successful against so many good gymnasts from other countries," said Onyshko, who hails from Minnedosa, Manitoba. "It really helped my confidence."

Onyshko, who competed at last fall's world championships in Nanning, said she plans to upgrade her routines for the major competitions ahead in 2015. Onyshko, the 2014 Canadian all-around silver medalist, is training for the Canadian championships, May 28-31, in Gatineau, Quebec. Toronto will play host to the 17th Pan American Games in July.

For Onyshko, foremost among the upcoming competitions are the world championships in Glasgow, October 23 to November 1.

"I am hoping to introduce new skills on vault and floor for the Canadian championships and Pan American Games," she told IG. "My main goal is the world championships. I will use any other competitions I attend to solidify my skills and help myself prepare for the world championships. This year has been very exciting for me."

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

International Gymnast Magazine's recent coverage of Canadian women includes:
"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)
Christine Peng-Peng Lee chat (April 2015)
"Sudden Impact" - Victoria Moors interview (January/February 2013)
"Making Tracks" - Scott Morgan profile (December 2013)
Isabela Onyshko profile (July/August 2014)
"Shooting Star" – Megan Roberts profile (April 2015)
"Catching up with... Lori Strong Ballard" (June 2012)
Kristina Vaculik cover photo (April 2010)
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.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 14 April 2015 14:02    PDF Print
Kirmes Geared Up for Europeans
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

After winning his first Challenger Cup earlier this month, Finland’s Oskar Kirmes told IG he aims for solid results at the European championships that begin Wednesday in Montpellier, France.

“My focus for the Europeans is the all-around,” said Kirmes, who placed second on floor exercise at the Challenger Cup of Ljubljana held April 3-5. “Of course I want to do a good floor routine, but, I don’t think my D(ifficulty)-score is high enough for making the floor final at this championship. I hope I can make a good competition with no serious mistakes, and then I will see how far it gets me.”

Kirmes, who set a personal best of 15.05 in qualifications in Ljubljana, said his strategy for his medal-winning performance in Ljubljana was to maximize his Execution scores.

“I knew that I had one of the lowest D-scores in the final so I just had to do a clean nice routine if I wanted to win a medal,” he said. “So the key was just to do as clean routine as possible and trying to stick all the landings, not taking any risk with a higher D-score.”

Kirmes said he plans to emphasize execution as he gradually increases his difficulty level.

“I am always thinking about the E-score, and trying to perform the cleanest routine as possible,” he told IG. “When I can perform this routine nicely, I can start to build a more difficult routine but still keep a high E-score. I think it’s better to do a nice, clean routine with a high E-score and from there start to work on a better D-score. Like (Japanese superstar Kohei) Uchimura, for example. He doesn’t always have the highest D-score, but a very high E-score.”

 
Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 10 April 2015 10:11    PDF Print
Switzerland's Barloggio Bolstered For Europeans
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Swiss gymnast Caterina Barloggio told IG that, although she competed on only one apparatus at the 2012 European championships in Brussels, she is eager to test herself anew at the upcoming European championships in Montpellier, France.

"In 2012 it was a team competition, but this year it will be all individual," said Barloggio, who placed sixth on uneven bars and balance beam at the Tournament of Masters in Cottbus, Germany, March 19-22. "I think that this year I'm better prepared than three years ago. My goal is to try to do my best and to perform a clean competition. I have also a new floor routine and I'm happy to have the chance to perform it at the European championships."


Caterina Barloggio (Switzerland) at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning

Barloggio, who was a member of Switzerland's 19th-place team at last fall's world championships in Nanning, said she is hopeful her team can improve at this fall's worlds in Glasgow. The top eight teams in Glasgow will qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Four additional teams will qualify for the Games at a test completion in Rio early next year.

"I think we have to work a little bit psychologically," Barloggio said. "We were all well prepared for the competition but we made a lot of mistakes. We should try to be more united as a team, even if a mistake happens. We will also work to have solid and clean routines."

Born August 29, 1996, Barloggio hails from the Italian part of Switzerland. Her first language is Italian, and she learned French, German and English in school. Barloggio's maternal grandmother is Italian, but her other grandparents are Swiss. She has a few relatives in Italy but most of them are Swiss.

Barloggio lives and trains in Ticino, where her coaches are Alberto Tolomini and Patrizia Zuffinetti. Tolomini is her main coach, while Zuffinetti coaches her primarily on balance beam and floor exercise. Zuffinetti also works with here on the other apparatuses.

When preparing for major competitions or participating in national team training camps, Barloggio trains in Magglingen under Swiss national team head coach Zoltan Jordanov, and other national team coaches Sznezsana Jordanova and Fabien Martin. Barloggio plans to train in Magglingen all of this summer.

Barloggio said she plans to upgrade her routines so she can contend with Swiss standouts Giulia Steingruber, Ilaria Käslin and others for positions at the Rio Games.

"In this period we have competitions so I'm not trying any new elements because we are doing routines and routines," she told IG. "But I'm looking forward to learning some new skills when competitions are over, to add some more difficulty and be more competitive with higher D-scores."

International Gymnast magazine's coverage of Swiss gymnasts includes:
"No Turning Back" - Claudio Capelli profile (June 2011)
"Swiss Hit" - Ariella Käslin profile (December 2008)
"Swiss Thrill-seeker" – A. Käslin short profile (January/February 2007)
"A New Swiss Standout" - Ilaria Käslin profile (December 2013)
"Full Force" – Giulia Steingruber interview (June 2013)
"A New Hit for the Swiss" – Steingruber profile (December 2009)

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

 
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